The amazing Amanda Moon, Bryleigh (16), Berkleigh (14), Blakeleigh (12), Blaze (10), Blitz (8) and Buzz (9 months). Amanda is also mother to Clover (2002), Bodhi (2010) and Cowboy (2011).
Amanda and her husband, Warren, married when she was 19, he was 20 and they have been together for nearly 22 years. They initially didn't want to have any children at all, however, 6 months after they were married she was diagnosed with and had surgery for endometriosis. After the surgery, her doctor told her that if she ever wanted to have children she should try soon, because one of her ovaries was entirely covered in cysts and she wasn't sure she could get pregnant. Amanda realized she really wanted a baby and they started trying. 10 cycles later she conceived Bryleigh.
Amanda had been on track to be an OBGYN herself but through her pregnancy realized she wanted to have a water birth and chose to deliver with midwives. Unfortunately, she developed preeclampsia and had to be induced the day before she turned 36 weeks. She labored for 20+ hours, in bed while magnesium sulfate and Pitocin battled each other in her body. The only movement she was allowed was to flip from side to side. She couldn't eat or drink and was so thirsty, at one point she had Warren wet a rag in the sink so she could suck the water out of it. She managed all of that, without an epidural and pushed for 46 minutes before she was able to get Bryleigh out after her midwife performed an episiotomy with tears in her eyes. Her baby's heart rate had begun to drop just before she was born and she had to be resuscitated. While they were working on her, Amanda began to hemorrhage badly. She had a sense that everything was going to be fine and was very peaceful amidst the chaos. Her midwife was able to stop her hemorrhage and Bryleigh was fine and able to be put on her chest. They had some breastfeeding struggles due to Amanda's milk coming in late from the magnesium sulfate but they were able to work through it.
Amanda and her husband decided they wanted to have another baby and she just assumed it would take a long time again. However, she got pregnant on their first attempt making her oldest two children just 20 months apart. There were no nurse midwives in the area they were living, so Amanda went to a female OB thinking it would be the next best thing only to find she had no bedside manner. Amanda had a lot of prodromal labor with Berkleigh so she spent a lot of time out walking in the middle of the night and going to the hospital only to be sent home. When she had finally begun to have regular contractions she went to the hospital but was told she wasn't in labor and needed to take a sleeping pill and go home. They made her take the sleeping pill before leaving the hospital so she was out by the time they'd made it home. Warren had to carry her into the house and she woke herself up moaning two hours later to find she had a forebag of waters that had ruptured. They returned to the hospital and to discover the nurses had never before seen a birth plan. She had been laboring on a birthing ball but he nurses kept telling her to get into bed. She lied and told them she had to pee because she couldn't take being on her back anymore. She had a very intense contraction and stood up to her water breaking. As soon as they got her back to bed she pushed Berkleigh out to the nurses screaming "No, No! Don't push! The doctor's not here!" It ended up being a great birth and Berkleigh was absolutely perfect.
When Berkleigh was two months old, Amanda met a midwife and started a traditional midwifery apprenticeship, going to births with her baby in tow and breastfeeding in between. She was in love with babies and birth and really wanted to have another baby and a homebirth herself. Blakeleigh was born at home on a birth ball.Amanda didn't want to get off so she rolled back, someone held her from behind and she pushed her baby out while still on top of the birth ball.
Amanda knew she really wanted to have an unassisted birth with her next baby. She had hemorrhaged with every birth but things calmed down with a shot of Pitocin. Still, Warren was really uncomfortable with and she thought that somehow she could possibly still just make it happen with Blaze. Her labor had begun and the midwives came, but she pretended that labor had stalled and she needed to sleep. You can only do that for so long, though, and when her husband realized she was in active labor he called the midwives back. There was a point when she said she needed some help, meaning she just needed someone to reassure her and tell her she could do it, but the midwife jumped up and shoved her fingers up inside Amanda, held back a lip and broke her water. Amanda says it was so painful she felt like she was dying, it was so intense she couldn't even breathe to tell her to stop. Blaze was born and put on her chest but he was white, looking up at her, but not breathing yet. He was able to get breathing with the help of some blow by oxygen but it was a really shocking birth for them both.
When she got pregnant with Blitz she insisted she was going to have an unassisted birth. All of Amanda's babies had come a bit early so she wasn't overly concerned when she went into labor at 34 weeks, 4 days. She felt that she needed to stay home and had very intense back labor. He stayed very high and would not drop down and her tail bone was moving with each contraction. She got to the point where she wanted to break her own water as she knew he needed to get out quickly. She moved in such a way her water broke and he sunk right down into her pelvis and she pushed him out like a roaring warrior goddess into the water. She caught him and brought him up to chest when they realized his cord was wrapped tightly around his neck, his shoulder, his foot and that between his arm and foot he had a true knot that his positioning had prevented from pulling tighter. She still believes that had they been anywhere but home, Blitz may not have made it. Because of the knot, he started breathing but his muscle tone was very low. They put him on blow by oxygen and he did very well but whenever they tried to take it away his color started to change. They eventually ended up transferring to hospital where he spent 6 days in the NICU. They learned that the knot in his cord was so tight the fluid in his lungs hadn't been expelled and he needed CPAP. The hospital staff were very ugly to Amanda because he had been born at home. Once his breathing issues resolved she asked to take him home but they said he needed to stay to work on feeding. She had been struggling due to the stress but knew she could breastfeed him. They threatened her with CPS but their tone changed when her husband was around. They ultimately signed Blitz out of the hospital against medical advice and the second she got home and sat down on the bed with this, she started dripping with milk and everything was fine.
The month before Amanda had conceived Blakeleigh she was pregnant and had a really early loss. There were only had a few days of joy before she started bleeding but this baby was already very real for her and she was devastated. Her husband didn't know how to react or process it and she felt pressured to just move on when all she wanted was to stay in bed and mourn her loss. They never really had the chance to mourn that baby or name her (Clover) until years later.
Amanda went to a midwifery conference alone in 2010, the first time in nearly a decade that she hadn't been pregnant or breastfeeding. She was dizzy but brushed it off to travel until she got home and realized she was pregnant with Bodhi. She had been spotting but had spotted during other pregnancies so she didn't think much of it and was hopeful that it wasn't anything. Unfortunately, she ultimately miscarried Bodhi in her bathtub at almost 15 weeks. Having made it to the second trimester she thought she was in the clear, it was an incredibly painful loss.
Amanda's family decided to move after Bodhi's loss, to the mountains in Colorado and she get pregnant again right after they arrived. She had thought they were done having children but had a vision of a baby connected to her with a silver cord and wondered who that was. She was planning another unassisted birth but met another midwife who lived down the street from them in the mountains and decided to work with her. She had been feeling the baby move but had started spotting once again. She felt ill but thought she likely just had a bad urinary tract infection. Amanda began treating herself for a UTI but continued to feel sicker so a few days later she decided to go to the hospital to be checked. One of the first things they did was an ultrasound and learned that at 17.5 weeks the baby didn't have a heart beat. She told them she had done this before and just wanted to go home so they headed back up to the mountains. She needed a day to process and tell the kids and the following day she felt ready to let go. She thought she may need herbs to move things along but she started laboring very intensely and painfully. She finally pushed him out on their bed and he looked perfect but she started hemoraghing. They had send the kids across the street to a neighbors house and she began to realize she was in trouble. The cord had torn and her placenta wasn't coming out. She passed out, lost control of her bowels and vomited. Her body was shutting down and she told Warren to call 911.
A volunteer Fireman showed up first, filthy and unsure what to do. She tried to prompt him to take her blood pressure or do something but he just looked at her horrified. More firefighters came but they to were just standing around and not helping while she was bleeding and bleeding. The paramedics finally came but they seemed to be more worried about logistics than helping. One man insisted she needed to put shorts on and she told him he really needed to see how much she was bleeding. They were talking about how to get her down the stairs when she just pulled enough strength together to walk down herself with Warren's help. She knew her kids were watching from across the road and she wanted to walk out to the ambulance to show them she was going to be fine.
The ambulance driver didn't know how to get to the hospital and the paramedic in back was shaking so badly they couldn't get an IV started and had to pull over on the side of the road. They finally got a small butterfly IV going in her hand but it was not enough with the volume of blood she was losing. She was doing her own fundal pressure because the paramedic was so uncomfortable that there was blood pouring from her vagina he couldn't do anything to help her. The ambulance wouldn't turn on the lights because they didn't want to endanger mountain drivers but she kept telling them she was a midwife and this was bad, they needed to go. Halfway down the mountain she passed out and her husband heard them say, "We lost her, she doesn't have a pulse". Warren's touch and voice, brought her back and they finally turned the lights on. She pushed out a clot that felt like it was the size of a baby and asked the paramedic to look to see if the placenta was in there but once again he wouldn't look. When they arrived at the hospital they were trying to start an IV on her every limb. They couldn't find one due to the amount of blood she'd lost. They pulled Warren out to ask him if Amanda had any religious preferences and asked if there was anyone he wanted to call because she may not make it. They lost her pulse again and she felt like she needed to make a choice if she was going to stay or go. Warren's touch had brought her back again and she remembers looking down at her arm just willing a vein to appear. They were finally able to get a vein in that arm and while all this was happening an OB was between her legs trying to find her placenta and stop her from bleeding. Once she was stable enough they took her to surgery for a D&C and Warren was left not knowing if she'd be okay.
They named that baby Cowboy and soon after everything fell apart. 6 weeks later Warren woke up and had lost the vision in his right eye. He had a detached retina and had to have two surgeries to fix it. Everything felt a mess and they decided soon after they didn't want to live in the mountains anymore. What if something happened to one of the kids and they had to rely on these rescuers again? They moved and she thought her child bearing years were going to end on that note. She almost died though so perhaps she shouldn't have another baby. They went through some more life stuff and they both had this moment of knowing another little soul was ready to come into them.
Being pregnant again felt like such a miracle. At 17 weeks she again had some spotting and thought that she couldn't have gone through all of this to lose another baby. All ended going well and she carried Buzz to 38 weeks, 4 days, longer than she had any of her other babies. She had a 40 hour labor, also longer than any of her other babies and another unassisted birth, in the water. Even though Buzz was taking a long time, she says he was communicating with her the whole time that he was doing well. Pushing him out, catching him with her own hands and putting him on her chest was a wonderfully healing experience for Amanda.
After Buzz was born she realized he was sucking his own lip and she found a severe lip tie. They started having latching issues which she couldn't believe. She'd nursed 5 babies of her own, she'd nursed other women's babies and she'd helped countless other women get started breastfeeding but here they were. He lost one whole pound his first week of life and they took him to an ENT who told them his lip tie wouldn't affect breastfeeding and there was no such thing as posterior tie. She began to have terrible anxiety trying to get him to eat and was really struggling. They finally found a dentist who revised his ties and through pumping, cup and finger feeding and nipple shields for months they finally got everything to fall in line and he's now nursing very well.
Amanda wanted to capture this moment for herself. She has been through so much and she wanted to remember this time with all of her kids and have a snapshot of this moment in their lives where things have eased up and everything is joyful.