Babies, Buddy Walks and Blogs

It’s that time of year again… the time of year when my siblings and friends have a ton of babies all within weeks of each other! I know. Weird! It’s also the time of year called “fall” and that means I am galavanting around the country with colors on my fingers and singing and signing with some of our most devout Signing Time Fans… because it’s ALSO the time of year for Down syndrome awareness walks!

WAIT!!! — remember what happened last time everyone I knew was going into labor and I was performing at Buddy Walks?

I remember.
It was 2008.

It started with Baby Asher then came Baby Ryan and even Baby Carter came along too! (But he was born in Georgia… SO far away from me)

The grande finale was Rachel & Natalie’s Excellent Adventure in the midst of all of that I went to Oklahoma, Oregon, and Denver… and then… then Leah’s hat caught on fire.


Well, that was 2008.
…And this is 2010

My sister Sarah had Baby Oslo

weeks later my sister-in-law Danielly had Baby Zoey.

A week later my sister-in-law Katie had Baby Brody. (They are in Las Vegas, so I don’t have a photo of Lucy holding him… YET.)

And for the GRAND FINALE… my sister Emilie, yes THE Emilie, had a baby girl on September 20th!!! (a little girl who is yet to be named, but big deal, they didn’t name Alex for three weeks and he turned out all right)

I’m happy to report that Baby Girl Brown attended her first Signing Time Owner’s Meeting yesterday. I held her while Emilie and I held the meeting with others via Skype. Being the boss is boss!

I was able to be at all of the births I was scheduled to be at… and likewise I was not at the births I was not expected to be at… that’s how birth should be.

In the meantime… here is my Down Syndrome Walk schedule 🙂 I already performed in Salt Lake City… and New York City… you were either there or you missed them. Either way you can see photos of the SLC event on my Facebook Fan Page and you can see NYC photos there as well. This weekend I head to Fox Cities, Wisconsin and the following week I will be in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

We have created Team Signing Time for each of the events this year so all of you Signing Time Families can hang out, get freebies and walk together.

Utah Down Syndrome Foundation Buddy Walk
When: Saturday, September 18 at 11:30 a.m.
Where: West Valley Cultural Celebration Center, located at 1355 West 3100 South just off Redwood Road
You weren’t here, but we were!

Rachel Hopkins and Leah

If you weren’t there, then you missed THIS magical moment:

Caterpillar Dreams - Lucy

The National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk in New York
Team Signing Time NEW YORK
When: Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Rachel will perform at The Great Hill, Central Park, New York City

Team Signing Time NYC

You also missed this magical moment…

Darth Vader's Angels

Wisconsin Down Syndrome Awareness Walk
Team Signing Time WISCONSIN
I will be giving a keynote address on Friday, October 1 at 6:30pm at Elks Lodge No. 337
(1103 W College Ave, Appleton, WI)
I will be performing at The Awareness Walk on Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 1:45pm at Riverside Park, Neenah, Wisconsin

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress Buddy Walk
Where: Buddy Walk at in Wakefield, MA at Lake Quannapowitt
When: Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Babies Babies Everywhere

Why does it seem like everyone I know is pregnant? Oh.. I know, because just about everyone I know IS pregnant. My good friend Natalie is pregnant and due September 21. She asked me if I would be her birth coach, I said “Yes!” I love birth. Is that strange? But, I do. It is so cool to see the beginning of a life, to be there and witness it. So, Natalie and I have been going to a Bradley Childbirth class every Thursday for the past 10 weeks. We have 2 more weeks to go.

In the meantime my sister Rebecca is pregnant and due in a week or 2. My sister-in-law Rachael is due in 3 weeks. My sister-in-law Dani was due on the 6th. Chris, who works here at Two Little Hands, his wife is having a baby today! Plus there is LeeAnn who works at ST! and our friend Tonya both pregnant. One of our ST! chat regulars, Macsmama is having triplets!

A few weeks ago at my sister-in-law Dani’s baby shower she asked if I would be willing to come to her birth. It is her first baby and she wanted to have a natural birth and wanted me there as a support person.

Here’s a little background about my family and our Birth Culture. My mother had 9 children… pick your jaw up from the floor 🙂 Mom was always nursing somebody, so we grew up in a home where you breast fed, no question about it. She had a home birth with her 6th, my sister Rebecca. The five older siblings were there and saw birth in a new light, not as a hospital procedure. So, we are pretty much a natural birthing, breast feeding, wearing our babies in slings kind of family.

I have 11 nieces and nephews.  Five of them were born at home.  Four were born at hospitals with midwives.  Two nephews were born in hospitals with doctors.  All 11 births were without anesthesia. I have been a support person at 3 of those births.   Leah was a natural birth in a hospital with a midwife too. Lucy is the only C-section and technically I had two c-sections with her. This is the Birth Culture I was born into and it is the basis for the attitudes that I have about birth.

So, here is where this month gets interesting for me. My busiest months as far as traveling and speaking and performing are September and October. Did you know that your organization can have me come speak? 🙂 October is the month of Down Syndrome Buddy Walks and I get asked to perform and or speak at many of those each year. I also speak to educators, parents and professionals at trade shows, conferences and workshops all throughout the year. These things can be scheduled… babies have their own schedule! Between now and November 1st I will be going to Oklahoma, Oregon (twice), Denver and North Carolina.

This past week I was in an incredible self-development, communication and relationship workshop (The Landmark Forum) all day Friday, all day Saturday and all day Sunday. During a break on Saturday I checked in on my sister-in-law Dani, she was having contractions 10 minutes apart on her due date. (Oh boy!) So, I gave some quick coaching, “This is a marathon. Be sure to eat and keep hydrated. Keep your face and neck relaxed. If you make sounds, be sure they are low sounds rather than high sounds. Take each contraction one at a time. If you walk, eat and shower and the contractions keep coming and they keep getting stronger LET ME KNOW!” I checked in on them during each break and the contractions had slowed and then stopped.

I got home Saturday night around 10:30PM and checked in one last time. Contractions had started again and were 10 minutes apart. I reminded them about “411” having contractions that are 4 minutes apart that last for 1 minute and have continued for an hour, that’s when you typically go to the hospital. I went to bed and kept my cell phone by my bed… but I didn’t notice that I had left the ringer off!

I was asleep and dreaming. Vaguely through my dream I heard my home phone ringing. I sat up in bed, “Did you hear that?” I asked Aaron and I jumped out of bed and ran down the hall. I looked at the caller ID – it was my little brother Aaron. I called him back and he said, “We are at the hospital Dani is dilated to a 5.”  I told him I was on my way. I brushed my teeth, got dressed, got a second set of clothing and some water bottles and got in the car. It was a little after 4AM. I got to the hospital 40 minutes later and she was now a 7. Yeah! My mom arrived shortly after I did. We massaged Dani’s back, squeezed her feet and got the things she asked for during and after her contractions, like hot blankets, cold wash cloths etc. Her mother was able to “be there” from Mexico City via Skype and a laptop!

Is this labor?

Is this labor?

Yes this IS labor

Yes this IS labor

After an hour and 45 minutes of pushing and a little after 9:15AM, my brand new nephew Asher took his first breath and entered the world screaming. We all cried.

Aunt Rachel and Baby Asher

Aunt Rachel and Baby Asher


Baby Asher

Baby Asher

Dani did it, she had the birth she wanted. I walked her through a little Breast Feeding 101 and Asher went to work nursing within 30 minutes after he was born.

WOW and Whew! I now have 12 nieces and nephews.

I had sent a text to my workshop to let them know where I was and that I would not be there at 9AM. I changed my clothes and arrived by 10:30AM.

Next is Natalie’s birth. She is due September 21st, the day after I come back from Oklahoma. She is due 5 days before I go to Oregon. I go straight from Oregon to Colorado. I will be back on September 28th. Yikes! It’s like baby roulette!