Posts in Adventure
Our Beautiful Natural Birth

It’s Vigo’s birthday, He turns 2 today.

I am preparing to give birth to my second son in just about one month, so I am finally going to share my first born son, Vigo’s birth story.

I know we don't often hear beautiful natural birth stories. Which is sad. The birth stories that are shared the most are the traumatic, long ones that end with interventions. But I am so pleased to share our beautiful birth story with you. And to be honest, I am so glad that I researched, practiced and envisioned giving birth before embarking on the adventure. I'm also so glad that I had the midwives that I did because they really fought hard to keep our birth adventure natural.

I want to say this from the start. I know that every birth experience and every woman is different. I know also that many complications can happen and things can get critical fast. But I also know that we women have been giving birth naturally and calmly for centuries and that intervention should be an exception not the norm. I'm so very grateful that we were able to have a natural and calm birth. I pretty much had a dream birth and was able to stay calm and relaxed through most of it.

So it began…It started slowly and was relaxed. I had been having pretty consistent and comfortable contractions for about a week and a half before our baby Vigo was born. A few days before he joined us, my cervix was already 3cm dilated. My comfortable contractions had been doing good slow work. I was still able to sleep at night, and was comfortable enough to go on long walks to try to induce harder labor.

My mama joined us for the birth. So did my friends Amy and Julia.

Our baby was 10 days "overdue" when the midwives said that if I wanted to avoid a hospital birth, I would have to drink a cocktail with castor oil in it to induce labor. It's hard to get doctors to sign off on a home birth or birthing center birth so long after my estimated due date. So on Monday the 16th of January, I drank a disgusting cocktail with castor oil, apricot juice, champagne, and cream. Castor oil is non-digestable so it ignited a flushing effect, to clear my digestive tract and induce stronger contractions. It worked. Within 3 hours I finally went into harder labor. Yay! Vigo was coming to join us today!

The midwife sent us for a walk and I had to stop every 7 minutes or so to breath through the surges (contractions).  We came back after an hour and I had some pretty strong back pain, so I got into the birthing pool that they have at the birthing center. It relieved some back pain and helped me to relax. After a few hours of laboring in the pool, Dominik coaching me to relax my whole body and let my uterus do the great work, I got out of the pool. Our midwife checked my progress and said that my cervix was fully dilated and she could feel that part of the amniotic sac was pressing out of it.

I lay on the bed on my side. I told our midwife that I had the urge to push. But it was so early in labor, how could I already have this urge to push. She said if I feel I need to push, I should. So I did, and my water broke like a horizontal geyser all over the midwife's and Dominik's arms. It was over 2 liters of water, and shot about 2 meters out. Haha.

Our midwife said that the excessive amniotic fluid was most likely what was keeping the strong labor from starting. The amniotic sac was acting as a pillow around the baby, so his head couldn't fully descend into my pelvis and ignite labor. So once my water broke, the surges got stronger, but baby's heart beat got weaker. 

We discovered that the only position that would stabilize the baby's heart-rate was if I was on all 4s with an exercise ball under my chest. This position put a lot of strain on my back. I begged to try a few other positions, but the midwives (now two) insisted on me laboring in this position and that between surges I was to breath deeply into my belly to give the baby more oxygen. I later found out that the baby's heart-rate was quite critical and it looked like I would have to be transferred to the hospital, and they thought it would end in C-section. But with their coaching and Dom's reminding me to breath deeply into my belly, we were able to continue there.

I was pushing during surges and relaxing and breathing during the breaks. This is the wonderful thing about labor. It is hard work and then a break. Hard work and then a break. I also was envisioning my body doing the work and the baby moving down and making progress. I could also feel as he moved into my pelvis and back a bit during the breaks. It was an amazing experience. I kept on talking to our little baby out loud saying how excited we were to meet him and that he's doing such a good job working with me on this journey.

After an hour and a half of hard work the midwives said I should reach down and feel my baby. I could already feel his head. I lost it, with happy tears! He was almost here! This gave me so much motivation because I could really feel the progress. It wouldn't be long before we met him.

For about half an hour I had several strong surges and pushed hard during each one and rested hard between them. I liked this part of labor because I could feel me stretching and him moving down so much. It was the most difficult but the most rewarding.

I felt so strong and so connected with the baby and with Dominik. I kept on talking to my baby, saying how happy I was he was finally coming to join our family. Then one strong push and his head was out. Rested waiting for another surge. The last surge I pushed so hard and his shoulders and body came out. I reached under me and picked up my baby. And I put him to my chest.

We were a family. The three of us. It felt so natural and wonderful having his warm little body against mine and mine against Dominik's. I don’t know if I have ever felt more close to nature and as wild as I did on the day of Vigo’s birth.

He was healthy and beautiful and we had all worked so well together. I was so proud of us and so happy to finally meet this little person who had been with me for the past 9 months. We all cried together. It was just wonderful! 

I was in heaven. I could not believe this was our little baby. He was finally here. He's ours. He's a combination of Dominik and myself. We are all he knows and he has found home in us.

Thanks for reading lovelies,

Anna

 

Thank you Julia Sentman for the beautiful photographs. We will treasure them for always.

the Zeitgenießische, The Time-enjoyer
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Dominik took our shoes to the local shoemaker to get them repaired. He saw the space was open for rent and came home and told me. I immediately thought, 'this could be our gallery.'  The Zeitgenießische was born.

Zeitgenießische' is a made up play on words in german. It sounds like the word for 'contemporary.' but actually means 'time-enjoying'. We enjoyed the past 6 months in our Zeitgenießische pop up gallery so much.

I am so proud, proud of this venture, proud of our participating artists, proud of our community, proud of my family, proud of myself. 

Dominik Baer (my partner in art and life), and I signed the lease on the gallery and decided to make a little space to:

  • support the art scene in Heidelberg-Pfaffengrund.

  • present our work, curate and present the work of our contemporaries.

 

We had an incredible exhibition season. We have had 7 shows in 5 months thus far, 3 solo shows from locally based artists, 3 international group shows, and one bike art show.  We even showed two artists' work from our little borough of Heidelberg, Pfaffengrund. #pfaffengrundnightlife

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I fell in love with the space. The big storefront window, the high ceilings, the scuffed up floors holding reminisce of the shoemaker, who occupied the space for 40 years before us. How special to occupy a space with such a history of craftsmanship. The space is so charming.

And got to know our part of town better. I got to know local lottery kiosk and flower shop owners by bringing posters by for events all summer.  Felt more part of a local and international art community then ever before. We had such nice little artist and collector gatherings on sunday afternoons during our regular opening hours.

This exhibition season is coming to a close. We have an artist talk on August 29th, 2018, with Jessica Serran and then a solo show with yours truly on September 7th, and then we are closing the pop up gallery to the public.

The Zeitgennießische Galerie, Heidelberg, is not dead, I have a strong feeling that it may pop up again sometime.  Maybe even next summer, because I have loved running the gallery, and having the open space.

I am however, realizing that I would like a break from organizing exhibitions, and hosting, I am going to be focusing on making new work, applying to residencies, and trying to get my work into other galleries. This next season is going to be a season of focus on my own practice, making what I need to make, and pushing my work out, to hopefully make more opportunities open up in our future.

This gallery was a risk, a financial and time investment for us (me especially), but I am so thrilled to have welcomed so many of you into the gallery and exposed you to great art in person.

Thank you for your continuing support and for joining us on this artistic journey. What will the future hold? What will we stumble upon next?

Anna

 

Zeitgenießische Galerie, Heidelberg
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We found out last month, when bringing our shoes to get repaired at the local shoemaker's, that the shoemaker has passed on. He was well on in years, but it is still sad. This Schuhmeister was a staple in our part of town. He and his predecessor had been making and repairing shoes for decades in this little storefront space. 

Zeitgenießische Galerie, Heidelberg, Contemporary Art Gallery

When we saw the space, I immediately thought this could be our gallery.  I have always had a fascination with giving things a new life. My love and passion for vintage clothing, my delight in collage using old books and materials. I am honoured to be in this space, which hosted skilled craftsmen. We are overjoyed to bring new life into the space and present our craft and the amazing work of our contemporaries. 

This charming little space was available and so, here it is: The Zeitgenießische Galerie, Heidelberg. "Zeitgenießische Galerie" is a made up word sounding like the word for Contemporary Gallery and meaning the "time savoring gallery". 

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I've been dreaming up some curatorial projects and have been wanting to start a gallery to show my work and curate work of my contemporaries. Dominik and I are are going to host art exhibitions, artist meet ups, concerts, workshops and hopefully some pop up shop/cafes. 

So the Zeitgenießiche Gallery, Heidelberg was born. 

We're celebrating a big opening in just one week. April 7th we will be opening our doors with some of my new work and new tunes from Dominik Baer & his band. We're not only celebrating the opening of a new creative space in Heidelberg, but also the successful crowdfund of Dominik's new Visual Album "Colliding In The Dark". 

Come visit and join in the festivities. They will be begin at 7pm and go until 10pm. Kranichweg 35, Pfaffengrund, Heidelberg is the address. Just look for the sweet little storefront and the crowd of arty people. 

If you have been needing a space to try a creative project idea or present your handmade art or goods please feel free to contact us. We are excited to collaborate with other creatives and showcase amazing makers in the area!

Thank you for joining us on this journey. 

Thanks for reading lovelies.

Anna