Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Homebirth

I still can't believe that I had a baby at my my clawfoot tub...with no medication! I was so excited about the experience and didn't really know what to expect even though it was my third birth. I had tried to go natural with my first son, but was convinced by the nurses to have pitocin and an epidural after a few hours at the hospital. With the second, I was induced and got an epidural first thing in the morning without ever questioning it. This time, I wanted things to go differently!

I went to see my midwife the day before my due date (Oct. 27) and knew the baby would be coming soon. By the next week, the baby had still not arrived, but I was okay with waiting. I saw my midwife twice that week and at the second appointment, she gave me some herbs to take to start the process. She said it could start up with a few dosages or it might take the whole bottle. A few days later, I finished the bottle.
I started having contractions on Saturday and began timing them around 3:30 in the afternoon. They were manageable, but they were noticeable. They didn't really increase in strength very much and didn't get closer together. My dad decided to take our boys over to my brother's house in case the baby came that night. Around 10 that evening, my midwife contacted me to see how things were going and to tell me to go to bed. I decided that walking sounded like a better idea, so my husband and I headed out for a tour of the neighborhood. While walking, the contractions were really close, but not really strong. We headed home.

On the way back to the house, we saw a falling star, so that was really cool. We walked in the door and my mom met us asking if we had felt the earthquake. Earthquake? In Dallas!? We had missed it, but she said the dog was going crazy and the light fixtures were all swaying. Then my husband turned on the light to walk down the hall and we saw a possum laying in the hallway!! Our dog had gotten out the back door, killed a possum and brought it in for us! I was afraid it was "playing possum" and would jump up when my husband went to scoop it up with a shovel. That, however, was not the case! After all the excitement, we decided to head to bed.

My contractions lasted all night long and I kept waking up to time them on my phone. I got up around 6 because I was starving and my mom met me in the kitchen. She hadn't slept at all! This was on a Sunday morning and I knew the baby was going to be coming that day!

We started getting things ready. We put the shower curtain liner under the bed sheet in case I delivered in the bed. We got all of the necessary towels and other items out and ready. My midwife called in the morning to check on me, but there was really no reason for her to head out yet.

I took a shower and got dressed. When I would have a contraction, I would bend over and hold on to the couch, sink or whatever it was and sway back and forth. I tried to control my breathing and remembered that saying "ah" or "oh" helped. I did this for pretty much every contraction. Laying in the bed hurt really bad, so resting was out of the question.

My contractions took a turn around noon. They were really strong and about 3-5 minutes apart. My midwife said she would come over around 1:00 to check on me, so I knew I could make it that long. She called a little after 1:00 to see how I was doing and let us know that she was going to see another client on her way over to our house. She heard me having a contraction in the background and decided that she had better come see me first! She arrived at our house around 1:20.
When she got there, she said I could get in the bath and to run the water really warm. It felt really good after I got it cooled down a little bit! I relaxed pretty much immediately and my contractions were a little more manageable and I had a little bit of a break. She checked and I was dilated to 7 cm!! This was wonderful news!!
Ben had decorated the bathroom with candles and even a tree in the corner. The tree actually became something I focused on between contractions instead of looking around and seeing everyone watching me! It really did look nice! My mom, Ben, my midwife and her assistant were there.
My midwife suggested a few positions, but most of the time I felt best just laying back and holding on to the side. Sometimes I sat up straight when I had contractions and sometimes I just laid back. I tried to breathe through them. Sometimes they were so hard that I was yelling somewhat and breathing fast. She always would remind me how to breathe deep from my belly and I would regain my control.
She said I could push whenever I wanted and see if it felt better. Honestly, I wasn't sure if it felt better or not, so I would try every once in awhile. This was definitely different than being told to push and counting to 10 in the hospital. I could push as much and as long as I wanted during each contraction.
I remember saying at one point that I thought my belly button was going to explode. It was poking up a good inch from my belly! I also yelled that it hurt so bad. At one point, they said they could see the baby's head and that was really motivating. I was ready to have this baby out.
My back started hurting really badly and this was the end because I kept saying I couldn't do any more. I knew I had no other choice, but I wanted them to know that I was done and I wasn't playing!!
A few more pushes and suddenly the pain was gone at 4:07 pm. There was a baby laying on my chest. Ben told me I had a girl! Then he told me to tell everyone her name which is Elizabeth Dawn. My mom was so excited and started crying (the baby was named after her and my dad). I remember noticing that she was so clean but a little blue. After just a few seconds, she started crying a little bit. They wrapped us in towels and got us to the bed. A little while later we had an herbal bath. I was blessed. She was perfect and the birth had gone perfectly!
The birth happened 2 1/2 weeks ago. My recovery has gone really quickly. I did receive a few stitches, but even those seem to have healed quickly this time. My arms were sore from holding the tub. I pretty much was feeling great within a few days of the birth and back to normal within a week.
Elizabeth has also done really well. She was very alert after the birth and we enjoyed hanging out on our bed and spending some time with her. She has taken up breastfeeding very well and has gained weight. She is precious and the perfect addition to our family.
I love that I had her at home and had such a supportive group around me. This was a great experience, although it was a lot of work and quite painful (but only really painful for about 4 hours).
 I have been asked if I would do it again and I think I would. I read a lot of books, blogs and websites about birthing before going through this experience. They each had different information that I took from them to use during the birth. I am so thankful for the birth in the comfort of my home surrounded by people who understand and support my decision. 

November 6, 2011
7 pounds, 9 ounces

 To see why I chose home birth, please read THIS post.  To answer some of the FAQs I hear, check out this LINK

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Planned Home Birth FAQs

I have one friend who has given birth at home. When she first did that, I thought she was crazy!! Now that I'm planning a home birth, I have been doing a lot of research about birthing at home. When I mention it to my friends, family or strangers, I often get a lot of funny looks and questions.

Here are a few of them:

1. Are you going to give birth in your bed?
I will give birth wherever is comfortable, but I haven't ruled out giving birth in or next to the bed.
2. Are you going to labor or birth in your tub?
Again, I'm not sure where I'll end up giving birth, but I do plan to use the bathtub at some point. We have a large claw-foot tub in the middle of our bathroom, so it should work out well.
3. Who is going to clean up?
My midwife and her assistant stay around for a few hours afterward to clean up, keep an eye on the baby and me and take care of any final things they need to do.
4. How did you pick your midwife?
I did a ton of research, but starting at 12 weeks pregnant looking for a midwife, I kind of wanted to get it done. I e-mailed a few CPMs, but we decided to go with a CNM because of the nursing background. I interviewed a birthing center in the area, but we thought that felt more like just going to some hotel to deliver--plus they kick you and the baby out a few hours after birth. So we met with the midwife we chose and really liked her. She had a lot of helpful insights and treated us well.
5. Are you going to have any pain medication?
No, I will be using relaxation methods, water, etc. to help deal with my pain. Plus I plan to focus on Scripture and pray a lot!! Doing a home birth pretty much ensures that you're going to go natural.
6. What happens if there is an emergency?
My midwife brings along a lot of supplies in case there is a minor problem. If there is something major, we can transport to one of the local (close) hospitals. We can either go in the car or call an ambulance if needed. We do not anticipate a problem, but if one arises, we will be prepared and follow the advice of our midwife.
7. When will your midwife come over?
She will be here while I am in active labor. She will come over when we call and tell her that my contractions are 5 minutes apart and lasting about 60 seconds for an hour. When I am "working with" them, breathing through them and focusing.
8. Will she have an assistant?
She will have a birthing assistant with her. Plus my mom and husband will be there!
9. Does she bring everything you need?
She gave me a list of supplies I need at home like towels, diapers, a birthing kit that I ordered online, a heating pad, thermometer, etc. She brings the other necessary supplies including oxygen, IVs and other supplies that she will need (whatever those might be)! Pretty much anything that is available at the birthing center she will bring with her. These are also items that are available at the hospital.
10. What made you decide to do this?
My other blog post here explains pretty well.
11. Were your other babies born naturally?
My other two were born in a hospital with epidurals. This will be my first unmedicated birth!
12. What is going to happen with your 2 other children while you give birth?
Someone will take care of them if it is during the day. If it is night, they will be sleeping. They will not be participating in the birth!
13. Are you crazy?
Nope. I just want to protect my baby and myself as much as possible now that I have read a lot more about birth and what I want it to be like that I don't think I can achieve in a hospital setting.

What other questions do YOU have?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Other Finished Projects

I have been trying to finish up a few projects recently before our baby arrives. Here are a few of them: Our son's Name Blessing cross stitch
Time Out Spots for the boys using my embroidery machine.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preschool Activities

Here are some activities we have taken from other sources that I've done with the boys to give them a little structure and learning throughout the day. (I don't have the sites that I used, so I'm sorry for not giving them credit.)

We made an I-spy jar out of an old peanut butter jar, rice and some little items we found around the house.

We painted an egg carton to look like a caterpillar. Well, that was the idea. They scribbled on it about 10 times and then tore them to shreds.

We painted on a paper. #2 hated his smock!

This little sick guy did a good job of putting magnets on a paper over the letters of names.

(See, we really do wear clothes!) He used his Little Speller to write words.

#2 laced up some pictures.

#1 moved marbles from a bowl to a cup using a spoon.

He practiced cutting up old magazines and really liked doing this!

He strung beads on a pipe cleaner to make "snakes."

We made homemade play dough and cut shapes out of it. It has lasted a long time!!

We made a gel pouch with a Ziploc, hair gel, glitter and food coloring. It was fun until the bag popped.

We washed our toy cars with scrub brushes and a little tub of water and bubbles. This was fun!

This was not a favorite activity in the end. Mom cut out letters from a magazine and then wrote the letters on a paper. #1 then glued the correct letter from the magazine on the paper. This was a struggle after about 3 minutes, but we finished it!

We wrote on our dry erase board with markers. He even made a D!

We played Sequence for Kids.

We taped his name on a finger paint paper and then painted over it. Then we realized we really should have used painters tape instead of duct tape when we went to peel it off and half of the paper came up with it!

We used our Bingo and Do-A-Dot stampers to color in some pictures that we printed off the Internet.

Bible Lesson Plans Week 1

This week I decided to take some of the stuff I've been learning at my Bible study and make little lesson plans for my little guys (21 months and 3 years old). It didn't take that long to plan and I'm sad I didn't start them earlier! Better late than never. Here is what we did this week:

On Monday, we talked about God is Good. This was before I came up with a lesson plan. So the boys used their stampers and stickers to decorate a paper that said, "God is Good" with a smiley face.
Then I found a lesson plan template for the next lesson. On Wednesday, we talked about "God Made Everything" from Genesis 1:1. We watched a DVD that went along with our Bible that talked about creation and had little song called "God Made Everything." Then we talked about how God made colors and read a book called God Must Really Love Colors. That evening, we went on a walk and took a paper sack to collect things that God made. They had so much fun doing this--sticks, rocks, flowers, leaves, etc. When we got home, my husband drew (I have no artistic abilities) an acorn on the paper (because I had seen it elsewhere, but any shape would work or no shape at all) and the boys glued their items to the paper. At the top I wrote "God Made Everything Gen. 1:1." It is now hanging on #1's door. It was a fun activity and they seemed to really love it!

I had three lessons planned for this week, but we didn't get to the third. Guess it will carry over to next week!

Here is the lesson plan that I used (designed for toddlers):

Story/Verse, Song/Rhyme/DVD, Learning Activity, Craft, P.E., Special Activity

We didn't do all of the activities with each lesson, but that will be the future goal in a relaxed setting. If you're interested in specifics about any of the books, DVDs, etc., please leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. We did use the Read 'n' See DVD Bible.

Finished Projects

This is my 100th post! It has been a little while since I've posted anything on this blog, but I've been working...on a lot of things! 39 weeks pregnant this week, I finished up a few projects that needed to be done.

I was able to make a nursing cover for my sister-in-law who is due at the start of November and one for myself. I make them bigger than most--27"x37"! I also like to make them reversible.
I also was able to finish the quilt I made for my nephew and I like it a lot. I will give it to him when he is born!
Linked up to Finish It Up Friday.

Monday, July 25, 2011

H's Quilt

My second son turned 18 months old recently and I finally finished his plus quilt. I started it long ago and it wasn't hard to do, I just kept putting it off for no reason. I love the way it turned out. It will be perfect in his big boy bed soon! The backing is from IKEA and I got another one to make his older brother a matching quilt (at least on the back).

M's Quilt

I got to make a quilt for a brand new baby boy recently! He is the son of a very dear friend of mine. They prayed for a long time to have another child and God blessed this with a precious baby boy. I was excited to mail this quilt to them.
I made it using green and blue minky fabrics as well as matching flannels. Minky is not the easiest fabric to sew!!! I did a patchwork design and sewed it with straight lines that intersected in each patch. It ended up measuring 30" x 33". I think it will make him a nice lovie in the future!

Baby Gifts

I have 2 friends who gave birth recently and I was so excited to get some gifts in the mail to them. One had a boy and one had a girl.

First I whipped out my embroidery machine to make a few gifts for the new babies and one special big sister! The big sister gift is a cute little apron I found and thought it would be perfect for a little crafty girl.
I saw this super cute idea as a blanket and then as washcloths. I tried the washcloth idea, but the ones I bought were too fat on the sides, so I decided to try onesies. I think it ended up looking so cute! Wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon. This was the gift for the new sweet little boy that I'll hopefully get to meet soon! I made him a little tiny cuddly quilt that I hope he loves in the future (more on the quilt in another post)! I also included a burp cloth which I love made out of super soft flannel. These are also great for wiping noses when they get a little older!
Then for the little girl gift, I included a few girly necessities that I hope will come in handy and be loved as well! I hope to see a picture of her in her dress!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

E's Quilt, Shower and Goodies

We recently threw a shower for Baby E who is set to arrive in July. I am excited to meet her! Here are some of the things we did.

We made sugar scrubs for each of the guests. I had a lot of leftover baby food jars and I thought this would make a cute party favor. I looked up recipes online and we tried them out. They STUNK! Thankfully my sister-in-law had received one the day before from a friend. Mine ended up being like runny goo. Hers were more like sand and smelled great. She used 1/2 a cup of sugar, 1/2 a cup of brown sugar, a T of olive oil, soap coloring and something to make them smell good--orange and vanilla extract, almond extract and lavender essential oil. Everyone loved them--especially that they were in baby food jars for a baby shower!

We decorated with cute teapots and flowers. We also used lots of tulle and doilies. It was super cute and girlie.

We got a cookie cutter shaped like a onesie and made onesie cookies. More people ate these than the cupcakes we had. They sure did taste great. I was glad that my SILs would ice them because I'm no good at icing things!

One SIL made a scrapbook with pages for everyone to sign as the guestbook. They could write a blessing or some advice. It was fun to see what everyone had to say to the mommy-to-be!

I made Baby E a quilt for her shower. It has the colors of her room. It is a design I made up using 2 charm packs and some 1/2 yards of the same fabric. I like how it turned out although you can't tell very much from these pictures! I also appliqued her name to the back of it. I quilted it in a swirl pattern that I told my SIL gave me carpal tunnel syndrome!

I can't wait to see her wrapped up in the quilt!

My SIL wanted a nursing cover, so I made her one following a few tutorials I had found online. This one is really large so it should do a great job of covering up!

I also made a little banner for the shower that can later be hung in the nursery or used as a "birthday banner" as she grows. I embroidered her name on each of the triangles with my embroidery machine.

I also found this cute bag at Old Navy and embroidered her name on it with shiny thread. I like how it turned out. It can be a diaper bag or just a little church bag for as she grows. My embroidery machine is pretty basic, but we got it for a great deal on eBay and I love that I can personalize gifts with it!

*Sorry the pics all look so bad! I used my mom's camera and forgot to get a copy of the pics before heading home, so all of these have been saved from shutterfly. I'll put better pics on when I get the read copies!
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