Category Archives: Motherhood & Parenting

Introducing…

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Week 18 and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

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Made it to Week 18!  And no, I don’t have a picture because we were on vacation.  I bought an onion (because I’m carrying an Onion now!), brought my calendar shirt & skirt, and forgot to take the picture.  Go figure.  Better next week.

 BabyFruit Ticker

Started feeling this little “onion” moving around at about 16 weeks… if that’s any indication, I have a feeling we’ve got a pretty active one on our hands!  Sometime this week I’ll call to schedule the ultrasound for later this month – around 20 weeks hopefully.

So, I’m not feeling sick anymore… which is my cue to start Red Raspberry Leaf Tea religiously every day until birth (get the loose leaf product I prefer here or ready-made teabags here).  Sigh… Oh how I’ve always hated that stuff… but, I love the results, so here we go again!

Why take Red Raspberry Leaf during pregnancy?  Oi… I have done some research online, and there are so many ideas & thoughts on the subject as well as varying “recipes” and dosages.  I have decided to do what I’ve always done at the recommendation of my midwife.  According to the pamphlet she gave me when I was pregnant with my first child, the tea if taken as suggested, works to strengthen & tone the uterus during pregnancy resulting in a shorter labor & delivery.  This can be found online as well, but I haven’t been able to come up with links to any “convincing” studies.  But, I feel that it’s worked for me, and I hear success stories from friends.  That’s good enough for me!  Here is a pretty thorough blog on the benefits of RRL during pregnancy.  I learned to make the tea differently than what is instructed in this blog however.  I think I’ll continue since I have experienced great results.  Those being a 4 hour first labor/delivery, 3 hours 50 minutes for the second, and 58 minutes for the third.  Those are start to finish numbers & I aim to continue the trend!  Although, a shorter than an hour labor does make me a little nervous!

That being said, I’ve always hated drinking RRLT because it’s sooo strong (probably because I brew it for so long – see below).  However… this year my Brother-in-Law gave us some of his raw honey & I started sweetening it with that (instead of Splenda as I’ve always done, but that’s always bothered me, so I started using the honey).  I was so thrilled with the taste!  Somehow I actually like it this time!  It’s really strange.  It’s hard though, because I have this mental aversion to it because of hating it for so many years.  But I’ve found the trick for me is to set it on the counter in a jar with a straw in it.  If it doesn’t have a straw, I don’t drink it!  I don’t know what that’s about.  So, I leave the stuff on the counter and will myself to take a sip every time I walk by.  This is only the first week of taking it, so maybe, because I do like the flavor with the raw honey, maybe I will be able to sit myself down with a cup of tea sometime!

If you’d like to research more about RRLT on your own, feel free, if not, here is my “recipe”!

How I make my RRLT:

First Through Second Trimesters:

  • 1/8 Cup Cut & Sifted Red Raspberry Leaf, 3 Cups Water, bring to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Sweeten with Raw Honey, pour into mason jar, stick a straw in it, & leave it on the counter to take sips throughout the day.

Third Trimester:

  • 1/2 Cup Cut & Sifted Red Raspberry Leaf, 5 Cups Water, bring to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Sweeten with Raw Honey, pour into mason jar, stick a straw in it, & leave it on the counter to take sips throughout the day.

The How’s and Why’s: My Journey from Prescription to Granola

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I grew up in a home full of delicious home-cooked food, whole wheat bread, a berry patch so big we could never pick all the berries, and a vegetable garden to match.  We raised cows once, rabbits always, and homemade yogurt wasn’t unheard of.  I’m forever thankful for the lessons in healthy homemaking I gleaned from my Mother.

But there were things I didn’t know.  I didn’t know that Garlic was a natural antibiotic.  I thought “antibiotics” could only be purchased at the pharmacy.  I didn’t know there were herbal remedies for my depression.  I didn’t know a fever was a good thing.  I didn’t know doctors didn’t have all the answers for health issues and I believed them without a doubt.

Now, granted, back then the internet was not worth exploring or using as a tool for serious research, so how would you know the things we know now!  Oh how the tables have turned!  We have so much knowledge right at our fingertips.  For the careful researcher, the internet is an invaluable tool.  And I have used it!  A lot!  I have learned a TON.

When I was in college I began to get a sour taste in my mouth about hospitals, doctors, the trend to over-medicate.  It was just a thought… but it was the beginning of the journey.

While my husband and I were engaged I began to suffer severely from chronic back pain.  I was in the best physical condition of my life; strong, fit, 135 pounds.  Why was I having this pain.  The doctors prescribed medications for the pain but I couldn’t kick the thought that maybe I shouldn’t just be masking the pain with drugs.  Maybe there was something wrong that could be fixed.  Someone told me about a chiropractor… my first thought was negative because alternative medicine was still foreign to me.  But, I gave it a try… the chiropractor was confident that he could fix me… that he could fix the three spots in my back that were quite out of line… this even could deduce from the x-ray.  $800 later… I was no longer in pain, I had a new respect for chiropractic, and I was introduced to the world of alternative medicine.  However, when we got married we moved to another state, so I lost my miracle chiropractor.

When my husband & I found out we were pregnant with our first child we went to a local CPC because we didn’t have insurance.  We thought they could point us to a good doctor since we were new to the area & had no idea what doctor to choose.  They pointed us to a local midwifery clinic.  At this point, I didn’t know the difference between natural & unnatural… I hadn’t given a thought to the differences in skin care products, what produce to buy, what medications to avoid, that midwives even existed.  But, in the interest of being cheap frugal, we chose the midwife over the hospital because she cost less!  Our first appointment was just to explore our options.  That was only one of two appointments… at week 9 I called the midwife because I was experiencing some bleeding and wanted to know if I should be concerned.  She told me to come to the clinic & did an ultrasound.  That night I miscarried.  A “Blighted Ovum” pregnancy.  I couldn’t have done anything to stop it.  And I couldn’t do anything to stop the tears.  Inga was a phone call away.  I hadn’t even had my first appointment as a client.  She never asked for anything…  She just loved me.  She made a lasting impression.

When we got pregnant again a little less than a year later, I started seeing a doctor because we did have insurance this time.  I really wanted to go back to my midwife, but again, in the interest of being frugal, we went with the doctor.  At 9 weeks I again experienced spotting.  The doctor, after much begging on my part, did an ultrasound.  Baby had a heart that was beating!  It was the most beautiful site I’d ever seen.

During the pregnancy I started experiencing a chronic cough.  I asked the doctor about it and he prescribed a prescription cough syrup.  I went to the pharmacy to fill the prescription and decided to mention that I was pregnant and ask if the medication was safe.  The pharmacist looked up the medication & said it was a “C” class medication and that it was not recommended for pregnancy especially during the first trimester due to increased risk of miscarriage.  Needless to say, I wasn’t happy.  So I asked the doctor what else I could try.  He prescribed something else… also unsafe for pregnancy.  I decided to pursue a second opinion.  So I went to a different office, saw a PA, who told me to try Prevacid… a prescription antacid.  At this point I was quickly becoming leery of using prescriptions while pregnant.  So, I started thinking!  That was the first good decision I made!  Antacid… tums is an antacid… hmmmm… yeah, it worked!  No more coughing.  Ok… so now I’m thinking again.  Do I really want to keep seeing this doctor?  Do I really want to trust this man with my baby’s life?  With my life?  Can I trust him?  The answers to all these questions kept coming up “NO”.  So, I called the midwife.  The second good decision I made.  First, I started thinking instead of just taking everyone at their word.  Then I acted on what I thought was best.

I LOVED every visit with my midwife!  She was professional.  She KNEW about pregnancy, birth, and babies.  She understood it, and not just on a clinical level.  I could sense that I was safe in her hands.  My husband could to.  He said that when we walked in there he KNEW that was where we were supposed to be.  It just felt right.  Our appointments were never rushed.  I never felt like my questions were “stupid”.  I felt like she had all the information I needed & if she didn’t she would get it.  I felt,  most importantly, like she cared about me & my baby.  My midwife also introduced me to my chiropractor!  Phew… what a blessing he was to the third trimester!  I became a believer in chiropractic even stronger than before.

You can read our birth story here.  When I first met our Little Monkey, the gradually growing Granola in me hit a turning point.  I mean, I was  already on this journey, already sneaking peaks down a road I wasn’t familiar with but was beginning to understand was the better road, what could possibly have cemented the decision to run pell-mell down that road more than looking that little person right in the eyes knowing I wanted to take the best possible care of her?!

So… I think I’d have to say that if there is one person who influenced my journey to Granola the most…

Yes… this is just minutes after the birth of our first daughter!  She was so beautiful… so perfect.  Like any new mother, I didn’t want to tarnish any of that purity.  My experience in natural out-of-hospital birth gifted me with a strong desire to really start traveling this new road…

Everything about it was foreign to me… except the miracle of drug-free doctor-free birth!  That I knew… that I loved… that I knew was natural.  And if that was natural… I wanted more natural!  As much of it as I could get.

When our Little Monkey had troubles nursing my Doula & Midwife suggested that we take her to the chiropractor!  Now THAT was a foreign thought.  But, I’d come to trust these people & after doing some research, we decided to take her in.  It was only one gentle little adjustment and the nursing issues were a thing of the past.  Now I realized that chiropractic wasn’t just for big people, it was for everyone!  My eyes were being opened even more.

The journey has been gradual, more and more Granola added along the way!  Three years later and I’m still growing, still exploring.  Still loving every new nut I add to our box of natural.

The next nut we added was cloth diapers!  Well, I suppose we added that while I was pregnant because that was just something I was always going to do because, in the interest of being frugal (!), it just made sense!  But then, I started sewing my own diapers from re-purposed receiving blankets & making my own laundry detergent as well because I didn’t want the chemicals near baby’s skin.  That led into making my own deodorant & my husbands shaving cream because I didn’t want chemicals on our skin either… which of course introduced the wonders of coconut oil!  Love that stuff.  And eventually eliminating chemical cleaners from my home all together.

During the pregnancy I religiously brewed and drank Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – a QUART of it a day (so disgusting)… this was my introduction to the world of herbs… a fine introduction in that my fear of a 20+ hour labor like my mom’s was soundly defeated!  A 4.5 hour labor was totally worth all the nastiness of that tea as was the new understanding that God made this green stuff that grows straight from the dirt that works better than that white stuff in bottles that who the heck knows where it comes from.  I started growing curious about what other plants could be used with equally amazing results.

I’m currently interested in exploring how to grow the plants necessary to make my own medicines.  Of course, in the interest of being frugal, I have a itching desire to grow my own instead of buying ready made!

After our second Monster was born I noticed I was having trouble with milk supply.  He lost weight (about a pound) at around 5-6 months.  I began exploring herbal supplements to encourage milk production.  I took Brewer’s Yeast & Fenugreek religiously as well as pumped twice a day in addition to nursing him.  I made it a couple more months.  Then I put him on formula because I didn’t know what else to do.  He was on formula for two months before I couldn’t take it anymore… I couldn’t bear mixing up that awful smelling powder that didn’t resemble food in the least & giving it to my teeny little baby.  So, I started giving him goats milk and supplementing with Omegas & D3 vitamins.

The next step was a big one for my Mr.!  However, after suffering pretty bad PPD with our second, he was primed for my next step!  Big pregnant with LaLa, we left the kids with some friends & went on a date.  During dinner, not knowing how to broach the subject delicately (obviously, since I did it during dinner!), I pulled out the pamphlet on Placenta Encapsulation.  I had read through the birth packet from my midwife earlier that day & was intrigued by what the pamphlet said.  It said that if you just ingested the placenta (after it had been put into little pills!), you would have virtually NO PPD and it supposedly helped with milk supply issues among other things!  Having struggled sooo much after the Monster was born, I was intrigued to be sure.  My Man’s first reaction… “NO THE HECK WAY!  You are NOT eating your placenta… Oh, why don’t we just cook it up like a steak and you can eat it with a fork.  Better yet, just eat it raw!”  Haha… I was ready & willing to submit but not until I let him in on a little more information.  We read the pamphlet together & I told him about the talk I’d had with the lady who does it locally.  I don’t quite remember how it went after that, but somehow he started thinking it was a good idea.  And, in the interest of being frugal, we decided to do the thing ourselves.  How much more Granola can you get!  I had a friend & Doula in training coming over to film & photograph the birth.  She helped with the cooking process shortly after LaLa was born.  Then we, my hubby & I, encapsulated it together!  Now isn’t that romantic!

The “Placenta Thing”, as many dub it, was a life changer!  Again reinforcing my bent toward all things natural.  PPD was a thing of the past.  I still struggled with milk supply & added Milk Thistle, Alfalfa, and Marshmallow Root (all galactalgogues) to my list of herbs to encourage milk production.  I made it to 7 months.  Next time I’m trying Blessed Thistle… I hear it’s a miracle herb!  This time I avoided the commercial formula all-together.  Thankfully I had a few friends who stepped up to help, offering bags of breast milk.  This kept us going for another month, after which we had to switch again to the goats milk.

Some time after LaLa was born, Monster started having this curious pain in the night and occasionally during the day.  It started off very sporadic.  Then became increasingly worse at night.  He’d complain of pain in a particular spot in his foot or leg… he’d just scream, pointing, and saying boo-boo.  It broke my heart to see him in agony like that.  By this time my thinking was no longer first to the medical then to the natural… it was the other way round.  So, I took him to the doctor just out of curiosity… the doctor said that kids that age don’t know where they hurt when they hurt and that we should just give him Tylenol when it bothered him.  I went next door to our chiropractor straight away rolling my eyes at the thought that my Monster didn’t know where he was hurting!  It was so obvious that he knew where he hurt!  And it was obvious that he hurt bad.  I put my little Monster (almost 2 at the time) on the table.  Our Chiropractor felt his back & jaw & took some notes.  Then grabbed his tiny little electronic hammer dealie and worked on my Monster’s back a little.  He just lay there with this look in his eyes that said, “Mommy, I’m not sure what’s going on, but you said it would help my boo-boo and I’m going to try really hard to be a big strong man right now.”  We took him home and experienced no pain episodes that night!  The first in over a month.  Being that it was now Friday, I decided it best to take him back in for another adjustment just to make sure everything was firmly in place for a pain free weekend.  We went into the little room and wouldn’t you know it, my Little Monster scrambled right up onto that table and laid on his tummy and patiently waited for the Dr. to come in.  Even at barely 2 years old he knew that chiropractic had made his boo-boo go away & he was ready for more!   He wasn’t scared this time!

To me, Granola means using herbs before OTC or prescription medication, seeing a chiropractor before a doctor, home birthing, home cooking, being as wise as possible with the money my husband earns, and being in a constant state of curiosity, willing to do anything it takes to learn how to take care of my family in the most natural way possible.  I can’t say I know everything there is to know about being Granola, but I am confident saying that I am Granola because I am constantly searching for ways to approach life more naturally, more simply, more freely.  I have truly enjoyed this journey and can’t wait for what’s around the next corner.

What does it mean to you to be Granola & what has been your favorite part of your journey?


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Pregnancy Week 14 & Gardening!

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Well… I’ve made it into the second trimester and only lost a couple pounds!  I’m feeling sooo much better lately, food is starting to regain it’s appeal and my appetite is horrendous!

So, this post will be totally random… updates from the life & times of just another pregnant mom who hasn’t got much of a brain anyway.

My husband & I watched the Back to Eden Film this last week and we are pumped up and totally excited to start a garden!  We did a semi-BTE garden this last year and experienced such amazing results that we figured we needed to just go all out!  We’ve already got our first load of wood chips to spread and will probably start working on that this evening.

Here’s a picture of the difference we’ve experienced with traditional gardening vs. BTE gardening.

Can you believe the difference!  It’s so lush & green and the plants are HUGE!!!

This week we also took a pepper that I’d planted in a pot at the direction of the guy at the Farmers Market.  It hadn’t grown since MAY!  Not an inch.  And only produced one little fruit about the size of a kiwi!  And the leaves were all yellow.  TWO DAYS AGO… we transplanted that same pepper into our BTE garden area… it’s grown a good THREE inches and has EIGHT buds on it!  I am soooo a believer in Paul Gautschi’s gardening method that I had to share with you!  I can’t wait to see what we can grow next season!  Ooooh the possibilities! 🙂

Pregnancy Survival Tip: EAT BREAKFAST!!!

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So far this pregnancy has been nothing but nausea.  If I cough, I lose my lunch.  If I brush my teeth, I lose it.  If I am too active, you guessed it.  I’ve been spending a LOT of time on the couch.  For a time, I keep telling myself!  This too shall pass.

So… I know one of the best things I can do for the sickies is to eat breakfast… IMMEDIATELY!  Thankfully, I have an AMAZING husband who does ALL the other morning stuff, including making the kids breakfast, while I eat a leisurely bite before the kids wake up.

I’ve always practiced this morning ritual of eating immediately after getting up… but Honey Bunches of Oats (my go to breakfast choice because it’s easy to give it up a moment later), has become sooooooo boring!  I’ve used it for four pregnancies so far and I’m.sick.of.it!!!!  But, a stroll through the cereal aisle reveals nothing more appetizing.  In fact, anything dry & bready/crunchy is rather nauseating to me this time around.

Anyway… 15 years ago (yikes!) I went to Guatemala on a short term youth group mission trip.  One thing I remember about that trip was this drink we had in the town of Holca… a small mountain town where we experienced a GINORMOUS rain & thunderstorm & slept on the concrete floor of a room with a spider in it….. A spider as big as my hand…. Let me tell you, that was the scariest night of my young life!

Oh yeah, the drink.  I’ve thought about this drink a lot since then… researched on the internet for recipes…. but could never find anything that resembled it!  I remember thinking it definitely had cinnamon in it… and some sort of grain but I couldn’t distinguish if it was barley, oat, rice or what.  So, on one particular day a couple weeks ago… after puking my guts out twice before Jesse even left for work… I browsed the internet again with a craving for this drink I remembered.  Guess what!?!?!  I FOUND IT… it’s called Mosh, and it’s a slow-cooked oatmeal with cinnamon!  Ha!

Anyway… thought I’d share with you the recipe.  I found it here, but I’ve modified the recipe slightly to make it more like what I remember.

Guatemalan Mosh

  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 4.5 Cups Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (these are the ones we get)
  • Mix in a saucepan & bring to a boil.

Pour into a crock pot & cook on low 4-5 hours stirring occasionally, until the oats are quite broken down & the Mosh is runny.

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Add to crock pot, stir, cook another couple hours.Allow to cool, pour into mason jars, cover & store in fridge.  In the morning, put 8oz or so in a mug, heat on stove or in microwave, and eat immediately.

If you need more protein for your morning meal (this recipe only has about 2g per serving) just add an additional cup of water & 5 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds to bring the protein up to 5g per serving!  Chia Seeds also contribute a ton of omegas which is great for pregnancy.

So, this has really helped sooo much!  Yes, I’m still super nauseous… but since I’ve switched to Mosh from HBoO I have been able to get the morning chores done before taking a break in the morning!  That alone has been quite helpful!

I hope all my preggie friends have been able to find a “miracle help” for those morning yuckies as I seem to have found.

What has been your go-to food for conquering the sickies during pregnancy?

Last but not least…

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So… in approximately 8 more months we’re adding another Nut to our Granola!  I’m going to attempt to document my granola-style pregnancy here perhaps once a month or so. Well see how that goes!

It was so hard choosing between these two photos for my Facebook Announcement cover photo today… my husband took the first one for his page & I took the second! 🙂

Being Real

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I couldn’t sleep this naptime because I couldn’t help thinking how I’ve never really exposed my heart here on my blog.  I’ve given lots of good tips, recipes, whatever… but what does all that mean if you don’t know the person behind the words?  I guess I’ve been thinking of how to share my heart for a while & being the perfectionist that I am I had to think of the perfect way I guess!  But then, those perfect ways wouldn’t really be real because, gasp, I’m not perfect!  Sigh… So, thanks to Crunchy Betty’s post today reminding me to be real, I’m just going to share something that’s been on my heart!  Wow… what a concept!  Sounds simple, but it’s a biggie for me!

Have you ever had one of “those days”… those days where you can’t wait to put the kids down for nap… you just wish they’d be quiet for one second… you’re glad you have a fenced back yard and a door that closes… you feel annoyed when one wakes up from naptime earlier than expected… you feel like pulling your hair out because they just won’t listen… you yell at your toddler.  You know, “those days”… Yeah… “THOSE” days!  I think we all have them… I also think most of us are too ashamed to say that we do.  I know I am.  That’s why it’s been on my mind lately… because I’ve heard people comment about how they think I have it all together, I do things right – all the time… I don’t want people to think I’m perfect!  I’m soooo far from it.  I don’t get it right all the time… and I get down on myself for it.

My husband frequently tells me what a “good mom” I am… but, if I’m really honest, it irritates me when he says it.  It irritates me because I don’t believe it about myself.  If I really think about what I believe about myself – I believe I’m a failure… I believe my kids don’t like me… I believe they’ll be glad when they get to leave our home because they don’t have to be around me anymore… I believe I’m the epitome of “bad mom”.  And what I believe about myself comes out in what I do.

As I laid on the couch thinking about “those days” and how I respond to them – collapsing on the couch after the kids go down, losing myself in Pinterest, watching a movie, eating – I realized I respond all wrong.  What I should do is so simple but I am so focused on myself and how I feel that I forget that I am first and foremost a wife and mother.  As I thought about what I should do, I came up with three things I need to tell myself on “those days”:

1. I wanted these little rascals – all of them.

Yep… ever since I was a child I wanted to be a mom.  When I got married my husband & I decided we wanted four kids.  I’ve always wanted this… granted, I had a VERY romanticized idea of what “this” was!  But I always wanted children.

2. I love each of them so much.

They are all so special… there are so many things about each of them that make my heart smile… it’s so sad to me that I usually only allow my heart room to smile when I look at their pictures and remember cute things about them.  My heart should smile every time I look at their messy little faces!

3. I am a good mom.

I had trouble even writing that.  My husband has been known to tell me that I will be what I tell myself I am.  So… even though I don’t think it’s quite the truth, I will tell myself that I am a good mom because that is my heart’s desire.  And maybe, just maybe, if I tell myself that fact, when my kids get up from their sleeps, I will be their good mom.

Now that I’ve thought about those things, my heart has softened, relaxed, refocused.  I am their mother, I love them, they are beautiful little gifts.

And when they get up, I’m going to kiss each squishy cheek.  I’m going to look into each pair of chocolate brown eyes without saying anything at all, just communicating that I love them by looking into their eyes.  Then I’m going to draw each to my breast & embrace them, whispering “I love you”… and I’ll probably cry this time (like I am now), because I do love them… so much.

Am I the only one who gets so caught up in the day-to-day
that I forget how much my littles mean to me?
Am I the only one who fails sometimes?
How do you refocus? 

Little Monster… Baby #2

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Well… now we have a boy & a girl!  This little Monster was born on Saturday, February 20 early in the morning.  My pregnancy was so different than with our son… probably because he was a boy?!  Anyway, I had A LOT of false labor this time (where I had NONE with Monkey).  So I was constantly thinking, “This is it!”  Monkey was born at 38 weeks… not Monster… he waited till 41 ½ weeks before making his appearance.  Oi… it was so hard.  Note to self: don’t expect the timing to be the same every time!

On February 19th at 5pm I was having painful contractions but I didn’t bother timing them because they were far apart & irregular & not getting any more intense… and I’d had this before so I didn’t get overly excited this time.  We were at church so I was just sitting there, so at 5:30 I did start timing.  I only got one time written down before I got called out because Monkey had a fever, so I held her through the rest of the service.  I don’t think I even had any more contractions anyway.   At 9pm Jesse & I were in bed & the contractions were painful… for 1.5 hours they were 5 minutes apart & I thought they might be getting more intense so I decided to get up.  At 10pm I got up & started using my yoga ball… leaning over it on my knees.  Contractions continued to intensify.  Jesse was still sleeping & I decided to let him sleep since if this was it, he was going to be one busy dad for the next week or so.  At 10:30pm I was pretty sure it was labor so I started laying out all the birth supplies on the kitchen table. Got the coffee station & snacks set up for people who would be here.  Contractions became even more intense & were 2 minutes apart.  Got Jesse up… called the midwife (Carrie).  Carrie & Becky would come in 30 minutes.

At 11pm Carrie arrived. Contractions were too intense to talk through.  I stayed on the ball until I got in the pool we set up in the living room.  I was only feeling a slight urge to push.  I drank some orange juice because I was feeling faint.  At 1am I got in the pool… I was 9cm.  The urge to push was getting stronger… and I was SCARED.  I tore a little bit with Monkey and had to get a bunch of stitches.  I was so nervous that it would happen again.   Even though Carrie told me I could work with the urge to push, I still fought it.  Somewhere in there I started feeling really nauseous & threw up that orange juice … from between contractions right through the next one.  Ugh… that was awful.  NOTE TO SELF: Don’t ever drink orange juice when in labor.  During contractions & in between I was alert enough mentally this time to pray, read the titles of the worship songs playing on the TV, & concentrate on keeping my tones low or just blowing air.  The contractions were further apart in the pool so I got more of a break between, but they were more intense.

At 1:30am Carrie said that the bag of waters was bulging enough that if I gave one hard push & it would break & the Monster would come really soon.  I pushed, beyond the contraction a little, until it broke.  The little Monster’s head flew forward & I felt it crown. My back started to hurt soooo bad.  Carrie told me to just float in the water, so I let my hips rise & just float. The next pushes… SERIOUS pain!  Ring of fire seemed more intense than with Monkey. There was also an awful stinging pain inside that when Carrie poked her finger in to check, ended up being the little Monster’s hand & fingernails scraping me on the way out.  When she touched his hand, he grabbed her finger!  During the delivery of his head I clung to Jesse’s arms behind me struggling to keep my tones low.  I think I pushed about five times to deliver his head & one arm.  When his head came I was finally able to release Jesse’s arms because that awful stinging pain from his hand was over.  Then between that last head push & the next contraction I touched the little Monster’s head & face & little hand.  It was precious.  I could tell he had hair just like Monkey did.  The next contraction I was holding his head & neck with my hands & I pushed & pushed & pushed until he finally popped out & I brought him up out of the water onto my chest.  THAT was incredible! I got to catch him myself!

Shortly after the little Monster was born & we were out of the pool, Monkey (15 months old) woke up. Jesse brought her out to meet her little brother.  She kept signing “Baby… baby… baby” and looking at him with the cutest little expressions on her face.

By 4am we were all back in bed for the rest of the night.  Carrie & Becky were gone & would return in the morning to check on us.

I am so glad we chose to have our little Monster at home.  It would have been free to have him at the hospital with Medicade, but then we would have been stuck in the hospital for however long & I wouldn’t have been able to catch him myself or birth in the water.  I am sooo thankful we were at home.  I was comfortable, it was peaceful, familiar & our Monkey could be there too to see her little brother when he was first born.  I wouldn’t trade my homebirth for anything.  We’ll do it again when #3 happens!!  I also feel so strong & powerful after birthing naturally.  I feel like I am the strongest woman in the world… like I can do anything! It’s an amazing empowering feeling.

Our Little Monkey… Baby #1

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I had just started working a new job at our church & had worked for two weeks… when I found out I was pregnant again.  This time we had insurance so we were going to go to a doctor.  In the weeks before the first appointment I started coughing.  I wasn’t sick, just coughing.

At 9 weeks, I experienced the same symptoms i had experienced with our first baby… all my pregnancy signs went away – no more morning sickness, no more sleepiness… I got really scared.  I went to the doc & he did an ultrasound & found the baby & the heartbeat.  I was relieved.  However, over the course of the first trimester he just kept prescribing medications for the cough that the pharmacists would say were not good for the baby.  On top of that, I was just not comfortable with the doctor.  So, I called Dayspring & made an appointment!  I was so relieved to be in the care of people I felt cared about me & my baby.  I later discovered that the cough was due to acid reflux from being pregnant!

All my care at Dayspring was so wonderful.  The massages were so relaxing (thanks Susie!), my doula (thanks Becky!) was a wonderful support, Inga was amazingly encouraging and supportive.  On top of that, I felt very supported & encouraged in my desire to have a natural drug-free pregnancy & birth.

I quit working as planned on November 7th which was the first day I really felt any Braxton Hicks contractions.  I didn’t think much of it since I was only 38 weeks.  Then on Saturday, I had the contractions all day.  Nothing was painful, so again I thought nothing of it.  I went to Costco, bought all the stuff I thought I’d need for a long labor (my mom took 26 hours with me), & on the way home, the car broke down.  So, Jesse & I stayed up Saturday night changing out the alternator!  I held the flashlight & he swapped out the bad alternator for a good one!  We went to bed at about 10pm.

I slept soundly that night until about 1:30am when I started to toss & turn.  I got up thinking I didn’t want to wake Jesse up.  I started myself a pot of hot cereal because I was so hungry & while waiting for that, I lay down on the couch to read my Bible when all of a sudden I felt a very painful “spasm” in my cervix.  Then, a gush of fluid!  My eyes popped open… I just laid there in shock for a couple minutes & then got up.  My eyes still wide open, I laid down on the bed next to Jesse trying to figure out how to tell him our little Monkey’s birthday was going to be today!  I gently pushed on his shoulder… in a sense I didn’t want to say it because I was so afraid that it was time… was I going to be able to do this?  Was the pain going to be too much for me?  How long would it take?  Finally I got up the courage (after a couple painful contractions) to wake Jesse up.  He asked me if I should call Becky.  I said I didn’t really want to call her now because it was probably going to take a long time & I might as well just wait until it wasn’t such an ungodly hour of the day.  Thirty minutes later I decided to call!  Becky said to give it a little time & to trust my instincts & call her if I wanted to come in.  I really wanted to stay at home as long as possible.  Again, 30 minutes later, I called her up & said I was coming in!  We met at Dayspring at 4:30am.  I started pushing at 5:45am.  One of my worst fears was being a “screamer”, so the first couple times I started to scream I would clap my hand over my mouth!  I think I even shouted out during a contraction that I was doing this without drugs… I remember Inga laughing!  Forty minutes later our little Monkey was born & as beautiful as ever!  She was a healthy, 7 pound 5 ounce little girl with the thickest dark black hair you’ve ever seen!  She was perfect.  She is perfect!

Our little Monkey is such a blessing.  I hung her picture on the wall next to Gabriel’s … our little growing family.

I have so much to thank God & the team at Dayspring for.  They supported me through the pain of our first pregnancy & were an amazing support & encouragement through this one.  Their calm professionalism at the birth kept me focused & confident.  I knew I could do it… just one more push… just one more push.  And then, the little Monkey was born!  I did it!  The feeling of accomplishment was so strong.  I felt like a stronger woman on the way home!  Oh, that reminds me… we went HOME at 11:30am – when our Monkey was just 5 hours old!  I got to go home!  That was a beautiful thing.  I couldn’t stop talking to Jesse on the way home about how beautiful our little girl was & how I couldn’t believe that I had done that!  Naturally… no drugs.  So many people along the way told me that I’d give in & ask for drugs.  I’m so thankful that I pushed through the pain & did what was best for my baby.

LaLa… Baby #3

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This is the story of the birth of our third child.  She was a Mother’s Day baby.

PRE-LABOR

Who knows when “pre-labor” was… I suppose I could say three weeks ago it started!!  I tried timing contractions at Costco at lunchtime on Mother’s Day, but I’d forget to push the stop button on the timer so I couldn’t really tell if they were getting longer, stronger, closer together!  I quit timing because it just wasn’t painful enough to be considered labor.

At 4:00ish I laid on the couch to rest & read Monkey & Monster a story.  Monkey was sitting on my shoulders, Monster on my hips as I laid on my side on the couch reading a book.  Then I got a phone call from the sprinkler guy & I was talking to him & the kids were crawling all over me.  Shortly after I got off the phone I felt a large POP!  I swear I could almost hear it. …

LABOR

POW!!!  “Oh my gosh, I think my water just broke!”

Jesse from the bathroom: “What?! Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure, just a sec.”  I stand up and GUSH!  “Um… yes, that’s affirmative, can I use the bathroom?

Monkey (turning 2½ the next day) follows me into the bathroom & notices my undies on the floor.  She leaves & in a second comes back with more undies & then grabs a pad from under the sink!  Anyway, I sit there for about three minutes texting my birth team (photographer, videographer, babysitter).  Then I get up, and before I got to the kitchen table, I was having a brutal contraction.  Now THIS is worth of timing!  Time to call the birth crew!!!  Ha ha!

So, I called, and got a voicemail… one of the midwives’ personal voicemail.  I just hung up and called again.  Same thing, so I left a message.  She called back soon after & I started blabbing … she interrupted and said, “Honey, I don’t have the phone.”  Okay… so how did I just call her… anyway… phone patched through to the wrong persons personal line.  She called the midwife on duty and a second later Inga called me… at which point I was in the middle of another doozie.  Inga said, “Hard at work?”  I said, “Ugh!”  She said, “On my way, go lay on the couch.”  So I did!  And how much I hated laboring lying down!  It was AWFUL!  A couple contractions after lying down I said, “I need to push!”  Jesse said, “Don’t you dare!”

So, I have no idea what time people started showing up… I was just in the middle of all this mayhem… trying to keep track of Monkey (2½ years) & Monster (14½ months) while Jesse got the pool set up & all the labor/birth supplies out, all while trying to monitor the turkey we had in the oven for dinner!  Monster was getting into the pump for the pool so Monkey “babysat” him while Jesse was busy!  It was chaotic to say the least.  I was in HARD labor, all of a sudden!  Jesse ended up asking the kids to stay on the couch, where they stayed until Lorie (friend & babysitter!) arrived.

So… I think the first person to arrive was Kim and she started helping out with the setup.  Then Inga arrived.  I made some comment about how much I hated being on the couch.  Inga said I could get up, she just didn’t want LaLa arriving before she did!  So I got up & knelt before my birth ball.  The relief was incredible.  Between contractions I talked to my kids who were still obediently sitting on the couch.  Monster was pretty traumatized, eyes as wide as saucers.  I wish I could have hugged him & loved on him some, but the contractions were coming too fast.

Finally, Lorie arrived (my friend, babysitter!)… the kids could be out of the room, and I could concentrate on the task at hand.

Everyone was still scurrying around the room setting up… Jesse was hauling hot water from the bathtub in a large pot while the hose tried desperately to fill the pool from the sink! Brittany was snapping pictures & shooting video.  Inga & Kim were testing the water & doing whatever else they do to get ready!  It was a race!  I was pushing, hard, but trying not to!  Inga finally said I could get in the pool but I’d have to sit because there wasn’t quite enough water.  I didn’t care… but I’d have to have this one more contraction out of the water.  Dang it!

As I lowered myself into the water I felt waves of relief wash over me!  Aaaaahhhh… I can do this… again!  It was so intense… I hadn’t had time to “get in the zone”… I didn’t have time to think!  It was just happening so fast.  A few contractions later I felt for her head inside of me & was surprised that she was so close.  A little later… the ring of fire hit & in the middle of a contraction I squeaked, “She’s coming already!”  I was so surprised!  As I pushed her head began to emerge.  I held her half-way out clear through to the next contraction.  Then I pushed, her head came, I gave another push & there she was!  Jesse & Inga both looked at the clock & said “58 mintues!”  Yeesh!

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I tell you what, I’m glad I plan on delivering at home!  LaLa would have been born somewhere on the freeway or in the hospital lobby had not been a home-birther!

LaLa’s’ birth was the most intense of all three births… exciting, chaotic, rushed… but at the same time there was the peace & comfort of being in my own home knowing that I was being taken care of by people I loved & trusted.  I had no fear during the whole process, even though I wasn’t able to get into that place of complete control because I didn’t have time to get there.  It was a beautiful experience that I will never forget!  And the best Mother’s Day present ever!  I’m so thankful for my LaLa!