Monday, June 3, 2013

Jethro's Birth Story

40 weeks had come and gone.  41 weeks had come and gone.  Here I was at 42 weeks gestation and staring down an extra ultrasound to make sure my placenta was still doing it's job and that Jethro was still thriving.  I was quite confident that both of us were doing fine, but I was not at peace with the fact that at 42 weeks I'd only had a handful of braxton hicks contractions THE ENTIRE PREGNANCY.  This is not my normal mode of operation.  In the past, I'd always had weeks of on and off contractions in preparation for the big day.  My biggest fear was that my uterus would not be ready to perform.  You can't go to game time without some warm up!  At the very end, I began to wonder if perhaps we missed a trisomy issue that would cause a lack of progression.  But baby was obviously full size and there were no "soft signs" of any problems, so it was a small concern. 

I would like to say I was a patient mama with a soft glow of Godly maturity highlighting my countenance... but I wasn't.  By 41 weeks I was ready to try to prompt at least a few rounds of contractions even if that meant not actually starting labor.  I tried a regimen of black and blue cohosh and castor oil among myriads of other "natural" ways to start labor.  I got one hour of contractions that day while I rode the quad around hitting all the bumps.  That was it.  Discouraging to say the least.  Days later I felt like I needed a break to talk to God and be alone.  So, while the kids put on a movie, I took to the quad again.  Unexpectedly the Lord confronted me with several internal issues that needed dealing with.  I felt a need to release several things that I had not forgiven over the years.  At first there were just some obvious, more current hurts that I needed to forgive, but then it was like a flood gate opened and I realized how much I was holding on to, little hurts and offenses that I sort of set aside but that were building up as resentment within me.  This was not what I was searching for on my afternoon ride but quite clearly it was something that needed to be dealt with.  When the tears were too much, I parked the quad in the back field and wept out forgiveness to, um... just about everyone.  Wow.  I didn't know it was in there.  A lot of it was forgotten to my conscience but, as it came out, the release was huge.  I begged God to forgive me for holding on to all this and was so grateful that this healing moment, as unflattering as it was, would forever be apart of Jethro's birth story.  I came back to the house much lighter internally, but with no contractions.  However, I knew that my heart was prepared to labor freely and completely when the time came. 

Two days later, at 42 weeks, we needed to schedule that ultrasound and so I gave it one more shot with caster oil and a few other "natural" labor inducers in order to avoid 2 hours in the car and the cost of an ultrasound that I knew would reveal perfect health.  By midnight I was up with non-labor contractions, really just cramping from the caster oil.  This woke me every hour or so and by 3am I needed to be up and walk around and to visit the commode periodically.  Lovely.  Slowly but surely, the contractions did begin to change into uterine contractions and I was hopeful that we might have gotten something started.  At 5am I sent text messages to my dear friends who would need extra time to come attend the birth if possible.  I said, "Just a heads up.  I've been having contractions and I think today's the day.  I'll let you know in a bit."  About a half hour later I called the midwife and talked and laughed with her that maybe things were happening today.  She had a few of us "overdue" and currently due and I just wanted to get first in line if possible.  Selfish I know.  She said she'd take a shower and eat and start to head our way.  As soon as we hung up I was hit with a genuine labor contraction and I wished that I hadn't been so "aww, take your time" about things on the phone.  I asked Andrew to fill up the tub and he got to work on that, as well as patching a small hole he found, then he called my mom so she could start coming as well.  I walked around the house trying to keep the steady contraction ball rolling in the right direction and it definitely was.  I also needed to post to facebook that I was having contractions; so many people had been praying for us and I knew would continue to do so through this labor and delivery.  I probably got into the tub around 6am.  It was just Andrew and I there.  He called my dad to come watch the kids in a couple hours.  (I knew we didn't have hours but I didn't want people there too early.)  I told the kids, "It's not time yet" and sent them to start a movie downstairs.  At first it was "laboring as usual" as I began to survive the early contractions before transition and pushing, but then some thoughts hit me that changed everything. 

Several weeks before, a friend had posted about pain in labor and how it is different than regular pain.  Labor pain is the pain of working.  It is how God designed our bodies to work with us to get our babies out of our bodies.  It isn't something to be fought.  It's to be worked with.  I had also discussed with the midwife and her apprentice about natural adrenal drops called "rescue remedy".  Essentially these help when your body is beginning to "freak out" so that you can relax and get back to work.  For example, if you started to hyperventilate or shake, essentially panic, that might be a good time for rescue remedy.  I suppose before that extreme response it might be good, too, but this was just my tiny take on it.  They told me a couple of stories where, after rescue remedy, the women were able to relax and calmly labor on for a wonderful, peaceful birth.  I realized that I could achieve the same effect by mentally choosing not to enter emergency mode and to avoid stimulating a "fight or flight" adrenal response (which I so eloquently called "freak out" earlier).  Just like when the kids are hurt and I flip the mental switch so I remain calm and thinking and can respond appropriately.  Just like when I deal with angry people and flip the switch so I'm able to respond without being touched by their anger.  I knew this would be key in laboring better as well.  I would need to identify the time when I was conditioned to respond as if it were an emergency and flip the switch from a kind of fear mode to "time to be patient and work with my body" mode. 

So I settled down in the tub, with a cold wash cloth in hand, and just felt my body working.  It was amazing.  Eyes closed, I would rub my face, neck and chest with the cold cloth through the most intense contractions, often gently rubbing my tight belly and sometimes quietly whispering "down, down, down", breathing in deeply through my nose at the beginning and exhaling through my mouth, to encourage relaxation. If I felt baby move I would pray for God to position him just right for an easy delivery.  As the contraction relaxed I would just melt back against Andrew's knees and wait quietly for the next one.  I welcomed each contraction and could truly feel it moving baby down.  Breaks felt so long between contractions but I was at peace with the timing and the work that was being accomplished.  Soon I felt the very end of one of the contractions draw out a need to push from within me.  The next contraction did the same.  The progress was amazing.  We were here, at the threshold of pushing, and I had relaxed through the entire thing.  It was around this time that I heard the midwife arrive.  Andrew stood to go greet her at the door but I whispered not to leave, she knew the way.  I heard him tell her we probably had a couple hours.  I whispered, "He's coming soon."  The apprentice arrived next and I had a few more pushing contractions.  She tried to check for baby's heartbeat to see how he was responding to labor but he's always been hard to find due to the placenta being attached in the front.  A friend who was bringing her camera with her was the next to arrive and she began setting up.  The girls popped in to check on me and one of them encouraged me, "You're doing good mom."  I could only respond that it wasn't time yet.  At the advice of my midwife I rolled over to my knees so we could insure baby's cord wasn't being compressed.  Just a few minutes later my mom arrived and I was already actively pushing.  I could feel baby moving down but, as I checked on my progress, could not feel his head yet.  Also, I had not felt my water break.  The midwife helped with stretching and guiding baby's head down.  He took his time.  His head came through broadly centered, rather than tipped, with the back of the head leading, so it was a lot of work and explains why I couldn't feel him crowning and probably part of why I didn't have any braxton hicks.  I put all my energy and focus into pushing and did not vocally express as much as I have in the past.  Finally his head was out.  I heard encouragement to keep working hard.  I had to keep pushing to get his broad shoulders through as well.  Finally he slipped out and the midwife passed him to me between my legs.  She told me to grab my baby.  I was so relaxed even though I was working so hard.  I grabbed him and pulled him up. 

For the first time I didn't feel the need to ask if he was alright.  I was so confident of the process, I just savored him and rubbed his little body all over.  He was covered in thick vernix.  I've never had such a buttery baby!  He cried just a bit and I held him in the water, trying to keep him warm and just admiring what God had been up to these past 42 weeks.  "Get the kids" was the first thing I said.  We left the cord attached until it was thoroughly done pulsing and he got all that good oxygen filled blood into his body.  I have no idea when my water broke.  I've always felt it break in labor.  In the hospital of course they broke my water to "speed things up".  With Jack it broke as he was being born.  I wonder if maybe my water broke days before as I had noticed a little trickling from time to time, but still, I felt no gush at any time and my fluid levels were good.  It's a mystery.

This labor and delivery were a pure miracle to me.  A blessing, a gift... I wish every woman could experience it.  Complete confidence, peace...  I've delivered 6 babies before Jethro.  I know that it was much different this time because of the change in me.  There is a night and day difference between home birthing and hospital birthing, so much so that it's hard to even begin to explain to people.  But even beyond that, there was such a benefit to understanding and embracing the process of birth and controlling my emotional response which affects the physical adrenal response.  God's presence was evident as he led me through the entire thing.

So, the worst parts of this birth were, first, delivering the HUGE placenta.  It was basically another small child only uglier and interrupting my time with Jethro.  Also, I believe because I had taken the caster oil before bed, and my body had eliminated all food reserves by morning, I threw off my blood sugar.  I was having severe cramping for after pains, much worse than I've ever had in the past.  I felt weak and shortly I was unable to hold Jethro or even really sit up.  I was not losing a lot of blood but I was definitely "off".  All I knew was that something was wrong.  I asked the midwife to check my blood sugar, I was sure it was low, even after eating apples and peanut butter and a scone to try to get my energy up.  In fact, my blood sugar was high, probably my body compensating for lack of food during labor.  I cancelled my order for orange juice and asked for cottage cheese (Nancy's cottage cheese THE BEST EVER!!).  Within in just a few bites I was revived and feeling great.  Cramps became a normal level, just regular after birth pain and not as frequent.  I could enjoy my newborn again and get on to all the measurements and checking him out.  He was 9 lbs even and 21 1/2" long.

When it was all said and done the midwife said Jethro was not an overdue baby and would have been fine in there another week even.  Due to the physical response I had afterward, I don't think I will use caster oil again in the future.  I think I'll trust the process and wait for his time completely.  (Remind me of this at 42 weeks next time!!).  I loved her comment in the end, "Some babies just cook longer."  He was perfectly done and has been a content, peaceful baby.

Welcome to the world Jethro Asher Daniel Nordstrom.  We love you so much!
Slow and steady wins the race.
Jethro... meaning His excellence, his posterity, overflowing, abundance... over and above!  Thank you Lord!  This has been so true of his birth and his life so far.

Asher... meaning happy, blessed.  You are so content and bring much happiness to our family.  Truly a blessing!

Daniel... meaning God is my judge.  May you always remember that it is God's good opinion and judgement that matters most.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Waiting and Blessings

I got up before the sun today in order to walk quietly with God and try to hear his voice and direction regarding this pregnancy, Jethro, what to do to start labor.  Farms are noisy, so I wasn't really "alone" with God.  One thing that's encouraging is that God knows Jethro's birthday already.  Right now he is completely fulfilling his purpose and is in complete obedience to God.  He is fearfully and wonderfully made and God knows that as his creator.  My job is to follow Him as well and wait on His time.

I wanted to write out a blessing for each of the kids.  Andrew gets to give us all a blessing at our more complete Sabbath dinners.  It's powerful each time.

Josiah:  May God continue to grow you in strength and boldness.  May you look beyond what's right in front of you to see what God's vision is for you in his grand plan and may you readily join him in accomplishing it.  May you be sensitive to the needs of others and allow them to be honored and cared for above yourself as you know your value and protection lies in God alone. 

Mia:  May God continue to grow you in fearlessness and sensitivity.  May you quickly become alert to the needs of others and use your gifts and talents to bless them, as well as to be used by God in accomplishing his purposes.  May you never doubt the beauty, strength and intelligence God has blessed you with and may it always sprout from the inside out and be of such substance that it never fades.

Sierra:  May God continue to grow you in enthusiasm and joy.  May you be quick to share your love with others as you fully experience how loved you are.  May you be known for thoroughly completing the tasks God calls you to.  May you never doubt the beauty, strength and intelligence God has blessed you with and may it always sprout from the inside out and be of such substance that it never fades.

Eliza:  May God continue to grow you in kindness and love.  May you learn to love unconditionally, as God does, and to discover your gifts and talents and use them for the glory of God.  May you continue to be quick to smile and forgive.  May you never doubt the beauty, strength and intelligence God has blessed you with and may it always sprout from the inside out and be of such substance that it never fades.   Jack:  May God continue to grow you in determination and kindness.  May you be able to discern what God's perfect will is and quick to obey him.  May you be sensitive to the needs of others and allow them to be honored and cared for above yourself as you know your value and protection lies in God alone.

Jethro:  May God continue to grow in you a heart of obedience that always waits on his perfect timing.  May you follow after God with your whole heart, never turning to the left or to the right.  May you be sensitive to the needs of others and allow them to be honored and cared for above yourself as you know your value and protection lies in God alone.

After the kids, Andrew does a blessing for me.  Often, I'm moved to tears.  Hearing him speak of me so kindly and express the value of my role and then lift me up before the Lord... it is huge.  Sometimes he reads from Proverbs 31 and I am inspired to fulfil his words, rather than aware of how far I fall short.  It's a powerful time as I said before.  And so, I bless my husband.

Andrew:  May God continue to grow in you strength, fearlessness and determination.  He has used those traits to provide for our family and lead us into beautiful new stages of life.  May you know your value to us, but more importantly, your value to Him.  May you see God's vision for you, for the family and for your work and may you fully embrace it for His glory.  May your heart be responsive to God like David's, your faith as strong as Job's, your heritage as rich as Abraham's and your courage like Daniel's. 

God you are good, you are generous, slow to anger, abounding in love.  Use our family for your glory.  Help us to follow you wherever you lead and to bless others all along the way.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Still Waiting

I'd like to say that there is something about waiting that brings out the worst in me, but that wouldn't be true.  The truth is the waiting... and waiting... and waiting... actually just reveals some of the worst things about me.  Oh, I desperately need my Savior.  Impatient, selfish, demanding, short tempered, self-centered... Did I say impatient already?  Ok.  So, I'm confessing this, facing it and even glorifying God for it because the worst thing for me to do is to begin to think I've got it all together and can handle life on my own.

We've been reading through most of the Old Testament in school this year and the overwhelming theme is that God has a good law, set in place for the benefit of His chosen people.  Over and over they stray from his good path but when he reveals to them how far off they are from His perfect plan and they repent, turn away from their own paths, and follow him again, he is so quick to give grace and lead them again. 

God, I need your grace.  You've seen this ugliness all along.  Thank you for revealing it to me.  Thank you for using such a blessing as the coming of another child to train me.  Let me be moldable and responsive to this revelation.  Forgive me for my self-centeredness.  May I overflow with love like you describe... patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, not self seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, never fails.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Waiting for Our Overflow

It's always fun to blog right before and right after a big change.  I like comparing my thoughts and feelings before and after and knowing that God already knew the exact outcome from the beginning.  We've had a lot of change in the last year with a quick, unexpected move to a new town and meeting new people, finding a new church and co-op, learning new things about God's Word and following him to new and unexpected places and... expecting a new baby.  With this pregnancy there was so much else going on I sort of put it on the back burner. It takes a while to grow a human being so I knew I had time and we'd cross each bridge as we got to it.  Praises all the way along as we found out he is a healthy baby boy and the pregnancy has gone quite smoothly.  The kids are again thrilled to be adding another sibling.  Sierra is additionally excited that she will officially have a buddy to watch out for now.  I am so blessed to be able to have the same midwife that I had with Jack and we hope to be birthing at home any day now.  The EDD (estimated due date, which puts you in the middle of 38-42 weeks which is a normal gestation period) has come and gone but I can feel that we're close.  At my appointment yesterday we put together our "go" plan which does serve it's purpose practically but also just keeps me sane so I have something to do besides just wait for our boy's arrival.  My plan includes drinking a parsley "tea" to raise my iron levels, taking extra vitamin C and chlorophyll to help combat any possible group beta strep, taking evening primrose oil orally and internally to soften the cervix, cleaning the house Friday and scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees, I added scrubbing carpet stains just for good measure, an epsom salt soak for the magnesium to help with swelling which has been bad this year while we enjoy spectacularly warm weather, drinking red raspberry leaf tea to support my uterus in all the work it'll be doing and to follow all this with a rest on Saturday.  The "plan" is to go into labor Saturday night and have the baby on Mother's Day.  So, doesn't that sound great.  I'll post his birth story after he's come and hopefully I'll remember to actually click 'post' so it doesn't sit for two years!  (Poor Jack.)

A Letter of Welcome to our #7...
Dear Jethro,
God is so good to bless us with you.  You are the first baby where I was pretty confident that you would be a boy and I was right... unless there is a surprise in store!!  Your name means abundance or overflowing and it fits so well.  I am not worthy to receive this overflowing blessing of another child but I am so very grateful for it.  I can't wait to see your sweet face and cuddle your tiny body, to watch you grow and change so quickly.  My biggest fear is the number of people in the family that want to hold you... will I get enough time?  This will be our first time with brothers so close in age, just less than two years, and I expect that will add some new dynamics to the family.  Our life is full of farm adventures, hard work and rich blessings.  We spend lots of time together and I can't wait to add you to all this.  Our new church family has literally flooded you and me with gifts of welcome.  You will definitely be fashionable and your feet won't get cold either!  This year many little fruit trees were planted and when I think of them growing right along side you it thrills me.  You will be our sixth child at home, Lord willing, and I think that is wonderful.  We are ready for you sweet boy.  You can come at any time.
Love you already,
your mama

Homebirth... Take Two!! Jack's Birth Story 2011

It was Tuesday, June 7th, and I was experiencing definite labor contractions but with no consistent rhythm, sometimes 5 minutes apart, then 8 minutes, then 4 or even 3 minutes.  Grrrr!  What was this?  Not wanting a repeat of the last minute rush I had when birthing Eliza, I decided to fake the confident response and text and call my support team and the midwife.  "Don't come, this is just a heads up.  I think he's coming tonight."  Ok, fine, deep inside I was hoping that acting like I was sure he was coming would help prompt him to really come.  Well, within a couple of hours things had slowed down significantly and I was concerned that perhaps I spoke to soon.  It was nearing 9pm so I told the kids to go ahead and go to bed, we'd wake them if it was truly time.  I called the midwife and told her that things had slowed down and also that I was feeling movement "down low" which made me wonder if he had his hands above his head which might impede or prolong labor.  She decided to come over to evaluate for herself.  See, this is how it's supposed to go with a midwife.  They take care of you.  How wonderful.  Normally we don't "check" progress in labor as opposed to when I was with a doctor who needed to know if there was any dialation from 38 weeks on.  Brother, talk about a set up!  You can be 3cm for weeks or you can go from 0 to 10cm in just a few short hours.  There is no point in "checking" and potentially introducing bacteria to the birth canal.  That is unless there is a point, like determining the baby's position or if their hands are above their heads.  The midwife came and pushed my very pregnant belly around feeling the position that Jack was in and determining where his head was.  Head down, praise the Lord, but not down in the pelvis like impending birth requires.  Then she did the check.  I was 3cm I believe but what was more insightful was that his hand was indeed above his head.  Darn!  This will be a tough labor unless some things change.  She moved him around a bit again and this time felt his head drop down into the pelvis, into position to potentially move things along.  We discussed my options.  She said I could go to the hospital, get pitocin and pound him out, after all he was ready.  Or, we could wait and it may take hours or even a week or two for him to work his way down with his hand wanting to be above his head like that.  In the meantime, I could lay with my hips up to try to gravitate him back up and then lay on my left side to try to get him to turn in the direction away from his hand so he would pull it away from his head.  Hmm, hips up for weeks hoping or pound him out?  I have done pitocin four times and I knew I wasn't going to pound any more babies out.  So we wait... and pray. 
Since I knew his head was currently down I decided just to stay on my left side and hope for a slight rotation and the continuation of labor.  I posted to faceb**k asking for prayer that Jack would get in the right position for labor.  Several responses came back.  What a blessing to be joined by prayer warriors during labor.  Two hours later I couldn't stay in bed any longer.  It was 11:30pm and the contractions were keeping me awake and were very uncomfortable.  It was not consistent and I had long breaks in between contractions, 5 minutes usually, still I decided to call the midwife and ask what she thought.  Labor or not she said she'd come and just sleep on my couch if things were not progressing.  At this point I really wanted the comfort of the birthing tub but was so worried it would all be in vain and a waste of the warm water that I would want in "real" labor.  But Andrew said to go for it, so we filled 'er up.  I made the mistake of telling him to make it bathwater warm and forgot how hot the water he bathes in is.  OUCH!  It was so hot I was uncomfortable and begging for more cold.  Just like last time, as soon as I got in the pool labor slowed even more and I just relaxed.  But, when contractions came, they were killers.  I decided to call my mom and my friend, who were my support people, so they could start coming.  When the midwife arrived she said as soon as she heard me laboring she knew this was it and she called her two apprentices whom I had met at previous appointments.  I was thrilled that things were happening yet still able to relax between contractions.  This was odd.
Everyone arrived in good time and I was able to discuss how and when to video, when to get the kids, how things were going.  I had several awesome differences with this labor.  One was that I was able to communicate my needs to Andrew and my other support people better.  In the past I could hear in my head what I needed but could not verbalize.  I mentioned that to the midwife at one of my appointments and she said that's fairly normal.  This time I could do it though.
Another wonderful difference was that the midwife added aromatherapy oils to the water.  AWESOME!!!  Between contractions I could actually imagine I was at the spa preparing for a massage.  Ahhh.  That was wonderful.  Lights were kept low and voices quiet.  It was my space as I labored on my knees in the now warm water while leaning over on Andrew's lap and gripping his shirt for relief.  As in the past I was very vocal through first stage contractions but as I hit transition the midwife offered a suggestion of putting all my effort into pushing.  It's wonderful to learn how to effectively labor.  The first stage of labor is to be survived through and all my effort is put into helping contractions be effective while managing the pain, which for me means a verbal outburst and squeezing wash cloths, tshirts, bedding that happens to be nearby, my dear hubby's hand, etc.  It also means a cold wash cloth to my forhead between contractions and two handed, firm massage on my shoulders during.  Despite the pain all things were just as I needed them.  Transition is a time to start working.  The urge to push becomes overwhelming and all energies should be put towards that pushing.  So as this phase started she encouraged me this way.
Another difference in this labor is that I had not had my water break yet.  Water breaking in the past had meant baby was coming soon.  In the hospital it was a tool to "get things going" and they always broke my bag of waters.  At my first homebirth I experienced spontanious breaking while in the birthing tub and at that point labor really got moving quickly.  So this time, in my mind, I had a long way to go since my water had not broken and because I believed that Jack would be a 10lb baby and would take some work to get him out.  The midwife, hearing the change in me and knowing I was in transition, made her suggestion of focus and effort and checked for Jack's head.  Then she said these magic words, "Baby is right there just waiting for you to push him out."  Hold the phone!!  He's waiting for me?  That was all I needed to hear.  Andrew said I must have needed the challenge.  He's never been in labor before.  I believe that is challenge enough, but he had a point.  At that time I put all effort into pushing my baby out, water broken or not.  I know babies had been born in the caul, meaning the bag of waters never broke before birth, and that would be fine.  I also knew that since I knew he was so big I'd better get to work.  After this check and fateful comment, the midwife turned around to dry her hands and when she turned back... wha-la!  Baby Jack was here.  I made no short work of it.  My dear friend who had the video camera at the ready was shocked as well.  She was barely able to catch the manuver that enabled me to deliver my own baby.  Since I was on my knees when I birthed Eliza and the pool was bigger, Andrew was in with me caught her as she came behind me then he lifted her up out of the water.  But because I was on my knees facing away, I was unable to see her until we awkwardly got all turned around.  That was one thing I wanted to change this time around.  For me, it is very effective and as comfortable as one can be in labor to be up on my knees, but baby tends to exit to the back.  The midwife and I decided that if this birthing position happened again she would push baby up to me through my legs so I could be the one to lift him up.  This is exactly how things unfolded.  She quickly gave him a little push and I grabbed him up to my chest and sat down laughing and crying.  He was gorgeous and so... new.  I love that squishy, wet, brand new baby moment.  His little eyes blinking, ears hearing sounds clearly for the first time, experiencing air pressure and freedom of movement... what a moment.  He was quiet at first but then found his lungs and took quite a while to settle down.  He had come so quickly, I was sure I had a long time ahead of working to getting him out but no, here he was.  The bag of waters actually broke as he was on his way out. 
Again, thinking I had lots of time, I told everyone not to have the kids come in while I was working so hard (all the kids wanted to witness their brother's birth).  I didn't want them to witness a long period of effort and pain so told everyone to wait before getting them.  My first words after picking Jack up were "get the kids!"  For me time stood still.  I felt as though I looked from the face of my newborn up to the four older siblings in one moment.  They were all standing there, jammie clad, in awe of the this new life.  Obviously there was a minute or two for dad to go up the hall to get them, but when he arrived they were all standing by their bedroom doors waiting.  They had heard me laboring and were waiting for their summons. 
Welcome Alexander Dakota Jack born on June 8th at 3:52am!!  And there we were, a family of 7, so blessed.  What joy that the kids could interact with their brother from just seconds old.  Eliza took a little while to grasp the idea that Jack was now a small person rather than a large, round belly on her mother.  As soon as she got that understanding, she was in line for the holding and helping just like the others.  Josiah got to cut the umbilical cord.  We waiting for quite a while until it had stopped pulsing, then tied it off and big brother did the snip.  10 years Jack's senior, I experienced in that moment that my first born son was much closer to being a man than a little boy.  He took such pride in the responsibility.  I had flash backs of my husband snipping his cord 10 years ago and wondered how many of his own children's cords Josiah will snip one day.  It's hard to believe how quickly time flies.  In just a blink, Jack will be 10 and Josiah will be 20 and I'll probably have a more prominant "crown of glory"! 
It took a while to deliver the placenta.  This was my most painful 3rd stage yet but as soon as it came I felt relief.  Jack was eager to nurse and weighed in at 7lbs 4oz, so much for my 10lb-er, he was my smallest except for Faith.  He was 20 inches long.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Poor Neglected Blog... just a quick note.

I'm still battling the internet/computer issue but my mom left her laptop here with internet access so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Praise the Lord we are at the end of this pregnancy and so close to holding our sweet baby boy, Jack. I can't imagine life with another child, we are so full and busy as it is. On the other hand I can't wait to see what this new person adds to the family dynamic and I am so anxious to meet him. Each person is like a new seasoning or flavor added to the bunch and we are really starting to get tasty! LOL!! I'm again looking forward to laboring at home and meeting him in the comfort of my own room in a birthing tub. God knows the exact timing and circumstances but that is the plan. All the kids want to witness their brother's arrival and meet him first thing. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds: when labor starts, how long it lasts, who is there for my support, etc. I can hardly stand waiting and waiting for all these plans to happen as ultimately orchestrated by my Heavenly Father. Soon, Lord, we're so ready!!

A note to Jack:
My dear son, 6th child of my heart,
I am so thrilled you will be joining our family soon. You have pushed me past 40 weeks already but we pray for your arrival every day. It's been 10 years since I welcomed a boy into our family and it feels new again. I can't wait to cuddle you and kiss your sweet cheeks and presumably bald head, and to smell your new smell, and hear your tiny voice. I can't wait to see your first blinking moments as everything around you is brand new. I'm looking forward to breast feeding and diapering and caring for all your needs. I love how your brother and sisters love you so much already and am thrilled to see you interact with them. I have been blessed with lots of "tools" for carrying you with me to all our adventures, life will not be slow for you! It's hard to wait on God's perfect timing for your arrival but I believe this waiting time is more about my trusting Him and being comfortable not getting my way than about any of your development. So, come sweet boy. I love you so much already!! Love, your Mommy

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Ultrasound & a Birthday Party With Baby's Gender Reveal

Saturday we went for the long awaited ultrasound, a little peek into what God has been quietly doing inside me for 20 weeks. Andrew took the day off and the doctor was willing to come in on the weekend in order to make it work for both of us. I chose a naturopathic doctor, who does the ultrasound right in their natural childbirth clinic and can diagnose immediately. A natural childbirth clinic is a great choice for people who are not quite ready to embrace the wonderful comfort and empowerment of a full blown homebirth, but want to take a step towards trusting their bodies and the birth process. (ok, ok, no more plugs for homebirth, onto the story) The ultrasound went picture perfect, a true blessing. The doctor spoke to me as we went along and told me what he was looking for and why, and then, praise the Lord, that everything looked great. He was kind and even talked to the baby as if they were face to face. I had him write the gender on a piece of paper which I planned to reveal at Eliza's 2 year old birthday party the next day. He folded it up and put a paper clip on it. I was on such a high, considering the health of the baby, that it didn't even phase me to be holding the answer to the gender question in an unsecured piece of paper.
Saturday was a full schedule with running up to Portland, juggling the babysitter back home, running back for lunch, off to a basketball game, a quick swim, then off to Church and a very late dinner. Phew!! I didn't want to lose my ultrasound pictures and, of course, the precious gender paper, so I put them on the bar in plain sight, since we'd be gone all day, then I ran off to return the sitter home while Andrew fed the kids and got them ready for the next part of the day. When I returned, not thirty minutes later, I immediately saw the storm surrounding Josiah.

"What is wrong with you?"

"I hate when the girls ruin things for me!"

"What happened?"

"Mia opened up the ultrasound paper and told us what we're having."

Noooooooooo!!! My perfectly crafted plan! The party tomorrow! How will the girls, who couldn't keep a secret in our family, not tell the world before our party? You know, I have very persuasive friends who can read me like a book and I will see them at Church! How can I keep a secret? No, no no!!! This was not the plan people!

Later that night when I generically mentioned this situation to a man at our church who has four children he said, "Yep! That's life with a big family, it never goes as planned." He's right you know, and actually I'm the better for it because life doesn't really go as planned anyway, but we can't help but think it does, at least until we've been a hit a few times. With several kiddos you're just reminded of this fact daily, hourly sometimes!

So I said to my obviously disappointed son, "I'm guessing we're getting a girl based on the frown on your face."

"No, I just didn't want to find out that way."

No? Then it must be a... "Aaaaaaggghhh!!! It's a boy!!!" I shrieked with sudden understanding and delight. That was how I found out that our newest bundle of joy would be a little man. It's been nearly 10 years and my initial emotional response holds true even now, "Do I remember how to raise a baby boy?" Andrew assures me that the only difference is you've got to blow in the diaper first, then wait a few seconds before the change. Got it.

Josiah's comment was fitting, "I still can't believe it's a boy. I thought you forgot how to make them." Oh, God is good, His timing is perfect, but I was beginning to have that same thought myself!

So, I lied my way through basketball and then, *gulp* church. Nice. I tried to be tricky with my answers so as to avoid an actual lie while still not admitting that I did know the gender, but I'm pretty sure I lied to at least a few. Sorry about that folks, it must be the pregnancy hormones that made me do it. :)

Since we were celebrating Eliza's birthday, my big reveal plan was to have her choose between a blue ribboned stuffed animal and a pink ribboned stuffed animal, as I did with Sierra when I was pregnant with Eliza. I'd open the note, whisper in her ear which animal to go get, and it'd be this fun reveal that she would be in charge of. This was a less attractive option now because I'm just not a good faker, and I would have to pretend to read the note or admit up front that we already knew, yada yada yada. (As I'm typing now, I'm thinking really it wasn't that big of a deal and I should have just gone with it, but pregnant brains don't always function normally and, again, I think I'll claim the hormones made me abandon ship.) So, I decided to make Eliza's birthday cake white and add blue food coloring, then we'd cut into it for the big reveal. No blue food coloring left. DOH! I found some blue m-n-m's and figured some of their shells would rub off enough to leave a blue tinge but it didn't spread through the cake and wasn't really enough to show much so I went with plan... what are we on now... C. I put a blue candle and a pink candle on the cake, perfect since Eliza is 2. I told everyone the candle that I lit first was the gender of the baby. So we enthusiastically sang "Happy Birthday" to Eliza and, as she began to get overwhelmed and shy, I lit the blue candle which erupted a large cheer of celebration and sent her into full blown crying and the inability to actually blow the candles out. Thankfully she has older siblings that know the drill and they jumped in to help her. Phew!!
I confessed to everyone the events of Saturday and we all had a good chuckle over it. There were a few there that were in on the news ahead of time as well. Let's just say that a couple of us in this family have our weak spots and that next time (hey, I'm not ruling it out) I'll make sure to put the note in a sealed envelope and I think I'll keep it in my bra!!

***Happy birthday Eliza! I love you like crazy!! I'm so glad we were finally healthy and able to celebrate your day. Just think, next year this time your little brother will probably be crawling all over.***
Lord, lift me above my own narrow horizons, that I might fulfill your true vision for me. - B.J. Hoff