Monday, August 24, 2015

Farm Fresh Birth and Birth Boot Camp

I have a new business page! www.farmfreshbirth.com

I recently got certified as a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator. I am thrilled about this new endeavor. Share this information with anyone you know who is expecting this winter.

Birth Boot Camp will help you prepare for the event of a lifetime! The sign up is located here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Perfect Home Birth of Finnella Blessing: The Movie


The Perfect Home Birth of Finnella Blessing

May 31: I had been getting more and more tired of being pregnant and trying different tricks that might get labor going for several days. Of course it was nothing drastic as my due date wasn't until 9 June. When Kevin and I went to bed that night, he noticed I had a "piddle pad" a reusable thick cloth pad one could use for incontinence; we used them for changing pads for the wee ones. He was teasing me about it; but I pointed out that my water broke as my first labor symptom with Elivette and I wanted to be safe, in case that happened this pregnancy too, I knew only about 15% of labors start with breaking waters, but maybe it would bring me luck. Unfortunately, I'd been sleeping on it for several days too, and it had done nothing to start labor. ;)

We had been in bed for a while, and were still in that drowsy awake stage of pre-sleep when suddenly, I felt a tiny "flick", and boom: the precautionary mama cloth I was wearing, my pajamas, the piddle pad and the mattress pad were all soaked! Guess who was glad I had preemptively protected the mattress now!

I knew it could be a while before contractions started, but I went ahead and texted my midwives and the people who had promised to be in prayer for us, around midnight. I was excited and jittery and found it hard to get to sleep. I got a surprising number of replies too, which helped keep my mind calmer. I'm thankful for my night owl friends.

I woke up around 7 as usual, and no more signs of labor, just the occasional gush of amniotic fluid reminding me how I wasn't laboring. By 10, I was starting to get resigned to the fact labor was not going to happen, and frustrated about it. My mother-in-law picked up the three youngest and the girls and I kept busy around the house. We went for a walk down to the lake about 1/2 mile from our house. It was pretty and peaceful and I would have stayed there most of the day if not for a heavily pregnant woman's need to relieve herself frequently and the fishermen I wouldn't want to see me do so. We trundled back to the house and relaxed a little.

At lunchtime, Kevin wondered if he and Aviana could drive a few hours to go pick up the milking LaMancha goat he found on Craigslist. I said they may as well, since I wasn't going to have the baby. My midwife thought it was possible it wasn't my actual amniotic sac that ruptured, but the forebag. She also thought that perhaps it wasn't amniotic fluid at all, but pee. I was positive THAT wasn't the case.  A friend,meaning to be helpful, bless her heart, told me she had gone to the hospital one day thinking her daughter would be born, and she wasn't born for 17 more days. And my discouragement grew.

I posted on Facebook , "We aren't having a baby, but we are getting a milk goat, so yay." The support and solace my friends offered were bountiful. My photographer and friend, Kelcy, commented that there was still plenty of day left, and that made me feel a little better.

At 3ish, I felt a twinge of something. A dozen minutes later, definitely, something. I put the first birthing wave in my contraction app at 3:30. I texted my midwives again. Kathy lives an hour away and I'm not known for long drug out labors.  Sarah, my midwife's assistant and friend and I chatted for a while. While we were going back and forth, my uterus amped up. Now the waves were about five minutes apart. I told her I would feel more comfortable if she were with me. She texted back, "ME TOO!" A little later she told me she would leave as soon as her husband got home from getting a chicken.

Meanwhile, Kevin was still 45 minutes away from home after picking up the goat.

Kevin got home eventually, and he started filling up the birth tub. Sarah arrived soon after, much to my relief.   Aviana felt strongly that JuneBug, the goat, needed milked then and there. Since I had the tub ready now, and Sarah was with me, I was ok with that. The contractions were coming right on top of one another. Getting in the tub spaced out the contractions so I was able to have some breath of a break; I was amazed at how the water helped!

During the time they were down at the barn, I had a contraction that was 'different', one that made me feel if Kevin and Aviana didn't hurry up with that goat, they were going to miss Fizzy Baby's arrival!
My good friend Karen arrived. She was here as support for the girls. We wanted someone to specifically be with them, in case of anything going awry especially. She was absolutely perfect in her role, and supported anyone who needed her. She and Brielle went downstairs to get some fruit ready to snack on. The watermelon tasted wonderful. It was the first time I had ever eaten in labor.

Close to 6, I told Sarah she had better tell Kelcy she had better come. She texted back, "I can see your house."  I asked her if she would braid my hair, as it was starting to get wet and was all in my face annoying me.


It was such a peace filled, calm hour. Aviana tried to read some Baby Blues comics to me when Wanda was giving birth. It was amusing for a while, but quickly got to the point where I needed it to stop. I had some praise music playing. The birth affirmations were hung on the mantel so I could read them, and I would think of one when a birth wave came on, over and over again as a meditation.






 It wasn't long before things started to intensify incredibly. A few days before, I had watched a mare give birth out in the open air. It was beauty to behold. She would get up, turn around a few times, and then lie back down again. I found myself sort of spinning around in the tub, and thinking of that mare.
 The mare was so composed and tranquil. I was starting to get noisier, but I felt like that mare. I never once felt scared or worried or out of control. With all of my other births, there was at the very least one moment, if not a whole scene, where I felt tumultuous.

A couple of times, as a birth wave crescendoed, I started to say "no" and then I caught myself and released myself into the passionate force of the moment. Being able to do that, being given the safe space, being surrounded by love and prayers, being completely mentally comfortable, was awe striking.

Soon, my birthing waves changed and my body needed to start pushing Fizzy Baby. There was no one moment of "Now, I shall push." It was a gradual buildup and I didn't really notice exactly when it was different. I never got checked to see if I was complete. No one told me what to do. Everyone just supported me and held me emotionally.

I had my hand on her head, and could feel as she began to come out into the world. This was a wonder-filled stage for me. I had never felt as in control before, so aware and internally calm.
I have seen several videos depicting the mechanics of birth (start watching about 1:40) and knew cognitively what was happening. Now I could feel it happening to my own baby, under my own guidance, under my own hand! I could feel her head molding. I felt her head turn and then her shoulders slide out, and then she was here!

 She didn't even cry at first, just opened her eyes and looked at me, and gazed around at her new world. It was astonishing to see her be so peaceful and placid.
My legs started aching and shaking immediately after she was born, and I started whining about soon after that.  Somehow they managed to get me out of the tub, and into bed. There I delivered the placenta. Kathy assisted Aviana in its delivery. 
Finnella-- heart--  placenta
 Brielle then cut the cord, and Finnella was forever her own person.
 We all fell immediately and irrevocably in love.





 Our phenomenal midwives.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finnella Blessing 29 days old


My sweet little Finnella will be one month old tomorrow! I am having a hard time believing that little statistic as far as she is concerned. 

As for me, I am definitely feeling more like a human and less like a blubbering ball of  baby fat and boobage. I even briefly considered going for an energetic walk this morning. Then I thought better of it and had a second cup of coffee. 

Intellectually and creatively,  I am bouncing back as well. I still can't be counted on to remember things like feeding other people's cats or who is taking Aviana to piano, but I finished up all my reading and study guide for my upcoming Birth Boot Camp Instructor training and yesterday Brielle and I painted these:


Nursing is going MUCH better. In fact, on Sunday, she nursed in the wrap while I walked around grocery shopping. That felt pretty monumental. I can read while she nursed now and have read a couple of pretty good books this month. You should find me on GoodReads! I am thankful nursing has stopped requiring all of my concentration. 

I handle being with the kids by myself pretty well. If the big girls have done their jobs, and are just sitting there reading, I pass off Finnella to them. It seems like a win-win :). Today a friend needed some help and so she brought her two boys over, and I had eight kiddos here! It worked out in my favor though because I can be a broken record with my own boys, "go outside. Go outside. Go. OUT. Side!" But when they have friends here, they will play out there unbidden for days.

Finnella doesn't really do much to report, just the baby basics: eat, exit what she ate, cry, sleep, repeat. She did make it all the way into town today without crying, not all the way to our destination, but still, progress. She recognizes me; if she is crying in somone else's arms, when I take her she almost always quiets immediately--at least momentarily. 

I think the other children have adjusted now, at least for the most part. We are finding our new normal, and it is good.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Finnella Blessing: Nine Days Old


What an absolutely wonderful day. I am so thankful for my family, and the amazing people who are in my life.

I was home by myself with all six chiddlers all morning. And it was genuinely good. 

I sat outside and made them pull weeds and various tasks amid much push back. When I got fed up with the contrariness, I went in and did my hair and nursed that baby. It is going SO much better. 

Cadrian made lunch. Then Finnella woke up and Brielle took care of her, while I fixed Aviana's hair and finished getting ready for our newborn photos. I am so thrilled to see them. My friend and photographer is so talented! I was bummed Kevin had to bale hay so he couldn't be in any, but she is going to come over next week for a quick family session. 

 Brielle went with me and helped immensely--even though she got a little bored. We ran some errands. Our librarians were excited to meet our Fizzy Baby and thoroughly and properly admired her. Brielle ran into the grocer store for me and then we stopped at Dollar General where we bought nothing that was on our list and several things that weren't. 

We got home just in time to eat a simply delicious meal a dear friend brought over and strawberry pie my mother-in-law dropped off.

And in time to get a giant fox snake out of our garage. 


The children are all in bed, Finnella is sleeping in my arms and the Farmer just got home. Now it is time to rest and settle in with my honeys. Big day!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Birth Pause

I wanted to share this link with you. It was so encouraging and freeing for me. I cried all the way through this article (which isn't really saying a whole lot at this point because yesterday I cried that Kevin wanted to do hot dogs in the fire pit...don't even ask...I'm a crazy person right now). Truly though, this article blessed me so much. May it also bless you.


http://www.thebirthpause.com/p/the-birth-pause.html?spref=fb&m=1




I have always felt so guilty about this photo--my sweet seconds old Denton Leroyce. I still have the placenta inside of me, and his cord was really short, so I couldn't hold him up to my chest like I was "supposed" to. I was completely overwhelmed by all the aspects of birth--pushing, finding out he was a boy before I was ready to know, the slippery-ness of the chux pads-- all of it. But even though I joke about letting him lie on the floor for his first few minutes of life, I have felt that guilt: guilt that I don't have the euphoric birth look, that I am not even able to touch him, that I am "selfishly" drinking my water instead of being awed by my baby. Then I read this article today, and it moved my soul. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to Boil an Egg

I have been boiling eggs for a long while and have tried ALL the methods --or so I thought-- to get eggs to peel easily. I reasoned I had a pretty good handle on this most basic of kitchen cookerys.

Boiling eggs came up the other day in a group I'm in, prompting much discussion. I had thought that adding salt or baking soda to the water worked fairly well, especially for farm fresh eggs like we usually have. I still did spend an inordinate amount of time peeling the little cackle berries though. I had tried the pin method too, where you puncture the shell but not the sac around the albumen in order to let the water separate them and make peeling easier. I thought this made the eggs too wet and frankly a little gross. I had also tried the YouTube videos' wherein they basically blow an egg out of its shell in seconds--which didn't work at all for me.

Then last night my friend Amber changed my life forever. Boiling eggs again came up in conversation. She shared how she just read an article how to boil eggs and was feeling success in the egg peeling arena for the first time in her life. She had pretty much given up until she read the article. It convinced her because told her the science behind the method, so she thought she would try one last try.
My experiment included the white store bought eggs of undetermined age we had on hand for Brielle's activities she came up with when she taught preschool last week, the brown eggs I marked "old" which were at the back of the fridge from a friend's farm, and then the plain brown eggs we took out of the nesting boxes within the last couple of days.

Here is what you do: boil water. Put your steamer on your pot.
Add the eggs to the steamer--only once the water is boiling, mind you. Cover.
Set your timer for 12 minutes. Go laugh your head off to a Good Mythical Morning episode. (I guess that part can be optional, but seriously, you should do it.) When your timer rings, immerse your eggs in an ice water bath.
We didn't have very much ice but it still worked.

I didn't time this part, but I first measured my kids' tee shirts to be sure of their sizes and placed an order for some Classical Conversations shirts.
So however long that took is how long they sat in the icy water.

Now. This is the amazing part.
Elivette and I peeled all nine eggs in about two minutes,
even the ones that had been under a chicken a day or so ago. 

Now, go boil and peel happy. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Commence Operation Fill the Freezer

I thankfully have had pretty amazing energy the last couple of days, so I thought I would actually make some food instead of the catch as catch can kind of meals that have been happening around here lately. I will share what works for me.


I had been part of a freezer exchange group for several months, but it kind of fell apart. About a dozen people would make 12 of the same meal and then exchange it for 12 different ones. I was ok that the group dissolved though since I (and some other members) would work really hard on preparing healthful homemade generous meals and we would receive in exchange (from a few people) white pasta and store bought sauce with very little meat. I guess we are kind of food snobs around here because I would have to revamp the meal so my children would eat it. This kind of defeats the purpose of the exchange group. 

Another time my mom and I spent an entire day cooking 10 different meals. We trebled the recipes and I took two and she took one. That worked pretty well, but it was an exhausting day and it was hard to juggle the children and the cooking even with both of us there. It is also hard to find an entire day that works for both of us. Another drawback is that it's expensive to buy all of the ingredients for 30 meals at one time, even without counting the cost of the homegrown beef in our freezer. 

What has always worked best for me is to double or treble a recipe that I am already making. We eat one meal --and usually have leftovers--and I put another one or two in the freezer. Then on a low energy or sick or busy day, I can pull a freezer meal out and have a healthful homemade meal, regardless of the day's circumstances.

Last night I got organized and made a list of meals I would like to make over the next month.
I started on a homeschool blog of a mom with seven children, but then realized I would be clicking all over the Internet and it was likely going to take all night to see if the recipes would fit our family's taste. Plus most of the recipes are for chicken, and we eat a lot of home raised beef and pork. 

I then pulled out my favorite publisher's freezer magazine, which is a special publication they put out in the fall, and it only took me a short while to make the list. I made the grocery list at the same time, even though I probably wouldn't buy everything at once.

I was watching a friend's daughters today, which really makes things easier because the kiddlets run off and play and don't torment me about how they are so hungry. 

Whenever I am working in the kitchen, it makes people hungrier than hobbits.

We had Chicken Broccoli Skillet for lunch. It was pretty good, even though I forgot the cheese, and I got two meals in the freezer with very little extra effort.

Then for dinner (supper if you're from a farm in Iowa), since it has been bitter and blustery, I thought Italian Wedding Soup sounded good. I didn't account for all the kajillions of tiny meatballs. Or the fact that my helpers would want to make meat snowmen. Or that once their friends went home, my Hungry Offspring would be whiny and tearful and prone to accidents.
 I managed to get dinner made, and some extra meatballs, but making the other batches of soup will have to wait until another day, as that was far too ambitious for this pregnant mama. 

My precious eight year old who happens to be in possession of boundless energy made the Onion French Bread and as an added bonus, made some orange sherbet.