Thursday, December 8, 2016

How To: The Last Month of a Pregnancy

As I write I'm 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant or 2 weeks and 4 days until my due date, which I will tell you means absolutely nothing! But, when one is this far along one tends to count the days.

If it's been a hard one (or is currently hard) this is for you. If it's been a joy and you feel ok letting baby stay put as long as their little heart desires... happy day... keep reading too!

A little about me...
I am about to have my 7th baby... yep.
#1 was 13 days overdue
#2 was adopted at the age of 5
#3 was born on his due date (what a considerate child!)
#4 was 9 days overdue
#5 was adopted at the age of 1
#6 was 4 days overdue

... and we will just see what happens this time around. But, as you can see I've had my share of days (and "extra days") in late pregnancy. I've learned to cope... and when I haven't coped well, I learned things then too. Like ugly crying is totally ok. Just tell your children, "Mama is having a hard day, don't worry, I'll feel better after I am done." And you will.


My current status:
I am dog tired. I was up from 3:30 to 6 am with very strong Braxton Hicks contractions, a wiggly baby who wouldn't be settled and general discomfort. My pelvis feels like it's splitting in two every time I walk, and I have heartburn all hours of the day. Plus, (and maybe most of all) I just want to hold my baby and see who he/she is. And... I still have several (likely) weeks ahead of me and that is really discouraging me right now.


So without further delay, here's my list of ideas of ...
How To: The Last Month of Pregnancy!


Don't Focus on your Due Date... and tell anyone who is (including care providers) to step off...

Here's some pretty undeniable facts about why due dates are a load of bologna. The fact is you're likely to safely deliver the two weeks before or the two weeks after any date you or a care provider determine is a "due date", and typically, when a baby chooses to come on it's own is going to be the healthiest and easiest way to deliver them... not a forced induction your body isn't ready for or capable of (of course there are reasons and exceptions to this). If inductions need to be scheduled realize you can always call your provider and ask for a few more days... or make a "deal" with them. It's your body.

If people keep asking "Have you had that baby yet???" Send them this.

A watched pot never boils, as they say. With that in mind, let's move on...



Consider all the things you can be doing... while you wait.

The last month of pregnancy is best spent doing the following...

- Resting. Sleep in girl! Sleep til' noon, if you can. If you can't then move down the list...
- Prepping for baby... get your house spotless and savor the beautiful order. But, don't over do it.
- Enjoying time with your mate. Go on a date... or 4.
- See a movie... or 4.
- Read a book, because your hands will soon be full and holding a book and a baby is harder than you think.
- Stock up on supplies so you don't have to go shopping after baby arrives.
- Practicing a pain management technique. Even if you think you'll get that epidural... don't be fooled, you will be in pain... prepare yourself.
- Take a walk.
- Eat dates.
- Do squats.
- Make some freezer meals and stock up on easy prep food for postpartum.
- Make "Padsicles".
- Go to a La Leche League meeting... nursing might be difficult and getting support will help.
- Read some good, positive birth stories... HERE.
- Make some birth "affirmation" cards to post in your birthing space.
- Go see a chiropractor.
- Get a pre natal massage.
- Do yoga.
- Make sure your camera is in working order and learn how to take better photos.
- Make something, knit, sew, craft, write... be creative.


One of the most overlooked parts of the last month is making a plan for postpartum self-care...

The finish line isn't birth and getting your baby out... while that's important. The goal is overall wellness and your birth (baby's) and yours as a mama.

How are you going to take care of yourself? Learn about "lying in". Consider this plan...
3 days in/around your bed or room
3 days in/around your couch
3 days in/around your house

Investing in concentrated healing will help you SOOOO much in the long run. You need to realize the overall big picture of healing and restoring your body and the sacredness of time you have to set aside with your baby and family as you all adjust.

Set yourself up for postpartum before hand.

It's ok to rest, take it easy and not be "super woman" postpartum, you don't need to prove anything to anyone ... you have a literal gaping wound on your insides... and you and your little one need to adjust to life. Give this time what is required of it.



Give yourself GRACE!

This is my motto these days. I feel like I'm failing everyone and being a huge flop... relationally, physically and mentally. I'm just out of whack. But, the reality of my situation is that I'm exhausted, hurting, mentally preoccupied and sort of all focused relationally (emotionally) on this baby. I am in the last days of growing a HUMAN BEING! While 255 babies are born each minute around the world, that doesn't mean that we should dismiss the personal impact of such a sacred and wonderful act.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world!" - John 16:20-22
If it's hard take care of yourself and realize this wonderful truth... they always come out. Each minute there are 255 new human beings to prove it! One way or another.  Rest in grace and let it be what guides you through this season of time!








Sunday, December 4, 2016

Advent ~ 2016

Were studying the BIG PICTURE of God's redemptive plan... it's good news!



Everyone... almost. One is still cooking away. 





Saturday, December 3, 2016

Eli's Birth Story


Birth Stats...
Estimated Gestational Age: 40 weeks exactly
5 hours labor, 3 total pushes
7 lbs. 7 oz
Unmedicated, Midwife hospital, 2nd Birth

We decided to have our 2nd child at our local hospital, after having our 1st at a free standing midwife run birth center in Tennessee. We had just moved to a western town, with very open ideas and a long history of midwifery influence. Natural birth and breastfeeding are a fairly normative thing here. We felt confident that the hospital would be both safe and less likely to push unneeded interventions on us. We worked with a well established midwifery practice that practices hospital births. At the time we were also still slightly fearful about home birth or didn’t see it’s benefits. I enjoyed my experience with Southwest Midwives but also found that they did less to help me stay well and healthy and low risk than I had experienced at Lisa Ross Birth and Women’s Center. This frustrated me when I became anemic and when I had regular pregnancy issues. But, overall they were wonderful to work with!

I had a very easy pregnancy that whizzed by. It was slightly eye-opening to go to the required hospital tour and “class” (it was a joke) to see that we were really getting more of a hospital experience than we had before or really intended on. However, we charged ahead because the hospital allowed for the midwives to do water births (in the one tub they had, if you managed to be able to “get it”.) 

The day before my due date I lost my mucus plug and felt crampy. I called my parents who lived 8 hours away and told them they might want to come because we all planned for them to take care of our 2 year old while we were at the hospital. They rushed down. It was a cool late April day and I spent most of it rocking in a rocker and playing with Addie. At one point we walked with Tim over to the camp rec room to change lightbulbs and I had to stop walking and just wait the contraction out. 

My parents arrived at about 5pm and we ate a quick bite of food before going in to “get checked” by the midwife on call, Mary Louise, a veteran midwife who looked very much the part… half grandmotherly, half hippy with long gray braids. She was awesome! At 6pm I was at 4 cm and they said they would admit me because things were happening. 

I managed to get the room with the water birth tub! Thank goodness! It was a busy night at the labor ward. I didn’t get to see my midwife much at all during my birth, which was probably the saddest difference for me between my true midwife assisted 1st birth and this 2nd which felt more like an obstetrical model of care birth. I was handed off to a nice labor nurse who was South African. I remember thinking, “At least her accent is soothing.” She was helpful but busy too. At one point the poor woman next door to me was screaming like a mad woman… I mentioned to my nurse that I felt really bad for her and didn’t she have help. She said that she came in complete, after a fast first labor and they didn’t have time to give her the epidural she had planned on having. It made me so sad she didn’t have options to help her. 

Tim and I walked laps around the labor ward… we were the only ones. Everyone else was in bed and I wondered how in the world they could manage to stay put during labor! I’d make a round, go poo and then make another round. Later, I sat on a birth ball or sway by my bed … at some point the nurse check me and I was amazingly at 7cm and she said “I was allowed to get in the tub now…” I thought that was strange… it wasn’t about what I needed, but about arbitrary rules of how far dilated I was. I got in. It only filled half way before the plug would automatically pop up... at that level it wasn’t very effective … or hot enough. But I managed. 

My midwife checked on me once. Not quite there. Then my nurse came in, took a hook and with out telling me broke the bag of water. I was watching and was like “Hey! What are you doing?” Then she said, “There’s a bit of meconium in the water… you’ll have to get out” Which there wasn’t at all… (I later found out that the nurses didn’t like to deal with the water births and would often break the water without the midwife's present to claim there was meconium to require the mother to get out, weather or not here was was any in reality). Soon my midwife came in an checked me and I was getting “pushy”. The nurse was insistent that I “had to get out” per hospital requirements. The midwife “allowed” me to have a few more contractions in the water. Then they basically lifted me out of the tub and I thought “I’m going to drop this baby out of my on the way to the bed…” Sharing this with the midwife she hustled me to the bed were I literally pushed two or three times and out shot a much smaller baby than my 1st. It was nothing like pushing with my 1st.

The whole thing was sort of surreal-ly easy in comparison, and perhaps part of the reason I had opportunity to judge and critique the hospital experience. The baby was announced, “It’s a boy!” and he weighed in at a very amiable 7 lbs. 7 oz. 7 gms.  We named him Elias Carl after a bit of debate. He as born 20 minutes after 12 am. and really all I wanted was a glass of juice and a goodnights rest with my new baby at that point. But, the hospital had other plans… hearing screening, taking him for a bath (after midnight???) and all manner of requirements! 

As I’m getting patched up an orderly (man) walks right in and starts mopping… I asked that he leave, thankfully my midwife demands he come back later… he did, it was when I was trying to nurse my baby for the 1st time. It was just bazaar. My labor nurse says good bye and a my night nurse walks in. She proceeds to wake me up every hour all night long to take my vitals. Finally, I ask her to let me sleep because obviously I’m fine. It wasn’t fun. We try to sleep… Thankfully Elias does sleep and is amazing! 


We expect to see our midwife in the morning and a pediatrician and get cleared up and get to go home the next day… my after care nurse tells me “she doesn’t have time to help me take a shower” and I might pass out, so I’d have to wait to bathe after birth until I get home (so, I guess I can pass out alone there???). Lots of people coming in and out and just acting nosey in my opinion. I keep thinking, “Who are you? And why are you in my room?” 

Finally, my man tells the next nurse (who was a lot nicer) that we are going to leave by 2 pm and what do we need to do to make that happen… she helps us get out. We drive home… My mom sits and makes sure I don’t pass out while showering… we have a great meal and go to bed and sleep like rocks as Elias only wakes a few times that night. 

Personally, it was a slightly annoying experience, but probably an overall IDEAL hospital experience. I was well cared for (other than not being allowed to shower), not pushed into any thing unnecessary, and our overall wishes were respected. It was just different than what I had experienced before and I could feel the difference. 

On the way home Tim said, "I think we should have our next baby at home..." 


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Life the last (few) months

I guess I've been busy!
Last post was in mid September!

Busy is an understatement.

I'm not even sure where to start.

For one... I'm HUGE. Baby is 35 weeks along and I really can't imagine how I'm going to make it to my due date. This one has been a doosy (that's an understatement as well). I've never before felt like I would want to be induced (I still don't) but for real... I can't imagine still being pregnant on December 27th. Lots of prayers for the Lord's help going up all day... and night.

We've taken another trip to Washington to lay my father in law to rest. That was hard, but very sweet.

We've worked a ton on our house. Wish it was almost done... but it will be a long process. We hope to be in it by the end of next summer.

School.

Home.

Camp stuff.

Laundry.

Running back and forth to property.

Tutoring.

Grocery shopping.

Learning lessons.

Life.

It's full. It's good.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

1st Day of School!

It's our 7th year of school at home! I was reveling in that when I realized that if we do this thing until the end I will have homeschooled over 25 years! Ahhhh! That's monumental! 

Daddy takes them on their official send off "Not Back to School Breakfast" to return home for drop off!

The fear of the Lord is our beginning! 

Excitement all around! 

Whitty and mama alone! 

My students.

We have kindergarten through 5th graders this year!!! 

We have future pilots, mothers, nurses and woodworkers of America (or where ever God may call them!) 

My calling is high and humble! 

To 20 some more years! 





Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to Keep Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy & Happy While Homeschooling

This is probably one of the most common questions I'm asked about homeschooling... 

"How in the world do you occupy your little ones... and manage to get ANYthing done?"


Valid concern... 
Considering we have a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old who is nearly as "busy" as her toddler sister. 


I can't figure it out for you, but these are ideas I've tried and regularly use.

~ Do school together. This is my #1 go-to response. If you can't beat them, join them (and I don't mean spankings). Have your little ones "join school". If your big kid/s are doing math, pull out some pattern blocks, pop your toddler in a high chair and call it "math time" for them! When you are doing phonics pull out a workbook or letter tiles and have your 3-year-old do "phonics"... because... it is truly school too. Who say's they have to be 5 to be "going to school". Quite literally, our 4th child has ALWAYS done school with her two older brothers and she's proof this method works!

~ Keep them moving... Tip #2 is that little ones need both a healthy balance of routine and also moving through different activities. It's easy to get focused on your older child's lessons, but keeping a steady supply of activities keeps littles ...
1. Out of trouble
2. Happy
3. Learning at an age appropriate level

~ Do blanket time. Pull out a blanket (we use a rug) and train your toddler to sit and play quietly on it with a bin of toys that they find intriguing. The key... don't be punitive. When they lose interest, move on. 

~ Daily Bins. I make a daily bin (Monday - Friday) that features items that my littles find stimulating. Some ideas are: puzzles, magnet blocks, bristle blocks, legos, pattern blocks, felt board, dry erase board and books, board books, sorting toys. Pull a bin for a half hour and enjoy!

~ PBS kids??? Have a movie block of time... whether that's one show of PBS kids, or Sign Time or another show that they can't be easily distracted from... use it! 

~ Play kitchen. Add in math with a cash register. 

~ Make a sheet tent!!! Or a couch fort! 

~ Pull out child safe (yet adult) kitchen items... big (real) pots and pans, rolling pins, plastic cups and tools are super intriguing to little people!

~ Have a puppet show.

~ Rice or Bean bin. I don't love the mess this makes, but it is a nice treat. And no, I wouldn't go to the lengths of getting a kiddy pool... I'd just rather vacuum! 

~ Invest in a kid trampoline. I was doubtful about this, but after seeing how our preschooler took to it at a sensory physical therapy session we got one! She has "jump time" every day and it's essential for both of us to make it through a winter day! 

~ Playdough or other doughs (like kinetic sand). There's something wonderful about putting a toddler in a highchair and letting them squish and squeeze to their heart's desire while you sit on the couch and read a book aloud... for at least 10 minutes! 

~ Packing. Pull out a suitcase and some clothes (ones just out of the dryer) and let your preschooler pretend to pack for a trip... they will undoubtedly pretend to take a trip and pull around the wheely suitcase for a good half hour!

~ Box play! We all know the mesmerizing qualities of a big empty box. Add crayons ot the mix for and older child and it's even better! 

~ Sensory Bin. For younger toddler a bin of sensory objects are very fun and great developmentally! 

~ Cutting and pasting... get out a tray, safety scissors, and a glue stick and set your little one up at your side (because you never know what will happen with scissors). 

~ Room time. Everyone needs time to be alone. Set up a safe room, fully childproofed with a bin of safe toys and a doorway gate. Teach littles to play in solitude for a short period of time each day, lengthen to close to an hour if desired and handled well. 

~ Fill them up first... this is the best and most vital tip for homeschooling with little ones. Start you day with something for them... songs, a book, snuggles, play with mama... what ever fills ups hteir littel love tanks, do it first thing. They will feel more able to meet the day ahead, spend time alone and playing independently if you've spent time loving and enjoying them first! 










Saturday, September 3, 2016

Science School

 
We went to Mobius Science Center today to view their exhibit on human bodies. 
It was good. 
Not only did we get to enjoy that, but the rest of their fun and interactive exhibits!
It was a good day of school on vacation. 

Spokane is a very unique city... Old and new. Lots of nice trees and archetexture. 

Here's Spokane Falls...