View of the Farm

Last night we went on a little trip around the property. It really wasn’t very long but I did enjoy it. Our little 10 acre piece is surrounded by miles of crops/fields, which I love.
Here are a few bunch of pics…..

view from the western boarder (facing north). It isn’t much to look at…it’s old and kinda messy right now, but it is home and we LOVE it.

turning to the right (facing east)

and another right (facing south)

and another right (facing west)

and the kids……
They like to pick up the cobs of corn that the combines miss so they can have food for the geese at the park, a treat for Kevin, and the alpacas like a few sweet snacks every now and again.

Wyatt was mad at me because I wouldn’t hold him. He’s still so much the baby. *sigh* I should probably work a little harder on that before March.

Yvette and Hayden chasing after the trailer trying to jump back in…

and, of course, John saying “hi” to the alpacas. Can you count them? Yup…there are 7. We got 2 more this year (prego females). More about that in another “Alpacas 101” post.

and Fiona. She’s a brute and huge and usually knocks the kids down just to love on them. Isn’t she pretty? For a dog, I mean. We love her. We really do.

and the kids one more time….
Can’t a mom get a decent group pick? Apparently not. This is the best they’d do for me. I guess I’ll take what I can get.

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I know. It’s been a while. You can find me most days HERE. But I thought these pics were fun to share with family….. *note: don’t wonder about Wyatt’s pants. He just doesn’t like wearing them.

Fall on the Farm

It has been such beautiful weather lately that I can’t help but spend most of the days outside. I truly love this time of year.

Just a fraction of what is still out in the pumpkin patch. Gosh I hope we can get of them before it freezes again. Aren’t they beautiful?!

This is the first year we haven picked edible fruit from out super old apple tree. All the other years they have been too tart to eat or no fruit at all. This year we have only about a 5 gallon bucket full but the apples are large and very yummy. Perfect pie apples….tart yet juicy and a little bit sweet. I hope it produces more next year.

Part of a winter’s worth of wood. John is still working on the pile, though it is about 1/3 of what it was about a month ago. He’s pretty great.

Meet Kevin, our lone guinea hen. He has quite the character. More about his story later.

Anyway, life on this little farm these days has been busy, beautiful, and fruitful. Hope y’all are enjoying your fall too.

Hayden’s Birth

My due date was October 26th. That came and went! Our midwife was calm and reassuring. She gave us a list of labor inducing activities. 😉 A warm bath and a small glass of wine was nice. Raspberry leaf tea, black cohosh, long walks uphill, dancing, scrubbing the floor on all fours, spicy foods, etc. All of which we did. And then some. November came. Days passed. On November 3rd in the morning I called my midwife and told her I was going grocery shopping for the last time before the baby came. I also informed her that I was going to pick up a bottle of Castor oil. She laughed and suggested 2 ways of taking it, but that I needed to make sure I called her as soon as I took it. And then to keep her updated on any progress. You know how nerve racking that was?! Trying to induce my own labor like that! All I could think about was my mother. She was 10 days late with me and took Castor oil. Three hours later she was in hard labor and called her doc. 45 minutes of labor and I was out. I stared at that bottle and tried to decide how ready I was for this. And then I took it.
I went about my day finishing up laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, vacuuming, etc. Nothing was happening. Hours later and nothing happened. Apparently I was either going to be sitting on the toilet for days or I’d go into labor or both. Nothing happened. I called my midwife about 4 hours later and she said to take another ½ dose. Great. Power shitting here we come. But at 9 days over due I was ready and willing to suffer anything to get this baby out. So I took the second dose late afternoon. And waited. John got home, he ate supper (I didn’t want anything more in my stomach, thanks), we showered and crawled into bed early expecting something to happen soon. Nothing. We went to bed about 7:45pm. And at that point I had felt nothing. Not one contraction. I started to doze off when it all began. Around 8:15pm I began feeling contractions. I didn’t wake John, I just stared at the clock and timed them. Right away they were 30-40 seconds long and about 6 minutes apart but they weren’t too strong yet. That changed quickly. By 9:30pm they were 4 minutes apart and a solid 45 seconds long and I had to breathe through them. I could still walk and function but they were getting strong. We called the midwife and her doula. The doula came over shortly before midnight, checked me, and said I had a bit to go before Monica would come. We walked and talked and swayed and moaned through the contractions. By 1am Monica (the midwife) was there. She checked me and said I was about 6cm and had some work to do yet. I was okay. It was hard. But I honestly can’t say it was terribly painful at that point. Everyone stayed calm and focused. John massaged my back as I was having terrible back pain. That hurt more than the contractions. By 3am I was getting tired and anxious and it was starting to really get difficult. Monica checked me again and said I was close and suggested that I do the stairs a few times to speed things up. “Are you kidding me?!” I yelled at her. She just laughed. John walked with me. During the 1 minute between each contraction I quickly went down the stairs, braced myself for the contraction, then ran back up the stairs. I am certain it was quite the site. But it did the job. A few time of that and I was almost a 10. At that point I could barely stand up but Monica kept telling me that there was a “lip” of cervix left and I shouldn’t push yet. She kept trying to push it aside during my contractions but I could hardly take her doing that. Oh my goodness I felt like I was going into shock. Apparently it was transition (the point between full dilation and pushing). Eventually I was ready. Monica suggested trying a couple different position for pushing. I pushed on all fours. That was NOT comfortable for me. I pushed standing up. My legs almost went out from under me. Finally I just laid down on the bed and John was behind. That didn’t work either. Plus he wanted to watch and I needed to SEE him to keep myself calm.

Note: John was absolutely amazing during my whole labor. He never left my side. Not once. He massaged my back, he held me, he was my rock. Every time I thought I was going to lose it, I focused on him and held eye contact and I’d find my way back to a calm breathable state. I know labor was difficult for him too. I remember looking at him during a particularly difficult moment and he was teary eyed. Helpless yet THERE, which to me meant everything.

Women say there is a relief in pushing. I’m not so sure. Pushing was almost more difficult that dilation (for me). It took 3 hours….3 hours! To push him out. I remember at one point probably half way through pushing Monica says to me “Theresa, you have to focus and really push as hard as you can or we’re going to have to get in the car and head to hospital.” Apparently his heart rate had dropped a bit. It wasn’t terribly low but if he didn’t come out soon, she was concerned he’d go into distress. Well, I wasn’t about to walk my laboring self to the car and be driven to the hospital. No way. And I wasn’t going to risk my baby’s well-being by not giving my all. I mustered up the strength and energy to push a million times harder. Oh my goodness! Talk about empowering. Talk about strength! From there on out I don’t remember pain or difficulty. I remember pushing and the burning from his head crowning. And then his head came out and his slippery little body came out in the next push. 9:26am November 4, 2005 Hayden was laid on my tummy….pink, cone headed, and screaming. I burst into tears. As John said, “there were four of us in the room all night and now there is five.” He cried too. Nobody said anything more for several minutes. I delivered the placenta and they cut the cord. Finally after about 5 minutes of staring and soaking up my baby the doula says, “Well, ya gonna look to see what you got?” It hadn’t occurred to us that we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl. BOY. All 10lbs 4oz and 21.5 inches of him. He was perfect. And I lay there staring into his eyes. We had a few moments of complete perfection.

The midwife did her tests and weighed Hayden. John stayed with him while the doula (Jana) helped me into the tub to get washed up. When I returned to the room, our bedding had been changed, everything was cleaned up, and John was standing in the corner ogling our son. I crawled into bed, cradled Hayden, and we all fell asleep. Monica and Jana threw the bedding into the wash machine, filled out their paperwork, packed up their stuff and left before I could even say thank you.

We spent the next couple days in bed together, all of us resting. It was awesome. Truly awesome. Our families came a couple days afterward. Of course John’s parents were shocked and concerned about him being born at home, but ultimately they were excited and happy. My parents came with Steve and Isabell (Betty had to work) and we spent the afternoon together. They were all so proud and happy. I’ll never forget those first few days of bliss. Tired, exhausted, loving bliss.

FYI and TMI: Did I end up with an episiotomy? Nope. It took me so long to push him out that I gradually stretched and didn’t tear. What a relief! Oh, and the pain afterward was almost worse than the whole labor. It was so hard for me to get out of bed to use the bathroom. John had to literally lift me to a standing position because my whole bottom half was so exhausted and sore.

Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! And the crazy thing was that I was anxious to do it again. I can’t even begin to tell you the high I got from labor. Oh my goodness! It was a total rush! Like climbing a mountain and then the freedom of jumping off and flying. It was truly awesome. It was way more intense than anything I had ever experienced…EVER. I understood right then why women would want to do it again, why they would talk about it as “wonderful, mind-blowing, a high”. It is absolutely that and then some.

Labor is mostly mental. If you can train yourself mentally to focus, breath, almost meditate during contractions, you’ll have the birth experience of your life!

p.s. I have a disc with picture from Hayden’s birth but I can’t seem to find it. I will post them as soon as I find the disc.
p.s.s. stay tuned for Yvette’s birth story soon. Hers is completely different in every way…failed induction, second induction, long labor, drugs, etc. Details to follow….

Why Did We Chose the Natural Way?

I thought I’d begin my many upcoming natural childbirth posts with Hayden’s birth story. It really set the pace for my/our passionate view on the subject. And I say ours because my husband John may just be more passionate about the subject than I am. If it were up to him, I’d give birth outside with only him attending. Seriously. He’s pretty hardcore.

Anyway, a jump back in time……

We found out we were pregnant with Hayden shortly after Valentine’s Day 2005. We were ecstatic. A little stunned like most first parents get, but so happy. I remember we were watching The Last Samuri, eating pizza, and drinking beer. I suspected perhaps I was pregnant but I wasn’t quite late yet and I figured that a possible last night of beer sounded like a treat. We paused the movie for a bathroom break and John says, “Well…you gonna pee on the stick or not?” He was just a little anxious. I was nervous. I came back with the test screaming “pregnant”. John beamed ear to ear for about a week. I was happy and filled with so many questions. The next day I spent hours in Barnes and Noble picking out about 3 different pregnancy books, I perused the maternity section at Old Navy, and picked up some ice cream. As I read through the books I began to get more nervous than excited. Reading about labor and delivery made me scared. Like seriously scared. And episiotomies?! Geesh! I was ready to opt for a c-section instead of risk tearing or being cut. Actually, the more drugs the better. I was convinced. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to handle what was inevitably going to happen to me.

I asked the few friends I had who had had babies already and their birth stories were horrendous. Not one single friend I talked to told me about a wonderful birth experience. Not one. I figured I was destined to suffer tremendous amounts of pain, my body was going to get the beating of it’s life, and if I didn’t use the drugs I would probably die (sarcasm here) or never have any more kids.

I resigned myself to this mentality and accepted the inevitable. Until about half way through. I became aware of a rare syndrome that John has. I can’t even tell you the name but it has something to do with his body not being able to absorb pain medication normally. Apparently when he had his tonsils out he stopped breathing and his heart rate dropped. That is when they discovered his sensitivity to certain anesthetics and pain meds. I’m not a doc so I can’t really say anything more than that with certainty. Anyway, this scared me. What if this rarity was passed on? What if this baby had a similar sensitivity? All the books said that those laboring drugs don’t effect the baby, but to me that didn’t make sense. If I couldn’t drink or smoke during pregnancy because of the alcohol and tobacco in my bloodstream being passed right to the baby, then what about those drugs that are directly squirted into my veins. Why would they be exempt from being passed too…even in miniscule amounts. This was my logic. And to this day it makes sense to me. But apparently I’m probably just over thinking it.
Anyway, this was where my mind went. This made me more scared then the physical pain, abuse, and ripping that my body would take. We began to research natural laboring techniques. The Brady Method took front stage. We wanted to talk to other people who sought natural childbirth as well. There weren’t any classes. Our doctor laughed at us and told me I shouldn’t try to be super-woman because most woman can’t handle it. He totally disregarded our medical concerns. Plus, John made the point that woman gave birth without drugs for centuries, what makes women nowadays any different. ? Good point. I was getting close to my 28 week mark and I still hadn’t signed up for a birthing class or even found one that I wanted to take. That’s when someone suggested looking for a doula or maybe a midwife to attend the birth to help keep things natural and calm. I was open to that. The first one I called was super sweet and invited us to attend her birthing class that started that same week. Just our luck!
Our first birthing classes were so awesome and motivating! Who knew that women could do this most spectacular thing!. And walk away not only alive but empowered, happy, and wanting to do it again! Who knew?! I certainly didn’t. But then I remembered a particular family I babysat for in high school. They had like 5 kids…all at home! That to me was crazy. It was crazy then and it sounded crazy still but somehow my mind started wondering… “could that be the answer? Can I really do that? They talk about it so lovingly. Should we talk about it?”
In early September we decided it was time to tour the birthing ward at the hospital. I knew that if I was going to successfully give birth without drugs, being relaxed and calm was of the utmost importance. And comfort. Not being distracted by my surroundings, being able to focus, not being disrupted or pushed to hurry up, etc. These were important and I understood that. After touring the birth ward, asking questions, and pretty much being laughed at again by the nurses, I looked at John as we walked out and said, “I can’t do it there.” It was then that we openly discussed the possibility of a homebirth. He was concerned about my pain tolerance. I was concerned that the midwife wouldn’t be available and what our families would say. Well, the midwife was available and coached us during those last weeks, I knew that if I could mentally prepare myself then physically I could do it, and we told no one of the homebirth except a couple friends we knew would be supportive and not question us. My mother knew simply because I needed to tell someone close. She had her reservations and we talked about it. But ultimately she respected our decision, trusted that everything would be fine, and supported us wholeheartedly. I love her. I’m pretty sure my dad knew too as she can’t keep too many things a secret from him. J
And so it was final. We were doing a homebirth. And we were excited! A bit naïve about the whole thing, but aren’t all first time parents?

This is how the whole natural childbirth passion came about for us. It was a sort of “have to” in our minds. When in actuality it wasn’t…at all. But that’s okay. Because having a successful homebirth the first time around set the pace for the rest.

The actual birth story in the near future.