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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: May 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Buying in Bulk ~ A snapshot

Lancaster County.  The heart of Amish Country in our area... including a fabulous Amish run health food store that we just love!  And all sorts of farms, Amish and non Amish alike.  And the Apple Store.

You heard that right. 

No.  Not an apple orchard.  The Apple Store.  In a huge mall.  We've even been there.  It's the closest Apple Store to us and last year My Beloved's office decided to go with iPhones for their tech team.   This meant that when something went wrong with his phone, we made our way to Lancaster.  

We never just go to Lancaster though.  It's a good hour from our home.  When we go to Lancaster, we GO to Lancaster.  We hit all our favorite stops and stock up.  The wonderful health food store where the kids can see horse and buggy go down the street, or even parked in the parking lot.  The farm where we say hi to the sheep and buy our free range (now frozen) chickens.  And sometimes stop in and pick up from the co-op we use for bulk purchases.  And some visits... The Apple Store.  
This past week, however, we didn't go as a family.  We often pick up chickens and other items for friends when we go, but this time, these friends needed to go The Apple Store to get their computer fixed, so the men went alone.  

You may be surprised to find out that this post is not, in fact, about The Apple Store at all (except that it cracks me up that it's in Lancaster... with the Amish.  But that's not the point.)  Nope, this post is more about those of us who stayed home on Friday.  You see, going the Lancaster involves some prep work.  Making room for everything that comes home.  

When My Beloved left Friday morning, my freezers looked like this...

Later, he would return with 9 chickens, a lot of cheese (best prices we've found so we buy bulk), and a number of other things.  

Filling the top of our chest freezer is 1/8 of a grass fed cow we purchased from a farm in Gettysburg last week (we buy 1/4 cow with these same friends every year or so).  And for some reason (on sale maybe) there are a dozen or so bags of frozen broccoli in there too.  And several gallon bags of frozen pitted cherries we never got around to canning last summer.  And all the wine berries we picked last summer but never got around to making into jam (long summer).
My job?   Making room!  

I pulled this.  Tossed that.  Moved this to the fridge.  Ah... that just about does it. 
Of course, I didn't know if it would be enough room until they got home, but it all seems to have worked out.  

Doesn't look different???  That's because I fit all those chickens in on the bottom.  Believe me.  It's different!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Respecting our little men

I'm not very good at this, but I know that ultimately, I am raising men in my household.  Not boys, but men.  It's so easy to get bogged down in the daily grind of frustrating moment after moment of disciplining and training and on and on and on.  So easy to roll my eyes and want to tear my hair out and wish they were sleeping or playing somewhere else (if only I would let them).  So easy to yell or at least address the issues through gritted teeth.  Easier still to belittle and apply guilt to each failure on their part.

But is this how to raise the kind of men I want to present to the world?


I love this list of 10 ways for a mother to respect her son

Oh if I could just apply these to my daily living along side these boys.

And don't miss the 10 ways for a mother to respect her daughters!

Equally fabulous!

Join me in raising men and women who can please God, not simply the kids running wild in our homes?

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Long week... and no internet

We're having some issues with my computer and it's access to the internet.  Most of the time the wireless icon in the bottom right hand corner of my screen has a little x on it.  The rest of the time it should.  I get all excited that I finally have some signal, and that I can get online to look something up or post or something, but I can never really get anywhere.  Then, before I know it... op... little red x again.  Hmmm.

At any rate... I'm here.  I want to be here.  And hopefully I'll be able to get back to my regular posting schedule in the next week. :)  Please bear with me folks... thanks for showing me grace!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Please pray

A post came through my feed this morning asking me to pray and I'm passing it on...

The Mouro Family: Urgent prayer needed

This link is just to the latest post as of now.  You'll have to poke around for updates or for the story behind it.

Short version... a little guy (13ish months) fell into a 5 gallon bucket and drowned.  He was found by a sibling, pulled out, and later revived by EMS.

The same minute I read it, I sent my 5 year old out to turn a couple 5 gallon buckets in our back yard upside down, emptying the little bit of water that accumulated in the rain overnight.

I'll be praying for this family I don't know... I ache for them!  Will you join me???


Friday, May 18, 2012

Field Trip Friday

This past Saturday, our family had an opportunity to go on a field trip to see fire fighters in action.  

A house owned by the organization My Beloved works for is scheduled for demolition, so they donated it to the local fire department to use for practice.  

Unfortunately, the aren't able to burn it down and actually fight the fire due to some legal issues and the location of the house, but there are plenty other things they can do.

We were running late, and I feared we'd be missing big things, but when we arrived, they looked like they'd hardly been there.  A group of about 6 fire fighters stood around talking.  This gave some time for the kids to look at the truck.  The boys especially liked it!

The first order of business was to get there with axes and open the walls and ceiling "looking for hot spots in the walls."  We didn't get to go inside with them, but My Beloved asked if he could come in and take pictures.  Since he's an EMT in the same township (and had his t-shirt on), I guess they didn't mind.  This way the kids and I could see what was happening inside.

This guy was showing the others how they can kick into the drywall to make a ladder.  Crazy! 

After the inside was sufficiently damaged, they got their smoke making machine out and filled the house with smoke.  What a great opportunity to show the kids what that looks like.

Then the guys suited up.  Apparently, these guys are certified to fight fires from outside.  Today they would practice the inside stuff.

They made dolls out of fire hose and hid them in the house for the trainees to find.

The kids and I talked about how they take air in with them because they can't breath in the smoke.

It was apparently very dark in there...

and very smoky!   The pictures don't do it justice.

My Beloved took the kids in part way to the kitchen so they could see what it was like in a smoke filled room.  They practiced crawling through it to get outside. Tornado kept trying to stand up and Sweet Pea really didn't like it.

As it turns out, she's woken up twice this week from nightmares.  When I ask her what's wrong, she tells me (in her half asleep voice) that she couldn't see in the smoke.  Ahem.  Who would have expected that to backfire on us???

Still, they have experienced it now.

Little Man, Belle and I stayed outside.

Then, the highlight, My Beloved asked if the kids could have a ride to the top of the hill and back.

Little Man, especially, was thought it was very cool!

This wasn't a public thing and we were the only ones there to watch.  The kids did a lot of running around and even climbed a tree in between having something to look at and watch.

Most people schedule a field trip to the fire house... this was so much better.  I think they are doing similar practices the rest of the month... maybe even using their fire hoses eventually.  Perhaps we'll return!

Did your family go anywhere fun this week???

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monday morning

This was from Christmas... imagine it worse!

The house was a wreck, but it would have to wait.  My Beloved began loading the older kids in the car while I finished in the bathroom with Little Man.  We were already running late.  A friend is helping My Beloved build a bench/ storage solution for our kitchen table so he took the day off to work on it.  All our kids are about the same age, so we all "took the day off" to spend the day with together.

The men had a goal of wrapping up the one project and starting in on the trundle for Little Man.  That part of the project would be at our home, but I'd forgotten that.

"I feel bad for him..."  My Beloved said as he climbed in the car.  The kids were all loaded now and he'd run back in the house for something.  "The back of the house smells bad and he has to go all the way into the kids room."

I was devastated.  Not because I was embarrassed at what our friend would see (and smell... the difficult to cover smell of cloth diapers and laundry 3 loads behind), but because I knew that my sweet husband was embarrassed.

All too quickly this post came to mind and I realized that I was not doing my husband good.

Even worse than him being embarrassed??  I know he is not happy and comfortable in our home on a daily basis.  I do not keep a haven for him.  I'm blessed that he hurries home to me at all with all that surrounds him around here these days.

Yes, we have a new baby.  Yes, we have 3 other children, ages 5 and under.  Yes, days are long and many days are challenging.  Yes, I'm sleep deprived and easily destructible, working with multiple "training" moments throughout every day.

Yes, many of you are probably thinking that I'm justified.  Don't be so hard on yourself, you're thinking. 

But I know.

I know.

I could do more.  I could stand back up after sitting down.  I could push through and do more than just the easy stuff.  I could get through the day and go to bed exhausted.  Others do it.  I, too, could work into the night if need be. 

I have another chance.  (We always have another chance!  His mercies are new every morning!)  The morning's projects took longer than expected.  There were distractions and interruptions.  The kitchen bench remains unfinished.  I didn't expect to be so glad wait longer for it.  I would have another chance.

I would scrub the bathroom.  Catch up on laundry.  Vacuum the huge dust balls from the hall.

The house would start turning around and he looks pleased.

I begin doing him good, not harm.  Lord help me to do this!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Way to a Man's Heart

Over the years my sweet husband has commented about how he'd love it if I made a number of things.  We've been married more than 7 years now and I've yet to touch most of them.  But I'm determined to change that.  I'm done sticking with what I know.  I'm going to branch out.  Add some spice (er... sweetness?) to his life.

So this past week I took a stab at a Banana Cream Pie... without all the "instant" ingredients many recipes call for.  Completely from scratch.  And not just whipped cream on top either... real meringue. 

He loved it!  And it was easy!  I'd never tried a cream pie... or the meringue.  Now I've tried both.

And it was sooooo good!

There's half a Lemon Meringue Pie in the fridge now.  Another I'd never tried before.  So much easier than I ever thought.  The meringue didn't turn out as well this time, but it's still really good.  And now I know to be more careful.

I wonder what I'll try next.

My Beloved keeps telling me that it's true... the way to a man's heart really IS through his stomach!

Here's to many more years of winning my man's heart! 

Linking to:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dressin' Up

When our babies are really little, we've always followed the hospital's recommendation to keep them home for the first six weeks.  So for the first six weeks or so of our sweet one's lives, they pretty much live in those infant gowns.  Especially since I was introduced to Elimination Communication! It's just easier.

So I'm just thrilled to be dressing up my little girl and taking her out.  Especially to church.

Problem is, most of the cuteness is hidden in my sling.

This would never do!

So one Saturday, a week or so ago, I realized that I didn't have any cute, girlie headbands for little Belle to wear to church.  If only her head was going to peak out of that sling, there had to be some girlie cuteness on it.  But what to do?

I grabbed some of my pink cotton yarn and started crocheting.  My internet has been iffy (to say the least), so I didn't have a pattern, or anywhere to start really, so I just started.  My first start wasn't working great, so I tore it all out.  Then I started out again.  Perfect!  

I got it done in a bit of time late Saturday night and she had it to wear Sunday morning... and most anytime we go out for that matter!

I think I'll make a few more.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day in the Early Years

Crime and punishment... doing a little clean up
Mother's Day with young children is only what you make of it.  Especially for the home school mom!

No one else is helping our children string pasta on a necklace for you to wear, or pressing their hand prints into plaster, or to draw handmade cards.  If we wanted a gift this year for Mother's Day, we had to help make it ourselves.

And did any of you get the day off from child training?  Discipline?  Bad attitudes?  I certainly didn't.

But I think that is a big part of what made my Mother's Day special.  I engaged my children.

If I viewed Mother's Day as being all about me, I would have had a rough day.  Instead, I took each behavior and attitude problem one at a time, set up practice opportunities, and worked with them.  Instead of waiting to be honored, I chose to truly mother them.  And in doing so, I truly enjoyed them.

I wonder what my days would be like if I treated each one the same way???

I hope your Mother's Day was as great as mine was!!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

My Weakness, My Sin

I really can't remember the last time I said no to a piece of chocolate. Or just five more minutes of reading (or ten, or fifteen, or twenty... you know how that goes). I eat what I want when I want, and I do what I want when I want. As a stay-at-home mom, I am my own boss. No one is looking over my shoulder, checking up on me.

I am selfish and self-indulgent. I consider my own desires to be more important than the desires of others, and allow my indulgences to inhibit my service of others. Like indulging myself in wasted time when I should be serving my family by cleaning my home or making dinner.   (The Purposeful Wife)

I didn't write this... but I certainly could have.  Except replace the time reading with sitting at my computer.  And the "piece" of chocolate with "bag".


Self-indulgence is certainly not the only sin I struggle with, but it's a big one... and one I struggle with daily... as in right now.  And not only does it grieve God, it is dishonoring to my husband and unloving to my children.

In the week since I read this post and felt the full conviction of my sin, I've lost 2 pounds.  Crazy, I know.  And I'm not doing anything real special.  I haven't started exercising like I had hoped and I've had a decent sized dessert almost every night.  For the most part I've still eaten what I want, when I want.

The difference?  "What I want, when I want" just isn't the same when I keep Jesus in my sights and repent over-indulgence.  Am I done with this sin?  Certainly not.  I'm not so proud (one of my other sin issues) to think I won't fall in this area again.  But by His grace I'll take it one step at a time.

Hop over to The Purposeful Wife to read the whole article.  You won't be sorry... or maybe you will.  Either way, it's a good thing.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012


This past Fall I shared the ministry of Jeff and Becky Raymond.  They have the amazing opportunity to come alongside missionaries to tell their stories, making those missionaries more effective in communicating heir ministries.

And now, they have released the first of a series of short videos that share their story... their ministry.

I've never heard of a ministry quite like it.  You've got to check it out!!! 

Empower from Jeff Raymond on Vimeo.

What do you think?  I'd love to hear your comments.  Have you every heard of a ministry like this?


Monday, May 7, 2012

Our first month with Belle

Remember this...

I loved this little hat.  But I wondered.  I wondered as I was putting the finishing touches on this little hat if, in fact, it would be too little.

My concern was that it isn't very stretchy.  There's no forgiveness in this little hat.  Still, I loved it.  So I hoped.

Then my little Belle was born.  Nine pounds, nine ounces.  And she was big.  That pudgy little face... I can still see it.

Do you see that sweet, soapy little head?  It was not going to fit into that cute little[r] hat.

It's okay, I decided.  I have a big, healthy, baby girl!  That's good enough for me. 

And she was nursing better than any of my other babies already.  We were off to a good start.  I'd spent a lot of my pregnancy praying that this baby would gain weight as she should, unlike any of my others. 

We left the hospital the next day and just like the others, I began following her weight gain on my scale at home.  We were home a day earlier than I was used to with my other babies because of the night time birth and no group beta strep, so I wasn't surprised that her weight was down a bit more that first day home.  Even the next day.  She wasn't loosing at an alarming rate, and I know that first week is tricky with milk coming in and all, so I determined not to worry.

Things were going well, so when Saturday came, we said with sureness of heart, that we were going to be fine on our own and sent My Beloved's mother home to Michigan with his dad.  It seemed silly to take her offer to stay when it meant Dad would have to do the whole 9 hour drive again the following weekend to pick her back up.  No, we were fine.  She could certainly go home with him.  The church would be bringing meals and things were settling in nicely.  So we said good-bye Saturday morning and off they went.

It was when I weighed Belle again that afternoon that I began to wonder if something really was wrong.  She weighed in at 8 pounds 8.5 ounces.  More than a pound lost since birth.  Seemed to me that was more than the "considered normal up to 10% of birth weigh lost".  We watched even more closely.  Then it seemed to be leveling out.  Monday morning the doctor wasn't worried.  He looked her over said that she didn't have any signs of dehydration.  I was so encouraged.  Now I could relax a little.

But I'm not good at relaxing.

By Tuesday or Wednesday she'd lost another two ounces, so I started pumping and feeding her by cup.  This took so much time and I really started to doubt our decision to send my mother-in-law home!  I also made a call to the hospital's lactation consultant.  Her weight went up some before my lactation appointment Thursday afternoon, but I'd fed several feedings exclusively with expressed milk and that little medicine cup and topped her off with it for all the rest.

Turns out that she was a model nurser during our appointment, not doing it the way she usually had.  The consultant said she wouldn't call her a strong nurser, but she was doing okay.  Part of me was frustrated that Belle didn't demonstrate what we had been doing so I could get the help we needed, but the other part of me was grateful.  At least now I knew that if we could do this good (and now I knew it was possible), it was "good enough".  During that nursing, she took in almost 2 ounces of milk (we did a before and after weighing).  And as I nursed and we talked, I answered question after question for her.  As we wrapped up our time together, she said she thought it was going to be okay.  That after hearing that all my babies have been slow gainers, she thinks it's just the way it is with me.  She also said that I could continue adding cup feedings after nursings as long as I thought I needed to and that I could come back if I needed as well.  I left their encouraged too.

Then, the next day, she'd lost everything she'd gained the previous... and by Monday, now 2 weeks old, she weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces.  I continued pumping (a couple times a day) and feeding Belle with the cup, one sip at a time, after each day time feeding.  This took most of my time.  She nursed 45 minutes to an hour each time, then took 10-20 minutes to take another ounce or more by cup.  Then a couple times a day I would pump... and wash all that I used to do that.

I continued this all week and by Saturday she'd gained 3 1/2 ounces!  The doctor, Wednesday, said she looked healthy.  He still wasn't worried.  This blew my mind.  The pediatrician we used to use would have said "failure to thrive" and put us on formula weeks ago!  So glad we changed doctors.

Saturday came and went.  She'd weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces.  It was time for bed and I'd had no chance to pump all day.  I was out of breast milk for cup feeding the next day.  I figured I'd try to get it done in the morning after My Beloved and the big kids left for church.  But it didn't happen.  It was afternoon, she'd weighed in half an ounce down for the day, and I still didn't have any milk pumped.  I took a deep breath and decided to just see what happened.  This would be a good test, after all.  What would she do if left only to nursing?

Monday's weight... she'd regained that half an ounce lost!  I was thrilled.  It wasn't much, but it was on her own strength, and she never looked back.  I haven't pumped since.

That first month of her precious life was long.  Hectic.  Busy!  But I am grateful for it.  I am reminded again that it is the baby we are to look at, not the scale!

She was wetting diapers, pooping, waking, sleeping.  She was strong.

She was fine.

I'm hopeful that I've learned my lesson for this baby and that I won't worry each month about what the numbers on the scale read.  Each of my other children have grown slower than the charts said they should.  And each of them was fine.  This time I want to watch the baby!  Not the scale!  And to truly trust the Lord for wisdom when it comes to problems!

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Belle's Birthstory ~ Part 4

Miss parts 1, 2, or 3?

My midwife had stepped out to the bathroom quickly before it was time to start.  It was while she was gone that I felt the urge to push.  But I was nervous to do so.  I wasn't sure like I was when Little Man was born.  I breathed through that contraction, urging my nurse, now Bethany, that we needed Barb (the midwife) fast!  Sensing my urgency after I said something the second time, she headed out to find her.  As she stepped around the curtain, and out the door, Barb came around the other side. 

She checked me again and I was ready.  I pushed with the next contraction.  I struggled, tired, to do the best I knew I could do.  I needed to roll over, assume "the position."  Time was short as another contraction was upon me.  My sweet husband was holding the freshly rinsed out basin in case I should need it again, but I wanted -- needed -- him to support my let.  Poor guy!  For lack of words, I grabbed it from him and threw it over his shoulder.  I guess I was feeling a bit desperate.

I pushed through one, maybe two more contractions, and she was here.  They laid her on me, skin to skin, while drying her with a towel and doing all those little checks they do. 

20.5 inches long
In a few minutes she was nursing, latched herself right on.  They put a little hat over her head of dark hair and tucked us in with a nice warm blanket.  All the while my midwife worked and waited to deliver the placenta, forgoing the Pitocin shot at my request.  My sweet girl just lay there in my arms nursing more than an hour before I finally let them have her to weigh and bathe.  But even all that was done right in my room.  9 pounds, 9 ounces.  20 1/2 inches long.

After getting cleaned up myself, I felt well enough to take over photographer duties... for which My Beloved was grateful.  He was tired, hungry and hurting.  His knees were sore from all the standing the last couple hours.

First bath

Once things calmed down and the nurses had left us, we had to decide on a name.  Poor guy@  After a few minutes, he didn't care any more.  We were narrowed down to two and he just said to pick one.  Of course I wanted him to be happy with the decision.  Finally it was final. (Though I would go on to second guess that decision through the night.

My Beloved headed home to an empty house with blessing from me to sleep in -- his only chance for a nice long, un-bothered night rest in a long time and fore a long time.  He would get the kids back tomorrow.

It was just me and my baby girl now.  Midnight.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Belle's Birthstory ~ Part 3

Did you miss parts 1 and 2?

While the nurse was helping me get comfortable on my side and getting the monitors hooked up, there was a knock at the door... and a man's voice.  My Beloved went to answer it (since I was not decent at that moment) and I asked the nurse to make sure I was covered up in back.  It was our pastor and his wife with missionary friends who would be leaving in the morning.  My Beloved talked with them in the hall for a moment while Nicole worked to locate and keep the baby's heart beat in the monitor.

She did find it, but only if a bit of pressure was applied.  "I wonder if your husband would be willing to hold this?" She asked... so I called to him. Once he was settled on the bed next to me, we invited our visitors in.  Not the most opportune time, but sweet of them to want to come since they were leaving in the morning.

We visited a couple minutes, then Pastor said they wouldn't stay, but "let's pray."  Just at that moment, a contraction came.  "Oh, could you wait a sec?" I asked, closing my eyes.  And then as it ended, "Okay, let's do this!"  I was feeling urgency to have them done and gone before the next contraction.

While he prayed, I started feeling the slightest bit sick and I focused hard not to be.  As they left, my friend said something about hoping it would be soon.  "I want to push that button before you get to the parking lot," I joked, only sort of joking.

They they were gone, and before they reached the double doors by the nurses station, I told My Beloved that I was going to be sick.  He moved quickly from behind me, bringing the basin he had all ready for this moment (I'm always sick in transition!)  He brought it just in time!  Between heaves (sorry for TMI) and surely before my visitors were in the elevator, I squeaked out a quiet "push the button".

A nurse clicked through, but never even asked what we needed.  No doubt they could hear me.  They clicked right back off and my nurse and midwife were there in a moment.

Like much of my labor, this transition was different than the others.  I didn't experience tremors or extreme heat and sweating.  I even felt fine again after.  Very discouraging as I felt like I was going backward, not making progress.  I took the nurses advice to try a different position, but when the contraction began on my hands and knees, I didn't like it.  I was relieved to be on my right side by the time the next contraction came.  My midwife stepped out to use the bathroom before it would be time to start. 

It was while she was gone that I felt the urge to push.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Belle's Birthstory ~ Part 2

Did you miss part 1???

I made the scary decision to walk in from the parking lot, and again, I was grateful (though also a little concerned) that no very intense contractions came while we walked.  My Beloved hit the speaker button when we arrived at the double doors on the third floor and a lady's voice asked if she could help us.  Before My Beloved could answer, I said, "I'm having a baby."  Without a word, they hit the buzzer and the doors swung open.  "That's the password," one of them said as we approached the nurses station.

I was delighted to recognize the nurse in the little per-admitting room.  The same nurse, Nicole, from Little Man's birth.  I got changed and settled.  They hooked up the monitor and then my midwife stepped in to check me.  Six centimeters dilated, 80% effaced and station 0.  Not bad.  And it was only 2:30pm.  When Sweet Pea was born, we were only in the hospital a couple hours before she was born, so surely this wouldn't take much longer.

After having learned my "it's better to change positions regularly" lesson with Little Man, I was determined to move around as much as I could this time.  Once I was in our room and the monitors were off, we got me up and out of bed.  Laying down, it seemed, slowed contractions a bit, but once I was walking around the room, I was sitting down for another contraction every couple minutes.

My back pain continued to get worse during contractions, making the chair I was using uncomfortable.  I tried leaning forward over the bed from the chair, but that wasn't working either.  They brought the birthing ball in and we tried that.  It allowed My Beloved to sit behind me on a stool to push on and rub my lower back while I learned forward on the bed, but I still wasn't comfortable.  When I could tell it wasn't working and the contraction was intensifying, I leaned back on My Beloved instead.  That was wonderful!

I had thought, the previous week, how nice it might be to have him behind me for part of labor, supporting me in that extra way.  But I hadn't figured out how to make it work.  This ball-stool combo was perfect.  I could walk around between contractions, then sit on the ball and lean back into his arms and between his legs with my shoulders and head resting on his body during contractions.  Then, he'd easily help me back up when it was done.  And, the best part is that it also reduced the back pain greatly!

Time passed and I was getting tired.  A good sign, I thought.  Perhaps entering more active labor.  My Beloved turned out the lights, leaving the window blinds open, and I settled onto my right side.  I lay there comfortably, even dozing between contractions, for I don't know how long.  My Beloved played a game on his iPhone. 

"Uh oh," the nurse said when she came in to check on me.  "Why are the lights off?"  I think she took it as a good sign.  My Beloved reported that contractions were every 2-4 minutes and running 1.5-2 minutes long.  All this he'd noted through observation because I wasn't talking much.

After a while though, I became restless, so we got me back up to walk around and use the ball and My Beloved through contractions.  All through the afternoon came offers to check me again and to break my water.  I was not interested.  I didn't want to be checked just for the sake of knowing, and I was afraid breaking my water would increase the intensity of my contractions (as it did with Tornado's birth) and I'd still have hours to labor.

Then my midwife came in.  "That looks too comfortable," she said to me, reclining on My Beloved from the ball when she came in.  She gave some suggestions for leaning and rocking that can help baby move or turn as well as help with back labor.

Then she explained that she had three mammas all in about the same place and wanted to check to see where I was at so she could see where she might be needed first.  So back into bed I climbed.  Eight centimeters, 95%, and still 0 station.  Not what I'd hoped to hear.  It was around 8 pm -- but better than no progress at all.

While I was in bed, my nurse wanted to put me on the monitor for 15 minutes just to see how the baby was doing.  I was not comfortable sitting/reclining back though, so she said she could set up the monitors with me laying on my side.  Perfect!  I wanted to try laying on my left side anyway. 

While I was getting situated and she was getting the straps on, there was a knock on the door... and a man's voice.  It was Pastor and his wife with missionary friends of ours... here only for tonight.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Belle's Birthstory ~ Part 1

39 weeks... the last picture of my pregnancy.
Contractions were beginning again.  Like the other night.  Like last week.  I didn't dare expect it to mean anything.  We were at church.  It was Sunday morning.  I felt... ichy.

The contractions came and went, some of them just more discomfort than anything.  I was definitely uncomfortable.  Still I didn't think labor.  Cramping... ichiness... yes.  But not necessarily labor. 

It was half way through the service, juggling three children, who weren't sitting still, by myself (while My Beloved ran the sound board) that I first really wondered if I could be in labor.  I didn't want to be there.  I wanted to cry.  To curl up and sleep.  "Hmm..." I thought, "That sounds a bit like labor."

Still the service continued.  At one point Little Man was laying backward and upside down on the seat beside me, but I wasn't going to fight it.  The contraction was too intense.  Once it stopped, I regrouped the kids.

All the time I tried to hide possible signs of labor from those around me who might notice.  If the contractions were simply going to stop again, I didn't want people expecting anything.

We made our way, slowly, to the car after the service, walking with friends who had a bag of unused newborn things for us.  My Beloved was so sweet to take the highway home, avoiding the many turns, curves and bumps of the "back" way we usually take.  Once home, I took up my place on the couch while that wonderful man of mine covered lunch and kids.

I folded some laundry and we began officially tracking contractions -- coming 3-5 minutes apart.  As the kids ate their lunch, My Beloved called the friends who would be taking care of our kids while we were at the hospital, letting them know it might be time.  Contractions had been coming 2-5 minutes apart for a least 45 minutes, not counting all during church.  I was glad he'd called.  They were out for lunch and said they'd wrap up and be over in 30 minutes.

When Tornado (5) finished his lunch, I had him join me in the kids room.  I sat on the bed and he gathered various things (clothes, shoes, jammies, special blankets, etc.) for me to pack up for them over night.  He loaded the washer with laundry too, and was simply overjoyed to be helping Mommy.  As I laid everything in the duffel bag, he told me "I'll close the zipper for you so you won't have to use your muscles."  He was very aware of my contractions.  It was precious!

In the living room, Daddy had placed the car seats, bringing out Tornado's new booster seat and resizing his old car seat for Little Man (19 months).  Little Man was still there... strapped in.  He didn't want to get out.

Daddy had called the doctor, and he now called us back, giving the go ahead to come to the Birthplace.

Our friends arrived with their kids, having packed up the remains of their lunch.  I sat down with B to explain the few things I thought would be helpful... disposable diapers, putting Little Man on the potty, Tornado's inhaler, bedtime routines, etc.  They would need to get the extra seat of their van for everyone to fit, so we left them all at our house to sort out the details and we headed to the hospital... the back way.  Oops.  Weren't even thinking about it.  Gratefully, not many contractions came during the curvy places.  This had me wondering... was it really labor after all?

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