Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Much Needed Sleep

For the past week or so, Julius has been waking up every night with scary dreams. He then spends the next 15 to 30 minutes crying until we (usually Nate) can get him calmed down and back to sleep. This morning, Nate and I pleasantly woke up to find that Julius had slept the whole night through, without disruption and drama. Ahhhh!!!! What a difference a good night's sleep makes. Maybe tonight, we can go for two nights in a row! One can only hope!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Ready

Is anyone else like me in that you tire of getting ready day in and day out? You know, the same old routine, shower, dress, do hair and makeup. It gets old day after day. Yeah, sometimes I skip the make-up, but I always regret it some point later in the day when someone unexpectedly comes over or I need to run to the store. I am one of those not so fortunate women that really need some form of make-up on daily. If not, I get asked if I am tired or not feeling well. I don't blame people. I do look tired and not well when I don't have any make-up on.

Well, now I sound like I am complaining. I better stop. I was just wondering if anyone else ever gets frustrated or tired by the whole process. It might make me feel better if I am not the only one!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Prayer Needed

Yesterday, we held an open house that had a very good turnout, according to our realtor. Please pray for us that we can sell our house soon! We are anxious to get to the country! Plus, I know that this house can be a blessing for another family, just as it has been a blessing for us, these past five years.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Thomas Jefferson Education

A while back I read Oliver DeMille's, A Thomas Jefferson Education. I was amazed and inspired by the book, but didn't jump into his program right away. Nate recently read it, and we have begun our journey together, trying to achieve a classics/mentor style education. So far we are only a few books into the process, but I am so enjoying what I am reading and the conversations that Nate and I are having.

Here is what we are reading and discussing now.

What great books have you recently read?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So Very Happy

Today is Nate's last day of the after school program. I am so happy! I know I am very spoiled in that even with the after school program, my hubby is often home by 6 pm and has the summers off. Let's just say we all really enjoy having daddy around as much as possible! Now with the program finishing up, he will be getting home about two hours earlier each day. Those two hours make a huge difference in our family life. The kids love having the extra play time. This mommy loves having daddy around to distract the kids so I can get dinner on the table. And, without a doubt, Nate enjoys having to work two less hours in a day! Welcome home, honey! We are happy that you will be returning to your normal schedule!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

100th Post!

Well, I got on my blog today and saw that this post would make 100. I can't believe I have posted 100 times already. Thank you to those out there who listen to me drone on about nonsense, most days, and patiently look at all my pictures! I hope there has been some sense of value and contribution made to your lives somewhere in these first 100 posts. May the next 100 add even more value, even if in the form of cheap entertainment and humor!

Here are a few pictures that I have been meaning to post.

Layla found some flashcards from Nate's days as a third grade teacher and wanted to work on them. The abacus on the baby's toy served the purposed of helping her add these numbers. I think this was a good activity for her because it helped her see numbers more as individual units.

Julius was being goofy for the camera.

Gunnar has yet to walk on his own, but is enjoying walking around with the help of furniture.

Layla and Julius built this Lincoln log home all by themselves. I was pretty impressed!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Piece of Work

This is Layla's first drawing of cars. I thought it was pretty good! She was frustrated because she couldn't make the yellow lines on top of the black pavement.

Layla came to me with this picture. My reaction, and subsequent laughter made her cry out of embarrassment. We had a nice discussion about being very careful about what you write because you never know who will read it, what effect it could have on others' feelings and how it might make others view you. I think she got the point. The next day she redeemed herself with this.

And then my favorite. A portrait of our family. Layla is the tallest on the left. I really do believe that she thinks she is the "biggest" of the family sometimes!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wish Granted

A few weeks back, when we still had plenty of snow on the ground, Layla found her sunhat, pushed up her sleeves and pant legs of her long john pajamas, and told me she was ready for it to get warm. Well, she got her wish, at least for now. It is suppose to be 66 degrees today! Enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Fever....Literally

A little bit back, Nate was sick with a bug that he probably picked up at school. It was only a matter of time before the rest of us got the pleasure of experiencing his discomfort.

But with all the fevers, chills, runny noses and voices that sound like we are a bunch of chain smokers, there is one factor that makes this all much, more bearable. Spring is upon us!

When you are sick in the winter, you have to stay all snug in your house and avoid the cold snow and blistery winds. But when you are sick in the spring, well, that's a different story. Yesterday, it practically felt warmer outside than it did in the house. So all of us, fevers, running noses and all, headed outside for a bit in the backyard. I knew the sunshine and warm air would be good for us.

Temporarily, I forgot I was sick, and so did the kids. They rode their bikes and other toys, while Gunnar hung out in his exersaucer and I raked leaves. The fresh air smelled wonderful and the extra Vitamin D was surely appreciated. But after about an hour, our noses were running and the fevers were becoming stronger, so we reluctantly headed back in to rest. The kids conked out immediately on the couch and Gunnar and I sat back and quietly rested, too.

We are still feeling pretty bad off today, but I hear it is suppose to be even warmer, and I am looking forward to some more sunshine on my face this afternoon.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Little Too Much

While doing dishes the other night, Julius came to me with a small tube of Aquaphor, and asked if he could have some on his lips. I told him to use just a little and put it back in the diaper bag. He came out looking like this.

Let's just say he used more than a little.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gunnar's Birth Story

Please note, this is a full account of a real childbirth. There are a few gory details. Don't say I didn't warn you, lol!

There's a few important details to know before I dive into Gunnar's birth story. First of all he is my third child. I had given birth naturally with my first two children. But truth be told, I wanted epidurals with both of those births, but was unable to get them for different reasons. Now, with the birth of my third child, and having experienced natural childbirth, twice, I knew that I wanted to go natural again. But a fear loomed in my mind. This time I would be making the choice to have a natural birth, myself. The other times the decisions were made for me. I was a bit scared, but I knew in the end of would be very happy with my decision.

Another detail is that both of my previous births, especially Julius', had happen pretty fast. This was on my mind because Nathan had a business trip planned to St. Louis for a weekend about two weeks before I was due. Because Julius was born two weeks early, I was sure that if we did what we could, we could help this next baby be born before his trip(this just totally cracks me up now that I think back on it, lol!). I started having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, starting at 26 weeks. This too, made me think I would definitely go early. At about 32 weeks along, I started drinking red raspberry leaf tea a few times a day and I started taking evening primrose oil, among other things (preggo ladies, I highly recommend these two, but do your research). Women in Amish communities say these help encourage labor and make it quicker and easier. As the weeks past, our family started heading to the mall, grocery store and hardware store to walk, walk and walk some more. It was cold and snowy outside, so we had to find indoor places to walk.

At 37 weeks, and only one weekend before his trip, my parents took Layla and Julius for the night so Nate and I could enjoy a "last date" before the arrival of the baby. We finished up some odds and ends at the house, walked our brains out and headed to a wings joint for some hot wings. Every time we went walking, I would start contracting pretty strongly, but they would go away as soon as I rested. I ate a ridiculous amount of hot wings and even managed to steal a few sips of Nate's beer. Some women say that spicy food can bring on labor. Let's just say it brought on some heartburn. We walked some more, I had many more contractions, but decided to call it a night, since nothing was progressing.

By the end of the week, there was no baby and Nate decided to not go to St. Louis. I was relieved because with my last child, I woke up in full labor at 2 am and gave birth by 5:20 am. If Nate was 8 hours away in St. Louis, there was a good chance he could miss the birth of his child. As the weekend passed, still no baby and I felt bad I made Nate miss his trip.

At 38 weeks, my doctor's visit showed I was dilated to a 2 and my cervix was very soft, but the baby was high and posterior. The tea and oil seemed to be doing their jobs. I continued to have contractions like crazy over the next two weeks, but with little change at my appointments. This was one of the hardest parts of this pregnancy. I would wake up at night and have contractions for an hour or two and then they would go away. I was so confused because I kept thinking I was going into labor, but it was just a false alarm. I also had a lot of anxiety in regards to our children and I worried about when to call my parents to come watch them. I didn't want to call them if it was a false alarm, because they live an hour away, but I needed to call early enough so that Nate and I didn't have to drag the kids to the hospital with us. Oh, the worries of a pregnant woman!

As I approached my due date, my doctor started saying the dreaded word "induce." Because I knew I would be having this baby naturally, the last thing I wanted to do was be induced. Research shows that inducing women results in harder contractions, more difficult labors and greatly increases the possibility of a cesarean delivery. But, my doctor is kind of known for being an inducer, and I think he is used to getting his own way, so I immediately made my next appointment with the midwife in his office. She understood my fears of inducing and said she would avoid it if possible, but she warned me the doctor would get pushy.

As my due date came and went, I headed to the midwife for an appointment. I was still at a 2 and the baby was high and posterior. I told her I wasn't concerned because my other two kids managed to flip over right before delivery. During this visit, I discussed with her my concerns about delivering fast. I had tested positive for strep B with all my children. With my first two deliveries, my labors went so quickly, I wasn't able to get the full dose of penicillin before I delivered.

About 30% of all pregnant women are carriers of strep B. It poses no threat to the mother, but when a baby passes through the birth canal, it can sometimes breath in the bacteria. This then can put the baby at risk for pneumonia or meningitis. Before the end of the 60's, this was the number one reason why newborn babies died. Now all woman are screened and antibiotics are given during labor to prevent any problems. Up on the labor and delivery ward, it is hard to be taken too seriously by the nurses and other doctors, especially if it isn't in your records. I asked her to write on my chart that I deliver fast so they would be prepared to get me hooked up to an IV quickly. She was happy to do so.

She then asked about the exact timing of my previous births and became concerned that I would once again not get the antibiotics in my system before I delivered. She said she was not a big advocate of inducing labor, but she thought that I should be induced to ensure the safety of the baby. This made me want to cry, but I understood where she was coming from.

I was scheduled to be induced the following morning, but because I was past my due date, I had to first go be monitored up at labor and delivery for an hour. As I sat, hooked up to the monitors, I called Nate and my parents to let them know the change of plans. After an hour's worth of observation, the baby's heart rate looked good and I was sent home. The kind nurses warned me to eat a big breakfast and hide some snacks in my bag, because my doctor was not big on letting his patients eat during labor. I appreciated the tip.

As I headed home, my regular, annoying, going-on-for-the-past-twelve-weeks, Braxton-Hicks contractions continued. I ignored them, because, after all, I was being induced in the morning. If I wasn't scared enough before about natural birth, I was now totally freaked that I would be delivering natural and being induced.

The one relief this brought is that I knew ahead of time, and that my parents were coming to spend the night so we could be at the hospital, bright and early. My parents showed up and fixed a nice dinner. I noticed that my contractions hadn't gone away, but I ignored them. Nate left for a meeting. I put the kids to bed and went down stairs to hang out with my parents. My mom noticed I was uncomfortable. I told her I had been having contractions throughout the afternoon and evening. She questioned if they were labor pains. I said probably not, because they weren't getting any worse. I got myself a glass of wine and laid down on the couch. This is recommended to determine if labor is real or false. I was hoping it would make the contractions stop so I could get some sleep before my big day.

They didn't stop. By the time Nate got home, I was using a heating pad on my back. Nate and my mom suggested running up to the hospital just to see if I was in labor. At this point, I was a bit annoyed. The nurses up on labor and delivery are the best, but they are a bit leery of everyone and everything. I am sure they would think I was a nut for showing up a mere 6 hours before being induced. Nate pointed out the fact that we live but a few minutes away from the hospital, so what would it hurt heading up there. He had a point.

After brushing my teeth, fixing my make-up and changing into some comfy clothes, we headed to the ward. It was almost midnight. I was so relieved when we were assigned the nurse who helped deliver my second child. She listened to my story, but I don't think she thought I was really in labor. She said, we will go ahead and just get you started now with your antibiotics, so you will be ready to be induced in the morning.

I got changed into a gown and got hooked up to the monitors for 20 minutes. Still no sign of my antibiotics. After an hour and a half, I finally got hooked up to an IV of penicillin. Nate tried his best to doze in a nearby chair. My contractions were getting worse and I had a full-blown case of the shakes going on. With all of my children, I always knew I was in full labor when my whole body was shaking with that cold adrenaline-like feeling. I asked to get in the tub, if for nothing but to warm up. The nurse drew me a nice hot bath that did the trick. She came into the bathroom for a few minutes to check the babies heart rate. I spent about 45 minutes in the tub. It was a little annoying having an IV drip going, because I had to keep one arm out of the water.

The nurse asked if I would get out of the tub to be monitored for another 20 minutes. When I got out the water, the gravity kind of hit me. My contractions instantly became more uncomfortable and I had to lean over on something at each contraction. The nurse placed the monitor band around my belly and left the room. I sat on the edge of the bed in between each contraction, but I had to stand and lean over a nearby table during each contraction. After about 15 minutes the monitor fell off my belly. I didn't make any effort to put it back on as I wanted to move about the room to better cope with my contractions. When the nurse came back in, she noticed I was increasingly uncomfortable. She asked to exam me. I was between a 4 and a 5. I asked to get back into the tub. She ran some more hot water and I sank back in. It felt so good to be back in there.

Nate asked about my second bag of antibiotics. The nurse said there would not be enough time. She had went to the records and read up on my past births and knew things would go pretty fast from here. It was about 4 am. I ate half a banana and sipped on some green tea.

Nate called my mother and told her to head on up. He kept checking on me in the bathroom, but I had gone into my own little world. Even though I wasn't on an IV anymore, I still had the port in, so I had to keep that arm out of the water. I kept on my left side, with my right arm on the edge of the tub to stay dry. When a contraction came, I would relax every muscle in my body and do my best to float in the tub. In between contractions I would doze. I remember my mom coming in. She just sat quietly and read.

After a while I had a contraction that felt different. It put more pressure on my bottom. I waited to see if the next few contractions felt the same. They did. I called Nate and asked him to help me out of the tub and told him I was ready to push. I tried my best to time my getting out of the tub between contractions. Nate and the nurse helped me dry off and get into a dry gown. The towel was quite bloody. Another sign that I was ready to push. It was about 5 am.

I told the nurse I thought I was ready to push. She examined me and said I was at a 9 1/2. She wanted me to get in bed, but I told her I wouldn't until I could start pushing. She immediately started busying around the room getting all the supplies and instruments ready. I believe I was really at a 10, but she wasn't ready yet for the delivery. In fact, the nurse said to my mother she wished she would have gotten the room ready sooner. I leaned on the cold, marble window ledge, trying my hardest not to push through each contraction. These last 10 minutes of my labor were the worst and hardest because I was fighting against what my body wanted and needed to do. I asked the nurse if the doctor was coming. She said in a few minutes. After a particularly bad contraction, I told the nurse I needed the doctor now. She didn't respond. A few more nurses came in. So, I started pushing. I figured it would get their attention. Poor Nate was behind me, pressing on my back to relieve the pain. As I pushed, blood started running down my legs, onto the floor. Nate tried his best to get me to stop pushing, but I told him I couldn't help it.

I faintly remember Nate asking my mother for food. She handed him my leftover banana. I remembered thinking it was an odd time for food. What I didn't know is that my "loss of blood" was making him a bit faint.

A few minutes later the doctor came in. I was about to get in the bed, but he started complaining to the nurses that the bed was too low for him to deliver. They fixed the bed and I climbed in and continued to "half-push" until they had the stirrups in place. The doctor commented that Nate was a "glutton for punishment" because of his Lions shirt.

The doctor asked Nathan and the nurse to help me get my legs into position. I saw Nathan say something to my mother and she took his spot while he sat down in the chair next to me. I glanced back at him, only to see him put his head between his knees.

Once in place and given the green light from the doctor, I gave a nice long push. One thing that amazed me about this delivery was the large amount of time I had between contractions. With my other two labors, the contractions were often on top of each other. I really appreciated the time because it allowed me to rest and regain some emotional control and strength for the next contraction. After that first good hard push I fell asleep until the next contraction. I woke up to my body tensing up again. I gave another long hard push and the head was birthed. My first two children, when their heads were born, the rest of their bodies just slipped out with no further pushing. Not with this one. I fell asleep again until the next contraction and pushed out the rest of the baby.

Gunnar Ezekiel was born at 6:18 am. He weighed 7 pounds and 11 ounces and measured 20 and 1/2 inches long. We did not know our baby's gender and were pleasantly surprised with a boy. Though, I thought at first he was a girl because he was so darn pretty looking!

The doctor examined me and said I didn't need any stitches. I couldn't believe it! Especially after two episiotomies. I did notice he used baby shampoo as a lubricant. Why don't all doctors do that?

After the birth, Nate explained to me what was happening with him. He said that he had drank several cups of coffee and tea throughout the night and had eaten no food. He thinks a combination of the caffeine, no food, no sleep and the blood all made him get a bit queasy. His little conversation about a banana with my mother during the heaviest part of my labor now made perfect sense.

Gunnar was quick to nurse. He seemed like an old pro. I sat holding my newest baby, while the nurses cleaned me and the room up. The nurses teased Nate about his queasiness and everyone laughed at the fact that if I hadn't gone into labor naturally, I would be being induced right about then. As I left the delivery to head to a recovery room, I saw my doctor. He teased me about going into labor right before my appointment to be induced. I told him I just opened up a spot for someone else in his schedule.

I walked from the delivery room to the recovery room, instead of taking the standard wheelchair. I felt so good, even though I didn't look so hot. I was happy to hop right in the shower and get all clean and fresh. I even had enough energy to blow dry my hair and put on make-up. I still can't explain how good I felt. Even throughout the rest of the day I felt good. I took a few catnaps, but I didn't feel the utter exhaustion I had felt, especially with the birth of my first born.

Gunnar's birth was by far my best birthing experience yet. I was so amazed at God's grace throughout the situation. I was so blessed that I went into labor naturally, I had a nurse that I was familiar with, that nurse just let me do what I wanted and didn't force me to stay in bed hooked up to the monitors, and I was able to give birth with no stitches needed afterward. What a blessing it was to avoid being induced and to have such a calm labor. I think if it hadn't been for the last 10 minutes when I was told not to push, I think I could possibly label it as a near perfect birthing experience. It's hard to believe this all happened one year ago.

Happy Birthday, Gunnar! You are my little bundle of blessings! I love you.

To read Julius' birth story click here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Then and Now


.......and now.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow my baby boy, Gunnar, will be one! This past year has gone by so fast. It's great to know that Layla and Gunnar still like to cuddle, especially in the sleepy, early morning hours. Gunnar's birth story coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Time Is It?

For the past week, this clock has not been working. The clock hangs in our dining room and is my "go-to" clock for telling time. I will literally walk out of another room that has a clock, just to see what time it is on this one. Weird, I know! Well, Nate replaced the battery and this beauty is back in business. Things once again are right in the world. Or at least in my home.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gunnar's First Birthday Party

Thank you to all who celebrated this special milestone with us! The toys, books and clothes were greatly appreciated and have already gotten good use in the short time they have been home! Gunnar's actual birthday is not until Thursday, so stayed tuned later in the week for his birth story!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Melt My Heart

Nathan called in sick this morning, as he is feeling rather under the weather. I brought the kids downstairs to let daddy get some extra sleep. Layla asked why daddy didn't go to work. When I told her he was sick, she exclaimed, "Let's pray!" We huddled together in the living room and Layla led us in a simple prayer asking for Nathan's healing. It doesn't get any sweeter than that! The Bible is certainly correct in it's esteem of child-like faith.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Apple Slices with Buttery Nut Spread

Looking for a new way to do an old snack? We blow through the apples pretty quickly around here, and sometimes, plain ol' apple slices can get a bit boring. Oh sure, we mix things up a bit by getting out the peanut butter and sometimes sprinkle a little cinnamon on them, but a bit more variety wouldn't hurt. I saw a recipe for a butter, cinnamon and pumpkin seed spread to serve with apple slices. I didn't have any pumpkins seeds on hand, so I substituted walnuts. The results were delicious. Though I wouldn't mind an audition of the pumpkin seed version, too!

Buttery Nut Spread

adapted from The Nourishing Gourmet

2 cups nuts
1 stick of butter, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt
3 Tbsp. - 1/3 cup of raw sugar, honey or maple syrup depending on how sweet you like your stuff!*

*(if you want your dip really smooth, use honey or maple syrup. If you wouldn't mind an interesting crunch to your dip, use raw sugar)

Process nuts, sugar/syrup, salt and cinnamon in food processor. Add butter and process until smooth. Serve with apple slices. Enjoy! My family sure did!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Laundry, Laundry, and More Laundry

With a household of five, I already have plenty of laundry to keep me busy. With hopes of having more kids in the future, I know that I will not be able to keep at this laundry business all by myself, so........

.........I am beginning the training early!

Hope you are having a wonderful day! Time to get back to the laundry!