Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's My "Usual"?

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I 
"usually" go early or late,
well, let's just say I could afford that homebirth I've been wanting. ;-)

When my friend asked me recently, though,
it struck me that I could make a blog post out of the answer!
(A lot like when my kids do or say something and then ask,
sometimes with trepidation, sometimes out of eagerness,
"are you going to put that on your blog?")

The short answer is that I've gone anywhere from 10 days "early"
to seven days "late".

The long answer, in break-down form is
Nathaniel:  10 days before his due date
Isaiah:  7 days before
Linnea: the day after her due date
Andrew:  I was induced on his due date
(I didn't know then what I know now about inductions.  Though the experience was fine, I would not choose that route again.)
Christopher:  9 days before
Elijah:  4 days before
Ruby:  7 days before
Ivy: 7 days after her due date

As you can see, I don't have a "usual".
Like the nature of birth, the arrival of the children has followed no predictable pattern
(ie, gone longer each time or gone shorter each time).

So we'll see when this baby decides to arrive!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some Wonderful Articles about Birth

Natural birth has become a passion of mine.
Everyone~male, female, child-bearing years or beyond~should become familiar
with what birth really involves.

Below are links to some very insightful articles on birth.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Happening Again

Ahhhhhh, the last weeks of pregnancy.
~waking all through the night even if I don't need to use the bathroom
~getting me up off the couch is a group effort,
or at the least, something at which my family laughs and points.
~baby's kicks and movements move my whole body
~I cry. Easily.
~In a phone conversation, the other person naturally assumes I am that out of breath because I'm doing back flips up and down the stairs when really, I'm just sitting in a chair.  
~I'm distracted with thoughts of baby's arrival.
~These warm-up contractions take my breath away.
(Dennis told me just after Ivy was born that if anyone asked me how long I was in labor I should tell them three weeks.  I've been told that warm-up contractions are more significant the more babies one has.  I would have to agree.)
~A 10 lb. bag of ice lasts me four days.
~Standing in front of the sink to wash the dishes requires me to turn to the side so that I can get near enough to reach the water.
~Consumption of toilet paper in our house has risen substantially.  
~I am commonly heard saying "Go ahead *breath*, I'll (try to)*breath* catch up."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Baby Chronicles--Change

I'm  almost 36 weeks--roughly four weeks left to go.
I am amazed each and every time how 9 months can pass so slowly and yet whiz by at the same time.

With the other babies, I did just as I was told and went to the dr. fairly soon
and followed up at four week-, then two week-, and finally went to weekly appointments.

I was beginning to view this as unnecessary for me during Ivy's pregnancy,
and became even more convinced that that wasn't the route I needed to take
the more I researched the differences between the obstetrical model of care and the midwifery model of care.
What I really, really, really, really wanted was to have Ivy at home but that didn't happen.
I really, really, really, really had my heart set on a homebirth this time, but that isn't going to happen, either, for the same reason.

I know enough about pregnancy and birth to realize I don't need all the appointments, tests, and procedures that medical world tries to tell me I need.
I also know enough to be able to make trustworthy decisions that work for us without being reckless or negligent.

And so, we made a change.
I went to an appointment with my ob at about 18 weeks at the clinic/hospital where I've delivered all eight of the children because I needed to have a form signed for our insurance to verify the pregnancy.
I told him I'd call to make the next appointment sometime down the road.

For several weeks, I did "nothing".
At this point, I was holding the homebirth option in my back pocket, so to speak.
When I realized that a homebirth was not an option,
I knew I needed to find a middle ground of sorts.
I knew that I'd have to birth in a hospital,
but I wanted it to be alongside the care of midwife;
this would require me to face one of my biggest challenges: change.
 I'm treading new ground for me:
a new caregiver, a new clinic, and a new hospital in a new town.

My friend Megan will be coming with as my doula like she did with Ivy.
Dennis will be there, too, of course
so it won't be entirely different!

It's all becoming very real as the date draws closer.
I know when I turn the calendar page to November,
then it will really hit me that this baby will be here soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm Blessed: A Place of Quiet Rest

(you really should click the picture to enlarge it--it's so peaceful.
I took this when we were at The Prairie)

There is a place of quiet rest, 
near to the heart of God.
~Cleland B. McAfee 1866-1944

Read along in Gretchen's I'm Blessed Series.

It's Not Hard to Guess

My kids are often asked what they want the baby "to be."
(even though the baby already "is" what he/she "is.")
Up until now, the kids have had no opinion.
Boy, girl--it made no difference.
They were just excited to meet the new baby.

For the first time,
someone has an opinion.
It's Ruby.
It's probably not hard to believe that when she is asked,
my girliest of girls answers, "I want the baby to be a sister.  Because babies are girls."

This picture shows what Ivy
does whenever we talk about the baby.
She is always putting her babies to bed and then tells us to "shhhhhhh."
She is really becoming quite the sweet little toddler.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why Having One Child is Harder than Eight

People often say something like this to me,
"Wow--I only have ONE child.  I can't imagine how hard it is to have as many as YOU!"

I tell them every time:
One is harder than eight. (or whatever number we're on. :-) )

Here is one reason why that is:
there's always someone to read you a story
(or at least look at the pictures with you)!
In a single-child family, Mom or Dad is pretty much it for a day-to-day playmate.
In our house, I have lots of hands to help keep each other occupied!

An open book is like a magnet in our house, by the way...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exploring the Prairie

I'm not much of a field trip person.
Getting my crew out the door and to any destination is much like a circus attraction, and I get a ringside seat.
Lately, however, I've been reminded to say "yes" more and "no" less--
especially since after the baby comes it will be harder to make commitments like these.

Our homeschool group went to what is commonly called The Prairie on Monday.
I am SO GLAD I made the effort and said yes.
We had THE BEST time!  
It was a positively gorgeous day, albeit a bit chilly, but I had dug out all the winter gear the weekend before so the kids were prepared.  Me, notsomuch.  But I'm a big girl and I made it through.
(Ok, confession:  one child forgot his hat, but thankfully another mom had extras.  Thanks, Trudy!)

Since I am only one person, I couldn't tag along with each of my children's groups
so I had to pick one.  It's probably no surprise I went with the "little" group.
We started out on the trail and came first to a little bridge.
Our leader laid right down on her tummy and told the kids to do so, too, to get a good look at what was in the water.  They LOVED it!

They saw different insects, bubbles, the leaves that had settled to the bottom...

Then one little girl exclaimed, "I see ME!"
That made us all chuckle.

Ruby began the morning stuck pretty close to me,
but soon was brave enough to venture ahead.  
She walked over to the rail all by herself.

My friend, and lifesaver, Sally.
Sally's older kids are grown and her youngest is a teenager
and she remembers well what it is like to be busy with little ones.
She came along with the younger group and offered to push Ivy's stroller
and basically took care of her for me so that I could hold Ruby's hand and
waddle up and down the trails. :)
Here, Ivy and Sally are watching the ducks and geese
and Ivy is making some really great quacking sounds.

 Our guide's name is Teresa--
she told the kids how birds utilize cattail and then let them pull the fluff off it
and then they all got to 
BLOW it into the wind!

As we were standing on the bridge, some geese flew in 
right over our heads to land in the water next to us.
They flew in so close we could hear their wings flapping.

Teresa would pick things from the prairie
for the kids to touch and smell.

For this age group,
the prairie experience was very sensory.
Teresa said, "Kids, go wrap your arms around that tree--does it feel smooth or rough?"
(the second before I snapped this picture, all of them were wrapped around the tree.  I missed the shot.)

My own little tree-hugger.

The kids rummaged through the oak leaves to find a "pink fuzzy"--an insect who makes it's home for the winter on the underside of an oak leaf.

Next came the tall grass.
(Which, incidentally, is the name of my very favorite musical.)  
She encouraged the kids to run into the grass, lay down and hide.
Christopher and Elijah thought this was SO GREAT!

Sally carried Ivy in to explore, too.

Ruby's bravery increased as the morning progressed

Elijah tunneled through the grass to "sneak up" on Teresa.

This is the last picture I took that morning, 
though I could (and should) have taken a bajillion more.
(I'm hoping to go back and take a more leisurely stroll
with just my crew, so we don't feel like we're holding up the group if I make them all stop to smile at mom's camera.)  
We talked about everything you can see on the prairie--even the moon during the day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I {Still} Love My BeBand

At this stage in the game, I find that cohesive thought is a thing of the past.
And so, I direct your attention to a re-run:

Oh, and look!  I just noticed that the post about my BeBand was written on Ivy's Day Before! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Eat Ice

To my husband's chagrin,
I eat ice when I'm pregnant.
Not usually until later in pregnancy,
but by about 7 months or so
I'd pick a glass full of ice over cheesecake.

If you know of my affinity for cheesecake,
go ahead and pick yourself up off the floor
because it's the truth.

You may remember you're older brother always keeping an eye on your plate and asking
"Are you going to finish that?" when supper was particularly good.
Well that's how I am with ice--I see people wasting perfectly good ice and want to ask them
"Are you going to finish that?"
(I would never really do that, it was more for blog effect.  Maybe.)

I know it's a sign of iron deficiency,
this desire to crunch ice.

I know it drives my husband batty.

I know that I prefer store-bought bagged ice to what I'm able to make in my freezer here at home.

And I know that if you're headed over my way,
I may just ask you to stop off and bring me a fresh bag of ice.
(I bought a ten pound bag last week and it was gone in four days,
if that's any indication...)

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm Blessed: I Get to Have Another Baby

Linking up with Gretchen today in her 
I'd like to share an article I found a few years ago that really spoke to my heart.

I Get to Have a Baby
by Elizabeth Foss

I ran into an old acquaintance at a party last weekend.  It had been about a year since I'd last seen her and I was delighted to meet her again.  She's always been a warm woman, who seemed to love to play with my babies.  So I was--ahem--a bit surprised at our exchange.
"You look tired," she said.
"Ah, I am," I replied with a wink.  "I'm getting kind of old for this."  I rubbed my growing belly.
"How old are you?"
"Why don't you take the pill?"
Gulp. Um. My well-rehearsed treatise on the Culture of Life and openness to God's gracious goodness completely evaded me there in the kitchen between the bar and the buffet.
"It's against my religion."  That was lame, I thought, as nothing else sprang from my mouth.
"Well, then why don't you just tell him to stay away?  Tell him you'll come find him when you want him around.  Tell him to leave you alone."
I was backing away now, physically recoiling from the disdain in her voice.  Honestly, I couldn't even speak.  I went and sat as close as I could to "him" on the couch.  And then I let the words come in my head--words I never shared with her, but wish I had.

"Because I get to have another baby."

I get to feel my cheeks flush and my heart race when I see two pink lines on a positive pregnancy test.
I get to plot and plan and dream up the perfect way to tell my husband.
I get to tell my children they are expecting a sibling and watch the ensuing happy dances and hear the shouts of glee.
I get to see a brand new heart beating within my own.  I get to hear the rhythmic swish and thump that tell us the baby is still well.
I get to feel the flutters and have the realization dawn that they are created by my baby who is moving within me.
I get to see my belly swell and not be bothered by "weight gain."  I'm gaining a baby.
I get to hear my children bless this baby every day and pray for her safe arrival.
I get to lie in a darkened room, my husband nearby, and get a glimpse of our baby on a screen.  I get to watch him fall in love with the baby of the grainy image.  I get to see a tenderness reserved especially for moments like these.
I get to become acquainted with the rhythms of her being--her active times, her sleepy times, her hiccups--all before I ever see her.
I get to rub my belly a million times a day, wearing out maternity shirts in an effort to caress the growing dear one.
I get to look forward to the day she is born, imagining the slippery, soft cheek against my own, feeling the enormous relief and thanksgiving that come with her safe arrival.
I get to watch the cord be cut and know that I still have years ahead of me of nourishing her from my own body and a lifetime of nurturing her from my soul.
I get to fold well-worn lovely little pink clothes and eagerly anticipate dressing a new doll in them.
I get to fall asleep at night with my husband's hand on my belly, marveling at it all and thanking God for the miracle of two made three.
I get to have a baby.

Elizabeth Foss is a freelance writer and blogs at

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Farmer

My farmer doesn't appear much on my blog.

I should be better about telling you about him.

He isn't afraid to be ridiculously silly with the children.
Like here, see?
Daddy and Christopher 2010

He tells me he loves me.

He works hard and long.
(When you marry an independent dairy farmer, there are no days off, no holidays, and no guarantee of ever getting anywhere that you planned to go because the cows might get out, one might have trouble calving, the milk truck might get stuck in the yard, everything that could go wrong does and chores end up taking forever, etcetera ad finitum.)

He likes leftovers.

He likes to take the kids with him when he goes somewhere.

When one of his children says something like this, he just laughs.
(I think would cry!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Potty Training 107

 I am often asked
How do I potty train my child????????

Maybe it's because I look like I should know the answers?
Maybe because anyone who would do this over and over and over again surely must be able to accomplish such a thing????

The answer:  (And when I say "answer", I'm using the term loosely.)

To start with, I firmly believe there is no magic formula for potty training.
In my experience, every woman who's told me that allll of her kids were out of diapers by the time they were fifteen months old has had, like, one kid--two at most.

What works for one child may not work for another, and what didn't work for one child may just be the thing that makes it click for another.

I'm on my seventh round of trying to get a child out of diapers potty learning.
You'd think I'd have this thing down pat by now.
But I don't.
And neither does Ruby.

I thought about doing the whole go to the store and pick out some pretty underwear thing, but I haven't been able to go to the store, so we haven't done that.
I did find some little undies from when Linnea was little, but there are only four of them.  Some days this is plenty, other days she's back in a diaper by noon because she's out of clean undies. 
(I began this post before her birthday and had it saved in drafts--she got pretty ballerina ones for a gift so now we have plenty!)

It is as much about my ability to focus as it is hers--I have to remember to remind her to go try to use the potty.  Maybe we struggle because I'm distractable, maybe I just haven't used enough chocolate for bribery.

I have used the kitchen timer system; we set the timer for 30 minutes and the child needs to try to use the potty when the timer goes off.
This has been marginally successful over the years.  If nothing else, soiled/wet diapers get changed every 30 minutes.

We have used both the stand-alone potty chair with the cup thing that you pour out and the snap-on kind that goes on the regular toilet seat.
Currently, it is imperative that we have the separate little toilet because it seems every time Ruby has to go, someone else is on the big potty.
One con of this system is when the potty learning individual desires to pour their good work into the big toilet and is only marginally successful. Bleh.
My experience has been that the little potty is good for girlies who are learning and to not even bother with it for a boy--they'll just miss anyway, (remember this post?) even if they're sitting down and have that fancy little shield in place.  I've been better off to have them use a step stool by the big toilet and a snap-on seat for sit-down jobs.
(I feel like I'm speaking in some kind of code while avoiding using all the "bathroom words". Are you following what I'm saying???)

Truth be told, potty training takes vigilance and a lot of time--and I don't have a lot of time to devote to any one thing.  And since we're being honest (or is that just me?) I'll let you know I really don't like this stage of childhood.  This past week I cried out, "All these puddles--it's like we have a new puppy!"  Yuck.  (Yuck about the puddles...I like puppies.)

I would say the hardest part about little ones learning to use the bathroom is for them to take action when they feel the need to go, instead of waiting until desperation sets in. Sometimes the accident is from not honoring that at all, but many times the puddle happens in the bathroom as she is desperately trying to get the step-stool over to the light switch, reach the switch, then move the stool over to the big toilet, put the potty seat on the toilet aaaaaaaaaaaand by now too much time has elapsed and she's crying because she didn't make it and now we have a puddle on the floor and soggy clothes and some linoleum to wash. *sigh*  She tried, but there were just too many steps...

Granted, I don't deliver a treatise such as this to the casual observer in the grocery store.  I do know that each week sees improvement.  She is doing better each day.  I will "only" have two in diapers when the new baby comes.  (If you remember, I've had three in diapers before.)

Maybe when I'm asked about potty training, I should just say this:

My experience has been that when I quit trying so hard to train the child, the child eventually decided to learn.

How is that for an "answer"?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Go With the Flow? Um...No.

For an insightful read

Please do take the time to follow the links within her post.

If you've ever wondered why I'm not so much "go with the flow"
but more like "swimming against the current"
those posts explain a lot...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

32 Weeks--again

I wrote this post when I was as far along with Ivy
as I am with Baby #9:

It'd be safe to say
nothing's changed...

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm Blessed

I hope Gretchen doesn't think I'm just copying her...
(does anyone else remember the cardinal rule of childhood that cannot be broken??
"Teacher, s/he's copying me!!!")

But boy--since she started her I'm Blessed series,
it's given me something to blog about each Monday.

So here goes:
 I'm blessed to live in an area of the country that has weather changes--beautiful ones.  I love fall. 

I'm blessed to feel this new baby be so active.
When I sit in church or even just as I'm drifting off to sleep (these never happen at the same time--just to clarify), the baby starts to roll around and I smile to myself. 
It is something that is "my own" about being a woman who is a mother.

I'm blessed to be an at-home-mom.
I'm so thankful that my husband wants it that way, too--I know many women who would love to stay home but their husbands won't let them.

I have always loved children
and I am blessed to be able to catch little glimpses into their hearts and minds.
I  L-O-V-E the things children say,
things may seem insignificant to others.
Today, Elijah told me,
"Hey Mom, when I get a turn to go to town with you I want to buy a box that has cans in it and the cans would have pop in them."
(more commonly referred to as a "12 pack")
These kinds of things make me smile--long after the conversation.

I'm blessed that our children are friends with one another,
they play board games together, build forts and race tracks together,
make elaborate creations out of tinker toys and Lincoln logs,
hunt together, 
eat, work, and live together.
They occasionally argue together, too,
but they learn what it means to work it out
within the crucible of the family.

If you'd like to share about your blessings,
feel free to comment here or over on Gretchen's blog.
(She has that really cool Mr. Linky deal so you can link up your blog, too,
'cause she's super smart about that kind of stuff...)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...