Having Our Baby at Home

Mama Mama

Almost five years ago, when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child, having a home birth was something that crossed my mind, but my husband was NEVER on board with the idea, so I never pushed or researched the concept. At that time, we decided we wanted a fully natural, hospital birth. Our son had other plans, however, and was born 10 weeks early, which drastically changed our birth plan.

After that experience, I decided there was no reason to make a birth plan for any future children, but just be prepared and know what we want.

We had our second child, our daughter, in the birth center of my home town, where she was born in the tub. I labored in the shower, and was able to move freely which was a big change from my first birth experience. My labor was so fast with my second that I didn’t really have much time for anything but a few pushes and there she was.

This baby, our third, and our last (unless God has other plans) we knew we wanted to have at home. Despite a lot of questions and doubt or worry from others. The thing is, we were finally not living with family, or far away from family like the previous pregnancies. We were in our OWN HOME for once, while still close enough to family, that both our moms were able to join us as soon as we asked them to. We worked hard to get our house construction under control enough to have the third floor be move in ready, just in time, I might add. Though still a mess, I felt comfortable enough knowing we would be bringing a baby into the world in our home.

I almost get emotional when thinking about this birth. My husband and I followed our guts and hearts and did so much research when it came to doing what we thought was best during this pregnancy. From making medical decisions about not taking progesterone, and listening to my body closer than before, and talking about every little change I felt, all to be certain we did everything in our power to have a healthy term baby without a hospital or medical intervention.

I was told at 35+ weeks to take it extra easy, because I was starting to notice changes in my body. At 36 weeks I began losing bits of my mucus plug, and I got nervous at this time. I truly did NOT want to go into labor before 37 weeks, I knew I had to make it to that magic number in order to be able to birth at home with my midwife. So I did. I somehow managed to do as little as I possibly could, with help from my mother-in-law especially, she spent extra time with the big kids so that I could rest more frequently, as difficult as it was for me.

The next Monday, I made that 37 weeks, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew, I just had a feeling, it would be any day that our little man would be joining us.

Come Wednesday, I had been having contractions the previous few days, but they were incredibly inconsistent. Very mild contractions as well, some were 30 seconds, some were longer, but they varied between 7-13 minutes apart, so I went to bed.

There was a huge storm that night, and I woke from the ferocious wind, and worry for my chickens and goats. At least I think that’s why I woke, it’s how I remember it, but I began contractions instantly, so there’s that as well. The contractions were a little more intense than they were earlier that day, so I decided to time them right away.

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Four to five minutes apart. 

Shoot! My midwife had wanted to know when they were consistently 10 minutes apart because she wanted time to prepare and make the drive to my house from hers. I went to the bathroom, and noticed I was spotting, so I called and updated her.

My mother-in-law lives less than a five minute drive from our house, so we called her, to see if she wanted to come over and be here with the big kids in case they woke up, and also share the birth with us. She didn’t waste any time, and arrived a few minutes later. 

Over the next hour, my contractions only grew with intensity, and became shorter together. They got to every 2-3 minutes apart, but I could still distract myself from the pain when they came, by talking, or concentrating on something else. My second delivery went so fast that I was hoping my midwife made it to before the baby, but I also know that even if she didn’t, I was in good hands, I trusted my husband and myself to get the job done need be.

Fortunately, our midwife arrived shortly after. As well as did my mom, and a second midwife, some extra hands.

I was checked, to see how things were progressing, and at this time I was 7 cm dilated. I was so hopeful things would move right along, but I was also nervous because my water hadn’t broke yet, so I was worried that might hold me back. I had in my head that my water breaking was what kicked my second labor into gear, so I was waiting for that. we had towels everywhere just in case.

I took comfort in my exercise ball during contractions, though when the intensity stepped it up a notch, I got into the bath tub where I knew I would be a little more soothed.

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*Note: We didn’t use the birth tub, for a couple reasons. First of all, there wasn’t an easy way to fill it being as we were on the third floor and didn’t want to run a hose throughout the house. Second, our bath tub was big enough to fit me, and my belly, and a baby, so I didn’t see the need in adding an extra challenge. 

Javin was sitting on the toilet, lending his hand, as I squatted, leaning over the edge of the tub. I was feeling so tired between contractions that I was almost able to doze off for those couple minutes of relief. I must have relaxed too much, because my contractions stopped progressing, and the midwives suggested I get out of the tub for a little movement.

Movement. Not exactly comforting when after a step or two you find yourself hunched over breathing through another contraction, but I took to the stairs. I needed my husband for support, and was a slow moover, but I also was anxious for our baby boy to join us. I was only able to make it down the the main level, and back up before returning to the ball.

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After only a handful of contractions on the floor and ball, a slight urge to push with each wave hit me, and I wanted back in the bath. I felt like I needed in the bath…ASAP! 

Once in the bath again, I checked myself and with the next contraction felt my water break. I was still squatting at this time. My midwife began monitoring the baby’s heart rate, and into the next contraction. Just after that I checked myself again and felt his head. Being my third baby, I knew what to expect, but that didn’t make the pain any easier.

I rolled onto my back, not only for more comfort, but so I was in a better position for delivery. Our bathroom is small, but somehow we fit myself, my husband, my midwife, a second midwife, and my mom at the doorway. I pushed him down in a couple contractions and I knew he was almost ready, but my mind told my body to temporarily halt. I cried out “I can’t! I can’t…” as I felt pain like never before. My scream woke the kids, and made my dog go crazy. I caught my breath, and gave two more big pushes, and our baby boy was delivered directly onto my chest. My big kids got to come into the bathroom to see Mommy, and their new baby brother first thing which made the whole experience more heart-warming.

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As it turns out, Eason’s arm came through with his head, so maybe that’s where the extra pain came from. I did end up tearing, and was offered stitches, but I declined. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, and I was assured the tear was actually in an ideal location, I just would need to take it extra easy.

Deal.

I went straight to bed…my bed, not a hospital bed…and watched as my oldest got to assist Daddy in cutting the umbilical cord. And while I snuggled and nursed right away, the kids got to take a look at the placenta while it was examined. 

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It made for a long night, and early morning, but everything went perfectly. I knew I shouldn’t complain since the whole event took only five hours, but it felt much longer than that this round.

Looking back now, a month later, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I only wish more women trusted their God given ability to birth naturally, and in the comforts of their own home at that! It’s truly such a blessing being able to bring a beautiful life into the world. It’s also incredibly empowering. 

The healing process…now that’s another story. 

 

 

 

 

 

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(important) Things I do With my Kids EVERY Day.

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about curriculum, and where I get my ideas for home school activities. I’ve been asked about how our typical day goes here in our household-schoolhouse, so I am here to put all other Mommy’s minds to rest…

We don’t follow a strict curriculum. 

We don’t have a strict schedule. 

We just wing it. Every single day.

The way I see it, the more you are out and about doing things and taking in your surroundings, the more ideas can come together. So we try to do just that.

However, each day there are certain things I make sure to accomplish with my children, not just because my kids enjoy these activities, but I feel they are the most important for their growth, learning, and over-all maturing as tiny humans.

#1: We read. Some days, especially rainy days, my eyes grow sleepy with the amount of books we read together. Some days, after I have read my max, I suggest Parker “reads” to his sister. There are certain books he has memorized and it’s good practice for him as well. Ava enjoys the time with big brother too.

#2: We do chores. Allowing the kids to “help” with miscellaneous projects and chores around the house may mean that things get done in three times the amount of time it should take, but it’s so important for the kids to feel involved, needed, and doing chores gives them a very basic work ethic. The majority of our chores involve the animals, so that adds to the excitement for all of us. The chickens, bunny, goats, and dogs all need fed and cared for daily so Mama’s helpers are never empty-handed. When it comes to indoor chores, both my kids have found areas inside the house that they prefer. Ava loves helping in the kitchen; putting away groceries, and organizing cabinets are her specialty. Parker enjoys real organization, usually with his toys, or Daddy’s tools.

#3: We eat together. Frequently. Sharing meals is especially important to me. It’s that time during the day when you can all sit and actually be present together. I am, and always have been one of those women who eat all day long, and I am raising my children to have the same good habits with food as well. I enjoy making healthy family meals, so I hope all our kids grow to not only have appreciation for that, but will take my love for healthy food and apply it to their lives as they grow as well.

#4: We snuggle, kiss, hug, and tell each-other we love each other. Sometimes Daddy gets a bit overwhelmed with how lovey his son is especially, but I don’t care. I adore the fact that our family is so loving towards each other. Sure, it may be a tad embarrassing when the kids insist on pulling up my shirt, and my maternity pants down so they can kiss baby brother in my belly while we are grocery shopping, but there’s no way I could ever stop them. Having lost loved ones, I feel it is necessary to never waste a moment to tell someone you love them. And I am thankful my children are learning to do the same.

#5: I scold or discipline. There’s no way around it. When you have an almost 2 year old, and an almost 4 year old, there will be chaos as well as tragedy and tears. I grew up with firm parents, yet they were not overly strict, there was a good balance. However, I was raised to know respect, and good manners, and I expect my children to learn the same. So when they do wrong, we discuss it. Sometimes I raise my voice more than I like, and sometimes I cry as well. However, I refuse to be the parent that lets their kids get away with anything and everything, because those children grow up to be teenagers as well as adults, and they are our future.

#6: We get outside time. This is the Oregon coast, so you never know what the weather will be, and though we’ve been lucky this winter, usually the rain is too atrocious to even think about spending time outside. Lately, we’ve been loving the sunshine, even when the air is brisk and cool, we can bundle and get fresh air. The kids and I have been the beach a few times the last week, and have been feeling overwhelmingly blessed by the lack of wind! Fresh air is needed for keeping their little, growing brains functioning. Fresh air is needed for Mama and clearing her mind. Fresh air is good for immune health, mood, and so much more. It’s a wonderful thing, being able to raise our children on our eight acres that also happens to be within minutes from a quiet beach and having space to explore.

#7: We have “school” time. Though each day the schedule may vary, we do sit down and work on school work. Every day we do something, some days we do much more than others. At the preschool stage, I let my son guide me a bit more than I lead him. It’s important he doesn’t lose interest so I let him tell me how long he wants to focus on school work. When we need a break, we take one. If we don’t accomplish much, we go back to that lesson again. I have a weekly theme each week, and we will do projects based on that theme. Most weeks, we also add in things we’ve learned in the past and do reviews as well. I had a full school-years worth of themes planned out, but have rearranged as needed.

#8: We have REAL conversations. We use REAL facts, and REAL (even sometimes slightly uncomfortable) words. In this day and age, there are nicknames and slang terms for everything. We are very realistic with our children. After all, this is real life. Both Mommy and Daddy are/have been involved in the health care and/or fitness fields and the human body is no joke to us. We use the correct terms, and its actually quite fascinating how fast our nearly four year old picks up things we talk about with him. He could tell you the longest muscle in the body and talk to you about what bones he saw in an x-ray. We don’t use funny cover-up names for private parts, and just the other day Parker drew a picture of him and Daddy, stick figures of course, but they both had penises. (Insert blushing cheeks here…but also very proud Mom for him being anatomically correct.) When we talk about plants, and animals around our house, we make sure we share the correct info with our kids so they learn as we explore. If Parker has a question we aren’t entirely sure of an answer, we look it up and find the right answer.

#9: I let the kids entertain themselves. Not only does this give me a small mental break, or chance to pee without them, but it’s important for the kids to use their imaginations and try to problem solve without supervision and being able to ask for help the second they need it. They learn to get creative. Sometimes they learn what failure feels like. All important things.

#10: We pray and talk about the bible. I cannot express how deeply my children have changed my life. My husband and I both were raised christian, but becoming a mom has only encouraged my heart to grow with the Lord, and for that, I am thankful every day. Ava’s favorite book for her Grandpa Stacy to read when we go visit, is a toddler bible. We pray at bedtime, and we try to throughout the day as well. Teaching the kids to have a relationship with God, helps me do the same.

Whew! 

Seems like such a long list, and after reading through all ten bullets, there’s no wonder I am tired by the end of the day. It’s 100% worth it. My babies deserve as much as I can possibly give them, and I want to be the Mama that gives them unlimited memories as well as work towards raising them to be the best tiny humans they can possibly be.

stay at home mom