Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Jesus is the reason for the season! :-)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thoughts About Childbirth

Some women love childbirth. You can read all kinds of articles on the internet by women who say it was a natural high, that they loved every minute of it, that it was even pleasurable. I went into labor hoping I would be one of those women. I really tried to not think of contractions as pain, but as “rushes” (a la Ida May Gaskin) that helped move my baby down. I tried to distract myself during contractions by singing or remembering Hubby’s and my honeymoon in Hawaii or conjuring up other relaxing images in my mind.

I was determined to do everything as naturally as possible (no drugs, etc.), and I did, but boy did it hurt! It was NOT pleasurable. The only thing in the whole process that I remember as pleasurable was when the placenta came out. I barely even had to push; it just plopped out into a bowl, and the relief I felt then was marvelous. But before that point, I had about 8 hours of light contractions, 48 hours of strong, REALLY PAINFUL contractions, and a couple hours of pushing. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and (gasp!) I didn’t actually enjoy it very much. But getting to meet my baby was amazing.

I am writing all this because I found myself thinking this morning that someday it will be wonderful to grow another person in my womb and add another tiny, totally dependent newborn to our family. Baby boy is not a newborn any more. He can entertain himself for a while with toys, he sleeps in his own crib (most of the time), and Mama is no longer his whole entire world (although he still likes me quite a bit). :-)

Some women say, “Oh, just wait a while, you’ll forget all about the pain of childbirth.” Well, it’s been four months, and I still vividly remember the pain. I don’t think I will ever forget it. I do want more babies, lots of them, but I’ll admit I don’t want to ever go through labor again (although, Lord willing, I will do it again, because it’s worth it in the end).

I never understood the sacrifice that my mother and all mothers around the world have made in giving birth and caring 24/7 for a child until I became a mother. This is what God put me here for, to love my husband and grow babies and yes, give birth to them. I’m not saying I have no other purpose than to take care of my husband and babies, but I think that is the most important thing I do. What could be more important than raising up people from infancy to adulthood to love and obey the Lord? Then, I hope and pray, my children will pass on this godly heritage to their own children, and on and on and on until Jesus returns.

Edited to add:

For clarification:

The reasons I chose not to use any drugs were that 1) they can easily pass to the baby, with detrimental effects, and 2) any "unnatural" interventions in the labor process can lead to the need for more and more interventions, and possibly a C-section in the end--for an example, read How Childbirth Went Industrial.

I wanted to do what was best for my baby and for me, and I honestly believe that choosing the pain was the best option in my case. Besides, the sense of accomplishment I felt when my baby was finally here, and without drugs or interventions, was huge. I didn't have to wonder if drugs were affecting my baby's first minutes and hours. Baby Boy was very calm but alert, and his Apgar scores were 10 and 10.

That being said, I know there is a point when drugs or C-sections may be necessary, but the percentage of women who really need them is very small.

I'm hoping that my next labor is a lot shorter! It usually is, with the second child.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sleep Training

I made lasagne for dinner, and I am in the process of making yogurt. I have tried making yogurt with nonfat milk and didn't care for it much, so I am trying whole milk this time.

I think I will feed Baby Boy once at 10 when I go to bed, and then again sometime during the night (probably around 2). Even though it's been a week of trying to train him to sleep through the night, he still wakes up every night between 1 and 3 and cries. He goes back to sleep, but then he continues waking up, crying, and going back to sleep several times throughout the night. Last night, it seemed like it was at least once an hour. I think he really might be uncomfortably hungry. I'm not gaining anything (like a full night's sleep) by not feeding him at night, because he still wakes up and wakes us up. Maybe if I just feed him once in the middle of the night, that will keep him satisfied until morning, and we will all sleep better.

As far as I know, we are done with all our Christmas shopping, and I only have a couple more gifts to wrap.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Homemade Rice-a-Roni

Today I bought 2 shirts at Target, read books to Baby Boy, took a walk with Baby Boy in the Ergo (he hardly ever falls asleep in it anymore; he likes to look around), and started crocheting a hat (it's cold here!). For dinner I made homemade Rice-a-Roni and served it with chicken. Here's the recipe, which can easily be doubled for larger families:



-1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) butter
-1 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms
-3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-1 cup white long-grain rice
-3 cups chicken broth
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 teaspoon oregano


Melt butter in large pot; saute mushrooms, celery, and onion. Add uncooked rice and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add broth, salt, and oregano, and bring to boil. Transfer to covered 2-quart casserole. It will look very liquidy, but the rice will absorb the liquid. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until rice is puffy.

I have never tried using brown rice for this recipe. If anyone wants to experiment with cooking times for brown rice, let me know what you come up with.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How Things Have Been Going

Baby Boy is sleeping MUCH better since we gave him a chance to learn how to soothe himself back to sleep. He's taken to sucking on his fingers quite a bit, as you can see in the johnny-jump-up picture below. I am amazed at how long he naps now. Before, his naps in the crib were 20-40 minutes long; now they're more like 1 1/2-2 hours. And if he wakes up at night, he just sucks on his fingers or his lovey for a few minutes and conks out again.

Now the problem I'm having is that I still can't sleep at night, even though Baby Boy is doing great. This morning, I woke up when Baby Boy fussed a bit around 1 A.M. because his diaper was very wet. I changed it and he fell right back to sleep. Unfortunately, I could not go back to sleep at that point, even though I'd only had 2 1/2 hours of sleep, so I've been up ever since. I've been mostly going on adrenaline for the last 4 months, so I think my body just needs to learn how to sleep again.

Baby Boy definitely misses his pacifier, although I think his longing for it is subsiding as he gets more adept at getting his fingers positioned the way he wants them in his mouth.

Something strange that I was not anticipating in all this is that Baby Boy at first started nursing much less. For a couple days, he would take only one breast at a feeding session, and only for a few minutes. I was beginning to get concerned that he wasn't getting enough, so I did some research and found that a baby can develop trouble nursing if his time with mama decreases rapidly. I had been holding or laying down with Baby Boy for all of his naps, and then I went abruptly to putting him in the crib for every nap. I think it was just too much all at once for him, and fighting nursing was his way of telling me something was wrong. So I've been careful to spend extra cuddle time with him when he is awake and to take a couple of naps with him. Now his nursing is better than ever. This afternoon, he nursed for 40 minutes straight. Poor little dear. So many changes in his little world, but in the long run, they are in his best interest.

I realized today that I really need to update my blogroll and reading list. I will work on that when I have a chance.

Edited to add:

Hi luvs2bmommy,

Thank you for your concern and for taking the time to join Blogger and leave me your comments.

Baby Boy has actually never nursed only 5 times in one day. The count was at 5 when I was writing that post, but I woke him later that night to give him another feeding. I'm trying to stay loosely on a 6:30-9:30-12:30-3:30-6:30-10:00 schedule, but it's not rigid, especially if I felt that Baby Boy did not get enough at a particular nursing session. If that's the case, I usually feed him again about an hour later.

This morning, I fed him at 6:30 as usual. When I was getting ready to put him down for a nap at 8:00, he was acting hungry, so I went ahead and nursed him to sleep and put him in his crib.

For the most part, I enjoyed having Baby Boy in our bed for the first few months, but now, we wake each other up and neither one of us gets good sleep, so it's better for him to be in the crib now.

As for pumping, I did it for the first couple of nights when Baby Boy started going longer without nursing, but even then, I only pumped out a couple of ounces to take the edge off the discomfort of my poor engorged breasts. They have adjusted now.

All this to say that in real life, I am still more flexible and paying attention to Baby Boy's cues than maybe it sounded like I was in my posts. I admit, it is sometimes difficult to know what to do when there is so much conflicting information out there.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Getting There!

My baby is learning to fall asleep on his own and get himself back to sleep when he wakes up! It's wonderful! Everyone told me that when I finally made the decision to let him "cry it out," I would regret not doing it even sooner, and they were right.

Actually, I think now is actually just about the perfect time to train Baby Boy to sleep well. He knows how to get his fingers in his mouth when he wants them, and he can reach for and hold onto his lovey, so he is able to soothe himself better than he could have a month ago, when he couldn't control his hand movements as much.

Success (So Far)

I fed Baby Boy at 10 P.M., and he fell right back to sleep. He woke at 1:30 and I heard him filling his diaper. I successfully changed his poopy diaper in his crib, in almost pitch-blackness (a first for me--I've never changed him in his crib before, but I am determined to not get him out of the crib until 6:30.) Not bad, if I do say so myself, seeing as we use cloth diapers, and double at night. At least we have velcro diaper covers, and not pins. He cried for ten minutes after I changed his diaper, then I comforted him and he started sucking on his hands and fell asleep. WOW! I just pumped some milk, and now I'm going back to bed.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Starting Tonight?

So I fed Baby Boy at 6:30, and he was asleep by around 6:45. In the next hour, he woke up a couple of times when his pacifier fell out. I dutifully plugged it back in, but when it happened again at 7:45, I decided to experiment. I let him cry for 10 minutes, then went in and soothed him until he was quiet and calm, but he started crying again the moment I left the room. I went in 10 minutes later and soothed him again and gave him his lovey. He grunted a little, as if to say, I don't want this lovey, I want my binky, but when I didn't give him the pacifer, he stopped making noises and held onto his lovey. He murmured and made baby noises for a little while, but didn't cry for a whole fifteen minutes. At 8:20, he broke out in a wail, but it only lasted for two minutes. He's been pretty quiet for almost twenty minutes now. I hear him sighing softly every once in a while through the monitor. I can't tell if he's asleep yet, but he must be close.

My plan is, I will wake him up to nurse at 10 P.M. and only 10 P.M., and then go to bed myself. If he wakes up before that, he'll have to soothe himself (with a little help from me, but not his pacifier) back to sleep, or just cry until 10. Then I want him to sleep until 6:30 A.M. I'll have to talk it over with Hubby, who is out at the moment, but who should be home soon. We really weren't planning to start this tonight, but so far, so good.

Considering "Crying It Out"

Okay, so we're considering letting Baby Boy start "crying it out" so that he will learn to sleep longer at naptime and nighttime. He only takes about 30 minute naps when he's in his crib, but if he's laying next to me in bed, he naps for a couple hours. This tells me that he probably needs longer naps than the 30 minute naps he gets on his own in his crib, but he doesn't know how to get back to sleep when he wakes up after 30 minutes. And he'll sleep a couple of hours solid when we put him in his crib at night (with a pacifer) but wake up if the pacifier falls out. He's still "nursing" a couple times a night--well, more like just wanting to cuddle up next to me and suckle from thirty seconds to a minute or two and then fall asleep in my arms.

I've been talking to a lot of blogosphere and "real-life" friends about the issue, and almost everyone recommends "crying it out." They all say it will be harder if we wait until he's older, and I've been hearing "horror" stories of hyper-attachment-parenting parents who never made their kids cry it out and now the kids, at five or six years old, still wake up several times a night wanting mommy and daddy.

I have started getting him on a 3-hour schedule during the day. Today I nursed him at 6:30 A.M. (his usual waking time), 9:30, 12:30 P.M., 3:30, and 6:30. I put him right to bed after the 6:30 P.M. feeding. Is 6:45ish too early for a baby's bedtime? Also, is only five feedings too few for a almost-4-month-old? If/when we do start training Baby Boy to sleep through the night, should I feed him at 6:30 P.M., let him sleep for 3 hours, feed him again at 9:30 P.M., and then make him cry it out/sleep through the night? Will that confuse him if I nurse him the first time he wakes up, but not subsequent times?

If we do decide to start sleep training Baby Boy, Monday would be a good time to start, as Hubby is off work next week and has few other obligations, so if we're both walking zombies for a week, it won't be as much of an issue.

In all of this, we also might "pull the plug" on Baby Boy's pacifier altogether, because he is way addicted to it and needs it (he thinks) to sleep. Hubby and I are tired of getting up a dozen times every night to stick it back in his mouth when he loses it and starts fussing in the night.

There's a steeper learning curve to being a parent than I thought there would be.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thoughts on Ephesians 4

I took a long nap with Baby Boy today, so even though it is after ten, I’m not really tired. Baby Boy has been sleeping well in his crib for about two hours, and my hardworking hubby is fast asleep as well. I took the opportunity of having some alone time to spend it with the Lord in His Word. I have been reading through Ephesians, one of my favorite books of the Bible. Tonight I read Ephesians 4. The verse that stood out to me the most was verse 6, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” I know the passage is mainly about living in unity with other believers, but this verse just started me thinking about how God is in me, and how I can draw on His strength, His love, His patience when I am so short of those qualities myself. When I’m feeling wiped out, and my husband needs me, or my baby needs me, and I feel like I’ve been giving-giving-giving all day and night long, God will help me deny my own desires (for sleep or time by myself) in order to serve my husband and child. And there is joy in coming to the end of myself and needing to rely on God to get me through the next thing. I have so far to grow in this area, but I feel blessed that God loves me enough not to leave me miserable in my own selfishness, but to teach me to be more like Jesus.

Another verse that struck me was verse 30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” I know I have been guilty of grieving the Spirit several times in the past couple of months by stubbornly refusing to pray because I wanted to go my own way in a certain area, and I knew that if I prayed, God would change my heart. I don’t want to grieve the Spirit by turning my back on God for a day or two because I want to be selfish and grumpy. I need to be quick to pray, quick to do what is right, quick to submit to God and to my husband (who always points me back to God).

Things to Think About

I know we will eventually have to train Baby Boy to sleep better and longer (actually, I'm naively hoping that one night he will just sleep 12 hours and be a great napper and nighttime sleeper from that point on!). I read this post on "crying it out" from Candice and I think it's awesome that she is having good results with her son, who is about the same age as Baby Boy. But I am a wimp about hearing my baby cry. Plus, we have a one-bedroom apartment, so Baby Boy is in our room which would make nighttime cry-it-out sessions pretty harrowing for Hubby and me. Hmm...what's a girl to do?

I enjoy Mountain Mama's nutrition advice--Nutrition 101 (Part 1) and Nutrition 101 (Part 2). I always eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, so lately I have been soaking the oats overnight in water with a tablespoon of lemon juice. I would love to start drinking raw milk, and we actually do have local sources, but it's around $6/gallon. Yikes!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Preparations

Today Hubby and I did some Christmas shopping and enjoyed peppermint mochas from Starbucks. I also wrapped two packages (lots more to go!). We have our Christmas tree and nativity scene up--that's probably all the Christmas decorating we'll do this year.

Baby Boy started producing tears today. I noticed them when he woke up from a nap. He has been sleeping a little better.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ongoing (Lack of) Sleep Saga

I am blogging one-handed again as Baby Boy takes a little snooze in my lap. The good news is, we've finally found a way to get him to sleep in his crib instead of only with us in our bed. Baby Boy has never been able to sleep well on his back, so we finally got a sleep positioner that helps him stay in place on his side. He's slept great with it, although he will rarely stay happy in the crib without a pacifier, and wakes up when it falls out of his mouth. I probably plugged it in about two dozen times last night when he started to squirm, wanting it. So the bad news is that I am not sleeping well at all...about 3 hours total last night, but that was in bits and pieces. Even when Baby Boy is doing fine, I lay awake listening to the light snores and other sounds he makes in his sleep, wondering if it's worth it for me to try to get to sleep when he'll probably wake me up one way or another in a few minutes.

Baby Boy is still nursing twice a night. He's a chubby 17 pounds, so I know he has some reserves and doesn't really need nighttime nursing, but I'm clueless how to get him to stop waking up wanting to nurse. Plus, I'm not entirely sure I want to cut out nighttime nursing, as we're currently using only the lactation ammenorhea method for child spacing, which requires nighttime nursing to be effective.

But something's got to give. Does it have to be this hard? Will I ever feel rested again? Any ideas or encouraging words will be quite appreciated today.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Homemade Baby Wipes

Well, I am blogging one-handed as Baby Boy's head is resting in the crook of my left elbow as he naps. He is 13 weeks old today. Last time I weighed him (several days ago) he was 17 pounds! Almost time for a new carseat. We just put him in a johnny jump up for the first time yesterday. He hasn't really got jumping down yet, but he moves his feet and makes himself spin around.

My friend gave me a recipe for homemade baby wipes. They have been working great for us, and are cost-effective. It's so easy. You just take a 3 qt. (#6) Rubbermaid container, and then mix 2 c. water, 2 tablespoons baby oil, and 2 tablespoons baby soap with a fork in the container. (I also put in a drop or two of tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties, and I've heard it keeps mold from growing in the wipes, too--I've never had a problem with mold). Then cut a roll of Bounty paper towels in half to make two short rolls. Put one in the Rubbermaid container, put on the lid, and turn it upside down. Let the roll soak up the solution for 15 minutes, then pull out the center cardboard core, and you have a roll of baby wipes that you can pull out from the center.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

2 Months Old

It's been 8 weeks since Baby Boy was born, and things are finally getting back to "normal" around here, with the addition of a baby, of course! I'm getting to the point where I can take care of him and keep up with the house, too. It helps that he is taking longer naps now, and that he actually enjoys sitting in his bouncy seat and watching me wash dishes, fold laundry, etc. (Side note: I enjoy taking Baby Boy for walks in the Ergo baby carrier, but can anyone really get any housework done while wearing your baby? I've tried, but with him on my front, I can't get close enough to the sink to do dishes without splashing him, and folding towels is quite awkward. Maybe when he is old enough to hold his head really well and I can switch to wearing him on my back.)

He even seems to like watching me crochet, for a while at least, if I constantly tell him what I'm doing ("chain 1, 2, 3, double crochet, chain 1, 2, 3..."). I try to read to him for at least a few minutes every day. Mainly we read nursery rhymes, but I've also started reading him the original Winnie-the-Pooh. He also is with us when Hubby and I do our morning Bible reading together.

Baby Boy is a cheerful little fellow. He smiles a lot and is generally content, unless he is hungry or needs a diaper change. We are so blessed that he is now part of our family. We hope that he will eventually learn his real name, because we tend to refer to him as "Punchkin" (an accidental blend of "pumpkin" and "munchkin" that stuck), "Doo-dad" (don't know how that started), or "D.L.F." (short for "Dear Little Fellow"), out of one of the Narnia books.

Other than that, I've been hammering out thank-you cards for all of the baby gifts we received. We were blessed to be given three baby showers, which really took care of 95% of the things we needed for Baby Boy. We've hardly had to buy anything baby-related. One of the things we've bought was a pack of pacifiers. Before Baby Boy was born, I was pretty set against using pacifiers. I was determined to nurse "on demand" whenever the baby got fussy. But I've realized that sometimes Baby Boy likes to just sit in his bouncy chair and suck away on the pacifier and contemplate the world. Besides, he seems to do better when I give him good, full feedings every 2 1/2 hours or so, rather than just "snacking" here and there.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Thank You

A big thank you to everyone for all the encouraging words and pieces of advice. I'm sorry I won't have time to respond individually to each comment, but please know that I have read and appreciated them all.

Having a newborn is actually way harder than I thought it would be. Not just the lack of sleep and the adjustment to breastfeeding and otherwise taking care of a newborn, but also discovering that "free time" and privacy are, for the most part, things of the past. This is difficult for me, as an introvert, because I really enjoy having a lot of time to myself to read, journal, engage in my hobbies, etc. God is using motherhood to teach me how to be more giving and less selfish.

I do plan to return to regular blogging eventually, but I'm not sure when that will be. For the time being, I will probably be posting rather infrequently, but please check back every once in a while! :-)

Monday, September 04, 2006

The First Week

I am getting adjusted to having a newborn. It’s joyful, precious, amazing, and exciting, but it’s really hard work! For the first couple of days after my milk came in, Baby Boy had a hard time staying latched on, which was frustrating for both him and me. He would take a couple sucks, pull away, and scream. I tried every position imaginable with my Boppy and regular pillows. But in the past couple of days, he and I have been doing much better with nursing. It still takes us several tries to get a good latch, but at least it’s working.

My mom was with us for several days after the birth. She was so helpful with cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, rocking Baby Boy so I could get in a nap, etc. I don’t know how I could have managed those first few days without her.

Hubby is a tremendous Papa. He loves to play with and cuddle Baby Boy, and he takes good care of me, too.

Baby Boy does not like to be alone. I guess I can’t blame him, after he’s spent nine months inside me. He will only stay asleep a few minutes in the crib, but he will sleep for hours in the Maya Wrap sling or nestled up against Hubby or me. I don’t sleep well, either, if he’s in the crib, even though it’s right next to our bed, because I’m constantly wondering if he’s too cold or too hot, or checking to make sure his blanket is not against his nose and mouth. Last night, I got him to fall asleep in the sling, then loosened it as I got into bed, so he was lying on the bed, still in the sling, and yet not right up against me. I really don’t have any answers; it’s all about trial-and-error at this point for us. I want Baby Boy to be able to trust us and to know that we are there when he needs us, but still, it would be nice to not carry him 24/7 (as much as I love holding him).

I have been downing water and Recharge (like Gatorade, only healthier), and snacking a lot. Emotionally, I’m doing well now (there were a couple of nights when I felt like such a bad mama when Baby Boy was very hungry, but I couldn’t figure out how to get him to stay latched on). I am also becoming less sore, which is nice.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baby Boy's Birth Story

Here is the story of the birth of our precious son. It's quite long, so if you don't have time to read it right now, here are a few "highlights":

-birth center birth
-water birth
-long labor
-posterior position

Baby Boy's Birth Story

At 1:30 A.M. on Saturday, August 26 (one day before Baby’s official due date), I got out of bed to use the bathroom and discovered a bit of clear liquid trickling down my legs. I tested it with a nitrazine strip and found that it was amniotic fluid. It was the first sign in my body of any progression toward labor, and I was so excited I couldn’t go back to sleep for quite some time. Later that day, I began having bloody show. (I didn’t lose any more amniotic fluid until the pushing stage of labor.)

I began having contractions around 10 PM on Saturday. They didn’t seem much worse than bad menstrual cramps. I thought, wow, this isn’t so bad after all. I went to sleep, but woke up with a contraction every forty-five minutes or an hour all night.

Throughout Sunday, the contractions gradually got closer together. By nighttime, they were eight to ten minutes apart and extremely strong and painful. I mainly felt them in my lower back. Every time a contraction would start, I would start the timer, get on my hands and knees, and Hubby would rub my lower back for me, while one or both of us sang a few lines from whatever song came to mind to help distract me. We went back to sleep for eight to ten minutes until the next contraction started, and then went through the process again, all night long.

By Monday morning, I was pretty tired, but I assumed Baby would be arriving sometime that day, so I tried to stay cheerful and positive. Hubby and I finished packing our bags and gathering snacks for the birth center. We went for a walk at a park, which helped to bring the contractions closer together. By lunchtime, the contractions were four or five minutes apart. We called the midwives, and they told us to come on over to the birth center.

Hubby drove, of course. We took the freeway, and traffic was light, so we got to the birth center in about ten minutes. I only had one contraction along the way, but it was very uncomfortable to get through in a sitting position.

We arrived around 1:30 P.M. I was the only woman in labor when we arrived, so I was able to get the birth suite of my choice: a pink, feminine room with a double-wide birth tub. The midwives asked me a few questions and then allowed us to get settled in. They checked on us periodically to see if there was anything we needed, but for the next few hours, they mostly left us to labor on our own.

At 5:15 P.M., the supervising midwife asked if she could check my cervix. Because I was still pretty calm and collected, she was amazed to find that I was already 8 centimeters dilated. She told me I could get into the birth tub if I wanted. Hubby and I got in together and turned on the jets. The warm water and the jets really helped dull the pain of contractions. Hubby stayed in the water with me for a couple of hours, rubbing my lower back with each contraction. Then he got out, but he still came over to rub my back every time I had a contraction. The pain in my lower back was excruciating. I didn’t realize at the time that the baby was posterior, so all the contractions I had experienced to this point were “back labor.”

I really lost track of time after that, and with all the endorphins coursing through my system, I got a little spacey. I really wasn’t thinking clearly, and absolutely all I could focus on was the contractions. As it was getting dark outside, Hubby and I went for a walk around the block. I had two or three contractions along the way, which were hard to deal with after the milder birth tub contractions. I got back in the birth tub for a while, and then forced myself to get out and labor on the bed for a while, as I was concerned that the birth tub contractions weren’t “doing enough,” because they were nowhere near as painful as contractions outside the water. I was frustrated that I still felt no urge to push, and I was getting extremely tired.

I think the supervising midwife could tell at that point (around 4 AM on Tuesday) that I was becoming somewhat discouraged, so she took over. She had me lie on my side for contractions (even though I told her lying on my side hurt the worst), and put a “husband” back-support cushion between my legs, so that they were spread about two feet apart. She spoke soothingly during contractions, reminding me to keep my legs wide open to make room for the baby, which was difficult, as I just wanted to clamp them together to help deal with the pain. It was during this time that the baby finally rotated to a face-down position and I began to feel the urge to push. Also, I felt a lot of wetness between my legs and had the fleeting thought that the amniotic sac must have broken. I did a few gentle experimental pushes, but not too hard, because I wasn’t sure if I was really supposed to be pushing yet.

After a while, the midwife checked my cervix again and said it was at 10 centimeters, and that I was free to push. This was encouraging news. I thought that I would give a few pushes and the baby would be out. I pushed on my hands and knees on the bed for a while. After maybe half an hour, I felt something start to slip out a tiny bit, and Hubby said he saw some membrane. One of the midwives suggested that I try sitting backward on the toilet to push, so I did. Hubby sat on a chair behind me, and with each push, I alternated between squeezing his knees as hard as I could and scratching and pounding the wall with my hands. I couldn’t help screaming with every push. After pushing on the toilet for about half an hour, I returned to the birth tub, where I was determined to be done with labor and meet my baby. I pushed super hard and fast on my hands and knees, and the baby was born in the water at 6:44 A.M. I heard Hubby exclaim, “Baby!” with astonishment and relief in his voice, and I knew I was done. One of the midwives immediately scooped the baby up and placed it on my chest. Hubby asked if it was a boy or a girl. He had to ask a couple of times, because I was too engrossed in just staring at the baby’s adorable face and marveling that the baby was finally outside me. Finally I processed what Hubby was asking, looked, and announced, “It’s a boy!” We greeted him, using the name we had chosen early in pregnancy for a boy.

Baby Boy’s head was perfectly round and not cone-shaped (thanks to my “roomy pelvis,” as the midwives put it), and his Apgar scores were 10 and 10. After a few moments of holding him in the tub, Hubby and the midwives helped me over to the bed, where I continued to hold Baby Boy to my chest. I was amazed how his sucking instinct kicked in right away, and that he was able to snuggle up to my breast and know what to do.

After a couple of pushes, the placenta came out, which felt good, as it was such a huge relief of pressure. After the cord stopped pulsing, Hubby cut it. The midwives left us alone for a while to bond with our baby. Later, the head midwife did an exam on me and found that I had torn pretty badly and needed stitches. Hubby gave Baby Boy his first bath and dressed him. Then we were given a breakfast menu from a nearby restaurant, and we both ordered omelettes.

Eventually, I got stitched up, and then Hubby and I watched the midwives gave Baby Boy his newborn exam. He was found to be normal and healthy. He was 7 pounds, 14 ounces (the exact same birth weight as his papa), and 21 1/8 inches long. His hair is light brown and his eyes are dark blue, at least for now.

Around noon, my parents came by the birth center for a few minutes to meet Baby Boy. Shortly after that, Hubby and I and our new baby went home.

I am very grateful to have given birth in a birth center instead of in a hospital. If I had been in a hospital, I’m sure the doctors would have wanted to give me drugs to help speed things up, as it was such a long labor, or pressured me to have an epidural and episiotomy. I was determined to have a natural birth with no interventions if at all possible, and I am pleased to say that I did, even though it was difficult. Baby Boy was very alert and content after his birth as a result of not being drugged up. I feel like he is my precious reward for all the hard work of labor. We prayed for this baby, and now we hold him in our arms. Thank You, Lord.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It's a BOY!

Baby Boy
Born August 29, 2006
6:44 A.M.
7 lbs. 14 oz.
21 1/8 inches
Perfect 10 APGAR scores
Praise the Lord!
Pictures and birth story to follow.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Contractions Have Started

I began having contractions last night around 10 PM. I kept having them all throughout the night, one every 45 minutes to an hour. I would say they are mild to moderate, but having never experienced labor before, I don't know how strong contractions really get. I haven't been diligent about timing them yet, since they are still so far apart, but I would estimate they last between twenty and forty seconds each. I feel them all around my abdomen, both front and back, and they don't go away if I change position, so I'm hoping that they are the real thing, and not just false labor.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Just Waiting

Note: slightly graphic pregnancy-related information to follow, so if you are squeamish, feel free to stop reading now.

I haven't noticed any more amniotic fluid, but I have started having a pinkish discharge, or "bloody show." This doesn't necessarily mean labor is imminent, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

One of my midwives came over to my house to check on Baby and me. Baby is head-down (yay!) and is reacting well (the heart rate is varying nicely instead of staying perfectly steady, which could indicate fetal distress).

My midwives suggest that I stay at home as much as possible to reduce the risk of infection. This is fine with me. When else in my life am I ever going to have a great excuse to just hang out at home and read, crochet, sleep, watch movies, etc.? My midwives said I could go for a walk. It's too hot outside right now (in the 90's), but maybe I will go when it cools off this evening.

Still no contractions. I am hoping and praying they will start soon.

I appreciate everyone's prayers. Thank you so much.

Getting Close (I Think)

Yesterday, I had a strong urge to get things in order. I bought a couple of nursing shirts and a shelf on which to stack our cloth diapers. I made sure the dishes were caught up and changed the sheets on our bed.

Around 1:30 this morning I got up to use the bathroom, and discovered fluid trickling down my legs. I tested it with a nitrazine strip my midwives gave me, and it turned blue-black, which means the liquid was amniotic fluid. I did some reading on the internet about water breaking, and I E-mailed my friend to let her know I won't be at Bible study this morning, and after that, I was too awake and alert to go back to sleep (although I did get back in bed and attempt for about half an hour to fall asleep). I made myself an omelette. Sometimes eating something helps me fall back asleep. But here I sit at 3 AM, and I'm excited, and not sleepy. I still haven't started "real" contractions, but I'm expecting them to start any time. I will call my midwives in the morning to check in and see if there is anything they recommend.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ripe and Ready

When I went in for my appointment today, my head midwife said that I look "ripe and ready" for labor. Because my pelvic ligaments are stretching and softening, walking has become more like waddling. I'm hoping for some action soon!

No Baby Yet...

Just in case you were wondering, Baby still seems pretty content inside me. I haven't been having any strong contractions at all, just occasional very mild twinges in my uterus. Ah, well, one of these days.

I have an appointment later today with my midwives.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Any Time Now

Someone said to me the other day, "Every first-time mom hopes her baby will come two weeks before the due date." That statement has certainly proven true for me. As much as I enjoy the miracle of life inside me, I'm ready to have the miracle on the outside now. :-) Only six more days until the official due date, but I know Baby is not looking at a calendar.

As a baby shower gift, my parents and my grandma gave us a year of diaper service. Our first shipment of 70 pre-folded cloth diapers arrived today, along with 6 velcro-tab diaper covers. The diaper bag is all packed for the birth center now. As for
my bag, well, that's another story.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Jury Duty

I had jury duty today. After 7 1/2 hours of hanging out in the jury room (mostly I worked on crocheting this doily; PDF file), my name was finally called, along with several other people. The judge announced that we had been selected to serve on a two-week-long trial. She asked if anyone in the group had a reason he or she would not be able to serve for two weeks. A few people responded that they could not be away from their jobs that long, or that they were planning to take a trip. The judge interrogated each one of them--is there anyone else who can do your job? What would happen if you weren't there? Can your trip be rescheduled?, etc. When she came to me, I said, "I'm due to have a baby any day." She just smiled and said, "Okay, next." A man in front of me turned around and whispered, "That was a good one. I think I'll use that one next time." :-) Needless to say, I was excused.

Also, I found out that in my state, if you are summoned for jury duty, and you are a woman breastfeeding a child, you are automatically excused. I'm glad someone has gone before me to make things easier for breastfeeding moms.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It's Not Every Day

It's not every day that you're walking in the mall, nine months pregnant, and a guy at a display booth holds out a pair of those roller skate shoes with retractable wheels in the sole and asks if you're interested in trying them on. Uh, no thanks, but thanks for the laugh.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Busy Day

The ladies of my church blessed me with a baby shower on Saturday. Since we don’t know the gender of our baby, we received a lot of yellow and green and white things! Also an Ergo baby carrier, which I am very excited about.

Mondays always seem extra busy to me. I did lots of dishes, baked bread, tidied the bedroom and living room, emptied all the trash cans, mended a skirt so the elastic waist would not roll down, and made two 9”x13” pans of chicken-broccoli-rice casserole for our home community (Bible study/fellowship group) tonight. I also crocheted some on a little ripple afghan for Baby. We probably already have enough baby blankets, but I started this one specifically for the purpose of having something to do when I have jury duty in a few days.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Welcome Sign

Our front door looked a little bare, so I cross-stitched this little welcome sign for it. The heart pattern and lettering both come from a book called 2001 Cross Stitch Designs.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Getting Cramped in There Yet, Baby?

I found out today that Baby is in LOT (Left Occipital Transverse) position in my uterus. This means that Baby is head down, with his or her back against my left side and feet kicking toward my right side.

Pregnancy Brain

Yesterday I wanted to pick up some books that were being held for me at the library. I checked the library’s web site to see what time it opened. 10 AM, just as I thought. I pulled into the parking lot around 10:15. I tried to open the front doors, but they were locked. I looked at the hours painted on the door—Thursdays, open at 10 AM. I walked around to the back of the building where a man was unloading books from a truck.

“It seems like the front doors are locked,” I observed.

“You’re right,” he said.

“But I looked online, and the library’s web site said it opens at 10 today, and it says so on the door, too.”

“Hmm. Should open at noon today,” the man said.

I was confused. “But…isn’t today Thursday?”

The man smiled and told me it was Wednesday.

“Oh, that would explain it,” I said, and walked to my car, blushing.

To make matters worse, when I went back to the library later in the day to check out my books, the librarian informed me that I had a bunch of overdue books. I was shocked. I usually keep track of when my books are due. I knew they were due on the 8th, but somehow I didn’t realize the 8th of this month had already come and gone.

I’m not usually so spacey, really. I blame the hormones. :-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Love My Husband

A couple of nights ago, I was struggling to make a decision. I knew what I should do, but I really did not want to do it. I pouted and whined to Hubby in the hope that he would help me justify taking the easy way out, but he (being the good spiritual leader he is) wouldn’t do it, and he said I needed to talk to the Lord.

I laid on the couch and moped and tried to make excuses for my sin for I don’t know how long—probably about half an hour—before my heart began to soften and I was able to pray for help. I resolved to do the right thing.

When I walked into the bedroom, I witnessed one of the most beautiful sights of my life—my husband, on his knees beside the bed, praying fervently for me. Thank you, dear Father, for a husband who cares that much for me, and who lovingly leads me to You.

Another happy thing is that my test results for Group B Strep were negative. Yay! One less thing to think about during labor and delivery.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I just finished crocheting this trivet. I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn, and I alternated rows of puff stitches and single crochet stitches (so all the puff stitches would be on the same side of the trivet), and then added a loopy chain edging. It's simple, but it's nice and thick, and it has a fun texture.

Birth Position

For the past week or so, I have been wondering if Baby might be in a sideways position instead of head-down (obviously, sideways is not a good position for birth). I was very relieved when my midwife assured me at my appointment today that Baby is definitely head-down. She also talked about creating a "baby hammock" with my uterus, by leaning slightly forward when I sit or being on my hands and knees some every day. This apparently helps Baby rotate into the best position for birth.

A good friend of mine whom I have known all my life (we were bridesmaids in each other's weddings, too) came over at 1:30 today and we chatted until 5! Thank you, Lord, for friends. :-)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oatmeal Waffles

This is my mother-in-law's recipe for Oatmeal Waffles. They are so yummy, and healthy, too, especially if you top them with peanut butter and applesauce or fresh fruit, rather than syrup. In our waffle iron, this recipe makes about 8 waffles. If you have extra batter, you can keep it in the fridge for a few days, just stir it before using. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can just put 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup and fill with milk to the 1 1/2 c. mark; stir and let sour for 5-10 minutes before using.

Oatmeal Waffles


-1 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
-1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 c. buttermilk
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons melted butter


Combine oats, flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In separate bowl, stir together buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Cook in waffle iron.

Monday, July 31, 2006

My Latest Project

Here are a couple of pictures of my latest crochet project. I had a bit of trouble with the pattern, which can be found here, but I finally figured out a way to make it work.

I eliminated the ties, which you can see on the pattern web site, and instead attached a button:

I will probably also make the matching diaper cover and booties. We don't know if we are having a boy or a girl, but I figure it doesn't hurt to be prepared. If we have a boy, we can save this for sometime down the road. :-) Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Birth Plan

Even before I became pregnant, I knew I did not want a typical hospital birth with typical hospital interventions and germs. My search for a natural birth alternative led me to a local freestanding licensed birth center with midwives as the caregivers. My birth team involves three women: the supervising midwife, who is a licensed direct-entry and certified professional midwife; an intern midwife; and an apprentice midwife.

One thing that is advantageous about this birth center is that my husband and I have the final say over what tests and procedures I or our newborn will undergo. For example, we chose not to have an ultrasound, and I also opted out of a glucose test for gestational diabetes, because I did not have any of the risk factors. We are in the process of researching newborn screening tests and Vitamin K administration.

The birth center is in a three-story house with two nicely-decorated birth rooms. The idea is for it to be a home away from home. I would have liked to have a home birth, but our current apartment is so tiny and not-soundproof that we felt, for this baby at least, a birth center would be a better option. Both of the birth rooms are equipped with huge birthing tubs, which can be used for relaxation during labor or for the actual birth. I plan to at least labor in water, if not actually give birth in the water.

A typical appointment with my midwives involves a urine test which I do myself with a test strip; questions from the midwives about how I am feeling and what I have been eating; checking my pulse and blood pressure; listening to the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler and calculating fetal heart rate; measuring my fundal height (from the pubic bone to top of the uterus); and checking what position Baby is in. That’s about it. I did have one internal exam toward the beginning of pregnancy so that the midwives could tell the position of my uterus and size of my pelvis.

Mainly my midwives just emphasize good nutrition, including 60-80 grams of protein during the first and second trimesters, and 80-100 in the third trimester. I eat a lot of yogurt, cheese (cottage cheese especially is great for protein), and meat, and I have two eggs every day. They also stress the importance of light exercise. I walk for about thirty minutes five or six days a week. I was taking a regular multi-vitamin before I knew I was pregnant, but when I found out, I researched prenatal vitamins and ended up going with Promise Stages, which have a slightly different formulation for each trimester of pregnancy and are very reasonably priced. Within a week after I started taking them, I noticed my fingernails were much stronger, so they must be doing something!

When I was searching for a birth place, I knew I wanted to be able to labor not flat on my back, but in any position I chose. The birth center encourages squatting or just about any position that is comfortable. There are also birth balls to sit or lay on. I will be allowed to eat and drink during labor; in fact, one of the mandatory items on my birth supply list is six bottles of Recharge, an all-natural sports drink. I am also supposed to bring an unopened bottle of olive or almond oil, which the midwives will rub on my perineum if I give birth out of water, instead of an episiotomy. The cord will not be cut until it stops pulsing, and I will be able to immediately hold and breastfeed my baby. We will stay at the birth center for at least three hours for monitoring, and then home we will go with our newborn!

I have read dozens of books about labor and birth, but to be honest, I still don’t have a clear idea of what to expect. I guess I’ll have to just experience the process this first time, and then I will have a better idea for future pregnancies. I have a wonderful, supportive husband, knowledgeable midwives, and most importantly, a God who loves me and is in control.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Almost There!

My baby ticker just moved to the last month! I am planning to do a post soon about my birth plan.

100% Whole-Wheat Bread (for Bread Machine)

I made this for the first time the other day. For 100% whole wheat bread, it rose well. And it's quite tasty! This recipe is for a 2-pound loaf.

100% Whole-Wheat Bread


-6 tablespoons combination of oat bran, wheat bran, and/or flaxseed
-1/2 c. milk
-5/8-3/4 c. water
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons butter
-6 tablespoons honey
-2 teaspoons salt
-4 c. whole-wheat flour
-1/2 c. raw unsalted sunflower seeds
-2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast


Use whole-wheat cycle of bread machine.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Clip and Save

Did you know that you don’t need to get the newspaper to take advantage of coupons? Many grocery stores have their weekly ad on their web site. You can get an idea of what is on sale and if there are any coupons available. Depending on the store, you may not be able to print out the coupons you find in the online ad and use them at the store, BUT, I have found that if you ask at the customer service desk of almost any grocery store, they will give you a copy of their weekly ad, including coupons! Some stores even have their ads in a stand near the front of the store.

Don’t automatically rule out the more expensive grocery stores in your area. If you pay attention to their ads and coupons, you will often find a few top-notch-quality items for a lower price than you could get them at your local discount grocery store. Run in, grab these “doorbuster” items, and then mosey over to your regular less-expensive store to get the rest of your groceries.

Many stores are accepting manufacturer’s coupons that can be printed off the internet from sites such as SmartSource. It may be worth your while to call around to all the stores in your area and ask about their coupon policies.

You can also go to the web site of any product you regularly use (think baking items, dental supplies, snack items, frozen goods, household supplies, etc.) and see if there are any coupons available to print directly off the manufacturer’s site and/or if you can get on their mailing list for future promotions and coupons. I would recommend using a separate E-mail account than your personal correspondence account, as many companies “share” your information with other companies, and your E-mail box can quickly become overloaded with dozens of offers and newsletters.

I have also written to manufacturers when I really like their products or if I have had a problem with their products, and received many high-value coupons (some for FREE items) this way.

Even if you only save a few dollars a week by using coupons, you are honoring the Lord by being a good steward of His money and making the most of the resources He has given you.

I am still learning how to stretch my family’s food dollar, and if there are any coupon pros reading, I would be blessed if you would share some of your tips!

Turkey Sausage

This morning I walked to the grocery store to buy some peaches, which I knew were on sale. While I was there, I found some ground turkey with a $2 off sticker on it, bringing the price to $1.99 for 1 ¼ pounds. This is the best price I have seen on ground turkey in my area. Do any of you use ground turkey? If so, I’m curious, what do you usually pay for it? I have been looking around to find a good price ever since I found a recipe for Turkey Sausage:

Turkey Sausage


-1 lb. ground turkey
-1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
-1/4 t. each cumin, marjoram, pepper, nutmeg, oregano, cayenne pepper, and ginger
-1/2 t. each dried basil, thyme, and sage
-2 t. sea salt
-2 T. whole-grain bread crumbs
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-2 T. butter


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Form into patties and sauté in butter.

I made this recipe for lunch. Hubby and I both really liked it! The patties came out moist and flavored just right. I had been avoiding sausage for quite a while because of the MSG and/or nitrates in commercially-prepared sausage, so this was a treat. I think it would also be good crumbled as a pizza topping.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hope Chest Memories

Tonight while preparing dinner (Chicken Spaghetti--recipe below), I reached into a drawer for a can opener and saw several kitchen gadgets in the drawer that made me smile. Why? They were gifts from my parents, one every day for the month leading up to my sixteenth birthday. Every night at dinner, I got to unwrap a different kitchen item—-a set of measuring cups, a turkey baster, an apple slicer, dish towels, etc. Then, on my birthday, Mom and Dad gave me a beautiful hope chest in which to store all my new treasures. I used to spend hours sorting and re-organizing the items in my hope chest, all the while dreaming about the man who would become my husband and the home we would have together. I am so grateful to God for bringing Hubby and me together and for helping us have such a happy marriage.

My hope chest is still very special to me. Right now it is holding baby clothes!

Here is the recipe for Chicken Spaghetti. It’s a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken.

Chicken Spaghetti


-1/2 large onion, chopped
-1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
-2 stalks celery, chopped
-1 can sliced mushrooms or approximately 2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-30 oz. Tomato sauce
-6 oz. Tomato paste
-1/4 c. water
-1 can sliced olives (optional)
-2-3 c. cubed or shredded cooked chicken
-1/4 c. or more parmesan cheese
-1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
-dash black pepper
-3/4 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
-3 teaspoons Italian herbs (use a blend or just use basil, rosemary, and oregano), or to taste
-12 oz. spaghetti noodles (I use whole-wheat)
-1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese


Sauté onion, bell pepper, celery, and fresh mushrooms (if using) until just tender in olive oil in large pot. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, olives (if using), canned mushrooms (if using), chicken, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and Italian herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes or until flavors are blended. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti noodles in boiling water. Drain. Serve sauce over cooked noodles. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

My Day So Far...

Some of my favorite bloggers have been putting up their schedules, so I thought I would join them. Here is mine so far today:

5:30 Woke up, prayed and read one day of one-year Bible with Hubby
6:00 Breakfast, contacts, hair, brushed teeth, ran dishwasher
6:45 Walked, listened to Michael Card's Unveiled Hope album on CD player—-I had Braxton-Hicks contractions during my whole walk today, so I tried to just walk slowly and take it easy
7:15 Shower, dress, hair, makeup
7:45 Organized craft supplies into closet to make more room in bedroom for crib, did dishes, tidied kitchen
9:00 Errands with Hubby—returned video, grocery store, hardware store for shelf brackets, looked at craft store for photo album
10:00 Continued organizing bedroom, researched photo albums for our wedding photos; I really like the 12x12 white leather bay box album from ScrapWorks, but I’m having trouble finding anyone who has it in stock.
11:00 Lunch; I have a new shelf by my side of the bed and the crib is set up! Yay! (Thanks, Sweetie!)
11:45 Made lunch for Hubby; organized coupons; blog-surfed
12:45 I'm planning to read a bit and then take a nap.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Currently Reading

I have added to the sidebar a list of books that I am currently reading. One of them, My Antonia, I am listening to on CD as I work on crocheting my big afghan.

Friday, July 21, 2006

What I've been up to

We found a nice crib on Craigslist for a good price, so we've decided to just let Baby sleep in the crib next to our bed right from the start.

I have been walking 30-45 minutes a day 5-6 mornings a week. It really helps stretch things out in my back if I've slept in a weird position (I don't think there's really any super-comfortable sleeping position during late pregnancy! Hubby did buy me a couple of extra pillows the other day to artfully arrange around me for sleeping and sitting up in bed).

I just checked out from the library the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. It has convinced me of several things:

1) to do all my cooking and baking with real butter or olive oil, instead of margarine or vegetable oils.

2) to try lacto-fermentation--this involves soaking grains overnight or longer in warm water mixed with yogurt or whey. This neutralizes most of the phytates in grains, so that the vitamins and minerals in them are absorbed more easily, and encourages the growth of healthy enzymes. Vegetables and fruits can be lacto-fermented as well.

3) to continue a low-sugar (especially refined sugar) diet.

4) to eliminate processed foods from our household as much as possible. I don't want or need all those chemicals and preservatives in my body, especially with a baby growing inside.

5) to incorporate more nutrient-rich stocks into my diet. I made chicken stock today using the recipe in this book. I don't have many pregnancy cravings any more, but I did during my first and second trimesters, and what I craved most was broth! It still tastes great to me, even though I don't crave it like I used to.

I'm working on crocheting this afghan, except I am making it adult-sized instead of baby-sized. I am using Caron Perfect Match Country Basket Ombre. The afghan is almost large enough now to cover our queen-sized bed, but I want to make it long enough to be tucked in at the end (plus, I still have several skeins of the yarn left that I don't want to go to waste!)

I have been learning a lot on the internet about using coupons. Coupon Mom is a good source of information.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stuffed Peppers and Other Stuff

We had a fun Independence Day. Our home group from church met at a park for a potluck dinner, then played games and chatted until the big firework show started.

I found a good deal on green bell peppers, so tonight I made stuffed peppers for the first time. Neither Hubby nor I had ever eaten a stuffed pepper. I looked at several recipes and came to the conclusion that there is no “correct” way to make a stuffed pepper, so I made up my own recipe. I cooked some ground beef with chopped onion, celery, and green pepper, mixed in a couple handfuls of bread crumbs, and stirred in about a cup of leftover spaghetti sauce. I stuffed this mixture into the pepper cups, poured a little more spaghetti sauce over the top, and baked at 350 degrees for half an hour. Then I sprinkled on some grated cheddar cheese and additional bread crumbs and baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. They came out great! While we were eating them, we came up with the idea of pizza peppers, made with pizza sauce, pepperoni or sausage, olives, and mozzarella cheese. Maybe we’ll try that next time.

My belly button has been slowly turning into an “outie” for the past several weeks, but yesterday I stood up from using the computer and realized that it had finally completely popped outward! Weird.

I have been doing well with avoiding sugar. It helps to not keep junk in the house! I’m not even having any serious cravings, and I think I’ve lost a couple of pounds, too, just by eliminating refined sugar and filling up on healthier foods instead.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


So today I was laundering and organizing a bunch of itty-bitty adorable baby clothes, and I came to the conclusion that nine months is a long time to wait for a baby to make an appearance!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Breaking My Sugar Addiction

Last night while home alone, I found myself eating a bowl of ice cream with trail mix sprinkled on top. I didn’t even really want it, but I had been telling myself all day that I could have ice cream that evening, so I felt like I had to, after all that anticipation. After the first bite, I felt ashamed of my sinful eating habits, and I knew I should have just thrown the whole bowlful away, but I finished it and went for a walk, and the Holy Spirit continued to convict me.

When Hubby got home, I told him what had happened and mentioned I was considering giving up sugary foods. He encouraged me in that direction, because he knows how much of an issue food can be for me, but I wasn’t quite ready to make a commitment. This morning I asked Hubby to pray for me to make the right decision. He did, and then asked what was holding me back. “Is it that you know what you should do, but it’s just hard?” I knew that was indeed the case, but I still resisted. We picked up reading in the Bible where we had left off yesterday, and guess what verse we came to? James 4:17—“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” That was when I finally surrendered to the Lord and made a commitment before Him and my husband that I will not eat sugary foods unless someone else offers them to me, such as if someone invited me over for dinner and had prepared a special dessert, and I felt it would be rude not to accept it.

I know that it won’t be easy for my body to get over its addiction to sugar, but I am confident that God will help me resist the temptation to give in to cravings. Plus, I have a very caring and supportive husband on my side.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

2 More Months

Baby has been kicking hard and moving around a lot lately. I can literally watch my belly morph as Baby turns around or does whatever he or she does in there. When I press on my belly, I can feel different baby parts, but I can’t distinguish them yet. Only about two more months until I get to meet this little wiggle-worm! :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Where Will Baby Sleep?

I'm still here; I just haven't had a lot to blog about lately.

My mom gave me her bread machine that she never used, so I've had fun playing around with that lately.

I have been researching different childbirth "methods." I'm still not set on any one approach, but I am feeling more prepared and even excited about giving birth. If I had to do it today, I could (but, of course, I want Baby to stay inside for a couple more months to grow bigger and stronger).

We know we want Baby in our bedroom for the first few months at least (actually, we don't have a lot of choice, since our apartment only has one bedroom). We were considering getting an Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper, and maybe we still will, but a lot of the parent reviews I have read online say that their babies outgrew them after four or five months. I don't know if it would be a good use of money to get a co-sleeper that could only be used for four or five months and then have to purchase a full-sized crib, as well.

Another option would be to get an relatively inexpensive Moses basket (has anyone ever tried one?) or bassinet, plus a crib. Any advice from moms who have been there? Did you have your babies sleep in your room? When did you move them to another room?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

This and That

I had a dream last night that I was in a grocery store and kept knocking down displays in the aisles—boxes, cans, you name it—when I tried to squeeze by with my pregnant belly.

When I went in for an appointment with my midwives the other day, my fundal height was 28 centimeters—right on for this week. My ankles aren’t swollen yet, but my hands are just a bit. It is not as easy to slip my rings on and off as it used to be. One of my midwives suggested drinking spearmint iced tea, as it may help reduce swelling.

I finished crocheting the Little Star Afghan. I made it 20 rounds—19 of a light yellow and then the outer round white, for a border. I just started working on this Blue Alphabet cross-stitch sampler. I usually stay away from cross-stitch because it's so tedious and time-consuming, but I figured I should be able to handle this design because it has a lot of open space and only five colors.

I meet with some women from my church every Saturday morning at a café. The café sells these yummy cream-cheese-filled marionberry scones. The other day I tried to replicate them in my own kitchen. The scone part came out fine, but the filling (I tried cream cheese beaten with an egg) got dry and rubbery. Next time I will try leaving the egg out of the filling and maybe stirring in a little jam. Does anyone have a recipe for cream-cheese-filled scones you would like to share?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Singing to Baby

Last night Hubby put his head on my belly and we sang songs together to our baby. He or she was doing somersaults and kicking like crazy! It was so neat to be able to interact with our baby that way and know that he or she will recognize our voices after birth.

The last major piece of baby "equipment" we need to get is some kind of rocking chair, and yesterday, out of the blue, a friend said she wanted to give us one. I am continually amazed and grateful at how God is providing for this baby.

I have been putting off cleaning the fridge for a long time, and it was getting really yucky, so this morning right after breakfast I gritted my teeth and started pulling all the food out and setting it on the counter. The whole job only took about half an hour, and it felt really good to have it done. So often "unpleasant" jobs aren't so bad after all, once I just get started.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Getting Ready for Baby

I am so thrilled to be expecting a baby! As Hubby and I are gathering more baby necessities, the fact that this little one is going to be here in three months for me to cuddle and kiss is becoming more of a reality. I got to hold a four-month-old baby girl for a while after church last night and coo to her and rock her and smother her little cheeks with kisses, but (sigh) I had to give her back. I can hardly wait until our little one is here to snuggle 24/7.

On Saturday, we found a good deal on Craigslist for a "travel system," so now we have a stroller, car seat, and car seat base. We also have a playpen, a bouncy seat that vibrates (when I used to babysit an infant in our apartment, she took her naps in the seat), and some boy clothes that were given to us (we don't know if we are having a boy or a girl, so we'll still need to get some girl clothes). A few people have offered to give baby showers for me "after the baby comes," so people can give clothes for the right gender, but the baby will still need to wear something for a couple weeks until the showers! :-) My parents are giving us the dresser that used to be my changing table, and they also want to get us a crib. So the major things are getting taken care of. Thank you, Lord.

We want to use cloth diapers, but the apartment we're in now just has a shared coin-operated washer and dryer in the basement, and I don't think other tenants would appreciate me washing messy diapers in the same washer they use, so we're thinking of using a diaper service, at least until we are able to move somewhere where we will have our own washer and dryer.

I love feeling my baby kick. He or she gets really active when I first start talking in the morning, after I eat, or any time I sing.

I am looking forward to meeting you, little one!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More on Staying at Home

We just got back from a nice visit with Hubby's parents. They are busily getting rid of most of their earthly goods, as they are trying to sell their house and move to another state to start a church among Persian people. I am grateful for the example of my parents-in-law, who are willing to give up everything to go where the Lord leads.

They gave us a hide-a-bed couch, which is a blessing because now my mom will have a place to sleep when she comes to help out for a few days after the baby is born. My mother-in-law also gave me several boxes full of yarn. I just started crocheting a star-shaped baby afghan with some of that yarn. The pattern is here. I am making it all in a soft yellow.

I am still working on my Home Management Binder. It has been very helpful already. I like to have some structure to my day. I am still tweaking my schedule, but here is what I have right now:

6:00 Read Bible and pray with Hubby
6:45 Breakfast, check E-mail, look at day’s schedule, brush teeth, contacts
7:15 Exercise (usually a brisk walk)
7:45 Shower, makeup, hair, get dressed
8:30 Start laundry
Make bed
Put away clean dishes
Wash dirty dishes or load in dishwasher
Wipe countertops, stovetop, and dining room table
Start Crock-Pot, if necessary
Empty trash cans, if necessary
Fill water bottles
9:15 Daily cleaning, including 15 minutes on a special project
10:00 Have a snack
Run errands OR do any baking, if necessary
Work on a craft (wedding album, crochet, etc.), if time permits
11:30 Prepare lunch
12:00 Lunch
Tidy kitchen
2:00 Bible study and journaling
2:45 Internet time, read
4:00 Prepare dinner
5:00 Dinner
Tidy kitchen
5:30 Scripture memory
6:00 Free/Spend with Hubby
9:30 Get ready for bed
10:00 Sleep

Hubby and I have just recently started memorizing Scripture after dinner. He is memorizing the book of Titus, and right now I am working on Proverbs 31. It is so good to meditate on God's Word.

I am really, really enjoying being "just" a homemaker. I am finding plenty to do. I am less stressed than when I was working 40 hours a week, and I am a better helpmate for my husband.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Full-Time Homemaker at Last! :-)

Friday was my last day of work, and now I'm home for good as a full-time wife, homemaker, and (in a few months) mother. I felt giddy when I got off work on Friday. It was the same kind of feeling I got in college at the end of a semester, after the last final was completed and the last paper was handed in, except even stronger--because it's not just the end of a semester, it's the end of a stage in my life, and the beginning of a new one.

Now that I will have a lot more time on my hands, I want to make sure that I use that time well. I am working on a Home Management Binder, like Candy and a lot of other ladies use. I will post more about it soon.

Another thing I've been thinking about: for ladies with children, did you take any kind of childbirth class when you were pregnant? Did you feel like it was beneficial, or a waste of time and money? Does anyone have any recommendations for books about childbirth?

Monday, May 15, 2006


Hubby and I had a good weekend. Friday night we went to the wedding of two of our friends from church. Saturday we spent almost all day going through our wedding photos and deciding which photos to enlarge to what size and to give to which people, and also picking out the ones we want to hang on our own wall and for an album. Yesterday we taught Sunday school and went to the morning service as usual, and then we took care of preschool-aged kids in the nursery during the evening service. For Mother's Day, Hubby gave me a bouquet of lilies still all in the bud, and he said, "Flowers-to-be for a mother-to-be." Isn't that sweet?

This is my last week at work before I get to come home and be a full-time wife and homemaker and get ready for our little one (the due date is August 27).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Our Weekend

We had a great time visiting with my parents this weekend. They stayed at a campground near us in their RV.

On Saturday, my mom took me maternity clothes shopping, and then we all went out to the campground for a BBQ and good conversation. I hadn't seen my dad since January, and neither one of us is great at staying in touch by phone or E-mail, so it was nice to catch up with him. I also got to see my (well, really the family's, but I always felt like he was mine when I lived with my parents) little dog, a West Highland White Terrier, and take him for a walk around the campground. On Sunday, my parents came to church with us.

I'm at 22 weeks now--over halfway! A couple of mornings ago, I felt Baby hiccupping.

We're thinking more seriously about baby names. We have tentatively agreed on a name for a boy, but we're still working on a girl name.

My belly continues to grow bigger and bigger, and I can't fit into any of my old clothes. Hubby joked this weekend that, now that I have a nice maternity wardrobe (thanks to my mom and another generous friend), it would be easier on the clothing budget just to keep me pregnant. :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Transition

The family I work for has hired my replacement. It looks like I will continue nannying for them until the middle of May, and then the new nanny will start. The family told me today that the 3-year-old has started asking every night if I am coming back the next day, so she knows something is up. :-( Does anyone have any ideas about easing the transition for this little girl? I want her to know that I still love her, even though I won't see her very often anymore.

Kids...Gotta Love 'Em

Yesterday the 6-year-old I take care of asked me, "Is that a fat shirt you're wearing?"

Me: "Hmm...what makes you ask that?"

6-year-old: "'Cause your tummy is so fat in it."

Guess I'm showing. :-)

And the 3-year-old told me that when she grows up, she wants to be a fireplace.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

We're Both RH Negative!

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I am RH-. Today we got the results back from Hubby's blood test, and he is RH-, too! This means all our children will be RH-, and there won't be any risk of my developing antibodies against this baby's or any future babies' blood. Thank you, Lord! When Hubby called me at work to tell me the news, I was so excited and relieved that I said something like, "Yay! Now we can have 18 children!" (because we won't have to be concerned about RH incompatibility). Well, for the time being, I think we'll just start with this one. :-) We're not planning to have an ultrasound, but my midwives said my measurements seem to indicate a single baby, rather than twins.

Hubby got to feel the baby kicking for the first time last night. It was very precious to know that he was feeling his child growing inside of me.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Few Thoughts

Today I took care of a preschool-aged boy in addition to the preschool-aged girl I usually watch. He was very polite and obedient, but there’s just something about boys that makes them ten times louder and more active than girls. I wonder if this little one growing inside me is a he or a she? Hubby and I are not planning to have an ultrasound, but part of me wishes I did know if we are having a boy or a girl so we could choose a name and start referring to “_______” instead of “Baby.”

My nanny career is coming to an end. As much as I enjoy caring for other people’s children, I know it will be even more joyous and fulfilling to care for my own. In a couple of months, I will go from a decent salary to no salary, but it will be worth it to stay home with our baby. We really don’t know where the money will come from, but we have seen God’s faithfulness to provide over and over again in the time that we have been married, and we trust Him. God continues to supply a variety of computer and audio jobs for Hubby.

I have been feeling Baby move for the past week or so. Right now, it just feels like light taps, and I usually don’t feel anything unless I’m sitting perfectly still. Baby seems to become more active after I eat a good meal.

I decided that our apartment needed a little more springtime cheer, so I planted a hyacinth, some alyssum, and some pansies in containers and brought them indoors (we don’t have a yard). I don’t really know if these usually out-of-doors flowers will survive very long inside, but we surely are enjoying them while they last. We are also fortunate to have a couple of cherry trees in full light-pink bloom right outside our living room windows. Isn’t spring lovely?

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Day of Rest

This is the second day this week I’ve had to call in sick to work. My head is really congested, and I’m exhausted. Since I’m pregnant, I can’t take any drugs. Well, some are considered “probably safe” for use during pregnancy, but that’s still too risky for me—I want to do everything I can to take care of this little life growing inside me.

Although I don’t relish being sick, it’s actually kind of refreshing to stay in bed all day and not feel obligated to do anything. I’ve been dinking around on people’s blogs, researching alternative cold remedies, reading Anne’s House of Dreams, poring through baby name books, and napping. I’ve also been crocheting this baby afghan.

Regarding my pregnancy, I had some blood work done and found out that I am RH-. This means that, if Hubby is RH+ (we still need to find that out), there is about an 85% chance that we will have an RH+ baby, and I will need to get a shot(s) to prevent my body making antibodies against RH+ blood. For a few weeks, I was not as intensely hungry all the time as I had been, but in the past few days, my appetite has kicked into high gear again. Maybe Baby is going through a growth spurt. I am anxiously awaiting Baby’s first kick. I recently found this site, which has a week-by-week timeline of a baby’s development in the womb, along with ultrasound pictures. It’s such a miracle how God grows a baby.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

No Morning Sickness!

I started getting morning sickness even before I knew for sure that I was pregnant (queasiness is very rare for me, so it was one of the signs that led me to suspect pregnancy). But today is the first day since a few days after Baby's conception that I haven't experienced any morning sickness! Hooray!

The thing that helped me most with morning sickness was eating healthy snacks frequently--sometimes very frequently! I get ravenously hungry every 1 1/2-2 hours. My midwife recommends snacking on cottage cheese, as it is a very good and relatively inexpensive source of protein, and it has some calcium. I also snack on yogurt, and I try to eat several pieces of fruit every day.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

P R E G N A N T !

It has been a few months since I have posted to this blog, and a lot has changed. I am hoping to start posting regularly again, as long as I have something worth saying. :-)

One huge blessing is that about a month and a half ago, God helped Hubby find a good deal on a car for us. It is wonderful to be able to go longer distances than we could on our bikes. Today I was able to drive about 45 minutes to meet a dear friend at a coffee shop in a town about halfway between our houses. Hubby and I have also been able to make a few trips to visit immediate and extended family members. And, of course, it surely is convenient (and way more pleasant) to just load groceries into the car, rather than stuffing them in backpacks and carrying them home on our bikes. Hubby has also been able to use the car to haul equipment for his computer and audio business, and we have been able to give lots of rides to people who don’t have cars. Thank You, Lord.

Hubby whisked me away for a weekend getaway to Cannon Beach (where we got engaged) to celebrate our first anniversary (January 22). We stayed at a bed and breakfast. Our room had a gas fireplace, and the hosts brought us breakfast in a basket to our door, so that was very luxurious.

But the biggest blessing of all is that we found out that we are expecting a baby in late August or early September. The official due date is August 27, but I’m telling myself early September, so I won’t get too disappointed if August 27 comes and goes and the baby is still inside me! I’ve heard that your first baby usually comes later than its due date, but the timing is in the Lord’s hands.

I am planning to give birth in, and have all my prenatal care done at, a local free-standing birth center (that means it is not part of a hospital). I will have three midwives at the birth and at most of my prenatal appointments. I am looking forward to having the same ladies care for me and my baby all throughout my pregnancy, during birth, and for a couple of months after birth. We do not have insurance, so we are just paying for the birth center out-of-pocket, but the cost is very reasonable compared to a hospital, and I didn’t want a hospital birth anyway. I want this pregnancy and birth to be as natural as possible—no drugs, no episiotomy, no artificial methods of labor induction, etc.—because I believe that a natural pregnancy and labor are best for both mama and baby. I also want to be able to labor in whatever positions are most comfortable, and the birth center encourages this. One other nice thing about the birth center is that the birthing suites have large tubs for laboring in or even giving birth in.

I had my first prenatal appointment at the birth center just a few days ago, and we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat, which made everything seem so much more “real.” I am so looking forward to meeting this little person and getting to know him or her and trying to raise him or her in the ways of the Lord! So far, we are planning to wait until the birth to find out if Baby is a boy or a girl.

I am noticing changes in my body. As I was trying on clothes this afternoon, trying to come up with something nice to wear to a friend’s baby shower, I realized that almost all of my skirts are officially now too tight to breathe comfortably in or sit down in. I have accumulated a few maternity dresses that I am looking forward to wearing, because they look so comfortable, but they are all still a little too big in the belly. I’m kind of at an awkward in-between state right now…. I think I’m going to have to hit a few secondhand shops to search out some transition pieces for the next couple of months.

I am pretty tired a lot of the time, especially in the evenings. I have read that a pregnant lady’s energy level is supposed to pick back up in the second trimester, so we’ll see if that is the case for me. I hope so. :-) I am also mildly queasy off-and-on, so I’m looking forward to the queasies tapering off.

The plan is for me to continue working (as a nanny) through May, and then I will forever be a stay-at-home wife and mommy, which I am so looking forward to!