Monday, November 28, 2011

Abigail Lael's Birth

Abigail is My Father's Joy
Lael is Of God
Exactly 24 hours after my last birth I received a call from Tami that her water broke. I immediately praised God that I got a full 12 hours sleep the night before and that it was clear that Tami was in labor. 
One of my concerns for Tami's labor was that we would not know when it was time to go.

Abigail Lael
 Tami had to previous C Sections and really wanted to try for a vaginal birth. Unfortunately, the closest hospital willing to take the 1% risk of uterine rupture was UW Hospital in Seattle. Tami is one of my 'Core' friends and she is not usually the one who has really strong opinions. She is very tender and the kind of woman who you want to take under your wing and protect. However, concerning her TOLAC (Trial of Labor After a Cesarean) she had very strong feelings and was completely committed to every aspect and sacrifice it would involve.
I attended one of her prenatal visits and was blown away by the knowledge and care that she received. Her doctor spent a full hour answering MY questions!
I called Rene, our friend and birth photographer, to come and pick me up so that we could carpool together to Seattle. I had to laugh that we first made a stop to drop stuff off at Goodwill, get gas, and do a drive thru dinner for me.
When we got to the hospital it was about 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening. Tami was already admitted and had a room, I really wanted an excuse to take a bath in the tub! It was deep, had jets, and was really warm! Her labor started slow but continued all night long. Fortunately at first they were committed to performing minimal exams to check progress. The nice thing about a teaching hospital is they are willing to let you try for a VBAC after 2. The bad thing is that it is a teaching hospital so you have someone learning on you.
The nurse we got for day shift was amazing and completely on Tami's side. She helped fight for what Tami wanted and for what was best. After about 12 hours of hard labor Tami was still at a 1cm dilation. Needless to say that was very discouraging. The doctors wanted to hurry things along due to the fact that her water had been broken for so long. There is a risk of infection but that risk is reduced if you have a high leak, like Tami had, and minimize the number of exams.
I pleaded for a Foley Bulb Induction, which manually dilates the cervix. The resident wanted to go that route as well, unfortunately we were not the ones getting to make the final decision. The attending wanted to do an IUPC (Intra Uterine Pressure Catheter). I argued against that for reasons of increased risk of infection. In the end we were told that they were going to do the IUPC because they wanted to. Sometimes I want to stomp my foot and throw a fit because the Doctors tell you that it is your birth and you get to make the decisions but Ultimately your hands are tied with different rules.
Through all this Tami was amazing and kept her eyes focused on the goal of a vaginal birth and a healthy baby. I helped keep the doctors at bay. Sometimes they told us they were going to come back to check on us at a certain time, I would then make sure to get Tami in the tub or for a walk in the halls just before they were going to be there. This bought us a lot of time.
Tami's husband Ian was phenomenal during her birth. His genuine love and concern for her was touching to witness. He had the most encouraging and positive words for her even when he was feeling anxious.
Ian knew that all Tami worked so hard to get was just out of reach and he supported her through it all and help boost her to where she needed to be.
Because she wasn't progressing much the decided to give her Pitocin to increase the strength of her contractions. Not long after that while in the bath Tami decided that she wanted the Epidural Right Now! This was probably up there with one of the most stressful moments of my life. Tami was angry that it hurt, mad that the anesthesiologist  was taking so long, and she wanted me to fix it. I am not one to be offended or take things personally in the delivery room but I was genuinely worried that this was going to make her hate me forever! I did my best to encourage her and help her. I was on my knees in the bathroom with the full weight of her resting on my arms. My arms were shaking and my knees felt like I was on rocks but I could only think of all that Tami was facing and that my discomfort was nothing compared to hers.
I talked her through the contractions and by the time we got her cleaned up they were ready for her epidural.

Abigail, right where she belongs, in her Mama's arms.
VBAC, I wanted her to get the birth she wanted, I wanted her to know how proud I was of her and I wanted her to feel proud of all that she had accomplished. I cried out to God, "God you promise to give us the desires of our heart if they are honoring to You! How can this desire not be honoring to You? Please let her do this. Please God."
The next exam seemed to take forever and we were all waiting to hear the magic number of 1 again. Miraculously, she was at 7cm! Praise God for His faithfulness! 
We were still thinking that the baby was going to have a birthday of 11/11/11. That came and went and I knew the baby would be born on 11/12/11.  She progressed the last 3 cm in about 3 hours. The doctor wanted her to start pushing because her membranes had been ruptured for so long. I was able to convince them to hold off until they turned the epidural off so that she could feel how to push. Again, I don't think Tami liked hearing me tell them to turn it off, but she trusted me. She only pushed for a little over an hour.  When we started to see the top of the baby's head and Tami reached down to feel it we all started sobbing! The joy and pure bliss on her face made every second of the last 30 hours worth it. I felt awe at Tami's strength and pride in her resolve. 
Because the baby had passed Meconium and Tami had a fever during labor they clamped the cord  (I got to cut it!) and took the baby to the respiratory therapists to make sure she was fine. 
Tami got her baby back we were all thrilled to see it was a girl! She nursed like it was something she had been doing forever and we all laid down on whatever flat surface we could find for a much deserved nap. About an hour later we woke up and I had the privilege of giving Abigail her first bath. We did weights and measures. She was 6 lbs 14oz and 21"! For more of her story check out Tami's blog, or to see some amazing birth photography click on Rene's link above. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Mama and Liberty making Pistachio Pie
I wasn't sure until a few days before if we were even going to have guests for Thanksgiving. It was such a pleasant surprise when everyone we invited said Yes! I was thrilled to have my Mother In Law, Grandma Chris, come up a few days before to help with preparations.
Grandma Chris and Liberty Making Pumpkin Pie
Liberty conveniently found herself a stool and some counter space to help in the kitchen. She has quite a little sweet tooth and has discovered that by helping she can also taste.
Taylor making Pumpkin Pie and Crescent Rolls
To my amazement Taylor wanted to help and did a fabulous job. Maybe it is just me, and my micromanagement of the kitchen but I practically have to beg her to try cooking. This time she willingly helped and made crescent rolls equal to my Mother In Law's!
Clockwise from front:Ian, Papa, Ruby, Delores, Gene, Ryan,Loden, Karina,Chris,Taylor, Aaron
I feel so blessed when I see the faces around my table and the bounty of food we prepared. The best part is being able to eat on the leftovers all weekend! Ruby usually eats like a bird and talks like a parrot! This meal was quite different, she kept wanting to eat more but was extremely worried that she would not have enough room for the Pistachio Pie! She sighed great big and had such a dilemma over whether to take another helping of Brussel sprouts and cranberry relish and risk being too full for pie!
Clockwise from front Right: Ryan, Loden, Karina, Chris,Taylor, Aaron, Mama, Ian, Papa,Liberty, Erik, Ruby, Gene
Aaron was thrilled with the abundance and with all the delicious food. He exclaimed, "This is my best meal ever!" When I asked, "Why?" He replied, "Because we have family and friends to share it with!"
I love that boy. Sometimes he melts my heart.
I love surrounding myself with people and feed on the energy and enthusiasm. After Chris and I were almost done with preparations Sean walked in and said, "Everyone is going to be here soon. This is going to be a lot of work."
It made me stop and realize that what energizes me, and makes me happy is a lot of work for him. I am so Thankful that he was willing to host and took the effort to create some wonderful memories for the family.
Delores, a friend from our Church in Blaine, brought the most delicious coconut chocolate torte! She also made Brussel Sprouts that even I liked! They were actually good.  No really, they were good!
Gene and the boys playing Guess Who
I appreciated the help cleaning up. The saying of many hands make light work is true! We all did a little and then were able to fellowship, play music, paint toenails, talk, laugh, play games, drink coffee, and eat dessert!
We really missed having Mikaela with us, but it was wonderful to hear her voice and comforting to know she was served a turkey dinner at work! Wish I could have sent her some fresh from the oven sweet potato casserole.
Liberty finally found Aunt Karina willing to paint her nails. 
The best part of Thanksgiving is hearing from my children that they are most thankful for their family. God has blessed us richly in that department and it is easy to selfishly want to do what I want, when I want. When I stop to reflect on all that I have learned being a mom to many I am humbled to realize that He is molding me and shaping me into His Image. To be more like my Savior I have to lay down my selfishness and put others before myself. When I do that I am much more content and more satisfied. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Welcome Jade Rachel

Me & Jade 
I love being a Doula! It is incredibly rewarding. It is also extremely stressful at times. On Sunday November 6th I received a call from one of my clients, thinking she might be in labor. After hanging up with her I got a call from another client thinking she might be in labor too!
I think it is important to be available for my clients and I promise to be on call for 2 weeks prior to their due date up to 2 weeks after their due date, if needed.  I don't have a back up because I believe that they hire me, not just my services. I got down on my knees and prayed. One of my best friends, Tami, was one of the calls. I also did not want to abandon my client who was depending on me. Fortunately, neither of them progressed and I got a good night sleep.
Jade Rachel

Sean and I were looking at a house on Tuesday afternoon when I got another call from Gina. I hurried home, gave instructions for finishing dinner, grabbed my bag and headed to their house.
I could tell labor was progressing, but she was still in early stages. Dave offered to make us a delicious spaghetti dinner and Gina made some of her family's famous garlic bread. Definitely better than the Tuna casserole my family was having!
We had a long night of laboring at home with massage, baths, sifting, chugging, position change, relaxation, and walking. I finally started to see a pattern and when her contractions were 3-4 minutes apart for 2 hours and were much more intense we decided to head to the hospital. It was a very cold morning so Dave went and started both of our vehicles to warm them up! What a gentleman!
We were shocked when we arrived at the hospital and she was only 1cm! We decided to stay in triage and have her get some IV fluids because she had been vomiting so much. We all were able to sleep for a few minutes. I fell asleep sitting on a stool, with my head rested on her bed. I only woke up because I was snoring and drooling! That was a first for me, falling asleep.
I guess that was just what she needed was to completely relax for a bit, because when she woke up they did an exam and she was at 4cm!
The doctor agreed that she was in labor and admitted her to the hospital.
Gina had the kind of labor and birth I have always dreamed of. She was allowed to labor without intervention. She had an amazing doctor and the best nurse I have ever worked with. They really honored Gina's birth plan, did minimal exams, completely supported my role and even offered to help me!
The Happy Family!
Gina only pushed for an hour and a half, and the doctor let the Dave deliver the baby. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen! They delayed cord clamping for a full 8 minutes, then Daddy got to cut the cord. Baby Jade wiggled her way to the breast and began nursing like a pro! 
This was the most natural, unobstructed hospital birth I have ever witnessed. It gave me renewed hope and faith in the medical profession.  I was home reading to my children within 24 hours!
Truly it is a honor to witness the miracle of birth. 
Congratulations Dave and Gina! Thank you for sharing your miracle with me. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gift Of Time

My blog has been particularly quiet lately. I have been busy. Busy with births, with spending time with family and cherished friends, and celebrating life.
A small sample of goodies on the Honey Table
My dear friend Kelly, invited me to her Gift of Time Celebration this year. It is a Gift to her friends to have time to complete projects, start Christmas cards, and catch up with friends. Kelly does everything with elegance and grace. She wrote a personal, meaningful card to each guest. Words of encouragement are like food for my soul.
When I have the opportunity to spend time with Kelly we talk as fast as we can, so we can fit it all in in the limited time that we have.  Kelly passes out Goal sheets when we arrive and we receive beautiful gifts for each goal we complete. When I first began attending the Gift Of Time I had very lofty goals, like completing a scrapbook album, or making Christmas gifts. You must realize that I am very goal oriented and I like to check off lists.  I have since lowered my goals; eating dessert, having a cup of coffee, and I usually throw in a 'real' goal or two like planning the next scout meeting, and making some new chore cards. Kelly's generosity blessed both me and my family. We ate gingerbread pancakes from a mix she made for us, berry oat muffins again from  a mix she made.
I came home renewed and refreshed with some wonderful baked goodies, candles, a new coffee cup and some other wonderful treats. Kelly always provides a 'Honey Box" for the women to fill with desserts  to bring home to our Honey.
I am so thankful that God has provided me with friends who support and encourage me as a Godly woman, wife, and mother. These are the women who will hold me accountable and build me up.
Thank you Kelly for providing that time and friendship for me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Failed Science & Meal Plans

I love science! There are so many things to learn. I have a slight obsession with science books. 
The thing is I detest doing things over. We get one shot to get it right around here. I think that is why I don't knit or crochet because often, one must remove stitches then put them back in ~ really not my kinda thing. 
We are studying about ancient Egypt and how they preserved mummies. So, we tried one of the experiments where you take three pieces of toast and burn one, put antiseptic cream on another, then leave one alone and see what happens. Then unfortunate thing is we left it for 3 weeks and only the antiseptic one showed a slight bit of mold. 
How scary is that!? Our regular bread did not mold. Why won't it mold when you 'need' it to, but when you really just need to make some sandwiches the whole loaf has specks of mold throughout? 

Learning about the Pyramids we discovered that there are pyramid shaped crystals throughout nature and that they are the most stable structure around. We had a 'fail-proof' way to make crystals. We managed to fail to make them. This is not the first time we have tried to make crystals and it's not the first time we failed.  Not sure we will try again,  unless it shows up somewhere in our studies again, OR if someone really does know how to make them.  

On another note, I am completely sold on planning meals and shopping accordingly. It just seems so daunting to take the time to plan and equally daunting to not have a plan. 
I had not been grocery shopping for over 3 weeks because I had no plan, and did not want to go and buy food and still have nothing to prepare. So Here is what I currently have planned: 

Layered Tuna Casserole
Ravioli Soup
Sloppy Joe's
Coq Au Vin
Bacon and Cheese Chicken
Spaghetti and Garlic Bread
Mozzarella Meatballs
Orange Chicken and Rice
Home made Pizza
Beef Barley Soup
Pad Thai

I feel pretty good that I have some yummy recipe choices and everything to make the main meal, with the exception of the fresh veggies I  need for  meals that are not this week. 
Hope the ideas help and you are inspired to make your life easier by planning a bit ahead.