Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 24th, 2013 - Tobias Luke

 I'd been having contractions for a few weeks leading up to Sunday night, and they were often in the evening, so I didn't think anything of the contractions I was having when I headed to bed a little before 11pm on June 23rd. I got up to go to the bathroom two or three times between 11 and 1:30 am, which was the beginning of my body "clearing out," and noticed that the contractions seemed to be getting closer together. I started timing them once I couldn't sleep through them very easily. After seeing they were 3-4 minutes apart and over a minute long, I woke Micah up at 2:30 am to help me relax through them since it was getting harder to relax on my own.

We called Brande around 3 am to let her know what was going on, and Micah got a hibiclens solution mixed up for me to use throughout the labor (I was GBS positive close to the end of this pregnancy, and that was one of the preventative measures I found very effective in medical studies). At some point between 3 and 4 am, Micah filled the birth pool in the guest room with hot water, leaving enough room to top it off with hot or cold when we were ready to use it, and covered it with a shower curtain to hold the heat. We moved back and forth between the guest bed and the bathroom for most of the labor, resting between contractions if we were on the bed. Around 5:45 am, I had a little gush of amniotic fluid escape while I was on the toilet. I got back to the bed, and then it really started gushing. Every time I moved around for the next few minutes I would gush more fluid, and it felt like it took an eternity for my contractions to return after the water broke. About 20 minutes later contractions came back with a vengeance, and I learned what it feels like to labor without the bag of water cushioning everything.

From 6:45 - 8:20, my contractions were very intense, most were very long, but there were also five to seven minute breaks between them, which we both used to fall asleep until the next one came. Though neither of us admitted it to each other at the time, we were both getting discouraged thinking this was going to go on for a long time. I threw up a few times randomly, and several contractions seemed like they could be transition, but then there would be a change of intensity and another long gap and it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere. We learned afterwards that the long gaps could signify transition just as much as the signs we were watching for.

Chloe woke up at about 7:30, and when she heard me vocalizing through a couple contractions she told Micah she wanted to go downstairs. They went down and got a little Mr. Rogers "play view" video I borrowed from the library for her to watch during the labor if she got bored or needed distraction, but when they came back up she only stuck with it for a few minutes. She followed us between the bedroom and bathroom, asking me if I didn't feel good with a few of the contractions. At some point, Micah went down and got her a bowl of cherries to munch on, and she asked me if I wanted some between a few contractions. I was glad I had the presence of mind to 
interact with her between contractions, which was very different from her labor and delivery.

I had determined not to get into the pool until my body started pushing because I didn't want to get in too early, and I kept looking longingly at the water between the intense contractions thinking it looked like it would feel amazing.

At about 8:15 am I had a contraction that felt very different, and I could feel Toby's head exerting a lot of pressure as it got ready to start moving down. I told Micah, "I want Brande here," so he called her and told her we were ready for her. My body started pushing the very next contraction, so I gleefully got into the gleefully as you can while in labor, anyway.  It took a few minutes for another contraction to hit once I was in the pool, and it sure didn't take the pain away, but it was very helpful in promoting relaxation as I tried to work with my body and let it prompt me to push when needed.

After getting in the birth pool, it was apparent for the first few pushes that all the "cleaning out" that happened in early labor wasn't everything. Chloe was very intrigued that mommy pooped in the pool, and has talked about that more than the actual baby coming out. :-)

The Lord orchestrated the details of Brande's location, and at the time Micah called her, she was 10 minutes away dropping her kiddos off in Morton instead of 25 minutes away at her house. If she had been home, she wouldn't have made it in time, but as things were, she got to our place with 12 minutes to spare.

When she arrived, I asked how much they could see, thinking the head had to be just about crowning. I forgot how long it takes in the moment to move a baby down the birth canal, and when Brande suggested I feel for the head, I was amazed I still had to reach up a bit to touch the top of his wrinkly head. It felt like it took an eternity to get to the point of crowning, and then another eternity for the head to come out, but Micah thought it went very fast...which makes sense since it wasn't his birth canal pushing out a small watermelon. ;-) It was fast in the scheme of things - 35 minutes of pushing until he was out. 

Brande did a little counter-pressure on my perinium as Toby's head crowned. Once his head was out and the next contraction came, she helped ease him out as his big shoulders and hips exited. She said he wasn't stuck, just a little sticky. The beautiful moment she pulled him up out of the water to hand him to me is etched in my brain - so exciting. As Brande handed him to me she commented that it was a big baby, guessing he might weigh 10 lbs. After some quick footwork to dodge around the cord, he was on my chest (I had been on my knees in the pool while leaning on the side for support). He was blue, but pinked up very quickly (which is normal for a waterbirth baby). After a few coughs he was breathing great (and the coughs are another thing Chloe talks about..."baby coughed in the pool"). He was covered in vernix, and has quite a bit of lanugo on his shoulders and back - so soft. :-)

We sat admiring him for several minutes, and I could tell there was a little more between his legs than there was with Chloe, but didn't confirm my hunch until right before getting out of the water - a boy!

I decided I wanted to get out on the bed to deliver the placenta, so after the first round of checking vitals, we all moved to the bed. I'm setting a personal trend for not bleeding much during childbirth or delivering the afterbirth, though third stage has taken some patience both times. After about 55 minutes, the placenta came, and we cut the cord shortly thereafter. The midwives then extracted some cord blood for the newborn screening and a blood-typing test (the second test is for our knowledge since there's an rh factor difference between Micah and myself. Chloe has my negative rh factor, and Toby has daddy's positive factor).

After Toby had latched on and nursed for a good hour or so, he was content enough for Brande to do the newborn exam.  The first part was weighing Toby. She got out her biggest sling and Micah lifted him, which he said reminds him of weighing a fish.  As Micah lifted the scale, Toby and the sling remained on the bed until it got to 11 lbs 1 oz. We were all very shocked that an 11 lb baby came out of me. He was 21 3/4 in. long, and his head circumference was 14cm.

For the next three hours we visited with our midwives, had a little breakfast, and I got cleaned up and crawled into my own bed - all as vitals were checked several times. We started calling our parents and family after the birth team left, which took a little while when we realized we could only use the cell phone due to our home phone not working from the early morning thunder storms we watched through much of the labor.

Minutes old...

Weighing the little man

Tobias and Brande (he's yawning)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

English Muffins

I love english muffins...

They're perfect with jelly and cream cheese for breakfast,
or with meat and lettuce for lunch, 
or slathered with butter and honey for supper.

Although I love the chewy, dry texture of store-bought, homemade are chewy and moist - and so worth the extra effort.  Another bonus is the lack of yucky additives I can't even pronounce... ;-)

I've been doing a lot of experimenting with Einkorn grain recently, and used a good amount of it in this English muffin recipe.  I've never made them with whole wheat, and to ease my way into it I did half WW and half all-purpose unbleached flour.  I was very pleased with the results - yummy, chewy, and moist!

I tend to cook them with heat that's a little too high...I do it on my electric skillet and fiddle with the temp the whole time I'm cooking them.  Some come out perfect and toward the end of the bath can end up a little doughy, but I toast them later anyways, so they get fully cooked at one point or another.  :-)  I need to just find a good temp and stick with it...

Here's the recipe...

Whole Wheat English Muffins

4 cups whole wheat flour, freshly ground, divided
1/2 tsp. Real Salt
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. honey
3 Tbsp. softened butter

cornmeal, for dusting surface

Grind wheat (I have my eyes on a WonderMill...but currently utilize the generosity of friends and family that are willing to grind my wheat berries, which I then keep in the freezer).
Combine 2 cups flour and the next 5 ingredients (salt, yeast, water, milk, and honey).  Mix until combined - the dough should be thin and runny.
Cover and let rise for an hour.
Add remaining 2 cups flour and softened butter - mix to combine.  Turn dough onto surface sprinkled with cornmeal and roll ou to 1/2 inch thickness.  Sprinkle top with cornmeal.  Using a biscuit cutter or a juice glass, cut out rounds from the dough.  Continue until all the dough has been cut.
Let muffins rise until doubled - usually an hour or so (unless it's summer in my sultry, south-facing's amazing how fast bread rises in 90* temps).  Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the English muffins in small batches on each side until golden brown.  
These are amazing right after cooking, toasted, or from the freezer, and they make delicious egg sandwiches!

This recipe based on this one from Baking Whole Grains

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The end justifies the means?

Not very often does the end justify the means...

...but in my opinion, there are times to let messes happen for productivity reasons.

Completely emptying mommy's wallet and diaper bag
2 trays of dehydrated strawberries, 
emptying and refilling the dishwasher, 
washing what wouldn't fit in the dishwasher, 
and making two jars of raw yogurt. 

Added bonuses:
sweet little fingers learning to dig credit cards from their sleeves,
teething gums feeling the sensation of everything from gift cards to panty liners,
and the ease of cleaning out my wallet when the first step has already been done.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Bubbie's Birthday

She has many nicknames, but "bubbie" is one of the most-used...

...throughout the day, I was remembering what it was like last year at this time...

...holding brand new life that didn't even know what she'd just been through.

Those first 24 hours were so special. I hardly left our bed, cuddling our little miracle from the Lord. Our lives were forever changed.

I thought I knew how it was going to be.

We would add this new member of our family to our current lives and keep plugging along as we had been, just with a little one in tow.


The past year hasn't been a bed of roses...
...but there have been so many special moments given by the Lord...and Lord willing there will be many more to come. Becoming a mom is something I have looked forward to ever since I was little. The Lord was gracious and granted my desire with so much blessing...and so much responsibility.

I hope I can emulate my mom in helping my baby discover the world from the safety of loving, nurturing arms...with true Wisdom from above as we face new seasons and stages.

Happy first birthday, cuddle bug.

Fruit of Labor...

It's strawberry season!

I love summer and the fruit "picking seasons" that come with it!
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and apples.

So many berries...

Lil' Bug was on my back in the mai tei for the first bucket (yikes, was that a workout), but got cranky quick since we didn't eat much before leaving home... back to the van to nurse...

...and then picking and eating some more berries..., white, or covered in dirt - they're all yummy!

10.5 lbs from this trip...most went straight to the freezer for smoothies and ice cream. About a pound is dehydrating, and we ate the best-looking ones fresh.

The next trip will be for jelly and pie. :-)