Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas is a Comin'

Last week we attended the annual Christmas parade. Our older children were on the 4-H float so we headed downtown with the littles to enjoy the show. Please forgive Mary Claire's ragamuffin appearance, she seems to enjoy pulling the rubber bands out of her hair and of course, I couldn't find them in the dark.

Because the Christmas parade is at Christmas time and in the dark, it's normally quite cold. We always park near the end of the route and watch from the van. The kids don't get much candy parked there but most of the  floats have diminished their supply by the time they get to the end anyway. We made two exceptions to sitting in the car. The first was Henry and Mary Claire insisted they needed to go see Miss. Arkansas Rice, Jenna. Jenna is in our 4-H group and our younger kids adore her. They search the local paper each week for pictures of Jenna.

The other exception was the Soaring Eagles 4-H float. Our poor group had a rough go on getting in the parade. First the trailer they planned to use was unavailable (due to rescheduling the parade because of snow and ice). Next, the tractor had a flat happen while they were sitting in line. Thankfully,  the man with the tractor ran to his farm and secured another trailer and pulled it with his pick up. They had to resort to plan C but the kids didn't seem to mind.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A "Normal" Homebirth, Liberty Kate's Birth Story

I guess since our newest little one should be arriving soon, it's way
past time to share Liberty's birth story.

After Mary Claire arriving three weeks early I was convinced that Liberty would follow in her big sister's footsteps. Let me just say now that this was the worst plan ever! The last few weeks of pregnancy are pretty miserable and being convinced that your baby is coming early makes them even worse.

 Liberty just a few seconds after birth

I had four cesarean sections before I had my first natural birth so I'm always considered a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) which makes me higher risk. People get very nervous when any pregnant momma goes past their "due date" but even more so when she's had cesareans before. Liberty did an excellent job of making sure that everyone got extremely nervous. :-)

Madisyn heard me and thought she would come see if I was noisy because the baby was here

A due date is just a guess. Anything between 38 and 42 weeks is considered normal. It's not abnormal to deliver after 42 weeks. As part of the care with a midwife, I would be required to visit an OB if I passed 42 weeks. This visit for a non-VBAC patient would be to assess the baby and mother and make sure that neither is experiencing distress. At this time, induction could be discussed and a plan of action implemented. As a VBAC patient, chemical/medical induction is not an option for me as pitocin can increase the chance of uterine rupture. In our area most hospitals do not allow a trial of labor for a patient with a previous cesarean. If I visit an OB, I would be heavily pressured and possibly threatened into a cesarean section.

In this case, the early bird cuts the cord. Daddy let Madisyn have the honors.

After each cesarean section my recovery time was longer than the previous section. With 7 children, I really wanted to avoid a recovery that was any longer than necessary. I also had an allergic reaction to several medications during Ben's cesarean and we're concerned that another exposure to those meds would result in an even stronger reaction. When I visited my midwife at 41 + weeks she gave me a herbal tincture to help encourage labor. I had been having contractions that were regular but they would last a few hours (almost always in the middle of the night) and then taper off. The hope was that the tincture would help the contractions to continue.

My little chunky baby. Liberty is our largest (and I hope she keeps that record) baby. She weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz.

I now had a deadline. If I did not had Liberty by Friday, I would need to visit the OB. Tressia suggested I plan to use the tincture one day and if it didn't assist with labor to take a day off and try again. I wanted to avoid any interventions but felt the tincture would help me to avoid a section. I used the tincture all day with no results. I have to say - it tastes terrible!

 While I changed into dry clothes, Tressia started on Liberty's assessment.

I took the next day off.  On Tuesday, I awoke with contractions. I took the tincture every thirty minutes as suggested. Imagine my disappointment when the contractions stopped! That afternoon I laid down for a nap. I was quite excited when I awoke from nap with more consistent contractions. I started taking the tincture again and a couple of hours later the contractions stopped. I'm fairly certain that tears were shed at this point!

Big sister also go to assist with dressing Liberty for the first time.

Around 11 pm, I went to bed. At 2 am I woke up with more contractions. They were getting pretty intense so I took a hot shower. Around 3 am I was making so much noise that Kent couldn't even try to sleep. He wanted to call Tressia and I told him that the contractions would stop in a few hours and I really didn't want to wake her up. He let me continue to labor for another 30 or so minutes. The contractions were only about 3 minutes apart so he made the call.

Proud Papa

During this time, he filled the birth pool and set out supplies. I climbed in the pool. I can't express how much water assists with labor pain. Our birth pool is the best "baby" investment we ever made! Tressia arrived around 4:30. She prepared her supplies and timed a few contractions. She also checked the baby's heartbeat. At this time, my water had not broken (which was part of the reason I was convinced the contractions would stop). She asked if she could check dilation and Liberty's position. I said that would be fine after the next contraction. Seconds later my water broke and I had a urge to push.

 Griffin was the first boy to hold Liberty. He loves babies almost as much as Madisyn.

After a couple of more contractions and just as many pushes, Liberty Kate was born at 5:14 am. I got a little loud on the last few contractions and Madisyn woke up. She came in when Liberty was less than 2 minutes old. She even got to cut the cord!

 Of course, everyone had a turn checking out their newest sister.

It took three tries but I finally got the home water birth I had planned with Henry. Isn't the saying "We make plans and God laughs"? God definitely had other plans for my two previous homebirths but he gave me  the desires of my heart on my third. We didn't have to call anyone to come get or watch the kids. Everyone was asleep so it was quiet. She was born in the wee hours of the morning so it was nice and dark. All the things that I learned during my last births that make labor a little more enjoyable for me (if there is such a thing!).

My sweet little Libby Kate. She is still one of our most laid back kiddos.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for our next little one's birth. When I look back at all of my births I can see how he orchestrated so many details and the things that I was worried about never came to pass. I do have to admit that I sure pray I learned enough patience waiting for Liberty and I won't have to experience that part again! :-)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tie Dye Take 2

One of our absolute favorite things to do is have friends over, especially the Mashburn and Tims families. Back in the late summer the kids and I tie dyed shirts. It was so much fun that we wanted to do it again. After looking at our blog pictures about our experience, our friends thought it sounded like fun as well so we decided to have a tie dye party and decorate shirts together! I was hoping to make our dying experience into a great Christmas party but I found myself greatly lacking in the energy department and 37 weeks pregnant. We had a great time and there's always next year for a party!

Getting the tables out was a much better plan than dying shirts while sitting on the ground (not to mention that I've grown quite a bit since then and would have found myself stuck there!).

I also recommend that mom put on gloves before mixing colors or touching anything in the box! I *might* have had blue fingers for a week after a lid wasn't properly secured. The mommas helped the kids get the shirts folded and wrapped with rubber bands. Then we let them squirt dye, mostly as they pleased.

Mary Claire got in on the action this time and her shirt turned out great! She might be the next Picasso of the tie dying world!

We used the same kit that I purchased from Amazon previously. I won't be doing any tie dying without it! I do recommend enough gloves for each person that will be touching the shirts or dye and lots and lots of rubber bands. It comes with a fair amount and if you were only dying 5 or 6 shirts it would probably be plenty. The rubber bands could also be dried and reused but I decided to throw them away. Dye covered rubber bands waiting to dry would result in dye covered children in my home. The disposable pans are nice because they help contain the mess and can then be dropped in a large outdoor garbage can.

Madisyn enjoyed the tie dying and visiting with friends but holding baby Stella was her favorite part of the day. Candyce had quite an exciting birth story and I can't wait to "hear" all about it again on her blog. Candyce also amazed us all with how well she was getting around just a little over a week after Stella was born. I'm in the hermit camp and tend to stick close to home after a new little one joins our family. I'm hoping for a little of Candyce's energy this time. ;-)

Our finished product! I purchased two kits and so far we have been able to do 9 short sleeve shirts, 8 long sleeved shirts, and two baby one piece short outfits. We still have 1/2 bottle of all three colors of dye.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Deck the Halls


Because Thanksgiving was so late this year and we're expecting a baby soon, we decided to scale back the Christmas tree decorating. Kent let each child put up a couple of their keepsake ornaments and we decorated the rest of the tree with plastic balls.

Liberty isn't old enough to really get into the whole decorating the tree thing but she loved watching the balls bounce when they were dropped.

The boys were especially particular about the placement of their ornaments. I'm sure the desire to have a nice looking tree was the reason that each ornament was placed, removed, placed, removed, placed, removed and placed again. :-)

It's always neat to look back over the ornaments of years past. Almost all of Ty's ornaments are tractors. Ben's tend to be construction equipment and Griffin and Henry's  are a mismatch of equipment, cartoons and super heroes.

Madisyn's ornaments are mostly cowgirl or western related and Mary Claire's identifier is pink and girly.

Even with the reduction in supplies, we still had a great time decorating the tree. Now, what are the chances I'll have this much help when it come time to take it down? ;-)

Monday, December 16, 2013

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

When Madisyn was very small we stopped leaving the house on holidays. We decided that we would get together with friends and family for those holidays but we would stay home on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Christmas Eve. We didn't want the actual holiday itself to be a rushed event or have one side of the family feel left out because we didn't spend it with them. We welcome anyone to come visit us and join us for lunch but we'll be staying put.

On Thanksgiving, we were blessed to have Nana and Mammie and Granddaddy come visit us. We had a wonderful meal (which my sweet husband and daughter did most of the work). After lunch Mom and Dad decided to work for their lunch. ;-)

They brought over supplies for gathering pecans. We have a couple of pecan trees and the kids had gathered a few nuts. We don't own a blower or pecan picker upper and this pregnant woman wasn't up for all the bending that is required to harvest the nuts. So they were kind enough to bring their supplies to share.

The kids had a blast picking up pecans with their grandparents. Ty got to run the really cool backpack leaf blower. What boy doesn't love power tools?

Mary Claire's closeness to the ground is a definite plus but her short attention span tends to cancel out the advantage.

When we moved to the 2nd tree, Griffin wanted a turn with the blower. It's so heavy that Madisyn had to assist him with putting it on. The blower seemed to weigh him down and push him back a little more than it did Ty. :-)

Sadly, Madisyn never got a turn with the blower as it ran out of gas.

Every time Mom and Dad visit the kids bring out tons of books and want Granddaddy to read them a story. This time, Griffin returned the favor and did the reading.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mary Claire!

Wow! It's hard to believe it's been three years since your little upside down self, turned our whole family upside down!

Pretty much since you were born, you've been the life of the party. I frequently say that you are smart like Madisyn, expressive like Griffin and act like Ben - that's a troublesome combination!

You bring us such joy. There isn't a day that goes by that you don't make us laugh, cry and shake our heads, usually at the same time.

You are rotten and so very loved!

Happy 3rd birthday, sweet girl!