Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Felicity Anne's Birth Story - Our Fourth VBA4C

Lifting Felicity out of the water, just seconds after birth

Felicity's birth story started off very different from Liberty's birth story. Because Liberty was 13 days late, I was fully expecting to be pregnant at my 41 week check-up. When I left the midwife's house after my 40 week check, I told her I'd see her next Thursday. Kent and I made a trip a Sam's. I have to say that walking around Sam's for an hour a few days past my due date was not as enjoyable as it sounds. :) We left Sam's and went to eat. Madisyn had arranged for her and the other kids to stay with Unc and Aunt Amanda while we had a night out.

Friday was a normal day except that we kept smelling something in the house. We finally determined that Ty had stepped in manure when feeding the animals. Unfortunately, he didn't realize it and tracked the nastiness all through the house. By the time I realized what had happened it was too late in the day to clean it up. On Saturday, I woke up and set to work . I vacuumed most of the house (we have no carpet) and then mopped over 2,000 square feet.  After the Sam's workout on Thursday night and the mopping workout Saturday, I went to bed exhausted on Saturday night.

Kent capturing her first moments and checking out her beautiful face

Saturday night I was incredibly thirsty and drank about 60 oz of water before bed. I knew at the time that I would be up a lot during the night but my thirst was very strong. I finally fell asleep around 1 am. I woke up needing a trip to the restroom not long after that. I laid back down only to wake up again at 3:30. I was leaking something and I wasn't sure if I had drank too much and didn't make it to the bathroom in time or if I was leaking amniotic fluid. The midwife had given me some nitrazine paper that tests for amniotic fluid. The problem was that it was still outside in the car. I threw on a pair of shoes and Kent's sweatshirt and headed for the car. When I got to the door; I had a really rough pain. I stood at the door for a minute until it passed and then went outside. I found the paper and when I got back inside, I had another pain. I tested the fluid and it was negative. I decided that I had just over done it the last few days and laid back down. The pains continued. I was moaning through them and woke Kent up. I started timing my pains and realized they were 5 minutes apart and lasting at least 45 seconds.

I was sure that I wasn't in "real" labor. The contractions were very low and only on the front of my stomach. I thought the pain was caused by the symphysis pubic dysfunction I have during pregnancy being aggravated by the mopping I did earlier in the day. Also causing doubt was that contractions from my past births were felt across my entire stomach and in my back. I had been having contractions most nights from the 35 week mark on.  They would usually last a few hours and then I could go back to sleep. Kent kept asking if I needed to call the midwife and I kept asking for more time. Around 4:30, he decided that I was in labor despite the fact that I was still denying it. LOL Interesting enough, he always seems to know when my labor is "real" and not just more prodromal labor. He called the midwife and started filling the birth pool.

Daddy holding Felicity for the first time

After he called the midwife and had the pool filling, he left our room to turn on the outside lights and the lights in the kitchen. He discovered Griffin asleep on the couch. Kent scooped Griffin up and carried him back to his room. Griffin sleeps on the top bunk and Kent laid him in bed. He quickly discovered why Griffin was on the couch. He had gotten sick in the night and left his bed for the cleanliness of the couch. After cleaning Griffin up, Kent returned him to the couch and tossed the sheets in the washer.

By this time, my contractions were lasting over a minute and were terribly painful. They were coming every 2-3 minutes. Around 15 minutes later, I was still having fluid issues so I checked it with the paper again. This time it instantly turned black. I don't know if I had a slow leak earlier in the night and I had cleaned enough of it up that I couldn't test it or if I had a leak that occurred later. Around 4:50 am, I had a major leak and there was no doubt that my water had officially broken. The contractions became much worse.

The midwife getting a workout weighing our 10 pound plus baby

Let me take a minute to extol the virtues of a birth pool. We have an inflatable "kiddie" pool that is 60 inches across. The sides are inflated as well as the bottom. The softness  of the sides and bottom make the pool much more comfortable than a bath tub. It has enough give that I can push on it during a contraction and not be up against something hard. It is also firm enough to not collapse when I do this. We have a deep jacuzzi tub and it pales in comparison to the pool. The pool also allows more movement. The last few weeks of pregnancy I have trouble moving from my side to back or from sitting to standing; these problems are greatly alleviated in water. I was able to turn from side to side and even move to a hands and knees position in the water. The ability to move helps move the baby down the birth canal and also helps with pain management.

The pool wasn't completely full but I climbed in anyway.  The hot water heater in our bathroom had been emptied, but thankfully Kent had water heating on the stove. When I got in the pool my contractions were much more bearable that I was afraid I had slowed my labor. I didn't tell Kent because I didn't want him to tell me I needed to get out of the pool. I had already told him that I didn't think I could do this again (it was a way too late at this point to change my mind about having a baby LOL). I think that I basically started labor on Sunday morning in transition. I honestly don't know how women handle labor without hot water. The difference between being in the pool versus “on land" is unbelievable. It still hurts; hurts pretty badly, but it is so much better.

I knew that Griffin was on the couch and I really didn't want him to be a spectator to his sister's birth. I don't think I'm a loud birther but I'm not quiet either. Thankfully, the boy never even moved. He slept until Kent woke all the kids up to tell them that Felicity had arrived.

Holding Felicity after getting a shower and getting her dressed

Around 5:35 I told Kent that something was happening. He asked to check and I told him no. I was still in denial that I was really having a baby right then. A minute or so later I told him that her head was coming out. I had to give in and let him look. He told me that her head was just crowning. In my extremely involved in labor state, I was using as few words as possible and meant that she was crowning when I told him her head was coming out. A few seconds later her head was out, followed by one shoulder and then the next. At 5:43 am, Felicity Anne was born. As Kent was handing her to me, the midwife walked through our bedroom door. She said that when she opened the back door she heard me holler and knew that the baby was here.  She declared every thing to be OK and when the cord stopped pulsing, she cut it. I delivered the placenta in the pool (again I highly recommend lots and lots of hot water for "birthin' babies"). After the placenta was delivered, I hopped in the shower to quickly rinse off. I wanted a new gown and to lay down in my own bed. Laying in my bed is one of the greatest benefits to a homebirth.

Felicity was covered in vernix and despite weighing 10 lbs 2 oz, she didn't seem to actually be post date (she was born at 40 weeks, 4 days). She was 21 1/2 inches long. Felicity nursed well and was incredibly alert. She set a couple of new records for us. She is our largest baby by 10 ounces and she was my fastest "labor day" labor at just over 2 hours. Kent and the midwife drained the pool and rinsed it out. They changed the sheets on the bed, brought me a snack, started a load of dirty towels, and straightened up the bedroom. We waited until around 8 am to wake the kids up and then the midwife took our first family picture as a family of 10. Kent fixed breakfast and when the midwife was confident that I would actually stay in bed and had eaten a proper amount, she headed home. She came back Sunday evening to give Felicity and myself a quick check-up.

One of my favorite pictures. Our first photo as a family of 10.

Once again, the Lord granted most of my desires when it came to Felicity's birth. I prayed for her birth to happen in the night so that child care wouldn't be an issue. I wanted everything to be dark and quiet. I prayed that Kent would be home and I wouldn't have to labor while waiting for him to arrive. I also prayed that the baby would come when it was a convenient time for the midwife. I didn't want to leave her searching for a sitter for her children or interrupt her visits with clients. I had even had a discussion with some of my friends that my perfect birth would be just Kent and I with the midwife appearing just as the baby was born so she could declare that everything was OK. The Lord was gracious and granted me all of these things. The only things I didn't get was a small baby and an early delivery, though 4 days late seemed early after Liberty being a 42 weeker!

I know that homebirth is not for everyone. Kent is very supportive of homebirthing. I honestly couldn't do it without his involvement and support. When we met with the first midwife we used before our first homebirth, she asked us how we would handle an undesirable outcome. We responded that we completely believe in the sovereignty of God. If something "bad" is going to happen during a birth, it will happen whether we are at home or in the hospital. Sometimes that's a difficult thing to remember but I never could have had a baby at home if I didn't believe that fully. That said, if I had any true risk factors or problems develop in labor; we would head straight for the hospital (like we were attempting to do when Mary Claire was born). I also believe in a woman's ability to give birth the way her body was designed by God. Complications can arise and affect this, however, for most women their bodies will do what they need to do, when they need to do it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Felicity Anne You Are 3 Weeks Old!

You weigh 11 lbs 8 oz! You are growing way too fast!

You are in size newborn diapers but only until the package is empty.

You seem to have settled on a Born Free Orthodontic pacifier, in pink - of course.

You had your first outdoor photo shoot this week. We took brother/sister pictures for the birth announcement.

You are nursing about every two hours during the day.

You meet the Mashburns this week. They came for a visit and brought us some wonderful food. Mrs. Jess made you an adorable taggie lovey with super soft minky fabric.

You were footprinted for the canvases at the back hallway. Your little tiny feet look extra small next to Madisyn and Ty's feet.

Most nights you give me one four hour stretch of sleep. You are a night owl and seem to think 1 am is an appropriate bedtime.

You participated in your first Sam's shopping trip. The whole family went and we ended up with three carts. Amazingly enough, we still had room for more food in the van.

You've been in our homemade version of a Moby Wrap twice this week. Both times your slept the whole time we shopped.

You are having a bit of a hard time with a blocked tear duct. It just doesn't seem to want to clear up.

You are changing so much everyday. I'm still in shock that the Lord gave you to us. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lilla Rose Sale

Lilla Rose is having a sale! Today and tomorrow (1/24 & 1/25) the four clips pictured are 15% off.

These clips are previous Flexis of the Month, so now is your chance to get one you missed.

The clips are in limited supply and there will be no backorders, order now to guarantee availability.

You can visit Lilla Rose anytime and check out the sizing and styling videos to find the clip that's best for you.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Christmas at Home

We started off Christmas Day with our traditional Christmas Morning pajama picture. This is our last photo as a family of 9.

I'm quite proud of my avid readers, so we gave lots of books for Christmas. If one of the older children has disappeared you can almost guarantee they've snuck off to their room with a book. This year we gave gifts of something to wear, something to read and something you need. With 7 {and soon 8} children we decided to add some "rules" to make things a little simpler.

Madisyn's gift to her brothers was a framed picture of them with Papaw. The boys loved the gifts and promptly hung them on the wall over their beds.

Mary Claire loved her Minnie Mouse shirt with her name on it. The girl loves Minnie Mouse and all things pink.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

PJs, Ornament and Movies, Oh My!

Each year on Christmas Eve we the the kids open a gift or two. It's always new pajamas and an ornament for the tree.

This year I was very pregnant and decided to just wrap them all in one box. We also included a new movie to watch as a family on Christmas Eve.

The girls all received animal ornaments. Mary Claire even handled Liberty getting Minnie Mouse pjs well.

The older boys have new tractor ornaments in their respective colors and Henry has a new Thomas ornament. It's so neat to look back at ornaments of years past and remember what each child liked at that point in their lives.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Witcher Family Christmas

We had our first Witcher Family Christmas with our new cousin, Christopher,  this year. The boys have especially enjoyed having another "partner in crime" at family events. We started off with a great meal cooked by Nana with additions made by Aunt Vicki, Aunt Betty, and Aunt Amanda. Our Christmas celebration at Nana's includes lot of extended family members.

Mary Claire's affection has been permanently won by Aunt Vicki, Aunt Betty and Nana because they indulged her Minnie Mouse obsession. She is now decked out with t-shirts, dresses and a couple of dolls. She will even dig her Minnie Mouse clothes out of the dirty basket so she can wear them two days in a row.

Unc provided some entertainment by "stealing" Minnie Mouse. Mary Claire ended up getting a garbage bag to put Minnie in so she could keep it hidden from Unc. She really thought he was going to take Minnie home with him!

Henry also had some items added to his Thomas collection. The way to that boy's heart is through Thomas, especially if you are willing to listen to his Thomas stories.

Liberty received an adorable baby doll. Mary Claire wasn't really interested in her dolls until she was nearly 3. I expected Liberty to follow. She opened the doll and it has barely left her side since. She loves to carry the baby around and pat it's back.

Watch out! Ben got a gun! He has now learned that Mommy and Daddy are not moving targets. Ty had some Nerf guns and all the boys {Christopher included} have enjoyed lots of Nerf battles. That's why God gives boys other boys to play with - they can shoot each other!

The boys also acquired a couple RC trucks. Mommy and Daddy are getting used to the constant sound of whirring wheels tearing through the house.

Madisyn is in Heaven with her Nook from Aunt Vicki. She came home and we immediately loaded it with tons of books. Is enabling a reading addiction a bad thing?

It has become increasingly difficult to find gifts for the Grandparents. We didn't take a new family picture at Christmas this year because of Felicity's impending arrival. Since Madisyn was born, I have become the family photographer. Most of the pictures taken over the last 13 years are in my possession.

 So, Kent and I decided to make Nana a photobook. We included lots of pictures of her, Papaw, Grandpa and both Mamaws with the kids. A few tears were shed but I think it was a well loved gift. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Felicity Anne You are Two Weeks Old

You weigh 10 lbs 12 oz. You've gained 10 ounces in the last week!

You wear newborn diapers.

You had your first non-family visitors, the Tims this week. Mrs. Candyce brought us some awesome stew and a few outfits for you and Stella to be twinkies.

You had your first real bath.

You took a pacifier, though we're still trying to determine what brand you like best.

You went to a restaurant for the first time.

You got a new gown, made by The Shifty Fox.

You went to Daddy's office and took him to lunch.

You nurse about 12 times a day.

You are such a blessing, I honestly can't believe the Lord gave you to us.

You are a highly cherished member of our family.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Over the River and Through the Woods

We traveled to Mom and Dad's for a celebration just before Christmas. We had been sick around Mary Claire's birthday so she started the day off opening some belated birthday gifts.

The kids all lined up and the gift opening started in a nice organized fashion. With 12 kids, including 9 aged 6 and under, the calm didn't last long.

Our first three boys loved tractors but really weren't into characters. Henry, on the other hand, has loved Thomas since he could say the word train. If you ever find the need to bribe him, anything Thomas will get the job done.

Radio Control toys were the highlight of the day. Some of the younger boys received radio control trucks and the older boys opened RC helicopters. Uncle Billy had to make a battery run as the battery supply was quickly depleted.

Madisyn was thoroughly excited to get a bean bag for her room. She loves to read and is very glad to have somewhere other than her bed to sit.

Henry, Ben and Mary Claire also received snuggies. Henry's is a Superman and Ben is Batman. They both run through the house fighting crime on a nightly basis.

Mary Claire and Liberty received a joint gift - their first car! They love it! The first couple of days it was in the house and Mary Claire was quick to institute a "No Boys" rule because they aren't "wittle like me" according to Mary Claire.

Mom and Dad with their dozen grandkids! Good thing There's Room For More!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winner, Winner

In November Madisyn entered the Farm Bureau essay contest. Her essay had to be on the topic of "Thank a Farmer". Each entrant was judged at the county level and then each county winner advanced to state. We were quite pleased when we learned that Madisyn received 1st place on the county level. A few weeks later, we learned that she also earned 1st place on the state level. She was very pleased to learn that winning state earned her a $100 check.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Visiting the Nursing Home

Before Christmas, we visited the local nursing home with our 4-H club. Our club does a lot of community service but I try not to miss the nursing home visits.

So many children are afraid of the elderly and I love that my children freely give them hugs.

When we arrived at the nursing home, Mrs. Jennifer had hats and my younger kids grabbed them up.

In the weeks before the visit we made cards. We took the cards along with some candy and passed them out to the residents.

The kids grouped into pairs and entered the rooms. The residents seemed to really enjoy the "Erry Tismus!" greeting they received.