I’ve FINALLY found my focus!

As many of you have probably noticed, I haven’t updated this blog since the birth of our seventh child, a beautiful little girl: Ivy Jean (aka Miss Little Lamb). Be still my heart, she is the sweetest little surprise gift from God EVER!!! Difficult pregnancy, difficult labor and delivery, difficult start to breastfeeding, difficult getting her to sleep through the night…

BUT, I freakin’ wouldn’t change it for the world!!! She is AMAZING!!! You could offer me a trillion dollars for her and I’d never take it, I’d never let her go! I thank the Lord almighty above every day that I have her! What a blessed gift!

Even her brothers and sisters adore her. Since they’re all older now, they finally have the privilege of enjoying having a little baby in the home. We all, together: laugh with her, take turns holding her, change her diapers, give her baths, take pics and videos of her, make her smile and giggle, rejoice over her developmental milestones, burp her, rock her to sleep, cuddle with her, breathe in her sweetness… She’s precious and everyone is absolutely in love!

She was four months old, as of November 1st. *sigh*
Four months already?! Unbelievable! Going too fast!

Time, please slow down!!!

Many a time I’ve wanted to post here on the blog. But every time I would sit down to write, there was nothing there. My mind went blank. What should I say? What should I write about?

Blank-ness. (Is that a word?)

Fast-forward to just yesterday. I had a revelation in the shower. (Why is it that deep thoughts seem to happen in the bathroom. *snicker*) No but seriously, I had a line of thought run through my head absolutely out of nowhere:

Living on a dime with a part of nine!

Living on a dime with a party of nine? Hmmm… like, write about how we (a large family) live and thrive on a modest income? How we make the dollar stretch? How we save and scrimp? How we make food and possessions last? How we are frugal?

I have like a bazillion tricks up my sleeve (beyond just coupon usage and Amazon deals) on how we make things last over here. That’s something I’m very knowledgeable about, something I’ve learned very well these past 14 years, something I’m still learning, something that I could probably endlessly talk about.

When people come to me for help and advice, oftentimes it’s about how we do “it”, that is, survive life, survive in this economy, with 9 people and actually make it work.

So, I believe the Lord is leading me to make this the focus of my blog. I think my readers could benefit from taking a peek into the ins and outs of how we do things over here. Perhaps there’s something we do that would benefit someone else.

I certainly haven’t arrived. Nor am I (or will I) be the best blogger on the block about this topic. But I do believe I have something to share with people that might help them in their own lives. Maybe there’s other large (or small/medium) families out there that are struggling to make ends meet and could benefit from some of my tips? Maybe if someone could see how we do it, it would spur them on to stretch money? Maybe there’s other mom’s out there that don’t have the time to pick up a part time job to help ends meet, but they could do a thing or two to tighten the purse strings, things they’ve never thought of, that would help stretch their husband’s income?

We all bring something unique to the table. I think this is a knowledge that I’ve been blessed to learn. I believe it’s something I could bless others with.

So, if you’d like to learn how a family of nine lives on a dime (and thrives), stay tuned!!!

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Birth Story (Part 2)

At this point, I was entering into Transition. The “not so fun” phase.

I will just throw out pieces of what I remember. Some of it may be a little out of order, but I’ll do my best.

-I chose to labor in black gym shorts & a black tank top. (Right after the baby is born, the midwife immediately places the baby on my chest. Figured black would be the easiest to clean later.)
-every time a contraction came, I just kept thinking to myself, “open… everything open so Ivy can freely pass”. And the Scriptures that kept coming to mind were: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “when I am weak, then I am strong”. Christ would give me the strength to do this. He will make a way.
-when the Transition Phase seemed to go on too long, the midwife did an internal exam to see if I was fully dilated– yep, I was!
-the midwife (accidentally? purposefully?) ruptured the sac and there was a HUGE gush of fluid. I remember everyone going “whoa, that’s a lot of fluid!” I asked if that was ok and was assured it was fine. I was confused because I SWEAR my sac ruptured earlier. It was explained to me that there are apparently (2) layers to the sac and what burst earlier in the day was the outer sac. My midwife obviously got the main sac.
-when she ruptured the sac, the contractions got crazy intense!
-I knew it was time to push. I was fully dilated and Ivy’s head was only (2) knuckles length away from coming out.
-Crazy thing is, I never got the desire to push/bear down. The midwife and her assistant tried getting me into *so* many positions– but nothing felt right/good. All I was doing for a good chunk of time was simply riding out the contractions. This happened to me one other time, with my second birth (Master War Bird). I was fully dilated but had no desire to push. I was SO tired I just gave up. My son’s head was so close to coming out that they couldn’t/wouldn’t do a c-section. They ended up using a suction cup thing to pull him out. He had a nice banana-shaped head. *wink* Part of my exhaustion with that birth was due to the hospital not letting me eat or drink for hours on end. But with Ivy’s birth (as with all my home births) I was freely allowed and encouraged to eat and drink. So I had the stamina to push– just didn’t have the desire to.
-Fiiiiiiinally we found a good birthing position. My hubby sat on the footrest and I sat on a birthing stool in front of him, between his legs. From there, hubby could easily hold me. The midwife sat Indian-style in front of me. I put my feet on her knees, wrapped my arms around her neck, and when a contraction came I was to pull her head toward me and push, moan, groan, etc with all my might. Let’s just say I made a lot of noise and I felt bad later for my midwife’s poor ear drums.

Birthing stool

The stool looked kinda like this.

birth

-the whole time I was pushing, I just kept thinking “only 2 knuckles… only 2 knuckles… I can do this…”
-pushing was SO HARD. Neither did I have the desire to push, but I also didn’t have the ab strength to appropriately push her out. This pregnancy I struggled with diastasis recti:

diastasis-recti

-I found out afterward that having D.R. can make pushing very difficult because the ab and pelvic floor muscles used to push correctly are very weak. That explains a TON because pushing was BY FAR the hardest most unpleasant part of my whole birth experience. Even thinking back on it makes me cringe.
-I remember crying out, “this hurts so bad” and the midwife responding, “honey, the only way to make the pain stop is to get this baby out. So PUSH.”
-2 knuckles… 2 knuckles…
-the midwife used lubrication jelly on her hand to gently massage and stretch the opening so the baby’s head could more easily pass
-FINALLY, with one more giant push, Ivy’s head came out. One more push, and her shoulders and the rest of her body came out.
-RELIEF
-Ivy was caught by the midwife, lightly wrapped in a receiving blanket, and placed in my lap & arms
-for some reason, my body was shivering and shaking
-I hate to admit this, but birth was SO HARD that when Ivy was born, I did not have that giant wash of connection/mommy high. All I was thinking was, “it’s OVER! It’s finally OVER!” I mean, I held her and loved on her. But I felt disconnected at first.
-we waited until the cord stopped pulsating, the midwife’s assistant clamped it off and hubby cut the cord. Soon after that, the placenta was birthed.
-the midwife inspected the cord and placenta. She gave hubby and I and my mom a bit of education about it all. Man… it’s a nasty looking organ… but it’s absolutely fascinating what it did for Ivy and I and how it worked. Everything looked great!
-I got wrapped up in blue absorbancy pads and I slowly walked upstairs to take an herbal bath with Ivy. (Not sure who had the baby at this point.) The herbs help heal the perineum area and dry up the baby’s cord.

 

herbal bath

Purchased from www.inhishands.com

-my mom went upstairs to help me with the bath. I think everyone else was downstairs cleaning up the birth mess.
-my mom and I noticed I was bleeding quite a bit in the tub. I hurried up and nursed Ivy one side while in the tub. After nursing, my mom got her out of the tub, wrapped her in a towel and took her downstairs to be weighed and measured by the midwife. My mom came back upstairs and helped me out of the tub.
-I went back downstairs and sat on the couch for a while. Nursed Ivy on the other side. So many cramps. Ouch.
-I still had a lot of discomfort “down there” and I could literally feel gushes of blood. The midwife super wrapped me up good and helped me waddle to the bathroom. Once seated on the toilet, she pushed on tummy and palpitated my uterus. There was a LOT of blood… and clots… it kinda freaked me out. Thankfully I was not getting lightheaded or dizzy or anything. I remember bleeding a lot with my last baby (Miss Pebbles) and had to be given a suppository medication of some sort. Thankfully with all the palpitations between her and hubby every time I went to the bathroom, the clots and heavy bleeding leveled off. And thankfully I didn’t need any medication to stop the bleeding.
-I also began drinking liquid chlorophyll right away. Two bottles down over the weekend! Not exactly sure how it works, but it helps a LOT with bleeding and getting that managed. Nature’s Sunshine is my favorite brand. And it tastes good! Like liquid mint gum.

Capture
-so we got the bleeding regulated and the living room/birth mess got all cleaned up. At this time, it was probably 2a-ish? The midwife left. My mom was tired too so she retired upstairs to sleep. Hubby and I were too wound up to sleep so we watched a little tv before heading off to bed ourselves.

Well.. that’s about it concerning Ivy’s birth story. I suppose if I forgot anything, I will add it later. Probably should pick my hubby & mom’s brains for more details. Like I said, things got a little hazy for me. They’d remember more.

So glad our little lady is here and is now a part of the family. She is seriously the sweetest little thing. ❤❤❤❤ A true blessing from God. Fearfully and wonderfully made for sure!

Oh, and after a few nursings, bonding DEF took place between Ivy and I. 😍😍😍

Hmmm… and I suppose I should come up with a nickname for her like I did the other kids… I like “Miss Little Lamb”.

 

She’s here!!! Birth Story (Part 1)

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This was me 40 weeks + 2. My water broke at 7am. Prepping for our home birth!

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Meet Ivy Jean!!!

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Born safely at home (with a midwife) on (Friday) July 1, 2016 at 11:31p.

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She weighed 7 lbs & 14 oz and was 20-1/4″ in length.

 

The only one of our babies born with dark hair! We’re hoping she looks like her daddy! All our other babes take after my side. Which is crazy cuz I would have sworn he’d have the more dominant genetics.

—————————————————-

So after my water broke at 7am, I called my mother right away, as she was planning on attending the birth. Since we didn’t know how long it’d take to have this baby, we wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to get here. (She lives 3 hrs away.) I also called my mother-in-law to let her know what was happening and she so GRACIOUSLY took all six of our kids to her’s and dad’s house! I’ve never gone into labor that early in the day– it’s always started in the afternoon and then I’d have the baby in the middle of the night. We were actually planning on just having the kids stay with us. They’d go to bed and then wake up in the AM to see their new little sister. Well this time, it worked differently.

After calling our mother’s, we then called the midwife to give her a heads up. We weren’t ready for her to come yet. But at least she would know that tonight was the night.

Contractions were pretty mild all day. With the kids gone, though, it was nice to just be with my hubby and my folks. We ordered Mexican take-out for lunch, played board games, and listened to music all day. Hubby and I tried going down for a nap in the early evening, but by 7p it was impossible for me to sleep as my contractions had kicked in pretty hard. I was definitely having to work through them.

Hubby and I called the midwife to tell her it was time for her to come. And then we wandered back downstairs. As I was having to work through my contractions, my dad decided it was time to leave and head over to my sister’s house. LOL.

From this point on, things get a little blurry. I remember the midwife coming and not long afterward, her assistant came as well. My birthing team was finally all there!

During contractions, I rocked and rocked and rocked in our wooden rocking chair in the living room. I remember rocking so hard the floor was creaking something fierce and the rocker kept scooting across the floor. I’d have to get up at some point cuz I’d rocked all the way to the couch and we had to move the rocker back out. 😉

As I neared transition, everyone started buzzing around preparing for the birth… laying out the large visqueen, getting articles from the birth kit laid out, cooking up bath herbs on the stove (for mom & baby after birth), getting blue absorbancy mats laid out…]

 

More to come…

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Meditations (for birth) Part 5 (final)

#5- God will guide the midwife (or medical staff). RD will support and encourage what is best for baby and I.

a. Ex. 14:14~ The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
b. Rom. 15:13~ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

*The Lord is my strength and my shield; He will protect me.
*You direct my thoughts, Lord. You show me the way to birth my child.*Lord, You designed me a woman and You direct the way this labor should go according to Your design.
*I rest in You in the days leading up to our baby’s delivery. I rest during and in between all contractions. I am still in Your presence because I know You fight for me.
*Your plans are holy and perfect. I surrender my hopes and plans and desires to follow Your plan for this birth. You make Your presence known and guide every person facilitating this birth. You are glorified and Your name is revered.
*You fill me with joy and peace as I trust in You and continue to do so during labor. What can man do to me? You sift everything through Your perfect fingers and I trust that You will lead the midwife (or medical team). You do not overlook any detail of this labor and have it all planned perfectly. I surrender to Your plan and am protected by Your Holy Spirit against all enemy attack and distraction.

 

… in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us… Rm. 8:37

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Thoughts and Meditations (for birth) Part 4

4.  I have the Lord’s strength and will labor how God designed me to.

a. Ps. 46:1-2~ God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, thought the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
b. Is. 40:31~ Those who hope (wait) in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
c. Ps. 28:7~ The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.
d. John 10:3-4~ The watchman opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out… and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.
e. 1 Chron. 4:10~ Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

 

*God designed women to give birth; God made me a woman. God designed women to give birth; God made me capable of this.
*I hope and wait in You Lord for the perfect timing our baby will enter the world. I do not look ahead to each contraction, but am thankful for each one and focus on the strength You give me.
*You give me strength and You renew my strength when I am weak. As I labor, I will not grow weary. As I labor, I will not grow faint. Together, we soar on wings like eagles; so prevalent is Your peace within me.*My heart leaps for joy at each contraction and I give thanks to You in song. Because I trust in You, You help me. Because I trust in You, You are my shield, protector, and strong tower. My place of rest and refuge.
*You are my Shepherd. You lead and guide me beside still waters and restore my soul. This baby is Your newest little lamb. Baby listens to You and knows Your voice. You open wide the gate of my birth canal. Baby knows Your voice. And as You call to baby, Your little lamb will easily pass through my gate to enter Your world and Your arms.
*Lord, as You blessed Jabez, You have blessed me. You enlarge the territory of my cervix so baby can pass through with ease. You keep me from unnecessary harm and pain as You draw baby out.

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