My Birth Story: Zechariah Israel

Announcement: We have a baby boy!

On February 7th, at 7:23am our family was blessed with a new member: Another baby boy! We decided not to find out the gender of our baby during the pregnancy so it was a surprise when he was born. The labour and delivery took only 4.5 hours and it was a much better experience than with our first son, Malachi.

I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant when I woke up at quarter to three in the morning and noticed that I had some abdominal pain. I was very groggy and it took me a little while to realize that the pain was a contraction. It left and another one came. I told Ben “I’m having contractions”. I still wasn’t sure if it would lead into labour or not, but then the next contraction that came was more painful. Then I knew that this probably was, indeed, much-anticipated labour. I then told Ben that I’m pretty sure I’m in labour and we should start setting things up.

Since we had planned a home water birth, my midwife had given me a list of things that we needed to prepare for the birth. This included inflating and filling the birth pool, setting up a crockpot on low with water and wash cloths in it for hot compresses and some other things. Ben started setting up the birth pool and I started preparing some other things. I also wanted to diffuse some calming lavender essential oil in the kitchen, so I went about that. I had to stop every few minutes however, due to the contractions which now needed my full concentration. Ben told me not to bother setting anything up, just to focus on breathing through my contractions.

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The birth pool

 

We also called both sets of parents at the onset of labour. They were all happy to hear that our baby was coming soon. Ben’s parents were on call to take Malachi if needed. At this time, Malachi was sleeping in his room and we didn’t know if we should wake him up and send him off or just let him keep sleeping. We decided to let him keep sleeping. Ben’s parents live close by and his mom said that if he wakes up we should just call them again and someone would be here in five minutes to take him.

So, Ben continued setting things up and I continued labouring. I found that I liked using my birth ball. I would get on all fours and lean over the birth ball. That was one of my favorite positions for labour. For breathing, Ben encouraged me to let out a long breath while making a low “oooooh” sound and to stretch it out as far as I could. It really helped me to relax. Ben and I had talked a lot about what we wanted the labour to be like and what kind of strategies could help me cope with the pain. Ben was really good at encouraging the low singing kind of breathing. As he continued setting up the birth pool, whenever he heard me go “ooooh” as a contraction came on, he would come behind me and hold my hips together, which really helped too. During this labour I had a weird sensation like if my pelvis was splitting apart and it felt good when Ben would apply pressure to my hips.

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A very unflattering picture…but this is one of the positions that worked best for me.

 

Next I decided I wanted to try labouring in the bathtub. The pool wasn’t ready yet, so Ben prepared the tub. I went in and Ben sat beside the bathtub. When a contraction would come, I’d make the low “ooooh” sound and lean over Ben’s lap. As I laboured in the tub, the song “Yeshua all for Yeshua”, or “Jesus, all for Jesus” (Robin Mark) was playing through my head so I asked Ben to sing it. He sang it and I continued labouring. Somehow, as Ben was singing “all for Yeshua”, I felt like I was labouring for Yeshua. As I was bringing this child into the world, it wasn’t just to have more children, but to have more children who love Yeshua and walk in His ways. It also made me think of Yeshua’s painful death on the cross for us. I knew my labour was so much less than what He went through to give us life. As I continued having contractions, I kept thinking about my Saviour and alternated between moaning and calling to Him for strength.

I actually found the bathtub to be less comfortable than anticipated and decided to get out and back on the birth ball. The contractions were coming every 6 minutes or so and lasting almost a minute. They were getting very painful. I dreaded each one and just focused on the low “oooooh” breathing as each contraction came. I also told myself that they’re only about a minute long so just make it through that minute and then I’ll get a little break again.

I also found that standing and leaning on Ben was a good position too. Both this position and the birth ball position had me leaning my weight on something. And for some reason that felt more comfortable than other positions. Although the contractions were getting terribly painful, I still felt like they were doable. I didn’t like them, but focusing on the breathing and focusing my eyes on something small made them survive-able.

When the contractions reached a minute long and were about 5 minutes apart, we decided to call my midwife. She came shortly after and started setting up her things. Soon after the second midwife arrived. I really like the team of midwives I had. My main midwife is the same one who delivered Malachi. She is a sweet older African lady who has a motherly kind of presence. The second midwife is probably around my age and very kind and friendly. Having her there was kind of like having a friend. They’re both very supportive and encouraging.

To my surprise, I had a break of about 20 minutes or so with no contractions. I started to worry that maybe I wasn’t very far along.  So far, the contractions were manageable, and it was strange to get a break. I figured maybe this will be a long labour and started having doubts about a home birth. I suggested going to the hospital. I was scared of being at home and facing a long labour without pian relief. Suddenly I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore and really wanted to go to the hospital. (I didn’t know it, but I was in transition already, and it is typical at this point to feel like you can’t do it anymore). I was also shaking all over and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably even though I didn’t feel cold. I remember asking “why am I shaking like this?” and a midwife told me “your body is going through some hard work.”

My midwife decided to check how far along I was. I had to lie down on the bed for this which wasn’t as comfortable. She found that I was 9cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. That meant I was already in transition. And here I thought I wasn’t very far along. My midwife told me the baby’s just about ready to come out. She encouraged me to get up and walk a little bit to bring back the contractions. I thought to myself “but I don’t want more contractions”. However, I definitely wanted the baby to be born, so I got up.

Around this moment the second midwife had finished filling up the birth pool and making sure it was the right temperature. It was finally ready for me to go into it. This was my last chance to go into the birth pool if I wanted it. I stood up to walk but realised I wouldn’t be able to make it into the pool. Another strong contraction came on, and standing up, I leaned onto Ben and clung onto him while breathing low. And then, I felt the urge to push. I don’t even remember really trying, just that suddenly I felt my baby sliding down the birth canal. I pushed, and the midwives got ready to catch the baby. I remember Ben saying “the head is out”. I felt the “ring of fire” and a couple more pushes and the baby came out and someone put him in my arms. I looked at the wet, squirmy baby and couldn’t believe that the labour was over and that I had my long awaited baby. It was such a wonderful happy moment. I looked at the baby and saw that it was a boy! I had suspected a boy all along, so I wasn’t very surprised to see that. Then I got to lie down on the bed and cuddle with my baby on my chest while the placenta came out. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and then Ben got to cut it. I got some good quality time then with just the baby on my chest and Ben beside me. My midwife said I only had a small tear, so that was good. I wonder if it helped to push standing up, since then gravity worked in my favour too. We were very thankful and happy for a good experience. We also called the grandparents and let them know about their new grandson!

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He was 8 lbs and 2 oz.

The baby was alert and started suckling. He actually had a good latch right away, too, which was nice to see. Overall we were just so happy to have a healthy baby, a peaceful labour, less tearing and that we were at home and were able to just stay in our bedroom and relax as a family. We had prayed for a peaceful, short labour and a healthy baby. I had been praying that God would give me the strength to cope with the contractions and to be able to breathe through them well. Praise the Lord!

And it was about then that we heard another little noise – Malachi had finally woken up from sleeping at night. We couldn’t believe that he slept through all that! This was also an answer to prayer because we specifically prayed that Malachi wouldn’t be away from us overnight for the birth. Not only was he there for the night, but he didn’t have to be away at all! Definitely an answer to prayer that he slept through it all.

Ben went over to his room and brought him out to meet his little brother. Malachi has been adjusting amazingly well to being a big brother. He loves the baby and likes to give him toys and touch his hands and head. He asks us to let him hold the baby, so we let him partially hold him while sitting down as one of us supports the baby’s head.

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Brothers…the day that Zechariah was born.

 

Ben is home for two weeks now from work and he’s being a wonderful husband and daddy, taking care of the house and Malachi while I get to mostly focus on nursing the baby and resting. Later my mom is flying in from Ontario and staying for a couple weeks to help as well.

We feel very grateful for God’s blessings and mercies, and are so excited to get to know this new little person and watch our sons grow up together as friends.

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Simple Winter Crafts with a Toddler

Here are some of the crafts Mr. Monkey has done this winter. I recently hung up a string in our dining room where I can hang his crafts for display using clothes pins. I like the idea of keeping to a theme with our crafts, especially a seasonal theme. Especially in winter. It makes it a little more cheery.

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From left to right:

A snowman painting using a sponge.

Mittens cutout from construction paper and decorated with markers and glitter. (This we made after reading the story “The Mitten” by Jan Brett).

Foam/felt sticker art. I like buying the foam and felt stickers at Michaels especially when they’re on sale at the end of the season. Mr. Monkey gets excited when I pull them out. He likes peeling off the backs and sticking them on paper.

A foam dreidel that we did at Hanukkah.

Foam snowmen (There was a big container of foam sticker snowmen parts at Michaels. You can put together the snowmen with the stickers and learn to put the snowmen together).

A cotton ball snowflake. I just drew a basic snowflake shape with liquid glue and Mr. Monkey would put the cotton balls on the glue.

I also found these cute little foam gingerbread men at Michaels:

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Mr. Monkey had so much fun decorating them with beads, sequins and glitter glue.

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I think I have a weakness for kids craft supplies, especially when they’re on sale. But seriously, they don’t get all used up in one season and can be stored for next year!

 

 

Easy DIY Maternity Skirt

This is an easy sewing project for a beginner sewer. I’ve recently taken up sewing and enjoyed making 2 maternity skirts for this pregnancy. I wear skirts every day, and in my experience it’s been hard to find long maternity skirts, especially winter ones. I’ve found lots of skirts to work well for maternity in the summer. All you really need is a nice skirt with an elastic or drawstring waste-band and you can just wear it under the bump. But in the winter it’s harder to find maternity skirts. Most regular skirts won’t work because they don’t have adjustable waste bands. In maternity stores, there is a very small selection of skirts in the winter, and they’re usually really expensive. So, I made some myself.  The one on the left is a casual skirt and the one on the right is more dressy.

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These are really easy to make because you use the top part of an already made piece of maternity clothing.

You will need:

1. A pair of maternity pants or mini-skirt

2. Fabric of your choice (about 2 metres)

At my local thrift store there’s usually lots of maternity pants and also some maternity mini-skirts. It’s the long winter maternity skirts that are hard to find. For the skirt on the left I used the top part of a denim maternity mini-skirt. For the skirt on the right I used the top of a pair of black maternity pants. This way the waist of your skirt with a maternity band is already pre-made for you.

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For the denim/grey skirt I found the grey corduroy fabric at the thrift store. I specifically wanted a warmer fabric for winter and found 2.3 metres of grey corduroy for only $2.50. The denim mini skirt was $5 so altogether this skirt was less than $10 to make. A lot cheaper than at a maternity store and a lot cheaper than ordering online from a maternity boutique. For the black skirt I also found the black pants at the thrift store but I found my black fabric at the fabric store in their clearance section. It is actually a type of “suit” fabric with vertical pinstripes so it is more dressy.

So, here are the steps to make these skirts:

1. Cut off the top part of your pant or miniskirt at the length where you want it. You can cut it off right below the maternity waste-band, or if you want it to be a bit longer and have some contrast with your other fabric then you can cut it several inches below the maternity band.

2. Measure the circumference of the bottom of your cut-off pants/skirt. Mine measured 42 inches. Add 2 inches for a generous seam allowance (44 inches). This is measurment “A”. (If you’re a newbie like me, you want a generous seam allowance for mistakes…always better to have a little too much fabric than not enough!)

3. Now you’ll want to find out how much length you need to add on. To do this, put the cut-off skirt/pants on yourself and measure from the part it is cut off to the length that you want it to be (mid-calf, ankle, etc). My measurement was 26 inches. Add 2 inches for hem and seam allowance (28 inches). This is measurement “B”.

4. Now you’ll want to decide how full you’ll want the bottom of your skirt to be. For this part, I picked a skirt from my closet that I liked and measured the bottom circumference of the skirt. It was 70 inches. I like my skirts full and roomy. Add 2 inches for a general seam allowance (72). This is measurement “C”.

5. Next, you’ll want to lay out your fabric on the floor and draw your skirt panels. I made mine really simply and just did 2 panels. You can do more panels if you like, and adjust your measurements accordingly.

6. To draw your skirt panels, you want to start with a straight line going down what will be the middle of the panel. It should be the length of measurement B.

7. Since each panel is half the skirt, you want the top horizontal line to be half of measurement A and the bottom horizontal line (the hem) to be half of measurement C.

8. Here is a little diagram I drew on paper to illustrate a panel. You would make 2 panels that are exactly the same. The line down the middle helps to divide the top side and bottom side evenly so that you have your diagonal lines at the proper angles.

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9. Cut out your two panels.

10. Sew together the two sides.

11. Pin the top part of your panels to the bottom of  your cut-off skirt/pants. Now sew them together.

12. Hem the bottom of your skirt with a double-hem.

Here is what the skirts look like on me, when I’m 37 weeks pregnant:

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When I first finished the black skirt, it was actually not long enough for me, it was at that awkward length above the ankles where it looks like it’s made for a petite person. So, I added a ruffle to the bottom.

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If I were to make it again, I would’ve added more fabric to the ruffle horizontally so that it’s more ruffly. Now I know for next time.

There it is, an inexpensive way to make easy maternity skirts!

Our Second Busy Bag Exchange

In March last year my friends and I did a busy bag exchange. We’ve enjoyed using our busy bags with our little ones for quiet play at home and to keep them quietly busy at church. Well, now it was time to add some more busy bags into our collection. We went along with the same guidelines as last time. We wanted the busy bag activity to be contained in a ziploc bag, to be non-messy so we can take them along to places and of course to be appealing to our children. There are 5 of us in on this so we made 5 of the same busy bag that we then exchanged with each other when we got together.

Here are the busy bags that we made:

S made two busy bags. The first one was a magnetic dry-erase board with foam magnet shapes.

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The second one was buttons and string. This could be to practice lacing buttons, but Mr. Monkey also enjoyed using it to sort the buttons by colours and shapes as well as to practice counting the buttons.

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J made worm pick-up. It’s a fine motor activity. The goal is to try and pick up the “worms” off the “grass” using the clothes pin.

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C put together a set of squares made from foam and felt and alphabet stickers. You can re-stick the stickers on the squares and try matching upper case with lower case letters.

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D made felt rings. The rings stick together with velcro on the ends and can be put together to make a colourful chain.

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I made a pre-printing activity with Wikki Stix. You can manipulate the Wikki Stix to make the shapes or letters on the laminated cards. Wikki Stix were a popular manipulative when I was teaching in elementary school.

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For our busy bag exchange day, we rented a gymnasium for a couple hours. We brought ride on toys and balls as well as snacks. The children had lots of fun playing in the gym, and we had fun too!

Our frugal tips.

We are a single-income family. I have a degree in education and taught in public school for the first 2 years of our marriage, until our son was born and I went on maternity leave for a year.  After that, we’ve been single-income. I have never regretted the decision to quit my job. It has always been my dream to one day be a stay-at-home wife and mommy and to home-school our children. So in the first two years of our marriage, while I worked full-time in a professional career, my husband and I both had the goal that I would stay home when our first child would be born.

With that in mind, we prepared for being a single-income family by living as much as we could like a single-income family while we were dual-income. That means that we tried to live off of my husband’s income. My income went into paying off our school debt, and when that was paid off, it went into savings.  That way, when the time would come to make the big financial change, it wouldn’t seem as much of a shock to go from two incomes to one.

Now that I have the “career of my dreams”, here are some tips that I’ve found helpful to save money in little ways here and there:

Buy used The Duggar family, from TLC’s show, 19 Kids and Counting have a financial motto that says “buy used, save the difference”. We save a lot of money buying things used. Most of our furniture is used, as well as most of our clothes (except for shoes which I usually buy new, and here is a blog post on that).  My husband is in the music industry and he found an amazing deal for our used piano. Most of Mr. Monkey’s toys and books have been gifts or bought used as well.

Rental Income When we looked to buy our first home, my husband specifically wanted to find a house that has a separate basement suite included, with a separate entrance. This way, we have an extra rental income that helps pay off our mortgage. It’s nice having a rental income because it’s one of those incomes where you don’t really have to “work” for it. Financially, it is really helpful. The downside is that it’s sometimes hard to find good tenants that we trust enough to have in our basement, and also this way we have less space as we can’t use most of our basement for storage or extra room.

Homemade laundry soap. There are lots of tutorials online to make your own laundry soap. I’ve made a few different kinds, and haven’t had to buy laundry detergent in a long time. The ingredients for most laundry soap recipes are usually: borax, washing soda and some kind of soap (Fels Naptha, or a castille soap or even Blue Dawn). Currently, I’ve been using the Duggars’ recipe for laundry soap made from a bar of Fel Naptha soap. This soap is only sold in the States. When I was visiting my parents in southern Ontario, I went for a fun road trip with my mom to Michigan. I got a few bars of that soap there, they are only $1 each, and compbined with borax and washing soda, I think my batch of laundry soap cost around $3 or less. I started using it in September and am about halfway through it. Since I’ve been making my own laundry soap I feel like I just can’t buy the stuff from the store anymore. It’s so much cheaper to make your own. And it works just fine.

Haircuts at home. My dear husband has wonderful curly hair. I once suggested to him that he should let me try to cut it. And he did! (Even with me having no experience in this department…he must really trust me…). We liked the results, so since then I’ve been cutting his hair. We also cut our son’s hair. This saves us some money from going to the barber regularly. I rarely get my haircut, but when I do I like to get layers so I go get it done professionally. I’m wondering if maybe there are tutorials online on how to cut layers and then my husband could try it.

Budgeting I’m not very good at numbers and things like that, so my husband comes up with our family budget and reviews it with me and we both decide if it sounds reasonable. In our budget, we have an amount designated for groceries, fuel, household things, utilities, and other necessary categories. We also each have an amount of money every month that we can spend on whatever we personally like.  I found this to be very helpful. Before we started this, I always wasn’t sure if I should buy something that I wanted and sometimes wondered if I spent too much. With our personal spending budget, I now know how much I can spend and I can enjoy it. This also helps me not to feel “financially tight” because we can still buy little extras. My husband usually spends his money on books. I usually spend it on crafty things. Mr. Monkey has his budget too, which I’m in control of, and it’s used for extra things for him like books, toys, or craft supplies.

Eating at home This comes with being a stay-at-home mom. I see it as part of my “job” to make nutritious and delicious meals for our family that we enjoy. When we were both working full-time, we ate out more often because we would be so tired and rushed getting home from work. Now we rarely eat out. It saves us money and it’s also healthier.

Buying in bulk One of my new favourite stores is Costco. Although you have to pay for a yearly membership, I find that prices there are a lot cheaper than the regular grocery store because you buy in much bigger packages.

Entertainment We don’t have cable. Actually we don’t even have a TV. Or Netflix. Sometimes we buy good-quality appropriate movies. Our date nights are usually my husband and I at home curled up on our  couch with a hot drink and talking our hearts out to each other. Just like when we were betrothed.

Free Fun Since I’m home all day with Mr. Monkey, sometimes we can get into a bit of a rut. Mr. Monkey doesn’t have any siblings he can play with – yet. So instead of spending money on expensive toys (that he may or may not play with), or taking him to programs that you have to pay for, I’ve found some free alternatives. Of course, we spend most of our time at home, and I find that Mr. Monkey is more content and entertained when I involve him and myself together. So sometimes I play with him with his toys. Or make crafts with him. Or I involve him in my chores.  I’ve also been happy to discover that the community centre close to our home offers free play events for parents with little ones. Our favourite is the Monday morning jungle gym. It’s basically a gymnasium full of ride-on toys, push toys, tunnels and balls. Mr. Monkey has so much fun there, and it’s great for him to burn off his energy in the wintertime when we can’t always go outside to play. And then there’s the library. Our local library is a 10 minute walk away. Not only are there books but you can also ask for “story bags” that are themed bags of stories and toys or puzzles that go together in a theme.

Cloth diapers We’ve saved some money by using cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.

Cloth tissues Instead of paper tissues. Also relying more on towels and dishcloths instead of paper-towels.

So, those are some ways where we try to save money and be good stewards of our resources. There are areas where we can’t be too frugal. Food for example is one of those areas for our family. We really try to eat healthy. Processed packaged food is generally cheaper than whole food, but that is an area where we don’t want to compromise, so we choose healthier food even though it’s more expensive.

What are some ways that you save money?

My birth story: Baby M.

I was 39 weeks pregnant. We didn’t know if it would be a boy or a girl. I was praying for a quick labour/delivery. I was hoping the baby would come just a little bit before the due date and not go over.

35 weeksMe, 35 weeks pregnant.

About a week before I was due, I was at my midwife appointment, and she asked me if I wanted an optional membrane sweep. I was really looking forward to having the baby soon so I said I wanted one. When she did that, she informed me that I was already 4cm dilated, that she could feel the baby sitting very low and that basically, I would probably be in a labour soon. That was Thursday, May 3rd. Our baby was due May 9th.

I was surprised and happy to find out I had already dilated. The fact is, I hadn’t felt a single contraction of any kind yet, no Braxton-Hicks or anything like that. I actually wanted to experience Braxton hicks contractions because this was my first pregnancy and I was curious what contractions actually felt like. It would be like getting a “preview” of labour.

I came home feeling excited at the thought of getting to meet our baby soon. The next day was Friday and I lost my mucous plug. I called my midwife to let her know, and I also told my mom. I was so excited! That night we had company for supper and then my husband and I went to bed.

At night, I woke up and felt for the first time a contraction. It was like a wave of pressure going over my uterus and then declining. I woke my husband up and whispered “I feel a contraction”. I felt a second one. They were both very mild, but it definitely got me even more excited about the big day. That was it. Just 2 little contractions at night.

The next morning was Shabbat and we were going to meet in the afternoon with our home fellowship. As the morning progressed, I felt a few more contractions, just here and there, spaced apart quite a bit. I didn’t know if this would directly lead into labour, or if it would be just practice contractions that didn’t mean much. But, just in case it meant labour, we decided to stay home that day.

It was a good decision because in the afternoon they were getting a bit closer together, about half an hour apart, and then 15 minutes apart. We were so happy, and I took out my homemade “labour-aid” drink that I prepared a couple days ago to sip on.

We decided to sit on the couch and read the Torah portion together. We took turns reading out loud. When it came my turn to read, I had to pause during the contractions as they were getting a bit more intense. Then we decided that we might as well eat supper. I sat down to eat, but by then the contractions were so intense and getting really close together, just a few minutes apart, that I couldn’t eat.

Very quickly they got even more close together and more intense so that I was lying on the floor loudly moaning through them. Ben was a really good labour coach. He was timing the contractions and encouraging me to breathe the way our doula friend had taught us. He also massaged me and held me. I suggested to him that he should play and sing a nice song on the guitar. (Because you know, that’s how some of the “romantic” births happen, right? With the husband singing?) But pretty soon I wanted it to be all quiet. By then it was getting so painful that I thought I couldn’t take it anymore. Ben looked in the book that we had about labour and figured that since I’ve only been having contractions for less than 2 hours and they were just now getting to be 5 minutes apart or so, that we were still probably in “early labour”. I thought if this was “early labour”, then I wouldn’t make it through the rest and told him to forget our plan for a natural birth. I wanted to go to the hospital right away and get an epidural. I also wanted to call my midwife but we weren’t sure if we were far enough in labour to call her. Finally, there were a few contractions that were very close together and we decided we could try calling her. We called the midwife and it turned out that she was nearby in our area. She came right away.

When the midwife arrived she wanted to check how much I had dilated and found that I was 8cm already. Our plan was to have a natural birth at the hospital, but when she saw how quickly labour was progressing, she said we don’t have time to go to the hospital and started setting up towels for a home birth. At that point, I felt the urge to push, but I thought it was an urge to go to the bathroom. I told Ben and the midwife that I needed to have a BM. (At that point I didn’t really care about being discreet about what my body wanted to do) The midwife said “you’re feeling the urge to have a baby.”

Now, in our province there is a rule that in order to have a home birth, you need 2 midwives present. Our midwife started calling the second midwife to come over, but found out that the second midwife was in the hospital with another birth. So, legally, she could not attend this home birth by herself. And so, she said, we must go to the hospital.

This is where it went worse for me. Moving location while in transition is not fun. Before that it was still extremely painful and I was moaning loudly (and yes, begging for an epidural), but it got even worse when we had to leave. We were on the 3rd floor of an apartment building with no elevator. So I was in transition, ready to push, and had to walk down those stairs, get in the car and be driven to the hospital, confined in a sitting position with the seatbelt. Let’s just say….that ride to the hospital was not pleasant for me, or for my poor husband. The drive was probably 10-15 minutes, but it felt a lot longer. At this point I was kind of “losing it”, too and wasn’t being very nice, sadly. I like to think that this was because I was disrupted from my “zone” of labouring at home

We got to the hospital and had to go in through emergency. When we got in I was put on a wheel chair and my husband had to deal with some stuff, I don’t even remember what, something about registering us at the hospital. It felt like everything was taking so long and by that time I felt like it was one major painful contraction immediately followed by another. I was moaning loudly in the waiting room and didn’t care who saw me or heard me. You know how when you go to emergency and see that one person moaning loudly in pain? That was me then. And normally I’m really self-conscious but when I was in that stage of labour I felt like I didn’t care about any of that.

Eventually, some one whisked me into a delivery room. It was nice that since I was a midwifery patient, the only people in the delivery room with me were my husband, our midwife, and one female nurse. No one else came in, there were no unwanted interventions or IVs or other things like that that I’ve heard of in other birth stories. So I’m really thankful for that.

Once in the delivery room, the midwife suggested I try a bath. I got into the bathtub, and the warm water felt so good. It was the only thing that soothed me. From this experience, I’m hoping to have a water-birth next time.

Since I was also begging loudly for an epidural (and it was way too late for that), they did give me the “laughing gas”. That was kind of weird. It didn’t make the pain go away, but made me feel like I didn’t care about the pain as much.

Again I needed to push so I got out (not allowed to deliver in a standard bathtub). And then the horrible 2 hours of pushing started. It was horrible because I pushed and pushed as hard as I could and that baby just wasn’t coming out. I was told to push harder and I was pushing with all my strength but that baby still wasn’t coming out. I felt so helpless because I was trying my best and it wasn’t working. It felt like it went on forever and wondered if I would ever get that baby out. I was starting to feel weak. Originally I wanted to birth squatting or on my hands and knees, because I read that it was a better position for birthing. But from so much pushing I was so exhausted, that I just lay on my back and pushed. My husband even had to hold my one leg up for me as it was too hard to do that. The midwife noticed the baby’s heart rate was slowing down and told me I really needed to push harder. Again, I was pushing as hard as I could and felt that awful helpless feeling. But then finally, I heard the baby’s head was crowning. From previous reading, I knew I would soon feel the “ring of fire”.  The thought of this made my head play the song “ring of fire” by Johnny Cash. I pushed again, and out came the baby. I actually didn’t feel any kind of “ring of fire”.

And then that wonderful, blessed, glorious moment. The pain immediately stopped. I was surprised at how immediate that was. And the midwife placed that 7 lb 9 oz baby on my chest. I was on an emotional high right away and couldn’t believe that this baby came out of my body. This baby had dark hair, like me, and we made eye contact. I was in love.  I was so elated, “wow, this is my baby”. My husband was standing beside me and we were looking at this baby, admiring our baby, when after a little while my husband said “It’s a boy”. We didn’t even think about the gender those first moments, such was the feeling of love that we were experiencing. Amazingly, our little boy latched on right away and started suckling. It was one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.

A few days later, I told my husband, that I have never before felt more like a woman than after giving birth and nursing our little baby.

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 At the hospital after giving birth.

So that was our birth story. From around supper time when the contractions started getting more intense, until our son was born took about 6 hours total.  And 2 of those hours was pushing.  Our son was born on May 5th, which was 4 days before his due date.  Next time, I hope to do a home birth. If my next birth goes quickly like my first one, (hopefully!), then I think a home birth would be best for me, as I really didn’t like transitioning to the hospital when I was so far along in labour already, it kind of took me out of my mental “zone” that I was in and made coping with the labour a lot worse. Also, we had to stay in the hospital for 2 nights and couldn’t get much sleep as people kept coming into our room to check on me, or check on the baby, or take a blood test, or show us how to bathe the baby, or different things, so it was really hard to get enough sleep and we came home feeling exhausted. Those are my reasons for wanting a home birth next time.

Every birth is different, and I really enjoy reading other people’s birth stories, so I thought I’d write out my own.

 

Making Room for Baby

Recently, we’ve switched up the furniture in our master bedroom. Baby is due in early February, and we decided that for the beginning, we would like to keep baby in our room next to our bed, for hopefully a year. Then we can move baby to Mr. Monkey’s room.

There was a problem, however. The furniture in our room was too big and there simply was no room for a crib, playpen or bassinet next to our bed. Even if we were to put a small bassinet next to our bed, there wouldn’t be much room to step around it.

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So, we sold our solid-oak furniture set (which we bought used after we got married), and looked for something else.

Before, we had a large dresser and large headboard/night table towers.

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This was just too space-consuming.

Now, we have 2 chest of drawers that are taller than a dresser but take up less floor space, as well as a smaller headboard.

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Our room looks so much more spacious now and we have room beside the bed to put a playpen. It even looks brighter because our old headboard was so high that it covered part of the window. Hopefully the baby will be able to stay in the playpen for the first year. Since I’m planning to breastfeed, I like the idea of having baby right next to me at night and not having to get up and go to another room to nurse.

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Although our new furniture is of lesser quality than our old furniture, it fits our needs a lot better right now. I also found another added benefit to the chest of drawers instead of a dresser is that my toddler can’t reach my things on top.

We also got a little cube shelf to keep baby’s clothes, diapers and blankets since we will be sharing the room. And amazingly, it all fits in the room without looking too cluttered.

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It was fun to re-furnish our room. And we were able to find the furniture very cheaply on the Home Depot website. I didn’t even know that Home Depot sells furniture. They don’t have it in their stores, but you can but it online and it was free delivery. Also, the money we got for selling the better quality used furniture was able to cover the cheaper new furniture, so it wasn’t expensive to re-furnish our room.

I’ve also been going through an organizing craze during this time, and I wonder if it’s the nesting urge. It seems a little early to feel that, but I figure I might as well be prepared well in advance.