Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Positive Birth Support

As I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy (24 days til my official EDD!), I am realizing, once again, how important it is to surround myself with positive, supportive energy. The end of pregnancy is often the toughest time, at least for me. After 37 weeks of sacrificing my mind and body to grow this little person, all I want to focus on is how amazingly excited I am to finally be able to give birth to her, and meet her. This is a time where I want to focus all my energy on preparing for the birth, surrounding myself with people that support our choices, and doing things that make me happy.

(37 weeks)

So with that in mind, here is a funny story to think on today: A friend of mine was visiting another friend at her apartment yesterday. Apparently the upstairs neighbor was in labor, and birthing at home. They could hear everything going on upstairs; the low, guttural moaning of a mother deep in labor, the swish-swish of the birthing pool, the loud cries and instinctual yelps, as she went into transition, and the final howls and groans of pushing out her brand new baby. My friend said she was almost in tears, just envisioning the whole, beautiful process,and the strength the mother must be feeling having just been thru that spiritual journey. The other friend who was there hated having to hear the whole thing, complained about how loud and annoying it was, and said, "Thank God I don't have to do that--I get an epidural!"

This is exactly the contrast of opinions I hear constantly from mothers around me; at the park, at church, on T.V., at the library, standing in line at the grocery store.......
Now, I'm not saying who is right or wrong, but I am saying that when you've made such an important choice for your life; something that is deeply meaningful for you and your family, it is really nice to be surrounded by people who understand, who embrace our experience, and who support our visions of a natural childbirth. (and we are grateful we don't live in a small apt complex!) So for these next few weeks of pregnancy, I just wanted to share some things that help me stay positive:

-Get together often with friends or family who support our choices 100%, and who love us and know us well.
-Talk with my husband frequently about the little details of our birth.
-Don't accept unsolicited advice from anyone, who doesn't support our choices. (this might mean telling someone to back off, nicely and firmly)
-Read uplifting, and inspiring books about birthing women who have gone before me.
-Practice visualization and imagery of our ideal birth experience.
-Watch natural birth videos, which make me cry happy tears.
-Simplify my life--eliminate negative things or people that may bring me down.
(ie..Stay away from the lady at the library who tells me a horror story about her daughters birth, every.single.time. I check out books.)
-Only share personal information with people I know will be supportive.
-Be humble and understanding of those people that just don't get it, but be sure to speak up, or educate when necessary.
-Continue teaching our kids about the natural birthing process, so they don't grow up confused. Also, prepare them for the reality of the birth. (Micah has me practice my loud noises so the boys know what to expect.)
-Hang up favorite quotes and scriptures that uplift and inspire.
-Think about holding, snuggling, and loving our new baby, any time soon!

Top picture: we tied strings around our wrists until our friends baby is born, with a special blessing in each, that everything will go well.
Very bottom: A onesie I decorated for a friend. Puffy paints rule.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Summer!

Happy news is:
I felt like I could breathe after that swim yesterday. I felt like our baby was head down again. Our midwife stopped by and dug her loving, experienced fingers down into my baby belly today and affirmed that, "Yes! She is no longer breech!" Now how to keep her this way.......and not panic if she turns again.

I finished a Mei-Tai for a dear friend whom is 39 weeks along, and so ready to give birth! I fell in love with this fabric and can't wait to give it to her. I imagine many, many, sleepy, snuggly, nursy days with her and her baby. That just warms my heart.

And if I have extra fabric I like to throw in a matching, mini-me-Mei-tai for the little one. Her 3 year old daughter will have fun mimicking Mama in her own baby-doll sling.

Our big toddler can roar like a lion! His auntie Leilani sent over some things, and he immediately clung to this lion costume. Adorable in my eyes.

We have to sell our scaffolding, which we've been holding onto for the past few years. We were saving it just in case we built our house here. Oh well, now it's on It makes for a fun jungle gym, (for a few minutes until Micah took it down.)

Summer isn't complete without a little pool party in the backyard, and popscicles!

If you haven't been over---it's because we need to have another party. :)

Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Good Pregnant Swim

We haven't had a bathtub in our apartment for nearly 2 years. I never thought I could live without a bathtub. Never. More than that, I never thought I could live without a bathtub whilst pregnant. Never ever.
But, life goes on, and here we are: bathtub-less, pregnant, and doing okay.

A friend invited me over to have a bath at her house one day, while she minded the kids. She has one of those jacuzzi jet baths that you just melt down into. Besides that, she set out all these wonderful extras for me to enjoy; veggies and dip, a wine glass full of grape juice with blueberries floating at the top, sweet smelling bath salts, and magazines to read... I was in heaven! It was possibly the sweetest thing ever!

Oh how I miss taking baths! My favorite thing about taking baths while pregnant was watching the baby move around, as my belly rose up out of the water like a giant mountain. It was always a special way for me to connect with my baby--- a quiet moment for me to stop, relax, and feel the gentle, subtle movements of my baby, after a busy day. I miss that so much.

I've been getting over to the public pool as often as I can lately to swim. The weightlessness and cool water feels really good on my big, tired body. Today as I was swimming laps I could feel her kicking and moving. I stopped and laid back at the edge, and watched as my belly rose out of the water like a giant mountain. I saw a big baby part move across my belly, which made me laugh out loud. She seemed to say to me, "Hi Mom, I am coming soon. Don't worry about a thing, because soon you'll have me to hold."

It was a good swim.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Preparing to vent.

I feel like this whole pregnancy I've been preparing for whatever comes ahead, weather it means packing up and moving right before the baby comes, packing up and moving right after the baby comes, or staying here a little longer...I feel like I've been really trying to mentally prepare for anything that could happen. But, It hasn't been very easy, and some days I am so over it!
The thing that stresses me out the most is the uncertainty of it all. We have no idea where Micah will land a job, or when it will start, or when we'll have to move, or where. (I know my friends get to hear this from me all the time, so you can skip this whole blog post if you want:)
So, I've been trying to focus more on preparing for the birth. I get these moments of excitement where I just can't wait for the baby to come, and want to speed up the whole process. I start organizing, and nesting, and talking with the boys about their new sibling--then next thing I know, I have a moment of fear, when I remember that we might be moving any week now, just as the baby could be coming any week now. Or worse yet, Micah will be gone at an interview when the baby comes!
These two things just don't go together very well.

Looking back in my personal journals really helps, because I am able to read about times past where I have felt really desperate, yet everything worked out for our good. It seems that I know deep down that everything will work out for our good, but I just can't grasp it some days. I guess today is one of those days.

Yesterday we went in for my 35 wk pre-natal appointment with our midwife. I was feeling extremely optimistic, and bubbly. I kept saying, "This baby could come any time soon now, eh?? I can't believe we've come this far, we're on the homestretch! I am so ready! Wooo-hoooooo!"
Then we checked the babies positioning and found that baby decided to go breech (flipped upside down, so it's feet are downward)! I know that vaginal breech births are possible, and within the range of normal, and I can still deliver a breech baby...I know, I know, I know....but seriously, do I need one more thing to think about?

I'm not sure if I feel any better writing this all down--but here it is anyways.
Sometimes, among all this preparing, I need to stop and vent.

Things I am doing today to feel better:

Remembering that if everything came easy, there wouldn't be any room for growth.
Thinking happy, positive, turning-baby thoughts.
Eating all the spinach from the garden.
Getting rid of stuff and taking it to D.I.
Making kites with the boys, and flying them.
Feeling happy that I am surrounded by good, positive friends and husband support.
Reading my scriptures, and talking with my Father in heaven.
Finishing a baby carrier for a dear friend who is about to pop.
Eating semi-sweet chocolate baking chips straight out of the bag.
Remembering that I am so blessed with a wonderful family, and we'll be okay.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Mouse Saga Ends

3 months ago, 2 female mice were purchased for a birthday surprise. One of them got sick, so we asked the pet store owner if we could feed it to a snake. After watching a large snake devour our pet mouse, we took another female mouse home, who turned out to be a male. They mated. Several weeks later we had 14 babies on our hands. The night before she gave birth, we donated our male mouse to someone else's pet snake, so they couldn't mate again. The babies were adorable, and we watched them eat and grow, until they weaned from their Mama. However, back to the pet store, Zadok sold the 12 remaining baby mice (after one was eaten by his mother, and the other drowned in the water dish) for a whopping $3, which he proudly saved in his money bank. Now down to one, pet, female, ex-Mama mouse, I posted her on Freecycle, and a teenage girl came and picked her up a few days ago because she longed for a pet mouse again. (because her last one escaped and starved to death.) And that's the end of the mouse saga. Why, you ask, did we go through all of this mouse drama?? I don't know man, I don't know. But I do know that we are very happy now with our one goldfish and ant farm.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mei-tai Walks with Papa

When our 4 yr old was just 2 years old, and we were living up in Idaho, we had a real hard time getting him to sleep at night. We tried reading books, we tried singing songs, we tried watching a boring movie, we tried turning the lights off and telling stories, and yet still, his eyes were wired open til way past all our bedtimes!

Looking for a gentle solution, that's when Micah decided to start the "Mei-tai walks," which quickly became a special tradition for months to come.

Every evening, at about 8'oclock, Micah would tie our toddler into his Mei-tai. It became a nightly routine, as Micah put on his heavy gloves and hat, zipped up his jacket, and covered up the little one with warm blankets.
Even on the coldest, Wintry nights, with snow falling down, and breaths full of steam, Micah would slowly walk around the block, singing folk songs, and holding Zadok tightly until he fell asleep.

(getting ready for a bedtime walk)

I remember one night Micah lumbered in from a particularly long walk. Zadok was fast asleep, all cozy and warm in his Mei-tai and blankets. But Micah, he was covered in snow, his beard was frozen stiff, and his eyes just looked so red and tired.
However, there was this immense look of love and concern in his eyes, too.
He would then untie Zadok, place him on the bed, and never leave his side until he knew he was fast asleep.

Last week as I was reading this old memory to Zadok from my personal journal, he had the cutest and goofiest look on his face. I could tell that he really liked this special memory of him and his papa. Later on, when Micah came home from work, he asked, "Can we do a Mei Tai walk tonight?"
I watched as they walked off down the street, Zadok snuggling closely into his Papa, just like they used to. It was very sweet.

I am so grateful for a Father that takes time for his kids, even when it's not always convenient. His boys always come first, and I can see that same love and concern for him, reciprocating in their eyes.

Happy Fathers Day to a papa that cares.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happily Weaned (my little Odin)

We haven't nursed in over a week now. It's been pretty sporadic for the past couple months, and now I think it might be over. I decided that throughout this pregnancy I would practice the "don't offer, don't refuse" principle of gently weaning, which would allow my toddler to decide when he was ready, emotionally. However, I think it turned into more of a "don't offer, lets find something funner to do, keep him extremely busy, please take this cookie instead" principle of distraction. I admit nursing during pregnancy isn't ideal for me. Painful breasts, barely any milk, that feeling of extreme irritation when someone is in your bubble--I've experienced all that and more these past months, and have actually been eagerly anticipating this moment. This is our conversation this week:

Mom: Odin, would you like some "milkies?"

Odin: No.
Mom: Why not?
Odin: All gone.
Mom: So there's no milkies in there?
Odin: No milkies.
Mom: What about when the baby comes? Then will you have more milkies?
Odin: No! Odin big!

And that was that. There was a time last week when we we were nursing one of our last nursings (i didn't know would be), and I felt that hormonal rush of oxytocin, once again. It was that strong nurturing hormone you feel when your baby is at the breast. I hadn't felt that for a long time, especially as I've been pregnant. It came so suddenly, and so powerfully, that tears filled my eyes. I looked down at my big boy and just adored his little face all over again, trying to imagine what it was like when he was just a baby, nursing quietly at my breast.
That time goes by too fast, as everyone says. It really has.

One of my favorite paragraphs from the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, about a weaning toddler, is this:
"While many people see weaning as the end of something--a taking away or deprivation-it's really a positive thing, a beginning, a wider experience. It's the broadening of the child's horizons, an expansion of his universe. It's moving slowly ahead one careful step at a time. It's full of exciting but sometimes frightening new experiences. It's another step in growing up."

So run my little boy--go explore the world, and Mom will still be right there with you, just like from the very beginning.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pregnant Friends

I feel super lucky to be pregnant at the same time as these lovely ladies, whom I call good friends. It's nice to be able to share similar values and ideals, as we all head towards the ultimate goal of having a natural, empowering, and beautiful childbirth.
It's also exciting to say, that we are all 3, using the same homebirth midwife!

However, it is also nice to be able to vent on a rough pregnant day, and know that they totally understand. This pregnancy hasn't been easy for me, I admit. For whatever reasons, I've experienced more aches and pains, and rising and falling hormones, than ever before. Some days I am a terrible mess and wonder if I'll ever have kids again. (which is what I truly want) With Ruby on her 5th baby, and Arianne on her 4th baby, I know it is possible to endure to the end, and be blessed by beautiful children. Thanks guys for your wonderful examples in my life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Box-cars and Frogs

Our 4 yr old saw this box-car in a book and wanted to make it really badly. So we did, about 8 months ago, and he had a lot of fun with it. Then it got lost in the shuffle, broken down, and eventually thrown away. Now just this week, that same book emerged again out of the book shelf and his eyes beamed with excitement. "Mom, can we make this car?" His enthusiasm seemed to explode once more, as we found all the parts we needed for his car. Glue, paper, a cardboard box Micah brought home, paper plates, markers, muffin holder thingies, etc... His masterpiece was finished in several minutes, and since then he's been taking us on magical, driving adventures (mostly thru Zions National Park).

I love how excited he gets when he wants to do something that is his own idea. I admit I'm not one to wake up, blooming with crafty, creative ideas for the day. I find my inspiration comes in waves, and is usually being led by whatever we're doing that day.
I mostly love to be outside with the boys, exploring the world around us.

Right now it is frog season, which means all the local froggies are mating and laying their eggs. We have a special place nearby, where we love to go, to follow the life-cycle of the frogs. This past week we went and found the mating frogs, along with their eggs. The polliwogs are very tiny and fragile right now, so we will go back next week and see how they've grown.

Our kids are learning that the best way to learn about animals is to watch them. Micah spends a considerable amount of time teaching the kids to quietly observe nature around us, to respect all living things, and to walk quietly on the Earth, along with the animals. (He is strongly against going anywhere that allows recreational vehicles, and loud motorbikes, which tread roughly and carelessly across our Mother, and scare away the animals. So, we stick to quieter places.)
It is fun to watch him and the boys track deers, stalk up on birds, and catch lizards, as they maneuver softly and quietly through the woods. One of my favorite things is hearing our kids talk excitedly about what they saw, what they found, and how neat it all is.
My kids are happy with boxes and frogs, and we are learning together.

I took these photos at Zions several weeks ago, but that's not where we go locally to watch our frogs. It's just 20 minutes down the road at Kolob.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grandmas make the world a happier place!

We've had a live-in Grandma these past 2 weeks and it has been absolutely heavenly. I would like to rent her for the next couple months, but I'm afraid she has to go home sometime.... I love having someone here with me every day! She is witty and fun, and makes us laugh constantly! She has eased my burdens significantly, by busying herself with house chores, laundry, and most importantly, some really fun play days with our boys!! But also, we hope it was a nice vacation for her, as she got to relax and see some cool stuff! We love Grandma Sandy, and am so grateful that she came to stay with us!
Here's a few pictures from our adventures:

We went to Cedar Breaks and there was June. Snowball fights and a picnic!

We've been spending a lot of time in the backyard, having water gun fights, sprinkler runs, and.. picnics!

And a visit isn't complete without heading down to Zions National Park! It was beautiful day and hot enough to soak in the river.

What a wonderful 2 weeks it has been! Please come back soon. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Short-term Snake

Micah brought home a snake he found near work. It lived at our house for 3 days. The boys loved it. They held it. They watched it. They learned about it. They even tried to feed our pet mouse to it, but it was too afraid to eat. Then they let it go.

I didn't touch it, or go near it. I shuddered when I walked past it. When did I become such a wussy?