Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homebirths in Virginia

It's been quite a while, friends. I hope you all are doing well...

No, I am not pregnant. Let me just say that up front.

I am however interested in learning what my options are in the Central Virginia area if I was in fact to have another homebirth. I want to make sure that if I get pregnant, I've done my research ahead of time!

We are in the Charlottesville area, so if anyone knows if what the rules are like for Virginia and homebirths, I would love to know, especially about midwives and VBAC's.

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Mother's Guilt

I think one of the worst things a mother faces is a sense of guilt about how she parents. I am constantly questioning everything I do.

Did I nurse them long enough, or too long?
Should I have started them on solids earlier, or later?
Did I hold them too much, or not enough?
Did I make them grow up too fast, or did I keep them babies for too long?
Should I have used a pacifier, or not?
Should I have let them sleep with me, or let them sleep in a crib?
Should I let them watch television or should I wait until they are 2?

There were a lot of things that I did with Samuel that I now would not do with Joseph. Was I wrong in doing them, or not doing them before? I have to come to terms with the fact that no, I was not wrong. I did the best I could with what I was given. Yes, I do a lot of things differently now, but it's only because this is a second child and not the first. I've got a whole other child's experiences under my belt and this time around has shown itself to be a completely different experience anyways.

What worked with Samuel, does not work with Joseph.
What works with Joseph would not have worked with Samuel.

I see and hear about other mother's doing this that or the other with their children and if I'm not doing them I wonder if I should. I wonder if what I'm doing is helping or hurting their future.

Bottom line, it has to stop.

What I am doing right, and what is the absolute most important thing I could ever do for my children or anyone else in this world is that I am teaching them about who Jesus Christ is and what He did for us. When the world ends, nothing else matters.

Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. Philippians 4:6
I want to challenge us as mother's to decide what matter's most to us, and pursue it. Leave behind the guilt of not doing it all, and cling to what is good.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
I am in the stages of starting another blog wifestry.blogspot.com This will be my first post over there once I get it going. I would love for you to come visit me over there as I being to look into what it means to be a woman, wife and a mother God's way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Knowing Is Half the Battle

It's been an amazing experience having 2 little boys under 2. What a joy it is to be a mother. I am so grateful to have these two children. I would love to say that the past 3 months have been a piece of cake, but we all know that's not the truth. Having kids is not easy, but it's always a blessing. What has made these last 3 months difficult has nothing to do with the boys. They have both been so easy to love and take care of. It's been an issue of mine that has caused them to be less than ideal.

Something I wish I would have learned before I gave birth...DON'T PUSH unless your body is telling you to do so!!!

I have anal fissures, and let me tell you friends, they are practically the worst pain I have ever felt. I would give birth in a second if it meant that I didn't have to experience these any longer. I am convinced they are there because I pushed when I should not have. Once I hit 10 cm dilated, I was told I could start pushing. I did not feel the need to whatsoever but I did anyways. I was having very strong contractions but pushing did not come natural to me whatsoever! I continued to push. I knew the longer this baby was in me, the more of a chance he had of going into stress, which made me stress, so I pushed even harder. I pushed for over 2 hours. He was not ready to come out yet. I was forcing something that was not ready. And, now I have some SERIOUS pain to show for it.

They say anal fissures can take up to several weeks to heal, but some never do. I've reached the point where they feel like they are almost totally healed and then the next day, no way. I've gotta face reality soon and go to the doctor!

I had told Penny, my midwife, that pushing was my biggest fear. I did not want to blow the baby out. I wanted to take things nice and slow and prevent any tearing if possible. She totally understood. But, then it seemed like once I heard the word "push" I freaked out. My upbeat attitude about it all went downhill fast. I felt like it was my time to shine, and I was failing miserably with each push that did not produce any visible results.

The half hearted pushes lasted way longer than I had imagined. I was torn between getting this baby out so that he did not have to endure life in the birthing canal for so long, and letting things take their own course as slow as that might have been. So, I pushed, but I never felt like I was pushing 'with all my might.' I was holding back, but I couldn't explain why.

Days after the birth I checked on another homebirther to see how her delivery went. Susana, over at Spirit-Led Birth had an amazing birth. She wrote about her thoughts on pushing here. I was shocked to hear about her lack of pushing. I was so envious of this concept.

I know it was nothing that anyone in the room said or did that made me feel like I had to get this baby out, or else, it was a self induced burden I was laying on myself.

Lessons learned, I suppose. I will sure know better next time. My advice for whatever it's worth friends, if you aren't ready to push, don't! It's not ready to happen quite yet, and when it's suppose to happen, they say you can't do anything to stop it, your body just does it! Hopefully next time, that will be my experience!

As my husband says "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

6 Weeks Post-Partum

It's been 6 weeks since Joseph's arrival. It sure has flown.

Not once in the last 6 weeks have I regretted attempting a VBAC, or having a homebirth. I would do it again in a heartbeat if that is where the Lord leads us next time around... if there is a next time around, and hopefully there is! (I can't imagine this being our last child. I will be totally at peace if the Lord doesn't choose to bless us with another kid, but I just don't see that as being his will.)

I knew of all of the risks in attempting a VBAC and especially a homebirth, but I was willing to take them. Especially knowing that the Lord was the one to lead us to make this decision, not us trying to convince the Lord that this is what 'we wanted.' It was such an amazing experience knowing that we were in the Lord's will. I seriously feared the outcome if we were to disobey the Lord and have Joseph in a hospital. I felt very strongly that would have been more 'risky' than having Joseph at home.

Not once the entire day I was laboring did any one of us involved, Andy, the birthing assistances, or I question whether or not things were going to go smoothly. Penny, our midwife, said she had always felt such a huge sense of peace about our birth since the moment she met us and started caring for Joseph and me. It was such a good feeling knowing she felt the Lord's hand on us as well. I know she doesn't feel that way with every birth she assists.

Having Andy there for Joseph's birth was so special. Looking back on it, I just still can't believe Samuel was 20 weeks old before they even laid eyes on one another. Seeing Andy with Joseph is wonderful. He is such a terrific dad and husband. This birth very much in a way a healing experience from Samuel's birth and infancy. There were so many things we wished would have been different. Joseph's birth has healed those wounds and has allowed both of us a chance to learn and move on from those experiences.

Having a 19 month old and a brand new baby would seem like it would be quite a difficult situation. I would have imagined it to be exactly that. But, I keep forgetting that when Samuel was born I had about 3 weeks of help and then I was on my own. Now, I've got Andy here, which makes life so much easier. He has displayed a level of selflessness I could only dream of possesing one day.

We feel blessed beyond words to have these two boys to raise up in the Lord. It's a huge responsibility and we are not taking it lightly.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Looking back on the past 4 months it's crazy to think of the transition of thought that has gone on. I would have never imagined I would be here, having experienced a homebirth, having obtained all of the knowledge of the truth about birth, it's risks, it's effects on mother and child, the truth about hospitals, water births (which was definitely the way to go) and trusting the Lord to truly lead us in all that we do. It has been a challenging journey. We have both grown so much. And, I also believe this journey has allowed others the opportunity to see God work.

I knew this journey was going to be worth documenting, no matter what the outcome, and it was. I knew the Lord placed the desire on my heart to write my experiences down through this blog for not only my benefit, but for many others as well. I know who some of those people are, but most I do not. I am convinced that the Lord was able to touch many women in a way that they needed to be touched. Thank you to all of the other women who are willing to open themselves up, share their hearts only to allow others to be encouraged by their words. I grew so much in this journey through other women's blogs. (It's a strange concept to imagine, but in this day and age, the internet is an amazing tool to link like minded people together and give them a way to encourage one another. Something that could not be done years ago.)

Thank you to all of you who have given us advice, encouragement, but especially those that have prayed for us. Your prayers did not go unanswered. Please continue to pray for us as we now face the challenge of raising these boys to love the Lord and want to serve Him with their lives. It's not going to be easy.
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
For now, this blog has served it's purpose and I no longer find any need to post here. But, if I come across something that I know would benefit others, I will pass along the information. I pray each and every one of you who joined me in this journey were blessed, and would continue your pursuit in finding what it is you feel the Lord is calling you to do, not only in regards to your birthing options, but how you choose to raise your children, or how you will just simply honor Him with your life.

Thanks again for walking along side me on this journey.

God bless,


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Joseph's Birth Story

Andy woke me up at 6:30 AM and I rolled out of bed into the living room to spend some time reading my Bible. I had a scowl on my face and he said I looked like a high schooler being forced to wake up early on the weekend because they were staying at their grandparent’s house. He made a comment in an old lady voice “It’s just not right to sleep the day away. It’s good to wake up at a decent hour and start getting things done.”

That morning I had a dentist appointment at 9 AM and I had to drop Samuel off at the Younce’s so they could watch him while I went. I had to be there at 8:45 AM since it was my first time at this dentist, so I had to leave the house at 7:50 AM. In our typical getting ready fashion, Samuel and I were getting out of the shower around 7:30 AM. I was brushing my teeth at the sink with my red bathrobe on and Samuel was sitting on the floor next to me applying lotion on him. And then I felt like what seemed the loss of my bladder muscles. I thought I had peed. I checked the floor and there was a spot about the size of a lemon. I knelt down to smell it to verify if it was in fact urine. Nope, sure wasn’t. It wasn’t anything other than my water breaking! It just wasn’t what I had imagined. It was so uneventful.

How could this be?! It’s FEBRUARY. I can hardly spell that month. Joseph was supposed to be born in M-A-R-C-H. I had at least 3 more weeks of agonizing “when are you due again’s?” And “hasn’t that baby come already?”

It took me a few minutes to accept this fact. Once it finally set in, I ran to the phone to call Andy. He was just driving out of the driveway and saw me in the window. He waved as he continued driving, thinking it was just the typical ‘Samuel got sad to see him go, so we were waving goodbye to Daddy as he drove away to calm his fears that yes, in fact, Daddy, was coming back, just like he always does.’ But, I waved the phone in the air and he stopped. I could see his face as I told him I was ‘99% sure my water had just broken.’ He replied with a trembling voice, “Okay, what do I do?” I told him to head to work and get some stuff done. I hadn’t even started contracting yet, so there was no reason for him to stick around if the action wasn’t going to be starting for awhile. He very hesitantly left for work and I proceeded to call Penny to give her a heads up. I left a message on her phone and then headed to do some laundry.

I called her back in a few minutes to see if she got the message and she had. Her daughter, Keely, picked up the phone and said that everyone had already been called, her mom was in the shower, and she would be here soon. Whoah. I didn’t know a simple trickle of water would create such uproar. But, it sure did.

I knew then that I would not be stepping foot into my dentist’s office that morning, much less stepping foot anywhere outside of my home. I called to cancel. They wondered when I wanted to reschedule my appointment for and I told them I was in labor and I wasn’t quite sure when I’d get around to getting my teeth cleaned.
I then called the Younce’s. They were going to be watching Samuel while I went to the dentist. Dan answered and was excited that it seemed like today would be the day. I’m sure he was a little sad though we wouldn’t be coming over. They love their Samuel!
I took some work I had been doing for the honey shop downstairs just to get it out of our home. I knew I wasn’t going to be working on it that day, or the next for that matter. Lanny and Donovan, the beekeepers, were downstairs and were in shock when I told them the news. You could see the excitement on their faces. Today was the day. I chatted with them in the honey shop for awhile while Samuel ran around playing with bouncy balls and eating honey sticks. They told me if I needed anything to let them know. They said if they heard a lot of noise coming from our apartment they wouldn’t quite know how to respond. I promised them they would. I heard later that they both decided to leave work late afternoon when things were getting pretty intense up here. They both wished they could have helped out in some way and hated to hear me in pain. Their only option they felt like was leaving us with their phone numbers and calling it a day!

My contractions started at 9:00ish. And they came pretty fast and furious. It took me a few to admit that this was it. I finally called Andy and he started his trip home. He had to stop at Wal-Mart though on his way, because I wanted a few more cassette tapes for our video camera and some fruit to snack on during delivery. He did just that.

Penny arrived at 9:45 and Andy quickly followed. She checked our heart rates and blood pressure and all was well. Penny commented on the strength of my contractions and said that I was progressing quite quickly. She didn’t think it was going to be a very long day.

Andy got the pool in the living room. It had been blown up in our back room for the past few days. It was just the Saturday prior to Joseph’s birth that Andy blew it up. I was at an appointment at Penny’s and he called while I was there. “Hey, what are you doing?” “I’m at Penny’s, honey.” “Oh, okay. Well, I got the pool blown up!” “Great job, honey, thanks!” He knew I was at Penny’s. I told him I would call him when I was leaving to head home. I think he was just so excited to let me know it’s up and ready he couldn’t wait another minute to share the news. The pool went right in the middle of our living room floor. It was a perfect spot. Right next to the stereo and in the room I felt most ‘at home.’

Slowly the assistants started to trickle in as things were picking up. I was spending most of my time in the living room on my knees leaning over the couch with Andy and Samuel next to me for support. They were incredible encouragers! Right at 11, I decided to have Penny check to see how I was progressing. I had yet to be checked this pregnancy. So, I was quite interested to see how far I had come. I was 5 cm. and +1 station. Good enough for me.

Soon after, it seemed as though the pool was about ready. Andy took one last picture of me before I went to change into clothes for the pool. It wasn’t until after Samuel was able to get a swim in the pool. He loved it. He cried so hard when we finally took him out and dried him off. He thought it was being filled up for him. They filled it up more, but it was too cold for me. The hot water heater needed more time to heat up the rest of the water. They started boiling water on the stove in big pots to pour into the pool. After what seemed like forever, I was able to get in. Ahh, the contractions in the pool were immediately more manageable. I felt great. I could move around at my leisure with ease, or I could just sit there.

It’s the time between 12-5 where it’s all a blur. It seemed to have flown. I continued to labor in the pool and just hang out. I was enjoying the pool so much. I loved having everyone around for company and loved seeing Samuel continuing on with his daily routines. During his lunch they brought his high chair into the living room so he could spend time with us as he ate and watch what was going on. He seemed to not be phased at all by the commotion. I had some mangoes and some cashews and chocolate covered raisins to keep me going. They really hit the spot and gave me enough energy to keep me going.

Things were progressing great and I couldn’t have felt better about how things were going. I told them that I thought it was going to be much harder than this! At 5, Penny was confident I was fully dilated and wanted to check. Sure enough I was. She said I could start pushing if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel ready. I wasn’t quite sure I was ready for what was to come, but I started out on the journey.

From 5 o’clock on, I continued to push when I felt comfortable. I was still in the pool and most of the time was on my knees and leaning over the side into Andy’s arms. I felt so comfortable in his arms. As long as his breath didn’t smell like an ‘everything’ bagel with cream cheese, I let him close to me! I was super sensitive to smells at this point and after I turned down the bagel he asked me if he could have it. I said he could. Big mistake on my part. He smelled horrible and I made him go brush his teeth. But, then of course I wanted him back by the next contraction. Poor guy!

Andy took it all in stride and was such a servant the entire day. Never once did I felt neglected or left to do it all on my own. It was a team effort and he was sticking by my side every single contraction. His prayers and words of encouragement were more than I could have asked for.

I got pretty discouraged a few contractions that I didn’t have the strength to get this baby out and I was met with plenty of encouragement that yes, I could do this. It was just a matter of time until he would be born. I felt like they had been saying that for hours. I was getting so tired pushing and I wanted to know if I was making any progress. They all kept assuring me that I was, and that was all I needed to continue.

As soon as Joseph’s head started to crown, it was announced that he had dark hair. That was the icing on the cake for me! I had prayed for him to have a head of dark hair, and he did. I now had the added strength to help this little guy enter the world. That was my nugget from the Lord.

Penny recommended that I try pushing towards her and Andy during each contraction instead of pulling back. It was exactly what was needed. I felt completely different during each push and each push was getting me farther than the last. I pushed way more times than I ever thought I would have to, so the sheer number of pushes was getting discouraging, but I knew it was going to be over soon. The Lord had me in the palm of his hands and he was not going to let me go.

Even after Joseph’s head was born it was a few more contractions for his shoulders and body to emerge into the water. His shoulders came out completely straight. He didn’t turn an inch. No wonder why it was taking so long. His head was face down and his shoulders were parallel to the floor. Ouch.

At 7:38 PM, our blessing was born. They brought him up to my chest and he was a little blue and limp. I instinctively started rubbing him like crazy on his back to help him get some color. He had the biggest cone head. It was precious. Especially since it was covered with practically black hair! Not much of it, but it was dark, and it was perfect. He immediately started spitting out some gunk from his lungs. His first cry was so precious. So weak, but so strong! We thanked the Lord for this amazing gift we had just received.

Penny and her assistants, Felicia, Paula and Julie were checking on him while he was on my chest and making sure he was doing okay. He sure was. He was changing color quickly and looked great. We got a blanket and a hat on him and him and I just sat in the water while they continued to monitor him. We got some family shots of the four of us then. Samuel had been in the other room playing, but right when he was born he came in to see his new brother. He tried to climb right in the pool with me. He was not accepting the fact that he could only look at him from the outside. It was approaching Sam’s bedtime, so Julie went and got him ready for bed and by 8 o’clock he was in bed as usual. It was during that time I started to nurse Joseph. He latched on immediately and was sucking strong right off the bat. His eyes were open and he was looking all around, especially at Andy. He wanted to know all about him.

I needed to birth the placenta so Andy took him from my arms and they got Joseph a fresh blanket and hat for outside of the water. I attempted to birth the placenta in the pool but decided to get out and birth it squatting. It came out right away once I did that. I had thought I was going to start contracting and it would come out, but it came out with no contractions. No pain is fine by me.

They checked to see how I looked and Penny decided that it would be best if I got a stitch or two. She was amazed at how little I did tear considering the position I birthed him in. It ended up being a great thing that it took so long to push because it allowed my muscles all that time to stretch. She stitched me up and I went to the bathroom to pee. Then off to the couch to lie down and hold my bundle. They had just weighed and measured him. He weighed 7 pounds 15.6 ounces, was 19 ½ inches long, with a 14 ½ inch head.

They had prepared some chicken tortilla soup and had it waiting. Joseph nursed as I ate. I was in awe. I could not believe what had just happened. I couldn’t believe I was holding Joseph in my arms! He was perfect. The day was amazing. Our God is amazing! We could not stop praising Him for his goodness. I felt so undeserving of such an amazing gift. I am!

As I laid there enjoying this time with Andy and Joseph the girls were scurrying around the house cleaning up, doing laundry, doing dishes, you name it. By the time we were ready to head to bed, the entire house had been cleaned. The pool had been emptied and it sure didn’t look like someone had just given birth 5 feet from where I was laying.

One by one the women left and eventually, it was just us. Joseph was between Andy and I in bed and Samuel was just a few feet away in his crib. It was around 12:30 AM. We had a long day. We were ready to rest and to bask in the newest blessing the Lord had just bestowed upon us: Joseph Andrew Eckert.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Our Blessing Has Arrived

Our second son, Joseph Andrew was born in our home, Wednesday, February 27 at 7:38pm. He weighed 7 lbs 15.6 oz, and was 19 1/2 inches long. Everything went very well and we are all doing excellent. To God be the glory!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Eating During Labor

Until the 1940's, women were actually told to eat and drink as they desired during labor. All of that changed in 1949, when 1 study showed that women who ate during labor had a higher chance of aspiration (food entering the lungs during anesthesia.) Since then, women have often been told that as soon as they feel contractions or think they are in labor, they should stop eating.

There are several reasons why this study, done nearly 60 years ago, should no longer apply to women in labor today:

1. The original study was based on very high amounts of anesthesia, which are no longer used on women during cesarean births.
2. Fasting during labor does not guarantee an empty stomach.
3. The risk of aspiration only occurs with general anesthesia, which is used very rarely for cesareans.
4. Prolonged fasting increases the amount of hydrochloric acid in your stomach which can increase the complications with aspiration.
5. It is not good to base recommendations for practice on one study, especially given that this particular study is extremely outdated.

Arguments made for eating during labor include:

1. Eating small amounts of easily-digested foods during labor can give you the energy you need to keep going.
2. A 1989 National Birth Center study showed that 11,814 women who ate and drank at will during labor did not have a single case of aspiration, even among the 22% of women in the total group who required a cesarean.
3. Sometimes the knowledge that you can't eat during your labor can affect your sense of control. That alone might make you feel like giving up sooner.
4. Often midwives and doulas report that if a mother's labor is not progressing, often eating and drinking during labor helps to get things moving.

Read the rest of this article here.

Risks of Using Pitocin

I have a friend who is sitting in her labor and delivery room as I type this post. Someone just commented on her blog that "no one gets a superwoman prize for enduring more pain, we all come out with a baby." This was in an attempt to make her not feel bad for the chance that she might have to get some Pitocin because she is not contracting enough and her water has already broken.

But knowing full well, she wants to go as natural as possible it irks me that someone would make a comment like that. This woman clearly is not being stubborn and refusing things she 'needs,' she is simply trying to do what is best for her and her baby. Being medicated during labor and delivery is NOT what is best for you and your baby, bottom line! Why do women not know this?

I wish people would realize that woman who want to have a natural childbirth are not trying to gain bragging points. They simply are convicted that it's the best for both them and their baby and they are willing to endure a little more pain to achieve their goal.

Here are some facts about Pitocin.

Risks of using Pitocin

Risks for Mother

  • Mothers using Pitocin frequently report increased pain with contractions. Most mother using Pitocin also use pain medication to handle the increased pain.

  • Pitocin use requires continuous monitoring to detect complications and/or progress which interferes with mobility.

  • Pitocin use requires an IV for administration.

  • Pitocin use can cause long contractions and contractions with double peaks.

  • Pitocin use slightly increases the possibility of a uterine rupture.

  • Pitocin use increases the likelihood of a fetal malpresentation or malposition.

  • Pitocin use is associated with an increased need for cesarean surgery for distocia and fetal distress.

Risks for Baby

  • Pitocin use increases the likelihood of depressed fetal heart rate patterns.

  • Pitocin use increases the chances of Fetal Distress due to decreased oxygen availability.

  • There are increased risks to your baby if you have a cesarean surgery.

You can read the entire article here. I have been reading two books from the author of this article and they are incredible. I highly recommend them to any Christian mom who is interested in birthing naturally.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Party after Party

Two weekends ago we were quite busy celebrating the upcoming arrival of Joseph. My midwife, Penny, threw me a Blessingway at our home and then the next day after church our Sunday school class had a baby shower for us. We had a great time at both, but I especially loved the Blessingway.

I did not have a Blessingway with Samuel because I didn't even know about them. It was wonderful. Now that I know about them, I wish everyone new mom could have one! I had my mom and some close friends and our birth attendants over to our home and we had a time of celebration and prayer for this upcoming birth. It was not a time for them to shower me with gifts, but with love and prayer. It meant more to me than I could have ever imagined. They washed my feet and joined me in celebrating this miracle of life. They each brought verses of inspiration for me to encourage me during this waiting period and throughout the birth. They also each brought one or two plants symbolizing new life and growth of our family. I love plants, so it was quite appropriate. I feel very comforted knowing I have so many friends lifting this pregnancy and birth up to the Lord. I know they make a difference. I wrote out a list of things that I want specific prayer for and they each took a copy of them home so they can continue to be praying. It's only a matter of about 3-4 weeks and then our precious bundle will be in our arms.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More Bible / Scripture Verses for Labor and Delivery

Thanks to A Joyful Birth website, I now have found many more verses that are bringing comfort and will continue to through the delivery. The Bible is filled with all the answers to life we could possibly want, you just have to look a little deeper for some of them!

  • "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever." Ps. 111:10
  • "Wise men store up knowledge" Prov. 10:14a
  • "A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge increases power." Prov. 24:5
  • "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5
  • "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil.4:13
  • "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Is. 40:31
  • "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Josh. 1:9
  • "But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work." 2 Chron. 15:7
  • "The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will exalt him." Ex. 15:2
  • "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." Ps. 28:7
  • "He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power." Is. 40:29
  • "Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh. 8:10b
  • "I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Ps. 121:1-2
  • "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:6
  • "For we walk by faith, not by sight.." 2 Cor. 5:7
  • "Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God." Ps. 22:9-10
  • "'Shall I bring to the point of birth, and not give delivery?' says the Lord." Is. 66:9a
  • "From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you." Ps. 71:6
  • "For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, 'move from here to there', and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you." Matt. 17:20b
  • "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7
  • "In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid." Ps. 56:11a
  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Prov. 3:5-6
  • "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it." Ps. 37:4-5
  • "And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him." 1 John 5:14-15
  • "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28
  • "I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." Ps. 34.4
  • "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Ps. 37:7b
  • "Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." Heb. 4:16
  • "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound judgment." 2 Tim. 1:7
  • "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam though the mountains quake at its swelling pride." Ps. 46:1-3

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Natural Cesarean"

If there was possibly something that could be called a "natural cesarean" it would be this. Check out this story. This seems like a perfect solution to those times when a cesarean is deemed necessary. I don't think I would have had any 'issues' if this is how Samuel's delivery ended up. Hopefully, one day it will be like this for all women who have cesareans.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Confessions of a CF Husband

I have been following this family for about a month now. I was told about them through our friends Patience and Jordan. I've never met this family before, but when another woman is pregnant, no matter if you know her or not, you somehow feel a bond with her immediately. God is simultaneously working a miracle in both of our bodies. That's a hard common denominator to avoid.

This family is facing many difficult situations. The wife has cystic fibrosis and they just had to have an emergency c-section of their 24 week old baby due to the overwhelming complications the pregnancy was causing. Through many many miracles, both of them are living proof of God's amazing power! I am daily reminded of how much he cherishes life when I look at a picture of this little girl. The father and husband has been blogging through this entire journey. Since the birth of their little girl they have had over 450,000 hits on their blog. Each and every one of those hits represent one way in which this family is touching a life.

Please join me in prayer for this family. They love the LORD with everything they have and are praising him through each and every moment. Their faith is so inspiring. I could only pray that I would have as much courage as they have during such a trying time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bible / Scripture Verses for Labor and Delivery

A few months ago I read this list of Scripture verses on a blog from a woman who had a homebirth and I just loved the idea. She wrote them on index cards and read through them during her labor. I am going to be adding to the list as I find other verses that speak to me. I thought I would share this list for those of you who would enjoy them for your birth as well.

Isaiah 40:11
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Psalm 5:3
In the morning, O LORD,
you hear my voice;
in the morning
I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

Phillipians 2:13
For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Proverbs 3:5&6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Hebrews 13:5b-6
God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Psalm 91:2
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Psalm 33:20-22
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us,
O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 139: 13-16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Philippians 4:12-13
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Psalm 124:8
Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 62:1-2
My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress,
I will never be shaken.

Isaiah 40:31
But those who hope 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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Falling Into Place

We had a meeting with our midwife this past Saturday. Things are going very well. Joseph is head down and seems to already be pretty low, yay! He is facing my back, which is the most ideal position. Samuel was never anterior, so we are already ahead of that game.

Penny has been in contact with our local hospital making preparations in case we need to transfer. They have been extremely supportive, which is just incredibly rare for hospitals to support homebirths. The midwife that works with the doctor I saw, before I decided on a homebirth, actually use to have her own homebirth practice! She is super excited that there is a homebirther in the area. Then Penny also talked with the OB manager of the whole maternity ward and she was very supportive as well. She has attended many homebirths and said it was a great way to go. I was just shocked to hear this news. Just another issue taken care of before I even committed it to serious prayer.

Both of these issues have been lingering in my mind as possible hindrances to a positive birth. For one, Samuel, was never in a great position for birth, and I did not have the knowledge myself or the help from doctors to help in turning him. This time, I have the knowledge, but it doesn't seem like I will have to worry about his position. What a blessing.

And, also the transfer issue. I am in no way opposed to having to transfer to the hospital if something were to come up that only could be taken care of there. It was just the idea of being treated poorly by doctors and nurses who do not agree with homebirths and having to deal with their lack of support. Knowing that I'm going into a situation where two of my biggest fears have already been eliminated makes me feel that much more comfortable attempting this homebirth.

I have no idea what the outcome of this will be, but I am continually encouraged by God that he is pleased with this decision. We will continue to seek his will the entire time and pray that we will have the clarity of thought to do what he wants of us. From the beginning, we have never been trying to prove anything to anyone, all we have wanted is to obey God and do what he wants of us. And for right now, attempting a homebirth is what we believe he wants.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Make Room For More

There are a few things that I did with Samuel as an infant, that I am certain I will change while parenting Joseph. One of those is letting him sleep with us more. Samuel slept with me often, but not all the time. Since Andy wasn't there, I felt like it was a good idea. But now that Andy is home, I didn't originally think I would let Joseph sleep with us. After talking with both the Lord and Andy about this, and doing some more research, I have decided that letting Joseph sleep with us is the best for all of us. We've heard the argument about rolling over on him, but that's pretty impossible when he's sleeping in this, which is what we use. It's called a Snuggle Nest, that can be found here. The benefits far outweigh any cons that we might face.

Here is a great article I came across:

Dr. Lamport Commons, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical Center

“We’re very in favor of co-sleeping, because it greatly reduces the stress that infants are exposed to when they sleep along. When a parent is sleeping down the hall and responds slowly or not at all when their baby cries, the baby’s brain releases stress hormones. And, there’s increasing evidence that this changes the physiology of how the baby will handle stress for the rest of his life -- it actually damages the brain.

SIDS Safety

Yes, there’s evidence that SIDS and suffocation can happen during co-sleeping, but there’s a simple remedy -- don’t put the infant unelevated between you. Put him on a hard pillow, raise him up, and you can’t roll onto him. These problems are so, so rare anyways, and tend to happen when a parent is obese or having alcohol problems. And actually, in the case of SIDS, there is in fact research that shows sleeping next to an adult helps babies breathe better. So while the risk of getting rolled onto may be increased, risk of SIDS in fact decreases with co-sleeping.

Stress Reliever
Infants are born helpless, and they’re not able to do anything other than cry for the first three or four months. So, when you’re co-sleeping, you can respond to the crying immediately. And you don’t have to wake up – you can feed and do all sorts of things while you’re half asleep. The parents sleep better and are less stressed, and when parents are less stressed, so is their baby. In most non-modern cultures, people aren’t so stressed out about the whole thing.

Human Nature

Humans evolved like most mammals -- the infants sleep with the parents. We develop such elaborate routines to try and get babies to sleep at night in their own beds. They can go on for hours and hours, and often don’t work -- the babies don’t go to sleep easily, and are much more wakeful than if they were securely next to a parent. And, you see that around age two, when babies are more mobile, there’s something I call the migration back to the parent’s bed. They climb out of their crib by themselves and get in with their parents. And of course, that’s just what they should do!

The Sex Issue

People are worried about the kids viewing sex, but there’s really no evidence that it has any effect on children. We forget that we have a pretty long evolutionary history in which groups often slept together, and children were exposed to sex and any number of other things we now try to protect them from. Honestly, most babies will sleep through it. They’re like cats and dogs – they don’t care. There’s no evidence that if a baby wakes up he’d be disturbed, but most babies won’t even wake up in a place they feel comfortable.

Simple Solution
I don’t know what the disadvantages are! You’ll sleep better, your baby will sleep better, and if you’re less tired, you’re less cranky and are better at interacting with the baby during the day. People complain all the time about how they’re exhausted. And why are they so tired? Because they’re not sleeping with their kids!"

Dr. Michael Lamport Collins, Ph.D. is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Patrice Marie Miller, Ed.D. is a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and a professor in the Department of Psychology at Salem State College.

Monday, January 7, 2008

More Prepartions

Aside from the list of birthing supplies, I need to start getting a list together of all of the other things I'm going to need to have done before Joseph's arrival. Here goes:

Get carseat
Have carseat installed
Figure out where his changing table will go
Make room for his clothes somewhere, either get a new dresser or share Samuel's.
Get infant cloth diapers out and washed
Get infant clothes out and washed
Make his baby quilt

I have some high sewing aspirations as well, but I won't be upset if I don't get to them:
Sew some baby slings to carry him around in
Sew some baby wraps with velcro to keep him wrapped up in in bed.
Figure out how to make some sort of slipper for him.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Preparing for the Birth

Now that the holidays are over, I can fully focus on this birth. Penny gave me a whole list of stuff that would be helpful to have on hand during the delivery and for soon after. I've gotta get cracking on getting this stuff ready.

To Buy List:
Witch hazel - GOT
Hydrogen Peroxide - GOT
Mattress protection - ORDERED
Birthing pool - ORDERED
Water hose
faucet adapter
Waterproof floor protector - GOT
Fish net - GOT
Heating pad - GOT
Pads - GOT
Peri bottle - ORDERED
Peri-cold compresses - ORDERED
Foot printer - ORDERED

Have Handy and Enough Of:
Laundry soap
Trash bags
Small crock pot
Paper towels
Several blankets
Several receiving blankets
Several towels
Several washrags
Baby hats
Large bowl
Sports drinks
Comfort items - cds, candles, etc.
Video camera