Our Family

Our Family

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Baby Chicks

Monday the 23 rd, we got our new baby chicks. The 6 chickens we have from last year are doing well and producing enough eggs for us and to sell a few, but the boys wanted to expand their flock and be able to make some money from selling the eggs. So, we got 20 new baby chicks all hens and no roosters. All of the children were very excited and wanted to hold the chicks. I didn't get very many pictures because the baby was sleeping on my shoulder. So far they have been doing a great job taking care of them.

Our Birth Experience

Isn't that a great picture of Art spending quality time with the baby?

Last week, we were quite spoiled having my parents here to cook and clean and take care of the children. All I did all week was take care of Lily and squeeze in a nap now and then. This week mom and dad are gone and we are trying to get back in a routine ( I do have some wonderful friends who are bringing supper this week which has been a great help.) But I wanted to share a little bit of our birth story for those who might be interested to know how everything went.

On Thursday the 12th I went in for my weekly check-up and was 3 cm and 75% effaced. I had been having some mild cramping in my back off and on for the last couple of days, but nothing to be excited about. On Friday morning I woke up with horrible back pain like nothing I had ever experienced before. It wasn't like labor and is very hard to describe, but it continued on into the day and hung around on Saturday too. We decided to go into the hospital and break my water on Sunday morning. My parents were visiting and could take care of the children while we were at the hospital. I was having irregular contractions but they were not very strong. My doctor broke my water at 9:40 and still I did not start having regular contractions until 1:00 in the afternoon. My nurse was wonderful. She only asked once if I wanted an epidural, she only talked to me between contractions did what she could to make me comfortable (putting the thermostat on 65 degrees, bring extra pillows, etc..) and left us alone as much as possible. We did not have an epidural or any other pain medications. At 4:30 I was 9 1/2 cm and since I was feeling the urge to push we decided to start pushing while the doctor tried to move that last lip of cervix over the baby's head. She wasn't moving down so we rested for a few contractions and started again and at 5:25 pm Lillian Grace was born. She had a very short cord and it was all bunched up on her shoulder which explains why she was slow moving down the birth canal. A few minutes after she was born she was nursing like a pro. The hardest part of my labor was the delivery because for my last 4 children I only had to push 2 or 3 times and they were born. It was frustrating to me to have it take longer. All in all it was a wonderful birth experience.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lillian Grace

Our beautiful daughter, Lillian Grace was born Sunday March 15 at 5:25 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 20 inches long. We came home Monday night and we are both doing well.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Taking a Break

We have been so busy the last week with school, doctor's appointments, and other activities that yesterday was the first day we stayed home in about two weeks ( and actually we would have gone to the library, but Art took the van to work.) It was wonderful to stay home for a change. Being busy can be fun, but everyone needs a break once in awhile. We are 11 days from my due date (not that I am counting) so we are going to be taking a school "break." For the next couple of weeks we will be cutting back a little until after the baby is born and we get on a good schedule. I am planning on the children working on their math and spending a lot of time reading. Chelsea and I have 4 chapters left in the second Lord of the Rings book that we need to get finished. We also may do a few science projects depending on how things are going.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How to Be Successful in Natural Childbirth

In a previous post I wrote about why you would want to give birth to your children naturally. Now I am going to give you some tips on HOW to achieve this goal.

1. First, you need to find a doctor that will support your decision to not be medicated during your delivery. It will be harder for you to get information, ask questions, etc if your doctor is not supportive of your decision.

2. Educate yourself. I cannot stress how important this is. It is not enough to read a book on pregnancy and childbirth. Read several books on Natural Childbirth, watch videos on Natural Childbirth, take a class (not a prepared childbirth class but a Natural Childbirth class there is a difference between the two) talk to people who have been successful. Some great books to read are Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Robert A Bradley and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon.

3. Stay healthy and in good shape during your pregnancy. Exercise, eat properly, and get a good amount of rest to make sure your body is prepared to give birth.

4. Have a well educated, supportive coach who can respond to your needs and when necessary communicate them to the hospital staff.

5. Put your birth plan in writing. It doesn't have to pages and pages long. It can be just a few things that are very important to you that you want the staff to know without having to explain it to everyone that comes in the room.

6. Conquer your fear. Whether it is fear of the unknown (first baby) or fear of the known (more then one baby) fear can be your biggest obstacle. Educating yourself about what is going on inside your body is a great start, but some people may need more than that. Recently I read a great book called Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize that talks about promises that have been made to us in Scripture and how to deal with fear during pregnancy and delivery. When you are nearing the end of Stage 1 in childbirth you will usually get a panicky feeling. Relax and know that feeling comes when you are close to the end. Soon you will be able to push and you will not feel pain any longer. When it is time to push it doesn't hurt anymore.

7. Try out some different relaxation techniques to find out what works best for you and use them. When I was having Chelsea the nurses wanted me to do Lamaze breathing. It made me uncomfortable and it did not relax me. The more you can relax the less amount of pain you will be in, and the faster your labor will go.

8. Remember we are women and were made to have babies. We have done it for centuries with no pain killers and have been very successful. Labor is hard work, but at the end you will have a wonderful reward.

Arkansas Virtual Academy

Online enrollment for the 2009-2010 school year for Arkansas Virtual Academy has begun and will continue through April 15Th. The Virtual Academy is for grades K-8 and uses K-12 curriculum. Students are chosen by a lottery and they take up to 500 students. It is free and everything you need to teach the curriculum in the areas of Language Arts, Math, Science, Art, History, and Music is sent to you including a computer and a printer, and your Internet fees are reimbursed monthly. Check out their website www.k12.com/arva for more information or to enroll. Many states offer a virtual school so if you don't live in Arkansas you might try googling your state and Virtual Academy to find out if your state offers one.

Would I use Arkansas Virtual Academy? No. While it may be a great option for some, it would not be a good fit for us. First of all it is not a Christian Based Curriculum. Second, the majority of the work is done on the computer and I think that it is not good for children to spend that much time on computers. Third, you have to log 30 hours of schoolwork every week. Even if your child finishes a subject or concept in much less time, you still have to log 30 hours every week.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Natural Childbirth?

You spend 9 months eating all the right foods, taking your vitamins, getting exercise, and listening to what the doctors tell you in order to give your child the best start in life that you possibly can. Then, in the last few hours of your pregnancy, you make a decision to have an epidural or pain killers that can have severe consequences for you and your baby.

Today it has become very common to have an epidural, IV drugs, or a shot of Demerol or Nubane during labor. It is so common that people think you are crazy when you tell them you want natural childbirth. Why would you want to do that when you can have a "pain free" labor and delivery?

Now, I am not an expert, but I have given birth 5 times and hopefully will be doing so again in the next couple of weeks. 2 of my deliveries were with epidurals. This last baby will be a natural childbirth. I wish that I had known more about the decision I was making to have an epidural and that is why I am writing this.

First of all, anything (good or bad) that goes into your system also goes into the babies.' When you take Tylenol when your pregnant your baby is taking it too. That fact does not change just because you are in labor. The baby is still inside of you. This is something that should always be considered and pain medication only given when the benefits outweigh the risks such as in a necessary emergency C-section.

I had my first epidural for my second child when I was about 6 cm dilated. The nurse had come into the room and asked me for the 3rd time if I needed an epidural and that once I hit 7 cm it would be too late. I panicked and said yes I wanted one. No one ever told me that it hurts to get an epidural (a lot.) It is also very hard to sit up on the edge of a bed bent over when you are 9 months pregnant and in the middle of a contraction. Moving can be very dangerous because the needle has to go in the right spot. Immediately following the procedure my blood pressure rapidly dropped and I had to be put in oxygen. 20 minutes later I delivered. Getting out of bed for the first time was horribly painful. I couldn't stand up straight or bend over for several weeks.

I was very nervous when I went in to have Christian (baby number 5) I had had a hard pregnancy and was worried about my labor. My friends and family all told me not to be a martyr if I needed the epidural I should have it. When I was 5 cm the nurse came and checked me, asked me to rate my pain and told me that I had a very long way to go. Once again I panicked and on came the needles for the epidural. A few minutes later my blood pressure dropped, I had to be put in oxygen, and the baby's heart rate fell to a dangerously low rate. Alarms rang, the nurses came in and moved me from side to side in the bed trying to get his heart rate back up. I really believed that I was going to go for a C-section but slowly his rate came back up. 20 minutes later I delivered. After getting to hold him for a few minutes, I was told his breathing wasn't as good as it should be (even though they had already had to suction out his lungs) and he would need to go to the nursery to observe him. The nurse brought him over to me and told me to kiss my baby good-bye and he would be back later. Luckily he did OK and after a couple of hours was brought back to my room. I had a hard recovery that included pain in my back for more than 6 weeks and severe head-aches. All of these things had been caused by the epidural and could have been avoided.

I have never had any other pain killers during my labors because I have relatively short labors and these kinds of drugs depress breathing in the baby. I did have a shot of Nubane when I had my appendix out, but all it did was put the baby to sleep and it didn't touch the pain. What I have heard about these medications in labor is that it makes you nauseous (who wants to be throwing up when trying to push) and it doesn't stop the pain it just makes you not care about being in pain. These medications are relaxers which may relax the uterus and make your labor last longer. In addition to causing depressed breathing, babies born to medicated mothers have lower Apgar scores and very often have a problem with their sucking reflex making it difficult for them to nurse. They are also a lot less alert then a natural birth baby and traces of the drug has been found in their system for several days after delivery.

In the next couple of days I will be posting about Natural Childbirth and some things you can do to prepare for it. Two of the main reasons people are unsuccessful are fear and lack of preparation. If you are prepared there is no reason why you can't give your baby the best possible start in this world and make your birth experience a joyful one.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pretend Pets at 4-H

At the boys 4-H meeting on Thursday, the topic was pet care. The children all talked about what kinds of pets they had and the different things they had to do to take care of those pets. After that, they were given play dough and asked to make a real or imaginary pet. After sculpting their pets they filled out a short form telling about their pet.

Alex's Pet: Snowman elephant named Joe who lives in the ground and eats pizza, marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Nick's pet: Sharkblaster who lives in a cave, eats guns, swims, and has whales for enemies.

Chelsea made a duck named Quakers.

Christian and Anthony had a great time playing with the play dough.

Happy Birthday Chelsea!

Chelsea turned 12 on Friday! I can't believe she is 12 already(now a pre-teen so she says.) I am a bad mom for not posting this on her actual birthday, but I find it very hard to get to the computer on the week-ends, and Friday is an especially busy day. For her birthday dinner she chose Simple Simon's so we went there for pizza and video games. My mom and dad were able to come and celebrate with us. The children had a great time and enjoyed eating pizza out again, and of course playing games.