Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pinterest Project: Homemade Fruit Snacks Tutorial

I have a friend who recently let me taste some of her homemade fruit snacks. I couldn't believe how tasty they were. When I asked for the recipe, she told me to look on her food board on Pinterest.

The Pinterest inspiration
So, I checked out the recipe and decided to try it for myself. Turns out, they are really easy to make. I mean, there are only three ingredients, and they take ten minutes from start to finish!

Your three ingredients are gelatin, honey, and lemon juice. In addition, you need some flexible silicone molds. These molds are usually used for ice cubes or candy making. I found mine in the party aisle at Walmart for fifty cents each.

To start, you combine 3 tablespoons of gelatin, 3 tablespoons of honey, and 1/3 cup of lemon juice in a sauce pan and stir it regularly over low heat. You will know when it's done when it goes from being thick and chunky to smooth and runny.

Transfer the heated mix to a bowl with a pouring spout. I used a glass measuring cup.

Then you have to carefully fill the silicone molds. I avoided filling them all the way to the top because it's such a pain to fix an accidental overflow. To give you an idea how far the mix will go, I filled all three of my molds with this one batch.

Before you do anything else, I recommend immediately putting your saucepan, whisk, and measuring cup in the sink to soak so that the gelatin doesn't harden. Soaking breaks up the sticky mix so that clean up is a lot easier.

Your molds then need to sit in your freezer for five to ten minutes for hardening.

When they come out of the freezer, the fruit snacks can be pushed and peeled out of the molds. Like jello, they will be solid at room temperature after coming out of the cold.

I had so much fun making the lemon fruit snacks, I decided to experiment with other flavors. For lime fruit snacks, I substituted the lemon juice with lime juice. For orange fruit snacks, I used orange juice, but found that the orange flavor was a little weak. I'm going to have to come up with a way to get a more concentrated orange flavor. For strawberry, raspberry, and mango fruit snacks, I pureed frozen fruit in a blender so that it amounted to about 1/3 cup. I found that the mix was a little too thick with the pureed fruits, so I added a little lemon juice to thin it out, and that worked great.

I think my favorite flavor is the raspberry because it even has the little raspberry seeds trapped in the fruit snack. My husband's favorite flavor is the mango, by far.

I'm trying to think of other flavors to try. Banana? That doesn't really sound good. Watermelon? I think the flavor would be really weak, like the orange. Suggestions?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Life Lessons from a Cricket

"...je suis tout petit et tres noir..."
It's September, and for the first time in my life ever, I'm not in school! Ever since I entered preschool at three years of age, September has been "back to school" month. Even after college, I immediately assumed  a substitute teaching role for a woman on maternity leave. The following year, I had my own third grade classroom. I'm so used to the hustle and bustle of the classroom where we accomplish four or five curricular subjects every day in addition to "specials" like physical education, music, or art class. This September is very different.

Life with a newborn is like living in slow motion for me. I feel really accomplished if I get to take a shower (double points if it happens in the morning). Yesterday, I managed to do a load of regular laundry and a load of cloth diapers. And I did the dishes. I bragged about my day to Jon when he got home.

So far, this change of pace is nice. A season of simplicity is probably just what I need, especially considering I so often get caught up in feeling good about myself because of what I can do. There's nothing glorious about my life these days. No positive reviews from a supervisor or principal. No "thank you" emails from parents on how I handle discipline situations. No handfuls of dandelions, fresh from recess, because I'm the "best teacher ever."

The slowest parts of the day seems to happen when I nurse Jadon. I have no choice but to simply sit and enjoy the passing moments with my son. Usually, I make sure I have a book or my computer nearby to entertain myself if he's particularly hungry. Yesterday, the closest book within reach was a collection of poems titled Prayers from the Ark. They were first written and published by a french woman named Carmen Bernos de Gasztol in 1947, and later translated in to English in 1962 by Rumer Godden. Each poem is written from the perspective of an animal on Noah's ark as they pray to their Creator.

"The Prayer of the Cricket" really stood out to me:
O God,
I am little and very black,
but I thank you
for having shed
Your warm sun
and the quivering of your golden corn
on my humble life.
Then take - but be forbearing, Lord -
this little impulse of my love:
this note of music
You have set thrilling in my heart.
The cricket's life seems so uncomplicated and undistinguished, like my own right now. He recognizes God's simple gifts in his life, the sun and the corn. In seeing the blessings, he can't help but offer a humble song of praise.

It made me reflect on my own life right now. I am happy with my new "mom" routine, but am I really crediting God with the simple gifts He has given me in this season? I don't want to take these things for granted. Rather, I want to give God my own little "note of music" from my grateful heart.

Thank you, God, for unhurried time with Jadon, for hot meals delivered to my door, and for friends who will clean my kitchen for me while I recover. Thank you for sparing me from infection and complications with my c-section. Thank you that the Moby Wrap puts Jadon to sleep. Thank you for a washer and dryer right in our apartment so that cloth diapers can be easily washed. Thank you for maternity pants that still look good on me post-pregnancy. Thank you for the internet that allows me to stay in touch with dear friends and family that are distant. Thank you for a carpet that hides dirt so well. Thank you for all the days Jon was able to take off of work when Jadon first arrived. Thank you for meeting all my needs.

"My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts..."
Isaiah 65:14

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recycled Tote Bag Tutorial

Before my husband and I hired a midwife, we saw an OB/Gyn through Aurora. We received lots of pamphlets and goodies at our first visit, including a tote bag with the Aurora logo on it.

It's such a nice, sturdy bag, but I've never been crazy about being a walking billboard for businesses and products. If I could just cover up the logo, I might actually use this bag. Digging in my stash of fabric, I came across this strip of leftover border from my applique bird quilt. I saw some potential.

I just can't throw scraps away!
There was enough left over that I could just wrap this strip all the way around the bag and sew it down . Easy enough.

Here's the tutorial:

I started by tucking in the top and bottom edges and ironing them down to create a clean edge.
Then I noticed that I had so much leftover fabric that I could "double up" the fabric on one side of the bag and create pockets.
On one side of the bag, the scraps would be sewn down on the top and bottom and cover the logo.
On the other side of the bag, the "doubled up" scraps would be sewn down on the bottom edge. The top edge would be left open for pockets.
I ended up making different sized pockets by sewing down some of the seams on the scraps.
From the inside of the bag, you can see the seams that created the sides with pockets...
...and the seams covering the logo on the other side of the bag.
Finished recycled tote bag!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why We (Still!) Favor Home Birth

In the early stages of my pregnancy, Jon and I assumed that we would welcome our baby into the world in a hospital delivery room. We knew we wanted as natural a birth as possible and that many people have completely natural labors in hospital settings. However, as the weeks and months began to pass, we learned that some hospitals pressure expectant couples to undergo interventions. Especially after reading The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, I found myself wishing I could avoid the policies of IV's and heart rate monitors, and the push for pitocin, episiotomies, and epidurals. I believe that each of these interventions come with risks to the mother and baby. At the same time, they also have real benefits for necessary cases, but I see them as unnecessary for a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. So, Jon and I started looking at other other birthing settings. The more we researched, the more appealing these other places became.

When I was 21 weeks pregnant, we attended a "birthing options" night at a local birthing center. As the owner of the birthing center addressed the five couples present, Jon and I kept giving each other little approving glances. We were highly impressed with management, accommodations, and natural birthing philosophy of the center. We even got to meet four different midwives who had assisted families at the birthing center in the past.

Yet, one thing were learned that night surprised us. We had previously believed that all birthing centers are the "middle ground" between a hospital and home birth. Not necessarily! Medically speaking, this particular birthing center is identical to a home birth. If we wanted to have our baby at the birthing center, we would have to pay a fee in order to use their facilities, and independently hire a midwife. The midwife could also provide the exact same service and care in our home.

So why birth at a birthing center? Some families have other kids or pets that they don't want to deal with at home. Others don't want the clutter of laundry, dishes, or papers distracting them while they focus on contractions and pushing. Apartment renters may fear the "noise factor" with neighbors living in such close proximity. Sometimes a couple lives too far away from a hospital to be able to safely transfer in case of an emergency, and a birthing center offers a shorter travel time (this birthing center has a hospital just five minutes away).

My biggest concern about birthing at home? The mess. I mean, birth is messy, right? Why would I want to deal with that right after delivering a baby?

When I brought up this concern, each midwife assured me that clean-up would not be our responsibility. Although they are not a cleaning service, they leave your home in the same condition they found it. One of the midwives stated, "When we walk out your door, we leave you with three things: a bag of garbage, a bag of laundry, and a baby." That sounded okay to me.

I remember driving home with Jon that night and talking about home birth for the first time. We don't have any other kids or pets. We have a hospital within ten minutes of us and a fire department just 100 feet away. Although we live in an apartment building, we are never bothered by the sounds of our neighbors, and everyone pretty much keeps to themselves. I wouldn't even have to worry about the mess! Above all, we knew that I was a great candidate for a home birth because both my baby and I were healthy and considered low-risk. It didn't take much discussion for us to realize that a home birth was the right choice for us.

After deciding to birth at home, we now faced the task of hiring a midwife. Luckily, the birthing center we visited had a short list of midwives on their website to get us started. We read the little introductions, and called two of them to set up interviews. I was 27 weeks pregnant when we finally sat down to meet each one in person. I'm so glad that we didn't set up interviews with any others. The choice was already difficult with just two midwives because they were both so experienced, professional, and personable!

The midwife we ended up hiring won our favor for three reasons: first, she lives closer to our home; second, my prenatal appointments could be held at the birthing center, conveniently located just five minutes from where I teach 3rd grade; and third, she is a Christian. Jon and I loved the idea of sharing a worldview with someone who would coach us through such a significant moment in our family's history. She is even willing to pray with families leading up to, and during the birth. I felt so at peace knowing that she would be asking for God's wisdom and discernment, not only leaning on her training and expertise. Even with over twenty years of experience (and only a handful of hospital transfers in her career), she knows that ultimately God is in control.

Switching to a midwife, at six months pregnant, could not have been more enjoyable for me. To start, my prenatal appointments extended from 15 minutes with our OB to about an hour with my midwife. She took the time to get to know me, understand my concerns and questions, and educate me about the changes happening in my body. I was also happy to know that she supported my wishes for a natural birth, but was also prepared to perform certain interventions, such as administering an IV, or performing an episiotomy, if they were needed. She just doesn't consider these procedures "routine" for a healthy, low-risk pregnancy.

Probably the most comforting part of having a midwife was knowing that she would definitely be present at my birth, and that she would be with me the entire labor as well. I know many people who invested time finding the right doctor, only to have a different doctor on call when it was time to deliver. In addition, doctors typically show up right before the actual delivery. The majority of labor care is provided by nurses, whom you may or may not get along with. My midwife would provide the continuance of care that we wanted.

If you've read any of Jadon's birth story, you already know that I didn't get the home birth we planned for. In fact, I added one more hospital transfer to my midwife's count, and ended up on the operating table for a c-section. This means that I had an IV, was hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor, had a spinal tap, and underwent major abdominal surgery. Hardly the birth I had envisioned. However, because my son was breech, I consider these interventions necessary.

My midwife later told me that she has never had a baby under her care turn breech during active labor. I know that my case is unusual, but exactly what God intended for me to experience. It does not change my opinion that home births are safe. My midwife handled my surprise circumstances in a timely, organized, and comforting manner. She had already earned our trust when we hired her, but seeing her in an "emergency" situation makes us love her all the more.

We'll definitely be talking with her about a home VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) the next time around!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Applique Bird Quilt

Time with newborn Jadon is passing quickly by, and you probably aren't surprised that I haven't been working on any new projects lately. Here's a quick "show and tell" of something I finished earlier this summer.

Last summer, I was shopping at a thrift store and found a Paula Dean "Coupon Organizer" with a darling bird design on the front. I bought it because I loved the combination of colors and textures. I simply had to use it as a model for a project. But what?

So cute!
Over the course of last school year, the project slowly took form. I decided to make a baby quilt with an applique bird design on it. Not knowing at the time that I would be creating a blog, I didn't take any "during" photos for a tutorial. But now that I finally finished it (after nearly a year of off-and-on work!), I want to share the final product.


I'm especially happy that I was able to use up so many scraps from my fabric stash. I cut all the big squares for the front first, saving the one bigger rectangle piece for the center back of the quilt. Then pieces that weren't big enough for the front were cut into little rectangles for the border on the back. I just kept cutting leaves until I ran out of fabric, and then decided how I would arrange them. I love the feeling that comes from being resourceful.

I thought I could save this for a baby girl gift in the future, but I love it too much to part with it. Maybe for my own daughter someday? Funny that I'm already thinking of future kids when I have my nine day old son nestled in my arms!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Jadon's Birth Story, Part III: The Hospital

Even though the car ride from our apartment to the hospital was less than ten minutes, it felt long to me. I remember bracing myself through the tight turns. It took a lot more concentration to relax through contractions in the moving vehicle. My doula sat with me in the back seat, telling me I was doing great.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot shortly before 4:00 am. All of us, my husband, my doula, and my midwife and I, walked into the building to find a wheelchair waiting and a few staff ready to escort us to the labor and delivery floor. I remember experiencing a few more contractions sitting in the wheelchair, riding the elevator, and rolling down the halls.

When we arrived in the room prepared for us, the hospital staff seemed very ready to act. For all they knew, my home birth transfer had turned into a very serious medial emergency. I think they relaxed a little once they realized that I was able to walk to the bed myself, answer questions, and still work through contractions with no more sound than relaxed moans.

At this point, my memory gets a little hazy. They started hooking me up to machines and asking me tons of questions. How long was I sitting there, all the while pausing to moan through my ever intensifying contractions?

"Is this your first child?"
"I'm going to hook you up to the fetal monitor just to check on baby's heartbeat, okay?"
"Do you have allergies of any kind?"
Contraction. Breathe.
"Yup, the ultrasound shows that baby is indeed breech."
"Do you have HIV?"
"Can you roll this way so that I can check and see how dilated you are?"
Contraction. Relax.
"How has your blood pressure been during pregnancy?"
"Did you get tested for gestational diabetes?"
"Um, I don't feel any cervix. She's completely dilated."
Completely dilated! Contraction. I did it. Breathe. I made it all the way to ten centimeters!

When the doctor walked in, she seemed a little flustered. She had been called from home to come and deliver my son. I can only imagine the thoughts going through her mind, knowing she was playing "home birth rescue" tonight. Did she think I was foolish? Would she consider delivering a breech baby naturally?

The nurses quickly acquainted her with my situation and status. She then informed me that although she had delivered one breech in her career (a second twin), she would not be performing a vaginal breech delivery tonight. "If you want a natural labor," she said in a forceful tone, "you can get back in your car and drive to the next hospital."

Although my heart sank, I replied, "No, I understand that I came here for a c-section. Thank you for accommodating us at such a short notice. We really appreciate the care."

Her demeanour changed immediately. "Taking care of you is my job, and that's exactly what we're going to do."

The room continued to buzz with directions, questions, and preparations. Suddenly, another contraction came on. However, it was different than the others. I had an extreme urge to push, and I felt three distinct pulses from my uterus that caused me to double over slightly. "Um, I hate to interrupt, but I really feel the need to push."

Everyone kicked into action. I was unhooked from machines and quickly rolled down the hall into an operating room. My husband was handed a set of scrubs and told to wait outside until the anesthesiologist  had finished administering my spinal tap.

Little did I realize, while I was inside getting a needle stuck in my back, Jon was insisting on another set of scrubs for our doula, knowing that I really wanted her to be present in the operating room. At the last minute, she was allowed to come inside. I'm so thankful that she was there, not only for her support, but she captured the birth in the precious pictures that follow.

A little nervous, but ready to meet Jadon
Soon I was on my back and my husband and doula were admitted into the room. Jon wanted to watch me get cut open, but they asked that he remain seated. They didn't want a fainting husband on their hands. My doula, having worked as a nurse, stole several glances around the blue curtain to see how the surgery was progressing. "He's almost here, Alison!"

I felt a lot of pulling and tugging, but no pain. I'm going to see my son soon. Will I hear him cry?

All of a sudden, I felt my belly deflate like a balloon. A weight lifted off my body and spirit. He's here! I heard a cry and saw his little body lifted over the blue curtain for me to see, but only for a moment. "Jadon!" I said. They immediately carried him over to a warming center where they began to clean him off. "Jon, go be with Jadon," I begged my husband.

Luckily, Jon and Jadon were still in my line of sight as I was stitched up on the operating table. I will never forget the next ten minutes of watching the two of them bond. Jadon stopped crying after he heard Jon's voice. Jon stood there and stroked his little head, protecting Jadon's eyes from the bright lights above him. Then Jon began to sing a hymn, the same hymn we would regularly sing to Jadon when he was still in my womb. Jadon seemed so calm while Jon sang. I didn't even care that I couldn't hold Jadon yet. I was falling in love with my husband all over again. 

Soon enough, the doctors finished attending to my incision. I was ready to meet Jadon up close.

They handed Jadon to Jon to carry over to the operating table.

Jon held Jadon tenderly over my shoulder. I looked into Jadon's dark eyes for the first time and stroked his little forehead with my thumb. "Hi, Jadon!" I said in a hushed voice. "It's me, your mommy! We've waited a long time to meet you, and we're so happy that you're finally here!" I couldn't believe that I was actually looking at the beautiful life that God had chosen me to carry for nine months.

Our first family photo
After a few more moments together, it was time to head back to the labor and delivery room where I would be recovering for the next three days. All I wanted was to hold Jadon on my chest, skin to skin, and allow him to nurse for the first time.

Within a half-hour of his birth, Jadon was nestled safely in my arms. He was alert, awake, and completely calm. I loved the closeness and warmth of those first moments.

Finally together
Even though I did not get the home birth I planned for, I cherish the memory of Jadon's birthday. I feel very proud of the fact that I labored naturally until I was fully dilated. The doctor later told me that this makes me an excellent candidate for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) in the future, as VBAC births cannot be induced or highly medicated.

God knew how Jadon would arrive, and he answered our prayer from a few hours earlier. We had asked Him for strength and wisdom, no matter how long or hard our labor would be. Thanks be to God for his faithful provision for our little family!

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, 
for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
-- Jesus (Jn. 16:21 ESV)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jadon's Birth Story, Part II: A Change in Plans

The waiting game finally ended at 8:45 pm on Saturday, September 1, 2012. My water broke while hanging out in my brother-in-law's apartment. Since my brother-in-law lives downstairs in the same building as us, we didn't have far to go to be ready for our planned home birth.

My husband and I decided to go for a walk to try to get some contractions started. Jon grabbed some bills we needed to mail and we walked to the post office, calling my midwife on the way. She said that if the walking didn't work, we should just go to bed and try to get some rest before things started on their own.

11 days past the due date...happy that labor has begun!
The walk didn't result in any contractions, so we got ready for bed. We prayed together before turning out the light, asking God to be with us through the labor, no matter how long or hard it would turn out to be. After saying "amen," I felt a movement unlike anything I had felt in pregnancy. "Woah!" I said out loud to Jon. "Jadon must have finally fully descended or something because I felt something hit my pubic bone really hard."

Within five minutes, my contractions started. It was 11:04 pm. We called my midwife again to give her the update, and she said that she would come whenever we wanted her there. However, since the contractions were eight or nine minutes apart, she told us that we could have several hours ahead of us before she needed to be there. "I would definitely want to know when they get to around four minutes apart. But again, call me when you want me there. I'll come over whenever you feel ready." We decided to try laboring solo for a while.

I spent the next three hours in the comfort of my bed laboring and resting in between contractions. Jon started filling the birthing tub. You have to empty your hot water heater 2 or 3 times in order to fill the tub, so we knew we couldn't wait too long to start filling it. All the while, Jon was at my side for every contraction, recording their intervals, rubbing my back, putting pressure on my hips, and giving me sips of water when the tension passed.

Around 2:00 am, my doula arrived. My contractions were around five minutes apart at that time, and then one came after three minutes. After getting our next call, my midwife arrived at about 2:20 am.

She observed me laboring for a few minutes and asked me how I was feeling. I told her that I was doing fine, but that contractions were becoming increasingly intense. Then she said that she wanted to do a quick exam to see how dilated I was. Because my water was continuing to leak, I wanted to clean myself up a bit before she checked me. In the bathroom, I discovered that my pad was covered in a thick, blackish substance. I showed it to my midwife.

"That's definitely meconium," she said. "Alison, this makes me think that Jadon is breech." She explained that the meconium (baby's first poop) was not mixed with any amniotic fluid, so his butt must be right at the opening of my cervix.

Breech. That wasn't part of the original plan.

My midwife checked my cervix and informed me that I was 6 cm dilated. "And I definitely feel butt," she said with a serious look on her face. "Jadon is breech."

How could he be breech? He had been head down for the past month and a half! Could that movement I felt earlier in bed have been him turning?

"Alison, I've never delivered breech," my midwife continued. "I have been trained in how to deliver breech, and I know what I would do to deliver a breech baby. But I've never actually delivered breech. I can't force you to go to the hospital, and I won't leave your side, but I want you to know how much more risky a breech birth is."

For the next five minutes, we discussed our options. Jon wanted to know if there was a way we could turn him. My midwife had successfully turned breech babies before, but not during active labor. Turning him would be harder for us because my water had already broken. We could just move forward with the plans to use the birthing tub, and deliver him at home whether he was breech or not. All the while, I continued to experience contractions that were lengthening and getting more intense.

Then my doula turned to me and asked what I wanted. If I chose to try and turn Jadon, we might be successful, and I would get the natural waterbirth I wanted. However, if we couldn't turn him, I would have to deliver a risky breech baby at home or be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. If we left now, and followed our "plan B," we could drive in our car to the hospital ten minutes away. I knew that a hospital would most likely perform a c-section, which was about the last way I wanted to deliver my son.

"I think we should go to the hospital before an ambulance is needed," I finally replied. Without another word, everyone prepared to transfer to the hospital. My midwife called ahead to let them know that we were coming and gathered the necessary paperwork they would want to see. Jon packed the things we would need for our hospital stay. My doula stayed with me and continued to coach me through contractions.

When it was time to leave, I walked out of the apartment with purpose. I'm going to see my son soon. I paced the building parking lot, not even pausing through contractions. I'm going to see my son soon. I slowly lowered myself into the back seat of our car. I'm going to see my son soon.

And then we left.

I'm going to see my son soon.

Part III coming soon.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Jadon's Birth Story, Part I: Preparing for a Home Birth

Less than 1% of the births in the United States today take place at home. Odds are, for the vast majority of you reading this post, you were not born at home, have not given birth at home, have not attended a home birth, and perhaps have never met someone who fits into one of these categories.

My son, Jadon, just one day old, is nestled safely in my lap right now. My husband and I were planning to give birth to him at home. I recognize that I have a unique opportunity to give you a glimpse into the home birth experience. Before choosing to birth at home, I was very curious about the logistics of a home birth, before, during, and after.

This post is dedicated to the "before" details. What do you have to do to be prepared to birth at home?

First, my husband and I had to hire a midwife, and she had to agree that I was a good candidate for home birth (basically, low-risk pregnancy). When I was about 6 months pregnant, we found our midwife through a local birthing center.

I then had to see her for regular prenatal appointments. These appointments followed the typical schedule for OB/Gyn visits (meet monthly prior to 28 weeks, meet every other week until week 36, and then meet every week until the birth). My midwife performed routine check-up procedures during these appointments, including checking my blood pressure; monitoring fetal growth, heart rate, and position; urine tests; blood work; and the Group B Strep test. If needed, she could even order ultrasounds and other screenings through a hospital that she could not perform on her own. All appointments and tests continued to affirm and reaffirm that I was an excellent candidate for birthing in our home setting.

Jon and I also had to prepare a "birthing kit" for our midwife to use at the birth. She supplied us with a very detailed outline of the things we needed to gather, most of which are items we already had around the house. Here's our birthing kit:

A – Paper towels

B – Several (4-5) old (but clean) towels and washcloths (6-8 additional towels for water birth)

C – Heating pad (or hot water bottle) for keeping towels warm

D – 20 Sterile gauze pads (4x4 inches)

E – 2 Plastic sheets or shower curtains (one is under the sheets on my bed in case my water brakes in the middle of the night

F – 25 foot potable hose (made for drinking water) for filling up the birthing tub from our sink

G – 2 packages of 24x32 inch chux pads (they are plastic on one side and cotton fluffy on the other side)
H – Clorox Bleach to clean the water pump after a water birth
I – Oxy Clean
J – Bendable drinking straws
K – Witch hazel pads (for healing sore tissue postpartum)
L – 2 garbage bags
M – 1 can of Dermaplast spray (numbing spray for postpartum)
N – 2 medium sized metal or glass bowls (one for tools, one for placenta)
O – Bright flashlight with fresh batteries
P – Clean pair of scissors
Q – Rubbing alcohol
R – Hydrogen Peroxide
S – Handheld mirror for water birth
Our midwife would also show up on the day of the birth with her own medical and legal supplies, such as a Doppler for checking Jadon's heart rate in the womb, tests to perform once he was born, and paperwork for his birth certificate. We were instructed to store our items in a laundry basket and have them ready for easy access by week 37 of pregnancy.

We stored our birthing kit underneath the changing table in Jadon's room, right next to...

...the birthing tub! Some midwives charge you extra if you wish to have a water birth, but ours includes the tub in her normal fees. She even lets her patients set up the tubs weeks in advance so there's one less thing to worry about when you actually go into labor. In the picture above, you will also see a crock pot set aside in the pool, which is used for making hot compresses (just washcloths soaked in hot water).

During the 37th week of pregnancy, my midwife visits all of her patients' homes to get a "lay of the land" where the birth will take place. It was during this visit that she helped us chose the best place to set up the pool. Jadon's room was the best location for several reasons. It has a nice big space in the middle for the tub, but still allows room for other people to be around the tub and assist me while I am in the water. Jadon's room also has easy access to the bathroom (right across the hall), and to a bed (for resting before or after the birth). In addition, this room can be easily darkened or secluded, which helps women relax during labor.

Jon and I set up the tub two weeks before my due date. And then, we had to do what every expecting couple does: wait.

If you were paying attention to the beginning of the post, you'll remember that a home birth is what we planned. Up until the labor, we were still going according to this plan. But God had other ideas for Jadon's arrival. 

Stay tuned for part II

Sunday, September 2, 2012

He's Finally Here! Meet Jadon Enoch Sedlak!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Our son has arrived!

Jadon Enoch Sedlak entered the world on September 2, 2012 at 4:39 am. He weighed 8 pounds and 11 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long.

I intend to share share our birth story in a few days, but in the meantime, enjoy a few pictures of our precious little gift!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Waiting for Jadon: The Truth About Being "Late"

Eleven days past the due date. And now it's September!

There hasn't been a single day in the past two weeks where I haven't been asked the question, "Is the baby here yet?" I don't mind this question at all. In fact, I feel flattered that so many people are happily anticipating Jadon's arrival.

I'm anxious about him coming because I want to meet him so bad! Yet, I'm still not worried about being "late." Being induced doesn't even cross my mind. I'm healthy, he's healthy, and he'll come when he's ready.

Like many other pregnant ladies, I pour over pregnancy books. Last night I was reading from Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby's First Foods, by Nina Planck. I came across a passage that reminded me why I'm not worried. Most people don't know that the whole "forty weeks" gestation period is not meant to be a number set in stone, especially for first-time mothers, like myself:
Where did we get the idea that pregnancy lasts forty weeks? In the early 1800's, a German obstetrician, Franz Carl Naegele, declared human gestation to last ten lunar months. At twenty-eight days apiece, that came to 280 days, or forty weeks. But this is only an estimate, and probably a bit short. The average first pregnancy actually lasts forty-one weeks and three days, or 290 days. Second babies tend to come a week sooner, after 283 days. Of course these numbers cannot forecast your baby's Birth Day. It must be stressed that they are averages. (page 125).
I was forty-one weeks and three days pregnant yesterday. That means I've only just passed the average length of first pregnancies! In addition, "five to 10 percent of pregnancies go to forty-two weeks, the official marker of 'post date,' and most of these babies turn out fine" (page 125). With no indications that anything is wrong, I assume that Jadon's birthday will be just right for him. It's pretty much up to him and God.

Keep checking in to see if Jadon has arrived! When he's finally here, we can celebrate his birth together and tell him that every day of waiting was totally worth it.