Friday, December 28, 2007

A picture perfect Christmas... almost

Wow- what a whirlwind this holiday season has been, and really, it isn't even over! We still have to go see a bunch of my relatives who just came in from out of town AND New Years AND our anniversary on New Years Eve! Crazy! But for the sake of this post we will just stick to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

So, Christmas Eve we went over to my Aunt and Uncle's house around 2:30 pm. My grandma had brought my Granny (great-grandma) over from the Alzheimer's home she has been living in this last year so she could see the whole family. She is so sweet and interesting to talk to because she comes up with the craziest stories!! I told her that her nails looked nice (they had painted them) and she told me, "Oh thank you. Don't tell anybody, but the boys down at the pistol range just love them! They don't know what to say! But don't tell anyone- they think I'm at the home!" The pistol range?!?! Too funny! Like she escaping and running down to the pistol range to flirt with the guys! (that is Roman & me, up top)

We had BBQ crab for dinner- my all time favorite dinner!! Basically you put a bunch of crab (in the shell) in this homemade BBQ sauce and let it warm in the oven for a couple of hours- SOOOOO GOOD!! Just thinking about it right now is making my salivate! Yumm! We have it with salad and garlic bread- completely indulgent!

After dinner we started opening gifts. I was really excited because I thought that Roman would be really into it this year, and he was at first! That is, until he opened up one of his toys and then all he wanted to do was play with it, not open anymore gifts! Poor guy, we had to keep taking his toys away from him so he would open up the rest of his gifts! I think he thought he was in trouble! We all got nice stuff though! Actually it was pretty funny because all the gifts I received from my grandma I had specifically picked out and some I had even ordered over the internet for her since she wasn't sure how, and yet by the time I got to opening them I had completely forgotten what she was giving me! The holidays had totally sucked my brain out by that point! Oh man, I felt like a moron!

So, later that evening, once things had died down, we headed home to drop off our gifts and pick up our luggage to head out to my in-law's picturesque lake cabin. Roman fell asleep in the car and when we got there I managed to get him inside and laid down fairly quickly (although he did decide to wake up about a bazzilion times that night- mostly to go potty! I can't decide if this is a curse or a blessing!). After we got him down we (well, mostly Jer) put together this little car track with power cars that follow it. It turned out to be a pretty big pain- you had to get every curve at just the right angle or the cars would jump the track and go fourwheelin'! And of course, what does Roman do Christmas morning but run right through the track in all of his excitement and mess the whole thing up!! Oh well- we had fun! He got LOTS of other cars this year- mostly from the movie Cars which he totally loves! He even got a little "Tow Mater" tow truck that he can sit on and push around the house- it has an ignition and a cell phone which he totally loves! His other favorite toy is a play kitchen! Every morning he runs out and makes me breakfast- how sweet of him!

My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew showed up around 11 and we opened up the family-exchange gifts. My in-laws gave us a one-night stay at a hot springs in Montana which I am really looking forward to, along with tickets to Blue Man Group, which I have wanted to see for quite some time! My nephew got Guitar Hero III, which we played most of the next two days! It really is a lot of fun! I wasn't half bad if I do say so myself! We had a competition where we all had to play the same song and compare our scores- maybe not the best idea since after hearing "Slow Ride" EIGHT TIMES we were all about to bang our heads against the wall! It was still fun though! (I am to the left, Jer to the right- he was really into getting in full character & rockin' it out!)

But now for the REALLY interesting part of the holiday. It was late Christmas afternoon and I headed into the bathroom to find an over flowing toilet containing less than agreeable contents, left there by "someone" (okay, my 9 year old nephew!). Well, for the two days prior we had been able to hear gurgling through the shower drain every time we flushed and as it turned out we had all been slowly glogging up the system- GROSS!! Jer and his dad tried for hours to fix it! The plunged (which only caused things to back up into the tub- completely nasty!!), they went on the roof and tried to snake the system through the air vent- nothing worked! Of course no plumber was wanting to come out on Christmas night for less than a fortune, so we were forced to find alternative bathroom facilities until the next day! We concluded that peeing outside (in the snow, while it was snowing- talk about freezin' your patootie off!) would work for everyone, but what to do about the "other" end. Well, my in-laws found an old porta-potty toilet they had used on their boat, so we set it up in the laundry room (separate from the house) and they decided that everyone could line the bowl with a plastic bag and then throw the bags away in the dumpster!! Needless to say I began praying immediately that I would not be forced to use these facilities, and by the grace of God I made it home without paying a visit to the laundry room! Hallelujah and Amen!! However, I did get a kick out of taking pictures to document the whole ordeal. The first is of my brother in-law- we had brought the porta-potty in to clean it up. The second is of my father-in-law- showing off our new bathroom! Too funny! It was one of those character building experiences (as my mom would call it)!

What ended up happening then, you wonder? Well, they called out a plumber the next day and after a few hours he concluded that there must be a broken pipe, or roots in the pipe, or something. In other words, it was a bigger job than he could handle and after the snow melts my in-laws will probably end up having to have major plumbing work done on the cabin. To top it off, as the plumber was trying to leave his van got stuck and Jer and his dad had to go out there and push!

The even bigger bummer is that Jer was planning on taking me to the cabin for our anniversary next week! My mother-in- law said, "Well you still could." I said, "Oh yeah- that's my idea of romance- no running water and peein' outside! Come on!" Oh well, I am sure we will figure out something!

So that pretty much sums up our Christmas adventure! All in all, it was lots of fun and a nice time to spend with our families. And hey- I learned to play Guitar Hero III! Haha! (Jer & Roman over there -->)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Site up for Believing God Study- check it out!

I thought it would be nice to have a main hub for everyone participating in our online small group study of Beth Moore's Believing God, so I created a little site called Hope & Believe on freewebs. Here is the full link: www.freewebs.com/hopeandbelieve. This is where anyone who is interested in the study can go to find out more about it and where those participating in the study can discuss it (the site has a small forum). I have also included a page for mamas healing from loss and a blogroll so we can get to know each other better. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Micah- my little prophet!

As each day goes by I see more and more reason for the Lord allowing this painful loss into my life. I know it sounds crazy, and almost cold, but I am so thankful for being able to recognize the work that God is doing in me through all of this. I think God gave Micah to me for the short time that He did to be my own little prophet. My experience over this last month has really driven me to the Lord and His word. For a while now I have been stagnant in my walk, feeling no closeness with the Lord, but it wasn't Him- it was me. I had lost my sense of wonder and awe. I had forgotten what it really means to cling to Him and rely on Him for everything. This miscarriage has given me no choice but to rely on Him. He has made it very clear that I can't make my own plans- I need to be walking in His will and His plan for me life.

Micah of the Bible cries out to the people that they need to turn back to God. He also tells them that if they do, God will welcome them back with open arms. God's plea through Micah is simple- "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). God wanted me back- abiding in His Word and spending time with Him. He wants me to appreciate the amazing mercy He has poured out on my life. And what could humble me more than this? Me- the woman who plans everything the way she wants it! He wanted control of my life and this was the way He needed to get through to me.

Micah of the Bible also speaks about the plight of the poor. I believe that the Lord wanted to show me a group of people poor in spirit who needed my help- women who have experienced pregnancy loss. I could never have had the compassion and understanding that I do now if I hadn't experienced this. The Lord has shown me a ministry that is in dire need of help. In recent days the idea has come to me to not only become a postpartum doula but a pregnancy loss doula as well, and I believe this idea is nothing short of divinely inspired. I want to help provide women the one-on-one support and encouragement they need through these difficult times, which is not very available in our culture. Women need support from other women not only in labor but also in loss, especially from other women who have been there.

So thank you Micah my love- you have taught me so much in the little time I had you with me and you continue to teach me in your absence. And thank you Lord for blessing me with Micah and using him to teach me so much. I hope the lessons he has taught me will help many more women as well. Micah's loss is no less painful, but it helps my healing to see God work through it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Join me!!!


This is a call to all the mamas out there who want a serious Bible Study but have a hard time actually being able to attend one! I recently found this awesome online Bible Study program by Beth Moore called Believing God. The basis of the study is all about strengthening our faith- about believing what God says, not just believing in Him. By enrolling in the online program you are able to watch video messages for each week (one per week for 10 weeks), download homework (5 days a week) and have access to an online study tool library and forum with women from all around the world participating in the program. The program costs $23.95 but I think it will be well worth it- you can always do what I am doing and ask for it for Christmas!! Also, if you don't want to have to print out all of the homework you can buy the member book for $14.95 off the Lifeway website.

So, here is the deal- I thought it would be really fun to start an online small group of bloggin' mamas participating in the study. I don't know, it just sounds like a cool idea, don't 'ya think? It could kind of be like a blog ring of mamas doing the Believing God study. That way not only could we take a deeper look at how the study is influencing each other's lives but we could share our experiences with others. I think this could be an amazing opportunity to form a tight-knit group of bloggin' mamas who are sisters in Christ! I am totally open to mamas without blogs to participate as well! I just think the bloggin' aspect could be an added bonus but I don't want anyone left out who wants to participate.

So, is anyone interested? Post a reply to this post if you are and I will let you know all the details of our group!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hope for healing

And so now the healing process begins. I passed the baby last Tuesday and this past Sunday Jeremiah and I went up and buried the baby on his parent's property. We found a nice spot by some rocks in the middle of a group of young trees. It was a cold and wet evening as we stood in the snow and said goodbye to our baby, but despite the weather it gave me a tremendous sense of closure. After I placed the small box in the ground I began to breakdown. Jeremiah just held me and then he prayed for our baby, for us as a couple and for the amazing son that we already have. When he finished I sang (or tried to through my tears anyway) the chorus to one of my favorite Sarah Groves songs which I typed out in an earlier post. Jer covered over the box and I told him how much comfort I took in knowing that our baby was in heaven with Jesus, and his grandmother, and my grandpa, and Mary and Moses and Abraham Lincoln! We chuckled at that, but silly as it sounds those are the things I have been thinking of. I am glad that our baby never had to suffer burdens or temptations. All my sweet child knows is golden streets and abounding love. And I know there are other mothers in heaven who had lost children during their lives on earth and know my pain, and I know they are watching over my baby.

One of the other things I have been taking comfort in is my motherly intuition. I know when my baby died- it was Friday November 16, 2007 in the middle of the day. I had had the ultrasound that morning and had just received the disheartening news that he probably wouldn't make it. That day he was supposed to be at 9 weeks gestation but he was measuring much, much smaller than that. In my pain and despair I prayed a simple prayer, "Jesus take care of my baby," and I believe that in that moment of letting go Jesus did just that. I also "know" that he was a boy. I just do. All throughout my short pregnancy I had referred to him as a boy and I just know that he was. I named him Micah. Micah Monroe. I only told Jer the name just before we buried him. Jer asked me where I got it and I told him that it just came to me one night. It means, "who resembles God," and seeing as how God will be the one to raise him, it is no wonder that he will resemble Him. I know that many people don't name the baby at such an early loss, but for me it brought comfort and closure. Giving him a name validates that he was a real baby and a real loss and it helps me show him that he will not be forgotten.

My intuition had also been telling me all throughout the pregnancy that something just wasn't right. I just kept feeling that the pregnancy wasn't going to last. As strange is it may seem, this is a comfort to me now because it makes me feel more confident going into a future pregnancy. Of course I will be nervous to get pregnant again for fear of the same outcome, but I also feel that I will trust my instincts and I will know if something isn't right. It is much easier to prepare for something if you see it coming.

Another way I have been coping is through art- however bad and childish it may be! One night I was online reading through the posts on MotheringDotCommune's pregnancy loss boards and someone was talking about dealing with their loss through art. I really connected with this idea because ever since the loss I have been longing for a way to really express my feelings. I will be okay all day long and then night time comes but sleep does not. Almost every day I end up dealing with my grief alone in the dark. So one night I got out Roman's crayons and went to town. My drawings were silly and rough, but you know what, that just didn't matter! It just felt good to be putting color on paper! After I drew some I wrote a poem, and however bad it may be as well, I am glad that I could express myself in this way. It is a part of the healing process for me. I feel more creative now than I have in months. It has re-energized me to sew and knit and eventually I would like to turn my rough crayon sketches into acrylic paintings. All of these things are helping me breathe.

And of course, most importantly, there is Jesus. Oh my sweet Jesus. Ya know, it is strange how an experience such as this can be so awakening. For a while now I have felt very stagnant in my walk with the Lord. I had come to this place of feeling like He just didn't want to hear from me anymore because I never followed through on what I said and all I ever seemed to pray was, "help." But through all of this God has been so faithful. I have heard His small still voice more clearly than I have in a long time. He has simply told me to "Come." I know now more than ever that He loves me, He will comfort me, and most of all that He understands.

Sunday I listened to this wonderful message by Jon Courson on Psalm 47 and it was all about praising God. He outlined these wonderful points about how worship delights the Father, defines our focus, develops our fellowship, defeats our foe and dethrowns our flesh. He talked about how when he is in a bad place in his life and negative thoughts are creeping into his mind, if he just turns his eyes to Jesus and worships Him, He will take over his mind. Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthrowned on our worship, so if we worship Him we our creating the thrown in our lives from which He can rule on. I can't tell you how many times in just the last two days this idea has saved me- when the darkness creeps in I just start telling God how much I love Him and trust Him, and in turn He strengthens me. Psalm 86 has also been a huge comfort and source of encouragement for me- go on, go read it! You will see how good God is!

It is His strength that keeps me going. It is His strength that will help me through tonight as I go to visit and rejoice with a close friend in the hospital who just delivered a beautiful, healthy little boy this morning, and later this week when a rejoice with and visit another friend who delivered a beautiful little boy just last Thursday. My God is faithful and He will give me the joy and strength to be glad for me friends in the midst of my grieving because He knows I can't do it on my own and He will never leave me.

So this is how it happened...

Please beware- the following post speaks very candidly of my miscarriage experience. If this is not a topic you would not like to know all of the details of, you may think twice before reading on.

A week ago today, Tuesday November 27, 2007, I passed my baby. It didn't happen how I had hoped. In situations such as that you want to be able to be surrounded with love and security and peacefully let the inevitable take place. Although I was at home it was not as peaceful as I had wished. At around 11:30 I began to have some cramping and small clots so I decided to lay down with Roman for his nap. When we got up things began to get much more intense. At 3:30 I called Jeremiah to let him know what was happening and that we would not be able to attend my sister-in-law's birthday party that evening. I called my mom and told her what was happening also and called and asked my in-laws to pick up Roman.

Seemingly right after I got off the phone things became unbearable. I was cramping so hard that I didn't want to move at all, but Roman kept asking for snacks and water and I had to get him ready for my in-laws to pick him up. As I was kneeling on the floor trying to get him dressed I began bawling from the pain and knew that I could no longer do this alone. I called my mother in a panic and as she answered I felt things give way and could tell I passing large clots. I managed to get myself into the bathroom and my mom promised to be right there. My in-laws arrived within minutes and began knocking on the door. I had unlocked it for them but they couldn't understand that I was yelling "COME IN! IT'S UNLOCKED!" They stood and knocked for what seemed like forever until they finally tried the knob.

Roman was being such a good boy through all of it. He went to the window just like I asked him to, even though I had only managed to get the poor guy half dressed. By this point my underwear, pants and the toilet were covered in blood and I was still in a great amount of pain. My in-laws couldn't find one of Roman's shoes and almost left with him in his slippers but finally found it as I was yelling directions from the bathroom.

My mom arrived just as my in-laws were leaving with Roman. She came into the bathroom and comforted me through my pain and my tears. I spewed off a bunch of instructions of things I needed her to grab and she quickly fetched everything I had asked for- a metal bowl, a plastic gloves and a large pad like the ones I had used after Roman's birth. After a few minutes the cramps began to become less intense and things slowed down. I cleaned myself up and then went about the task of trying to find the placenta and amniotic sac in the water. I found the placenta quickly and later when we came back into the bathroom and some of the lining had sluffed off, we found the amniotic sac attached to it. I broke open the sac to look for the baby, but only found the yolk sac which looked like a miniature silicone implant. My midwife had said that the baby had been so small that we probably wouldn't find it, plus the fact that it had died 11 days prior and had probably already begun to dissipate, but I still need to look to make sure.

Jer arrived a while later. By this point I was cleaned up and sitting on the couch talking with my mom. Most of my cramping had stopped and I was only passing small clots, although my lower back still ached. We just sat and talked the rest of the evening. My in-laws brought Roman back home after the birthday party and then my dad came with take-out for dinner. I am so glad they were there- their comfort meant so much.

A few days later my midwife called to go over things. She let me know that I would still experience all of the postpartum hormones as I would with a full-term pregnancy and that I would also loose my hair again (I lost about 50% with Roman but she assured me it would be less this time since I hadn't been storing it up for 9 months). She also informed me that I needed to go in for a rhogham shot right away for my negative blood type. My mom took me into my old OB's office that day for the shot and I all fo the sudden became very thankful that I had not had to go through this whole trauma in that cold and sterile office. Having a midwife as my caregiver had made all of the difference in the world. Knowing that she was praying for me and genuinely cared was a great source of comfort.

Thursday through Saturday I ended up being in very intense pain again, and luckily my mom was around most of the time to help me with Roman and everything else. It turns out there was still some tissue remaining in my uterus and I passed it on Saturday evening. I had a few more surges on blood but things have calmed down quite a bit now and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

All in all, it is not anything that I would have wanted to experience and it didn't go the way I had planned but it has been a very eye opening experience on the whole. My level of compassion for other mothers has grown exponentially and I can see how going through this will help me to care for women in my doula practice. I wouldn't wish this on anyone but I can already see how the Lord is using this experience in my own life to grow me and cause me to rely on Him whole heartedly with no reservations.

Okay, breathe deeply... the hard post is over. Now I can go on to write about my healing process. Thank you to everyone for listening and caring- you will never know what it means to me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Please Pray

Alright, I have been avoiding this post, but I think I need to get it out there- rally all of the prayer support that I can. Here is the deal- those baby tickers you see the the left do not portray an accurate depiction of my baby. Last Wednesday I began to have some spotting- very light but spotting none the less. I thought that maybe it was from being sick the night before but I decided to call my midwife just for a little reassurance. We discussed what the spotting could mean and decided to go in on Thursday for an ultrasound just to clear the air and make sure everything was okay.

Thursday morning we met Margaret (our midwife) at a local clinic where she could perform the ultrasound for free. During the ultrasound she had a difficult time finding the baby and in general just wasn't seeing what she wanted to. She decided to order some blood work, including HcG and progesterone levels and made an appointment for me to get another u/s by a licensed u/s technician the next morning. That day was grueling, not know what was going on. I was incredibly nauseated all day. I kept trying to stay positive though and think that she just couldn't find anything because my bladder wasn't full enough and everything would be cleared up on Friday.

Well, Friday morning came and I ended up having a transvaginal ultrasound (not the most comfortable thing I have ever experienced) and the technician did find a baby, but it was measuring much smaller than what it should be for my LMP. It also had a very low heart rate, in the 50s-60s. Basically, as Margaret described to me later that day, someone is home they are just very small and very week and probably not going to make it. She figured that I would miscarry within the week. Needless to say, I was a wreck. All day I was pretty much a basket case on top of being completely nauseous. I began to have some more light spotting and was just beside myself. How could this be happening to me? How could this be happening to my baby? We had tried for 5 months to get pregnant, and now to lose the baby- my heart was broken. All I could think was, "Jesus, take care of my baby."

Saturday I woke up with no spotting but after being up and around and chasing my 1 1/2 year old the spotting started again. I got my follow up blood work done to compare my HcG levels and tried to get some rest since the nausea was still very much there. Its funny, the week I am told that I am going to miscarry I felt more pregnant than I had the whole pregnancy so far! Jer took me out to sushi- I had been craving it for weeks and with the emotional roller coaster I had been on I think I deserved a little indulgence (don't worry- I only eat the cooked stuff, the raw stuff totally grosses me out!). By this point I was kind of walking around in a fog. Little things made me break down but for the most part I could talk about everything without much emotion- I think I was just too emotionally exhausted by that point to do much else.

Sunday I made it through most of the day without spotting but once again it picked up later in the day after I had been on my feet. I decided to meet my mom downtown to do a little Christmas shopping, have dinner and just talk- sometimes you just need your mom. Plus the fact that we had been mostly couped up in the house for a few days and I just needed to get out and get my mind off things. I think that Roman was glad to be out and about, and of course to see his Nanna Bubbe.

And that brings us to today- Monday, my sixth day of living in a mystery, not knowing what to expect. Same old story- spotting when I am active, little to none when I stay off my feet. Not as much nausea today but I still feel exhausted. I was going to try to snag a bath when Roman was down for a nap but the minute I got settled in he, of course, woke up. Margaret let me know the results of my first set of labs- my HcG was within range (16,272) but my progesterone was on the low side (10.78). She said to rely more on the results of the u/s than the bloodwork. If I don't miscarry soon she said I could have another u/s whenever I felt ready.

So here I am, left wondering and waiting. Sometimes I am sure that the baby isn't going to make it. That any minute I am going to start cramping and have a gush of blood. I start praying that it doesn't happen on Thanksgiving- I don't think I can deal with going through a miscarriage anywhere but my own home. I wonder what it will actually be like and thank God for my friends who have been through this before and for all the honesty of the women on the MDC boards. But then I start reading stories of doctors, midwives and ultrasounds that were wrong. Of babies whose heart rates couldn't be detected at all and grew into completely healthy and vibrant newborns. I listen to the words of my mother when she says that God can do anything including make my baby well. I fear getting my hopes up though and find myself in a viscous cycle of hope and despair.

I don't know what is going to happen. All I know is that I have to trust God no matter how hard it is and whatever the outcome. It is much easier said than done. But ya know, God has funny timing- my mother-in-law sent me this radio clip today before she even knew what was going on: http://www.ksbj.org/eblogs/morningShow/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/logan-calf-story.mp3
He knows what He is doing and He feels my pain. And if the worst happens then this is what I have to say to my baby-
"I don't know if there are harps in heaven or the process for earning your wings. I don't know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels or any of those things. But I know that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord, and from what I know of Him that must be very good!"
~Sarah Groves

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NACHOOOOOOOO!!!

Well, here he is ladies and gentlemen- Nacho Libre!! We decided to go ahead and dress Roman up this year for Halloween, even though we are not big supporters of the holiday. We came to the conclusion that until he reaches an age that we can explain him the real meanings of Halloween and why we don't like it it makes more sense to let him participate so that he doesn't just fee left out.

I toyed around with lots of different costume ideas, including Jr. Asparagus from Veggie Tales and Evil Kanevil, but finally settled on Nacho Libre!
I entered JoAnn Fabrics with iPhone in hand so I could get on the internet and access pictures of the real costume and I had a little costume shopping spree to find all the different fabrics and accessories I would need. I ended up sewing right up to the last minute but I think the costume came out pretty accurately, which was what I was aiming for. I made everything- right down to the boots! I found some pleather fabric and once I got the outsides of the shoes sewn together I glued them to an old pair of flip flops!

We went to a local mall to trick-or-treat and to my amazement Roman kept his mask on most of the night! He seamed to really like all of the attention he was getting! People would stop from all the way across the mall and say "Hey, it's Nacho!!" Everyone loved it and he was the only Nacho in sight! Well, I guess not everyo0ne loved it- his little friends Elijah and Evalina were actually quite terrified of him with the mask on, but other than that he was a huge hit!

We also stopped by Grammy & Pappy's that night so they could see him all dressed up. They loved it (and so did his cousins!) and it was fun for him to be able to hand some candy out at their door. I think he actually liked handing candy out better than receiving it! Go figure! I am sure that will change in a few short years!

Later that night we also snapped a few shots of Roman in his new "Big Brother" shirt so that out of tow relatives could get in on the news. This is one "costume" I don't think he understands the full scope of. The role of Big Brother is still rather elusive and with each passing month I wonder more about how he will adjust to a new little one in the house. Only time will tell!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Grab your coat and get your hat...

We are headed for Leavenworth! Waahoo! I received a very unexpected call from Jer this morning letting me know that some good friends of ours had invited us to go on a little overnight weekend getaway to a quaint German-like village on the other side of our state- TOMORROW!! It is completely last minute but will be a much needed reprieve from the stress that has been enveloping our lives as of late! The couple, Denver and Vanessa, have a little girl, Evalina, who is very close to Roman in age so it should be a lot of fun!

We have some other friends that might come along too, but their son (who is also Roman's age) is quite particular about his sleeping arrangements. Ya know, it's funny, because people criticize me about how Roman sleeps (still co-sleeping a lot of the time) and yet when it comes to situations such as this, he is SO much more portable! He really is pretty good at going with the flow of things! I can't complain! Plus, the longer he half co-sleeps with us the more I think that it is normal. I mean, that is the way families slept throughout most of time. He is only 1 1/2- it is completely natural for him to fell the need to be close to his mother at night and I think he should be able to be until he naturally has the urge to sleep on his own. This portion of their lives is so small comparatively- so why not? Of course, I know that Jer doesn't think this way and one day soon I am going to have to officially get him to sleep on his own, and I suppose as I get bigger I won't want him in there anyway. I just hope that we can get his room finished quickly so the transition is smoother. We shall see!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Slacker!

Okay- I know! I have been a total slacker on my blog! But all my time lately online has been spent updating my Due-Date Club on MDC (I'm in charge of the due date thread) and Diaper Hunting! Yes, yes, my dears- I have been hunting for diapers! It sounds crazy I know, but twice annually Diaper Decisions holds a Great Cloth Diaper Hunt where you search a bunch of different WAHM sites for a specific diaper icon and the more you find the more prizes you are entered to win! I participated in the one they held in May, but came nowhere near finishing it! This time however I only have 24 more icons left- that means I have found over 100 so far! Waahoo! I really want to win some stuff this time, although it is pretty fun just to see all the different shops and cute things to buy! I have been adding to my online baby registry left and right! Very exciting!

Speaking of babies- I'm still growing one! Although, it still doesn't feel real. My lower stomach is starting to bulge a bit (only enough for me to notice) and so far I haven't had much sickness to speak of- however I do feel more tired this time around and my sense of smell is MUCH more acute! I will probably make my initial appointment with our midwife soon- it would be fun (and reassuring) to hear the heartbeat and such.

Roman is doing well- as crazy as ever! he was Nacho Libre for Halloween! It was hysterical! We took him up to the mall with Elijah and Evalina- both of whom were terrified of him with his mask on! Everyone in the mall kept stopping and saying, "Hey Look! It's Nacho! What an awesome costume!" It was a lot of fun to see him running around in it- he even kept his mask on almost the entire time! I will post pictures soon!

Well, I think that is all for now, but I will try to be better about posting! I am always happy when I do, I just need to make a point to do it!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Holy Heartburn!

My, my, my! I have never experienced heartburn that fast in all my life! I seriously layed down for like 10 minutes to get Roman down to sleep and got terrible heartburn! I never got heartburn like that with Roman and I am just over 4 weeks preggers! Now I am all nauseated and even though I am so tired I am afraid to go lay down! Ugh- and it begins!

We met with our midwife on Wednesday for an interview- Margaret Lipton, the only CNM in town! I really like her! She is a Christian and definitely knows her stuff, doesn't take any chances either. Although she is a little over-concerned it seems with my chances of having a babe with Spina Bifida. You see, my borther has Spina Bifida and having a first degree relative increases your chances of having a baby with the same birth defect dramatically. It also seems that Roman and I may possibly have Spina Bifida Occulta judging by the small dimple each of us has at the top of our cracks (I know it sounds weird, but there really isn't any other way for me to say it!). I think, for me, I am a little more paranoid about this pregnancy just because it is my second and my brother was the second also. Over the last few days I have really just had to make the decision to give it over to the Lord- He knows exactly how this baby should be and I need to trust Him in that. We have decided to forgo any early blood work screening (as those tests are usually inaccurate anyway) and just wait to find out at the 20 week ultrasound. In the mean time I am trying to have faith and live in peace with this mystery. Only time will tell. Pray- just pray.

Monday, October 8, 2007

BIG FAT POSITIVE!!!

Well, that just about says it all, doesn't it?! Okay, okay- I will elaborate! So, we have been trying to get pregnant since May- this was month #5. All summer my cycles have been all wonky and unpredictable- a lot of the time I wasn't even ovulating- so it has been difficult to try to find the best times to do the baby dance! My cycle in August/September was finally back to normal and I was just oh, so sure that I was pregnant. I was finding pregnancy symptoms left and right! I was completely convinced that I was having morning sickness and sore boobs and the whole deal (even though I don't have a terribly large amount of feeling in my breast tissue since I started nursing Roman- I have quite a bit of stretching scar tissue). It also didn't help that I had other friends who were trying at the same time and getting pregnant- I have a total of 10 friends who are pregnant! No joking! Plus a couple of others who just had babies and have been having me babysit! Definitely doesn't make the whole situation any easier. You start wondering what is the matter with you- even though I know that God has the best timing, it is not always easy to roll with the flow of His plans.

So this month I was determined to not get my hopes up. I just kept telling myself that this wasn't the month and eventually it would happen when it was supposed to- hopefully. If not, I figured that in a few years we could think about adoption. In spite of this I still thought that we should make every effort to take advantage of the opportunities the Lord provides, just in case He decided that this was the month. With that in mind I was waking Jer up in the middle of the night, calling him home from work, trying all the recommended positions on MDC, and taking my temperature and charting like there was no tomorrow! I didn't want to get to the end of the month and think that we didn't get pregnant because we just hadn't tried!

Well, as you can see, the Lord did have this month in mind! This last weekend I noticed that my luteal phase was getting longer than normal, so on Sunday I decided to take a test. I used a First Response test that had come with some ovulation tests I had bought, and for about 30 seconds a very, very, very light line (more of a haze) came over the results window and then disappeared. Well, I still hadn't had my period, so I decided to test again this morning- 3 days late. This time I used a digital Clear Blue Easy test, like I had with Roman, and sure enough it flashed "Pregnant." I had actually just taken the test and set it down on the sink, when I turned to grab something off the back of the toilet and it jumped out at me- "PREGNANT!" I actually gasped! I don't know why I was so surprised but I was!

I then came out and told Jer the news. He just got a big grin on his face and wanted to hug and kiss Roman. He then hugged me and prayed for our family and new baby- it was very sweet. However, he then went into a long list of things that needed to be accomplished before the baby arrived and began talking about all of this money that we needed to have in savings! He quickly got up and said, "I have to get to work! I have a lot to do!" It was pretty funny!

So, how am I? Tired. That is pretty much the only pregnancy symptom I have noticed so far- I feel like I could fall asleep standing up! Oh- and smell! Jodie (my MIL) brought over some balloons for Roman and every time I get anywhere near them the smell of the latex just about knocks me over! Other than that I am feeling pretty well, we shall see how the two pregnancies compare! I bought the same Pregnancy Journal as I had with Roman so that I could look at them side-by-side and see the similarities and differences. It shall be an interesting 9 months! Well, actually 8 since I am already in my 4th week! I don't know my actual due date yet because my cycles have been so irregular, but I e-mailed the midwife this morning and hope to hear back soon!

That is one of the things I am so excited about with this pregnancy- using a midwife and having a homebirth! Jer and I have been talking about it the last couple of nights, just in case I was pregnant, and he is totally on board. The only thing he said he wouldn't want to do is an unassisted birth, which is fine with me because I wouldn't want one anyway. He also said that he would feel terrible if anything were to happen, but I reassured him that in most instances homebirth is safer than hospital birth and that we have to have faith that the Lord is watching out for our little family. I fully believe that God will step in and direct us into the best situation if anything is wrong- I have seen Him do it before! All in all, I have a great peace about it and can't wait to see how things transpire! This weekend we will tell our families (it is so hard for me to wait- my brother was here all day and I have talked to my mom twice!) and just take it from there! Stay tuned for the latest! I plan to blog a lot about this whole experience!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Transformation!

Wow- so check out my new hair, or my new hair cut rather, I guess that the hair was already there! First I guess you better see what it looked like before (right and left). It may seem silly, but this was a big deal for me! This is the shortest I have ever had my hair in my life (see below), by far! It was really necessary though. You see, about 4 months after I had Roman my hair began falling out in handfuls. While you're pregnant you produce hormones that prevent you body from shedding the hair that it naturally would, so after you have the baby all that stored up hair that should have been lost over the last nine months suddenly begins to fall out! And boy did it ever! My stylist said that I lost about 50%of my hair (luckly it was very thick to begin with so all the loss left me with a fairly normal head of hair, although thin for me).

All the loss was annoying but the big problem actually started when it all began to grow back in! Suddenly I had these ridiculous short little hairs all over my head! Along my part it looked like I had cut a small mohawk! It was downright goofy looking! For the first time since the third grade I had bangs and you could literally lift up my hair and find these new hairs growing back in ALL OVER my head!

Well, the regrowth started in about 9 months ago, so the little hairs are now about 4-5 inches long and (before my cut) could clearly be seen in a line around my head and framing my face. I felt like my hair was completely out of control! You know those afghan dogs with the long droopy ears and hair- that is what I felt like! Positively hideous! (The picture to the right shows how long the new hairs were at this point)

So I decided to take the plunge! When I finally decided to make the appointment I knew there was no going back- it was all coming off! My amazing stylist, Annie Grieve at Strata Salon Spa, was suggesting some longer cuts at first, but I just told her, "Annie, I look terrible! Just do what you have to do to make me have cute, sassy, flirty (Chic & Savvy, hehe) hair! I don't care what it takes- Just do it!" So she did- and she did an amazing job at that! I feel so much freer- ready to conquer the world, or maybe the pile of laundry in my closest anyway! Sometimes a nice big change and a little less weight on your head (literally) is all you need to kick start a fresh beginning in your life! Oh, how nice it feels!

To top it all off, Jer watched Roman while I was gone, which hasn't happened in quite a while due to some pretty serious separation anxiety Roman was dealing with. But they hung out last night and they both did great! Jer gave him a bath and a massage and everything! When I got home the look of shock on Jer's face was priceless! I don't think he expected that much hair to be gone, and honestly I was nervous to show him! After the initial stun he did much better and made a point to tell me I was beautiful throughout the night, which was very nice to hear. Roman just giggled when he saw me, like he knew something wasn't quite the same and that dad was fairly amused by it!

It was an interesting evening all around, to say the least! Liberating and gratifying all in one! So, go cut your hair ladies- but make sure you get the best stylist you can possibly find! And don't hold back of be safe- just go for it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fall is in the air...

As I gaze out my front window right now I blatantly reminded that summer is no longer here. The wind is blowing, the sky is gray and the leaves are beginning to change colors. Normally I dread fall- all the gloomy days seem to string together. This year, however, I am actually looking forward to the change of the season. There are lots of changes going on in my life right now and so it just seems to fit.

Jeremiah says he is going to start working on our basement this weekend- a much anticipated and long awaited change! I am working on my postpartum doula training through DONA, steadily getting my reading done so that I can prepare to attend a workshop. Roman is growing and talking more- he even started telling us when he needs to go to the potty! He doesn't always make it in time, but on the whole he is doing much better than I would ever expect a 17 month old to! The picture to the right shows the first time that he actually "smiled" for the camera! We are also trying to get pregnant (as many of you know) and tonight I am going to get my hair cut (I will try to post before and after photos tomorrow and explain the whole situation!).

Chic & Savvy Mamas is also beginning to get more business. The BOLD Red Tent Event was fantastic! What a wonderful experience! I think it was the perfect venue to start getting my name out into the community for the first time! I made lots of encouraging connections and hope that things will really start to pick up. This little community is so soggy that if I can just show mamas how "non-hippie" natural parenting can be I know they will want to change!

OOO- I almost forgot! I also finished my latest pair of longies for Roman, made with the Uraguanian wool I blogged about a while back! They turned out beautifully and are so soft! I just have to make the drawstring and they will be finished! They are a little long but I want to make sure that they would last throught the winter. I will have to post a picture of them in action as soon as I get one! Speaking of projects I really need to get back to working on things for Christmas! I was hoping I would be much farther along than I am right now, and if I don't get back on it soon there is no way I will be done in time!

Well, I suppose that is all for now. It feels so good to blog again- I forget how therapeutic it can be (even if I did loose a lot of my readers during my temporary lapse in blogging- oh well, I can only do so much!). I think I am back though and ready to blog again! See you back here soon!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

BOLD Red Tent Event

I am so excited for next weekend! Chic & Savvy Mamas will be doing our very first show- and what a show it will be! It is called The BOLD Red Tent Event (BOLD Stands for Birth On Labor Day). It is going to be at SFCC for 1:00 to 5:00, featuring Birth: A Play by Karen Brody at 2:00. Admission is $5.00. Basically, these events are being help all over the nation in hopes of getting communities to offer Mother-Friendly maternity care. Our area is desperately in need of such an event and for a turn in how our community approaches birth. Along with the play there will be products and professionals all relating to birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering- pretty much anything natural parenting related. If you aren't into the whole "natural parenting thing" you should still consider coming, however. This event is for all women who have had babies or plan on having babies- we need to be informed!

So, if you haven't already guessed, I have been doing a lot of preparing for this show and therefore have not had much time online to blog (as I would have liked!). Darn it! I will try to get on during the next week, but if I can't and you happen to be in the area, I would love to meet you in person at the BOLD Event! Just look for Chic & Savvy Mamas! See you there!

Friday, September 7, 2007

It's been too long...

Oh I have been out of the loop this last week! Drat! I wish I would have stayed more on top of my game! We went out of town for Labor Day Weekend- up to the in-law's cabin. It was quite and peaceful but I didn't get half as much reading or knitting done as I would have liked! I did start Roman's newest pair of longies (which he desperatley needs- his other are sooo short!) but i still have a ways to go! One thing i did do over the weekend is give myself a bunch of pregnancy symptoms and totally convince myself that I had a little one on the way. Well, it turned out to just be bad PMS (and probably some of it was just in my head) and AF made a showing yesterday. I am still just spotting but I don't think there is any hope of it being implantation. Bummer. We'll give it a go again this month. I think I just need to be more relaxed about it and not get all regemmented and worked up about getting the deed done right! I am sure Jer would appreciate it! Oh well. The lord has some plan- does it matter if I like it or not?

On another front, as if I don't have enough on my plate right now, I am considering becoming a doula. I would like to get the training for both birth and post partum, but would probably just practice as an ante and postpartum doula until my kid(s) are older. I have consultations as a part of my business already and I would like to focus on promoting them more, but I feel like I need some credentials behind my advice to mamas and becoming a doula just seems like the right way to go. Plus, it would be nice to bring in the extra money. I am still think and praying about it, but I am seriously looking into it. It is hard to decide which doula organization to go with and there is a lot to figure out, but I really think I would enjoy it and it would be rewarding work. Hmmm... lots to think about!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Please," the lake, and good nurishment!

Okay- happy mama gush! Roman started signing "please" on Tuesday! We hardly ever give him sugar, but I was going to give him a small bite of a cookie and I told him to say "more please." He started signing more a while back but hasn't been using it lately. Well, to my surprise, instead of "more" he started signing "please!" Now he is the "please" king! He points to things he wants and signs "please!" I tell him, "No, don't climb on the chair," and he signs "please!" It is so cute! It makes saying no to the things he is doing wrong very difficult! It is just so fun to see his communication expanding! He now tries to copy the words we say and he really watches our mouths! I love it! It is like having a little friend with me all day! Umm... the joys of motherhood!

On that motherly note, I just got the most wonderful book (and a new Bible since Roman had done quite the number on my other one!). The book is by Lisa Whelchel (ya know, Blair, from The Facts of Life?) and is called "The Busy Mom's Guide to Bible Study". It teaches moms how to really get a lot out of the abbreviated times we find to spend in the Word. She has such loving and practical advice for mothers and is a beautiful writer. I have read a few of her other books also, "Taking Care of the Me in Mommy" and her book on homeschooling- both were wonderfully helpful and I highly recommend them! In fact, I plan on reading them both again because they were just so packed with awesome information and insight!

My goal is to start waking up earlier in the morning so that I can really have a chunk of time that I can just focus on getting myself prepared for the day. To just be able to sit in my rocking chair, drink a cup of tea, read my Bible and truly spend time with the Lord, without the distraction of a zillion other things, would make such a difference to my day! To also be able to maybe do some yoga and take care of a few little things before Roman emerges from his slumber would just be so nice! If I only didn't feel so tired every morning! Oh Lord, give me the grace to get my butt out of bed!

And now, onto an entirely different subject- the lake!! Yesterday I headed up to Coeur d'Alene with a few of my friends and their kiddos who are all around Roman's age and we had so much fun! It started off kind of rocky when I was supposed to go meet the mama I was car pooling with and discovered I had a very flat tire (which Jer went and got fixed this morning, bless his heart!). But the other mama graciously drove all the way across town (about a half an hour out of her way) to come pick us up! After that things got much better! The kids chatted hysterical baby jabber to each other the whole way there, while my girl friend and I compared our possible pregnancy symptoms (we will be testing within two days of each other!) and just got a chance to chit chat rather undistractedly!

Once we got there the kids had so much fun playing in the sand and water! Roman was the craziest of the bunch of course! That boy always keeps me on my toes! While the other mamas were even able to sneak a few minutes here and there to lay on their towels and read magazines I was constantly chasing a (hmmm, shall we call him adventurous?) toddler! But when it comes right down to it, would I have him any other way? He may be more work then some, but I love his personality and know that he is destined to be a leader! Plus- he makes sure I get my exercise, right?!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

OOOO- another fun contest!

Don't you just love fun contests? I do! There is a great one over at Our 7 Qtpies, for a 1 lb bag of Little Miracles for Diapers and Pails. It sounds like an awesome product! Apparently you can use it as a deodorizer and as detergent! How cool! The products are from Reversal Miracles which looks like a cool little store! They have a little diaper stick that is safe for cloth and a few other items too! Check 'em out and get in on this contest!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I think I'm in love!


My new yarn finally arrived today! I am so excited! It is 100% Uraguanian Merino Wool and it is sooooo soft! I bought it a couple of weeks ago from 100 Pure Wool and it is my first really nice yarn purchase. I have used Cascade and a couple other okay brands for Roman's woolies, but this is by far the most luxurious! I just can't stop petting it! I can't wait to knit it up to see how it looks! Jer liked it because he said it looked "manly". A lot of the other colorways I showed him he just couldn't get into, but this one he loved! Good thing, 'cause he is going to have to hold it for me tonight while I wrap it into a center-pull ball! And it wasn't even expensive! Shipping included I only spent about $30! I can't remember exactly how much, but it was only about $7 per skein! Woohoo!


Oh, and check out these cool stamps from Uraguay! According to the package it cost $150 Uraguanian which translated to about $9 US! Crazy Huh? I want to start keeping stamps like these, and other little bits of uncommon art to put under plexiglass on my craft table someday. When I have a craft table and a studio to put it in, that is! Wouldn't it be cool on an old door turned table? Oh, I can dream!


For now this is my "studio". We just moved it out of our bedroom into the living room yesterday so that I can get more use out of it. It is the perfect place to sit and knit and do my Bible Study.
The blanket across the front is the lapghan I am crocheting for my grandparents. It is slowly growing, taking much more yarn than I had expected! Oh well, it will be nice in the end and they will love it!

The quilt across the back is one I started a few years ago in a sampler class. I really like it but I still need to add a border to it so that it is the right size and then actually quilt it and bind it! Someday it will be finished! For now though, it helps my little chair feel homey and inspired!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Attempts at discretion... and do you see it?

Do you see it? Do you see that faint line? Okay, first off, don't get your hopes up! It is just an ovulation predictor kit! But for me it is a very good sign that that faint line exists! It means that my body is returning to normal and I actually have a shot at getting pregnant this month. I still have this overwhelming feeling that after my 2 week wait I am going to get some happy news! I think the Lord is sending me signs! Okay, some or most of you probably think I am a loon right now, but I hate to chalk things up to coincidence!

Here is how it all started- Roman came down with a cold on Friday and didn't sleep well yet again last night, so we decided to sleep in and skip church. Well, when we got up I started thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to test for ovulation since I have been keeping track of my other signs and my temperatures have been rather unclear. I figured that if I tested right in the morning it would be perfect since I hadn't peed yet! One problem though, I didn't have any testers! So I convinced Jer to hop in the car with Roman and me to buzz to the nearest store with a self check out (hence the idea that I wouldn't have to actually discuss my purchase with anyone or present it to some young high school boy to have him ring me up!). Well, as murphy's law would have it, I couldn't find the testers in the aisle I figured they would be, so I ended up having to ask where they were! Ugh- just what I was trying to avoid! Then, when I finally do get them and am checking out, the little magnetic strip didn't demagnetize and sent sirens flaring when I tried to leave! Go figure! The woman who checked my purchase then of course had to start asking all sorts of questions about whether or not I was pregnant and if I really wanted to be, to which I had to give as simple an answer as I could about how they were ovulation testers not pregnancy tests... blah, blah, blah! So my attempt at being discreet ended up involving two grocery store clerks and a siren! Oh well! I digress!

So we got home and Jer made some brunch while I went and finally took the opportunity to relieve myself (after all that mix-up at the store it was a long time coming!). Three minutes later that faint line was unmistakable! So, it is nothing to do cartwheels over, but at least it shows that we have our timing right!

What about the Lord and signs, you ask though? Well, I am getting there! During our brunch we decided to sit down and watch Jon Courson's message from last week, August 19, online since we had missed church. Well, during the message Jon started getting all into the meaning of a name of a particular person in the Bible who was given a name change by the Lord. The name that the Lord gave the man is the name that we have been seriously considering for our next boy. Lately I have been wondering what the actual meaning of the name is, and there Jon was giving insight and definition of this name! So now, not only do I think I am going to get pregnant this month but I think it is going to be a boy! Haha! I know- I will probably be totally off! Just watch, I will get pregnant in like November with a girl! Oh well! But wouldn't it be cool if all of this did happen?! Well, I can live in my happy little place of hope and contentment for now, and see what the Lord brings along in two weeks!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Babies on the brain... along with a lot of other stuff!

Oh my, my, my... what to say? My brain feels jumbled! I have so much rolling around in that noggin of mine that it is difficult to be productive around the house (unlike last week!)! Drat! So here goes... some good, some bad, and some dreamy...

First off lets talk about some good! Some crazy really! Last Friday I came home to a very big surprise from Jer... and iPhone!! I couldn't believe it! I was totally shocked! I almost choked on my dinner! I have wanted one since I heard about them last fall and have been dealing with a ghetto Walmart cell phone for a few months since Roman broke mine! I totally love it! It is so nice ot be able to check the web and my e-mail, especially with Chic & Savvy Mamas really starting to take off! Plus, I am such a lister! My life is run by lists and now I have one handy place to store them all! It is also nice because I never forget to take my phone with me so I now will never accidentally leave my shopping lists and so forth on the kitchen table! Yeah for my wonderful husband! That more than makes up for Mother's Day!

Hmmm... next, not so fun. Roman is teething! Four molars all at once! Ugh! Poor guy (and poor mama!)! He had a fever all last weekend and is so cranky! Totally not himself! I feel so bad for him but I am also on the verge of loosing my mind! He just wants to be attached to me all day. The top two have broken through but the bottom ones still have a ways to go. Hopefully it will get over quickly! Pray for him!

And now for the dreamy- I have baby fever! Bad! I currently know 8 friends who are pregnant and one who had her baby 2 days ago. One of those friends I am planning a baby shower for also, which of course really makes me think about babies! Jer and I had planned on starting to TTC (try to conceive) in May, but due to a whole series of issues (including my body not cooperating) we haven't really. Well, this is the first month that my body is really getting back to normal and I have this gut feeling that it really is going to happen this month. I don't know, I am probably setting myself up for disappointment, but it just feels like it is going to be real. I have this strange calm about it.

Maybe that calm is from some of the planning we have already been doing for the next babe... (which could be getting a little ahead of the game, but hey I am the kinda gal who read homeschooling books when I was 2 months prego with my first! I like to be prepared!)... we have our names picked out (even if we were to have twins, hehe), the basement and yard really should be finished this fall/winter, and then there is the final decision that I have just come to (like last night!)- I want a homebirth for the next babe. I can't believe I just said that! I have always been very leary of the whole idea- I admire the mamas who do it but never thought I could myself. I had many reservations... what if something was the matter with the baby at birth, what about the mess, my house is so small... and on and on. However, most of the hospital experience with Roman was nothing short of frustrating... worrying that my birth plan wouldn't be followed, the constant threat of medical intervention, the nurses who never let you rest postpartum, the cold and sterile rooms... and even more on and on. My friend who had her baby 2 days ago (she is actually my doula) had a homebirth and from what I have heard so far thinks went beautifully. Her labor was only 9 hours!

So the last few days I have been getting online and really doing some research about the whole homebirth thing. I have read all about the safety, and in many cases your home is actually safer for birth if you are being attended to by a trained midwife. I have also been reading a bunch of different mama's homebirth stories and last night I came across this one at mothering.com: Not the Kind of House for a Home Birth, by Emily Sinagra. It truly touched me. It just seemed so fitting and perfect for birth. I suddenly had visions of preparing my home for the birth of my next baby (I love to plan and prepare things). I could see myself peacefully laboring in my home by the glow of soy candles, listening to a soft playlist of music flowing from my computer. The ideas of being able to drink and eat from my own kitchen without waiting for a nurse to fill up my cranberry juice or tell me that the hospital cafeteria is closed so all I can eat after my 21 hour labor is a stale miniature croissant, became suddenly appealing. Not having to deal with stalling my labor while driving to the hospital, constant vital sign checks, nurse shift changes, and worries over my birth plan being followed, started to make too much sense to ignore.

But what would Jer say? I had to bring up the topic in light conversation to see what his initial reaction might be. Our friend's recent homebirth was the prefect introduction. I started chatting with him about how short her labor was (her first labor in the hospital had been VERY long), and how beautiful she had described the experience as being. Then I casually said, "Man, homebirth doesn't sound so bad after all!" And to my shock he said, "Yeah, ya think? Would you want one?" Trying not to stammer, I said, "Well, I'm not ruling it out. It might be nice." And he just said, "Yeah, it could be good." Holy Cow! I can't believe he was so open to it!

For me, that was the final decision maker for me. I know now that I want a homebirth with our next baby, whenever that may be. I know we will get lots of whiplash from friends and family (my brother had spina bifida and they didn't know before he was delivered which scares my family to death, and lots of our friends are nurses.) But ya know what, I don't care. I am comfortable with this decision, much more comfortable than the thought of another hospital birth. And really that is all that matters. Right? I think so.

Monday, August 20, 2007

But what about the poo?!?!

Whats up with Cloth? Article #3

So, you are wondering how you clean nasty cloth right? Do you have to dunk them in the toilet? Are they REALLY sanitary? Are they all stained? Do they stink? What do you do with them when you aren't at home? Well, I will tell you!

First of all, washing cloth diapers isn't nearly as laborus or burdensome as everyone seems to think it is! Honestly, I spend as much time washing diapers as I did emptying the darn diaper genie! It really comes down to a couple of key things- having enough diapers and a washing routine that works for you. I have enough diapers that I only have to wash every 2-3 days and my routine is down to a science. I spend no more time with diaper laundry than I do regular laundry.

It is really pretty simple- I throw the wet diapers into a lined pail (just a flip top trash can with a reusable PUL bag liner that can be found on almost any cloth diapering site) and when the pail is full I take the bag down and empty it into a cold rinse cycle with a little bit of OxyClean Free (helps with stains and stinks- you can use it only every couple of loads if you like). Next I run a hot wash cycle with a couple tablespoons of natural detergent (my favorite is Country Save), about 1/4 cup of baking soda, and about 1/4 cup vinegar where the fabric softener is supposed to go. Sometimes I run an additional rinse cycle after this to make sure all the detergent is washed out, but it is not always necessary. So there you have it! It is that easy! Pop those babies in the dryer or out on the line and voila'- fresh and clean diapers! The hot water, vinegar and baking soda work to sanitize and the detergent washes everything else away! What could be easier? Of course, sometimes you may run into some build up issues from diaper creams or not rinsing your dipes well enough, but those problems are usually easily fixed with a few good hot washes and a little bit of OxyClean Free!

I know what you are thinking though... what about the poo? Aww yes, the dreaded poo. Well for starters- your own kid's poo is somehow different from anyone elses poo in the world, so right off it is better than it could be! But allow me to let you in on a little secret. It is an accessory that I bought with my first diaper stash and have been in love with ever since! It is called.... the Diaper Sprayer! Yes my dear friends it connects right to your toilet and quickly sprays any unwanted mess right into the bowl! And guess what, since you are simply washing the poo down the drain you don't have any stinky mess to smell up your house! In all actuality, wet cloth diapers smell worlds better than wet disposables since the stench that most people associate with diapers is actually caused by the chemical reactions taking place, not the mess itself! You will also find this handy gadget useful while potty training to easily rinse out your child's potty! I couldn't live without it! I don't know how those sposie mamas do it! Plus, if we get right down to it, you are "technically" supposed to remove as much poo as you can even from disposable diapers, since you are not "technically" supposed to throw human waste into landfills. So you might as well just cloth diaper your kids and save a bundle of money in the process!

So now maybe I have you nearly convinced, but you still have one more burning question, "What do you do with the diapers when you are out of the house?" And guess what, I have one more brilliant answer for you! It is called, a wet bag! These waterproof bags come in zillions of sizes and fabrics to match every mama's style and protect everything in your bag from coming in contact with a soiled dipe. Half the time you can't even find a place in public to throw away a sposie anyway, so why not just slip your dipes in your cute little washable bag and not worry about it! I must admit, a wet bag is another one of those cloth diapering accessories that I just don't know how sposie mamas live without! I mean, wet bags are ideal for swimsuits, spit up rags, or any of the other little messes are bundles of joy constantly spew! See, cloth diapering allows us women to accessorize even more (especially fun if you have a little boy!)! One more wonderful reason to jump on the band wagon!

Still not convinced? Well, let me throw these last few wonderful reasons to use cloth (and a bit of a review) at you and then I will rest my case:
1. Cloth diapered children typically learn to use the potty 1-2 years earlier than children in sposies (we started Roman at 1 year and he almost never poos in a diaper anymore and he is just 16 months! It is glorious!)
2. You never have to worry about your child having allergic reactions to the chemicals in sposies (which many children do, but it is normally just attributed to being diaper rash, not diaper reaction)
3. It is WAY cheaper! Even if you buy the most expensive dipes and thoroughly accessorize yourself, you will still be saving bundles of money!
4. Cloth is much more comfortable- would you like sitting around wrapped in paper all day? I mean come on mamas- remember those post-partum days? Try that for a few years! No fun!
5. Oh yeah... the environment
6. Cloth is just so darn CUTE!! I mean, who could resist?!?!

Friday, August 17, 2007

But I don't want to use pins and plastic pants!

Whats up with Cloth?? Article #2

So, now you know why I decided to cloth diaper. Now I will show you what modern cloth diapering really looks like!

My very first stash consisted of only 8 diapers! Yes it can be done (although I don't recommend it!)! I ordered 2 of 4 different kinds of diapers (from left to right- Happy Heinys, Fuzzi Bunz, DryBees, Bum Genius 1.0) to figure out what we liked the best. I subsisted on this stash of diapers for 2 months before I bought 12 prefolds and covers along with snappis to lighten my laundry routine- but we will get more into that later! All of the diapers you see to the right are Pocket Style, which simply means that they consist of an outer shell made of PUL (a soft, waterproof fabirc) on the side facing away from baby, and a wicking fabric (which pulls moisture away from the skin, such as microfleece) on the side touching baby, therefore forming a pocket for you to stuff an absorbent insert into. The nice things about pockets are that they dry quickly, you can adjust the absorbency based on the number of inserts you stuff them with, they come in cute colors, and are just as easy to put on as disposables, using either snaps or velcro. These dipes are especially great for dads and grandparents, and are nice for outings when you don't want to have to deal with putting a cover over a diaper.

Of course, Pocket Diapers are just one of many different styles that exist in cloth diapering today! My other favorites include: All-in-ones (just how they sound- waterproof fabric and absorbency all sewn together! What could be easier?), fitteds (which look like a diaper but require a cover), and prefolds (the "old style" dipes that you fold and either pin or snappi). For more information on all of the different types of cloth dipes you can look at this detailed page on my website: Modern Cloth Diapering Options.

All in all, I like to use an all-in-one or pocket for when we are out and about, and a fitted or prefold at home. The fitteds and prefolds allow Roman to go coverless at home, giving the maximum amount of breathability to his bum and helping prevent diaper rash. Now you may be thinking, "But you have to use pins with a prefold! I never want to use pins!" Well, you don't have to anymore! Now they have a thing called a snappi (see left)- a "T" shaped plastic gadget with little teeth on the ends that secure the diaper into place! Honestly, I use prefolds all the time and I don't even own pins! Plus, you can make your prefolds sooooo cute by dyeing and embellishing them(see left, stash photo below and picture of Roman in Article #1).

"But covers?" you say, "who wants to deal with covers?! And aren't they those icky plastic pants?" Well, as I mentioned before, I rarely use a cover at home. If I do put a cover on him it is for naptime or bedtime, and then I use wool. "Wool?" you say- I know it sounds strange and I definitely had my reservations, but wool is wonderful! Due to it's antimicrobial properties wool can be used for up to 2 weeks (depending on how often you use it) without smelling or needing to be washed, and the lanolin in the wool is an amazing waterproof barrier! Along with function wool is also adorable! I mean, check out these shorties that I knit (right)! If you need a cover for going out there are many very trim wool options along with wrap style covers made of PUL that either snap or velcro right over your prefold or fitted.

Here is my current stash from left to right, top to bottom: flannel receiving blankets used as flats, 2 Happy Heinys, 2 Fuzzi Bunz, 2 DryBees, 2 Bum Genius 1.0s, Chic & Savvy Wet Bag, 1 yellow Dream-eze fitted- the green one was in the wash, 2 Dream-eze AIOs, 2 Easy-does-it AIOs, 2 Wonderwraps adjustable size covers, Snappis, baby wash cloths used as wipes, 1 fleece liner, 6 premium infant prefolds, 6 regular infant prefolds, 2 mother of eden doublers, 3 microfiber towels used as doublers.

So, now you may be thinking, "Okay, okay, they do seem pretty cute. They aren't what I was expecting and they even seem functional and maybe even easy, but what about washing them? I can't spend my life washing diapers!" Well, you don't have to and I will tell you how in my next article!

Why in the world do I cloth diaper?!?!?

What's up with Cloth? Article #1

I recently received an e-mail from a fellow mama who was inquisitive about cloth diapers. Her questions were simple and straight forward, "I see that they now have snaps, but can you tell me how it works?," "I cannot imagine cleaning a cloth diaper and I'm curious why would you do it when you could throw them away. More specifically, how do you clean those things?" I appreciate her questions- most people don't even bother to ask before they just assume that I must be crazy or a glutton for punishment! Quite honestly, I completely understand that mind set though. Ya know why? I used to think the same way! In fact, if you asked anyone who knows me they would undoubtedly tell you that I was the least likely person on the planet to EVER use cloth diapers! When I first had my son I didn't care how much disposables cost me or what they did to the environment- there was NO WAY I was going to cloth diaper! You couldn't have paid me enough money to use cloth!

So what changed my mind? First of all, I started meeting mamas who used cloth and I was totally surprised at what I saw! These moms were cute and trendy, nowhere near the hippies I had envisioned! And then there were the diapers themselves- they didn't have pins or plastic pants- they were actually cute! They had snap or velcro closures and were as easy to put on as a sposie! However, I still wasn't convinced that cloth was for my family. I mean, after all- you still have to wash them and deal with poo, right? Although I was intrigued (much like the mama who e-mailed me), why were mothers putting themselves through "all the work" of cloth diapering?

So I started doing some research. I found DiaperPin.com, which has lots of product reviews, information and helpful forums, and used their Cloth Cost Analysis Calculator to find out how much I would really be saving. To my shock, over just one year I would save more than $1000, and thats not including how much I would save by using the same dipes on future kids! Compelling, but not the final straw. The thing that really tipped the scales and convinced me that cloth really was the way to go was RealDiaperAssociation.org- they promote the awareness of what you are really putting on your babe's bum when you strap a sposie on them. I read their article about how disposable diapers can actually effect your child's health. This is some of what the article has to say:

"Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..1

Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.2

Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbancy tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome.3

In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.18"

http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php


Now, as a mama who was using disposables this article horrified me! I couldn't believe that I had unintensionally been exposing my son to such toxic chemicals 24 hours a day since he had been born! That did it! I was convinced! I couldn't in good conscience put my son in disposable diapers any more. I bought my first stash of cloth diapers that night.

I thoroughly believe it is my job to protect my child however I can, including by removing harmful chemicals that are in their environment. Sadly, diposable diapers are packed with toxic chemicals but parents have no idea. We figure that if it is on the market and says it is gentle enough for my baby then it must be okay, but that just isn't the case. For instance did you know when a bottle of baby shampoo says "Tear Free" it is not because it is so gentle that it won't hurt your baby's eyes, but rather that it contains a numbing agent so they don't know they are being burned?

My research opened up a whole new world to me that I needed to protect my family from. Just as you lock cupboards to protect your child from what is inside, I made the decision to remove toxic chemicals from our home any way that I could. We now use only non-toxic, natural cleaners and all-natural personal care products (like soaps, toothpaste, lotion, etc..) and eat organic when we can. I now rest easy, knowing that by being an informed mama I am making the most healthy choices for my family. You can just call me a non-hippie natural mama! I am good with that!

So now you know why I Cloth Diaper, stay tuned for the "hows" and learn that it really isn't as much work as everyone thinks! You can also go to my website to learn more: Chic & Savvy Mamas.