Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our Baby - Marian Edith

Our  baby arrived last week!

This is Marian - two days before she was born. :) I was fully convinced it was still going to be a week or two before the baby came, as I felt on the whole quite normal, and I expected things would slowly change so I would know when it was time. (wrong!)

At 3:44 in the morning on February 17th I woke up and went downstairs to the restroom. I went back upstairs to bed, but couldn't get to sleep because of some rather uncomfortable cramps. I was restless enough that Jordan woke up as the cramps got a little harder, and our whispering woke up Mom, who came to see what was wrong. (Mom and 3 of my siblings had come to stay until the baby was born to help us out)

I was still convinced it was nothing, but the three of us went downstairs and I tried to get comfortable on the couch or the floor, but couldn't. Finally about 5:30 am they decided to call the midwife, we had timed the contractions and they were about 2 to 3 minutes apart, and varying in intensity somewhat. The midwife said to keep monitoring them and call back in 1 hour. In 45 minutes they were more regular at about 2 minutes apart, and noticeably stronger. They called her again, and she said she would be on her way after breakfast.

We decided to move back upstairs to the bedroom. By this time I was getting pretty miserable, nothing seemed to help get through each contraction except holding on to Jordan. I wasn't able to relax through them like I had read about in various books.

So many ladies I knew had had very long labors with their first birth, that I expected that too. I assumed labor would go on for a couple of days maybe. Mine came on so hard and fast, that I started to get panicky during the harder contractions, as they were almost more than I could bear, and I was thinking to myself - 'I don't think I can do this much longer, let alone all day and into the next!'

 Somehow I had missed the memo from Mom and from the midwife that I was actually getting very close to having the baby - I thought I was still in the beginning stages, and when I started getting the urge to push I was like 'Oh no!! This is way too early!', and I was shocked when the midwife checked me and told me I was fully dilated and had her permission to push the baby out any time I was ready!

Up until the last I didn't think I would be able to do it. During the last contractions the only bearable place to be was on my floor mat, kneeling mostly, and that is where the baby was born. The midwife handed the baby to me, and I saw it was a girl. What an amazing lot of feelings were mixed up that day - lots of pain, then so much happiness!

Holding our little girl Marian Edith

Marian meets Dad

The most wonderful feeling ever. Having her here safely - and breathing a big sigh of relief  that it was over, and enjoying getting to know our daughter! Having her at home was a great experience.

She was beautiful and pink from the time she was born - she was very alert and latched on to nurse only a few minutes after being handed to me. She was born at 10:38am, so total time for my labor was only about 7 hours. So thankful! It seemed even much shorter than that to me - I couldn't believe that I had gone to bed the night before not expecting to meet our baby for a couple of weeks, and the next morning she was here!

She is such a darling - it's only been a little over a week and I can't imagine how we ever got along without her!

We love her so much!! Thank you to everyone who was praying for us!

My Mom put together a video slideshow of her first couple of days, click here to see, or watch below:

Marian from Shannon Ranch on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Getting Ready for Baby

I have quite a bit of baby sewing I've been doing, more coming on that soon. But there has also been several items we've bought or that family has gifted us in anticipation for the new little arrival. These may be a little different than the usual, so I thought I would share some of our preparations.

We aren't planning a baby room, nursery, or even a crib. At night the baby will sleep in our bed, and for day-time napping we were given this wonderful thing:

An organic cotton Baby hammock . It has adjustable positions, and I am planning to have a place to hang it from the ceiling in the sitting room, upstairs in our bedroom, and on both porches. That way wherever we are in the house, we can move it around and baby can nap near us. I've had my eye on this hammock since seeing it in the Magic Cabin catalog several years ago and I thought it was such a great idea.
I hope baby will like it!

For sleeping on the bed, or the hammock, a sheared wool lambskin. This was a Christmas present from my grandmother - it is the softest thing!! I love stroking it. :) My friend Janet loves the one she has - it is supposed to keep baby just the right temperature while sleeping in warm or cold weather. The brand we got was Lamby Nursery. I've become very intrigued by all the possibilities of pure wool being useful in baby items - more on that later.

Last week I was organizing all baby items we would need immediately after the birth, and I had a bit of a panic moment! I discovered I had quite a scarcity of newborn sized clothes. Granted, I had a bunch of items I was working on making - but what if the baby surprised us and I didn't have them done?? So, I did some quick online shopping and was happy to discover some very timely sales and got some basic clothing items from Carters to supplement what I was missing:

A pack each of boy and girl long-sleeved onesies:

 2 pair of basic pants, one footed
 And six pair of warm knit bootie/sock thingies

It's so hard to find tasteful baby clothing! I think Carters has a pretty cute selection - because I just don't do babies covered in cartoon-character embroidered clothing. Sorry. :) It's annoying that there are tons of cute-as-a-button expensive European baby clothes brands, but hardly any American - expensive or otherwise.

After we know whether baby is a boy or girl, it will be the time to really do someclothes shopping/thrifting/making. Fun stuff!

I am planning to try doing cloth diapers for the most part. However, I definitely want some disposables waiting in the wings for times like car traveling. After researching tons of 'chemical free' diaper brands, I finally decided on the Honest Company brand, based on the reviews and info online.
Thankfully they had a plain white option (without even a printed brand name!) which I liked. So, I got 2 packs of newborn size to try, and quite a few of the wipes as well. So far I like the look of everything - we will see how they turn out!

For cloth diapers I am planning to do prefolds with wool covers. More on that later when I know more about it and have some experience! :)

This interesting shirt is called a 'Kangaroo Tube' top. Several times this year in my reading I have been struck by the benefits listed about lots of skin to skin time for momma and baby, especially the days/weeks right after birth. But, living in a house under construction that is without much privacy right now, and expecting to have company during and after the baby's birth, there didn't seem much chance for that. So, when I saw this ingenious shirt, it went right on my wish list. Hopefully it will allow for lots of skin to skin time and still be somewhat modest. :)

I've always liked the idea of a wrap baby carrier/sling. Another Christmas gift, this Moby wrap, (mine is cream) is something I can't wait to try. My friend Desarae also gave me a lovely handmade sling that looks super handy! It will be great to have different styles to switch out.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pregnancy so far...

 I can't believe I'm already on the last stretch, and that soon I will get to meet my little baby girl or boy! It's seemed to go by so fast - I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts and I would love it if other mothers had any advice for me!

     The first two months of pregnancy I felt pretty nauseous a lot of the time and had a hard time cooking for myself or Jordan. The intensity of smells was crazy, and that was what always triggered feeling sickish. At one point I even felt like I could smell water and be sick. After that faded, I felt so awesome! From the 3rd to the 6th month it seemed like I had extra energy, and felt better than normal. I also didn't start to show much of a bump until month 4 or 5, so sometimes I would forget I was pregnant when going about daily tasks, because I still felt like I was just normal "me". (but with super-energy!)  I guess for some reason I thought pregnancy would mean I was out of commission for 9 months, and that I would feel dreadful and heavy most of the time. So far that hasn't been true. Although, during this last trimester, I have been gradually been in need of more and more rest. I'm not able to work all day long any more, and have to take frequent breaks or mini naps during the day. In the last two months (8 and 9 months along) the bump has gotten seemingly suddenly bigger, and even though I still don't feel too heavy most of the time, I am definitely feeling it more now. Since being pregnant I've gone from a 26" waist to a 38" bump, and went from 97 lbs to 126lbs.

I think the most fun of being pregnant is feeling your baby move around inside you. It's amazing to see him/her respond to outside noises - if crazy movement is an indicator, our baby seems to like Jordan's voice and bagpipe music the best. Lol! Baby also seems to find it amusing to kick heartily when I am attempting to eat or rest, and apparently rather likes kicking my ribs until they pop. Ow.

Contrary to what most people have told me about the last trimester, I am not sick of being pregnant, and I don't feel as big as a house. (yet anyway! lol) But I am getting anxious to meet the little person!

We have been working hard on getting our house ready for the new arrival. Since we are planning a home birth, I am especially anxious to make things comfortable and pretty.

Here are some health related things I have been working on during the last 9 months:

Books I have been reading: Nourishing Traditions, Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care Active Birth, Husband Coached Child Birth, Making Babies, The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy
(although not everything in all of these books do I agree with, they all have good things to say and lots of helpful advice)

Diet. A few things I have been trying to incorporate into my diet more - fresh greens in salads and smoothies, and good fats and meats. Also have been staying somewhat low gluten- for bread we have mostly eaten Ezekiel bread at home and baked with spelt four. When I can I have been doing some raw egg and milk smoothies as well. I have also been trying to cut out processed sugar. (though I haven't been as firm about that as I should!)

D-3. After my initial blood test early on in pregnancy, we found out I was severely deficient in vitamin D-3. This was surprising to me, and a bit annoying, as one would hope that spending lots of time outdoors in the sun would take care of this, right? Apparently not entirely. We've since heard that it actually takes 48 hours your skin to produce D-3 after being exposed to the sun, and that showers too often can interfere with the process by washing away the oils in your skin. (recently this hasn't been a problem for us, since we don't have real running water yet! lol) Also Jordan was doing some research and D-3 is super important for growing healthy teeth. Despite always taking care of my teeth and having a pretty healthy diet since childhood, I have always had weak teeth, and constantly been fighting cavities forming, and have even had to have a couple of root canals done. :( I always assumed it was genetic and there was no help for it, but perhaps it was because I was deficient in D-3 all this time? At any rate, after beginning to take 5000 IU of D-3 every day at the recommendation of my midwife, something very interesting happened. Around October Jordan noticed I had yet another cavity forming, this time near the gum line on one of my more front teeth. The enamel was gone and discolored, and there was already a hollow spot forming. (sorry if that's too much information!) Well, I was not happy to hear that, and foresaw yet  more dentist visits. In December Jordan checked the cavity, and we were both surprised and pleased that it was gone! Some faint discoloration was still there, but the hollow spot and the enamel had both grown back!!! *happy dance* So, does this mean I am now back to healthy levels of D-3? I sure hope so. (the next three things, cranberries, calcium, and good fats are also important for teeth)

Cranberries/cranberry supplement. So far fresh cranberries are my only very long-lasting specific craving during pregnancy. (although I've always been a fan of eating bags of fresh cranberries when available during the holidays) I'm a little bit ashamed to admit that I have gone through 10 lbs of fresh cranberries each month this fall and winter. I order them frozen from Azure Standard and eat them by the bowlful for snacks. I also have been taking a concentrated cranberry supplement now and then. None of this was recommended by my midwife, though I did check it out with her to make sure I wasn't over doing it!

Butter/Fish Oil/Coconut Oil. Good fats are so important! Especially for growing little baby's brain. I've tried to make an effort to have good butter around the house and to use it lots. Just in the last month I've also taken it a step further and bought organic pasture fed butter. (its yum!) Since July I've also been on a fish oil supplement for the first time in my life. For many years I've been hearing about the wonders of coconut oil, so I've kept a jar of the good stuff (extra virgin, cold pressed and all that) around for incorporation into meals.

Probiotics. Yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, intestinal flora supplements, and sometimes included in the green superfood. I feel so much more energized when I have a daily source of probiotics. I haven't had near as much of this as I would have wished, but I have been trying to do better about keeping it around or making yogurt and kefir.

Magnesium Oil. Something I've started recently - due to this interesting article. Haven't yet seen any astounding results, but it can't hurt! :)

Aligned and Well Program. This was strongly recommended by my midwife. I have had a 'restorative exercise specialist' coming periodically to see me since late fall last year, and correcting my posture and stance, giving me gentle exercises and stretches to practice throughout the day, and tips for daily movement and walking to make it a permanent habit. I feel this has been very good for me, and hope it will help make things easier during delivery! See the website here.

None of the above things have I been faithful enough with, but I sincerely hope they have helped my baby grow healthy and strong. I am praying for that!

These are simply some of my thoughts and some of what I have learned during my pregnancy. Please do not start anything new without doing your own research! :)

I only have a couple of weeks to go now! My "official" due date is February 14th, though I am sure baby will come in it's own time. Excited!!


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