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Thursday, May 31, 2012

39 weeks

I went to the maternity clinic today and everything is going fine. I am 3 centimeters dilated but haven't thinned out much. The nurse asked if I wanted my cervix stripped. Ummm, no..... I am not even at my due date and little girl's head is not even engaged. She is flipping from side to side. It looks like I will get my June baby. I was tempted to buy some blue and black cohosh at the store today but I have confidence in my body. I am ready to deliver and as soon as Elaina is ready we will get this show on the road. Until then she can keep on cooking....


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Playing at the park


The weather here in Alabama has been unbearably hot in the afternoons. I packed a breakfast snack and took Evan and Eliot to the park while Lyn was at soccer camp. We got there before 8am. It was cool enough to actually enjoy ourselves. I wasn't ready to leave and since the kids got a little stir crazy I got out some of my work toys and entertained them for a bit longer. Needless to say after about 3 and a half hours of play we all took a good nap....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My peaceful moment

It is 8am and I am sitting on the bank of a local creek enjoying the sound of the flowing water. I played in this creek when I was a child. I watched it flood its banks and seep into our yard. The park next to it holds all kinds of memories, some good some not. The children have played in the same water and played on the playground. I am enjoying my quiet moment.....

Monday, May 28, 2012

38 weeks


I am still pregnant. I am about 38 and a half weeks along. As of last Thursday I was still just 2 and half centimeters dilated. I have been contracting randomly and had a lot of discomfort but I don't think I have dilated any more. I definitely have gained more weight. I am hoping some of that is going to Elaina but I feel it is all going to my bottom and thighs. I was guessing she would weigh 7 pounds 2 ounces. Now, I think she may be closer to 8 pounds. I have gained 26 pounds but it feels more like 40. after she is born I would love to loose 70 pounds. That sounds like a lot but hey, I'll be honest I weigh over 200 pounds right now. Going by my past deliveries I should loose at least 15 pounds with delivery and 10 pounds of fluid in the 2 weeks immediately post partum. That only makes one pound to lose to be at my pre-pregnancy weight. Then I will start to work all my extra weight. I am realistic. I give myself 6 months loos the weight and a year to get into good shape. I have always had a thought in the back of my mind that it wasn't worth it for me to get too gung ho in my weight loss routine because I knew I would want to be pregnant in a year or two. That really is a lame excuse I know. I am fairly sure we are done with adding children to our family the old fashioned way of birthing them. That and 40 being right around the corner I think I will try to get as healthy and as strong as I can. A friend from highschool has started walking at a local track in the morning twice a week. I may actually try and join her group. This week and next should help labor along and after birth it will help me stay active.  It all starts one day at a time.....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lactation counseling at the library


I met up with a mama at the library for a lactation session. Her baby is 3 months old and in a few months mom will be going back to work. Little one nurses well but is not taking a bottle and mom is concerned that she will have trouble at daycare when mom goes back to work in a few months. Mom brought in all the bottles and cups she has been trying at home. I showed mom how to offer the nipple like you would a breast. A lot of moms try to put a bottle in a baby's mouth straight. I showed her how to to angle it more towards the roof of her mouth and to get as much of the nipple in her mouth as possible. I think the trick that will work for this family will be to start offering the bottle when little one is happy and not wait till she is starving and only wants mama milk. I am so happy to be able to help moms gain confidence with their breastfeeeding experience. Besides it is fun!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Annika's brain on herbs

What a difference....

After a talk with Annika's neurologist we are making some changes. Her last EEG showed that she has abnormal brain activity just about all the time. Her sleep patterns are like an infant's. All of this seems to be caused by her documented brain damage. Solution? Well, we need to see about adjusting her sleep patterns and to decrease her anxiety and help her organize her thoughts better. Socially and cognitively she is operates on about a 4 to 6 year old level. She does really well in school (straight As for 4th grade)  but she has a lot of trouble with abstract thought and seeing the world through other people's eyes. She is starting a melatonin and herbal supplement treatment plan. Her neurologist is all on board and excited to see the results. We started this week and WOW!!!! I have a new child. Even my mom who watched her some on Thursday saw a huge difference. I have taken Annika out on her own several times including the grocery store and her processing skills show a lot of improvement. the daytime herbal supplement she takes in the morning seems to have the biggest impact. I so wish we had started this sooner. Of course this is all new and I hope it isn't just a honeymoon stage. We will see how it all works. So far she has not had any nighttime "episodes" that we always thought were seizures this week. She has been having several a week for the past few months. Fingers crossed that we may have found a solution to some of her challenges. In the least I have had a happier more well adjusted child this week who has been able to use more complex thought during the day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I have all I need

I have a bacon cheesburger and a copy of Birthing From Within.... I can go into labor now. Just saying.....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Early labor or what....



Last night I was almost sure we were having a baby. Well, no  baby. I have been a bit worried that my labor will go so fast that I will not be able to process the experience and remember it.  Eliot's birth was a bit like that. I really don't remember her birth at all. Now it seems like I have been in early labor for days now. Be careful what you wish for I guess. I am guessing I may be up to 4 centimeter dilated by now. I need to work up until Wednesday so a few more days would be nice but I would not complain if Elaina showed up tonight. In the past when I was younger having to make up work would have really stressed me out. I have talked with all of the families I work with and they all understand. I just feel a bit unprofessional  having to reschedule home visits if I go into labor. Every night  I go to bed I feel an bit anxious that I will wake up at 2am with either strong contractions or my water breaking. Then it doesn't happen and that makes me anxious too. I just need to relax.....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Evan's kindergarten graduation

Evan joined several of his homeschool friends in a simple kindergarten ceremony today. He did really well. Sometimes he can surprise me with good behavior.....

More Granny made cloth

Granny cut up and sewed some wool diaper liners for me. They used to be an old sweater set of hers. She also made me some cotton nursing pads. After I lanolize the wool they should work well for night time for Ben.

Lyn's garden is growing....

We need to harvest some of the new lettuce and kale...

Friday, May 18, 2012

A day at the "Waterfall Playground"

I wanted to try and go see the Cahaba Lilies on Buck creek today so we headed to Buck Creek park in Helena. It was more of a hike than I wanted to make to get to them so we just played at my favorite playground and in the water. We found an abonanded fishing pole. Lyn played around with it and she showed Eliot how to fish. Ben explored the playground a little bit. That boy is such a home body. It takes him a long time to warm up to a new environment. He enjoyed himself in the end. He was so tired when we got home. He slept for over 3 hours. Hanging out at this playground alwyas sets me at ease. It will always be on my favorite list.....





Thursday, May 17, 2012

Another pregnancy update...

I went to the maternity clinic today. I have gained 29 pounds total now. I can tell some of that is just fluid. I think I am holding more fluid with this pregnancy than the others. That is the easiest to loose in the end. When I was being weighed the nurse asked me if I was getting nervous. I know she didn't mean that to be a leading question but why didn't she ask if I was getting excited to meet my baby?  Her question would just set a mom to thinking she SHOULD be nervous. I told her no, I was not nervous just a little anxious like a first time mom wanting her fantasy labor and birth. This will probably be my last birth so I have special expectations that I did not have with some of my other births. After I shared that with the nurse she asked as calm as can be "Are you having a C-section?" I sort of just stared at her for a second to take that in. I said, "No, I had one and it nearly killed me. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks and my child has lifelong problems." She seemed to be surprised by my response. Why would my desire for a "perfect" birth ever lead anyone to that question? I guess c-sections are so common that even nurses see them as "perfect". I find that so sad. I moved on to see the CNP. I agreed to be checked even though I don't think pelvic exams are really necessary. I am 2.5 centimeters dilated. I am not surprised. I can walk around at 3 for weeks. Little girl is head down but not engaged in my pelvis. Dad came with me to this visit because we wanted to stop by the hospital which is next door to drop off my birth plan and get the gist of admitting procedures. This hospital doesn't give regular tours. The only tours available are for those who take their childbirth classes that cost a pretty penny. We never made it in. There were no parking places at all in the entire hospital parking lots and parking decks. I have delivered at this hospital before but they have updated everything. On the up side I am sure it will be in wee hours on the morning when we end up there so parking should be better....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I thought it was bee balm...

I saw these yellow flowers about to bloom yesterday. Today they opened up. I thought they were bee balm. Now I am not sure what they are. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First bean harvest


Lyn's little garden plots are growing. I think we are having some green beans with dinner tonight.....

A call from the school nurse....

I got a call from the school nurse. Annika wasn't feeling well. From what the nurse was describing it sounded like she had a seizure after lunch. No one observed any strange behavior so I can't say for sure but the way she was acting was typical for her after seizure activity. Since she had a sore throat last week and still had a slight upset stomach and headache from today's activity I took her home and set her up with a little TLC. I made her some chamomile, ginger, and lemon tea. I also offered her two tincture doses to help her recover. She rested for a little while and after that I had her sit in the sun for a few minutes. That always helps me feel better. I am sure she will be fine by tomorrow.....

Joe Tucker Park




Getting out of the house today.....

Monday, May 14, 2012

The next full moon

The next full moon is June 4th. I think that sounds just right for having a baby. I was thinking back to all of the dates of my other childrens' births. Danny was born 4 days after his due date. Lyn was born 9 days before her due date. Connor was born 3 days before his. Evan was 11 days after his. Eliot was 3 days before hers. Ben was 5 days before his date. I excluded Annika's birth because she was born so early at 28 weeks by c-section. I took the averages of all of their births and came up with the fact that my average for delivery is 1 day early.... That is about right give or take a day for the full moon. I have a feeling she will be here on June 1st though. If I break it down by girls though they tend to be earlier than the boys by average. No way to predict though when she will be here. My body is prepping just like it did with Ben. I am contracting throughout the day. Nothing is regular but I am sure it is helping to thin my cervix bit by bit and to help little girl move into position. I anticipate a fairly short labor. I will guess around 5 hours unless she ends up in a funky position. I don't think she will be very big. I am guessing she may weigh around 7 pounds 2 ounces. Watch her come out weighing 9 pounds!!! This will probably be my last pregnancy and I am a bit sad for it to come to an end. I do feel more tired and am very uncomfortable for various reasons and am not sleeping well. Usually by now I am so ready to deliver that I get impatient. The end of this pregnancy has been a little harder than usual. I chalk it up to being 37 years old and weighing a good bit more than I really need to. Even with that I will be sad to never be pregnant again.  





An herb bouquet



My cinnamon basil has gone to flower. I snip it as quick as I can but it grows so fast. My fennel is a bit out of control too so I decided to cut a small herb bouquet today. It includes fennel, rosemary, lemon balm, and cinnamon basil. It smells so good!! I tied it up and hung it up in the living room. It makes everything smell so nice.... I think I will go cut some for every room. What a natural way to freshen things up. Basil and rosemary help ward away flies too.....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Belly henna for Mother's Day

Thank you Lyn for painting some simple henna patterns on my belly for Mother's Day. I didn't want anything too big or overpowering. I like them on other people just not me. I look like I am about to pop... a few more weeks!

Mother's Day

I got breakfast in bed today and so far have been able to keep my feet up and watch the children play. We don't do a lot in our house to celebrate Mother's Day. I just plan on celebrating my children. They are the reason that I am a mother. For me, being a mother was such a driving force when I was younger that I was afraid I would never get the chance. Who would have thought that I would be so lucky to be expecting my 8th child any day now. Motherhood and parenting in general is challenging and difficult at times. I often have friends and even total strangers ask me how I do it. I am finding it really hard to answer this question. My home life and child raising situation isn't like most people's so I don't think they would understand that having at least 4 to 7 of the kids at home at all times is really not that hard. Two of my children (Danny and Connor) live with their dad most of the time and Annika goes to visit every other weekend. Being 13, Lyn is off with friends a lot. That leaves the little kids Evan, Eliot, and Ben home nearly all the time. Of course there are times when everyone is at home like on weekends and in the evenings. Our house is small. We have 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. It is probably about 1100 square feet. We have a girls' room and a boys' room. We have more stuff than we need but I have had others say we don't have a cluttered house at all. If anything the clothes get out of control sometimes. We don't store a lot of food and the kids don't have a lot of toys even though Dad will argue that with me. We don't have a separate dining room and there are plenty of seating options in the eat-in-kitchen. I see that as just less rooms to clean. I guess it would be nice to have a bigger house but we have all we need. Now, where was I going with all of that? With a small house I don't spend all day cleaning. I spend my time just being a mom and a wife. My husband is a stay a stay at home dad. We are a team raising the kids. I work part-time so I can be there for my kids. I make my own schedule so I control when I am away from them. This works for us and we don't fight the natural consequences of things. If the kids are bored and fussy I change what we are doing. If they are getting on each other's nerves I try and engage them separately. I don't see changing diapers and doing laundry as chores to dread. I just see them as part of my day. Sometimes when a stranger who is obviously having a hard time parenting two children and unhappy with their life asks me how I do it I really want to just say "I am good at it and enjoy it so it is easy for ME.." That implies that they aren't good at parenting so I would never say that but sometimes it is a bit true. I honestly think some parents are just cut out to be parents. I am NOT cut out to be an accountant or a chemistry major. Each to their own and I hope everyone is able to enjoy their life (most days) as much as I am....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Buck Creek Festival

I wasn't feeling 100% today but I took 4 of the kids to the Buck Creek festival. If it wasn't so local I would not have been up to it. The kids were so well behaved I could not believe it. Even Evan was an OK listener....















We made two trips to the park. In the morning we played and rode the rides. The kids spent most of their time on the swing ride. Lyn was such a great helper. I try hard not to treat her like a third parent. But, since I did not feel well she stepped up and helped with the little kids without being asked. On our way home we stopped by a local salon's table for some face and hair painting. I think this was the highlight of the day (pun intended)! After lunch and a nap for Mama we headed back to the festival for the duck race. I thought we would get there in plenty of time. It was scheduled for 3pm and we had 15 minutes to spare. As we were walking down the hill to the waterfall we heard the gun go off. A crowd of people were trying to see the drop of the ducks and a lot of small children were very disappointed because they dropped early. We had 2 ducks in the race and the little kids were excited to watch. I don't know why they dropped early..... I may just have to complain and I don't think I will be the only one. We hung around and the kids played on the rides some more and Lyn was able to slip off on her own to explore. She ran across a lot of people she knew. All in all I am glad I took the kids even though we were all tired by the end of the day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Watching for butterflies


The butterfly bush in the backyard finally started to bloom. All types of bees and butterflies have been visiting it. Eliot ran around trying to catch them. Finally she just found a seat and waited for them to come to her. I am not a fan of this bush. the flowers are very pretty and striking but it smells just like beer. I guess that keeps the flying creatures coming from near and far.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Running errands today




Lyn, Eliot, and I ran around town running errands today. We dropped off library books, visited Golden Temple downtown, and hit Whole Foods. I picked up a henna kit so Lyn can paint a small design on my belly. I also want a henna design on my hand again. Lyn actually does a pretty good job  painting with henna. Whole Foods was carrying Blue Thistles again so I picked some up. We also picked up some gifts for Granny for Mother's Day. I have been meaning to try the BBQ at Whole Foods for a while now and today we did. It wasn't all that great but we were full when we left. Just a regular Thursday..... 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How do you feel?

I feel very uncomfortable. I have come to terms with being pregnant for a few more weeks but I don't feel like I have 4 more weeks till I meet my daughter. I feel like I do when I am about to go into labor. I have been contracting a good bit today. Not enough to send me running to the hospital or break out my birth plan but enough to encourage some nesting. I am really tired and feel like I am in early labor. Other than that I am not showing any signs of real labor. Little girl has changed position. Usually she is either on my right side or my left side. Now she is right in the middle and still head down. I am just taking everything one day at a time.

Almost homemade spaghetti Os...

The kids like spaghetti Os but we don't have them very often. I try to get the organic kind but I just don't like anything so acetic out of a can. (Yes, I am a little concerned about BPA in canned goods.) So my solution was to make some myself. I didn't have the time or energy to make it from scratch so this is what I tried. I started with half a box of ditalini pasta. It was as close as I could come to little pasta Os. I boiled them a little to soften them, drained them, and poured them into the crock pot. I added half of the organic creamy tomato soup and a jar of organic tomato paste. The kids like hotdogs in their Os so I added 4 cut up good quality beef hotdogs. I let them simmer for about an hour and a half to finish cooking the pasta. I ended up adding all of the soup to the mix. It was so yummy. So much better than out of a can. With a grilled cheese sandwich on the side it made for a great easy dinner.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Menstrual cloth stash

Lyn took this picture the other day. As a 13 year old girl she may not appreciate her mother blogging about reusable washable pads used for ones period but she is the one who took the picture. When I got together her gifts to celebrate her first moon time I ordered a few Luna Pads for her to try out. They were  bit expensive and have fancy snaps on them. She likes them OK. Not too long ago I ordered some simple pads of different lengths from a store on Etsy. They work great and seem to be a better quality. And of course they were cheaper. I showed them to my mom and she made some too. The dozen floral pattern ones in the bottom of the picture are the ones she made.

I ordered a small wet / dry bag for Lyn to keep soiled pads in . It is really cute and has two pockets. One for clean dry pads and one for used ones. I am a big fan of reusable cloth for menstruation. They are so much more comfortable than disposable pads. They don't pose the health problems synthetic pads do. And they are so much better for the environment and they are pretty!!!