Friday, August 31, 2007

The Mad Monk's LIfe

I know this has already made its rounds on various blogs, but I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to make people smile today. The Mad Monk really can relate. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Weird Kids

I'm sitting here at the computer trying to enjoy a moments peace when what do you think I hear? Bing Crosby crooning out "White Christmas"! Don't get me wrong, I love Bing. He melts my buttah when I hear him sing. But in August??? Sis and Liver Pie apparently chose a Christmas CD to sleep by tonight. Those kids are just plain weird. I wonder who they get it from? Go here to find out. I may need a few of these.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just Call Me Grandmaw!

So I had to take the Madgirl to the doctor today because of her headache she's had for two days. A headache so bad it has made her delirious with pain and saying insane kinds of things. Since I am Hope's only source of nutrition, she was with us as well. As we were standing at the counter checking in, a lady who worked at the doctor's office stopped to admire Hope. I liked her up until the point she asked, "are you the mom or the grandma?". (insert sound of car screaching to a stop!)
Huh? The room began to spin, my stomach lurched and I had this overwhelming urge to beat her head against the floor repeatedly. I calmly and politely smiled and said, "the mom". I saw the Madgirl smirk. It was a pain riddled smirk, but a smirk nonetheless. She knew what was coming. After we were out of earshot I began asking in my screechy-I-can't-believe-that-just-happened voice, "Do I LOOK like a grandma?". Then our conversation went something like this:

Madgirl: No, mom.

Me: Can you see any gray in my hair? (There shouldn't be after my last gray hair comment)

Madgirl: No, mom.

Me: Do I have that many wrinkles?

Madgirl: No, mom.

Me: Why would she ask something like that?

Madgirl: No, mean I don't know, mom.

Needless to say my self confidence took a serious hit this morning. The Mad Monk thinks it's funny. He got the "Grandpaw" question seven years ago when he was 38 too. He says not to worry about it, it's just people. I thought, "okay Gramps, I'll do that."

Wow. Grandmaw. Bring on the Depends.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Quick Doll Skirts

I don't know about the rest of you with girlies, but my fair maidens have accrued a small fortune in doll clothes. Small fortune being the key word here. In my quest of all things frugal, I wanted to find ways to still have cute things (like doll clothes) for my girls, but also make it affordable. Viola! Doll skirts made out of old pant legs!

One day I was cutting off some "too short" jeans for Sis to make into capri pants (another frugal idea). I kept looking at the bottom part that I had cut off and thinking to myself, "what could I do with this?". It had a perfectly good hem and I didn't want to waste it! It then dawned on me to fold over the top, throw in some elastic and we have an instant doll skirt! I bought an under two dollar box of a gazillion buttons at Wal-Mart and sewed them around the hem to make it even cuter. Talk about squeals of delight! And it only cost pennies! Really, I'm not lyin'!

Here is the finished skirt. Other embellishments could be added
such as rick-rack or even ribbon.

And here is one happy customer!

This is a great, easy project for beginner sewers. If I can do it then anybody can do it. While I love to sew, it does NOT come naturally. I think I have a defective sewing gene somewhere in my body. I think I'll let Sis do the next one by herself minus the sewing machine part. We'll see if she has the "gift". With Christmas just around the corner (less than four months now ~ ahhhh!) this would be a great gift gift idea for the little girlie girls in your life!
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Her Sweet Side

Would you believe this is the same child that threatened to turn the lights out on me and listen to me scream like a girl? While everyone else was doing other things she came to me and offered to wash the dishes. And that she did.
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What a Gift She Is

Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Evil Thoughts of a Four Year Old

So we were at Wednesday night bible study at church tonight when Liver Pie, as usual, begins doing the Pee Pee dance in the pew. Unlike the Happy Dance I've reffered to recently, the Pee Pee dance involves much more serious movement. It also involves some serious consequences if not handled quickly. So off we go to the restroom.

I let her do her business first and then tell her to wash her hands while my business. Hey, I'm there, why not. I threaten her life not to leave the restroom without me and she assures me she will wait. I hear her walk towards the door to the restroom and then I hear her begin to laugh. Not a normal laugh mind you, but a sinister laugh. A laugh of one who possesses a dark gift. Nervously shifting on my "seat" I ask her what she is doing.

She replies while laughing maniacally, "I'm going to turn out the lights and listen while you scream like a girl!". No joke. She said those very words.

I threatened her very existence and thankfully she had sense enough to NOT turn off the lights. But when you think about it, she had me and she had me good. There would have been nothing I could have done given the situation. She is a warped little thinker that Liver Pie. She is SO like her father!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Score One for MadMomma!

In my attempt to master all things frugal, I like to frequent The Goodwill. Many good deals have I come upon and readily indulged, however, I have never posted about them. To post about all things frugal (especially one's finds) seems to be a going trend in blogdom and doggone I'm gonna start sharing my frugal finds just like everybody else. What can I say? I'm a sheep. Baaah.

So today was half-price day at The Goodwill. I didn't go to one half price day the whole time I was expecting Hope. Needless to say, I was having some major withdrawal. So I loaded the baby into the sling and off we went. I only had about 30 minutes because I had to be somewhere else, so I was power shopping to say the least.

I try not to go into my shopping adventures blindly. Usually I have an idea of what I'm needing or looking for and I look for those things first and foremost. However, if I find a good deal on something I don't necessarily need then I will allow myself to indulge ~ especially if it's half-price!! Today I had a mission.

I had bought a diaper bag for Hope before she was born. Me, being the over-prepared person I am, bought a diaper bag big enough in which to fit a small third world country. What can I say? I was a little zealous. I have since discovered that this "luggage" I purchased was not conducive to travel. Especially when one has to run around as much as I do sometimes. This was my quest for today. To perhaps find something that was cloth, pretty and not diaper baggish. A quilted, cloth bag would have really been a plus! Personally, I don't like cutesy diaper bags. I like functional bags that can double as a purse if need be and that The Mad Monk would not be mortified to carry when needed. He tells me he is secure enough in his manhood to carry even a Precious Moments diaper bag, but I reassured him I would never do that to him. Alas, I digress once again.

Anyway, I meandered around finding a nice, large basket which I will paint white that will hold Hope's blankets and burp cloths, four absolutely beautiful Christmas mugs, a denim Old Navy dress for Liver Pie and.....drum roll puhleeeeeeze........a brand new, cloth, quilted, beautiful backpack style bag!!! It was from the Hallmark store with the tags still attached! Woo-hoo! Major score for MadMomma! Happy dance time! The best part was that it cost me a whole $1.50!! Now The Mad Monk is happy dancin'!

Without further is my brand new beautiful diaper bag.

This is the front. Cute, huh?

Here is the back. I'm lovin' it!

By the way, my whole bill today for all that I mentioned above came to $6.73. Ahhh...the joys of frugality.
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The Happy Dance!

Can you see me? I'm doing the Happy Dance! Why? Must you ask? The Mad Monk has returned!!! He returned last Friday Eve and me and the littles went to the airport to meet him. We have been rejoicing ever since. Man, we love that guy. Sigh. :)

Daddy and his Neapolitan (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate hair)
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Before and After

Before Lunch

After Lunch!

p.s. Five weeks old now!!
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

May Jesus Christ Be Praised

This is the second and third verse of a hymn we sang this morning. It moved me to tears because it spoke to me in my present state. I thought I would share it.

When sleep her balm denies, My silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised:
When evil thoughts molest, With this I shield my breast,
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find,
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Trinity Hymnal

Psalm 34:17 &18
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Breastfeeding Thought #2

So what if I wrote a whole book about breastfeeding. And what if this book just skyrocketed into popularity and I sold millions and millions of copies.

Would one consider that book a "breast"seller?

Obviously I need more sleep.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This One's For Daddy!

It is our sweet Hope's one month birthday! I can't believe she is already a month old! Since daddy (aka The Mad Monk) is out of town we didn't want him to miss this monumental occasion! We love you Daddy! We can't wait for Friday!
Time just seems to fly and they start growing up so fast. Interestingly enough I still feel the same feelings I felt when she was born: exhausted and elated. You know though, some days I just have to pinch myself and say, "you can't beat motherhood".
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Pictures of Hope

Here she is at 4 weeks old. Doesn't she look undernourished? She is missing her daddy in this picture. She gets that from me, you know.
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A Breastfeeding Thought...

Okay, so I was sitting in the doctor's office waiting room today with The Mad Girl and Hope. I noticed a sign on the wall that read:
No food or drink in the waiting area.
I looked down at Hope and then asked myself, "does that mean I need to leave?"

I'm just sayin'.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wallowing and Other Thoughts

Okay, so I've only gone through one day without The Mad Monk and I'm already officially wallowing in self pity. Like anyone wants to hear me drone on over the fact that my hubby is gone for one week. I have such guilt and I need to suck it up. There are women who are going months and years without their husbands because they're fighting in a war. Or worse yet, they've lost their husbands. So, I am officially going to knock it off. Please forgive me.

Granny got here yesterday and has already impressed us with a mighty fine batch of vittles. She made chicken 'n' dumplins' for lunch today and it was some exceptional fare if I do say so myself. The other list of future meals we have requested are: Fried Chicken (hers is elbow lickin' good), Chicken Fried Steak, Honey Pecan Chicken (which is also fried) and a myriad of other wonderful artery clogging foods. Cholesterol? We don't need no stinkin' cholesterol!

Guess what? My lovely mother cleaned my kitchen fridge for me today!! Woo-hoo! You think she's makin' up for telling me I looked pale and sickly? Reguardless, it's shinin' like the top of The Mad Monk's head!

I plan on attempting to post some new pictures of our sweet baby girl tomorrow if I can manage to overcome my ineptness at downloading them from the digital camera. It really stinks being technologically challenged. Especially when your married to a super geek. I do love him though!

If your readin' Monk, I miss you and love you!


This is me whining. It's only 1:59 pm and I miss The Mad Monk. He's in Phoenix right now sweatin' his patootie off. I told him he could do that here in Texas. I've already called him. He's whining too. He misses us. We're so close we even whine in tandem. What's a MadMommaMonk to do? I guess whine to all blogdom. It's gonna be a loooooonnnng week. Sigh.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Birthday Tidings

Tomorrow, August 12th will be The Mad Monk's birthday. What did I give him for his birthday? My mother coming for a two week stay! Ha! Actually, we gave him some new clothes. This post isn't about what we gave him though. It's about what he gives us.

He has always been a wonderful, gentle man. From the time we met, he has loved me more than I could ever imagine. He would shock me with his acts of love and kindness towards me. It was something I had never witnessed growing up. Then, when I didn't think he could surprise me anymore, we had children. You have never seen a man love his children more than The Mad Monk. He lights up when they come in the room. He truly has daddy's little girls. He is gentle and patient and always ready to sip imaginary tea from a tea cup much too small for his fingers.

As I recently blogged about in Hope's Birth Story, I didn't think I could love him anymore than I already did. Yet God in his goodness allowed me an even deeper love for him. I can honestly say there is no person on this earth that I would rather be with than him. Even if it's just a shopping trip to Sam's, I love his company. I could sit and listen to his dumb jokes for a lifetime. I truly have my best friend as my husband and for that I am thankful. I don't thank God enough for the gift he has given me in my husband. And I don't thank my husband enough for being such a wonderful, godly man.

He has to fly to Phoenix next week for the whole week. I will be lost without him lying beside me at night. I will miss his crackpot jokes during the day. I will especially miss him playing with his girls and loving on his new baby. But I will know that he is thinking about us, missing us and loving us and much as we do him.

Happy Birthday Monk! I love you!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Oops! Forgot One!

This is the room where Hope Evangeline came into this world. She was the very first baby ever born here! Isn't it beautiful? I nearly cried the first time I saw it because I couldn't get over how beautiful it was. Green is my very favorite color and that was just the icing on the cake. It is still so amazing to me that she was born into such a beautiful, peaceful room without medical equipment hanging off the walls! I just love looking at it. Sigh. :)
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I Am SO Ashamed!

I cannot believe I forgot to post these pictures. I think my brains are seeping out of my pores along with my hormones!

These are the wonderful people that got me through my pregnancy and birth!

Dr Cindy, my terrific chiropractor, is on the left. My most awesome midwife, Ann is holding Hope (if look real close Hope looks like she's foaming at the mouth! Really!). And the always sweet Cheryl, my midwife assistant. Aren't they great?

This is lil' ol' me with Ann. This is the first picture I've ever posted of myself. Egads! This is also the picture that I was told I looked pale and sickly in. This was also after the hair dye incident, but unfortunately you can't see my orangish, pinkish ends. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about please refer back to my Postpartum Etiquette post. I would link it, but I'm too tired and lazy at the moment!
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Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Panic Has Begun

Madmomma's momma is comin' on Sunday and our panic cleaning has begun in earnest. Sticky floors must be mopped, Mt. St. Laundry must be conquered and the year long growth in the garage refrigerator must be removed and sanitized.

I've tried to bribe either 16yo Precious or 14yo Madgirl with $10 bucks to clean the garage fridge for me, but I've got no takers. Sheesh. What is so cool though is that if I give 7yo Sis and 4yo LiverPie a bucket of hot water and a couple of sponges they'll do the grunt work for free. And they'll like it! Except for maybe the bottom drawer which is stuck by some unidentifiable goo. Unidentifiable goo, mind you, that has had nine whole months of a pregnancy to breed and become stronger. At any rate, it must be done. Granny doesn't tolerate dirty fridges.

More importantly, we will need this fridge for all of the grocery shopping that Granny likes to do. She likes to cook and she cooks well. We are hoping for her to cook and to cook well. We like her cooking that she does so well. I digress.

The good news is that most of the big cleaning was done before the birth of Hope, so panic cleaning won't be so bad this time around. Thank goodness. Me and all of my hormone madness couldn't handle it. Maybe this means that I'm becoming more organized! Or maybe it just means that I'm a crack monkey trying to make myself believe I'm more organized. No matter now, we have 2 days and counting!

You Know You Have A Newborn When #2...

After showering you begin to use your eye make-up remover to take off your mascara. A few minutes and two cotton pads later you realize it's not mascara anymore, it's the dark circles under your bleary eyes. Find me an eye make-up remover that can remove THOSE!

Ahhh...the joys of motherhood.

You Know You Have A Newborn When...

You fall into bed exhausted. You try and get comfy on your pillow when you feel something lumpy. You reach under your pillow only to find...a dirty diaper.

Oh, the joys of motherhood!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

When Darkness Comes

So, have you heard I had a baby? As most of you know there is an inexplicable joy in childbirth. For me personally, that joy was a little more vibrant this time because of the method we chose to bring Hope into this world. Truly, it was a great joy.

However, that joy I had at her birth has slipped away quietly. My love for her has not ebbed one bit, just my joy. Why? Because a darkness has come. I am suffering from some postpartum depression. I debated whether or not to even breech the subject because I know it can be touchy for some. In many circles it is the scarlet letter of Christianity. Some may feel it's a spiritual problem and that's fine. That's their opinion. I know otherwise.

It is not a fun place to be right now, but I try and rest in the fact that this is where God has me. I don't understand it and that frustrates me. I'm not unhappy, just sad. Does that even make sense? Sometimes that sadness overwhelms me and I just cry. Rivers. I've described it as this: others around me seem to be in technicolor; vivid, sharp and bright. But I seem to be in black and white. The color and sharpness have gone. Every day is not like this and certainly not all day long. There are some days where it feels as if it has left me only to unexpectedly get hit right between the eyes.

The Mad Monk has been the most wonderful, understanding husband ever when this happens. He just hugs me. He doesn't understand it either, but he says this is because he is a very cerebral person. He's right. He's never had hormones seeping from every pore in his body, so he wouldn't understand, would he? But he's always there when I fall apart. Always there to tell me he loves me and that it will be okay. And it will.

I'm hoping with some all natural remedies and time that "this too shall pass". But the fact of the matter is I'm smart enough to know it may not. I also have enough faith to know that God will bring me through this valley as he has done so many times in the past. The question right now is, what will I bring away from it? Will I be able to minister to someone else because of it? Will I not be so selfish and prideful that I won't allow others to minister to me? Will God be glorified in my sadness?

I can only hope and pray that even as I walk in this darkness right now, that I won't lose sight of that great Light, the only Light, that shines for eternity.

Psa 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And Then There Were Two

We have cats. Three, to be specific.

Gigi is our rescue cat. We rescued her and her brother and sister as kittens and had to bottle feed them for weeks. You would think she might appreciate the fact that I saved her life, but nah, she hates me. She loves the Mad Girl.

Otis is a stray I picked up off the road by my sister's house. He has a great, feisty personality. He also weighs about 20-something pounds and regularly tortures Sis because she is easy prey. I ran him over with our van several years ago. He disappeared for days before coming back. His pelvis was broke in 3 places and the vet said it would cost $2,000 for the surgery. We didn't do the surgery, but took him home to heal. And that he did.

Hootie was 13 years old. He was my sister's cat. She gave him to me when she moved here so he would be able to roam in our back woods. He was a vagabond. He had lived in Michigan, Colorado and Texas. He was all white with big green eyes and a pink nose. He drooled when you would scratch him. It was kinda gross, but he was so sweet that you couldn't help but love him.

Hootie had to be put to sleep today. He was apparently going into liver failure and the vet told me he was going to die sooner rather than later. I hate having to put an animal to sleep. I always have such guilt. Today I didn't though. Hootie lived a good, long, happy life. They gave him a sedative to relax him and I scratched him until he was nearly asleep. I also cried buckets. I didn't stay to watch them put him down. I didn't want to remember him that way.

The house seems a little less homey tonight without him sprawled on the back of the couch. I think I'm gonna miss that cat.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Postpartum Etiquette

Why would I do a post about postpartum etiquette, you ask? Well, it may have something to do with the fact that I have been seriously violated in this area several times over the past 3 weeks. I have to wonder what goes through the heads of not just strangers, but relatives as well. Do these people not realize I have hormones seeping out every pore in my body? I told The Mad Monk I must be wearing some invisible sign (to me) around my neck that says, "Please, feel free to insult me. I just had a baby."

So, without further adieu, I give you an important list of tips of what not to say:

-Never tell a postpartum woman that she has as much if not more gray hair than you. Especially if you are 60 years old or older. This prompts an otherwise dye-free woman into buying a bottle of Loreal Preference which proceeds to make the bottom 3 inches of certain parts of her hair an orangish-pink color instead of the beautiful auburn on the front of the box. On the plus side, it did cover 95% of the gray.

-If you're a medical doctor never tell a postpartum woman how bad she looks. Even if she has low iron and does look pale. This does nothing to improve how bad she feels or improve her mood swings. I think it states this somewhere in the Hippocratic Oath or something.

-If you work in retail and see a 30-something woman pushing a stroller and walking with her 14 year old daughter, never, ever, ever, ever have the nerve to ask her, "I know this may sound like a dumb question, but is it your baby or her baby?" She just might pull your bottom lip over your insipid little head. She also doesn't care to hear, "well, you just never know these days." She does know and doesn't appreciate the implication.

-If the afore mentioned postpartum woman has lost a significant amount of weight from the pregnancy please do not say to her , "so, do you plan on doing anything to keep it off?" Nope. She plans on eating like an everlovin' pig and gaining every last ounce back because she likes being overweight.

-If you are the 16 year old male child of an extremely weepy postpartum woman and she is pouring out her soul about the relative that implied she had lots of gray hair, please refrain from saying, "well, it does make you look younger." This would imply that she looked older before the dye job. This response might also force the postpartum woman to breastfeed in front of your friends the next time they come over.

-When a postpartum woman sends a picture via email of herself and her midwife please do not call her long distance to tell her she looks like she just had a baby because she is pale and that she looks bad. Especially if you are her mother. This might force her to cancel the plane ticket that she paid 200 bucks for to get you to her house for the next two weeks!

Alas people, I cannot make this stuff up. These are actual things that have happened in the last 3 weeks. What else can I say? I guess it just makes for good blog fodder. And a grouchy postpartum woman.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Baby Mine

Here is our sweet baby girl at two weeks old. This was her first Sunday at church. She looks as if she is pontificating about something profound, huh? Hmmm...maybe she IS like her daddy!
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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hope's Birth Story Day 3 - She Finally Arrives!

Okay, so how'd you like my nail biter ending to my last post? I guess I should have warned you I have a flare for the dramatic? Sorry....back to the story, we gotta have a baby here.

Okay, we have fever and high heart rates, what next? IV fluids, that's what. Like I said before, things are a little murky for me in some of these spots so I have to rely on The Mad Monk's memory for some of this. Anyway, Ann says we are going to try IV fluids, but if the fever and heart rates didn't change then we would have to look into transporting me to the hospital. This information did not make me happy. Actually, part of me was screaming, "yes, yes, transport me! I'm a wimp, I need drugs!". The other part of me was screaming, "no, no, we can't transport me! I want this birth HERE! My negative family members will win!". Like I said before...flare for the dramatic.

Thankfully, after the IV was put in, it did the trick with the problems and seemed to give me a second wind as well. It also felt as if there was somewhat of a respite with my contractions too. Ann had checked me right after I had left the spa and I was between 4 and 5 cm. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I thought for sure I was further along because of the pain, but I realize in looking back that I was exhausted from being dehydrated, not because I was laboring super hard. I would also be lying if I didn't want to give up at that point. It took every bit of will power in me not say "forget it". Little did I know what was to come. (enter dramatic music)

I was laboring on my side with a pillow between my legs. I was vocalizing loudly through my contractions now, but it was a release to make the noise. I was working very hard at keeping my bottom relaxed through the contractions, trying to let my uterus do its job in bringing the baby down. Then, it hit me. Excruciating back pain. I would have to say I was about 7 cm dilated when this happened. It happened fast and hard. All of the pain I had experienced prior to this point in the labor would be a walk in the park compared to what lie ahead of me. I believe it was during this time that they realized that Hope was posterior. She was sunny side up and the back of her head was leaving skid marks down my spine.

This is when my "team" around me was invaluable to me. You can not imagine the comfort it was to have these women encouraging me and praying over me. I needed these things more than I would ever know. Dr. Cindy and Cheryl (Ann's assistant) were doing counter pressure on my back and hips during contractions trying to relieve some of my pain. My legs and arms were being massaged. Anything and everything to try and make me more comfortable. I changed to a hands and knees position for a while. I went to the birthing stool for a while. Everything was being done to try and help this labor along. I ended up back on my left side and that would be where I would stay until Hope was born.

I have to be honest and say at one point the pain was so bad in my back that I thought I would die. Really, I thought that. It wasn't labor pain that was getting me, it was back pain. I know I was crying out at this point and I know I screamed once. It was also at this time that Ann was reminding to not let the contraction get ahead of me. It may not sound like sage advice to some, but it was oh so true. The pain was so much worse when I would allow it to control me and give into it. As long as I would keep breathing and stay ahead of the contraction I was coping. I might not have been coping well, but I was coping.

Even though I was coping,I was still delirious with pain. Dr. Cindy decided to try another method for getting the baby to turn to an anterior position. Forgive me for not having the formal name for the contraption she used, but I don't. When I find out or remember I will change the post for accuracy, but for now we will call it the "sling thingy"**. I didn't have my eyes open so I couldn't tell you for sure what it looked like, but what it felt like was this giant piece of material that would go around my lower belly. Dr. Cindy had both ends of the "sling thingy"**and would pull and shimmy the two ends back and forth, shaking my belly. I really do wish now that I could have seen it. At the time I didn't care. Anyway, she tried this method for several minutes and I'm not sure if it worked or not, but I know that shortly after I was 9 cm dilated.

You would think that at 9 cm dilated I would be elated that we were nearing the end... uh not. I was so tired and in so much pain that I was still telling myself, "I can't do this". Funny enough, I had been telling myself this since I was 5 cm dilated and here I was still doing it and doing it fairly fast. I'm such an optimist, aren't I? At this time Ann, sensing my waning spirit I'm sure, asked The Mad Monk, as my head and authority, to please pray for me. I didn't hear what he was saying, but I know I heard him praying and I know it was a balm to my weary soul. I know our gracious God heard his prayers because things changed rapidly after that.

I'm assuming that Ann saw something "down there" to lead her to ask me to roll to my back. She knew I was very close to becoming complete and was checking me one more time. Now, she had told us during our birth classes and during the labor that my body would involuntarily begin to push when it needed to. I knew this information, but apparently I didn't believe it because when it happened it completely took me by surprise. As I was on my back I was literally writhing in pain and then all of a sudden with the next contraction came this completely uncontrollable grunt and push. It was loud and it was long. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before. It didn't matter what I did, I couldn't control it. My body was doing what it wanted to do and my brain could do nothing to stop it! I know I panicked for a moment and then came another contraction with another overwhelming grunt and push. I didn't even know my body could bare down that hard. It felt as if my bottom was turning inside out and I yelled as much ( like they haven't heard that before!). They assured me that was not the case and that it was okay. It was during this contraction that someone began to tell me that they could see Hope's head and that she was coming. With the third contraction her head came out and Ann started telling me to breathe, just breathe, no more pushing. Ha! My body was not about to have any of that! No matter how hard I tried (and I tried hard), as I blew out, my body went into another long grunt and push. And with that fourth and final push Hope Evangeline came flying out like a little, wet, slippery seal! It was 4:42 am on Sunday, July 15th. The total labor had lasted just over 8 hours.

I don't think I can ever forget the emotion of that very moment and I don't want to. I could savor it forever. The Mad Monk began to sob openly when he saw his beautiful baby girl born and it touched me deeper than anything ever before. This grown man, this certified jokester completely melted at the birth of this incredible gift that God had given us. I didn't think it was possible to love him more than I already did, but at that moment our great God gave me an even deeper love for him than I ever thought possible.

I was exhausted and elated all at once. They placed her on my belly and I touched my sweet baby's head only moments after she entered this world. This was something I had never done in four previous births. Let me tell you, it was worth every ounce of pain I endured. She was worth it and I would do it all over again for her if I needed to. She was not taken away from me, but was lovingly left with her momma to see me first and know my voice. Those first moments spent with her were priceless.

Believe it or not, I had less than a 1 degree tear even though my body had literally hurled my child out of me. Ann would tell me later that there was nothing I could do, my uterus had just gone into overdrive. Yep, that's me, an overachiever. In all of my previous births the doctor had always given me an episiotomy whether I needed it or not. I am now convinced they were not needed. more reason to use a midwife?

While Hope, TMM and I were bonding, my wonderful "team" had prepared an herbal bath for Hope and I. Let me tell you, it was THE best. Hope was alert and looking around, taking in her new surroundings. This was also the first time I would nurse her which was very special for me. It was such a soothing and peaceful time for all three of us. We stayed in the bath for about 30 minutes before getting out. After I was in my gown we went back the birth room where our bed was all made and a tray with some sparkling juice and dainty little cakes awaited us. It was so sweet. I think we were still pinching ourselves that this had all just happened!

We were then able to watch our sweet girl get weighed, measured and examined all while we were watching. We didn't have to miss a thing. TMM was the first one to diaper and dress her as well! We were then left to cuddle and rest until we were ready to go home.

While it was a very painful birth it was a life changing moment for me. Some may say I'm crazy, but I wish all of my children could have been born like Hope. Into such a loving and peaceful environment with minimal interference. I can't begin to express how much I appreciated my midwife Ann's, support and presence. My chiropractor, Dr. Cindy was sooooo needed and appreciated. And Cheryl, the midwife assistant, who gave me such comfort with her presence as well. These are people I have come to know and love and I know that I could never go back to any other way of giving birth.

We don't know what the future holds for our family. We pray that somewhere down the line (before I get too old and decrepit!), if it's the Lord's will, that we might be blessed again. Crazy? Maybe. But that's who we are and we like it that way!

**edit: it was called a rebozo. This link tells a little about it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hope's Birth Story Day 2

Okay, so there were no rock hard contractions Friday night. I was disappointed, but glad that I was able to get a full night's rest. Ann called to check on things and told us to go for another walk. Might I say that I really hate going for walks when I'm 9 months pregnant and have lower back issues. Not fun.

Around one in the afternoon my niece came and picked up Madgirl, Sis and LiverPie to take them to see Ratatouille. Later on, The Mad Monk and I were just hangin' around the house relaxing when Ann called again. I was secretly screaming, "not more walking!". Fortunately, she didn't ask us to walk, but to come on in. She wanted to check me, the baby and then try and irritate my cervix to see it we couldn't get something going. So, we loaded up and headed to the birth center. We purposely didn't tell anyone we were going so we wouldn't have 59 phone calls!

Ann checked the baby and she was fine. Heart rate was good and she was still down in the pelvis. Yeah! When she checked me I was dilated to 1 cm. Whoopee. I had had weeks of contractions, I thought I could have done a little better than a 1. Oh well. Anyway, after the cervical irritation and other suggested labor inducing methods I did start having contractions. They were real and not Braxton-Hicks! Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, my cell phone rang and our secret was out. The contractions stopped and the phone calls started. Since the contractions stopped Ann suggested we....can you guess? Go for a walk! It was hot and humid outside so we were going to have to go to the mall. ugh. It was Saturday and we all know how the mall is on Saturday. So off we headed to the mall.

On the way to the mall my sister called. Now let me just say that my family had not been the most positive people on earth concerning our decision to use a midwife. It was a dirty word. They were also completely freaking out over the fact that my water had broke over 24 hours ago and nothing was being done to hurry along my labor. Aaaaannnnyway, my sister ( whose almost 16 years older than me) wanted to know why we were at the birth center. I explained everything and told her it wasn't a big deal and that everything was all right. She then proceeded to share with me that when her water was broke for over 24 hours and that she was only dilated to 1 cm and her labor hadn't started that the doctor chose to do a c-section. I'm not sure why I responded the way I did. I'm usually prepared for the comments and most of the time I can take it all in stride. However, it was not to be this day. I hung up the phone and cried. I was so mad! It was not the time to be negative and I just couldn't understand why she said what she did. I couldn't let it go, yet I knew I needed to if I ever wanted to go into labor.

We walked the mall for about 30 miserable minutes. Nothing was starting and I was tired and just wanted to go home. I was missing my girls and just wanted to see them. They were with my sister and I was afraid that she might be making them fearful for me by saying things in passing. I ended up crying after we got back to the birth center and Ann, as usual, was understanding. She said we could stay there and "hide out", even offering to man our cell phones, just to see if labor might get started. After some thought, we declined. I just needed to be home around my kiddos for a while. So, we left.

We we got home we realized two things. One, we hadn't eaten since around 3 that day and two, we were in desperate need of groceries. It was around 7:45pm at this time and The Mad Monk told me to make him a grocery list and he would head to Walley World. So I did and he left to do the shopping. At about 8:30 pm I was sitting at the kitchen table with Madgirl contemplating what I should eat when BAM!, out of nowhere I had this big contraction! A real one! It hurt! The Madgirl started laughing at me (in her 14yo ignorance! Just you wait, my pretty!). I started laughing which made the contraction hurt worse, which made me double over more and by this time the Madgirl had pulled her shirt up over her mouth trying to muffle her laughter. After the contraction was over I went into my bedroom to call my mother-in-law to let her know we were home and that if "something" did happen in the night would she still be willing to come to be with the kiddos. While we were chatting I had two more contractions. Real ones. They hurt. Was it me or were we establishing a pattern here?

After getting off of the phone I continued to have contractions 5 minutes apart. A little after 9pm I called The Mad Monk and asked him how much longer he would be in his Walley World trip? He said he was almost done. I told him he might want to pick up the pace because I was pretty sure I was in labor. He later told me he managed to get two people to let him cut in the check-out line by telling them his wife was in labor. Hmmmm...I wonder if that trick would work any other time? By this time I couldn't walk during the contractions. I was having to stop and breathe through them. I called Ann and left a message letting her know that something was going on and we would probably be in some time in the next few hours. It wouldn't be a few hours though. More like hour. By the time The Mad Monk had made it home I was on the bed rocking on all fours. I had had diarrhea and a bloody show so I knew this baby was definitely on her way. He called Ann back at 10 pm and told her we were on our way. She said they would be waiting.

I was actually shocked at how quick my labor had come on. I mean, within 45 minutes of getting home from the birth center it started and it started with a bang. The contractions picked up a little on the way to the birth center and I was really having to breathe through them. When we pulled up in the van, Ann was waiting. I didn't even make it inside before having to stop and hold on to the van for a contraction. I had really been looking forward to laboring in the water and the spa was ready and waiting for me. Sweet! I had several more contractions before getting into the water, but oh did that water feel good when I did get in! It was a little too hot at first and they had to poor a couple of buckets of cool water in before I could actually sit down, but when I did, what sweet relief. I started out on my knees with my body facing the wall of the spa. My arms were on the side and I was resting my head on my arms. As I labored in the water the contractions became stronger. I could still joke and talk in between, but was becoming far more serious during them. I was having to vocalize a little during them now. At some point I started getting sick to my stomach. I knew I had thrown up in previous labors, but I thought it was because of the epidurals. Apparently not. I ended up throwing up my toenails. I'm not sure if it was during my vomitous episode or after, but I heard Ann say, "that oughta be good for a couple of centimeters!". I sure hoped so. After getting sick my labor picked up even more. I had turned in the spa and was now leaning against the walls allowing my legs to relax. I was really beginning to vocalize during the contractions now. When I say vocalize I don't mean scream. I guess you could call it a controlled, low moan. I never planned on doing this it just seemed to come out of me naturally. That wouldn't be the first time in the evening that my body would do something out of instinct without me really controlling it.

The next part gets a little murky for me. I was fading fast as the contractions were picking up in intensity. At some point The Mad Monk got into the spa with me and at some point I threw up again. We disagree in what order these things happened so for now we're just going to say they happened. I 'm not even sure how much longer I labored in the spa after TMM got in with me, I just know that's when things seemed to pick up. He was being so sweet during the contractions telling me how much he loved me and how well I was doing. I responded by starting to really vocalize during the contractions. I asked him if he would be mad if I ended up delivering in the water and he told me of course not. However, I didn't stay in the water much longer. Ann thought it was best that I get out for a while. The baby's heart rate was up, my heart rate was up and I was running a fever of 101.6. I was dehydrated. Something had to change.