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Candle in the Night

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Best Birth Story Ever

I couple years ago, I heard the best birth story I've ever heard.  This one will have you ROLLING with laughter!  I've changed the names, but the details are the same.  Keep in mind, Molly and Frank are now in their 70's or 80's, so this took place quite a long time ago.

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Molly and Frank had lived in a small town of five hundred their whole lives.  They knew everyone and everyone knew them.  At the end of Molly's pregnancy with her second daughter, Molly woke up in the middle of the night and knew it was time.  She woke up Frank and told him to go get her mother to watch their first child and also told him to call the doctor.  The doctor lived right across the street from Molly and Frank and they knew he was still up because they could see his office light on.

When Frank arrived with Molly's mother, Molly asked what the doctor had said.  Unfortunately, Frank had forgotten to call the doctor.  By this time, the office lights had gone out.  Frank ran frantically across the street and pounded on the doctor's door.  The doctor gathered his things and they both headed back across the street.  By this time, Frank was panicking.  The plan was to go to the doctor's office, but after checking Molly, the doctor said they weren't going anywhere!

He told Frank to boil some water.  Frank went out to the kitchen and pulled out every pot, pan, and container he could find.  He filled them all with water and put them on the stove to boil.  When the doctor came in, he exclaimed, "For goodness sake, I just wanted some hot water to wash my hands!!"

The baby was born not too long after.  The doctor was cleaning up afterwards and handed the afterbirth to Frank wrapped in a towel and told him to dispose of it.  (Back in those days, they usually buried it and the doctor assumed Frank would know this.)  Frank walked out to their trash bin, deposited the afterbirth inside, and SET IT ON FIRE!  The smell was so bad, the neighbors wondered what was going on! When they went around town announcing they'd had their new baby, the general response was, "We know.  We smelled it."

I just love this story!  You have a woman who is calm enough to give her frantic husband instructions and a husband who is frantic enough to do crazy things like set the afterbirth on fire!  I think this belongs in a comedy movie somewhere.  I just love stories like this!  What is the craziest thing that happened during your birth?  I think mine is arriving at the hospital barely in time for the baby to arrive!  Not quite the same comedic value as Frank and Molly's story, but exciting just the same!


Monday, July 29, 2013

10 Things to do as SOON as You Find Out You're Pregnant

I've seen several lists like this and they're all very sweet.  Think of creative ways to tell people...think about names...aaw...  But I've never seen a really practical list, so I thought I'd make one.  I'm 14 weeks pregnant right now and there are several things I wish I'd done as soon as I found out I was pregnant that I didn't do.  So here you are.  The PRACTICAL top 10 list!

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1. Make Freezer Meals!  Some of you may think you should tell your husband you're pregnant before you begin filling the freezer, and if they're home when you find out, sure, go ahead!  But if they're at work when you find out, don't wait!  Go to the store, buy the ingredients, and start cooking and freezing!  Why?  Because as soon as the morning sickness hits, you won't want to be making meatloaf or washing chicken pans, or mixing a bunch of ingredients together.  With both my girls, morning sickness hit at six weeks, so I planned to use week five to prepare freezer meals.  This pregnancy, the morning sickness hit at four weeks.  So...I have nothing in the freezer and am having to cook...not fun.

My mixer!  Love, love, love!!

2.  Buy (or make...) Snacks!  While you're at the store, pick up lots and LOTS of snacks!  Healthy snacks that you'll be able to eat with little to no preparation.  Get a wide variety because what sounds good one day may make you throw up the next!  Here are some of my favorites.  Cheese, crackers (graham crackers, cheese-its, peanut butter filled crackers, saltines...), prunes, muffins, popcorn, tortilla chips, peaches, apples, and bread (for making toast).  This is pretty much what I've lived on in between meals for the past 10 weeks.  And eating in between meals is super important.  It really helps keep the morning sickness from taking total control.  (You could also buy stuff to make snacks if you're that kind of person.  I like to do some of both!)

One of my favorite snacks this time around is salty foods!  I LOVE pretzels right now!
These are some delicious ones I made last year.  Yum!

3.  Tell your family!  Obviously, you start with our spouse.  Then your extended family.  This is one of my favorite parts about being pregnant.  The surprised looks, the's all so wonderful!  (Now for some of you, your family may not be quite as supportive.  In this case, you probably want to wait on this one)  But I love telling the family.  Many people encourage you to wait to tell because if you miscarry, then you have to tell them about that as well.  Obviously, this is something to think about.  For me, I knew that if something happened to the baby, I would want my family (and even my friends!) there to support me.  I wouldn't want to mourn in secret.

Eeeeeeeeeee!!!  One of the best sights in the world!!!

4.  Talk about money.  This one isn't quite so fun, but is just as necessary!  When I got pregnant with H, we were well prepared.  We'd planned on getting pregnant and had good insurance.  Brian had a good job and we knew that I'd be quitting mine to stay home.  Everything was planned.  When I got pregnant with M, we'd raised our insurance deductible considerably and we were in panic mode a little bit thinking about saving up for this baby.  But in all reality, you have nine months to save up money.  (Well, probably less since you'll likely have to pay some of the fees about halfway in.)  Talk to someone whose been in a similar situation to find out how much you can expect to pay.  There are LOTS of expenses that might surprise you if you don't find them out ahead of time.  Find someone who had the same type of birth you're planning to have (hospital vs. home, OB vs. Midwife, natural vs. medicated...) and also has the same coverage as you have and ask them to share with you how much they paid.  Then, make a plan.  With M's birth, we did some budget adjusting and Brian worked some overtime and it all turned out fine.  The sooner you get the money issues sorted out, the sooner your pregnancy can become relaxing rather than stressed.

5.  Find a health care provider.  When looking for a birth team, the most important question you can ask is, "Are they on my way home from work?  Will visits be convenient?"  Right?  WRONG!!!  This is how I ended up with Dr. Jerkface with H's birth!  Ask yourself what type of birth you want.  Where you want to deliver.  Make a list and then go do some interviewing.  Ask mommy friends who they used for their deliveries and what kind of experience they had.  There is a huge, HUGE difference between OB's and Midwives and you'll want to check out both.  Midwives don't just provide home births.  I had M in the hospital with a Midwife (or I would have if she hadn't been out of town) and with this pregnancy, I'm seeing a group that has three Midwives and one OB.  Do LOTS of research before you choose your provider.  There's no need to get in to see someone as soon as you find out you're expecting.  Usually they like to see you in the first trimester sometime, but if you find out you're pregnant at 4-5 weeks along, that gives you 9 weeks or so to do your research and choose a provider.  If this is your first birth, you really want to figure out what type of birth you want before choosing someone.  That was one of my major errors with H.  In the beginning of pregnancy, I thought it'd be nice to have a natural birth, but if it didn't happen, I was okay with that.  By the end, I'd done TONS of research and knew I wanted a natural birth, but I had chosen a provider who wasn't on board with that.  I can't encourage you enough to start your research early on.

The irony of this picture is amazing.  This was not my chosen health care provider.
My chosen provider was on vacation when M. made her appearance, so this
amazing nurse delivered her instead.  She was great!  

6.  REST!  Okay, this one should really be interspersed throughout, but during your first trimester especially, you should rest, rest, rest!  If you have other children, nap when they're napping (I write as my two girls are napping...) or at least sit down and be off your feet!  Don't try to keep up with the house.  Laundry can wait, dishes can wait, dusting and vacuuming can wait.  You need your rest.  And don't feel bad about it!
Pregnant with H. and exhausted!  Napping with Ellie was just what I needed.  :)

7. Accept Help.  This is a tough one for me.  I know many women who have pregnancies that are much worse than mine, so for me to accept help is hard.  Several weeks ago, someone at church approached me and asked if I'd like to have meals brought in.  What a blessing that was!  I accepted and every three days, a fresh, hot meal was brought in the evening for my family (and me if I was feeling up to it) to eat.  During this time, my house was usually a mess, but it didn't matter.  All the women had children of their own and know what it's like to be too exhausted to clean up anything.  And that leads me to another blessing during this time.  My mom (who is wonderful!) came over and cleaned my house from top to bottom for me during a time when I was at my worst.  She brought along two of the wonderful ladies from my church and they were a huge help.  When I found out they'd seen my house (and refrigerator!) at its worst, I was pretty embarrassed, but as I thought about it, it realized my embarrassment was more an issue of pride than anything.  I was humbled by their willingness to help and to bless me in such a way.  Another day, I'd mentioned on Facebook how difficult breakfast was for me since I'm feeling the worst in the mornings and the girls always want to eat anyway and a friend offered to bake me muffins.  At first, I turned her down because I'd already received so much help, but in the end, I accepted.  Because I really did need it!  My point here is, accept help.  Don't be too proud to admit you need it.  And if people offer to help, but don't jump right in and do it, let them know what you need.  Ask for help with cleaning or baking or whatever it is.  You need it during this time.  And most people love to be a blessing to others!

8. Don't forget the fun stuff!  After all the previous things, I thought I should probably remind you to do the fun stuff.  It really, really helps with survival.  On a feel-good day, take a walk through Babies-R-Us.  Look at all the sweet baby things.  Take a picture of your pregnancy test and your baby bump once it starts to show.  Journal your thoughts and feelings.  Start a Pinterest board (even if it's just a secret one!) of things that you want for your baby's nursery.  Dream about holding and rocking your baby.  Pick out some names you like.  Enjoy this time as best as you can.  If you're like me, you'll be doing lots of laying around, so you might as well make the most of it and enjoy think about your baby.

Babies are so much fun!!  Start dreaming!!  

9.  Spend time with your spouse!  Wow!  You're still married!?!  After being sick, busy, and exhausted, you may forget!  The other night, Brian and I went bowling, just the two of us.  It was such a blast!  It's very important to stay connected during your pregnancy because if you're not close while you're pregnant, it's not like a screaming, pooping, eating newborn is going to bring you closer.  Work on your relationship.  Spend time together.  Talk.  Cuddle.  Just don't forget each other.

Brian and I the Christmas before H. was born.  Enjoying our last Christmas on our own.  

10.  Trust God.  Okay, so this should have been #1.  Being pregnant is scary.  You're growing a new person in your tummy.  You're fully responsible.  But God is still in control.  If you're having pregnancy troubles, or even if you're feeling fine, there are fears associated with pregnancy.  The only way to deal with those fears is to trust God.  He is in control.  He loves you and your baby and knows you both better than anyone else.  He cares for you.  And He is in control.  He knows the beginning from the end...of each of our lives.  Just trust Him.

Right after M's birth.  Things were crazy...her labor, delivery...everything.  But
God was in control.  He had everything taken care of.

So there you have it.  My top 10!  What would you add to this list?  I'd love to hear your ideas!  And I'm sure other mommies would too!

Make sure to check out my post about the 5 Newborn Necessities as well for another great, practical list!

I have received some good ideas from facebook readers of things to add to the list, so here they are!  
11.  Stop smoking and drinking and start eating healthy!  ABSOLUTELY!!  I guess I didn't include smoking and drinking because...I don't do either of those things.  :)  And eating isn't something I do much of in the first trimester anyway.  I eat what I can and try to keep it as healthy as possible, but sometimes a bowl of popcorn covered in salt is all I can stomach and I just tell myself that's okay because at least something is staying down.  

12.  Start drinking LOTS of water!  YES!!  I totally should have included this one!  I haven't been able to stand the taste of water this pregnancy.  Usually, I'm a big-time water drinker, but I was actually having dehydration headaches this time around until I bought some lemons to squeeze into every glass.  Made a world of difference!  

13.  Hire a doula.  This one I didn't think of for a couple reasons.  First, I kind of think of a doula as someone you hire later on in pregnancy.  It doesn't HAVE to be one of the first 10 things.  :)  Second, I don't use a doula for my births.  I have a fabulous support team in my family, lots of people to talk to and ask questions and get ideas from during labor, and a doula isn't the most important thing for me.  That said, if I had an infinite amount of money, I'd DEFINITELY hire a doula!!  And if I didn't have such an amazing support team, I'd DEFINITELY find the money to hire a doula!  So yes, look into a doula for sure.  They're amazing at supporting your birth choices and helping you have the most comfortable, relaxing, enjoyable birth possible.  (Just as a side note...I aspire to be a doula someday when my babies are all a little older!)  

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Won't Last Forever

Today, I needed some encouragement.  I have been SO sick with this pregnancy to the point of not being able to do almost anything.  It started when I was four weeks along, earlier than with either of the girls, and hasn't let up.  I'm so...tired.  I'm ready to be back on my feet, but it's just not happening yet.  I'm 11 1/2 weeks along and really looking forward to the end.

I needed some encouragement that this isn't going to last forever, so I decided to go back to my old blog posts and see what I did while I was pregnant with M.  (I hadn't started the blog until after H. was born.)  I am now SO excited!  When I was expecting M., I was super productive!  There were all kinds of things that I did that I can't do now.  Major house cleaning projects.  Big parties.  Crafty stuff.  All these things that I LOVE and haven't been able to do for months now.

It was just the encouragement I needed.  This won't last forever and I will feel normal and productive again...and SOON!!  Just had to share.  I'm so glad this won't last forever.

One of my before/afters from a blog post during my pregnancy with M.
So encouraging that I WILL get to where I can be productive again soon!