Laura’s Birth Story

Our fourth baby’s birth and the days leading up to it will always be remembered. After years of looking for a few acres of land, we finally found a property and made an offer with less than 2 months until my May 21st due date. We put our home on the market, had an offer within a week and started to prepare for closing on both properties.

On May 2 (only 19 days away from my due date), we closed on both houses and moved into our new home. The days leading up to the closing date were full of hope that I just wouldn’t go into labor early (my previous 2 babies had arrived 9 and 11 days early!) May 2 came and went thankfully with no baby.

In the next few days, I was able to get our bedroom, kitchen, the living room and the kids rooms organized and felt somewhat settled.

On May 7, I was 38 weeks pregnant and anticipating that baby could come at any time! Cecilia was born at 38 weeks, 3 days and Weston was born at 38 weeks, 5 days so I figured I was probably getting close.

We didn’t find out the gender this time (we did with both boys but not Cecilia). We were all kind of hoping for a baby girl so Cecilia would have a sister but would have been thrilled with a baby boy too! I really had no feelings regarding gender since this pregnancy was so similar to all of the others (minus the horrible hip and pubic pain I had with Cecilia’s pregnancy).

A week after moving, on May 9, my midwife, Michelle, had my home visit scheduled (it was scheduled so late since we were in a new house). She had to cancel due to another birth. I had been waiting for the home visit to feel fully ready to go into labor.

On Wednesday, May 10, I had a check up with Michelle. I was 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant (Cecilia was born at 38w3d). At the checkup, Michelle told me that she had driven by my house and knew exactly where it was so a home visit wasn’t necessary. That made me feel better, knowing that she knew where to go when the time came.

I started having contractions on the way to my check up Wednesday morning and had them off and on throughout the day but they were not regular or unmanageable.

I had contractions about every hour that night and thought things were going to start picking up and that we’d have a baby but I woke up on Thursday, May 11 still pregnant! When John David woke up, I told him I was up about every hour during the night with contractions so he went into work late that morning and I was able to sleep until 10:30. When I finally got out of bed, there was some blood tinged mucus which was somewhat encouraging knowing that those contractions were probably doing something.

I was very tired all day and still having contractions about every hour or so. These contractions were different than any of my previous labor contractions. They would start out low in the abdomen and work their way up instead of starting high and working down. I took a long nap and rested in bed that afternoon and let John David know that I wasn’t feeling well. We got the kids in bed around 9:30 and I sat on the couch and rested for a bit. Nights had been hard (trouble getting comfortable and sleeping) and I wasn’t quite ready to get in bed and try to sleep while having contractions.

Around 10:30, we went to bed and the contractions started up as soon and I laid down. I got up, went to the bathroom and came back to lie down but never was able to sleep. I did this every 10-15 minutes for about 2 hours before I was completely uncomfortable lying down and needed to start trying other positions. At 1:00, I downloaded a contraction timer app and started timing contractions, hoping to start to see a pattern. There was a pattern – they were about 10 minutes apart at this point.

I sat on my birth ball and worked my hips for awhile since I labored the entire time with Cecilia on the ball (and it was wonderful). The ball was not providing any relief so I stood up for awhile and went back to the ball. I probably labored about 2 hours while John David continued to sleep. I pulled out the large flannel back tablecloth (which my midwife recommends for keeping floors clean) and put it on the floor because I kept hoping contractions were going to get closer together and things would start happening.

I started dealing with back labor around 3 and woke John David up at this point because I was feeling very discouraged since my contractions were still 10 minutes apart and painful. (Contractions with both Weston and Cecilia were not painful at all to me, so this was new.) I labored on my hands and knees, on the ball, leaning against the ball, standing and swaying my hips and nothing was providing back labor relief. At this point, I was pretty sure that the baby was in a bad position because of the back labor and the fact that I wasn’t making any progress with contraction spacing after 2 hours of timing.

I was so confused as to whether I was even in labor. With my previous births, contractions have fairly quickly gone from 10 minutes to 8, to 6 and so on. We went to the hospital with Weston and called Michelle with Cecilia when they were about 5 minutes apart.  John David and I talked about calling Michelle but I didn’t want to wake her up for nothing.

After laboring through intense back contractions, I was very discouraged (I even told John David that I just wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural!) I asked him to run some warm bath water in hopes that the tub would provide some relief.

By the time I got into the tub, the contractions were averaging 7 minutes apart so John David texted Michelle at 4:42 to let her know we thought something might be happening and that contractions were averaging 7 minutes apart and that I was getting into the tub. She texted back that the tub should help to speed things up (and I was hoping that would happen!) The warm water felt so good and the first few contractions in the tub were more comfortable but then the back labor started up again and the contractions were averaging 8-10 minutes apart which means they actually had slowed since getting into the tub.  At this point, I thought I might be dealing with prodromal labor because I had been laboring over 6 hours with very little progress – I thought I should have had a baby in my arms by this point if I was really in labor! (All 3 of my previous labors had been fairly fast, Paxton was born 5 hours from the time my water was broken, Weston’s was born less than 3 hours from waking up with contractions about 8 minutes apart and Cecilia’s was about 5 hours from the time my contractions started coming less than 8 minutes apart.)

John David sat with me through several contractions and since nothing was changing, he went back to bed and I stayed in the tub. (And, no, this didn’t bother me, I don’t like to be touched at all during labor so him going back to bed was no big deal, especially since we thought it was prodromal labor or just the very early stages.)

I got out of the tub around 6:00, the sun had risen and I was very discouraged. The water was cold and my back labor was not letting up so I knew I needed to try some other positions to try to get baby in an optimal position. I had the big flannel back tablecloth in the bedroom floor so I got down on hands and knees and rocked back and forth for a few contractions, then I leaned up against the ball for a few minutes and tried sitting on it. I was still timing contractions and they were ranging from 7-9 minutes apart. I started to feel like I needed to poo (which in hind sight should have been a sign but I had been a little gassy in the tub and with contractions ranging from 7-9 minutes apart, I was pretty sure it wasn’t pressure from the baby.)

Around 6:45, I sat on the toilet and I was still timing contractions which were about 7 minutes apart. John David was still sleeping at this point. I tried to go and felt myself really opening up and started to think that I might be getting close to delivery (which didn’t make sense because of the contraction pattern).

I started to notice a lot of mucus (or bloody show) which made me realize that the baby was probably getting close. I started to feel pressure and started vocalizing through contractions which woke John David up. He told me I needed to get off the toilet because it’s not good to sit there too long. Then I had another contraction and I think he realized what was happening. I think at this point, he texted Michelle (my phone says it was 6:56).

He ran and moved the tablecloth and under pads into the bathroom and I asked him if he saw anything and he said he didn’t. I couldn’t feel the baby’s head with my hands, nor did I feel like the baby had descended so I didn’t think I was about to have a baby.

He told me I had to get off of the toilet but I couldn’t move. He helped me get off and my water breaks as I’m getting up (into the toilet!) I drop down on all fours and start pushing (and yelling!) With the next contraction, I pushed baby’s head out. John David starts yelling “push, push, push” so I gently pushed but realized that I need to wait for another contraction before pushing to decrease my chances of tearing. With the next contraction, I pushed again and out she came, into her daddy’s arms and he tells me, “we have a baby girl” before I even get her in my arms. She was born at 6:59 am on Friday, May 12.

John David helps me sit down, puts our daughter on my chest and starts drying her off. I am completely in shock and crying (well, really bawling) at this point. Tears of joy for a daughter, that everything went well and that it was over which was such a relief after dealing with horrible back labor.

John David changed out the towels, covered us both up, put a hat on the baby’s head to keep her warm and propped a few pillows behind me (Michelle had given him instructions for what to do at our last appointment since I have a history of quick deliveries). I just laid in the floor with baby, waiting for Michelle to arrive and started nursing.

Michelle arrived around 25 minutes after the birth, delivered the placenta and had John David cut the cord. The baby had pooped into my hand while we were lying on the floor so John David took her and cleaned her off and wiped my hand off!

Michelle helped me into the herb bath and then put the baby in the bath to get her good and clean too.

By this time, Mary (Michelle’s assistant) had arrived and they helped me get dressed and into the bed while John David held the baby. All 3 kiddos were awake at this point (they had slept through everything) and anxiously awaiting to come into our room and meet the baby.

At some point while waiting, Paxton slipped a note under the door that said ‘let us n’!

Once I was settled in bed, they handed me our baby girl and let the kids come in and meet their new sister, Laura Kathryn. It was such a sweet moment, watching their excitement. All three were completely mesmerized by our tiny baby girl.

Once all of the kids held her, Michelle started the newborn exam. Laura weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces (just like Weston who was also born at 38 weeks, 5 days).

Michelle asked some questions about the delivery for her records and John David told her that the baby came out with her hands crossed and tucked up on her chest. Michelle said that is why my contractions stayed spaced so far the entire time and why I had back labor. So, it was somewhat encouraging to know that there was a reason the labor was so slow (as far as labors go for me.) It was 8 hours and 29 minutes from the time I tried to go to bed and started having contractions 10 minutes apart until the time she was born. And, up until probably 8 minutes before she was born, my contractions were still about 7 minutes apart. I went from 7 minutes apart (early labor) to delivery so this birth was technically considered a precipitous birth which I consider funny because it really was my longest and definitely my most discouraging labor.

And, thanks to pushing with the contractions and not being panicked, I had no tears and didn’t even feel like I had a baby which was amazing! My recovery was so, so easy.

Even though Michelle missed the delivery, this birth was so much like Cecilia’s – everything post delivery was exactly the same and I definitely appreciated the care that Michelle and Mary provided.

John David played a huge role in Laura’s birth! I probably would have delivered our baby in the toilet if it wasn’t for him. He knew exactly what to do and followed the instructions Michelle had given him. He kept such a clear head during the delivery, except for that 30 seconds when he was yelling ‘push, push, push’ because all he saw was a baby’s head and he had never delivered a baby before. Our kids said we should call him a ‘mid-husband’!

Once Michelle and Mary left around 9:30, we just took it easy all day. I stayed in bed with baby and John David took care of the kids and fed me. And, of course, I had little visitors in my room all day, wanting to look at their baby sister.

We’re so thankful for another complication free birth and a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

My other births:

First Baby – Paxton’s Birth Story 

Second Baby – Weston’s Birth Story

Third Baby – Cecilia’s Birth Story

The Fourth is Coming

We’ll be welcoming our fourth baby this May! We’re excited and can hardly believe we just have a little over 3 months to go!

Cecilia is thrilled to become a big sister! She’s such a good little mama to her baby dolls.

This is a picture of our littlest from January 6 when we had our anatomy scan. We did not find out the gender and are looking forward to our surprise when baby arrives!

This is my 24 week belly on January 29.

I’m learning with each baby we have how little babies really need. I purchased a few new cloth diapers for this baby (we have a decent size stash of diapers from Cecilia) and we need to purchase a new car seat (planning to buy Cecilia a new one and let the baby use her current convertible seat.) I have a minimal gender neutral newborn wardrobe that was Cecilia’s and have managed to thrift a few muslin swaddles over the past few months. At this point, we pretty much need some newborn disposable diapers and a Rock N Play for the baby to sleep in for the first few weeks/months and we’ll be all ready to welcome baby number 4.

Upcycling Cloth Diapers

 

We’ve been using cloth diapers for nearly 7 years. All of our kids are out of diapers now (our daughter has been out of day time diapers for almost a year) but we’re still using one cloth diaper each night for our daughter.

After being used continuously for 6 years, most of our diapers were in pretty rough condition. Once our youngest potty trained, I went through our stash and pared down to the diapers that were in the best condition to be used as her nighttime diapers and to save for a possible future baby.

What happened to the rest of the diapers?

Swim Diapers

Diaper shells that were leaking due to damaged PUL became swim diapers. I kept two for Cecilia and the rest were passed on to friends.

The bumGenius shells make excellent swim diapers. In my experience, they do a great job keeping in solids (we had a pool for 3 years when our boys were small so I have firsthand experience!)

Cleaning Rags

Cotton prefolds make wonderful cleaning rags. We had several Gerber prefolds that are now my favorite cleaning rag they are great at absorbing spills. They also absorb water really easy which makes them great as a damp cloth for cleaning.

I don’t have any of the thicker prefolds as cleaning rags at this point because I passed on some of these when Cecilia potty trained because they still had quite a bit of life left in them for diapering.

Absorbing and Cleaning Cloths

After being used for nearly 5 years straight, our microfiber inserts still absorbed but smelled horrible after a few wears. It got to where I was stripping nearly every 2 weeks because of microfiber smells. At that point, I replaced all of my microfiber inserts with infant prefolds which took care of the smell issue.

What should you do with all of your microfiber inserts?

They make wonderful cleaning cloths!

My favorite cleaning cloth is the bumGenius newborn insert. When we have a spill, we just place one of these inserts over the spill and it absorbs the liquids up so fast. And, since they’re not being used for diapering, there is no microfiber stink to deal with.

Find a New Home for Useful Diapers

I only suggest upcycling diapers that are no longer useful for diapering babies. If the PUL is still in good condition, the prefolds are not in tatters and your microfiber still has life in it, find a new home for those diapers! Either try to sell them and make back a bit of your investment or just pass them on to another parent who can continue using them.

 

If you cloth diapered, what did you do with your stash once you were finished diapering your babies? 

Blessing Families by Bringing Meals

Bringing Meals

Bringing meals to families after the birth of a baby, during times of sickness or loss is such a simple way to really bless a family and make them feel loved and cared for.

After the birth of our third baby, we were blessed with many meals from friends in our small group and other friends from church. Every meal that was delivered made me feel loved and cared for. And, I’m so thankful for the sweet friends who took time out of their busy days of caring for their own little ones to prepare a meal for our family.

Since I know what a blessing meals are to families, I prefer to celebrate babies by bringing a meal or two instead of giving them more stuff for baby (babies don’t need much)!

In the past, I’ve made excuses for not bringing meals to families, telling myself I was too busy taking care of my kids, preparing our own meals and that I didn’t know what to bring.

While, it does take some time out of my day, I’ve found that bringing meals can be pretty simple and involve a minimal amount of time, thanks to planning and keeping meals simple.

I have two meals that I typically bring to families:

    1. Roasted Chicken,  Baked Carrots, Potatoes and Onions, Green Beans, Rolls and Dessert
    2. Chicken Parmesan Casserole with Green Beans, Rolls and Dessert

Dessert is usually cookies or brownies.

Sometimes, I’ll bring fresh fruit (like bananas or cut up melon) or muffins so the family can have something extra to snack on and pack kid friendly foods (cheese sticks, carrot sticks) for kiddos.

Meal to Bring

These two meals are simple to prepare and are family favorites. I typically keep the ingredients to make both of these meals on hand. This makes bringing a family a meal on short notice possible without a trip to the grocery store.

I’ve found that knowing what I’m bringing allows me to volunteer to bring meals without any stress over what I’ll prepare. And, preparing the same two meals makes getting the meal packed up and ready to deliver simple since I know exactly what containers I need.

Packed Up Meal

Once everything is cooked, I package it up in disposable containers and bags. Disposable pans work best for my main dish, green beans can be transported in disposable pans or plastic containers (like Gladware) and rolls/brownies/cookies are easy to package in a plastic bag. (I hate the waste element of this but it’s easier for the family to not have to worry about returning dishes.) 

I have learned the hard way that transporting food in disposable containers can result in some leaks. I’ve had several green bean juice leaks – once all over the back of the van.

To avoid leaks in my vehicle, I line my clothes basket with a clean towel and load everything into the basket. This not only keeps any leaks contained, it’s also an easy way to deliver the meal. I am able to bring everything into the home in just one trip.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a good cook or truly don’t have the time to prepare meals for families, you can still bless families with food.

  • Pick up a Rotisserie Chicken at your local grocery store, add a salad mix, fresh bread and fruit.
  • Pick up all the fixings for homemade sub sandwiches and add chips and fruit.
  • Bring takeout from any restaurant. (Calling ahead to see what the families favorite foods are would be a nice gesture.)
  • Bring a basket of snacks. (John David’s grandparents brought a bunch snacks and fresh fruit after Cecilia’s birth – it was much appreciated and the boys were thrilled with all the yummy snack foods!)
  • Invite the family over to join your family for a meal – you won’t have to worry about transporting food at a certain time and they won’t have to worry about any clean up.
  • If you live in a different town, you can still bless friends with meals via gift cards to restaurants in their area.

For more meal ideas, here are some of the meals we were given (and everything was delicious):

      • Baked Spaghetti, Salad and Bread
      • Quiche, Baked Oatmeal, Fruit (breakfast for dinner – yum!)
      • Pot Roast, Green Beans and Rolls
      • Chicken and Rice Soup, Salad, Bread
      • Chicken Enchiladas, Beans and Fruit
      • Stromboli, Salad, Fruit
      • Pizza
      • Chicken Casserole, Salad and Bread
      • Hamburgers, Chips and Pineapple Casserole
      • Potato and Corn Chowder and Corn Muffins
      • Smoked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Our boys really loved the nights that pizza and hamburgers were brought. In fact, they’ve asked me several times over the past year when we were going to have another baby because they liked having people bring us food!  (Our entire family was truly blessed by the gift of meals!)

Do you have specific meals you bring? I’d love to know your easy to transport meal ideas!