In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Bulk cooking day 1

To say life has been crazy seems like such an understatement.  It seems like so much time passes in just the blink of an eye.  Our new little man is 8 months old already.  EIGHT!!  I just can't believe it.  There never seems to be enough time in a day and in "me" fashion I just keep adding more to my own plate.  Anyone who knows me, knows that the one thing I struggle with the most around here is cooking.  It's not that I don't like to cook, it's just that...I just never have time.  When the kids get sick of fast food, you know that you eat way too much of it.  Not to mention the cost to feed our family of 9 is about $40 a meal. So...that brings us to our Bulk Cooking weekend Day 1.  

Bulk cooking, though a challenging task to complete makes life so much easier (and cheaper).  This time I decided to bulk cook not only for dinner but for breakfast and lunch too.  Lunch often seems like an all day event around here with constant chaos in the kitchen.  One kid fixing mac n cheese while another makes a sandwich at the same time someone else is heating up soup.  It's insane and I cringe at all the processed foods they eat/crave.  So, I decided to try something completely new.  Why not fix better meals for lunch?  When I thought about it, I figured it really can't cost that much more...can it?  So, I made our our menu and headed out to Aldi's and Sam's Club.

Today was bulk cooking day 1.  We started with breakfast.  If my calculations are correct the cost of breakfast for our family is $0.47 per person/per day!  Here's the breakdown.

24 Pancakes $6.48 for bag of mix at Sam's used 1/4 of it =1.62
24 Sausage Muffins $4 english muffins, 8.97 sausage, 1.89 cheese, 2.49 eggs = 17.35
23 Breakfast Burrito's $2 tortilla, 1.99 sausage, 1.40 cheese, 2.49 eggs = 7.88
50 French Toast Sticks $5.98
10 Breakfast Bowls potatoes $1.00 (bought 10lb bag for 2.99), 2.49 eggs, 1.40 cheese = 4.89
60 Waffles $9.98
40 Pancake Bites (used pancake mix)
36 Pop Tarts $5.98
52 Oatmeal $9.87
32 Green Smoothies $8.96 spinach, 6.49 mixed fruit, 9.78 strawberries, .74 banannas = 25.97

Total $89.52 
Divide by the 3 weeks this should all last = $29.84 per week
$29.84 divided by 7 days = $4.26 per day
$4.26 divided by 9 people =$0.47 per person/per day 

It actually seemed like a lot...until you break it down!  

So, if this lasts us 3 weeks breakfast is only costing us 47 cents per person each day! 

What are some of your favorite fix ahead breakfasts? 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Such raw emotions...

For the past 7 years, January has always been a very emotionally difficult time of year for me.  I've not blogged about it every year, but on a few occasions, I have.  Perhaps some years are harder than others.

To add to these already raw emotions, last January 22 I lost my mother.  So, this January was greeted with very bittersweet and mixed emotions, numerous painful anniversaries and such anticipation and joy of the upcoming addition to our family.  I had such great fears that my son may share his birthday with the anniversary of my mom's death and I am so greatful that he chose his own day.

I was blessed with an awesome homebirth, which I always dreamed of.  We welcomed a beautiful, perfect baby boy to complete my family.  I should be flying high on my new baby bliss the way that I always have...but instead, I just sit and stare at the beautiful eyes that now stare back at me.  It's a horrible feeling to feel so happy yet be so sad.  The postpartum period is fragile....very, very fragile.  Hormones, mixed with already raw emotions were quite a lot to bear on their own but added to that is the fact that I do have struggles with this being my last baby and there has been a great turmoil over our new baby's name and other things coming to light in the midst of all of this just leaves my head and emotions spinning out of control.

We aren't good at naming babies together...we just aren't.  From the moment of getting a positive pregnancy test, the arguments over names begin.  The naming game used to be one of my most anticipated moments of pregnancy, but these last few pregnancies it has been the most dreaded aspect of being pregnant.  Our name tastes are just too different, we are both extremely stubborn, and we can't agree to disagree on this topic...but we can't agree either.  

We spent 10 months "hashing" names this time.  Everyone thought we were witholding his name, which was not the case at all.  We just coudn't agree.  Since Falcon really didn't care about naming the baby after anyone, I was adamant about him having a certain middle that I had not used yet but it traced back many generations in my family so it was important for me to give it to my last son.  We finally had a list of names...but most automatically got the boot for one reason or another mostly because we couldn't agree on a full name versus the nickname, or I simply couldn't pronounce the name correctly, etc.  Oddly enough we ended up with two names in the final days.  One, was originally my idea which I grew to hate because while I liked the full name, I didn't like the nicknames so I was clear in that, I disliked the name alltogether so it honestly should have came off the list.  The other name was originally Falcon's he grew to unfavor as well, but one that ended up really growing on me. Days before, I asked Falcon out of the two, which he would choose.  He answered my original choice and i was crushed because i would choose his original name.  So, our precious son was born before coming to any agreement on a name.  Hours passed....still, no name.  Pressures mounted as news spread of his arrival, name.  No discussion of any name.  Nothing.  As I laid in bed, that night, still on my birth "high" a blur I remember mention of naming him.  Honestly, I don't even remember much of it, but I do remember feeling I was giving in and I do remember the joy Falcon felt and how he ran off to call his friend to tell him he just named his son after him.  I guess in desperation for him to have "A" name...I agreed to that name....the one...that yes, was originally my idea.  The one I expressed great dislike of.  It just felt that someone had to give and with my peacekeeper personality, I knew no different than for it to be me.  I'm not a confrontational person, and I'm not a fighter.  I saw no end because after all, we fought it out for 10 months already so..we couldn't start all over now.  As the kids and Falcon started calling him by his name I cried inside each time. happened.  The nicknames, and shortening his name started.  Within my own family, even after fully discussing this possiblity before and expressing my complete distaste for the name due to these reasons.  The distaste got worse for me.  Everytime I hear his name, I fight back tears.  It got to the point that it didn't even matter if they called him by a nickname or his full all stings the same.  Honestly...I despise his name for all it's worth.  I love this little human more than words can say but yes...his name makes me cringe and cry.  I try to chalk up my feelings to hormones.  This whole "fight" has stirred up other feelings of another time I had such distaste for a name.  My life was once threatened over naming a son.  I dispised another name once too and being emotionally abused was given nothing but a threat if I changed it...and while Falcon was not the person to make this this threat...he did make it clear he prefered the name he had chosen and with that, I felt no option to change it.  I've been made to feel belittled, made fun of, stupid, etc. over being such a baby about his name.  Although, it wasn't intentional by those who made me feel this made me feel that way nonetheless.  He'll be a week old tomorrow and yes, I guess at this point changing his name would indeed be...stupid.  Although, as much as his middle name means to me, I think if nothing else I will change that because that will rid of one of the nicknames that I don't want him to grow up with.  So far, on his only paperwork, he is Baby "my last name" because I coulnd't bring myself to write his "name" and now I  feel undecided ...but I have a while to file his birth certificate and come to terms with his name.  I agreed to the name...people call him by his name.  Even if I had decided to change it...they would likely slip and call him by the same name he's been called for the past week.  The weight was entirely on my shoulders to change his name and it was to much for me to bear.  Falcon did offer to take it to the table again and start over but....if after 10 months we can't agree how in the world would we agree now and I'm far too emotional to deal with disagreeing over it anymore...and anyways, while it was in question...he was still being called by the same name. I have yet to call him by his name, not even once. 

I try to find some peace in knowing that someday...his name will become "him" and that I won't hate it.  I said this to a friend...
"I think there are so many other emotions in this cocktail right now.  Yes, I despise his name, but I will learn to love it.  With time, it will become "him".................................I shall never forget how all of this has made me feel, but someday, I will look back and smile"

This has all taught me a lot about myself & my relationship. With everything in life, there is give and take, there is compromise and there are disputes.  

I've gone through a lot leading to and following a few previous births but oddly, nothing has been more "traumatic" and saddening to me.  Nothing has ever spoiled my baby bliss and that's most upsetting.  My life was threatened at the mention of changing the name of my 5th child, I was living in a rape shelter and delivered my 6th child under survailance of undercover police pacing at my door....and not once did I ever suffer "the baby blues".  This all seems so ungodly petty...and yeah...STUPID!  I think there is more to it than just a name, it goes much deeper than that, and that's what's most upsetting.  

All of this will blow over.  I will feel better.  I will shine again. 
I will find that baby bliss I have always known. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Last Birth Story...

...and so my final pregnancy has come to an end.  There's a certain emptiness that comes with that, and perhaps it would be easier to deal with if it had been decided another way..but, I was blessed with 1 day shy of 3 extra weeks of being pregnant with my last little love bug and those days I truly did cherish.  

At my weekly midwife appointment my cervix was still very firm, but was dialated to 2.  I was instructed to take 6 primrose capsules and to insert 2 each night.  I am also instructed to take Calcuim Magnesium because my blood pressure is so high.  

We had a midnight visitor....nope, not a new baby....just a 6 year old puker :/ ugh.  The last thing we need is the horrific stomach virus going around.  I decided operation eviction for baby was not the best idea until this virus moves thru.

That morning, I woke up to a message from our little man, that I had already handed control over to him, and it's his turn to call all the shots.  I was greeted with the absense of my beautiful basketball belly and....bloody show. 

I went on to have prodromal labor for another 4 days since my last post.  The thing that sucks about prodromal labor, is that it feels real.  Some contractions are so mild that your not even sure your contracting, but others leave you feeling like gripping for dear life just waiting for it to pass and though the patterns are not regular, the contractions do not stop. They last from 20 sec to more than a minute and they range from 2 min apart to 4, 5, 6, min apart.  Then you think they stop and 15 min later they start again.  

I asked my sister in law to come up last weekend.  I had high hopes that our little man would make his appearance while she was here.  My membranes were stripped, and I got somewhat aggressive with natural ways of trying to encourage his arrival, but it seems he just wasn't ready.  On Sunday, I awoke with another bout of prodromal labor.  This continued throughout the entire day.  I nursed Dove to sleep at around 11 that night, and the contractions became quite intense.  They were so intense and so clost together, that sleeping was not even much of an option.  I went downstairs because Falcon was shaking the bed so much, tossing and turning in his sleep that I couldn't lay there.  Hawk took good care of me, tucking me into his bed.  I was able to rest off and on until about 3 am.  When I got up, I thought my water broke...turns out, I just had peed, lol.  I continued to contract into the following morning.  Still having intense contractions, I was exhausted and wearing very thin.  As I passed the 24 hour mark of having contractions I was ready to give up.  I had extreme back pain and cramps and I knew that the baby was just in a terrible position.  I asked my midwife to come over and check on us and try and help give suggestions to encourage him into a better position and I called upon my friend to come and offer some support.  We had blown up the birth pool in hopes that the contractions had progressed things and Falcon seemed pulled in many directions trying to take care of both me and the kids.

One of my midwive's arrived around 12pm.  She confirmed that I was not in labor and she checked my cervix at 12:10.  I was between 3-4 cm dialated, 80% effaced and baby was still high at -2 station.  We discussed different positions I could try during a contraction to encourage the baby to move down into the correct possition.  My sister in law had found on spinning babies website a technique called The Abdominal Lift & Tuck.  She also noticed that it had a disclaimer that if you have a history of fast labors, that you should not try it without your birth assistant.  My midwife was going to leave after giving her suggestions but, I asked if we could try this technique while she was here because of my past history of once my kids are in the correct position, they do tend to come very fast. She warned it was a very excruciating painful technique and that most everyone she has attempted it with can not tollerate the pain.  I agreed to still try and yes indeed it was intense!  The technique had to be done during 10 contractions.  I was still getting a break between contractions so at least I could recoup for a few minutes in between.  After about the 5th one, I started getting the urge to push.  For a few contractions this was more easily controlable but by about the 8th one she decided she should check my cervix.  At 1:05 I was 6-7cm dialated, 100% effaced and baby was at 0+ station.  This is when things kicked into high gear.  The midwife called the main midwife and told her she needed to come NOW.  I said "we aren't going to have time to fill the pool". My midwife suggested we could try, so my friend went to get Falcon who was just finishing fixing lunch for the kids.   I fell to the floor and was stuck in that position because my contractions were so close together.  The midwife helped me through another contraction or two but my urge to push was gettting too much to work through, so, she ran to her car to get her birth bag.  Some of the kids wanted to be in the room when I had the baby, some did not want to come in until immediately after he was born.  The only ones in the room at this time were Macaw, Emu and Duckling.  Falcon helped me through my next contraction and the midwife was getting as much out of her birth bag as she could.  At 1:20, I told her that he was coming out, so she then quickly assessed the baby.  I had another contraction and my water broke.  At this point, Macaw and Duckling decided they did not want to be in the room so they left but Macaw didn't even make it to the bottm of the srairs and he was out.  Just 35 minutes after labor began and two pushes and at 1:23 my precious son was born.  Before either of us were moved from that position all of the kids joined us.  The baby and I were moved to my bed and everyone gathered around.  The room was filled with so much love, joy and such a calmness I have never experienced in any of my other births.  We all sat in bed for hours.  There was no hussle and bussle of nurses whisking the baby away.  No hurry to cut the cord, measure or weighing, no rush to clen him up despite the fact he was born covered in meconium.  Most everyone got to hold him before he even got his bath.  His first bath was "our bath", a special herb bath that our midwives prepared for us ...again so peaceful and calm.  It's quite amazing how everyone gathered around.  Normally, I'm extremely selfish with these bonding moments but being at home is just indescribable in so many ways.  All of my kids, Falcon, and my dear friend all gathered around and shared the moment and there we all were without another care in the world other than that moment.  It was was perfect, although a few people were sister in law who simply did not have time to get there.  My main midwife was not there when he was born but arrived shortly after and another friend, a photographer who had planned on capturing all of these beautiful moments...honestly, things happened so fast, it didn't even enter my mind for anyone to call her, but chances are she would not have made it in those short minutes anyway.  For all that matters, my kids from the basement didnt even make it, and the midwife that was here said...she thought she wasn't going to make it.  

In all, I had 7 days (51 hours) of prodromal labor, 35 min of active labor and only 2 minutes of stage 2 labor consisting of just 2 pushes.   I carried our little man for 42 weeks and 6 days.  He was a tiny 7lb 4oz but so perfect!

I learned a hard lesson in not making decisions within the first 12 hours of giving birth.  That birth high is comparable to being should not make lifelong decisions while under the influence of new baby ;)  and I hope I've learned to never feel pressured to make another decision I may later regret. Even though I have not been able to put my precious little man down, I do wish I could feel "better".  This has by far been my worst postpartum period, I hope I can find peace and the same level of  bliss I have always known.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Last Labor Story, 
begins to unfold....

This pregnancy has been unbelievably...EASY.  People often wonder how any woman can carry a baby for 9 months, then deliver not ever knowing she was pregnant.  I get it...I really get it.  I was not one of those women, but having gone thru this pregnancy....I really do get it.  Had I not shown, or felt my baby kick (which mind you did not even happen until almost 22 weeks)...I honestly would not have known I was pregnant.  During the first two trimesters, the only "ailments" were that I had was a severe UTI and a suspected allergy to the glue in toilet paper (ouch, just don't ask).  

From day 1, we knew we were having a homebirth this time so, I chose not to tell anyone my actual "due date".  I have been induced all 7 times prior and have never carried a baby more than 12 days past my due date, but even on those 11 days past my due date when I was induced, my body has never shown any signs whats so ever that it was anywhere near ready to begin labor.  So, I knew going into this, that I would carry well over my "due date".  So much pressure surrounds a due date and I didn't want to fall into that frustration.  Two weeks before your due, the phone calls increase and the questions begin and with each of those I am one to weaken.  It makes me feel very stressed and pressured, it makes me feel like my body is broken and something must be wrong because otherwise I would have had baby.  Having suffered very difficult and painful pregnancies, I've been left begging for inductions by 37 weeks and all by twice I have been induced on or before my due date.  I have proven time and time again that I do not deal well with pressure to preform when it comes to having a baby.  I've never allowed anyone to wait in the waiting room at the hospital because, under so much pressure of having people wait for me to perform, I never could progress.  Phone calls are the same.  More than once, I've been in active labor in the hospital only to receive a phone call of someone checking to see how far along I was or if the baby had arrived yet and with each and every one of those phone labor stopped. I am.  "OVERDUE".  I've carried this little man well beyond the point I have carried any other of my children.  I started encountering some problems at week 36.  My blood pressure went haywire, my baby went transverse, my pubic symphisis dysfunction came back (THANK YOU for staying away for so long) along with a few other issues.  By week 38-39 our little guy settled into a breech position.  At my last weekly appointment, we knew we were preparing for a breech delivery.  A third midwife was scheduled to attend my birth and we discussed and altered my birth plan.  I increased my "birth team", aka support for both me and my children.  It was quite an empowering moment actually.  For the first time...I trusted my body, my baby and my ability to birth my baby no matter what his position, I trusted that I could do this.  I have a very trained and confident birth team and all the right support and though an OB would not only never let me carry beyond that point, they would also never even entertain the thought of allowing me to deliver breech and here I was with a baby engaged in breech position past my due date and I was preparing for his breech delivery at home and feeling so confident about it.  As I learned more about what to expect, I admit I was definately not looking forward to it, but....I felt more prepared for the challenges that laid ahead.  

I have worked for months to get my house to a certain level of "ready"  I kept saying he couldn't come, until I was ready.  Just three hours after I had that "Aaaaaahhhhhhh" moment and said he could come, he gave us the absolute most amazing belly dance show ever!  For about 30 min he was rumbling and tumbling all over the place.  Hawk said you could see the imprint of his feet as he kicked by belly outward.  I suspected he was moving out of his breech position, and after he settled,  I checked his positioning and listened to his heartbeat to confirm my suspicion that YES, he did turn!  He was head down!

I have had numerous bouts of "prodromal" labor.  This is a first experience for me and anyone who has had it, will tell you that is SUCKS!  The  first time, I contracted for 4 hours. stopped.  The second time...11 hours.  11!!!!! stopped.  

This week, my emotions have been completely all over the place.  One day I just woke up irritated and it got worse from there.  The next day, I was super emotional and swore if someone simply said "hi" it would make me cry, the following day, I was just "down"...the next day, I contracted for 11 hours only to have it stop.  That brings us to, i'm exhausted.  I don't want to move.  I have no appetite, I can't force myself to eat.  My cervix and uterus just plain hurt, even though my contractions weren't painful yesterday, my uterus did indeed work...for 11 hours, lol hurts :D 

Although I am becoming impatient and I am miserably uncomfortable and frustrated that I "labor" so much and still do not have a precious baby to hold...I truly do embrace each "extra" day I have being pregnant.  These are days I will probably never be ready to end and I know with 99.9% certainty, that this is really it for me.  So, I remind myself that I will never be pregnant makes it much easier to deal with one more day and I know..that I can't stay pregnant forever.  

Someday....our prince will come!

and so, my last birth story begins to unfold.....
stay tuned