A New Grace

I was beyond honored and blessed to be present last night (well, this morning) for the arrival of a long-awaited little girl named Grace. A peaceful, wonderful, home waterbirth VBAC for my dear beautiful friend.

I’m too sleepy to say much (naptime is almost here – yay!), but I can’t resist posting Grace’s adorable picture.

Helpful hints for hurting hands??

What are some yummy meals (esp. supper) that require little “slicing and dicing?”

I can’t take my wrist braces off for more than a few minutes each day. Chopping and cutting are very difficult for me with my carpal tunnel, and my stock of meals that don’t require them is pretty slim. I’m starting to feel badly about my offerings to my family.

Any ideas about meals that are this kind of simple???

Feeling Relieved

I talked this morning with my lovely midwife in Kansas, where we will be travelling for our “homebirth away from home.” in June. I feel much lighter of heart!

Some of the things that helped lighten my heart and ease my mind –

After hearing about what my body’s been doing the last few weeks, she’s not worried about preeclampsia at this point. I’m going to keep tabs on my BP, etc, and keep in place the healthy changes I’ve made in the last couple weeks, but my mental load over this issue is lessened by her confidence.

It was interesting to hear her recommendations for protein intake. I actually wasn’t doing poorly with protein intake before, according to what she recommends. I was still getting way too much junk food and too many wasteful carbs. I find it fascinating that so many women that I respect and see helping women have healthy babies have such varying opinions about things like optimal protein levels. I’m not sure where we’ll land over the next few weeks on what my daily goal will be for protein intake, but it’s encouraging to know that there probably isn’t a perfect number!

While not sounding happy about how much weight I’ve gained already (I was expressing my concern about this issue), she is happy with the fact that I’ve changed my eating and exercise habits the last couple weeks. She thinks that if I’m really committed to eating well and exercising faithfully, that I could healthily maintain my current weight or possibily drop some before delivery. Dropping weight is never a good goal in pregnancy, but it’s neat to know that if I take advantage of the spirit of power, love, and self-control that God has given me (2 Tim. 1.8), that I could see some of the junk food weight come off while nurishing my baby better.

And then there’s just the excitement that comes from getting ready to order a birth kit and starting to really prepare for a birth. That always gives me such a lift.

Guess what??

I’m gonna have a baby!!!!!!! 😀

Our Great God Be Praised!!!

It is with unspeakable joy and tearful eyes that I am happy to announce that SB303 to legalize and license midwives has crossed a major hurdle the Missouri Senate by passing the vote for Perfection.

Our main filibuster-er had a meeting this afternoon. 🙂

We’re definitely not done yet, but God has accomplished for us what has never been done before in our state. One more vote in the Senate, then on to the House and the Governor!

Here are a couple of news articles:
St Louis Today

Missouri Net

Belleville News

We got our gardens planted!

We at last planted our gardens on Sunday afternoon. 🙂 I was going to wait until I had pictures to post, but I haven’t had my camera yesterday or today, so I’m going to go ahead and post now and insert pictures later.

We’ve started our first square foot garden this year. It’s 4’x4′, and each of the older four children have 4 spots of their own that they’ve planted and will be responsible for caring for.

Here will be a picture of the square foot garden:

We also planted strawberries in our tractor-tire raised bed:

And tomatoes in buckets that will be mounted on the outside of the back deck – about half Better Boys and half Romas:

If you live in Missouri…

… and are willing to take a couple minutes to help our family not have to go to Kansas for future births – then here’s a little task that could make a big difference!

There is a bill pending right now in the Missouri House and Senate that will allow for Certified Professional Midwives to legally practice in the state, similar to the laws of 40 other states. (Senate Bill 303 and House Bill 503) Midwifery is truly the OLDEST profession for women.

Currently it is not legal to practice midwifery in Missouri due to others wanting to control how women give birth. In fact it is a felony for a midwife to deliver a baby at home even with the consent of the parents! This is why our family has made the difficult decision to return to Kansas for the births of our babies – so that they can legally be born in what our research has convinced us is the safest and healthiest environment for both mother and baby.

All of the well designed medical studies show homebirth with a professional midwife to be equally safe to hospital birth for healthy women. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) recommend increasing the role of midwives, as does the “Healthy People 2010” project in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Whether you chose to give birth at home or in the hospital does not matter. It only matters that you support the option to be available for Missouri families. Please sign the petition on the link below and let your legislators know that you want them to vote yes for legal professional midwifery in Missouri. It is urgent that you do this immediately as time is running out!

Click Here for the Petition

Here is a link to find out who your MO legislators are. Put their names down on the petition if you can.

You will need your full zip code to find them. Here is the link to find out your full zip.

Please forward this info to anyone you know living in Missouri.

Thank you!
For more information, check out:
Friends of Missouri Midwives
Missouri Midwives Association
Show-Me Freedom in Healthcare PAC

An update on me

I’ve been doing well with keeping my protein count high, taking my vitamins, etc. The swelling in my ankles/legs is much less than it was two weeks ago. My blood pressure is doing okay (the bottom number – the one that apparently is more of an warning sign for preeclampsia – has been lower the last week or so than it has been previously this pregnancy).

My big pain has been my hands. From what I’ve heard, pregnancy-related carpal tunnel is not uncommon. So let me register my official thankfulness that I’ve never had this in any of my first six pregnancies. Tuesday morning I woke Jonathan up with my whimpering. My hands hurt so badly that I could hardly cope with the pain. He got me wrist braces that day, and they have been a HUGE help. Praise the Lord! They are unwieldy, but I’m able to do a lot more now (like, say, pick up a plate with one hand…). I’m very thankful for the braces.

So I have much to be thankful for, and thankful I am.

At the same time, to be totally honest… there are ways in which I’ve really been struggling.
Fear – I find myself reading a good bit about the whole preeclampsia thing. And I think I’m becoming slightly paranoid. Please pray that I can be aware and alert without being fearful.
Guilt – I am very aware that the biggest reason that we even need to be concerned about these things is because I have not been being the responsible mom that I should be this pregnancy. I have not taken care of myself or my baby the way I should. I’ve not exercised, gotten the protein I need, nor eaten the quality of food I should. And now I feel like I’m scrambling to keep from having serious repercussions from my irresponsibility – repercussions that could affect both myself and this precious baby for whom I waited so long.

I realize that I need to set aside what is in the past, and press on to what is ahead. Please pray for me that I will be able to rest in Him so that I can do that.

Polly had her kittens!

Our sweet calico kitty has been hugely pregnant for what seems like ages. I’d never seen a cat waddle before. 🙂 But sometime in the night, she finally had her kittens – her first batch. Four of them. And I think she’s a natural mother (unlike sweet Luthien who had such a hard time being a mama cat).

You can’t see the kittens that well in this picture, but there (from left to right) is one blond (or do they call that orange in cats?) with a smidge of white, one calico, one black with a smidge of white, and one blond with generous white splotches.

Aren’t they sweet?!?

Further Pregnancy Update

First of all, I want to thank Michelle for not letting me blow off her concerns about the possibility of preeclampsia developing. You are a true friend!

Last night I got a call from a dear friend of mine who knows a TON about pregnancy and birth. She had read my Checking In post on my blogspot blog and called in the midst of an extremely busy and stressful time to check on me because my symptoms raised a lot of red flags for her as well. This was followed a few hours later by a terrific informative email from another dear friend who was alarmed by what was going on with me. They both were concerned about preeclampsia and had some super practical suggestions on how to head it off.

Sometime between yesterday evening and this morning, I realized that when I talked to my midwife about the tingling in my hands/arm, I didn’t mention the swelling. I called her this morning to round out the information I’d given her and she too was very concerned.

So, here are some changes I’m making. Some are specifically to head off the preeclampia possibility, some are things I should have been doing anyway and have been lazy about . . .

~ I am boosting my protein intake Bigtime. I have not been getting nearly enough protein in my diet and this is probably why I’m having such trouble. My goal is to get between 125-150 grams of protein a day for a while and see what this does to my symptoms.

~ I’m serious about charting my food intake now!

~ A cucumber a day.

~ I will be having my BP checked once a week for the rest of this pregnancy. What I learned last night is that often BP doesn’t do a sudden rise with preeclampsia, but it rises in smaller gradual steps. Tracking it weekly should help me keep tabs on where it’s headed. Today it was 112/62, which is right along what it’s been throughout this pregnancy.

~ I’m being faithful in taking my vitamins – duh!! I have been really bad about this this pregnancy.

~ Though I’m usually a strong advocate of moderation, which for me includes allowing myself a cup of coffee per day in pregnancy, I’m dropping the coffee for now. It interfers with calcium absorbption, and hubby’s research last night found a connection between low calcium levels and preeclampsia. I should be drinking my Red Raspberry Leaf tea anyway. 🙂

~ I have also been waaaaaaaaay lax about exercise this pregnancy, and I’m going to keep working on getting back into that habit, though not so aggressively as I was on Monday and Tuesday of this week. I’m going to plan on two 10 minute sessions of non-intense exercise each day. Reasons? 1) The exercise I got Monday and Tuesday does seem to have made a significant difference in the swelling. 2) Hubby found several studies last night that found that exercise did not have a negative effect on moms dealing with preeclampsia. 3) Two brief periods of gentle exercise should not offset the huge boost I’m making in my protein levels.
Note – I’m open to more input and research on this.

There are probably other things I’m working on, but that’s what I can think of at the moment. And I need a nap. 🙂

Checking In

I haven’t been good about posting lately, so I want to give a few short blurbs today. I can’t type much, so I’ll try to be concise.

Pregnancy Stuff
~ Baby seems to be doing great. I can find hearttones pretty easily with our fetascope, and think it is such a thrill to hear our little one’s heartbeart with such a simple, non-invasive little device.
~ Swelling of ankles and lower legs started about a two weeks ago. Seems worse than usual, but maybe I’m just out of practice. 😉 Have started exercising more and I’m hoping that will help.
~ Losing feeling in my hands – mostly my right hand. At night I’ll wake up with both hands sound asleep, my right arm up to my elbow sometimes. I’ve never experienced this before. Am hoping the exercise will help. I’m going to see a friend who does kinesthetic body work on Wednesday, and have my appt. with my chiropractor next week.

Other Stuff
~ Our cat, Polly, is waddling around the house, waiting to have her first batch of kittens. Don’t know how many are in her little body, but she’s got a huge bulge!
~ Papa and Mama Byrd are in town this week (got in last Thursday) – YAY!!! It’s wonderful to have them here.
~ My dear friend Sue is due later this week, and her sweet little one is caught in a diagonal position on a very tight ligament. It’s an improvement over her tranverse position last Thursday, thanks to several visits to the chiropractor, but I’d love it if you would pray for her and her baby Grace. Peace of mind and spirit for Sue, the ability to get into the right position for baby Grace.

That’s all for now, because my hand is numb.