Friday, November 30, 2007


I thought I was one of the few who still had my boys circumcised. You hear so much bad press about it, I thought it was one more thing I was bucking the culture on.
  • I love the religious significance of it.
  • If God asks it of us, who am I to say 'no'.
  • A nurse friend of mine said she sees less infections in men & their wives for men who are circumcised.
  • I do want the boys to look like their dad and have similar experiences as he does -- since he's the one who will teach them what being a male is.
My pediatrician said that he doesn't know about the coasts, but here in mid-America, 85% of his clients have their boys circumcised. In spite of all my research & reasoning, I still feel anxious each time we have it done.
So, Wednesday we had our 2 1/2 week old baby circumcised. Our pediatrician went on vacation the week before, so we had to wait a bit. He said that few parents chose to watch, but I figure if we could make the choice in putting him through that, the least we could do is watch what he has to go through and be there with him. Dave's seen it before -- it was the first time I was upright enough to attend.

The nurse put a pressure bandage in his diaper to help with bleeding, even though he wasn't really bleeding much at all. The dressing was huge compared to his diaper. I'd been worried about cross-contamination with the yeast in his poop that was almost taken care of, but not completely. By the time Dave dropped the baby & I back home and went back to work, I changed his first diaper since the procedure. The pressure dressing had acted like a funnel and he had gotten poop all over the wound. I called the Dr. who said that if the bleeding had stopped, I needed to soak him, unwind the gauze and wash him with soap and water.

AAhhhhhhh!!!!! I don't even give baths to slippery infants without Dave, let alone scrub open wounds!!! I knew I couldn't do this alone and Dave couldn't come back home. I called my sister who came over at one o'clock that afternoon to help me do this horrible thing to my delicate baby. It took us 20 minutes and 2 water changes. The baby screamed more than he has in his life and was rigid and kicking and flailing. It was horrible. It was all Sara & I could do not to cry through it -- but that wouldn't have helped us get through it faster. Midway, I was shaking so much, we had to switch places and I held him down while she washed. Then we switched again and I finished up. He nursed and nursed afterwards. He's too young to even give him over-the-counter Tylenol without the Dr.'s prescription. It was one of the 2nd worst days of my adult life - serious anguish (the first was when I had to hold 8mo old Dd#2's ankle down that was broken so they could get an x-ray. The look in her eyes was like she couldn't believe that her mama would cause her that much pain. Horrible.)
Originally the Dr. thought that he'd sleep the day after the circ. After all that pain, he didn't sleep more than 10-20 minutes at a time and wake up crying for over 24 hours. My poor baby, and I had to be the one to do it to him....
That meant I didn't sleep, either. I've still got 1 plugged duct that has been plugged for over 2 weeks, now. I was getting 2 more. With lack of sleep, my milk supply diminished. The baby wanted to nurse all night long and all the next day. Finally at 3pm Thursday, he fell asleep for 2 hours -- which meant I slept for about an hour and a half. The more I rested and slept the evening, the more milk I was able to make and the more he slept.
I'm not unhappy about the decision to have him circumcised, but I am prayerful for his quick healing. This is our 3 week old baby -- sleeping ...like a baby.

Newborn daze

It's really "daze" and nights.
When people ask me how I'm doing, I tell them
"I'm better than I was and not as good as I will be."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oi Vey...what a first couple of weeks...

I've nursed 4 children successfully with little thought (except the first one -- a learning curve went with her about everything).

I was shocked at how sore I was nursing the first baby, but after that...it's been really no big deal.
  • I don't like leaking, but I love not washing bottles.
  • I love that I don't have to store formula or heat anything up.
  • I love that I don't have to worry about which nipple or bottle is best to buy.
  • I love that baby's spit-up doesn't smell that bad or stain.
  • I love that baby's poop isn't toxic (until he starts eating solids).
  • I love how healthy it is for baby and that the milk changes as the baby grows to suit his needs.
  • I love that it helps keep baby from getting colds.
  • I love that it's like a drug in helping baby sleep.
  • I love that it helps me bond with a defiant toddler whose driving me crazy.
  • I love that it's FREE!
As much as I appreciate how wonderful God is in giving me this easy FREE way to feed my baby the best possible nutrition...if this had been my first experience nursing, I think I'd have quit by now.

It hurt. It's been 3 1/2 years since I last nursed. I expected it to. It really hurt. After just coming off of my most painful birth, I had to breathe and concentrate through the pain like I did during labor. I always make a lot of milk and it comes in really quickly, so I wasn't surprised at all when my milk came in after 24 hours. It hurt so bad to nurse that I was painfully engorged in a few hours and had plugged ducts & mastitis in a few days. I went to bed and within 12 hours my fever was gone. I tried pumping, but it felt like razor blades cutting me.

The midwife's nurse came for a visit at 5 days post partum to weigh the baby (pic at right) and was unhappy that he was still loosing weight. I'd been cracking & seeping and peeling. She said it was a classic case of yeast that had gone into my ducts. GREAT. After she left, I started bleeding and the baby got a HORRIBLE diaper rash from the yeast. Through several conversations and many articles from this website, I got a prescription for Dr. Jack Newman's all purpose ointment, Gentian Violet & grapefruit seed extract for me. The baby refused to nurse with the grapefruit seed extract on me, so I tried that orally and it made me really sick to my stomach (boy, I couldn't blame the baby for not wanting that stuff). I kept him naked for about 4 days and nights trying to air out the yeast on his bottom and get light to it. (I had to do 3 loads of tiny baby clothes, cloth diapers & receiving blankets each day to keep up - but I couldn't imagine how bad that diaper rash hurt with all those open sores). I used a 10% vinegar-to-water solution each time to clean his bottom (no wipes) and the all purpose ointment. Things weren't getting better very quickly, so I used Montistat on his bottom. His rash flared red and swelled, so I switched to Lotrimin. That seemed to do the trick along with the Gentian Violet orally for him.

Between all the laundry, and mess and hassle of applications on me after every feeding and applications on baby after every small bowl movement, it's been a fair amount of work these first 2 weeks. The kids have been very understanding, though and Dave's been accommodating with all my efforts - the house has been pretty trashed, though. Things are almost all better. Just in time for his circumcision next week.

I got a call today to pray for a 2 day old baby from our church that had to be rushed for heart surgery. My small hassles are so insignificant compared to what some people have to deal with. Please be with that baby, Jesus, and be with mine. Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby Bath

After all the information about yeast, one of the suggestions was a daily baking soda bath for the baby's bottom. So the kids and I gave Ds#5 a bath together.
Ds#3 gathered supplies while Dd#2 was our photographer.
Dd#1 and I did most of the getting him clean parts. Ds#4 just asked tons of questions.

It must've been a soothing experience for baby, because he went right to sleep.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rainbow Baby

So, you've seen the blue..that tured to purple, while the rest of Ds#5's body was beafsteak red.

Now..presenting...our jaundiced baby (due to the higher hemoglobin levels in home birth babies, they look more jaunticed than their blood levels reveal).

Who can tell me what you get when you mix deep red with yellow????
Dave calls him our Oooma-Loompa Baby.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quote of the Day

Dd#2 running up and down the stairs immediately after Ds#5's birth, not being able to contain herself in wanting to express to someone her heart bursting with love...
He's so SWEET! He's so WONDERFUL! He's so BEAUTIFUL!
Dd#1, less than impressed...
He's so BLUE!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Birth Story 2007

Last Wednesday I was 12 days post date waiting for baby and tired of waiting. I tried 5 different things to put me into labor...the baby stayed awake for about 10 hours inutero from the herbs, but no contractions.

Thursday at 10am, the Certified Nurse Midwife came to my house and broke my water. No going back. If I wasn't in labor by the next morning it was off to the hospital with pitocin. **BLECH**!

We tried about 5 different things to put me into labor all day...no dice. Finally, at 3pm I consented to 3 doses (an hour apart) of caster oil. I have significant digestive pains regularly -- and they're worse when I'm pregnant. Putting myself in that pain with the idea of contractions on top of them...sounded absolutely gruesome -- but not as gruesome as a hospital pit-drip birth (I had one of those with Dd#1...it was a very bad experience).

I took my 3rd dose at 5:45 and the midwife went to dinner (with my permission and promise to call if things got rolling fast). My first contraction started at 6:10. The midwife called at 6:15 to ask how I was doing and see if she should cancel her food order. No, stay, we've got a while. I spent the next hour on the potty in serious pain. (It wasn't worse pain than I had imagined, but definately just as bad as I'd feared.) My contractions were coming fast, but were short and I really thought we had lots of hours of this when she called at 7:30 to say she was on her way and check on me. As soon as I hung up the phone I got into some seriously painful contractions. At this time I was laying on my bed begging her to hurry (in my head). Dd#1 layed next to me and held my hand and Dd#2 quietly came in and out. Dave and Julie helped me where they could and I just tried to get through each one. I was waiting to get into the birthing tub until things got pretty bad because the best relief comes in the 1st hour you're in the tub and I didn't want to waste that relief on easier contractions.

The midwife got there possibly 15 minutes later and everyone worked like mad to get the temperature right in the tub we rented for pain relief (and I was sure ready for some relief). I had my eyes closed and could just hear what was going on. They got me in the tub and although the contractions were pretty horrible, I could relax between them in the water. I eventually had a hard time holding myself up in the water between contractions, so Dave got in with me to help me. The midwife wasn't checking me, only the baby's heartbeat (I yelled at her each time she touched my stomach -- she said she was used to it). I remember Dave asking her how she would know when it was time to push. She said "Jenn will know." At 8:45 I felt my body pushing HARD and thought to myself "it isn't time, yet," but I couldn't help it. 2 more contractions and hard pushes later our wonderful (he was quite less than beautiful) baby was born.

The labor was 2 1/2 hours. I don't recover as well from fast labors and a week later am still waiting to feel up to walking across the house, let alone wanting to leave the house. I'm usually raring to go out by day 3 after labor...but not this time (or with Dd#2 whose labor was 2 hrs 9 min.)

This was the most painful (non-pit-drip) labor I've ever had -- and the most wonderful birth experience I've ever had. He was SERIOUSLY blechy looking when he was born -- vernix everywhere, bruised so much he was blue from coming out too fast (I probably wasn't completely dialiated with that first push and pushed him past, anyway.) Then he tured beat red as the umbilical cord has to stop pulsating before they clamp it so he starts with lots more blood volume. The red and blue together -- made him purple. That was my rainbow baby's home birth. They took pictures (I couldn't BELIEVE they did that!) and they are SERIOUSLY disgusting. So I'll just show you one.

Monday, November 05, 2007

RC History

Here's an overview of our history using RC & SOTW. I mostly use SOTW as a supplement as it fits into RC History (Roman Catholic History). (The parts in italics are parts included in the program - book pages are given in the program, you have to buy the books, mapping software, audio tapes separate - this program could get expensive if you try to buy everything...be choosey & utilize your local library when possible or go in with another family and just buy some of the books and trade)

Overview & Understanding RC History :
  • The history program covers history in a chronological 4-year cycle, so if you started in 1st grade, you'd get through all of recorded history (at ever deepening levels) 3 times by grade 12.
  • The program is divided into 4 levels (K-12) called stages so all children in a family can learn together.
  • It is designed to be flexible, so the parent makes all the decisions (which can seem overwhelming when you're first looking at the program.) You can go through the program as fast or slow including as many or few resources, activities, assignments as fits your family situation and allowing your child to work at the level that is best for them.
  • A method of teaching called "CONNECTing with history" that includes all learning styles and integrates other disciplines (writing, art, geography, literature, religion...) in with history.
  • An underlying structure with Christ at the center of all history (think of a cross with the horizontal beam being time and BC time on the left, AD time on the right & Christ at the center) and Christ at the center of everything God wills in heaven & earth (think of the vertical beam of the cross with the top being happenings in heaven and the bottom being happenings on earth and Christ at the center where it meets the horizontal beam)

Nuts & Bolts - RC History includes :

  • book suggestions for each level - these are further broken down by priority
  1. core readings
  2. basic assignments that are optional, but helpful
  3. additional literature for further study if you're so inclined
  • mapping suggestions
  • timeline suggestions
  • poetry selections
  • questions to ponder and discuss
  • writing assignments to reasearch
  • some units include the WONDERFUL Novel Inquiries literature study guides
  • hands-on activities (and book suggestions with craft/art projects in them)
In Action - how we use RC History :

For us the "CONNECT" aspect works on a monthly basis (about 1 unit per month). The hardest part of the program (for me) is to wrap my mind around how much & what to assign when throughout the month. I plan the kids' school 1 month at a time to accomodate RC History & the pace we want to go through the program.

C - Consider : ask the introductory questions given in program (jr. high & high school level), Mama reads the background reading as prep. (1-3 days)

O - Overview : read the overview of cultures from program (jr. high & high) to be studied in that unit & assign other overview reading from Kingfisher World Hisotory (jr. high), Usborne World History (elem), Oxford (jr. high), Bible - for example, they are all reading the same stories in the Bible, but you'll decide which bible they read from or that you'll read to them based on their level, etc. (all) (2 days)

N - Notebook : assign literature readings- what you have on-hand & suggestions from RC History, narrations, writing assignments, art & projects... (all) (2-3 weeks)

E - Explore : this really goes along with Notebook time & specific activities are given in the program - mapping, bible readings, get movies that tie in from library, religion tie-ins (I don't want to give you the impression that religion is separate in the program, it's all tied in)

C - Concentrate : prepare for end project, finish up writing assignments, do timeline, etc -- goes with Notebook in my mind.

T - Tell : This is my kids favorite part. They've done writing assignments or narrations (depending on their age) throughout the month and then they select a project that summarizes or focuses on what they've learned that month. (2-3 days)

It really took me quite a while to wrap my mind around the program. For our family is works GREAT and combining all the componants just took practice on my part. I love the way the program focuses on Catholic history while not neglecting secular history. I also like that it includes so many things (poetry for memorization or enjoyment, the academically challenging Novel Inquiries, art projects, deeper reading suggestions if we want/have time for them...) and that all the kids can learn the same topics at the same time encouraging family discussions, impromptu play-acting, etc. It is a very teacher-intensive program in my mind, but definately worth the effort.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

No news is good news

I won't be induced on Saturday (today), afterall. The baby is growing more than we suspected last week and seems very healthy & reactive. I was dialated, but now am not, so induction at this point would mean such extreeme measures (Pitocin in the hospital) that it seems obvious to wait. This last week (41 1/2) is when I usually go into labor on my own, anyway. So, I'll just wait on God's timing some more. I'm not nearly as miserable as I was last week, I finally started sleeping, again. It's AMAZING how much better I feel with 4 or 5 hours sleep compared to 2. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. It makes a world of difference!

Friday, November 02, 2007

My next book adventure

I saw an interview of Clarence Thomas on 20/20 about his new book. I don't have any knowledge of him since the Anita Hill scandals. The interview was really impressive. THEN, I got my new issue of Imprimis (a free publication from Hillsdale College that I get TON out of reading - click on "free subscription" on the left side of the link) and it was another interview of him. I am going to HAVE to read this book!! I'm amazed how much the interviews and world view of this guy speaks to me. I would think that sitting here with a bunch of kids and homeschooling, that I would have so little in common with a black Supreme Court Justice. I'm really excited to get a hold of this book!