Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Breastfeeding: A Modern Day Miracle

Today at lunch, Asher asked me if I had to eat quickly so that I could start making milk (he was talking about "Judah's milk" or breastfeeding). I informed him that actually, my body makes milk without me even thinking about it.

"Can you feel it?" he asked.

"No" I replied "not when I'm making it".

God has formed my body (from 2 cells, can you believe it??) so that I can feed my child everything it needs, from one substance, that I don't have to even think about. I just eat, drink, and nurse my child. That is it. I don't even know how much my child is eating, did you know that? I have no idea how much milk my child is eating at any given feeding, on any given day. The only thing I know is that he poops, pees, and is growing. That little baby and my body somehow have this silent communication that creates different milks, different amounts, at different times, it's all crazytown.

The "experts" have been trying to recreate breast milk for decades, and they still don't have a perfect match. It will grow a child, which is awesome for so many, but I'm talking about the chemical composition, all of the tiny little ingredients. All this scientific research, and study, and experiment, and still not the same substance.

That's when it hit me what a miracle God has placed in my life on a daily, no, hourly basis. I have been breastfeeding now for 31 months of the last 4.5 years and it's just now occurred to me that I have become completely "numb" to a modern day miracle.

Isn't that what we do? Isn't that what the Israelites did (over, and over, and over...) Don't we get so excited about some major healing, or answered prayers, or some freak accident, or even hear the voice of God (or you know, follow a pillar of smoke/fire around?) and then a day, week, year later forget? Do we even see the everyday miracles surrounding us?

I don't.

What a reminder today.

Modern day miracles, all around me, in my everyday.

JAB Months 1 & 2

Judah-Bug, as we all call him, is one content and easy baby.

Judah, you:

Had a pretty bad case of jaundice day two of life. I took you to the ped, who stated you were actually orange. I couldn't get to the blood lab until the next day, and by then these mommy eyes could tell that you looked a tiny bit better and you started pooping regularly. You never had your blood drawn and you cleared up rather quickly.

Very good with your nights and days. I think we only had one "uh-oh" night (your brother Micah had his switched for a time) which meant you were the first of my babies I ever woke during the day to feed. You got right back on track.

You switched from your bassinet to the crib shoved up against our bed around 6 weeks which you seem to love, you had just headed back to waking every two hours. I knew you weren't very comfortable in that thing. You are back to every 3-4 hours.

There was a period of a couple days when I could tell I had been keeping you too busy. You were losing it at 6 pm and screaming for about an hour. I put you in the Tula and paced in the field behind our house until you fell asleep. Itook the next week to make no plans and let you nap. That solved the problem.

You still don't nap well out and about, and the best days for you are at home. Did I actually have a homebody for a baby??

Which may be why God has changed my heart in that  department, I feel much more inclined to try to stay put! We walk Asher to and from preschool 3 days a week, and sometimes that even seems too much.

You gave your first quick smiles at 4 weeks and have been smiling big since 6. It tickles your brothers to get a smile from you. Daddy loves it to get one when he gets home or goes to get you out of bed. You love to communicate with us with your tongue as well. Daddy claims you laugh, but I don't hear it. You are cooing and gurgling a lot now and the boys love it when you make that loud sucking noise.

Naps are short for you and are just now settling into 4 a day. None longer than 40 minutes though. We need to work on that, but I'm not sure how!

You have such a calm, peaceful spirit. We love to hold you and cuddle. You are our little "chubby cheeks" or "Judah Bug" and we just can't imagine our lives, or family, without you!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

JAB - Birth Story

This, our 3rd pregnancy, has always been different. I'm sure it's because I was already chasing two small children. I was more tired and for longer, a bit more nauseous, bigger faster, more emotional (is that possible?!?), and didn't actually feel good until the 3rd trimester. We were convinced we were having a girl. We even had a girls name picked!

So, obviously, we were shocked at 33 weeks in the hospital with abdominal pain to see that she was in fact, a he! I was in pain and freaked out, but I busted out laughing. I think it took Brad a few days to let go of the idea of a girl. Not because we were hoping for one, but he had gotten used to the idea, and sometimes it's hard for him to switch those gears. Girls have always frightened both of us. I have 5 sisters, and, you know, I am a girl. I was a handful.

Judah has always and forever been breech. We have known since somewhere in the 20's weeks. Asher was turned at 28 weeks by our midwife (MW). She tried at three different appointments to manually turn Judah, once while I was inverted on an ironing board. I went to two different chiropractors, used essential oils, tried handstands, etc. the child was not interested in turning. We didn't make a big announcement because we knew the concern it would bring. We prayed about it for months and we were given a peace about it and our midwife was at peace with it, and that's all we needed. We knew it would be an automatic c-section at our OB, or anywhere for that matter. For the record, our MW has attended over 1200 births, approximately 40 of those being breech.

My due date was the 16th and we had a great morning date followed by a family day of just us four. It ended in my favorite pizza - Besta Fasta - which I just found the receipt to, can I put that in the baby book? That was the night of the Blueberry Festival fireworks which you can see from our backyard. We had planned to let the boys stay up to watch them but I was so tired by 8 o'clock I threw in the towel. I felt so guilty, but these kiddos will not sleep up, up late or not. It turned out for the best anyway!

I woke up at 1230 to wetness. I thought I had possibly peed myself, went to the bathroom, laid back down, and hey!, more fluid. That made it clear my water had broke. I texted my MW and mom and decided to go back to sleep. Brad and I had discussed not wanting to birth in the middle of the night again, and again, I thought I could tell my body what to do. It complied for a while until 4 when I awoke. I remember thinking I couldn't put it off much longer and laid there waiting for contractions to start, which they did at 430.

At this point they were coming every 5 min and I let everyone know that this was the day and asked my MW to come now as Micah arrived exactly 2 hours from waking up with strong contractions. I did not want to be alone for a breech birth. I started timing them while Brad worked on getting everything prepared. The MW's daughter showed up first, followed by the MW, my MIL, then my mom. At that point they were already every 2 min, obvious contractions, but not horrible.

My MW took the time to check me, I told her not to say that I was less than 6 cm, and that's exactly what I was. I knew by the way I was feeling kicks that he was a footling breech (feet first as opposed to butt first) and her internal check confirmed it, she could feel a little foot barely being held back by my cervix. She let me know that I may feel the foot come down as I became complete. We prayed. The next contraction Judah started kicking me in the cervix while I was contracting. That, my friends,
 was not pleasant. I let Judah know he wasn't going to do that or we weren't going to make it, and he graciously complied. That was enough to send me to the tub.

I labored in the tub fairly easily. I was no longer timing the contractions. They were strong, but I was conversing in between them. We woke the boys to send them to a wonderful friends house at about 615 in the morning. Bless her. I had a small lull in contractions, just enough to give them both kisses. They were a bit confused by all the people and that I was just chilling in the bathtub, but after a quick discussion, they were back to being excited.

I labored some more when a contraction hit and I felt a small *pop* and I could tell that both his little feet were now in the birth canal. I looked straight over to my MW and she laughed at my wide eyes.
She could tell exactly what had happened.  After trying some internal checks and looking at the timing of my last labors, we knew I was probably complete, but it's hard to tell when there are legs coming out...

I decided to move back to our room to see if I could push. This time around I didn't experience transition like I did with my first two, and I never get an intense urge to push, so I just put a little pressure on him and out popped both feet! It was easy and exciting so I decided to start pushing. This was at 7:01. It was hard. It felt like I couldn't move him. I had kept invisioning  him just kind of slithering out, but there wasn't any slippery stuff in real life, and he almost felt like he was sticking to me. My MW kept reassuring me, she was calm, even when I would start getting frustrated. I pushed for probably 40 more minutes and at one point I remember thinking, "oh my goodness, I think I am getting too OLD to do this anymore!".

At this point the MW suggested I flip over and hang on to my hubby's legs. That was all it took. As soon as I flipped belly up, he was on his way out, there was nothing I could do about it. He came out up to his chest quickly, and I had to push the rest of him out. We had the whole floor covered and there he was, a little blue (normal!) and breathing, but shallow. My MW leaned down to give him a little helper breath, and after the second little puff his eyes flew open, and he reached up and got two handfuls of her hair! That's when I knew all was well in the world. He was laid on my chest in bed and I could tell why he felt like he was sticking to me, he was still covered in sticky vernix!

He was healthy and happy, and although more exhausted than I have ever been in my life, I was actually not sore at all. He nursed, we bathed, and got right back into bed. In fact, I don't think I left the bed for the rest of the day. We had two boy names that we never decided on. I gave daddy the job of deciding, and he didn't actually have a name until he returned home with the big boys. Micah still preferred Abraham, but Judah Ankrom Beer was the winner. Ankrom, for those of you that don't know, is my maiden name.

This was the first baby I got to go into labor on my own, without stripping my membranes or even checking my progress prior to. He came a day after he was due and even though I thought he would be small, he was only an ounce lighter than Micah. We have all adjusted well and now I can't imagine saying "no" to him. I am so glad the God changed our hearts to welcome a third baby. I can see now how people end up with lots of kids, because, how do you say no to a life?

You can tell that things are a bit busier here since this took 2 months to finish, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Pictures will have to come when Hubby can help me with iPad vs computer. I am technologically illiterate. I'm too busy raising babies. :)