Monday, September 29, 2008

Gypsee Yo

Gypsee Yo is a slam poet who I feel I need to share with the world. She is a mother and shares my feelings on certain topics, but expresses them better than I ever could. You can find some of her amazing poems on YouTube including my favourites:

Girls Get Cut

Why a Poem Has to Wait

Adrianna's Daddy

And here is my favourite, Ema's Song. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Definition of Entertainment

...Watching my almost 3 year-old try to eat chicken fried rice with chopsticks. Then throwing a fork across the room when we suggest she use that instead.


Yeah, Judith just ate chicken for the first time ever! Asian people can get my daughter to eat anything it seems. I have a feeling she will travel the world some day and resent me for forcing her to eat Western food as a child.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Babywearing in 1963

Here is a clip from May 10, 1963 from the CBC (Canadian) show Telescope, on the topic of "Baby Toting". It's really interesting!

We are a babywearing family. Here we are in Sydney, Australia, when Judith was almost 3 months old. We currently have this pouch sling, as well as 2 ring slings (one for me that has flowers on it, and one for Dave with a more 'manly' print, complete with skulls, lol), a Snugli, and a mei tei. I also have material to make a wrap, but I haven't had time to experiment with that yet.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Call + Response

We need to step up and speak out against the modern day slave trade. I can't emphasize enough how strongly I feel about this issue. I love the quotation in this trailer "Never forget that Justice is what Love looks like in public."

Check out

If it's not playing in your city, email them and see if you can get it there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mommy Paradox

I find it interesting that the number of kids I want fluctuates with my mood.

For example, last night Gideon was up at least every hour. Sometimes I didn't even get a chance to doze off and he was crying again. And he didn't do his usual 2-5 minute power feed and pass out again. No, he just wanted to nurse all night. He'd go 20+ minutes, and even then I would have to pry him off when I couldn't take it anymore. Only to do it again within the hour. Needless to say I was extremely tired and dehydrated this morning. While he was nursing all I could think of was "What ever possessed me to want to be a mom!"

Then this morning when he woke up and it woke Judith up (which means there will be no going back to bed), I grudgingly looked over to him, hoping that he could see the pain and exhaustion in my eyes and magically go back to sleep and take his sister with him. But no, instead he looked up at me and broke out in a huge, sweet smile, and reached his arms out for me. Suddenly I was all "Awwww! Ok, I'll have 6 more. No problem."


When I think about it though, in the long run I think I would be happier with a bigger family. It's obviously hard when our kids are babies, but that's really nothing compared to the privilege of bringing LIFE into the world. When I look at my kids and see how amazing they are, and think that I was the one honoured enough to give birth to them and raise them, it is very humbling. My present convenience pales in comparison.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Starting Solids

On Wednesday I had Gideon on my lap as I was using the computer and eating apple slices. As usual, he was frantically grabbing at the undoubtedly fascinating objects I was shoving in my mouth, all the while opening and closing his mouth mimicking my eating process in an attempt to prove to me that he had what it takes to try one of those incredible mystery sticks. He had refused to eat his cereal that morning. I think he just may not be impressed with the whole utensil thing. Like it's just an unnecessary step that only makes the food-to-belly process all the more complicated. He is very interested in watching me eat. And always wants in on the action. He refuses to believe me when I tell him that he's only 5 months old and really should still only be eating breastmilk, and that he should just be thankful that I gave in and let him eat cereal before I wanted to. He insists that things such as whole fruit, perogies, and veggie burgers are perfectly acceptable foods for him to try. Enough of the bland cereal crap already.

Anyways, so the desperate pleading for an apple slice, after having already worn me down from a day full of teething-related screaming (my life lately has been laced with the constant sound of teething baby), drove me to cave and let him have one. I didn't know his eyes could open that wide, as his hands tightly grasped his treasure and brought it slowly to his mouth. He was shaking with excitement. Upon tasting it, he didn't make a funny face like when he eats cereal. He looked at me as if to say "THAT'S MORE LIKE IT!" The coolness of it probably felt nice on his gums too. So he gummed away at it while I finished off the rest of the slices. I had a firm grip on his apple of course, so he couldn't shove it in too far. Then, as I was observing him in his bliss, it occurred to me that he could bite a chunk off and choke. Then sure enough, just as I thought that, I hear the crunch of his bite. I took the slice away and attempted to fish the small piece out of his mouth. THAT brought back memories of constantly retrieving objects from Judith's mouth - a stage I'm not looking forward to going through again! Gideon was livid, and was not giving up without a fight! He earned that piece of apple fair and square! Well, the turd won and somehow managed to swallow it. I held my breath for a second, but his breathing went on unaffected. He squinted his eyes really tight a few times, surely at the new sensation and sour taste (it was a Granny Smith). Then looked up at me as if to say "SUCKER!" and started whining and reaching for the rest of his slice on the coffee table.


I did let him try banana the other day. I was eating one and he was frantic for it, so I mashed some up with breastmilk and fed it to him. He didn't seem to like it very much. Probably the whole utensil thing again.

I have this unofficial rule right now while we're in the 'introducing solids' stage that when he eats his cereal, he has to poop before I feed him more the next day. Judith became extremely constipated when she started solids, so I just kind of want to monitor it. So far he's been fine, pooping a couple times every day as usual, so he's had cereal every day. Although his poop is starting to smell. It's not too bad, but no longer the sweet breastmilk smell.

He didn't poop after eating the apple, or all day yesterday though. I was starting to get a little concerned. I make his cereal very liquidy, so a chunk of apple was probably not so good. He was fussy, but no worse than the last few days. Finally, today he pooped. And it smelled like apple! It looked fine, healthy and yellow, with no chunks or anything. This is not helping my case.

Soon he will be asking for a steak...

After telling friend of mine this story, she directed me to this website, which I find interesting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall '08 Weekly Routine

This is always subject to alteration, I am a very flexible person with my daily routines. I like having structure to guide me, but not confine me.

I 100% guarantee that I will NEVER be able to actually do all of this, there just isn't enough time while tending to both kids all day as well, but it gives me something to aim for.

Dave is going to disable certain websites during the day on weekdays (at my request) so I won't be able to distract myself.

Morning/Day Routine (doesn't have to be in this particular order)

-Up early, normally between 6:30 and 7:30
-Daily Bible passage
-Exercise & stretching (if I have time or especially if we're not planning on going out and getting exercise)
-Gideon nursed, diaper changed and dressed
-Breakfast for Judith and I
-Bathing; Mon/Wed/Fri-Judith, Tues/Thurs/Sat-Me, Wed/Sun-Gideon
-Judith dressed after breakfast (since she always gets food on her clothes)
-Blinds open (so lights can be off all day)
-Feed Fishy & Dragon
-15 minutes of de-cluttering
-Daily chore started/done
-Judith nap (nap with her when possible, if Gideon is asleep too)
-Go to park/for walk if no activity planned (min. half hour)
-15 minutes "academics" with Judith (numbers, letters, etc)
-15 minutes "arts/music" with Judith

Evening Routine

-Feed Gideon his cereal before starting supper
-Supper at or close to 6:30, even if Dave isn't home yet (in that case make plate for him to have when he arrives)
-Clean up after supper and organize kitchen while Dave showers
-Close blinds (I have to write this down so I remember, we live in a basement apartment so if the blinds are open everyone walking by can see in clearly)
-Half hour to hour of computer time (read: ME TIME), or hang out with Dave, or read
-Nurse Gideon, put his pj's & night time diaper on & put him to bed (before Judith goes to bed)
-Tidy up house, spot sweep if necessary (if time, if not do it after Judith's asleep)
-Judith & I teeth brushed (wipe bathroom sink & counter & swish toilet) & pj's on & tidy kids room
-Read a book, pray and lie down with Judith by 9 (Dave or I, whoever is free and willing)
-Try to be in bed myself by 10 or 11

Weekly Chore/Activity Schedule

-Groceries & SPUD order
-Clothing laundry
-Diaper laundry
-Fold & put laundry away

-JLYS (volunteering)
-Tidy & vacuum bedrooms
-Vacuum front stairs

-Cardel Place free gym (every 2nd week, alt. weeks with Epic mom's group)
-Thorough sweep of all floors
-Mop all floors, bleach bathroom & kitchen floors every 2nd week
-Sweep & mop laundry area 1x a month

-AP playgroup (if up for it)
-Large projects/seasonal chores/general organizing & tidying/errands

-Epic mom's group every 2nd week
-Towels & sheets laundry (alt. our bed & kids beds weekly)
-Diaper laundry
-Make up bed(s) and put away clean towels & diapers
-Clean bathroom

-Catch up with blogs and facebook
-REST day! (unless something is planned, then Sunday will be rest day)
-Family music/worship night (maybe some day will invite friends too)

-Church if/when it's on (our church doesn't meet every week)
-some kind of family activity
-Catch up on any chores I missed during the week
-Meal plans for following week

Seasonal Chores (1x every 3 months)

-Wash windows (except winter)
-Wash all mats
-Wash blankets, douvet, throws, etc.
-Wash walls
-Wash out fridge
-Wash toys if nec.
-Wash couch cushion covers
-Organize pantry & cupboards
-Organize closets & kids' dresser if nec., do clothing inventories, see what's needed for upcoming season
-Take in recycling and organize back storage room

Thus, we embark on a new season...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gideon's Birth Story


Gideon Isaiah Michael was born April 4 at the Foothills hospital in Calgary, AB at 10:14 pm weighing 8 pounds 9 ounces, measuring 21 inches long. Both Gideon and Judith were born on Friday nights! = )

Things got started with mild cramps Thursday overnight, I noticed them when I got up for my normal night time bathroom breaks, but they weren't bad at all and I slept through them just fine. I didn't think it was labour because when I was out shopping on Thursday I ended up in the bathroom at Value Village for quite a while with diarrhea (lovely, I know), so I thought it was just that again. Then at 6 am I noticed I had quite the bloody show. It continued all morning, and I was having mild, but at least real, contractions.

Every time a contraction came I just praised Jesus because I wanted labour to come so badly. It was so exciting, but I wasn't getting my hopes up because I figured I wouldn't get into "real" labour for a few days. I was going about my life as usual, and starting around noon my contractions got to the point where I had to stop to breathe through them, and I started recording the starting time and duration of each one. But I still thought it was pre-labour because I was totally fine between contractions and spent the day playing with Judith and reading a book. I actually really enjoyed the rise and fall of the rushes and was experiencing the whole "riding a wave on the ocean" thing with each contraction, it was cool!

The contractions never got nearly as bad as they did during Judith's labour, which I believe was due to being at home and not in the hospital. The pain was totally in my back and thighs, I hardly felt anything in my belly at all which was odd and I was kind of waiting for that to pick up too. I leaned forward through the contractions and pushed on my lower back which felt amazing. It would have been so painful if I had to lie on my back on a bed! Moving around a lot helped too.

So I spent most of Friday just eating and drinking for the supposed "long road" ahead, and not paying too much attention to the pain. Dave came home from work around 2:30, I told him to stay and work the rest of his day, but he was certain that I was underestimating myself so he came home. He brought us all Subway for a late lunch! Then he was smart and had a nap. Judith and I joined him, but I couldn't sleep through the contractions. I did nod off for about 10 minutes between contractions once, but when the next one hit I had to quickly sit up and I felt like I was going to puke. So I got up and kept myself busy while they slept.

When Dave got up we watched Star Trek, and then I called the midwives around 6:30 because I thought I finally was in good labour. I started having to moan a bit during the contractions. I figured I was around 4 or 5 cms dilated, because it was about the same pain intensity that I felt in Judith's labour when I was at that point. One midwife showed up (the one that saw me for 80% of my prenatal care, and who was actually the first midwife I met when I went for the orientation session back in August) around 7:15 and checked me, and I was 9.5 cms dilated! I told her I loved her. I still felt great for being that far along. She also checked the baby's heart rate and that's when things stopped being blissful. It was up in the 180's. I told the baby to chill and his heart rate came down to the 160's, but then soon went back up.

The back-up midwife showed up around then, not sure what time it was. I sat on the toilet for a short while, which I had been doing a lot of and it felt good, and then got into the bath tub, hoping I'd be able to push soon. The midwife didn't want to go to the hospital just as much as me so we were hoping that I'd start to push and the baby would come quickly and then we'd not have to go. The bath water felt amazing! If I have another child I am definitely going to try for a water birth because it felt so good, especially on my back. But the baby's heart rate kept going up to the 180's, despite my prayers and efforts to tell him to calm down. I also hadn't felt the urge to push yet even though I was fully dilated (I think the stress of knowing his heart rate made my labour stall, even though I didn't really consciously feel stressed as I knew in my heart everything was fine).

After we waited over an hour and his heart rate didn't come down nor did labour progress, we decided to call an ambulance and go to the hospital in case he needed emergency resuscitation if he passed meconium in the womb, which often happens if the baby is stressed and can cause pneumonia or something I guess. At that point I also had to accept an IV into my arm with antibiotics due to me testing positive for strep b (I declined having the IV put in right away when the midwife came because my waters had not yet broken). The hospital required me to have the IV, and I'd rather my midwife administer it than a nurse at the hospital I didn't know. It was awesome to have the same midwife through all my prenatal care and birth and postnatal care! It's so nice to have someone you know and trust. I am totally sold on midwives and probably could never deal with the standard doctor/hospital care for birth in the future unless for some reason I have some big risk factors.

It was so hard for me to get out of my nice tub, get dressed and then lie down on my back in an ambulance for the bumpy ride to the hospital while in transition (I was shaking and nauseous, but managed to not throw up through it all, despite being in the transition stage for over 2 hours) and still having hard contractions, but overall it wasn't too bad and even the EMS guy couldn't get over how "perky" and talkative I was between contractions knowing I was so far along in my labour. Once we got to the hospital, around 9:30 pm, we got a room right away and didn't have to check in or anything (a perk of having midwives, they called ahead and they have lots of privileges), and of course once we got there the baby's heart rate went back down to normal.

I barely got the heart rate monitor hooked up when I had the urge to push, and with one strong push there was a pop and my waters broke, and his head started emerging right away! The thought of lying down was overwhelming because of the pain, so I got up into a squatting position. I actually ended up with my right knee down on the bed and my left leg out to the side at a right angle. It was kind of an odd position but that's what my body wanted to do. I reached down with my hand and could feel his head already partly out of me! The intensity of the pain was beyond words though! I felt like freaking out, but somehow retained control over everything. I made lots of noise though, as that helped a lot. The urge to push wasn't as overwhelming as I remembered with Judith's birth, I totally controlled when and how hard I pushed, I was able to focus on and follow the midwife's guidance and used my breathing to let him slowly crown and come out without tearing. That doesn't mean it didn't hurt like nothing else I've ever experienced though! I couldn't believe it, it was WAY worse than the pain of pushing Judith out. With Judith I loved the pushing part, it felt really empowering (although my body was in control and did it all, it wasn't necessarily "me"), but this time it was just hard and excruciatingly painful. But in the moment I was able to remain focused on the task at hand, thank God, or I seriously may have lost my mind at that point.

I am really glad I read so many home birth stories and really ate up all the information I could about natural birth over these last few months, and also that I took the Birthing From Within classes, because I was able to keep my focus and stay completely present and in control throughout the entire labour. I am also thankful that the pushing/crowning only took 15 minutes total, from my waters breaking to having him in my arms. I can't believe how fast it went! He was born at 10:14 pm. My first thought was just surprise at how big he was! He was also kind of a purple colour, but the midwives said that was good, and he was screaming his head off so obviously he was breathing great, we didn't suction him or anything. No intervention whatsoever was needed in the end.

I sat back and just held him on my tummy, the umbilical cord was too short to get him to the breast right away. It took 16 minutes to deliver the placenta, which I was kind of nervous about for some reason (I didn't even get to see Judith's placenta, they gave me a shot in the leg after she was born and I delivered it right away and they just took it), but it ended up being the easiest part of the whole thing. After a while I realized I didn't even know if the baby was a boy or girl, since he was on me under a towel, so I checked and announced that we had a boy! We decided to name him Gideon Isaiah Michael. If you put the meanings together, it reads "Great Warrior" "God is salvation" "Who is like God?". Gideon can also mean hewer or feller, and my dad likes that because he loves cutting wood, lol. Michael is also after Dave's dad.

Gideon took to the breast really well at the hospital and nursed for quite a while. The midwife got me some toast with jam and peanut butter with apple juice and it tasted like the best food in the world! I haven't really felt hunger in 9 months, but literally as soon as I gave birth it came back, and I have been one big eating machine ever since! Then I went pee so I could have the IV taken out (I totally hate any kind of needle or IV), had a shower and the midwives did up all their paperwork. Gideon was not a happy camper in the hospital, he screamed basically the whole time we were there. He definitely has good lungs! I got dressed slowly and painfully, my back was SO sore from the labour, and I had a labial hematoma which means my girl parts were bruised and extremely swollen from broken blood vessels under the skin (it looked and felt like I had a mouse between my legs and was very painful). But at least I had no stitches! Dave got Gideon ready to go, and we left the hospital at 1:30 am. It was nice to be able to go home so soon.

I kept saying that the baby would come during a snow storm, just because it has been so nice here since February, and I was right! When we left the hospital it was indeed snowing. My mom came and picked us up, with Judith asleep in the back. When we got in Gideon was still screaming, but Judith took it really well and was trying to console him. For the last few weeks before the birth Judith kept saying "Baby going to come in car seat", and she was right! Maybe she knew all along that he would be born in the hospital. She also knew all along and kept telling us that the baby was a boy. When we got going Gideon fell asleep and then Judith kept telling us to be quiet so the baby could sleep. We got home and spent a little time just adoring Gideon, then we all went to bed and had a great sleep! Gideon didn't wake up at all until the morning.

The next day was a bit rough, I was so sore and Gideon wouldn't latch on at all to feed, but we managed to make it. After Gideon wouldn't eat for 24 hours I finally just pumped and gave him some colostrum in a cup. The midwife came over a couple times to help, and eventually he got it, kind of. I still had to pump sometimes, but I kept offering the breast first and he finally got the hang of it, thankfully. It was interesting to discover through pumping that I have a crazy supply! I could pump 30 ml of colostrum in less than 20 minutes! My milk came in last night, I think I am going to be quite abundant again this time around. At least now we actually have our own place so I can pump and freeze the extra milk in case I need it some time. I'm happy that breastfeeding doesn't hurt nearly as much this time around too. I'm swollen and tender in my crotch, but my nipples are still ok. We had a rough night last night with him not being able to latch due to engorgement, he screamed for hours, but he finally had a good feed and sleep this morning. He's still really colicky today, but at least he's eating.

Overall the birth experience was really good. I kept my head on and was very laid-back through the whole birth and I am so proud of myself! I didn't get my home birth, but it was still totally natural and without intervention in the end so I am very satisfied with it. I can't believe how different it was from Judith's labour! She came early, he came late. She came slowly, with waters breaking first, pitocin augmentation without any pain meds which made for a long, hard labour, but then pushing was great, although long, and crowning wasn't so bad. He came quickly, labour was relatively easy but then the waters broke at the end and pushing and crowning was overwhelming and fast. After Judith was born I was up and about in total euphoria, and told Dave right away that I'd do it again. After Gideon was born I was tired and sore and told Dave I want to wait a while before doing that again, lol. I had a big tear with Judith that took lots of stitches and 10 weeks to heal, but I didn't tear at all with Gideon and I'm almost totally healed up already! That's weird because Judith was only 7 lbs 2 oz and Gideon was 8 lbs 9 oz. I was in a totally different head space with each labour too, last time I was clueless and this time I was in control. My midwife kept telling me that she was amazed at how calm I was through the whole thing, even when we had to transfer, and she was impressed with how well I controlled the pushing and crowning.

So, that's it I guess. I am so happy that I had midwife care, and I totally recommend it. It has also been great to have so much help and support this time around. I like that I can call the midwives 24/7 if I have any problems, and my mom has been great taking care of us here at home. Dave is back at work today, but it was so nice to have him around for the first 3 days after the birth. He did all the diaper changes and burping and just held Gideon all day for me so all I had to do was nurse him and then focus on resting and healing. So here I am 4 days postpartum, and I feel great!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Judith's Birth Story


Judith was born while we were living in Byron Bay, Australia. We were taking a course called "The Deep End School of Postmodern Ministry" at a church called New Earth Tribe. It was a really exciting, awesome time in our lives.

I think it technically started on Wednesday, November 23, as I was having mild contractions all day. I figured it was normal, as the due date was coming up in a week, and I was quite busy so I thought nothing of it. I went to class as usual, then spent sometime in the IGOP (international garage of prayer) and walked home in the lovely, fresh, warm rain. On the way home I had a nice chat with a hippie lady who told me to call her if I needed anything - although I didn’t have her number - and that she would love to deliver my baby. I have some interesting neighbours… Anyways, then after dinner we went to another local church and listened to a seminar on UFO’s and aliens from a Christian perspective (the pastor used to really be into that before he became a Christian). The whole time I was sitting on a hard plastic chair and it was so painful. That night for some reason Dave and I were up late (about 2 am) talking, when all of a sudden I leapt out of bed and ran to the toilet. I had felt a bunch of fluid come out, and I knew something was up. I ended up on the toilet for about half an hour because every time I would stand up more liquid would come pouring out. I figured it couldn’t be urine because I couldn’t control it, and I have always had excellent bladder control and my pelvic floor muscles have never failed me. I made the conclusion that my waters had broken. We made a call to the birthing center to let them know what was up. The midwife wanted to know how far apart my contractions were, but I had not been paying attention at that point, and they didn’t seem bad, so we decided to wait until the morning and see what was happening then. I ran around for a bit packing a bag for the hospital, and then tried to get some sleep (yeah right, who could sleep?).

The next morning when I got up my contractions had subsided quite a bit. Pastor Phil decided to cancel the lectures that day because Dave, Row and I would be involved in the labour, which is half the class! Since not much was happening contraction-wise we stayed home all morning, it was cool because everyone in our house just hung out. I really treasure our times together here because soon we will all go our separate ways and I love these people so much. Dave and I decided to go for a walk to the BP (petrol station) to get some Gatorade for later and hopefully the walk would get my contractions going. While we were there we ran into a bunch of YWAMers from Island Breeze (the same group we randomly ran into at South Bank in Brisbane when we were visiting a friend up there), and some of them remembered us, especially the Canadians. It really cheered me up. We walked back home and then left for the birthing center.

I was really hoping things would pick up, because I wanted a waterbirth more than anything, and I knew that they wouldn’t let me in the water if my waters had been broken for more than 18 hours. But we ended up just hanging out there for 4 hours and nothing happened. The midwives suggested we go home, because they knew that we were paying for the birth, and they wouldn’t charge us for those hours, then we could come back later that night. They said I would have to go to the doctor in town to get a needle thing put in my wrist because after 18 hours of having my waters broken I was going to need antibiotics (because I tested positive for strep B). So we went to the doctor, and he couldn’t get the needle in anywhere because my veins kept collapsing, and I came close to passing out so he decided that we would try later. We went home and I was pretty discouraged.

I decided to take a hot shower, and I spent about an hour in there crying my eyes out. I knew I wouldn’t be able to have a water birth, and I most likely would be transfered to a big hospital if nothing happened soon. The last thing I wanted was for my baby to be born in a regular hospital. I was afraid of being induced or possibly having a c-section if something was wrong! I pleaded with God to make it happen soon so I could have the baby in Mullimbimby at the birth center. I was so disappointed.

After that I went into the kitchen and everyone was there praying for me. It was so comforting to know that there were people all over the globe praying too. We sang some worship songs, prayed and interceded, and prophesied over the baby. It gave me hope to go back to the birthing center and see what would happen.

When we got back to the birthing center it was pretty late Thursday night, November 24. There was a doctor there that put the needle thing in me, and I got my first (ever) shot of antibiotics. By then my contractions had pretty much stopped, and I wasn’t losing any more fluid (after my waters broke I was constantly leaking whenever I’d have a contraction). The midwives suggested I get some rest. I got about 5 hours of sleep in total that night, getting an hour here and there, with bouts of crying and praying in between. I felt so helpless. The midwives weren’t around much because I guess they had an emergency over in the main hospital.

The one cool thing that happened was a helicopter came in during the night. The landing pad was just outside our suite so we watched it and it was really amazing. Apparently it's a rare sight. Later on it took off, just at dawn, and we were able to see a most magnificent sunrise. Later in the morning my doctor came by to check me out. My contractions still weren’t happening, so I was told I would be transfered to a bigger hospital to be induced. I was totally crushed, but the show had to go on. So we packed up our stuff and were off to the Tweed Hospital in Tweed Heads, about 45 minutes away.

By this time I was really tired and just wanted the baby out, so I accepted the fact that I would be induced. When everyone at the house found out what was happening, they decided to come too. It was nice having the whole “family” there, I felt really loved and supported. They all prayed for me. Once we arrived at the hospital I was briefed on what was going to happen, and everyone seemed nice and it felt different than the hospitals I had been in back home. I would only be dealing with midwives, Dave was allowed to be fully involved and my friends could stay. I was examined and was 2cm (but could be stretched to 3) dilated, and they hooked me up to the pitocin drip and monitors to track my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat at 1 pm Friday, November 25. It didn’t look anything like I had wanted, but I was willing to accept it at that point. Mark and Ben had to go home eventually, but Row stayed with me and Dave the whole time, and Hans stayed too but he spent a lot of time downstairs in the chapel praying, and eventually outside our door praying. It meant a lot to me that he stayed until the end.

We listened to worship music the whole time I was in labour, Jason Upton and Laura Woodley. My first midwife’s name was Heather, and she set me up and got me going. The contractions got pretty bad quickly. Apparently being induced makes the contractions much more painful. Heather’s shift ended and the next midwife’s name was Sam. She was from England, and she was young and really nice. Things got pretty intense after a while. I couldn’t move much because of all the things I was hooked up to. Going to the bathroom was a huge ordeal. Every time I went I just stared at the big beautiful bath tub and wished so badly that I was in a warm bath. I decided to sit backwards in a chair for most of the contractions, it was too painful to lie on my back. Eventually I had to be examined again, so they got me on the bed and I was at 5 cm. I couldn’t believe it was only 5, I thought I was going to die! I kept saying “I can’t do this!” The midwife offered an epidural or morphine, and I was really tempted but managed not to give in. I used to judge women who took drugs during labour, but now I totally understand! It was such intense, overwhelming pain. Every contraction I thought to myself “It can’t possibly get any worse than this”, but then it would. Eventually Sam actually had to turn the drip down because she said the contractions were getting too strong. I was totally out of it, people would talk to me and it was hard to understand what they were saying. Dave and Row were there praying for me and comforting me, but honestly that part of labour is all a blur. When the pain came I just closed my eyes and got really quiet. The midwife gave me Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen in a tube, so I sucked on that during the contractions. It was supposed to take the edge off, but I’m not sure. At least it made me focus on my breathing rather than the pain, and gave me something to bite. It totally dried out my throat though, so Dave had to feed me ice. After a little while I gave up the tube because it annoyed me and didn't seem to be helping.

Eventually I was up on the bed on my back (ouch) and the pain got so intense I couldn’t keep quiet any longer. I'm pretty sure everyone in the whole birthing wing could hear me, it's kind of embarassing now, but at the time I didn't care. Screams came out of me from the depths of my belly, and I could feel my body start to push. Sam told me to try and not push, but I couldn’t help it, my body took over. The pain was so intense, my thighs, lower back and abdomen all contracted. When I would scream I would push on my lower back because it killed so much. That part of labour went on forever it seemed. I kept looking at the clock, and every 5 minutes seemed like half an hour. But my mind came back around at that time, as did my sense of humour. Although really, who could make crazy, animal noises and not have a sense of humour?

Sam said it was finaly time to push, and she coached me on how to do it properly. It was the most intense ab workout of my life! I was so exhausted by that time, but with every contraction I pushed with all my might. Every time I told myself “This could be it!”. But even that part of labour was over an hour, I don’t know how I did it. It must have been the grace of God. Sam wanted me to get up off my back, since that's one of the worst positions to birth (I think the only worse position would be to stand on my head, lol), but there was no way I was moving, I didn't even have the strength to roll over. It got more exciting later though, when Sam, Dave and Row excitedly proclaimed that they could see the baby’s head, and there was lots of hair! The end was finally in sight! But it still took me a long time to get her out. I pushed and pushed and pushed, and she came out little by little by little, until I heard them say that her hands were up at her neck by her face. Finally that last push came, and I could feel myself tearing as she came out into David’s hands. The pain of the tear was nothing compared to the pain of the contractions, and I just wanted her out so badly, so I just went for it. I will never forget the feeling of her coming out of me.

Dave placed her on my chest and he cut the umbilical cord. The placenta came out pretty much right away. I saw that it was a girl. My first thought was “Wow, she looks really dark” and my second was “Wow, she looks just like me when I was born!” She barely cried and was so peaceful as she looked straight at me. It felt like a holy moment. I told her that she was beautiful and kissed her on the forehead. I looked at her and knew she would be a strong woman. Her name was going to be Judith, and I was extremely confident in that. I also remembered a prophecy that was spoken over her in the womb, that she would be born with her “hands up” in praise and that she would be a worshipper. And she was indeed born with her hands raised! To this day she still has her hands up all the time. So I quickly proclaimed her Judith Rowena Skyy. I knew it was right. Even though it hurt so much, I said to David “I’d do it again!” I was in such an amazing state of euphoria.

Judith was born at 9:37 pm on Friday, November 25, 2005, 43.5 hours after my waters had broken. We were listening to the song "Home" by Laura Woodley. Sam’s shift was over at 10, so a new midwife came in. She was older and quite rough. She took Judith and weighed and measured her, she weighed 7 lbs and 2.5 oz and was 19 inches long. A doctor came in shortly after and stitched up my 2nd degree tear. I wanted to get breastfeeding right away, so I asked the midwife and she just basically grabbed Judith’s head and shoved it onto my breast. I had no idea what I was doing. It was really painful. Then the midwife made me take a shower. I really didn't want to because I was still in pain and could barely walk and was shaky. Row came with me and bathed me. After that we hung out for a while with Hans and Row, and then they went home. Normally Dave would have been kicked out too and I would be moved to a regular room, shared with someone else, but they allowed us to sleep in the birthing room. We really appreciated that.

I was so tired and exhausted but I could barely sleep. I kept Judith beside me in the bed, and just stared at her all night. She was so tiny and precious! I had to call the midwife quite a few times because she wouldn’t get onto the breast, or just because I was too weak to even pick her up. Dave was great too, every time she cried he was up and right there at my side. I can’t believe how patient, compassionate and selfless Dave instantly became. It has been amazing having him with me, he has taken very good care of me, and it’s so obvious that he loves Judith so much.

In the morning the midwife made me take another shower, and then I was moved to another room. I actually forgot my favourite tank top in the birthing room (it was covered in blood from the birth so I had it soaking in the bathroom). Judith was so peaceful the whole time we were there. In the hall you could hear lots of babies crying, but Judith just slept or looked around contently. Dave and her seemed to bond right away as well, he seems so natural with her even though he never liked or handled babies before. The other baby in our room was the opposite. It cried non-stop. I felt bad for the poor thing because it’s mom took off and left the baby with the midwife and no one could find her. We decided that we really wanted out of there, because it was noisy and not private, and the midwives were too busy to give us much attention (I was still having trouble breastfeeding, and we were supposed to be shown how to properly bathe the baby but that never happened). So we had a doctor give her a little physical exam (he said she was perfect!), and then we went back to the Mullimbimby birthing center for the night, and spent the next full day there, which was Sunday.

The midwives there were really nice, and it was quiet so we got some rest. I was shown how to properly breastfeed, finally. It took Judith a couple days to figure out the proper technique, and in the meantime she had destroyed my nipples. She always screamed and cried when I tried to feed her, and it was a battle rather than a bonding time, which really upset me. We were shown how to do cloth nappies (diapers), and even gave Judith a bath. It was a much better atmosphere than at the hospital. It rained a lot while we were there, which was really soothing to sleep to. A few thunderstorms went through as well, lightening even hit the hospital! It scared Dave and I, and the lights went out for a second, but Judith just slept soundly through the whole thing.

We came home Sunday evening, November 27. Normally they keep you in for up to 7 days, but since we have to pay out of our own pockets for the hospital stay, they allowed us to be discharged early and the midwives came to our house and visited us for the remainder of the 7 days free of charge. On day 4 it was really hot and Judith was running a slight fever, so we decided to go to the doctor. She was a bit jaundiced as well. He weighed her and she had lost a bit, but that is normal, and by then her temperature had come down because the office was air conditioned, so that was a relief. I don’t think she was dehydrated either because her diapers were still frequently wet.

Then there were two nights in a row where she didn’t sleep at all from about 11 pm to 6 am. They were the first couple of days that my milk came in and I don’t think Judith liked it very much. Dave and I were so exhausted and basically took shifts staying up with her. It’s crazy how quickly you get used to a baby crying and you can sleep despite it. I hope our house mates don’t hate us! = ) It’s good though because our room is in the opposite end of the house as everyone else’s. Since then Judith has been better and has kind of gotten into a routine and now only wakes us up a few times a night to feed and then generally goes back to sleep. Although she is still awful during the days. It is too hot for her to sleep for more than maybe 10 minutes at a time, and she gets frustrated while nursing because we just sweat on each other the whole time. She really isn't a happy baby. It's been really hard on everyone. I've been so emotional.

I had no idea how difficult the transition to motherhood was going to be. The birth didn't go the way I wanted it to, and was so much harder than I could have ever imagined. Breastfeeding has been awful, it still hurts so much that when she cries I just want to run away. I am so frustrated with myself all the time. Dave has withdrawn a bit the last couple of days too. I wish Judith would just be quiet for a while. She always seems so angry. My body hurts SO much! And I want nothing more than to be able to sleep, uninterrupted. I think I'd need days and days of sleep to ever actually feel normal again. I'm pretty sure that I have come to the absolute end of myself, and the worst part is that I have no choice but to go on. The community here has been a life saver though. I've been given a lot of encouragement and I can feel their love and prayers.