Monday, July 27, 2009

The Lord is good, y'all.

I was offered a doula job this morning. I got very excited until I learned she's due next week and delivering in Fort Worth. I am not ready-I have no milk frozen for Audrey and I don't have enough training yet. Oh, but how I want to help her! She's a recent widow-can you imagine giving birth without your husband? Heart breaking.

So I prayed about it-because if the Lord wanted me to do it, then I'd do a crash course or something and be there by her side. But as I read 1 Samuel today, the story of David & Goliath, I got my answer. See, David didn't need the armor but he did have experience. He'd killed a lion and a bear. He was good with his sling shot.

I have confidence that I will be ready when the time is right. But a woman birthing without her husband needs an experienced doula, not a practicing wanna-be.

But I am equipped to pray for her. I know the Lord will provide the right woman for the job. And someday, I'll be the right woman for the jobs he gives me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tornado Jaika turns 3

Well, tomorrow is the big day. Jaybird turns 3. My dad turns...whew-57? Is that right? We're going to the water park to celebrate the dual birthdays.

With a big sigh of relief, I think back on the last three years. If you remember, Jaika's birth story was full of adventure-a vaginal birth after C-section was planned, a police chase was not. She was born quickly on a Sunday morning, just before church. One of my best friends came in just in time to witness the delivery of the rest of her body and help with clean up (she's a labor & delivery nurse from that hospital) before running off to church to spread the news of new life. I'll never forget her words as long as I live. As soon as Jaika was born, Andrea said,

"God saved your baby."

Indeed he had. She was born with a true knot in her cord. God allowed her to grow for weeks with a knotted cord. It was never pulled tight, so she lived with no ill effects. Another nurse that day said in her many years of nursing, our baby was only her second with a good outcome. (I digested that later to mean all but two of her knotted cord babies died.)

Jaika is so full of life. Oh boy is she. Yesterday for example, she showed us as we were getting out of the car at the salon that she was not wearing undies. With her sun dress. I constantly remind myself that even though she has a BIG thing for making messes, we could have easily been without her. I'll take the messes!

Amazingly, her little sister shared a similar miracle story with a knotted cord of her own. God is good. He has plans for us all. If your life were spared for a purpose, how would you live? Well, guess what, friends? If you're breathing today, you have a purpose God wrote on your heart. If you don't know him, you gotta meet him. He's the only one who can reveal his plans for you. If you've forgotten how much he loves you, just ask him. No matter what you've done, it's no surprise to God. He know how much we'd mess up before he ever decided to save us from our mess. He knows all of it. And he loves you anyway.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Breastfeeding 201

So, I'm plowing through the required reading list for aspiring doulas...and thinking doula thoughts 24/7...having a lot of fun obsessing and planning, much to my husband's dismay. Na, he knows it's just me and that I'll run out of doula steam soon and get back to a balanced life. And for the record, he's supportive of it (but I'd still bet he's ready for a new topic of conversation!).

In the mean time, I must confess I was not thrilled to have to read books on breastfeeding again. I was a breastfeeding counselor about 10 years ago, did all the trainings, read the books and still refer back to the books from time to time. I have a few years experience nursing babies (5 children times 2 yrs each-about a decade of my life will be spent nursing by the time Audrey's done). So, yeah. Not thrilled with another BF basics.

So, I started with The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers by Jack Newman. Just to get it over with. 'Cause I'm prideful like that.

Wow, oh wow! I learned so much and plan to buy this book for myself and my lending library. This guy is a breastfeeding guru.

His approach, unlike most breastfeeding books, is not focus on all the mother's social issues in nursing (he mostly leaves that up to her) but instead on the medical issues. While he does sometimes speak directly to moms, his audience is more the medical professional helping mom. It should be a must read for anyone working with nursing women.

He breaks it down beautifully by constantly reminding us that most breastfeeding problems are due to a poor latch. If you get the latch down really, really well, it's usually smooth sailing from there on out. Did you know babies can pretend to be latched on well, but aren't? If mom has a strong let down, they can even gain weight, but eventually they can run into trouble. Newman does an excellent job explaining how to determine if a latch is good or not (his techniques were new to me).

This information was so good, I found myself checking Audrey's latch, even though she's not likely to change anything now that she's 8 months old :)

Y'all don't even want to know what I learned when I read the chapter on epidurals in The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Childbirth (okay-wanna know? It's very possible that the IV fluids given before the epidural led to the pulmonary edema that landed me two scary nights in the hospital after Audrey was born. Obviously it doesn't happen all the time, but research shows it is a risk factor of having an epidural). Just for the record, this book is a little outdated (it still talks about routine episiotomies, which I think are mostly abandoned now).

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I constantly study what's going on my head & body. I have a very strong family history of mental illness, mainly depression. Every woman on my mom's side of the family as far back as we can recall has dealt with depression, so I've been on guard against it since I was first married (ya know, because marriage and mental illness are so interrelated, lol).

As I continue to watch my reactions to life, it's becoming obvious to me that we don't pay enough attention to emotional stress, specifically the stress that comes from bad news in others' lives.

I'm not one to be overly emotional; I don't usually cry in front of people for example, so it surprised me when a friend had a baby almost two years ago and I was physically charged by it. I wasn't even there, you see, I was busy at home and she was being induced thirty miles away. I wore out the carpet; I couldn't be still with all the nervous energy in me. I was emotionally exhausted by the evening and it took me by surprise.

Other than my sleeping schedule being a little off since staying up too late on the 4th of July, I've had a fine week. I was elated with the doula plans, which also led to a loss of sleep when my brain was too busy to shut down. By midweek, though, I'd discovered a dear was struggling and received a phone call yesterday from my mom that my sister-in-law's cancer has probably returned. I spent some time yesterday with friends but by the end of the day was simply drained. Wondering if I was about to get sick, it had not dawned on me the emotions I'd been dealing with all week.

Yeah, I'm often a little slow...but aren't we all slow to realize what stress we're under, especially when it's not directed right at us? After all, starting a new business that's right in line with my passions is a good thing, yet it's still takes a toll on my emotions.

So, what are we to do?

Recognizing it has to be the first step, but can be the hardest!

I'm not going to add to my stress by filling up the rest of my weekend with busyness. I'm going back to the basics-grocery shopping, straightening the house & getting all of us ready for church tomorrow (when there are 7 of you to get out the door by 9am, you have to start the day before!). Maybe a movie this evening. Exercise would help, if it's not still 110 degrees this evening, maybe I can walk.

So-what says you? Do you have trouble recognizing emotional stress? What do you do about it? How can we see it coming before it strikes?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Start

I have a lot of little bits & pieces to share...

Like that Audrey is my favorite child ;) It's okay, the girls are all fine with it-they say she's their favorite, too. She is so easy going! She hardly fusses-only when hungry or tired...okay, and she might have fussed when Jaika tried to ride her like a horsey but maybe not. She lets Jaika drag her out of danger (or danger perceived by Jaika) by her feet without even a grimace. If we could just get her to stop eating off the floor...I've never had a baby sleep through fireworks-y'all-she's awesome!

I could equally share the great things about Shane's new position at the Sheriff's Office. He's so happy, even when it's 105 degrees outside. I'm so glad that he's enjoying his job, it runs over into enjoying us more. He's initiated more board game playing and is such a better mood most of the time.

I'm still sugar free after 6 months. Six more months to go! I do have a few items planned to eat on January 1st-like the locally made fried pies I keep hearing everyone rave about.

Right now though, I have something else occupying my mind-a new career path. I know, I know, I just left a job 11 months ago to stay home. But I've found a job within my passions that will allow me to be at home and stay on top of homeschooling. I'm so excited to start working on my doula certification. I've looked into this before, but the timing has not been right until now. By the time I'm certified (within a year, I hope) Audrey will be fine without me for longer stretches of time. With Shane working days, I can leave in the night if I need to and the girls won't be alone. Ashlyn's old enough to watch her sisters all day, but since both my mom and my mother in law are supportive and said they'd help with the girls as well. I'm working on the required reading right now-so my nose is constantly in a book. I'm learning so much already!

I believe the Lord has worked this all out a long time ago. He's made some connections for me that I don't even know how they started (like the childbirth ed teacher who's said she'd highly recommend me). With my degree in Family Studies, my work as a breastfeeding counselor while in college, then my work with families as a PRC director, I think this is a natural route to take.

So, my blog will take a new turn as well, I'm sure. I think it was therapeutic while Shane worked nights to be able to come here and socialize, get my thoughts out. Now he's more available and I'm not feeling the need to blog as much (I know you've noticed). But as I'm reading my books, I keep thinking, "Oh, I should put this on my blog!" so maybe you'll get to learn as I go along.

I've gone on too long-but I wanted to share. I have some housework to catch up on...I've been in the books too much the last couple of days. I'll keep you updated! And-if you're local and need a professional labor coach soon, look me up-I'll need to do a few as practice before I get certified.