Saturday, August 24, 2013

Where to Find Me

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Confession

I have seriously neglected my blog. My apologies to those of you who enjoy reading it and have missed my posts.

A quick update: We're still farming and it's a lot of work but it's a great lifestyle. My business of sewing ring slings and various other baby related goods is taking off and I love having a creative outlet. Caleb is the most amazing 3 year old I could ever ask for and constantly keeps us entertained with his interesting use/timing of the question "why." Isaac is nearly 9 months old and makes the funniest yucky faces when I try to feed him anything other than breastmilk. He will sometimes feed himself a piece or two of puffed wheat but he's made it very clear that he's not ready for solids yet. He is ridiculously funny with the noises he makes and the reactions he has to certain situations.

Here is my confession:
For some reason this is very tough for me to say. I understand that I'm not to blame or anything but I still feel like I should be able to handle it:

Isaac is a high needs baby.

I used to think that Caleb maybe showed signs of being high need but read that if you're unsure as to whether your baby is "high need" or not, he probably isn't. With Isaac I am sure. I've been in denial for a long time about it (which really has not helped at all) but I'm (sort of) ready to admit it now. If you want more information on what exactly a high need baby is, Dr. Sears has a great article entitled: 12 Features of a High Need Baby
After I had Caleb I tried to stop judging other mothers by the behaviour of their children. I won't say that I never judged but I always tried to remind myself that I didn't know the mother or her situation or the baby's personality. I hope that other mothers I meet will now will extend me the same courtesy.

When you see me bouncing my baby in the sling during the church service, it's because nearly constant motion is one of his needs.
When you wonder why he has never had a bottle, it is because exclusively breastfeeding is one of his needs.
If you wonder why I pick him up the instant he even shows the slightest signs of fussing while playing on his own, it is because his slight fussing quickly escalates into full out screaming unless I meet his need.
If you are disappointed if I take him out of your arms when he starts making a certain noise, I'm sorry you didn't get to hold my cutie-pie as long as you would have liked, but I want to avoid the potential meltdown that he is setting himself up for.
If you are waiting for an invitation to visit or have a play date, I have not forgotten about you. Most days I'm so distracted by the things I actually remember and am able to find time to do that I think about calling you late a night or right when I'm about to start cooking supper. My house does not have a lot of phone call friendly moments. Plus there is the fact that I would rather stay home most days because it's much simpler for Isaac to get the combination of rest and stimulation he needs.
If I look like I haven't showered for a week, I probably haven't. It's not because I don't care about my appearance, It's most likely that I have forgotton. I think that most moms with little ones underfoot can relate to that. I also have the added bonus of knowing that most evenings Isaac is at his wits end so I know he will need me the whole time I'm in the shower so I choose the keep him content because I can always shower another time.

I tell you all of this because I want to make people aware of what my life (and that of any parent with a high need baby) is like. It's hard. I won't beat around the bush with saying it's not. Isaac is nearly 9 months old and we're still getting to know him. Just when I feel like we are starting to get things figured out, he changes. It helps a lot with accepting him for who he is by realizing that it's just his personality. It's not because I "spoil" him by carrying him to much or nursing on cue. I'm not overreacting when I respond to the first sign of him fussing.

Let me tell you some amazing things about my littlest one. Partially for you to see that I truly do love him like no other and partially for my own bebefit as we've added teething and a cold to our dealings with him.

I know that all moms think their kids are the cutest ever but Isaac is stinkin' adorable. He's got the perfect haistyle. Looks like a little buzz cut and it has the slightest tinge of red in it. His eyes really betray his emotions. Super bright when he's studying something and quick to tears when he's upset. When he laughs you know that it's coming from the deepest part of who he is and it ripples through his whole little body. He has the greatest thunder thighs and ghetto booty ever. If you've seen it you know exactly what I'm talking about. He has the softest, most perfect, pudgy baby feet and he knows how to use them. I'm not talking walking (though he's quickly learning that skill) but I'm talking about grabbing. He was probably about 3 months old when he learned that his toes can grab things.
I wrote this post about 2 months ago and never got around to finishing it. I decided to post this "as is" and finish up telling you how incredible Isaac is in my next post. For now, to those parents of HN babies: time is a wonderful thing!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Exact Birth I Needed

Due to the fact that some people have been having difficulties opening up the large PDF file for the Birth Issues Magazine, I copied and pasted it directly into my blog. I haven't proofread to make sure it's all proper but I tried to put the paragraph breaks in the right spots. I also noticed that sometimes a double "ff" would turn into a symbol. I think I changed them all. Hope that you enjoy reading this!!

Setting the Scene:

I had a c-section with my first son in April 2008 in the Red
Deer Regional Hospital. I had a really great doctor with a
“low section rate” but still ended up with a pointless surgery.
After three hours of pushing the doctors decided that I
could push for twelve hours and not get anywhere so a
c-section was the only way this baby was going to come
out. I asked my doctor the reason for the surgery and he
hemmed and hawed for a few minutes before he made
up some excuse about my pelvis being too small. I never
actually had the urge to push and was not allowed to get o"
the bed or move into any position to move the baby down
into a position conducive to creating that urge.

I found out I was pregnant again the day of my son’s second
birthday. I knew that this time was going to be di"erent. I
contacted a midwife right away and decided that travelling
one and a half hours to Edmonton to give birth with a
midwife was better than having a traditional doctor again.
But every time I thought about the birth I knew I wanted a home
water birth. Midwives don’t travel to my house. The fact that the
government funds midwives is a mixed blessing because not
only is it extremely tough to find an available midwife, they have
to follow all the government regulations (which recommends
midwives to be within half an hour from a hospital with c-section
capabilities for vaginal births after a cesarean home births). In our
case, that meant registered midwives would never dare attend our
births and risk their careers.

After a lot of prayer and research, Adam and I decided that we
were going to have our baby at home anyway. An unassisted home
birth was not our first choice but we felt that it was the only way to
get the birth experience that we wanted. We searched my whole
pregnancy for another way (asking our current midwife to travel,
trying to get a more local midwife to travel, trying to visualize a
hotel birth, etc) but couldn’t find one. The only way we managed
to keep our midwife for the prenatal care was because we told her
we would keep the hotel birth option open. We trusted that the
Lord would lead us when the time came as to what option to take.
We also did a lot of research on the internet as well as reading
many books on pregnancy, birth and unassisted childbirth. I even
talked to a couple friends who had unassisted births themselves.


I had been ready to have the baby since about 36 weeks. I kept
thinking, “Maybe today is the day!” Alas, the day just never came.
My friend, who knew our plans and who we invited to the birth,came over with her kids on Wednesday December 22nd and we
decided that it was going to be a Christmas baby after all. It would
have been quite fun considering her oldest son is a Christmas baby
as well. That night I had a couple of interesting dreams and awoke
at about 3am to pee and noticed that what I though was a Braxton
Hicks contraction was pushing down on my full bladder causing
some pain. The same thing happened at 8:11am. I decided that
since I was up I might as well get some reading in.

As I sat on the couch reading my book I noticed that I was getting
contractions every five minutes. I still sort of thought they were
Braxton Hicks but they started to feel a little di"erent. My husband
Adam came in from morning chores after I had been up for about
twenty minutes and I told him, “I think today could be the day!” He
basically said, “That’s nice” and went to the o!ce. He wasn’t being
inconsiderate. He just truly didn’t think it would progress into
anything (it hadn’t the previous few times).
I told myself to wait until 9am to call my friend. It got really
difficult to wait and I picked up my phone to call her after every
single contraction. Finally 9am rolled around with only 10-12
contractions by this point but I called her anyway. She asked me
if I really thought this was it. I told her I thought so, and that I was,
“Kind of freaking out!” She said she’d be right over. While I waited,
I paced. I couldn’t sit still for the life of me.
Around 9:30am I started to call out for Adam to come help me
cope with the contractions. He was still on the computer and
said he’d come when he was finished. Again, he wasn’t being inconsiderate; he just truly didn’t know that I was actually in labour
at that point. I needed him to a) hold me through contractions,
b) make some breakfast and c) clean the toilet. He laughs at how
important it was to me for him to clean the toilet. “How does that
help your labour?” he asked. I told him, “It just does!” If I was going
to be labouring on the toilet, it better be clean.

Then Adam got a phone call from my dad who needed him to
help with something on the farm. I was extremely reluctant to let
him go as my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart. That’s
when my friend arrived! It was just before 10am and she came
equipped with mu!ns, quiche, a birthing book (on the Bradley
Method), and a book of verses and inspirational quotes that
several of my friends wrote in at my “Mother’s Blessing.”


At 10am I was forcing myself to eat some eggs and toast. Adam
headed out after breakfast and my friend ran the bath for me. My
main concern at that point was that I didn’t want to waste all the
hot water because we planned to fill the birthing pool later. She
assured me it would be fine. As I was in the tub she set my son
Caleb up with a movie. She sat with me while I laboured in the tub.
The contractions were starting to get intense now. I said at one
point, “That was really tough.” My friend replied, “You never have
to deal with that contraction again. It’s gone.” I kept thinking,
“Down and crown, down and crown.” I had been chanting this
motto for weeks. Maybe it’s because I knew talking to my baby
would help him move quickly and maybe because my first never
moved into the birth canal so I was preparing myself that this
time would be di"erent. I was so relieved when Adam came back
inside the house at about 11am. Apparently he walked in the front
door and asked our friend, “So, this is really it?” And she said this
definitely was it.

I had to pee at this point so I got out of the tub and laboured on
the toilet for a while. Somewhere in there Adam managed to
call the midwife. When Adam called our midwife she asked if we
were planning to come up to Edmonton. At this point I was nearly
pushing and he let her know that there was no way that we were
going to make it up. Our midwife said they would start the
drive down.

I got really nauseous and, right before I threw up a couple times,
I told Adam that I was scared. I was thinking, “Why do women do
this?” My friend and I both realized that this was that infamous
moment of self doubt that women get to when they are nearly
finished the labour marathon. I thought it was wishful thinking
considering I’d only really been labouring for a couple hours. My
friend, on the other hand, was smart enough to tell Adam that
they needed to get me into the pool. Right after I threw up I had
a couple of pushing contractions on the toilet before they helped
me get into the pool.

About 12:10pm Adam managed another phone call to our
midwife. I heard him say, “Sure I’ll call you back when she’s
pushing.” I’m in the pool thinking, “I’m already pushing!” It’s
amazing how clearly I remember it all. I think part of it is that I was
well rested from a good night’s sleep and the other part was that
I was labouring exactly how I had imagined it in my mind since I
had my first son. Caleb, my son, was giving me water to drink in
between contractions. Adam was applying pressure to my back.
When Adam was on the phone (or changing out of his stinky farm
clothes) then our friend stepped right in and filled his spot.
I have to make a side-note about Caleb. He was two years and
eight months old at the birth and he is a very empathetic little
boy. He hates to see anyone, especially his mommy, hurt. We had
talked about the birth and read books and watched birth videos
but I was still a little concerned about how he would handle his
mama being in pain. He really surprised us as he took it all in
stride. He knew exactly what was happening and didn’t
question anything.

It was 12:22pm when I felt my water break and mentioned it to my
husband and friend. There was another phone call to the midwife
and she told Adam to try to get me out of the pool to lie on my
side (and perhaps slow things down for her to arrive). I told Adam
there was no way that was happening because the baby was
already crowning. I remember my friend being in the kitchen and I
asked if she was going to come catch my baby and, the next thing
I knew, she was right behind me ready to go.

Adam reached down to feel the baby’s head (something that he
was very adamant about not wanting to do, until the moment
actually came). He said, “I feel the baby’s hair!” He later said that
this was such an extraordinary feeling and he’s so glad he did it. He
got to be the very first one in this world to touch our son. That’s
a moment that will stay with him forever. So I pushed his head
out and then came another moment that Adam treasures: The
baby was looking around under the water. I heard Caleb in the
background say, “It’s a baby! There’s a baby!” He was watching the
whole thing and was so excited.

I asked, “What do I do now?” Our friend laughed at me and said,
“You push the rest out.” So I did. He came about half out and then
I figured that I didn’t want to wait until the next contraction so I
gave an extra push and the rest of his body slipped right out. It was
incredible to grab my baby and sit back down into the pool and
look at him for the first time. I had seen videos and slideshows and
pictures of other moms having this moment with their babies and
now it was my turn.

I was the first one to hold my baby. I felt so safe, warm and loved.
I knew that Isaac was safe. He was in his mother’s arms, exactly
where he belonged. I didn’t have anyone pestering me to weigh
him or check his temperature. Nobody tried to give him a bottle
of formula (Caleb was o"ered formula because the nurses didn’t
think he could wait for my milk). My husband and son were
there the whole time. No one tried to shu%e them away. No one
interfered. It was a picture perfect birth experience and I wouldn’t
change any of it for the world.

Isaac was born at 12:51pm after about 3 hours and 21 minutes of
labour. We called the midwife fifteen minutes after the previous
call to let her know that we had a beautiful baby boy. She said they
were on their way. The midwives came and did all the technical stu" like tying the cord (Adam and Caleb got to cut it), weighing
him (6lbs 10oz, 5oz smaller than Caleb, you know, the baby I was
told I physically couldn’t birth), checking the placenta, and filling
in all the paperwork.

My mom and dad (who live next door) came over when Isaac was
about an hour old. It was so special to share that with them. Had
we gone up to Edmonton, they wouldn’t have been able to meet
Isaac until much later. Because we were at home, Adam was able
to do chores the next morning. My mom was able to bring over
dinner(s). Most of our family was able to meet Isaac before he
was a couple days old. Caleb didn’t have to spend any time away
from us. A home birth was exactly what we wanted and needed.
I truly believe that the Lord paved the way for us to experience
Isaac’s birth this way. Had things not moved along so quickly and
smoothly we would have had to look at our alternative options of
travelling almost two hours (or more because of Christmas tra!c)
to a hospital or hotel.

We were prepared to cut the cord, weigh the baby, and figure out
all the paperwork ourselves. We were very lucky that our midwife
realized that we didn’t have the time to travel to Edmonton for the
birth. It would have been ideal to plan a midwife assisted home
birth. It would have been a lot easier to explain to friends and
family. There were certain people that we didn’t fully explain our
plans to because we didn’t want to deal with their criticism. Even
after the birth numerous people have come up to us and said thatwe had been lucky nothing went wrong. We had some people
very close to us who were completely unsupportive and were very
vocal about it. That’s not a nice position to be put in. All of the
uncertainty and the criticism made for a very stressful pregnancy.
It affected me emotionally and mentally but it also became very
physically hard on my body. It was very hard to truly enjoy being
pregnant and I feel somewhat robbed of that.

I believe that all expectant mothers should be able to choose the
birth experience/location that works best for them. I wish that not
only midwifery care was more available but also that midwives
were given the flexibility to make birth location decisions on a
per mom basis. I wish that it was easier for them to get admitting
privileges at rural hospitals. I wish there were fewer restrictions
regarding VBAC mamas. I believe that changes will come with
time, but so many mothers are being robbed of the birth they
should be entitled to because all the midwives are in the city and
are either unwilling or unable to travel. A healthy baby is only part
of the picture. A healthy birth experience matters too.

Tessa retired from her career as a financial educator
to be a stay at home mom and wife of a dairy farmer. She is the
proud mother of two boys, Caleb and Isaac. She is passionate
about breastfeeding, natural birth, attachment parenting and is
looking forward to homeschooling her children.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's Online!

The magazine that published my birth story is finally online. So for anyone who wants to read it, feel free to check it out.
Birth Issues Online: Rural Maternity Care

It's in PDF format and can take a while to load. My story is on page 38. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wow, It's been Ages!

I haven't posted for quite some some. And I haven't posted regularly for even longer. It seems that life has started to sneak away on me. The last part of my pregnancy was very difficult. I was in a lot of pain and tried to just keep my life rolling along until I had the baby and didn't have to be pregnant anymore. It's sad that such a beautiful part of my life was spent with my just wishing it to be done. But it is done and I feel much better. Well.... some days I do.

Since having Isaac I've had the flu (for the first time in like 4 years) and then Isaac ended up in the hospital for a night at 11 days old. (He had a cold and was having trouble breathing so they wanted to keep him/us for observation to make sure it didn't get worse. Which it didn't. In fact it greatly improved overnight and we still had to BEG them to let us leave. Which we finally just decided that we were going to do anyway.) Then it seems like I had a colicky baby. I truly believe that he was just disorganized after having so much stuff going on with him and around him after being born that he just needed to get this whole life on the outside thing figured out.

Things were finally going really smoothly when I slipped on the ice. Twice in one day. The first time was carrying Isaac in the sling and the second time was carrying Caleb in my arms (I had left Isaac with a friend and was going to pull the car around to pick him up so I didn't fall on the ice with him again.) Normally this wouldn't result in anything but a few bruises but, with my body still recovering from the birth, I woke up the next morning and could barely move. I could barely pick up Isaac. And then we had to pack out bags and go on a last minute trip to Ontario for Adam's Grandpa's funeral. Thankfully we had Adam's sister travelling with us so she helped carry luggage and kids. And on the flight over, Caleb got sick. I thought it might just be motion sickness but he ended up spending most of the time in ON with a terrible fever. So I missed the Wake to take care of the boys. Praise the Lord for the miracle of my back feeling much better so I could actually carry Isaac a bit. God knew that I needed to be strong for my boys (all three of them as Adam was going through a lot with the loss of Grandpa and all) so my back didn't start hurting a lot again until the day we flew home.

So fast forward a few weeks and a few chiropractor appointments. We bought new couches! Yay!! I tried to help Adam move the new couches into our house.... bad idea :( I injured my back even more. the next day was the most painful chiropractor adjustment I've ever experienced. Took my breath away. Literally. I couldn't breathe properly. Sat in the waiting room afterwards until I could muster up enough strength to carry the car seat and buckle the kids into the car. Caleb has gotten to know our chiropractor quite well over the last weeks!

Currently my back is definitely on the mend. It's still sore and the chiro popped my "floating rib" back into place yesterday but I think it's out again this morning. I don't think it's inflamed anymore so that's a bonus. And it's mostly just sore in the evening after a busy day. Adam has forced me to take it easy the last while though. Adam has also helped me catch up on some housework that I have been unable to do with having two little ones and my sore back to deal with. Yay for an awesome and understanding husband!

My prayers about Isaac have been answered and he's feeling much better about the world we live in. He's such a sweet little dude. Still knows how to scream like nothing else if you don't meet his needs but overall he's a content little rascal. He's 4 months old and has (EEK!) started crawling. No I'm not exaggerating. The kid army crawls, slowly but surely. He can also hold himself in the sitting position for a second. Not great at balancing yet though. I should really take a picture so you believe me. I have one determined little baby and he's such a joy to have around.

Caleb turned 3. I now have a preschooler. One who, just yesterday, accepted Jesus into his heart! We were driving in the car (to the chiropractor) and listening to a song about Jesus standing at the door and knocking and if you open the door He will come in. After the song was over Caleb says to me, "I love God."
Me: I love Him too buddy.
Caleb: I love Jesus too.
Me: That's good.
Caleb: I want Jesus to live in my heart.
Me: Really? Have you asked Him?
Caleb: No.
Me: Well you should ask Jesus to come live in your heart.
Caleb: Okay. Jesus will you please come to live in my heart?
Me: *tearing up in the front seat* That's awesome Caleb. Now Jesus will live in your heart forever!

An update on Adam is pretty simple. He's still milking cows and he's still playing WoW. That's his life in a nutshell!

I, on the other hand, have officially had to quit gaming. I used to play with Adam and it was a lot of fun but I just don't have the time to commit to it anymore. Instead I've started sewing again. I always enjoyed sewing but haven't been able to work it into my life until recently. I've started sewing ring sling which I LOVE doing except I've discovered it's not quite as easy as it looks. But I've got a design worked out and materials bought and a few sewn already so all the research I put into it was worth it. I'm also sewing potty training undies for kids and might expand my horizons into other things in the future. I'm trying not to take too much stuff on to myself as I still have a family to look after and just need to play things by ear. Oh, except I also have a plan to make Caleb and Isaac a blanket with minky cow on one side and black satin on the other. Hoping to monogram them too so they can tell whose is whose. They're going to be super cute! If UPS ever delivers my fabric....

Anyway, I hope that's helped catch some people up on my life for the last while. My birth story has been published in "Birth Issues" magazine and I'm looking for the link so that I can link it in my blog so yo can all read it. It's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby News!

Just a quick note to those who haven't heard yet. I had the baby!
Isaac was born Dec 23rd at 12:51pm after about 3.5 hours of labour. He was born at home in a pool in my living room. Caught by my friend Megan while Caleb cheered in the background and Adam held me close. It was an amazing an beautiful labour and birth and I'm in the process of writing up my birth story and will post it as soon as it's done. Oh, he was 6lbs and 10oz and 20 inches long. Just 5oz smaller than his big brother. Caleb is so affectionate with his brother and Isaac is already turning into a little pork chop :)
I'm feeling really well except for the fact that I got a nasty 24hr flu bug yesterday. Caleb spend the day at my moms while I went between the couch and toilet with a newborn in one hand and a bucket in the other. So grateful for the wonderful support that I have around me. I can't thank my mom and Adam enough for taking care of me! I'm still a little nauseous today but compared to yesterday I'm feeling way better.
I don't have any pictures on my computer yet so I can't upload any of Isaac but I will post some with my birth story. But now Caleb has woke up from his ridiculously short nap so he's needing some extra hugs. He has come down with a nasty cold, the poor little guy. Thankfully he's the only one with the cold and he has avoided the flu bug.