I love questions they make it easy for my tired brain to figure out what to post, so please keep them coming!
JenT queried, “You mentioned homebirth. Do you use a midwife or go unassisted?”
Mark and I planned for our first birth to be a homebirth with a professional midwife. However, because of complications during labor, I was transferred to the hospital. In God’s good providence we went on to have a safe and natural delivery, although my OB, who has been practicing for nearly 30 years, said that there have only been two times when he thought that he might lose the baby and our miracle Amber is one of those times.
After the rather traumatic entrance of our first born, Mark said that he wanted to have two uncomplicated births before we considered a homebirth with a professional midwife again. Our next 6 children were born in the small, wonderful hospital where Amber had been born. One birth would be uncomplicated and the next we would experience complications (severe shoulder dystocia, fetal heart decels and maternal and fetal fevers, etc.). We had confidence in our OB and knew all of the nurses and everyone was supportive of our natural birth choices.
When we were expecting our 8th child we had moved away from the OB and hospital that had welcomed our first seven children and we began considering and praying about a homebirth again. We found a midwife in whom Mark and I both had confidence and decided to try for a homebirth again. This birth was quick and tough but I was enchanted with homebirth. I never wanted to go back to giving birth in a hospital again.
We planned another professionally assisted homebirth with our 9th child and following my most difficult labor yet, Nicholas was born. However, as many of you already know, Nicholas was injured during the birth. His right arm was broken, but more seriously his left arm suffered nerve damage called a Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI) or Erb’s Palsy. His left arm was left paralyzed.
Nicholas saw a lot of specialists here in our home town, in Cincinnati, and the Shriner’s hospital in Philadelphia, in addition to several video evaluations with a doctor in Texas. He was in therapy from the time he was a few weeks until he was around 9 or 10 months and he has done amazingly well. We were blessed that Nick has not needed to have any surgeries and that his recovery is just about as complete as anyone could expect. (If you know what to look for, you can still see some slight deficiencies in his left arm, but nothing that will keep him from being completely functional.)
All of this is a very long way of saying that we are horrible candidates for unassisted homebirth and have never seriously entertained the idea. I’m charmed by the thought, but like having a midwife in the event that things go wrong and we’ve experienced that often enough.
In regard to my post about early bedtimes where I mentioned that our children go to bed at 7 during the winter and 8 during the summer, April E. wondered, “How do you get them (the children) to fall asleep that early?”
I think that the key is consistency. We try to put them down at the same time each evening, they have been going to bed at 7 since they were just a few weeks old. We also wake early each morning, so they are ready for bed by bedtime.
If the children have been consistently going to bed on time then we usually allow them to listen to a story on tape or CD. This allows the little ones in the room to go to sleep and the older ones get to stay up an extra hour or so if they aren’t so tired that they fall asleep during the story.
Mandy asked, “Who hosts your site, does it cost, and how have you built up income?”
Raising Olives is hosted by Host Gator. Host Gator charges $7.95 each month for the plan that I chose. Raising Olives pays for itself and generates a very modest income by displaying Google Adsense, by selling some advertising and by readers shopping through my Amazon.com link.
Gretchen said, “I would be interested in learning about how you cope with morning sickness while pregnant and having other children and how you cope with lack of sleep those first few weeks after you have an infant.”
This is a great question Gretchen and I would love to hear other responses to this because I don’t know that I have a good answer.
One thing that I have finally learned is that no matter how hopeless it seems, once the morning sickness passes things will rebound quickly. The house will not be a mess forever. It really is just a short season that will eventually pass, even though it seems as if it may last forever.
I generally get quite sick during pregnancy. With the first several pregnancies it was only afternoon and evening sickness, beginning around lunch and continuing through evening. With my later pregnancies I have had 24 hour sickness even waking in the middle of the night. My sickness has lasted anywhere from the first 16 weeks up through the full 9 months (except for my fourth pregnancy where I experienced no sickness at all).
That said, here are some things that have helped our family get through a pregnancy:
- We have very little company during the time that I feel ill.
- We cut out as many out of the house activities as possible. Mark and I joke that our lives screech to a halt during the beginning of a pregnancy. We just go into survival mode.
- I cook in the morning when I feel well and use the crock pot nearly every day.
- We once hired a lady in our church to bulk cook for our freezer.
- We train our children to be obedient and to help with housework in whatever capacity that they are capable.
- When I was sick each evening I never washed dishes at night, I would get up the next morning and clean the kitchen and make dinner, making the best use of my “well” time that I could.
- Do a lot of read alouds for school.
- Cancel school if needed. We school year round so taking a few months off during the beginning of a pregnancy works for us.
- Relax your cleaning standards. I tend to have very high standards for my house, but when we are expecting I focus on the most important areas and don’t worry about what doesn’t get done.
- I found that Preggie Pops helped a little bit with pregnancy number 8, but not as much with pregnancy number 9.
- Don’t feel guilty. God has called you to grow this baby.
Lack of sleep with a newborn:
- I will also say that while I have difficult pregnancies and long labors, I recover quickly and usually feel much, much better immediately after the baby is born.
- I co-sleep with the baby. It has been a blessing to me and to my family as the baby and I generally get adequate sleep each night.
- I work to get the baby accustomed to resting during rest time for the big kids so that I can get a rest in the afternoon.
I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on this one.
It makes 9 cars.
Several of you asked to be kept updated on our bout of Swine Flu. Currently both Mark and I are sick, Suzanne (our college student) has a sore throat and Amber (12), Matthew (10), Carter (7) and Colby (3) all have the illness to varying degrees. We appreciate your prayers and are still praying that the rest of the children will be spared. Anyone have extra Kefir grains so that we can incorporate more fermented food into our diet?
I have more questions to answer but will have to get to them later. Feel free to email questions using the contact page or leave a comment.
Edited to add: Be sure to read the comments for more answers and helpful ideas. I also began a discussion about potty training in the Raising Olives Community so please click the link and share your thoughts and ideas. There are many experienced, wise moms who read Raising Olives, please take some of your time to share what you have learned with the rest of us in the Community . The RO Community is also a good place to post questions where Raising Olives readers will be able to answer. Feel free to start your own discussions for topics that interest you or that you think should be addressed. You can see the most current discussions and replies displayed in the BlogFrog Community widget in the right sidebar.