Thursday, July 21, 2016

Babies and Sleep

The largest gap I have had between babies was this one. 
Between #4 & #5. 
The younger boys are roughly 34 months apart. 
Because of this gap, I forgot how to get in the groove of sleep with a baby again!

HENSE this post ;)

~ At what age can/will they sleep for a longer stretch of time? ~
~ How do I encourage them to sleep through the night? ~
~ What "method" is best for teaching them when to sleep? ~

First of all, like most, if not all, things pertaining to children, our job as parents is to TRAIN our children. We teach them everything from how to brush their hair, to how to appropriately close a door, to how to pick up their toys when their finished playing. 

Potty training as well as training a baby to sleep is no different in my opinion. 

Duke loves to scoot his head onto my bed. I think it's because my sheets smell like me. :)

#1) At what age can/will a baby sleep for a longer stretch of time?

They can be trained anywhere between 6 weeks and 3 months. By 3 months baby should be sleeping through the whole night. Some babies start to sleep for longer stretches much earlier then that.

Aryeh is almost 6 weeks now (6 weeks tomorrow) and I started training him 4 days ago to understand when night time is and how to fall asleep in his bassinet without me rocking him or nursing him to sleep.

I look for "ready signs". Each of my babies hit these at different times. The twins at 4 weeks, Hayven and Elias at around 5-6 weeks.

 I look for times of cluster feeding (wanting to nurse every 30 minutes - every hour around bed time) as well as a nap or a night when baby decides to start skipping feedings (sleeping for 4-6 hour stretches!). I also consider baby's weight and overall health.

Have they gained their birth weight and some back? 
Are they sick? 
Have they been having horrible gas pains or signs of acid reflux?

#2) How do I encourage them to sleep through the night?

I've read the schedules/night time routines help babies a lot. I don't personally like giving my baby a bath every night or things like that.

I pick a "bed time". Duke's is between 9pm-10pm. I nurse him as much as he wants in the evening, then a final nurse right after a final diaper change. I tell him I love him, give him kisses, lay him down, give him his pacifier, rub his back a little, then walk away for 15-20 minutes. 

I check on him, give him back his pacifier, rub his back, kiss him, tell him it's bed time and I love him, then leave the room again. 

Night #1 He'll probably scream a good hour or two. He'll fall asleep and maybe wake up to nurse at his next feeding or maybe he'll skip a feeding. 

** Skipping Feedings: If I am training at a young age (6 weeks - 2 months), I still feed every 2 hours if baby wants to, although I've found my babies will start to sleep for 4-6 hour stretches when being trained to go to bed by themselves. I like to encourage a good milk supply for as long as I can and don't force my baby to skip feedings if they want to nurse. However, with my twins I trained them to sleep 8 hours through the night without a feeding at around 2-3 months old. It's all preference really. But at about 3 months, you can choose to make baby to sleep for a longer period of time (8-12 hours). **

Night #2 He'll cry a little less and sleep a little longer.

Night #3 & #4 He'll maybe fuss a little or just go right to sleep. Even if he still screams for a long time, reevaluate if he's having other health issues. If not,  STICK TO THE PLAN!

The point is, it should get easier as you go along. If not, make sure he's not dealing with reflux or other issues. Try different sleeping positions (in a swing, on a boppy pillow, swaddled up, on his belly ect)

#3) What "method" is best for teaching a baby to sleep through the night?

I do not believe that letting a baby cry hurts their "self-esteem" or causes them to have "trust issues". I believe it's good for them to cry, (when they're perfectly healthy and get plenty of love from mama during most of the day)

I'll never forget when my twins were born and my babies were having a good SCREAMING episode at my grandmother's house while we were playing a card game. She encouraged me to leave them be. 

She said,

"They need to know you can't always hold them. They need to be able to play or be by themselves. Crying is good for their lungs and helps them get tuckered out to fall asleep."

My husband also says,

 "I'm pretty sure no baby has ever died from just crying..."

I think letting your baby cry is much harder for the parent then the child, like most things in parenting.

"Hayven, don't walk in front of that swing!"

There she goes in front of the swing... :/

 You run out and grab her before she gets hit. 

Does she look out for the swing next time? 


Because she doesn't realize that it will hurt her, because you spared her from that. Now she's relying on you to save her instead of her learning to be vigilant.

Same principle. 

Your baby is relying on you to comfort them 24/7 for no apparent reason instead of him learning to self-sooth, play alone, fall asleep unassisted. 

**THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THIS! I am not saying NEVER hold you crying baby. I am just giving examples that it is okay to let your baby cry when there is nothing wrong with them and you are teaching them to sleep by themselves or sit without being held for a short portion of time. **

Aryeh and his cousin Jedediah!

#4) Why would I want to train my child to sleep through the night anyways?

I always train my kids with a ministry event in mind. If my husband and I are over at someone's house late night ministering to a family, do I want to have to nurse and rock my baby to sleep, or do I want to be able to lay them down in another room and know that they can comfort themselves to sleep? 

Also, in reality, I have 4 other children that need attention. I often will have baby strapped to me during the day so he gets held and snuggled, but I cannot coax him to sleep for 20-40 minutes every time he is sleepy.

Sleep is important for YOU and BABY.

Time in the evening is important for your marriage. ;)


So with Aryeh, Last night (night #4) I laid him down around 9:30pm, and he went right to sleep with no fussing at all. 

He slept until 3:30am, at which point I nursed him and we both fell asleep. 

He woke up at 6:30am to nurse again.

Once he establishes a good, solid sleeping routine at night, I will start to train for nap times and teach him when I want him to nap (during school, during our whole families nap time, and during dinner prep)

I'll work with his natural awake-sleep cycles, but I'll encourage them at specific times as best as I can.

Maybe another post about this later? :)

Sleep is important. For baby AND for mom. 
Pray about it. 
Look for ready signs.
Ask your husband to keep you accountable to not picking baby up when he cries. 
Commit to a plan!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Gardening Update: Collards and Kale Galore!

What a thrill our gardening project has been!

It's been quite a bit of work, but so rewarding so far!
So much so we're already planning next years crops!!

My little sister just had her baby (Jedediah Scott), so my husband and I have taken over caring for the garden until Mariah recovers and she's able to join me again. 

My little sister "gardening" :) This was the week she had her baby.

Alex and I just went through all the ripe crops and harvests several zucchinis as well as a RIDICULOUS amount of Collard Greens and Kale. 

The day Alex and I harvested these we PACKED 4 Trader Joe's bags full, went home and spent a few hours washing, chopping, and freezing the leaves to cook for African Collard Greens later. We filled the entire top shelf of my standing freezer with fresh produce. We also shredded the zucchini so I can use it for breads and baked goods, and chopped the kale for soups for the winter. 

Our tomatoes are full and bearing lots of fruit. 

Our Bell Peppers seemed to be struggling a lot, but there are a few peppers growing that we can see.

Here's our tomatoes, collards, and kale

Mom's potato plants are HUGE. We actually planted these as a joke for mom, but they're flourishing!

Our kidney beans have little green bean pods beginning to grow. 

On the right is our cucumbers, zucchinis, kidney beans.

Our Cucumbers average 1-2 feet long! We're looking into how to can these since well need to harvest them soon!

This cucumber grew through our fencing. Half on one side, half on the other.

Our hot pepper plants have just started bearing fruit.

The kids have had endless hours of jumping through the sprinkler and lounging in their pool while we tend to the garden. The weeding at this point requires hoes and man power, so they're isn't much to do for them.

My step-dad bought this pool for the kids. I recently found out on really hot days he sets up his "pool chair" and wades in it and waves to traffic... lol!

 I recently found out that a friend of mine is selling 250 canning jars for $40! We'll be purchasing these and then some new lids and such so that we can get ready to make a ridiculous amount of tomato sauce and tomato paste for soups and sauces for the rest of the year. 

The kids have learned a lot about seeds and plants. Alecia continues to ask me, "Mom. Remember when I found that kidney bean in the garden and it had a plant starting to grow out of it?!? That was so cool!" 

I'm really loving our garden and the whole gardening experience. 
I told my husband when we decide to sell our home and buy a new one, a large yard with sunlight is a requirement so that I can have a huge garden every year. 

I'll continue to post as my tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers begin to ripen!

Alex and I were discussing how easy we have it here in America. We don't have to rely on ourselves to grow food to survive the year. We have the convenience of just going to the grocery store. However, we miss out on how rewarding it is to work with your hands and GROW food. It's so thrilling! I love it! I feel like I am doing something so great for my family by stocking my freezer with fresh produce.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Colic and Thrush

4 weeks ago my son came into this world!

My sisters and I went out for coffee. 

Our first night was so peaceful. 
We got home at 3:30am from the birthing center and just snuggled and slept together.

Then reality set in the following nights. 
He began to cry and sometimes scream especially at night.

I didn't realize how bad it was until someone at church suggested he sounded "Colicy". 
Curiously I looked it up. 
The definition for a colicy baby is:
  • crying 3 hours a day
  • more then 3 days a week
  • for at least 1 week
My son was going on 3 weeks of scream 6-8 hours a day. 
He also had a horrible case of yeast overgrowth.
His tongue, roof of his mouth and lips were white.
He started to develop puss filled blisters on his diaper. 
First 1. Then 5. Then 20. Then 30.

We started treating him with gentian violet, which my midwife and pediatrician recommended. 

It seemed to help his diaper area and his mouth slightly, but it never fully resolved after 3-4 days of treatment. I was willing to give it a week... thankfully I didn't need to...

We stayed the night at a friends house on July 3rd so we could be with them all day on the 4th and my son cried until 4:30am! Then he had broken sleep for the next two hours or so. 

The next morning my best friend (whose house we were staying at) said the Lord had told her that my son was having an issue with dairy. 

In denial, and slightly EXTREMELY heart broken I argued with her.

As the day went on, I decided to try to slash dairy for a day or two and see if I noticed a difference. 
That night, July 4th, my son put himself to sleep at 9pm and slept through the night only waking to nurse and fall back asleep. 

He slept the whole next day and when he was awake he just sat there perfectly content. 

I couldn't believe it!

I then remembered that the night I slept over at my friends house, she served us a whole platter of cheese before we went to bed. That would explain him screaming until 4:30am!

A few nights later, I ate a salad with some ranch dressing on it and my son scremed for 5 hours after the following feeding.

I called my lactation consultant the next morning and she confirmed it was definatly a dairy issue. She also wanted Aryeh to get seen by his pediatrician for the yeast overgrowth (which at this point was actually looking like it was improving).

I took him in the next day and the lady I saw was the new N.P. at our clinic that specializes in functional medicine. I've been waiting to meet her for a long time. She confirmed to me all his issues were related to a dairy intolerance/allergy

  • chronic congestion
  • diaper rash
  • mouth thrush
  • screaming/crying 6-8 hours a day
  • unlatching and screaming during nursing sessions
  • baby facial acne so bad and spreading on his chest
  • very watery stools
She suggested cutting all forms of milk out (even lactose free milks or goat products) for a month and try to introduce some of those again. Then the following month introduce dairy again and see what happens. She said there is a good chance he'll grow out of it if I give his body time.

She prescribed us some anti-fungal oral medication as well as creams, but she asked me to not pick it up for a few days since she believes his yeast overgrowth was due to the milk intolerance. 


As of this morning, his mouth started clearing up, his diaper area looks great (besides being stained with gentian violet a little still)!!

This is the lady I've been waiting to meet since she's our next step on our journey to getting our twins healthy. Her and I got to chat a little bit about what an appointment with her would look like. 

I am a big researcher. SO naturally I looked up many recommendations and theory's behind yeast infections as well as natural remedies. I am amazed at how little the "specialists" out there actually know.

My son received NO antibiotics, NO vaccines, NO antibacterial creams, NO formula. 
I ate a VERY clean diet with mostly organic foods during his pregnancy. 
But his yeast wasn't caused from any of that.
It wasn't even caused by me eating sugar. 
It surely didn't resolve from me NOT eating sugar. 

It was simply an intolerance to dairy (which the experts will tell you is statistically, not a probable factor)

I love when God allows me to walk through medical trials in order to learn more about things. 

So I'm passing up my addiction to cheese and the like, verbally reminding myself I love my son more then that block of sharp cheddar...

Thank You Jesus for Your Holy Spirit! 
Thank You that You care about the details of our lives and that You lead us. 
I love You so much!
What would we do without the Holy Spirit??

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Postpartum Must-Haves

This is Aryeh's 11th day of life and we're doing well!

Postpartum healing is important. 

I get so anxious to start getting into a flow with my new little man in the house that I feel in a hurry to heal so I can get back moving again. 
Sweeping and Mopping. 
Ministry Projects. 
I want to do it all!

But I'm realizing, I've had 5 kids. I'm getting older. I NEED to take care of my body and allow it to heal so that I can recover properly and adjust to having a  new baby to care for 24/7. I also am burning an extra 500-800 calories a day just nursing, and boy do I feel it!

There are a few products I've used that I have LOVED for healing this time around. There are also a few tips that I'd like to jot down that will hopefully help me in later pregnancies to better prepare for this time of healing. You know, I've done this a number of times, but I forget each season of life and the blessings and challenges they bring. I also forget the tricks and strategies that have worked! This is my primary reason for blogging!

Postpartum Products Must-Haves:

(1) Motherlove Nipple Cream: I have been using this after ever nursing session and this is the quickest my breasts have adjusted to nursing EVER. I had a few days or soreness, but kept up with this healing salve and I am now pretty much pain-free on day 6 of nursing.

It's all organic ingredients, and can probably be made at home, but I really enjoyed purchasing this and using it.

(2) Mama Mend Bath Herbs by Santosha: So basically this is a tea for your postpartum healing needs. You get a mason jar with 5 large tea bags filled with organic, medicinal herbs including Yarrow Flower, Witch Hazel, St John's Wort, Calendula Flowers, Plantain Leaf, and Lavender. You simply place one bag into the mason jar with boiling water and let it sit all day or over night. You can use the tea in a bath, in your peri-bottle, or as a compress (on your pads, or for your sore nipples). Each bag can be reused a second time for a less potent dose or use the bags as compresses.

I have been brewing the first strong batch for a nice long bath accompanied with some epsom salt. Then I brew the bag a second time and use it in my peri-bottle every time I go to the bathroom. :) While in the bath I will place the tea bag directly on a sore nipple and hold it there for 5-10 minutes. 

(3) Pad-scicles: I was told about these in my Early Home Care Class (which was a requirement for birthing at my birth center). These pads were suggested for us to make and use as part of our postpartum care when we got home. 

I took 20 large maxi pads (although you may only need 10-12) and on each pad I put:
 (1) 2 tbsp of witch hazel
 (2) 1 tbsp aloe vera
 (3) 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil

Then I placed a piece of plastic wrap along the inside of the pad (so it didn't stick to itself in the freezer) and folded the pad back up. I then put the pads into large freezer bags and placed them in the freezer. 

After delivering Aryeh, I LOVED these pads! I used 2-3 a day for about the first week, usually for the overnight, or right after a bath. I didn't tear or anything, but they felt SOOOOO good! And they make you smell fresh (which is lovely when you feel gross) :). 


(4) Hemorrhoid Cotton Swabs: I developed a hemorrhoid after Elias' birth and after Aryeh's birth. It was actually 4-5 days after I delivered that I had this issue. My little sister (who sells Young Living products as well as has her own line of roll on and blends using Young Living Essential Oils - you can  check out her easy store here - made me a jar of cotton balls that had a mix of witch hazel, lavender and frankincense oils. I kid you not, I used the swabs several times a day and my hemorrhoid was gone in 2 days! I am still using them to prevent any more problems! 

Picture found on


So there is a list of products (all of them easily DIY if you're ambitious) that I used as part of my postpartum care! 

There are a few tips I want to relay also that will help encourage and promoted a quick, effective, and enjoyable time healing up and adjusting in those first few weeks after baby is born. 

 Postpartum Tips:

(1) Husband's Love: This is my #1 tip! If your husband can take minimum 1 week off or even 4 weeks off, this is your BEST way to heal and adjust to a new little one entering your family! Personally, in this country, I don't think we take enough time off from work to simply enjoy life or invest in our families. My husband has always taken an entire month off when a baby was born. This time was INDISPENSABLE and was NON-NEGOTIABLE. He would save up money and vacation time over the 9 months I was pregnant and then file for FMLA so he could be home to help cook, clean, hold crying baby through the night, train the older children around the house, help get reestablished with homeschooling and family routines and snuggle with me and hold me when I cry because I'm so sleep deprived and hormonal ;)

If your husband just can't find the time to take off, have the older kids at family or friends house for the first week. Have people bring you meals. Have your mom, sister, cousin, neighbor, local homeless person, anyone come and watch baby so you can take a shower, do a load of laundry for you, wash your dishes for you. (okay, maybe not a homeless person...) ASK FOR HELP! 

(2) First Week = Feet Up!: This is SOO hard for me, but I know and purpose to do it. 
Let the house be completely chaotic. 
Let the laundry be washed by the family even if it's not done the way you would do it. 
Eat the meals people bring you or the 8th stir fry your husband makes you since that's really the only thing he can cook. :) 
Just sit back, smell your baby, laugh at the kids comments and reactions to the new little one, and enjoy having your husband around the house - try not to nag him! You want him to enjoy being home also. 
Try not to go anywhere.

Second Week = Move A Little: My round ligament muscles were so tight and my pelvis was very messed up after I delivered Aryeh. The first week was brutal! Getting up and down, sitting too long, anything and everything I did hurt! After a week of resting, I started walking more and doing things around the house more. My muscles started loosening and my pelvis started to find relief. Not a LOT of walking and house work, but as much as I felt like I could handle without increasing bleeding. 

After I delivered my twins, the nurses and my OBGYN stressed that my second week I needed to get some moving in to help heal. I've done this every pregnancy since and felt like it was the perfect time to start moving more.

*This is, of course, if your caregiver agrees, and assuming you had a natural child birth, not a c-section.*

(3) Water, Protein & Calcium: A full glass every time you nurse. A full glass in between feedings. Just water, water, water. Then with every feeding some sort of protein and/or calcium. 

I've never eaten so many nuts in my life then while nursing this boy! A handful of cashews or almonds, some cheese, hard boiled eggs, larabars, grilled meats, lunch meats, milk with peanut butter and crackers ect. All this will help your tissues repair, keep your milk supply up, and replace the nutrients your giving to your baby. Trust me, you want to keep the nutrients going into your body otherwise your body will take it from you and give it to baby. This is how I received a mouth FULL of cavities. 

True Story. 

(4) Perspective: I really believe that our perspective on this time of sleeplessness and chaos (as well as on child raising/training period) is vital to healing and setting the stage for life with a new family member as well as vital to keeping your emotions in check.

 - Are your sleepless nights because your sweet little baby needs YOU more then any other person in the world, and it's an honor to spend those nights serving him? Or are they exhausting and frustrating because you aren't getting your 9 hours?

 - Do the blowouts and endless laundry mean that you have one of the best blessings a woman can receive within your care? Or are they adding more labor to your already full load (no pun intended)?

 - If you have kids already, is the loud volume and choas in the house because it's filled with precious children that you adore and love and get to raise up into little mature adults? Or is it overwhelming and a reason to lose your temper and freak out?

(5) SLEEP: Not only does this help keep your attitude in check, but I believe it helps your tissues heal, it helps your body release retained water and regulate you hormones, it helps you lose that baby weight quicker, and you need it and often can't get it. So get it whenever you can!

(6) Shower/Bath: Breast milk, baby poop, spit up, night sweats, shoulder muscles and nursing, bleeding, general soreness... all these things demand showers and baths on a daily basis. 

I'm not one to shower on a daily basis, but I make it a requirement during this postpartum period. You feel refreshed and heal faster. Add Epsom Salt, Mama Mend Tea (see above), and some essential oils. Relax, drink water, spend time talking with the Lord. Maybe even catch a few Z's!

(7) Hold Your Baby: It helps you and baby bond. Baby sleeps better. Your milk supply is benefited. The business of life will set in soon and you'll hold him/her less, so just hold him now :)

(8) Vitamins and Supplements:  I usually take a multivitamin, fish oil, and iron after delivery. I lost quite a bit of blood with Aryeh and needed some iron since I've been a bit anemic. Another thing I like on hand is garlic tablets. I often get yeast overgrowth (Candida) after delivery and baby develops thrush and I will get yeast infections "down there" as well as in the nipples. Garlic, coconut oil, and probiotics help get rid of this. See this post if you are struggle with thrush or yeast infections.

Enjoy this time sleepy, sore mama! 
It's only once you get this special time with your new born. 
This little soul is in your care!
No one in the world can do what you can for this little one.
You mean the world to that baby!
What am honor!
There really is NO GREATER JOY :)


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Aryeh Duke Deputie Birth Story

If you read yesterday's post, there is so much irony. 
I had NO IDEA that hours after typing that all out I'd be holding my little man in my arms.

Aryeh Duke Deputie
June 10th at 11:09pm
8lbs 9.5oz
19 in long

Yesterday morning I wrote about how my chiropractor did some adjustments to try to move Aryeh off my hip and how I felt like she was successful:

Needless to say, I went to church and every contraction I was waiting for that grinding feeling on my hip and was delighted at the relief I was feeling. I slept last night pretty well. However several contractions in the night were VERY strong in my back and groin! Even this morning, I am only having a contractions every 20-30 minutes and they are VERY strong and felt in my back, groin and cervix area!  

I am PRAYING that the Lord allowed my son to finally move off my hip bone and where he's supposed to be. 

Today I am feeling a lot more hope. These contractions feel WAY different now, they hurt quite a bit more, and I'm encouraged that baby finally moved and I can actually dilate now! YaY 
Those contractions continued to be 20-30 minutes apart until about 4pm when they moved to every 10-15 minutes or so. My little sister Alyssa was on her way from North Dakota (she just moved there) for 24 hours. Her plan was to do bridesmaid dress shopping and then head back home. She told me she felt like the Lord told her that He had different plans in mind...

We all ate dinner together and then at exactly 6pm I had a contraction that hurt so bad I was gripping the table. They were still about 10-15 minutes apart, but much more strong. We went to Hobby Lobby and roamed around the store since I wanted to try walking through these for a while. Every few isles I needed to dodge into a spot where no one could see me and grip the shelves to get through the contraction. I would then pop back out as if nothing had happened and keep walking.

The contractions were much more intense where I couldn't talk or move through them as easily, but I decided to go to CostCo with everyone anyways... I mean I have been in labor for a week, so I was a bit discouraged that I would ever hit real labor...

After CostoCo we got home and I started timing the contractions. They were every 5 minutes and I had to be standing gripping the wall to get through them. Around 9pm I went to the bathroom and ad a burning sensation, like I was dilating very quickly that it was burning. I told Alex, "I think we need to get the kids somehwere. Like RIGHT NOW." He didn't take me very seriously since he continued to wash dishes and mosey around before he finally made phone calls and sent Alyssa to drop the kids off places. 

My contractions were then every 2-4 minutes, one on top of each other. We called the on-call midwife paging service. Guess what they did... they put us on HOLD! ON HOLD!! For 15 minutes!!

Thankfully I had one of the midwife's cell phone numbers so I sent her a text saying, "I'm in labor. The on call service isn't answering. Please help!" They finally answered and the midwife called me. 

She says, "Oh, Cassie, please tell me your not having baby tonight??!" 
"Oh, I am! And it's gonna be soon here!"
"Well, we have two babies here being born now so there isn't a suit available... let me arrange something and call you right back. Just hang tight."



I told my husband, I knew this was going to happen. But I know this is where I am supposed to be. I know tonight is supposed to be the night. It's gonna work out. 

She called back, "Okay Cassie, we're setting up the yoga room for you. You just need to get here."
"I need a pool. Will there be a pool??"
"Yes, we're filling it now. Just get here! See you soon!"

I'm standing outside leaning over the car breathing and swaying my hips, waiting for my husband to get my food bag, pillows, essential oils, and clothes bag, and I notice a pit bull running down the road toward me! OMG! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? I jump into the car and slam the door. 


So then I remember why I DIDNT want to take my husband's car. The sway bar's broken. Every. Single. Bump. throws the car nearly off the road. To put it simply, it was not the most pleasant ride to the birhting center.

BUT we made it. At 10pm. We made it. I walked around the entry room while they hurried to get my room set up. My sisters showed up. I was cracking jokes and laughing and smiling in between contractions. It was painful, but I was really trying to make it fun. 

We checked my dilation at a little after 10:30pm. I was at a 5cm. 

I then lunged up the stairs (yes a large case of stairs) to the yoga room. 

There was a pool, a bed, candles, music, essential oils. 

My pool was being filled still from the bathroom sink. I was holding onto the shelf in the corner for dear life. I found out one of the ladies downstairs in labor had been there 14 hours and still hasn't had her baby. I told her it was game on and I was gonna race her! We'll see who has their baby first!

My mom then showed up and asked if I wanted her to rub my back. I told her I thought I did, but now that I'm here I don't really want to be touched. 

The pool was about 1/3 full and I told the midwife there was pressure in my butt. I think I was going to transition soon. After one more strong contraction I quick ripped my clothes off and said, "When you're in this much pain, you don't care WHO sees you naked! Modesty is out the door!" Everyone was laughing. 

I got in the pool and had a few more hard contractions. "Oh I can do this now! This pool is like a drug! It feels so good! I need one of these at home!" I like to crack jokes and laugh while in labor. 

Then I noticed my body took a break. I told the midwife that it was getting ready to push. She said to just trust my body and do what I needed to do. I looked at Alex and said, "You ready to meet your son?" He said yes and came and held my hands. 

I pushed like ... well... like a women in labor.

11:09pm out comes Aryeh Duke Deputie!
No one touched me, no one touched the baby. I pulled him right out of the water and up onto my chest. His chord was wrapped around his shoulder and I moved it. It took him a long while to take his first breath, but his chord was pulsing and he was making giggling noises. He then started just screaming! He was SO loud! 

I got him to calm down a little and Alex and I just stared at him. The room was silent. No one moved me or him or even a muscle of their own. It was as if time just stood still.... until that next contraction. You know that one that you always forget about. 

"Uh... my placenta wants out!"

I stood up with my baby still attached to me by his chord and waddled over to the bed where I laid on my side and birthed my placenta. Aryeh was SO angry! He wanted to be warm and wrapped a very specific way. He knew exactly what he wanted and any alteration or modification would just not do. 

He nursed right away. 

But there was a bit of an issue... My bed was pooling with blood. Lots and Lots of blood. It was like water pouring out of me. Thankfully with nursing and pressing on my uterus for the follow 3 hours it ceased almost entirely. 

I went from 5cm to baby in less then 30 minutes!

I forget that first pee. You know the one where you know your bladder feels full, but you also know it's not where your bladder is supposed to be... Then you sit there for what feels like an embarrassing eternity as your body tries to remember how to urinate. My nurse said, "I'm gonna go clean up your bed and change your "chucks" (aka blue and white leak-proof mattress pads)." Phew... Good! No need to watch me try to communicate with my own bladder like an idiot. 

Anyways, I got home at 3:30AM. Alex and I spent some great moments just snuggling and looking at our son. 

The kids came home today at around 4pm-5pm. Their reactions were HILARIOUS!
The twins came through the door first and were so excited they didn't even put their bags down or shut the door. 

"Wow mom! He's here! And you look so skinny!"

Next was Hayven. She took her time. Had her thumb in her mouth. I saw that grin creep across her face under her four folded fingers as she reached out to caress her new sibling's face. 

Then there was Eli. I was anticipating his reaction the most. He came in with bright red cheeks. I could tell he was (1) overheated, (2) woken up from a nap, (3) probably got in trouble for something on the way. He was not in a good mood. He looked at me. Then he noticed Duke in my arms. He came closer trying to process what was going on. He gets a HUGE GRIN and laughs! He says to me, 

"Mom. Can you move him so I can see your belly?"
"He's out! He's right here!"
"Mom, I need to see your belly for a second."
So I moved Duke so he can see.
"Your belly's still bigger mom."
"Yes, thanks son..."

The girls have been goo goo -gaa gaa over this boy. "What can I do to help mom?" "Can I hold him?" "He just so cute!"  "I'm so excited he's here!" "I love his chubby cheeks!"

One more funny story. We were all in the room in my bed talking and looking at Aryeh. I knew he had had his first poop. Yes that sticky, black, tarry, poop. So fun. So I asked Alex to change him. :)

Aryeh's screaming, the kids are all grossed out, Alex is freaking out because it's impossible to clean and is getting everywhere. Then there's Hayven. She covers her eyes and lets out this sigh like a teenager. "Uhhh... he's just so annoying! I can't listen to his whining! I'm not gonna have any kids. Their just so annoying with all the whining!"

Alex says to her, "Well, you whine. This is what you sound like when you whine."
"I know! That's why I'm not having any kids!"

Oh the family dynamics. The joy and struggles of adding a new family member has begun. It's gonna be a fun journey. I am so excited to have started it June 10th at 11:09pm. :)