Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Going to MN!


















We head out tomorrow, dark and early, towards MN. We'll be staying in Superior, WI for a few days with Steve's brother's family, then heading to MN to spend about 1 month with family and friends. We're looking forward to it!!

Steven's Favorite Book


Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Carr Update #55

Life seems to have been very busy lately; I'll do my best to update you.

STEVEN:
On ECing ("Elimination Communication" or Infant Potty Training):
We had more misses every since he started teething, with some days lots better than others. As soon as he had his first food, Sven caught his first poo on the potty and then Steven didn't poo on the potty for a little over a week! Instead, every poo for that week was in his diaper! I started using disposables, because the poo was just a little too 'yuck' for me and the cloth. Then Steven got over whatever it was and now he hasn't pooed in his diaper for awhile - hmm, what has it been? A couple days? Most all the poos are in the potty now. I have read that when they go through anything new they often have more misses, so at least he's back on track with his poos.

A lady contacted me, interested in interviewing Steven and I for a documentary on ECing. The interview will be sometime in the first 2 weeks of December. Kind of exciting :)

On Mobility:
Steven is a crawling pro now. He can pull himself up to standing with great ease. He's let go a few times and either stood there until he grabbed hold of something again or fell to his bum. He's walking along, holding onto furniture, or someone's hands.

On Sleeping:
He's doing better at night since he's started eating food, but he still wakes once between 11p and 2a to go potty (I guess that's a good thing!) and sometimes has trouble staying asleep between 7 and 9am. He doesn't do so well when we stay out too late and he is up late.

His naps are a little more rocky than night time. Often he'll need to be rocked to sleep or just about sleeping for his naps. At least for night time he mostly goes down by himself.

SVEN:
On Work:
Still searching, praying and applying. It's a trying time for us, but we pray God would strengthen our faith through it. Sven's not slacking, he's applying lots of places (he's even applied at McDonald's and didn't get hired, so it's not like he's not willing or trying to apply wherever.) God is good and keeps providing in surprising ways. We are so blessed. Thank you to our friends and family for your care and prayers.

On School:
Sven's finishing up this semester in a couple weeks. He has one more semester left of college in order to graduate and then go on to seminary.

CRYSTAL:
On Sewing:
My new-found passion for sewing has been rewarded. A couple months ago I started working for Scarlet Stitch. At the beginning of November I was invited to join as an equal owner of the company. I'm enjoying it immensely. We're having a sale on select items Dec. 1-6, so check us out at http://www.scarletstitch.com/ - tell your friends!

I daydream about the day, Lord willing, I can own a serger - oh the possibilities.

On Being Pregnant:
The pregnancy is going well. I haven't had any nauseau, so I'm very thankful. At three months pregnant with Steven I had to go to the ER due to a rare condition known as "incarcerated uterus", so I'm praying that will not happen again, as it was most unpleasant. (The timeframe this could occur is weeks 12-14.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Food!

I had originally wanted to exclusively breastfeed Steven until he was one year old, meaning wait until then to introduce any other foods. Of course, with everything else in parenting, I knew I would see how things would go and change plans if needed. Steven started sleeping through the night when he was 3 months old, which was a wonderful surprise for me. Around 5 1/2 months he started waking up at night. It turns out this was most likely due to teething, as his 2 little teeth popped through shortly afterwards. Lately, it's been obvious to me that his continued waking at night and subsequent vigorous nursing during his night wakings is due to increased hunger. So, faced with two options: either continue night nursing or introduce solids to meet his dietary needs, we chose the later.

Steven just loves eating! It's so cute watching him eat, and fun feeding him because he loves it! He's been interested in food for sometime, so it's nice to be able to give it to him. Also, he's so content and full after eating, he seems to coo and talk more!

Here's a video of him eating carrots:

video
(sorry about the angle!)

Diapers

For those of you who are interested, I've finally put pictures of the diapers I've made on our photo album site. (A couple of them are girl diapers I made as gifts.) Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

2 Months Pregnant




A Drink, Please!

Steven loves to drink from a glass. He found my empty one on the floor and tried hard to get a drink.

Friday, October 31, 2008

7 Months Old!


Playing Peek-A-Boo

Steven was sitting on his potty. Grandma Carr was over, you can hear her in the background. This was taken 10-4-08. Enjoy!


video

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Blessing!

Yes, that's right! We are expecting another little blessing! We are so excited to share the joyous news! Steven will be 15 months old when his sibling arrives.

Steven is growing so fast! He's already pulling himself up to standing and taking some steps while holding himself up! He turns 7 months old this week. And of course he's sitting well and crawling all over the place! It's so much fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

A little bit of everything...

So much for trying to post once a week! Where has the summer gone? Oh, yes, a couple trips to MN, one to NY, and so the time has flown by.

Steven has officially taken his first "steps" crawling. He's not proficient at it yet, but he can do it. Also, when he gets frusterated with crawling, he'll flop onto his stomach and pull himself along that way. He can get to where he wants to go.

A couple days ago I was able to feel his first tooth starting to pop through. Now you can barely see two little bottom teeth. No wonder he's been sleeping so poorly!!

A word on ECing...
We've been having more misses, probably due to his teething (I've read when they are learning to crawl or walk or teething or going through any other life changes that they tend to wet their diaper more - and so it is true.) Steven still knows what the potty is for and still uses it often throughout the day. Some days we do really well, others we have a stack of wet cloth diapers.

A word on sleeping...
Steven's been waking every three hours most nights, oh how tiring for mommy, especially since he was sleeping 10-11 hours straight. The change took place during our last trip to MN and hasn't gotten much better. But, alas, with his teeth starting to pop through, I think we have our answer.

I've been blessed to start sewing for Scarlet Stitch. I love sewing and am having a lot of fun! Check out their super-cute nostalgic kid's clothes.

Sven's grandma passed away yesterday (we no longer have any living grandparents). His parents are on their way to our place right now. Sven will join them as they drive to NY for the funeral which is on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Almost Crawling

I just must say a word about Steven. He's almost crawling. He's doing what a friend of ours calls the army crawl - crawling on his tummy. He's lifting himself up onto his hands and knees more each day. Today he lifted himself up and lunged forward, landing on his tummy. He's 5 months old and soon he'll be crawling!

In Minnesota

We arrived safely in Minnesota and are enjoying ourselves. I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful and loving family who are all so helpful and hospitable. Thank you to all my aunts and uncles for all you do for us! Seeing you is such a joy!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trip to Minnesota... again!

Steven Jr. and I will be taking the train to Minnesota on Sept. 2nd and coming back on the train on Sept. 13th. I'll be working 5 days at my aunt's tax office. My sister's having her third baby Sept. 10th and I'll be able to spend a few days with my family and the new baby. Looking forward to visiting again!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

I recently read "The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg. I thought I'd give my feedback on the book, for those of you who are interested.

The book seemed to take a middle ground between what's known as "Attachment Parenting" and "BabyWise". She seems to take some ideas from each philosophy and tries to create a happy balance. AP (Attachment Parenting) is about following the baby's leading, taking advantage of every opportunity to hold your child and keep him happy, often feeding more than is necessary (according to Ezzo and Hogg). Babywise comes across as more rigid, although it tries to claim the middle ground. Babywise advocates a schedule, while although it can be flexible, the book still proclaims how important it is not to deviate from the schedule. Hogg is for a routine, but not a schedule, she's against co-sleeping (same as Ezzo) and is very clear that we should treat babies as people: with respect, something that isn't hit home as hard in either AP or Ezzo's theories.

Hogg has an acronym she uses for the parents schedule: E.A.S.Y. Eat. Activity. Sleep. You. This is very simular to Ezzo's concept, although less rigid. Eat: Feed the baby, make sure he gets full. Activity: Change his diaper, play with him, bathe him, etc., etc. Sleep: Nap time for baby. You: now take care of you: recharge. The cycle should repeat itself every 2 1/2 - 3 hours. I've found with Steven that this type of routine is beneficial for us both.

Hogg uses another acronym for how to respond to your baby's cries. Here she takes an obvious middle ground between Ezzo's cry-it-out (he says it's fine for babies to cry even up to 45 minutes when trying to fall asleep) and AP's don't-let-them-cry (often feeding the baby any time they start to cry, regardless of when they were last fed). Her acronym is S.L.O.W. S:Slow Down. L:Listen. O:Observe. W:(I think it was) Other Ways to Evaluate. Slow Down: According to Hogg, too many parents hear their baby cry and immediately start feeding him. She says to slow down for a minute. Listen: Take a minute to really listen to your baby. Hogg is very against letting them cry-it-out, but she insists upon taking a minute to listen, is this a hunger cry? a pain cry? a tired cry? because baby's cries are different. Observe: Observe your child's behavior and body language. Is he rubbing his eyes? yawning? rooting? sucking his fingers? Other Ways to Evaluate: Because you're following E.A.S.Y., you'll know how long it's been since he's eaten and about how long until he'll be hungry again, you'll know when he last napped and about when he should be ready for another one, etc. You can use this to pinpoint why your baby's crying. Then respond and meet that need.

Hogg is just as against co-sleeping as is Ezzo, and for the same stated reasons, as it creates unhealthy sleep patterns, they say. Personally, I can see that if you train a baby to sleep with you at night, then that is what he will come to expect. Same with if you train him to sleep alone: he will come to expect that. I think there is a lot to say on either side of the issue, but a lot depends upon parent's preference. And every single thing we do with our baby is just that: training. Hogg does a good job of giving parents perspective in this regard. She has a saying: Start as you plan to go on, or something to that effect.

Overall, Tracy uses common sense when it comes to dealing with babies: treat them as people. In my opinion, she takes it a little far when she says you need to ask your baby permission to enter into their "circle", but basically she has good, common-sense ideas for interacting with your baby.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Giggles

Scroll down and look for "Giggles by Steven Jr." for a cute video of Steven and Joanna giggling together.

Carr Update #40

It's been busy trying to get back into life again here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Finally I'm able to sit down and give a little update:

STEVEN ~
On Growing:
Last time he was weighed, which has been a few weeks now, he weighed in at just over 15 lbs. He's about 24 inches long now, and is still very strong. He can roll over multiple times now. He can lift his upper body and shift himself to either side to change the direction he facing. When I lay him on the floor on a blanket, if he wants, within seconds he's on his stomach and no longer on the blanket, he's getting to be more and more mobile everyday. He's trying so hard to crawl! He kicks his legs and can lift up off of them. He's got the strength, he just needs the coordination of his legs and arms together.

On ECing~
The past week or so we've had more days, I think, with 3-6 wet/dirty diapers instead of 1-3 a day. I did count one day to see how many times he went in a 24-hour period, as I was getting asked that often. He went about 20 times in 24 hours. So I guess 3-6 misses per day still means 14-17 times that I got him to the potty. Lately he seems to prefer the toilet to pee in over his potty chair. He'll still go pee in his potty chair, but he'll go much quicker on the toilet. Not sure why that is...

SVEN:
On Working:
Sven's enjoyed the work opportunity at the Seminary library. Soon it'll be wrapping up for the summer. He's hoping to get a new job very soon.

On School:
Sven's summer class will be ending at the end of next week. At the end of August, he'll start a full load at Kuiper for the fall semester.

CRYSTAL:
On Sewing:
I've enjoyed sewing a couple diapers for a friend who recently had a baby. I'm looking forward to some more projects (each day when I have time).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Traveling

MINNESOTA:
My mom and I had been trying to devise a way for me to go to MN for our family reunion. It had looked like we had exhausted every option, and then, very last minute, things worked out for Sven to drive us to Chicago (my parent’s paid for gas) and then Steven and I boarded the Amrak (my aunt paid for the ticket) and rode to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the ride was, even in spite of various delays and getting in about 1 ½ hours late.

I spent time with family and friends and enjoyed the family reunion immensely. Steven and I missed Sven, though. Steven smiled when he got to hear his daddy on the phone.

I put in some hours at my aunt’s tax office, which was enjoyable. Everyone there enjoyed Steven and I had to intervene once because they weren’t “sharing” him.

I only was able to visit briefly with my church family in Hinckley, but enjoyed the time that I had with them. Steven and I saw our good friend, Dr. Lezlie, who we refer to as “The Greatest Chiropractor in the World”. (Sven and I still haven’t figured out a good plan for kidnapping her and bringing her here to Michigan.)

Steven did great with his ECing while aboard the train and in Minnesota. We had at least one day where he was in the same diaper all day.

MICHIGAN:
On Monday, July 21st, Steven and I rode back home to Michigan with Sven’s parents, Kevin & Kathy. Steven did very well during the long car ride, considering. Steven turned 4 months old during our few days home in MI.





NEW YORK:
Dad & Mom Carr stayed with us a few days and we enjoyed their company very much. Saturday, July 26th, we all (Sven included) piled in a little larger car (Dad & Mom Carr rented one) and headed out toward Buffalo, NY. Again, Steven did very well traveling, considering.

Dad & Mom Carr took us to some Carr sites: various graveyards and places Dad remembered from growing up. We enjoyed the Carr Family Reunion on Sunday, July 27th. We spent the next two days visiting with Mom Carr’s family and celebrated her nephews 40th birthday. We also took some time to see Niagara Falls. We enjoyed our time very much with all our family.


Wednesday, July 30th, we arrived back at our home. We had a wonderful time with family and friends. Steven and I have had enough traveling for a little while!

Monday, July 14, 2008

In Minnesota

Crystal and Steven Jr. are in Minnesota, visiting family and friends. They will be returning with my folks on July 22nd. They report to me that they are having a great time with family. Crystal also was able to pick up some hours at her aunts tax office so she'll work there this Tues-Thurs.

For those who are interested, Steven Jr's pottying habits are still going well despite the travel (As if you really wanted to know :) ).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Word About Pottying...

The night after the last post about Steven's ECing, Steven woke up dry after sleeping for 7 1/2 hours! Needless to say, that was an exciting moment for an ECing mom and dad! He repeated this event a week later, last Tuesday evening. I anticipate we will only see this happen more and more. Yesterday he had one wet diaper during one of his naps, and other than being wet at night, that was his only wet/dirty diaper for the day. This is pretty typical. We normally do not exceed 3 dirty diapers in one day (not including the night diapers).

He's changing his cues a little bit, which I've read it normal. I find he tends to vocalize if he needs the potty (a little whimper or cry) when he really needs to go, and if he's kicking and flinging his arms it's now because he's ready to take a nap and wants to be swaddled, instead of needing to eliminate. I'm not sure when he changed this, but I just picked up on it a day or two ago. I think for a couple days I was putting him on the potty when he really was saying, "I'm ready for my nap!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Carr Update #35

STEVEN:
Last Thursday, Steven started sleeping in his own room. Now that he’s sleeping 7-9 hours at night, I no longer need the convenience of having him right next to me for night nursing. That wasn’t our main reason for choosing to move him to his own room, though. Whereas up until then, his little sounds that he makes while sleeping or trying to fall back asleep after nursing never bothered my sleep, they were now beginning to. Now, with him content in his own room, both mommy and baby sleep better, since he doesn’t have to hear us come to bed (usually after he’s been asleep for awhile) and I don’t have to hear his little noises through the night, or after I nurse him in the morning and put him back down to sleep. His naps are taken either in his own room, or in our room in his Bonner Bed, depending upon which room I may be doing things in during his nap. My sewing stuff is in his room, so if I intend on sewing, I’ll lie him down in our room. If I don’t intend on sewing or cleaning his room, I’ll lie him down there. Sven was more reluctant than I to transition him to his own bed, which is indeed humorous, seeing that I originally wanted him to sleep in our room until he was weaned (assuming I would be doing night nursing until then) and Sven reluctantly agreed to having him sleep with us only until he was 6 months old. Steven has made the transition to his own room very smoothly, just a few days after he turned 3 months old.
He's discovered his feet. He'll hold them in the air as he's on his back and just look at them, and sometimes reach for them. I'll lay him on the bed and he'll twist and contort himself, rolling every which way exploring and "talking". It's so cute. (In the picture above, he's smiling at his Daddy.)

SVEN:
Sven started his work at the Seminary and is enjoying working with all the books. He’s still looking for additional work and is looking forward to the possibility of outside yard work for friends.

CRYSTAL:
I’ve finally tweaked my diaper pattern to create the diaper that best fits Steven right now. I made it more narrow than many cloth diapers, as I wanted as little bulk as possible between his little legs.

I borrowed a skirt pattern from my friend Tammy and made a skirt, with just the hem left to do. I’m looking forward to sewing more skirts and other clothes. I’ve checked out a handful of sewing books from the library to enhance my knowledge on the subject.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Steven Potty Training Update

I thought it appropriate to say a few words about Steven's progress with his potty training, as I know many people are following along with us.

On Staying Dry ~
Yesterday Steven stayed in the same diaper all day, as we made it to the potty for all his business, that is, until 8pm. At this time, he decided to pee in his diaper. Oops! :) He sometimes wets a little during his naps, but almost always has to go upon awakening. I think when he can't hold it any longer he then goes just enough to relieve himself. Yesterday and today he's awoken early from a couple of his naps needing to pee. This is nice for dry diapers but he's not too thrilled about going back to sleep. Normally he falls back to sleep after a few moments of crying to settle back down.

He's sleeping anywhere from 5-9 hours straight at night and so he currently is waking with a wet diaper. When he awakes to eat he normally poo's in potty and not in his diaper while sleeping. I'm not concerned about him awaking wet, as I know he's fully aware of his elimination needs and when he develops the ability to hold it all night I have no doubt he will. Right now he has a good capacity to hold it for at least a couple minutes when he really has to go, as long as he knows I'm in the process of getting him to the potty.

On Staying Clean ~
He is getting almost all of his poo's in the potty now, which is great! He's very good about letting me know he has to go. He stares at me with big eyes and his face serious (as if to say, 'Come on, Mom!'), his hands form into fists and his arms and legs straighten as he kicks. We still have an occasional (and becoming more and more rare) poo in the diaper, but most likely if he poo's in the diaper, it's just a little tiny bit and it normally lands on the insert. We then get to the potty for the rest of the job.

~~~~~~~

With all that said, we still have some wet diapers. Just a little while ago we were getting the majority of pee's on the potty but not doing so well with the poo's. Things have changed and now almost all poo's are on the potty but a few more wet diapers. I much prefer this, as pee can easily be rinsed out, diapers hung in the sun to dry and be used again.

Success today is not determined by a dry diaper at the end of the day, but by whether we are continuing to develop Steven's awareness of his elimination needs, his control over releasing and his communication with us on the matter. So far, each day with ECing has been a success.

A walk in the park? No, infant potty training takes time, patience and diligence.

It's a trade-off. You have to potty train sometime. Either you do it before they learn to use their diaper as the toilet or afterwards:

If you do it afterwards:
some CONS - You need to untrain them, as well as put up with years of diapers and all the time, money and energy that entails.
some PROS - But you have the benefit of changing their diapers on your time, not theirs. You can get away with changing them less often, as you may choose to only change them when the diaper is fully soaked.

If you do it before:
some CONS - You need to be diligent about getting them to the potty as soon as they show they need to go (they can only hold it for so long), and if they wet or dirty their diaper you need to change it right away so they don't get used to sitting in dirty diapers (sometimes they need to pee 10 or 15 minutes after just going). Also, as I'm finding with Steven, they may show they need to go, you put them on the potty, but they are working it out and it may take some time sitting there holding them on the potty while they finish business.
some PROS - But you have the benefit of having them dirtying much fewer diapers and the potential of being out of diapers at a very young age, as well as helping them become more aware of and develop their sphincter muscles, which will aid greatly in their potty training. As they continue to develop their muscles, they can hold their pee longer, meaning you won't always be taking them to the potty every 10-15 minutes. (Steven normally has to go at least once every hour when awake.) Also, infant potty training or elimination communication is just that: communication with your baby. You both learn to communicate to each other and this creates a unique bond. Also, they sit in their pee and poo very little, resulting in less likelihood of diaper rash and easier cleanup when they eliminate in the potty.

But is it worth it? In my book, absolutely. I've enjoyed the special bonding with my son through ECing. Is it for everyone? No, I couldn't say it is. By sharing our experience I do not mean to say that everyone should do as I. We are all in different places in life, may we live and learn from each other and enjoy the good gifts God delivers to each of us. I do hope I'll be successful with potty training all my children this way, but in time we will see. I've enjoyed it thus far. Thanks for enjoying with us!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

3 Months Old Today!

Steven is 3 months old today. What a bundle of joy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Carr Update #32

CAMPING:
Check out our pictures on our photo album site.

Thursday, June 12th, we packed up and headed up north a little ways to Bowman Lake. There's camping sites there, with no facilities. We reached the parking lot at about 9pm or so, put on our packs and hiked to the camp site. We had camp setup by about 10pm or so and jumped into the tent just in time as it was starting to sprinkle. Then we heard weather sirens. We headed back to our car and listened to the radio. We ended up sleeping in our car the first night. Steven did well through the lightening and rain. He slept about 6 or so hours before awaking to eat.

We enjoyed a lot of hiking, some swimming and just being outside. Sven got sunburned, I got bitten by so many bugs that my arms and legs look like I have the chicken pox. Steven enjoyed being pottied outside. He got one bug bite on his forehead (it got into his little screen tent).

I didn't mind having to hike out into the woods and find a place to eliminate, but it was a little nerve-racking that the woods were not very thick, so you could see a good distance around you.

Jeff arrived in the afternoon on Friday, Nathan and Heidi and their five children arrived that evening, Maggie joined us later Friday night. We had a nice time with everyone. The kids were a joy.

STEVEN:
Steven's doing well, sleeping between 7 1/2 - 8 hours a night. It's been such a blessing. It's been so peaceful now, as he's been more predictable (not completely predictable, mind you, but generally so). He's been doing excellent with ECing. Yesterday we had no wet diapers (just the one from over night) and only a couple with a little poo on them. I'm getting excited for the day that he'll go without diapers.

SVEN:
He's still waiting for his job to start. They are waiting on barcoding equipment to arrive. He's keeping busy with school work, due throughout the summer.

CRYSTAL:
I packed up Steven's 0-3 month clothing yesterday. He's growing!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Breastfeeding

It’s unfortunate that today we are so easily offended as mothers. We hear what one mother is doing differently than us and we take immediate offense, as if this was a personal attack against our way of doing things. This ought not to be. I hope we can see there are many ways of mothering, as it were, and if we listen to each other we may better our own selves, even if only in our expanse of knowledge on the subject. It’s in this light that I hope to share with you some things I’ve learned since becoming a mother in regards to breastfeeding. I do not in any way try to claim authority on the matter, nor do I try to presume that others should do things “my” way, yet I present my experience for what it is: my experience thus far.

I had some strong opinions on a variety of topics upon entering motherhood, which I deem to be a good and healthy thing. I read a lot on various topics and still do. Albeit another good and healthy thing is to be always ready to listen, ready to learn, ready to change your ideas if something else better comes along, as we do not know it all, far from it in fact.

One particular topic that I had a strong opinion about was breastfeeding and all it would entail. Isn’t it true that you should feed your baby whenever they are hungry, which is called “demand feeding”? Isn’t it true that to put your baby on any kind of “schedule” would be unnatural and thus unhealthy? Isn’t it true that an infant sleeping through the night, even at six months, was unnatural? Isn’t it true that if you didn’t feed an infant through the night then your milk supply would get too low? Before becoming a mother, I thought each of these items were true. I’d like to share with you how I’ve come to learn differently.

Isn’t it true that you should feed your baby whenever they are hungry, which is called “demand feeding”? It is true that you should feed your baby when they are hungry, but this isn’t the only definition of “demand feeding”. It seems there are quite a variety of opinions out there as to when you should feed your child under the term “demand feeding”. Some define it as whenever the child cries. This of course did not prove true for my son, as he often cried due to an upset stomach. If I were to feed him every time he cried, this would’ve only made his situation worse. I had to pay close attention to both his signals as well as to the clock to try to best determine when he was truly hungry, in pain or just needing to suck on something. (Although I kept very loose track of time, I used the clock to help decipher his crying, for example if it had only been 20 minutes since his last feeding and he started crying, he was most likely crying for another reason besides hunger.) Previous to becoming a mother, I thought there was nothing wrong with a child using mom as a pacifier, as it were, in order to meet the baby’s sucking needs, after all, breasts are natural and pacifiers are not. My son, though, is a gulper and finishes his meals in record time. He still liked to suck after he was full. If I let him continue to eat, he would spew up the majority of his meal, plus be plagued with a painful gut. My previous ideas about pacifiers changed quickly and I picked one up for his additional sucking needs.

Isn’t it true that to put your baby on any kind of “schedule” would be unnatural and thus unhealthy? My son naturally fell into a generally predictable schedule. He generally ate every two hours or so, although I didn’t pay too much attention to the clock, so that’s a rough estimate. If I had paid better attention to the clock, I admit now that it would’ve proven to be beneficial to myself, giving me a general idea of when he would be hungry and especially when he would be tired. After my son’s tummy issues cleared, he was still crying a lot. I paid close attention to try to decipher his cries, as I knew it wasn’t a pain cry. It soon became clear to me that by the time he was acting tired, he was over-tired. Once he became over-tired, it was hard to calm him and get him to sleep, thus the reason for his crying. I realized then how important of a tool the clock was to help determine when he was tired and be proactive about it. Once I started getting him laid down before he became over-tired, as he seemed to generally prefer being laid down, as opposed to being held (yet another opinion of mine that was altered by experience), he became a much more contented baby. Admitting that schedules are natural and embracing my baby’s schedule by allowing the clock to play a part, had a huge positive impact on my son and in turn, on me.

Isn’t it true that an infant sleeping through the night, even at six months, is unnatural? In order to expand my mothering horizon, I read the book “On Becoming Baby Wise”, although I was quite sure I’d disagree with most of it. To my surprise and delight, I found I agreed with a lot of what the authors were saying. The basic premise the book had, was if your child receives full meals, they will naturally fall into a predictable schedule which will result in healthy sleep, including sleeping through the night. Since my son had naturally fallen into the pattern the book laid out, which is sleep/eat/wake/repeat, I decided to roughly try their approach. The only thing I needed to change was to feed my son more at each feeding, in order for his feedings to naturally spread to every 2 ½ - 3 hours. I did this cautiously and apprehensively, as I didn’t want his tummy issues to reappear. My son took well to eating more, as long as I burped him in the middle of eating. He seemed content and happy, not overfull. Viewing their schedule as a rough guideline also aided in determining when my son needed to nap. Although he doesn’t always fall asleep right away, he is indeed tired at predictable times, at which I do my best to provide him with a good nap. By simply allowing my son to fill up at each feeding, he naturally adjusted to being hungry every 2 ½ - 3 hours, as opposed to every 2, and has started sleeping through the night (6 – 8 hours before awaking to eat, as opposed to 4 and then every 2 until morning. He does have some nights yet where he’ll awake every 4 hours to eat.). It still amazes me at how natural this really is (ie. My son sleeping through the night)! (I will add, without getting into the details at this time, that there was plenty of misconceptions that the authors of “On Becoming Baby Wise” held to in my mind, and these were enough to make me quite upset and at times very disgusted with the book.)

Isn’t it true that if you don’t feed an infant through the night then your milk supply will get too low? This was a huge concern for me, as I desire to exclusively breastfeed my son until he’s at least one year of age, as there are so many health benefits involved. As my son started sleeping longer at night, I made sure to pay close attention to whether or not I continued to produce enough milk for him. Once I started feeding him more each feeding, resulting in more time between feedings and a longer stretch at night, my milk supply actually has increased. What a pleasant surprise!

Experience has changed my personal views on breastfeeding drastically. I am pleased with what I’ve been able to learn and the results of such knowledge applied. I hope I will never close my mind to learning and re-learning, even if it means trying something I thought I’d never do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Carr Update #30

I wasn't able to load pictures, as I didn't have access to our flashdrive in time, but will post pictures ASAP onto our album site.

Last Sunday we had a group of friends over after the evening worship service to discuss the sermans of the day. It was a nice time of fellowship and we intend on having an open door for anyone on Sunday evenings for serman discussion, with the exception of the last Sunday of the month where our church holds a fellowship dinner and book discussion (we're reading through Puritan works).

STEVEN:
On Sleeping Positions ~
Steven's been learning how to go to sleep on his back, as he was used to sleeping on his tummy (due to tummy aches, I laid him down on his tummy to sleep). He didn't like it at first, but with some renovations has come to prefer back sleeping it now seems. I've placed a folded towel under his mattress to help lift it up slightly under his head. Sometimes he coughs on his saliva and this incline while sleeping seems to help. Also, he sometimes likes a rolled blanket placed under his knees. And most importantly, he likes to be swaddled so his little hands don't wake him when he startles, although sometimes he likes his hand sticking out just enough to get his thumb or fingers. Sometimes he likes his tummy rubbed or patted while he's starting to doze off.

On ECing ~
Due to changes this past week, we had more misses in ECing I think than we have since starting the process. That's fine, Steven and I are still enjoying the times we get in the potty, which are still a good percentage, as well as looking forward to getting back on track this week.

On Diapers ~
I wasn't a faithful cloth diaper user this week, as some of the disposables were getting too small for Steven, I decided to use them up before he no longer would fit in them. He's around 11 lbs. now!

On Growing ~
Yesterday Steven "walked" back and forth across our livingroom as I held him under his arms. He's so strong! He just kept lifting his little legs and feet and stepping forward. He also enjoyed it when I tried to help him "crawl". He wanted to keep at it on his own, but of course doesn't have the strength and coordination yet.

On Sleeping ~
Steven had one night where he went 8 1/2 hours between feedings - that was a nice night of sleep! Then he seemed to go between 5-6 hours at night before awaking to eat. We'll see what this week holds!

SVEN:
On School ~
Sven started his Apologetics class at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary yesterday. It runs through Friday. I guess he's taking two classes this summer at Kuiper college, I had previously thought it was one. They are both independant studies.

CRYSTAL:
On Sewing ~
I'm hoping to get back to sewing this week. Last week I ended up taking a break, as I had run out of snaps and velcro, as well as having others things to tend to.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Carr Update #29

SVEN:
On School ~
Sven finished his May class at Kuiper college last week. Next week he'll be taking a class at the Seminary. This class will last for just that first week. He'll be started his one summer class at Kuiper sometime in June as well.

On Work ~
As mentioned before, Sven starts work at the Seminary library next month. He starts the second week of June.

CRYSTAL:
On Sewing ~
I've been having fun making diapers, ready to soon retire from making them for Steven and maybe start on some other fun sewing projects.

STEVEN:
On Spitting Up ~
Steven's doing very well. After his tummy issues subsided, he started spitting up more, but now he's spitting up a lot less, for which we're glad.

On Sleeping ~
He's doing well with sleeping at night. It had only taken one day to switch his nights back after I accidentally allowed for him to confuse them (see previous post). He was sleeping for 4 hours, then awake every 2 to eat, and back to sleep in between. Yesterday, seeing as his spitting up is doing better, I tested to see if he'd eat more at each feeding after burping and sure enough, he was hungry and ate about 2x more than he previously was at each feeding. I watched closely and this didn't seem to result in more spit up, so I continued the longer feedings. This resulted in longer nap times between feedings and a longer space between the feedings. Also, he then slept for 6 hours before awaking to eat at night and then after going back to sleep he awoke 3 hours later for his next feeding. Hopefully Steven will continue to do well with eating and little more and sleeping a little longer at a time.

On ECing ~
We're getting the vast majority of his pee's and poo's into the potty, which is fun and exciting. He has one guaranteed wet diaper in a 24-hour period: after I put him down for the night, he's guarenteed to be wet when he first awakes to eat. Since I still have a few packs of disposable diapers that were given to us, I put him in a disposable when he goes down for the night. This saves on one diaper washing, since this wet diaper is predictable. For the rest of his diapers, I'm putting him in cloth (which I previously have not been very consistent about - I'd switch between cloth and disposable as was convenient). It seems this past week he's had one additional dirty diaper besides this one predictable one per 24-hour period. We do go through maybe 3-5 diaper inserts a day (he often goes a little poo before I get him to the potty, then finishes the job on the potty; and sometimes he does do the whole job in his diaper, although we're getting more and more poo's on the potty). A main reason we're now getting most of his poo's on the potty is that Steven's now makes it pretty clear that he wants to poo. I'll put him on his potty and if he has to poo and I take him off before he has, he'll start to cry. As soon as I put him back on the potty, he's content. Sometimes I - take him off, he cries, I put him back on, he's content - a few times in a row and each time he's back on the potty he either poo's or pee's. It's fun to have him communicate this so clearly and also encouraging knowing that he doesn't want to go in his diaper.

On Being Cute ~
He's smiling lots. Since his tongue has been snipped, we get to see him stick it out and move it around. He likes to straighten his legs when you hold him upright, which puts him in a standing position - he's so strong! He likes to coo and "talk" when you talk to him. He also likes to "sing" with me when I sing to him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Updates... a bit about ECing...

God has so graciously provided for our every need, in spite of us being unemployed for 5 months. God is so good to His children! Thank you to everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers.

STEVEN:
Steven's approaching 2 months of age - time sure flies!

On Tongue-Tied~
Steven's tongue-tied days are over. The "snipping" went well. It was probably more tramautic for me than for him! : ) He didn't seem to notice. He seems to enjoy his "new tongue" and being able to move it around much more than when it was tied down.

On ECing~
ECing is going well. I'm having more misses lately, but still get a good percentage of pees and poos into the potty. I've relaxed a little in my approach and have been more respectful of Steven's sleeping. When he's napping sometimes he'll stir, but not fully awake, to signal he needs to go. In the past I'd put him on the potty, but often this would wake him up and make him grumpy. Instead, I let him sleep until he fully wakes and pee him then. Sometimes he holds it until then, sometimes he has a wet diaper but still goes again after he wakes.

Steven definitely knows what it means to be held over the potty and told to "go pee pee", as well as has some bladder control. I think it was last week, I was at a friend's house and had done some running around that morning. I hadn't taken time to pee Steven, since there hadn't been a convenient time to and he was sleeping on and off most of the morning. I was sure he had emptied himself into his diaper. He woke up and was fussing. I took him to the bathroom to change his diaper. Sure enough he had gone pee and poo. As I was cleaning him up, he kept crying pretty insistently. I figured I had better put him on the potty "just in case" since his diaper was off and all. I didn't even have time to tell him to go, the second he was in position over the potty he started peeing (and stopped crying)! Another day, Sven took off Steven's diaper, getting ready to potty him. Steven started to pee just a squirt, then stopped and waited until daddy had him over the potty to finish business.

If Steven doesn't have to go potty, (or doesn't want to because he'd rather be eating), then he lets me know. If he wants to eat but still has to go, even though he's protesting, he still goes. Often he'll fuss or cry until I lay him down to take his diaper off to put him on the potty, then he'll smile at me, as if to say, "yes, that's what I want!". Other times he'll cry until he's on the potty and smile once he starts peeing. He's so cute!

On Crying~
I think we're starting to get a handle on his crying. I don't think he has many upset tummy aches any more, although he does spit up (sometimes a lot). The main times he cries now are when he's tired. I've found that if I catch him just getting tired (I have to catch him before he's rubbing his eyes, otherwise it's too late) then he likes to be laid down and will (generally) go to sleep without any fuss. If I wait too long, he cries and cries. I think this is the mystery to his current crying situation, but time will test my theory. (And of course he cries if he has to wait too long to eat. Normally this isn't an issue, but every once in a while we're caught in an inconvenient place and he has to wait a little longer than he cares to.)

SVEN:
On Work~
Sven's been hired for the summer working in the seminary library. He'll be helping with a new barcoding system for their books. We're grateful to the Lord for His provision.

On School~
Friday marks the end of Sven's May class. He's been busy reading and working on homework.

CRYSTAL:
I've been back on the sewing machine, experimenting with diaper making. I made three diapers this past week. I just picked up some snaps to try using those, as I was having some issues with velcro (and just ran out anyways).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Update one Carr at a Time...

STEVEN:
Steven's such a strong little guy. From birth he was trying to hold up his head, now he's pretty good at it. He rolled over twice before he was 6 weeks old (from his tummy to his back)!

Last Thursday Steven weighed in at 9 lbs. 5 oz., exactly 2 lbs. gained since he was born.

He's doing great with the elimination communication. Yesterday Evie Lanning babysat him for a couple hours for our anniversary. I let her know when he'd have to go and she put him on the potty - sure enough, he went. We actually had 3 days in a row with no wet diapers (only some poopy ones), but now we've had a few misses. I think Steven has gotten his days and nights a little mixed, so I've been a little too tired the last few nights to be alert enough to put him on the potty each time he needed to go, and so he's gone in his diaper. I'm working on switching his schedule back, hopefully in a day or two we'll be doing much better!

We found out on Thursday that Steven is tongue-tied. I had never heard of it before. We'll be getting that corrected tomorrow. Poor little guy!

SVEN:
He's been diligenty putting applications out there for employment.

A third of the way through his May semester at Kuiper College. He's keeping busy with this class: since it's a semester's worth of work crammed into three weeks, there's plenty of homework each day.

We were given some gift certificates to a local restaurant. Sven took me out to dinner for our one year anniversary yesterday. We had a nice meal and went for a nice walk downtown. I admire my husband very much and thank God for the wonderful year, may there be many, many more!

CRYSTAL:
I still haven't sold or placed any candy machines. We have some options we're looking into as far as whether or not we want to pursue selling them or placing them.

I'm very much enjoying being a mother and thankful to the Lord for his good gift of Steven to us. Although Steven has been more work than I had anticipated, I can hardly wait for the Lord to bless us with more children.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Elimination Communication

"What is Elimination Communication?", I asked a friend via email who had mentioned that she was looking into doing that with her soon-to-be expected baby. I read what she said and intended to look more up online when I got a chance. I had kind of forgotten about it until a week or so before I was due another friend mentioned it, which encouraged me to follow through and look into it. And so began my journey into ECing.

Put simply, ECing is recognizing your baby's signals to eliminate (ie. pee and poo) and holding them over the potty for elimination, instead of training them to eliminate in their diaper and then be cleaned up sometime after the fact.

I'll share my short journey with ECing so far (I started seriously ECing within this past week. Previous to that, I had put him on the potty maybe 1/2 dozen times since his birth when I knew he was going to pee.):
If you find this interesting, I encourage you to google "Elimination Communication" and do some reading. This is how I found information on it.

Basically this is what I have done:
1. For a couple days I put Steven in a cloth diaper with no cover. Every time he went pee or poo I immediately knew and would tell him "Go pee pee".
2. Within a short time I was able to notice a few things:
a. Wow do babies eliminate OFTEN! I didn't count, but I would estimate 9-10 times during the day.
b. There was a general pattern to Steven's elimination needs. (For example, just after waking up or shortly after nursing).
c. Steven would often fuss just before needing to eliminate.
3. I purchased an infant potty chair, as holding him over the toilet was inconvenient for my back and he didn't care for being rushed to the bathroom every time he needed to eliminate.
4. I started holding him on the potty chair when I thought he needed to eliminate (determined by his fussing, when he had last eliminated and whether he had just eaten or awakened) and would tell him "Go pee pee". And he would!

A few things that I've learned along the way:
1. Try to avoid being too over zealous. Sometimes Steven would fuss and I'd put him on the potty, but he'd then fuss more because he didn't need to eliminate but he was in need of something else at the time. (Sometimes he did want to go poo, but was having a little trouble so putting him on the potty seemed to frustrate him since he was trying but couldn't and was in pain. Instead of keep him on the potty, I would put his diaper on and try to get him comfortable.)
2. The first couple days that I was trying EC I didn't do it with him at night. I have read online that infants typically do not eliminate in their sleep, they wake up slightly, normally while fussing, eliminate, then go back to sleep. When I did start ECing at night, I admit I became a little too over zealous so as not to have a "miss", but this made for a fussy boy and a tired mom (and dad), as I would put Steven on his potty almost every time I heard him made a noise. This upset him and he let us know! After a night or two of this, I reminded myself that he was wearing a diaper, so if I miss, it's fine. Also, I kept mental track of when he went last and ate, etc. and did a much better job of putting him on when he really had to go. We had a much better sleep then!
3. Since we're using cloth diapers, and since most of his pees get into the toilet, I make sure to use a cloth insert, that way if he poos a little I can just take out the insert to wash, replace it and still use the same diaper (so far we're on the same diaper as this morning - it's 2:30pm).

I started seriously ECing only this past week and already am so amazed. Steven definitely knows his cue "Go pee pee". We've had about 1-3 wet diapers each day (including nights) since starting. I catch about half of his bowel movements on the potty, the other half are yet in his diaper. I'm encouraged that in such a short time we've made such progress and am sure that with diligence in observing and communicating with my son, we will only have fewer and fewer misses.

My favorite times are when he signals the need to go, I correctly receive his signal, place him on the potty, and he eliminates while giving me a great big grin! I do feel much closer to Steven as I'm helping to meet this need of elimination, much like seeing your child is hungry and meeting that need by nursing.

Thought I'd share this new and fun journey with you, as it's likely something new to you as well!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Correction

I corrected our birth time on the birth story. Accidentally put 13 hours and 50 minutes for official labor, but it was really 15 hours and 50 minutes.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our Trip to MN for Steven's Baptism

Please view pictures from our trip back to MN at: http://steveandcrystalcarr.myphotoalbum.com/

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip back to MN. It was Steven and my first commercial airplane ride (I've riden in a small 4-seater plane a few times). Sven has flown more times than he could remember to count. Steven rode in the sling and fell fast asleep to the noise of the engines. I kept his pacifier in the whole ride so he could suck when needed to keep his ears from popping.
We arrived at the airport in Minneapolis. My dad and uncle picked us up and we headed to my aunt's tax office where I've worked on and off for about 10 years to visit friends there.

We then headed to my parent's house to visit my siblings and their children, with a quick stop at an aunt and uncle's in between. It's always fun to see my parent's house filled with their kids and grandchildren!

We stayed the night at Sven's parent's house. On Friday, Sven's brother's family came over along with a couple of our friends. We had a nice time visiting with them.

On Saturday, we hung out at my parent's house all day as visitor's stopped by to see Steven. Thank you to all who came out to see us! It was so enjoyable for us! Trina had her daughter Brooke's 2nd birthday party that day at the house, too, so it was a busy and fun day!

On Sunday, Steven was baptized. We were blessed to have Sven's dad, Kevin administer this sacrament. We enjoyed seeing our church family again as well as other friends and family who came to Steven's baptism. Thank you to everyone who shared in this special time with us.

Our trip back to MN was busy and wonderful – it was nice to see so many of those we love and miss.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Our Birth Story:

For those of you interested, I finally finished writing it!

Our Birth Story:

Our estimated due date was Sunday, March 23rd, 2008. We were looking forward to being surprised as to the gender when our child was born. We wanted to have a home birth and spent time in prayer as I began to search for a midwife. We currently lived in Minnesota and would be moving to Michigan when I was about 6 months pregnant. I found Yolanda Visser with Birth Song through a Michigan Midwifery directory. After contacting her via phone, I knew God had answered our prayers and we had found the midwife we were looking for.

Fast forward to March 2008…
My mom arrived in town Monday, March 17th, planning on staying with us through the birth and a few weeks following. It was great to see her again and have her company and much appreciated help.

Steve’s parents were planning on coming out for a visit, arriving on Sunday, March 23rd, our due date, as this was the week that worked with their schedule. Many people were praying for us that there’d be a baby for them to see when they arrived. Due to unforeseen circumstances, their arrival was postponed until Tuesday, March 25th. Our midwife kept encouraging us to expect to deliver in April, as most first-time mothers deliver about a week later than their estimated due date. Also, the baby hadn’t dropped yet and I wasn’t effaced, signs that I probably had a couple weeks left before the arrival of our little bundle of joy. Our experienced midwife however, was sure to say that anything can change in 24 hours and of course these things can’t be predicted.

Friday, March 21st at 9:45am I noted what’s called ‘Bloody Show’. According to What to Expect When You’re Expecting, after the appearance of bloody show labor normally starts within 24 hours, although it could be as much as a few days. A friend of ours who recently delivered her fourth child had shared with me that for each of her labors she had the bloody show in the morning and that night she went into labor. Needless to say, I was a bit excited at the possibility.

We went about our day, attending a Good Friday Service from 12-3pm. That evening at 5:00pm I had my first contraction. At first I wasn’t sure it was a contraction; it felt like a strong menstrual cramp. I had some cramping in the previous weeks as my body was preparing for birth, but not like this one. When we timed a few of those first contractions they were about every 10 minutes apart. I decided I had better get a nap in and slept for a little while.

At 10:00pm the cramping became more intense and was going into my lower back, which was very uncomfortable. I had been lying in bed trying to sleep, but was unable to, due to the pain and excitement.

By 2:30am, now Saturday, March 22nd, I got out of bed, since I wasn’t sleeping, and sat on the couch. I noted more bloody show (a sign that the cervix was thinning).

By 3:30am the contractions were more in my abdomen instead of the lower back when I would sit on the couch and lean back. The baby had been active all night as well.

Around 5:00am I was pretty tired and was able to drift into sleep between the contractions while sitting up on the couch. I slept until 7:30am. I knew the contractions were just getting started and we’d have a little while before things picked up pace, so I had let my husband and mom sleep, since there wasn’t anything for them to do at that point.

From around 9:00am until 11:15am I was able to sleep in our bed lying down. The contractions were still there, but were less intense and had slowed to every 15 – 20 minutes.

Contractions continued at this pace or a little slower at times throughout Saturday night and into Sunday morning. I was able to sleep Saturday night.

Sunday morning my husband went to worship. I sat on the couch and dozed between contractions. At noon on Sunday the contractions picked up their pace and were consistently around 5 minutes apart and were lasting around 1 minute long. Official labor is considered to start when contractions are consistently between 5-7 minutes apart and last 1 minute long – official labor was here!

One of my two favorite positions to labor in was on the couch. I was pretty comfortable and able to relax through the contractions while sitting there, leaning back and resting my head. My other favorite position was while sitting on the toilet, as you’ll read below.

I had heard that when the contractions get strong it helps to have something, a verse or song to focus on. Also, I had read in one of my books that saying the words “I love you” helps to open up your cervix. So, I started thinking “I love you, baby” as I had contractions, in order to keep my focus on the outcome and not be consumed with the pain and discomfort of the now. I also prayed for strength and focus throughout my labor, knowing I could only do this through the Lord’s strength.

Around 3pm, my mom left for a while, leaving me and my husband together at home. Around 4pm, Steve called our friend Heidi who was to attend our birth, and let her know I was in active labor and that she could come over anytime. She said she’d be over about 5pm.

Shortly after calling Heidi, my contractions picked up a little bit and I decided to labor sitting backwards on the toilet. I had some back labor, as our baby was posterior (head down, but face up) and found this position nice, having Steve sit behind me and push his fists on my lower back during contractions. During this time, as my contractions picked up pace a little, I found I could only whisper. Heidi had mentioned this happened to her every pregnancy (she had five children) and I thought she had said when this happened she was dilated around 4-5. I started to get nervous because our midwife wasn’t there and whispered to Steve that he should call our midwife. He gently told me that he thought we should wait a little longer. Within a short time, I had asked him a couple more times and said I thought I had arrived at the 2nd emotional signpost mentioned in the Bradley Book, which is a state of seriousness. According to this book, this is the time you should head to the hospital, if you were having a hospital birth. And so, Steve called Yolanda and she said she’d arrive shortly. Steve also called my mom and let her know Yolanda was on the way.

I found myself a little anxious for Yolanda to arrive, probably since my contractions were more intense, and I didn’t realize it, but I wasn’t doing very well staying loose and relaxed.

Around 5pm, my mom arrived and shortly thereafter Heidi arrived. I was still in the bathroom with Steve, hoping Yolanda would come and soon she arrived too. I was standing then in the bathroom, pretty tense and uncomfortable. With the arrival of everyone I found I was no longer confined to a whisper. Yolanda came in the bathroom and asked how I was doing and I think I sat back on the toilet for a couple contractions. She was going to move me to the bedroom to check how far I was dilated. In the process I stood for a contraction. She noticed how tense I was and grabbed my butt and kind of shook and massaged it and told me to “loosen those buns!” Now, granted, if it were any other time except during labor this would not have been welcomed, but I hadn’t realized how tense I was and appreciated being told so, since it’s so imperative to relax during labor in order to work with your body and not against it. This action from Yolanda turned my contractions from being something scary to being something I could work with. From that point on, every contraction I had I just focused on relaxing my bottom (and my jaw, as somehow they work together), and I was able to work pretty well with my contractions. Yolanda’s presence was very comforting to me and I felt much more at ease, probably based on the fact that she’s delivered over 1600 babies while I had delivered none.

We moved to the bedroom and discovered I was dilated to 4 cm. I was encouraged by this. Around 6:30pm or so Yolanda left and said she’d had some things to do and would be back in a few hours, but we could call her if we wanted her sooner. I was perfectly at peace about this and soon moved to the couch to labor some more.

My mom and Heidi sat at the table and visited quietly, Steve played some music on the guitar while he sang and I sat silent on the couch relaxing through the contractions and enjoying their presence. I enjoyed listening to Heidi and my mom chat while I labored. Heidi’s comments were most encouraging, as she’d speak softly to my mom, making comments about how well I was doing with the contractions and that I was very focused and relaxed, etc. This was so pleasant to hear and such an encouragement.

Around 9pm or so my contractions were getting more uncomfortable and I needed a change of position. I asked the others if I should maybe call Yolanda in and they said sure. Steve called Yolanda and I asked him to ask her if I could labor in the bathtub for awhile. She said she’d be right over and that I could labor in the tub. I was so excited!

In a way, it felt good to change position and relax in the tub. My contractions picked up in intensity and frequency once I hit the water. I told my husband to “just shoot me” in as best humor as I could, as the labor was painful. The thought that “I can’t do this anymore!” never crossed my mind, but the thought that “I don’t want to do this anymore!” did, but, as that wasn’t an option, I prayed for strength and renewed my thinking and onward we went. (At one point, while sitting on the cough, either Heidi or my mom asked if they could get me anything. I responded “A bullet”. Heidi said, “Oh, she’s telling jokes!” Steve said, “I don’t think she’s joking…”) I stayed in the water a short while, maybe 20 minutes. I got out and came into the living room but soon decided I wanted to go back on the toilet to labor. My water broke and just a trickle hit the ground as I made my way to the toilet. I sat on the toilet facing forward, with Steve sitting in front of me. He would reach around me and hold my back with the contractions, as I was having more back labor.

Yolanda arrived around 9:30pm and setup our bedroom for the birth.

Around this time I started to make some noise with my contractions. It felt good to moan and groan a little, not very loudly. As Steve and I were alone in the bathroom, with my mom and Heidi sitting at the kitchen table and Yolanda working about, I could hear them chat, comment and giggle at the noises I made. I found this extremely enjoyable and humorous. I was feeling very on top of the contractions at this point and was even feeling a little playful. I made faces and some funny noises at Steve during my contractions and it was nice to make him laugh and smile – we were enjoying ourselves immensely. I even mooed with one of my contractions, only loud enough for him to hear of course, because I was sure he’d get a kick out of it, which he did. He challenged me to moo louder, but I would’ve been too embarrassed to moo loud enough for Heidi, Yolanda and my mom to hear.

I thought I was experiencing the sensation to push and told Yolanda. She was going to check me shortly, but for now I was to keep laboring. She thought I was maybe dilated to 9-10. I was enjoying myself greatly and was so excited at the potential of pushing soon.

Around 10:15pm we moved to the bed and Yolanda checked me to see how far dilated I was. Steve was lying on the bed behind me for support. While Yolanda checked me, my water bag completely broke and gushed all over the bed. Thankfully she had bed pads under me and a supply close by to catch the gush. I must’ve been mistaken when I thought I felt like pushing as I was only dilated to 7. I was slightly discouraged and really uncomfortable, as I wasn’t on top of the contractions in this new position: a contraction hit and being in a new position it went right over me – I wasn’t on top of it like I had been in the bathroom. I think a couple contractions went this way. I asked to go back to the bathroom. Yolanda explained that when in labor and you move to a new position it can take a few moments to regain yourself and get focused again – this is normal. Knowing that this was normal helped me to focus and work with the contractions again, instead of getting discouraged and worried about the change.

Yolanda had me walk around and squat with each contraction for awhile. She or Steve would stand behind me and support me under my arms while I squatted. It was important to move around and change positions as this helped labor along. I also had an exercise ball that I would sit on or lean on with contractions. Earlier in the labor I also had used these positions sporadically throughout, but I did favor the couch or toilet. By this time, these other positions weren’t pleasant at all and I missed the enjoyable time in the bathroom and asked to go back on the toilet. Our experienced midwife made me walk around a bit longer before allowing me to return to the bathroom. This also gave everyone an opportunity to quick use the bathroom before I would take it over again! :)

I requested some oatmeal with honey and sliced frozen bananas. I took one bite, though, and found it made me nauseous. Early on in the labor I had oatmeal, toast with honey and cinnamon, soup, frozen bananas, fruit popsicles, frozen juice and water. Now I stuck with juice diluted with water, water and fruit popsicles.

The contractions were getting more intense and I found that making noise with them was no longer helpful – I had to just be silent and retreat into myself, staying focusing on relaxing my bottom and jaw. Neither Steve, who was by me the whole time, nor our midwife could tell when I was having a contraction at this point in time, as I sat silently with my eyes closed and stayed relaxed.

As the contractions intensified, some were so strong it was like I was trying to get away from them – I would reach up behind me and grab onto the shelves above our toilet, then I would relax my whole body and let myself hang from my arms. Steve again held onto my back with contractions, as there was some back labor with them. As painful and uncomfortable as the contractions were, I felt in control of myself and was able to relax well with them, for which I can only thank the Lord.

Around 1:30am Monday, March 24th, I was dilated to 9 with a little lip left of the cervix and was feeling pressure to push. Yolanda was going to hold the lip open so I could start pushing. We moved to the bedroom for the delivery. Yolanda explained that we needed to make the pushing as effective as possible and get the baby out as quickly as possible if we were going to do it here at home, as we had been laboring for some time now and the baby was getting tired. This meant two things. First, that I needed to focus all my attention and energy into making each push as effective and efficient as possible. And second, we would try different positions until we found one that worked well with the baby. Yolanda would continue to check the baby’s heart rate with the doplar after contractions. I silently prayed for strength to deliver the baby quickly so that we would be able to finish at home.

Steve sat at the head of the bed and I sat with my back against his chest, pulling my legs up toward me with the contraction (arms hooked under my knees). Heidi and my mom each helped hold a leg up. The baby didn’t like this position, as his heart rate slowed a little with the pushing (it never fell below acceptable rates, but took a little too long sometimes to reach back to normal). Before the next contraction, I turned over and was on my hands and knees on the bed. The baby didn’t like this position either, which is just as well, since I didn’t feel I had much power or control behind the pushing in this position. Yolanda suggested that I could move to the floor and squat, or try out her birthing stool which would put me in a squatting position. I opted for the birthing stool, as I had previous to going into labor thought that it would be neat to deliver using it. If I recall correctly, before we had the stool in place, Steve held me from behind with the contraction and I squatted for pushing. We did this maybe once or twice. The baby liked this position, praise the Lord!

The stool was brought in and placed at the foot of the bed. Yolanda quickly spread out a plastic sheet on the floor under and in front of the stool. Steve sat on the edge of the bed, while I sat on the stool in front of him (my back to him). He was able to keep contact with me without having to hold me up, which I was thankful for, as holding me up required physical effort and Steve was pretty tired by this time as well. Yolanda sat in front of me, Heidi was on my left side and my mom on my right. With each contraction I would take a deep breath and exhale it two times, with the third breath I would inhale, then Heidi and my mom would push my bent legs toward me (think knees to ears) while I would hold my legs with them and push.

I enjoyed the pushing, it wasn’t painful, and it was nice to be doing something with the contractions. Also knowing the end was near was thrilling. The geese were honking outside, everyone was cheering me on. Steve was wonderful and involved. Heidi’s voice was so positive, upbeat and encouraging. My mom was so proud. Yolanda was focused and encouraged me with clear instruction as we went. I cannot describe how wonderful everyone’s cheering me on was.

Yolanda applied hot washcloths to me and olive oil, although I was really unaware of it. Heidi gave me drinks of water between pushes. Steve had his hands on my shoulders. Heidi periodically held up a mirror so Steve could see the top of the baby’s head. The angle of the mirror was just right so I was able to see it, too. I enjoyed hearing Steve’s reaction, “Oh wow!” I could hear his smile.

I felt what they call the “ring of fire” when the baby’s head crowned. That was slightly uncomfortable, enough so that I verbalized it, “It burns”, but the excitement of almost having the baby out was enough to dull the burning.

In the middle of a push Yolanda shouted out, “Hold on!” I guess the baby was coming out quickly and the cord was once around his neck. She quickly unlooped it and let me finish pushing. Steve said he shot out about a foot and flew into Yolanda’s arms. The placenta was done pulsating by the time he was born, so Yolanda cut the cord right away. The whole pushing stage felt as if it was about 20 minutes, even though it had been 1 hour and 45 minutes. The time was 3:35am. I was exhausted.

Immediately, Yolanda put our baby into my arms. My first thought was “I could do this again!”

At the same time, I couldn’t help but notice that he didn’t cry, was barely breathing and was a bluish color. Yolanda started alternating between stimulating him to breath, doing mouth to mouth and using oxygen. Steve reached down to put his hands on him and help and said loudly and proudly, “It’s a boy!”, which meant his name would be Steven. Little Steven was breathing on his own from the start, just not enough. It’s what they call a “slow starter”. Things could go either way; I could see Heidi praying. I asked my mom to go call some people to pray, completely oblivious to what time it was. Steve and I were each praying silently. Steven made a few little peeps and Steve and I were speaking to him, encouraging him to stay with us. Steven actually turned gray in my arms.

In my mind I expected the worst. It was the oddest feeling to think of losing him now. Thanks to the Lord, I was at perfect peace and knew that whatever happened God was in control.

Yolanda moved Steven from my arms to the bed to work on him. I’m not sure, but I think I was a little slow at listening and keeping up with her instructions, as I was so tired. Steve kept with the baby and Yolanda. I started having contractions as the placenta was getting ready to come out and I was feeling pretty uncomfortable.

Our baby hadn’t gotten better (it had been about 5 or less minutes), so Yolanda had Heidi call 911 as she continued to work on him. By the time the paramedics arrived, which was within another 5 minutes, Steven was gaining color and doing much better – praise the Lord!

Feeling pretty uncomfortable, I asked Yolanda if I could push out the placenta. She asked Heidi to get some bed pads to catch it with. I think because Yolanda wasn’t there in front of me, I was a little nervous to push out the placenta, worried that it could still be attached or something. I also had an audience as there were 5 paramedics (all men) now in our room (but really at this point I didn’t care all that much). I pushed a little with a contraction a couple times – nothing. I asked Heidi how many pushes it takes to come out. She said one for her. So I said with the next contraction I’d push like I had with Steven. And I did – out shot the placenta. Poor Heidi, she barely caught it! Ah, that felt better! The time was about 3:50am.

Two of the paramedics stayed a little longer than the other three to make sure we were alright and to have us sign a form saying they came but we didn’t need to be transferred to a hospital. They explained that there’s no charge as long as they don’t have to drive us to the hospital, for which we were grateful. The paramedics didn’t end up doing anything with Steven, as Yolanda had that under control when they arrived and continued to stimulate him until he was doing well. What a joy to hear his first cry!

Everyone left Steve and I with our new little Steven in our bed for awhile. We didn’t try to nurse him right away, as he was still working out his breathing. (Within 3 hours his lungs were perfect.) Yolanda weighed and measured him and checked out his little body, telling us all about his development. He weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces. He was 20 inches long. We named him Steven James Carr, Jr. He arrived the day after his due date (3 hours and 35 minutes to be exact). Contraction time before official labor: 43 hours. Official labor (when contractions are 5-7 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute long, until delivery of the placenta): 15 hours, 50 minutes (pushing stage: 1 hour 45 minutes).

We were exhausted and overwhelmed by God’s goodness – it was difficult to finally drift to sleep, but we did – with Steven in between us.

We’re so very grateful to our great God in heaven for making our homebirth not only possible, but a great experience as well. God is so good to us!

We’re thankful to God for linking us up with Yolanda. We loved getting to know her. Her expertise and knowledge were invaluable. If we’re still living in this area when we have our next child, Lord willing, we will have Yolanda as our midwife again.

We’re so grateful to the Lord Jesus for his provision of the presence of my mom for our birth. She was so blessed and proud, which was a huge blessing to me. She was a huge help. I also gave her a workout with the pushing!

We’re grateful to the Lord for sending Heidi to our birth – she was so encouraging and needed. She also got a workout with the pushing!

I praise God for my wonderful husband. He was amazing. He was right there by my side through the whole thing. I couldn’t have done this without him. He’s what made the experience wonderful. I love him so much more.

The next night after Steven was born, I was up feeding him and found myself pleasantly daydreaming about the next time I get to give birth. I told Yolanda about this and asked with a chuckle if I was crazy. She stated matter-of-factly that that was a sign that I had a positive, pleasant experience and that’s a good thing! I thoroughly enjoyed our homebirth experience, although it wasn’t without work and pain, it was filled with good memories and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Updates on the Carr's

We're staying in Detroit tonight, heading out tomorrow morning on a flight to MN. We're looking forward to seeing family and friends back home and to having Steven baptized on Sunday by Dad Carr.

Poor Steven has been plagued by an upset tummy and so he's not too happy. It's hard because there's not too much we can do to help him except try to get him comfy, but that only does so much. Some days are better than others as far as his tummy issues go.

He growing fast - he weighs over 9 lbs. now (was 7 lb. 5 oz. when he was born) and is filling out. He's got beautiful blue eyes and his dark hair has lightened to a dark brown. His complexion was perfect when he was born, but now he's got baby acne. He makes such funny faces with his mouth and eyes. He makes good eye contact and can hold his head up very well.

Sven has finals coming up soon after we get back from MN (semester ends at the end of this month), then he'll be taking a class for the May semester, an independent study this summer, 13 credits this fall, and 3 classes in the spring - and then he'll graduate from college and on to seminary!

I'm enjoying using the cloth diapers. Thanks to many I have a good assortment to try out. I made one diaper and look forward to making many more. Thanks to my aunt and sister who purchased us a counter top washing machine and our pastor's wife who purchased us a clothes drying rack, I'm able to wash the diapers at home and dry them on our deck (or inside when it's too cold).

Pictures!































Pictures (from top to bottom):
Steve, Steven & Crystal; Roxi (Crystal's mom), Kathy & Kevin (Sven's parent's), Crystal, Steven & Steve; Steven's first stroller ride; Steve & Steven; Steven trying out the cloth diaper I made; Steven all dressed for prayer meeting; Crystal & Steven - he really likes to nap in the sling.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Update on baby and all...

I'm working on writing up our birth story, for those of you who are interested. Of course it's a little slow in coming, since I've got a little handful right now :) Thank you for everyone's prayers for a safe labor and delivery. The birth was something I will always look back on fondly, I very much enjoyed our home birth.

We're enjoying Steven. We've had a few days of an upset tummy with him, but I think that's all working out and he's doing much better (which means we are too!) He cooes when he sleeps sometimes - too cute.

He arrived just in time for Sven's (Steve's) parent's arrival which was the Tuesday afternoon after he was born. We had a nice time with them in town. They headed back home to MN later that week on Friday.

My mom is still in town until the 12th. We've so been blessed by her company and assistance. She's visiting her brother Marc in New Baltimore today and tomorrow and then will be back at our place.

We're excited and looking forward to going back to MN from the 17th of April until the 21st. Sven's parent's have graciously arranged for our flight back so that Kevin can administer Steven's baptism. We're very excited to bring Steven to meet our families and friends back in MN and thankful that Kevin is able to baptize him.

Sorry, I'll have to get more pictures on here next time... they're on the other computer!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's A Boy!!!



Steven James Carr, Jr. was born March 24th, at 3:35 in the morning. He weighs 7lbs 5 oz and is 20" long. He was born in our home. Crystal and the baby are both doing very well. We praise God for His lovingkindness and for giving us this arrow for our quiver.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Update

Our midwife again voiced her opinion last Monday that we should expect to deliver one week late. I finally decided to believe her :) And so, we've enjoyed Steve's spring break - the weather's been beautiful! We've taken some walks outside, visited friends, read, relaxed.

My mom is planning to arrive late on Monday and stay with us for about a month. Steve's parents are heading out the following week (3/23) and staying for that week with Reverend Lanning and his wife. I can hardly wait for them all to arrive!

It's been wonderful to be able to walk more outside, instead of always inside on the treadmill (although I'm very grateful to have that option!). The fresh air is great! I hope I can keep walking outside up until the baby's born.

Steve's back to school on Monday. He's put out some applications for work this week and will follow-up with them on Monday, as well. We're so grateful to the Lord for supplying our every need.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Getting Closer...

We're getting closer to the arrival of our new little bundle of joy! Steve's spring break is next week, so we hope to deliver sometime before he starts classes again. Of course, God's timing is perfect and we will be thankful and rejoice whenever our baby is born! (It's not wrong to hope, though, and I'm hoping for his Saturday.)

Steve's been working hard this week with tests, papers and schoolwork. One more day and he'll get his earned break!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

General Updates

Thankfully our cold/flu episodes are over! That deep cough was tough, being pregnant and all.

Steve's working hard at school, with papers and tests and all. He's doing great!! He's started a men's group on Thursday mornings and has enjoyed the fellowship from that.

I've been keeping busy with making bread and baking some other goodies (and trying not to eat them!). I've been doing A LOT of reading and loving it! (Mostly about baby stuff for now.) I've enjoyed crocheting with other gals here and hope to learn how to make quilts after the baby's born.

We've both been seeing a husband/wife chiropractic team that our previous chiropractor and good friend Dr. Lezlie was able to refer us to. We're so very much appreciating them, their service and sharing of knowledge with us!

We've both been blessed and enriched by our church family, worshipping with them Sunday mornings and evenings, enjoying bible study and prayer meetings on Wednesday evenings and fellowshipping with various friends throughout the week.