Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Carr Update #29

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.

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.

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'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.)

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.

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'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!

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!

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


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.