Photos of a Homebirth

21 01 2012

Here I am, 5 months along. I’m smiling because I no longer have morning sickness.


6.5 months pregnant.

8 months, looking forward to my upcoming delivery.

Dear Baby, we are due to meet next week. I can’t wait to meet you.


One day before Bean is born, 2 days into contractions, I just wish it would get over with already.


9:54 pm.


10:36 pm


10:39 pm. Mr. Ewe was amazing. He chanted with me through contractions for hours!


11:55 pm. Triumph! She was born into my own hands while Mr. Ewe and two midwives assisted me.


New mama.


New papa.


She never cried. Not once. She just looked around the room a lot.


The end.


40 weeks already!

15 10 2011

Just a quick update:

Still pregnant here. My due date is tomorrow, and it looks like we’ll be going over. My first was a day early, but I really think that was from the stress of having my MiL and GMiL fly in from across the country for the baby’s birth. I am so chill and relaxed now, I think there is a really good chance I’ll be going over. And to be honest, as anxious as I am to meet this little crotchfruit, I will miss being pregnant when I am tired and have sore nipples.

I’m passing my time cooking, cleaning and knitting. I even took on a big knitting project thinking it would get things going, but no luck. I’ve been having prodromal labor now for weeks, so any time my contractions start to get closer together or more intense I think to myself “Is this it?” But I’ve learned to not say anything anymore until I’m sure it really is. Mr. Ewe is in school full time and if I think Im in labor, he wants to stay home from class, and he doesn’t need to fall behind.

8 months pregnant!

3 09 2011

We have a rather unusual living situation here. Picture a large 1940-s farmhouse set on 8 acres, partially wooded. In the back we have the orchard with a trail leading down to the tree line, which houses a small (polluted) creek and pond. In the house, we have 6 bedrooms, which house Mr. Ewe and I, our “landlord” “T”, a world-travelling aquaponics system builder, “M”, and then my closest friend “C” and her partner, “P”.

My midwife is 30 minutes away, and has a lovely birthing suite that I used almost exactly 9 years ago. We have had several house meetings with our roommates to make sure they were comfortable with my need to have a homebirth. Lucky for us, everyone is on board. T will probably shut himself up in his room (we don’t see him for days at a time anyhow), M will be out of town, C will be my and Mr. Ewe’s labor assistant, and “P” will be doing an imitation of “T”, but in his own bedroom. I probably won’t call the midwife until the last minute as I really just want her here if something goes bad and to sign off on the birth.

I am planning on letting C and P know when I go into labor because they are going to start making homemade chicken noodle soup (with homemade noodles!) for our first post-baby meal. Mr. Ewe is in charge of getting the fire nice and hot, putting stones into the crock pot for hot stone massage, and making my placenta smoothie as MY first post-baby meal (we’ve been collecting wild fruit all summer just for this smoothie).

I plan on walking around outside a lot, visiting with the goats a little, sitting on my birth ball, and possible ending up in the bathtub if I feel called to do so. We decided on not getting a birth tub just because I remember from last time I coped better with pacing than with water.

I am so excited for our newest housemate to arrive next month. I’ve been having some spotting and somewhat regular “contractions” for a couple weeks now, so the house has all but put me on bedrest, as no one is ready for the baby to come yet. I’ll be letting the midwife know at next week’s appointment what’s going on in case I really do need to be on bedrest. It’s nice having so many people around us that are just as excited and nervous for the baby as Mr. Ewe and I are. It’s also nice being put on light-duty and house rest and knowing that the chores will still get done.

I think right now, some of the things I am most excited about are eating some placenta to see how that helps with PPD, and getting breastfeeding right this time. I really am looking forward to having a breastfeeding relationship with my child that doesn’t hurt me and frustrate both of us.


The last few weeks have been so busy here! We have been working like mad to get our newest housemates moved in, get the house ready for fall/winter, get the animals ready for fall/winter, plus I have had an insane urge to nest.

For starters, when C and P arrived, we (everyone else but me, really) had to empty out our basement. This house has been a rental for a large number of years, and has accumulated a lot of left behind, unwanted junk as people have moved on. As these things piled up, storage space got smaller and smaller for the people still living here. It finally came to a head when we realized that we had new tenants: rats. The cats had done what they could, but the rats had too many hiding places and ways in/out that the cats couldn’t get to. The rats had to go. And going they are. As stuff gets removed to the driveway for sorting we are finding nests, entries and cat toys (dead rats) all over the place.

Seeing everyone else cleaning the basement led me to clean out my bedroom. It is on the NE corner of the house, and is therefore quite dark most of the year… especially in winter. The previous user of this space had painted it this godawful pastel puke mint green color with brown trim. I couldn’t take living in a pastel mint green room anymore. So C and I broke out the paint I had brought with me from my old apartment and re-did my walls. Now they are a rich deep purple and egg-yolk orange. I had Mr. Ewe hang a bunch of shelves after the paint cured, and got all of my stuff out of my dresser and onto shelving. I also got everything I have for Bean so far on shelves. In one corner right next to my side of the bed, I set up a nice Ikea chair I got from the thrift store a year ago. The chair is right next to a window and underneath Bean’s shelves. It’s my new nursing corner for when I want to get out of bed, but don’t want to leave the bedroom. I absolutely love my “new” bedroom!

We still need one more wall’s worth of shelves for Mr. Ewe so we can sell his dresser, and one wall of book cases so we can unpack the last of our boxes. The last thing I want to do to my room is to hang fabric on the ceiling to muffle sound. We are directly beneath M’s room, and when she is home, I don’t want to interrupt her sleep with a crying baby, if possible.

And the last thing I really want to get done before Bean comes (besides about 10,000 sewing and knitting projects) is to get the animals ready for winter. We need some sort of a mobile pen for them to go in during the day for rotational grazing, the goat pen itself needs to be expanded about 75%, and we need a more permanent and stable barn for the animals to sleep in. Right now they are in a lean-to type shack, and the “barn” is really just some 4×4’s sticking up from the ground. Yesterday we got the pen bedded with 8 cubic yards of fir mulch that we had delivered for free. I think the plan is to deep bed the barn and pen through the winter, and then clean it out to the garden in the spring as compost.

I will have pictures hopefully soon, as soon as I figure out which box my camera ended up in when I cleaned out my room to paint.

Knitting, Sewing, Cooking, Farming

11 08 2011


So we are at 30 weeks 4 days here in the pregnancy. My body is finally forcing me to slow down, and mentally, I’m ready for it.

I still have daily farm chores like caring for the goats and chickens, and playing with the kittens.

I’ve started cutting back on milking, much to the goats chagrin. They have been unhappy about the upset in their routine, namely having to deal with overfull udders while their bodies adjust, and less grain because I believe that ruminants should be grass fed, not grain fed.

Seriously. The only goats that GET grain are the milkers, and then it is just a little bit to keep them from kicking the milk bucket over. I get less milk than their grain fed relatives, but the milk tastes so much sweeter, it is worth it.

I’ve started keeping a journal of my goat thoughts while I’m out in the field with them. Someday I want to turn it into a book.

On the domestic front, things have been gearing up for a busy end of the month and an even busier September. My roommate got our “new” freezer wired up so I can start cooking ahead and freezing meals for this winter, and it gives me somewhere to put all of our extra milk. I’m actually considering roping my roommates into ramping the girls up on a twice a day milking schedule for a couple of weeks so we can freeze a bunch, AND THEN drying them off. We only have two milkers that give anything, so it wouldn’t be too hard. Schedule and energy wise, I only have it in me to milk once a day at the most right now. I just know that in the middle of winter, I am going to be craving that sweet white gold for hot cereal, fresh milk bread, chowders and all sorts of other things.

I’ve been knitting like a fiend in my “down” time. So far, in the last couple of months, I’ve made:

two pairs of long wool soaker pants two pairs of newborn sized soakers. All the soakers are from the Sheepy Pants pattern

 4 bibs from Mason Dixon Knitting, Baby Bib O’Love 2 sock monkeys for my nieces, the pattern is Jerry the Musical Monkeyworking on a Horai Scarf for Mr.  2 bibs as a gift, working on a Miralda Lace Shawl turned blanket for Bean. The blanket is two triangular shawls knit in the round. The final shape SHOULD be a square, or square-ish. and a mystery Knitalong shawl by WestKnits for my midwife.  I also got out the sewing machine and made 8 diapers, and 2 skirts for myself (only one of which still fits). Funnily enough, the one skirt I can take a picture of is the one that doesn’t fit anymore. The other one is in the wash. The skirt and apron patterns are by Amy Butler, and conveniently enough came in the same package.I have cut out and ready to go 8 more diapers, about 20 pairs of nursing pads. The fabric is to make the nursing pads extra thick and absorbant, and also because I made the orange ones too small.  2 aprons  2 receiving blankets  (Mr. picked out the fabric this time!) and ring slings for Mr. and I.

I’ve been putting off sewing lately, not because I hate sewing, but because sunny days have been so rare here this year that I only want to sew when it is raining. So my sewing projects are stacking up, but I’m not too worried about it. I have most things ready to go, and a good week’s worth of rainy days should get most of what I have to do, done.

As for knitting project I still have to get done, I still need some newborn sized hats for Bean, a couple kimono or wrap type tops for the winter for Bean, 3 more pairs of soakers sized small, socks and legwarmers for Bean, I would LOVE to finish my knit blanket before Bean arrives, as well as Mr.’s scarf, I have an Adult Surprise Jacket I’m making for myself that I started LAST summer  and if I could squeeze in a pair of hand knit wool socks for myself I would be the happiest person alive. Finally, I have one project that won’t be done until Bean’s first birthday, the Beekeeper’s Quilt. I love this project so hard. I’ve always wanted to make a quilt, but don’t want to sew one. When I found a knitted version, I jumped on the bandwagon immediately! It is primarily going to be made with leftover yarn bits and whatever I can find in fingering weight on clearance from the yarn store. As you can see, I have 6 puffs done, and need about 394 more. One thing I changed about the pattern is that I am weaving in the ends to the middle of the puff, and then threading them in from front to back several times before tying them off. This will give a small dimple in the middle of each puff so the batting inside shifts around less with use.

And a couple of weeks ago I hung up my project board where I keep track of my WIPs I cleaned out and re-organized my yarn stash according to fiber content and yarn weight. I have baskets for all my WIPs, and 3 milk crates for my yarns. The bins go: wool, worsted weight or heavier  lace and fingering weight  and non-wool fibers (novelty, cotton, hemp, nettle, etc.) 

So as to why I am spending all of my time making this stuff. Well, Mr. and I have been financially… insufficient for most of this year. With a baby on the way most new parents want only the best for their little ones, and we are no different. It seems that I have spent the last few years accumulating crafting stuff (fabric, thread, buttons, yarn) so that I had all the supplies I needed to make a gagillion cute things for little Bean. I have bought very few things this year to complete any of these projects. Sure, I’ve picked up the occasional ball of yarn on clearance here and there, but that’s about it. Almost of this stuff I already had, sitting in boxes, getting moved from apartment to storage to apartment to storage and back again. I am just glad that I finally have a use for it. It means less stuff to store and move, and nice things for the baby, Mr. and me. Besides, if I didn’t craft, I would go crazy.

Maybe some day I will turn these skills into some sort of money-making venture for us, but for now, I am just enjoying creating and growing.

My Baby is Not Pink or Blue

28 06 2011

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news for my, uh, 24? nope 25 week update. But I have to get this off my gradually enlarging bosom. See, there has been a lot of talk in blogs and the news about gender lately, and I have noticed it myself as well, although to a lesser extent.

It all started when I decided to not have any ultrasounds unless my midwife deemed them necessary.  I had one ultrasound with my previous pregnancy, and it was fun knowing in advance what sex my child would be. I only had half as many names to sort through (although I didn’t pick one until the midwife was filling out the birth certificate). I only had one color that came in for the baby’s stuff: pink. Lots and lots and LOTS of pink. In fact, as soon as I knew I was having a girl, I went and bought some pink socks and onesies that were so adorable.

But that was 10 years ago, and a lot has changed since then for me. My perceptions of what I find acceptable and safe and reasonable have changed quite a bit. Now I am not as quick to jump on the ultrasound bandwagon. Babies develop in the relative comfort and privacy of their mother’s womb. Sure, sounds get through, and I am sure that Bean can notice the difference between a hoodie pulled down over my belly or the sun shining directly on my skin. A fetus will shy away from painful, invasive procedures and things like ice packs placed on the belly. I know Bean reacts to his father’s voice in the morning, and he loves it when I play music on my belly. Bean really likes anything with a cello, and Manu Chao seems to get her really active.

So what does this have to do with having an ultrasound? It seems relatively harmless. Everyone is doing it these days. But how much do we really know about this technology as expecting parents? How well do you know your ultrasound technician? How well do they know their equipment? How well is that equipment calibrated? There are so many variables that come just with the machine and the technician’s competency, not to mention the fact that we are looking at a 2D image of a 3D inner world. Mistakes get made all the time. Mothers get diagnosed with “low levels of amniotic fluid”, babies get diagnosed with abnormalities that cause stress to the expecting parents, only to find out later that nothing was wrong. Babies can also get mis-diagnosed as too small or too large for their gestational age. This can cause panic at the least, or and induction and possibly a cesarean at the worst.

These are all things I took into account when I decided I did not want to have an ultrasound done prenatally. In fact, I feel so strongly about it that I don’t even want my midwife to use a doppler to check for heart rate anymore, Iwould prefer if she used a good, old-fashioned stethoscope.

Yes, I am still excited to meet my growing baby. No, seeing a blurry image of her skeleton in advance is not going to change how I feel. But if I am eating right, exercising, taking vitamins and horrible tasting fish oil so the he can develop right, why would I put Bean and I at risk for a glimpse that won’t matter in the long run, or could change everything?

So here is the truly amazing thing about MY choice to avoid external, electronic monitoring of the inside of MY womb and MY growing baby. My choice to not have an ultrasound has an effect on other people for some reason. I have actually had people reply, incredulously, “How will I know what color to buy, and what names to pick out?” “Excuse me? What do you mean ‘What colors to buy?'” “Well, pink or blue…” they say, sort of trailing off.

I am here to tell you my baby is not assigned pink or blue based on what sex it it. There are a whole rainbow of colors and people out there, and just because my baby has a vagina or a penis does not automatically mean it is limited to one of two colors. Bean will wear every color of the rainbow, and maybe even some made up ones. Bean will have access to a full range of colors, people, and anything else I can expose her to. He can make up his mind if he like pink, magenta, purple, black, blue, green or yellow best. I know that I have a vagina, yet my favorite color is blue. My skin is pinkish, isn’t that enough pink?

I suppose this won’t be the last time that the choices I make for my family are judged by others. But I get the feeling that when people are judging the choices I make, they are really basing their judgments on the choices they have had to make for themselves and their family.

Pregnancy: Is It Factor V or Factor II?

26 05 2011

So at my last appointment with my midwife, I found out that I may or may not have Factor V Leiden Clotting Disorder, but that I do indeed have Factor II Leiden Clotting Disorder.

My midwife drew a bunch more blood at my last appointment on the 18th to send in and find out if I have both Factor V and Factor II. If I do, it immediately puts me into the high risk category and I will have to find a midwife with hospital privileges because I will have to give birth in the hospital.

I can’t even begin to tell you all how upsetting this information was. I was so close to crying in her office when she told me that. I won’t know the results for at least another week, but I will post here when I do, along with our proposed plan of action.

I don’t want to give birth in a hospital. This is so distressing. I hate hospitals with a bloody passion. Yes, I worked in one for several years, hence my loathing for them. I think hospitals are places for SICK people to go to, NOT a place to give birth in. I don’t want IVs, strangers coming in and out of my room at all hours, mean nurses, rude OBs, constantly being pressured to take an epidural, not move, not eat, too many guests (I doubt we’ll have that problem), pressure to birth faster, being told my baby is experiencing fetal distress because I am stressed.

I want to birth in peace and quiet, with loving support there for me when I need it, and to be left alone when I need it. We are very, very broke. I can’t afford to hire a doula, which I feel is critical to have during a hospital assisted birth. I can’t afford to take birthing classes, which aren’t NECESSARY, but sure are enjoyable.

I hope everything is going to be all right. Ultimately I want Bean to make it to this side healthy, but I feel a hospital birth is a possible obstacle in that process. I hope that all this goat wrangling keeps me strong and healthy, and that I have a fast, uncomplicated labor and delivery.

Week 20 and All is Well

23 05 2011

So today marks week 20 in this here pregnancy. I’ve been super busy with all this goat business: trying to get them settled in, find a new daily routine that works for everyone, what to do with over a gallon of raw milk a day, learning new cheese recipes, working on setting up a micro-farm business plan, feeding the goats, milking the goats, cleaning up after the goats, plus all my normal household duties.

With all this going on, sometimes I actually forget that I am in fact pregnant! It is getting harder and harder to miss though. Bean is getting bigger by the day (as am I!). Even with all the morning sickness I had in the first trimester, I have still managed to gain close to 20 pounds, and I have never felt sexier. I love my pregnant body, it just feels so good and natural and comfotable to me. I wish I could be 5 months pregnant forever. Much smaller and there is that whole morning sickness thing, and as I get larger I am going to slow down and start getting achy. Right now I am still small enough to be able to cope with daily life on a brand-new farm.

Bean is getting more active, or at least big enough for me to feel all the rockin’ and rollin’ going on in there. All of my clothes are getting tight and I have to figure out how to dress my new self without any kind of a clothing budget. I think this week I’ll be breaking out the sewing machine to sew up some tie/wrap skirts and some reversible aprons.

It’s hard to to come to terms with the idea that I am going to have a very demanding human on my hands 24/7 in just a few short months, but I know that when the time comes my network of friends and loved-ones will be there to help me. Even if it is just helping with the goats so I can get a little rest after being up all night…

Some interesting things I’ve noticed.

  • When I had my first child, I got mastitis in my right breast due I think to a tight underwire that blocked/plugged a milk duct. Now that same breast has already started leaking throughout the day.
  • Bean likes to snuggle down at the bottom of my uterus. All the pressure/movement/activity I feel is down at the bottom.
  • I can eat and eat and eat, and I am going to really miss that as my uterus takes over the space my stomach uses to expand into after a large meal.
  • All this fresh goats milk in my diet has changed my skin completely. It has never been so soft and silky before.

I guess all this adds up to a lot of hard work. But I can honestly tell you I have never been so happy while being exhausted at the same time. Life really is good.

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