Sunday, March 6, 2016

Why we planned a home birth

*There are so many options when it comes to birthing.  There is no one right choice for everyone, just the best option for each mom and baby.  I'm sharing how we came to this choice this time.  It's not up for debate here. ;)

First a little humor....


It's an overall funny about his large family, he starts the home birth part at about 1:30


We've been heading in the direction of home birthing for a while now, but this will be our first.  Our last baby (#8) was born in a detached Birth Center staffed by Midwives.  While many will choose this option feeling it is "safer" than a home birth; the reality is that these facilities are rarely equipped with anything that would not already be at a home birth.  Sometimes they are located closer to a hospital making emergency transport faster, that's about it though.  The nearest birth center to us is over an hour away ruling it out as a reasonable option anyways.

Some reasons we were leaning towards home birth.....
1)Unnecessary interventions that had nothing to do with my labor/birth process or medical history.  Just hospital policy.
2)Uncertain environment.  So much depends on the nurse you get or the on call doctors.
3)Doctors not listening to my medical/pregnancy history and "freaking out" when the situation then comes up.  Jumping to suggestions of interventions and c-sections despite my assurances that the situation would right itself; because it always had in the past and did again shortly after it came up.  Specifically...my babies turn.  They spin all the way through the last month of pregnancy and even overdue.  Every single one has gone back to vertex for birth on their own, but none of my doctors listen to that.  My midwives do and have a much more relaxed attitude about this knowing there is nothing we can do until "birthday."
4)Our family dynamics.  Hospitals do not lend themselves well to a bunch of kids being around before, during or after a birth.   The birth center was so much better, but still not what we (or our children) were wanting.
5)My own pregnancy/labor/delivery and medical history makes me an excellent candidate for a home birth.  *If this was not the case it would have overruled all of the other reasons to home birth and we would go to a hospital.
6)This one really didn't come into play, but is a perk....given the time of year; planning to be home just feels good.  Snow storms, influenza outbreaks and such are not a concern knowing I'll be staying home.

This time the choice (in some ways) was made for us.  Once we looked at our options realistically in terms of what we needed and what our insurance would cover it was clear what our choice would be.  My husband is in the military.  We're thankful for the medical coverage we have, but in this instance it would not work for us.  For oh so many reasons the Army Hospital* in our area was not an option for us (distance, reputation, and policies are some of the reasons).  Civilian doctors and hospitals were not really an option unless we found ourselves in an emergency situation during labor; in that case they would be covered and would be able to provide much better (in our opinion) and faster care than the military facility.  *Last time we were stationed in this area we also did not see this hospital as a good option.  At that time we had other options that we were able to use, and ended up with a civilian doctor at a civilian hospital.

This left Home Birth which we'd been leaning towards anyways.  We paid out of pocket for it since it is not covered by our insurance.  Only my lab work was covered for this pregnancy.  While having to pay for it on our own is an added strain it greatly relieves other strains and concerns.  I know we're not alone in making this choice and many others go through much more financial hardship in order to make this happen.
My oldest daughter delivering her baby sister with the help of our midwife.

I love that my midwife takes her time at my appointments; each one has been about an hour long.  She is much more detailed in her questions about my pregnancy and over-all health.  She does more testing too.  Nothing big, but she is certainly much more aware of my over-all health than most of my doctors ever have been.  With the longer appointments we're able to get to know each other better.  I trust her more than I've trusted most of my doctors, and I'll feel much more comfortable with her at the birth.  This is much more of a partnership.  We're in this together to get the best outcome for both me and the baby.  An added bonus?  Her husband is retired military in a similar career field as my husband.  We share some similar experiences in that aspect as well.  She understands our life in a way that many midwives could not.  Finding the right midwife can make a huge difference. :) 

Friday, February 12, 2016

February Stitch Fix

This was my 4th box from Stitch Fix, and it's my favorite one yet!  I was very intentional about scheduling this fix.  In my "notes" to the stylist I let her know that I wanted clothes that would be great for right after the birth and be nursing friendly.  I wanted items that would help hide my postpartum belly and look "springy" while still warm enough for our cold Colorado weather.  As soon as I opened the box I could tell that she'd listened to me and I was so excited to start trying on clothes!

None of the items are a great fit right now.  They are all intended for after the birth.  I'm pleased that I was able to try them all on and get a good idea for their potential fit. ;)   The first outfit I tried on was not my favorite, but I did still like the items.  The skirt felt so nice on both for the fit and fabric quality; I was sad that the print/color combo were just not quite "me."  I really liked the feel of the grey criss cross top that was chosen for me because it would be nursing friendly.  I wasn't sure if it would help in hiding my belly.  Obviously it's good at showing it off right now. :)

The pink top and cardigan were in colors and styles I'd requested.  The top will be great for spring and summer while the cardigan will keep me warmer while we're still in the cooler temps.  The cardigan will also be great pared with the top for nursing as it will help provide a bit of extra cover and privacy.  Right now I can just get the top over my belly, so I can't wear it, but I know I'm going to love being able to wear it right after baby is born.  It's always nice to have something pretty to wear right away.

This one is my favorite.  I'd requested more of a "romantic" look and this is what was sent to fill that request.  The top is in colors I'd requested and while the cut does accomedate my belly now it'll be perfect all through the spring and summer for hiding my mamma tummy and nursing the baby (while not looking like I'm wearing a maternity top).  I also love that the stylist pointed out that the tops she picked would look good with the pants I'd kept from my last fix.  I'd have figured it out eventually, but I appreciated the thoughtfulness.

I ended up keeping all 5 pieces.  I normally would not have, but I knew I was going to keep the 3 I loved.  The grey top was questionable and at first I'd decided to send it back.   Over the next few hours I keep thinking about it though and pulling it out.  There is a 25% discount for keeping all 5 items, plus I had credits making it cheaper to keep all 5 once I decided to keep the 4th item.  I'm thankful for a husband that is so sweet and encouraged me to keep them all.

Now they are all hanging in my closet waiting to be worn.  Ah, more practice in patience.  You know, 'cause waiting for baby to arrive is not practice enough.

***If you are interested in giving stitch fix a go I'd love it if you'd use my link.  I get credit when your first fix ships.  A big reason I was able to treat myself this time was because some sweet friends have been enjoying Stitch Fix through my link.  A BIG Thank You goes out to them from me. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Nursery; with toddler bunk beds

You know in Peter Pan when the kids are talking about it being Wendy's last night in the nursery?  I never really understood why kids (not babies) were in the nursery.  Now I do.  We've always just had a boys' room and girls' room (and mom & dad's room), but that's not working anymore and we have some more flexibility in this house.  We've been setting up an nursery for kids 7 (at least) and under.

We started by converting 2 toddler size beds into a set of toddler size bunk beds.  Our 6 year old and 4 year old will be sleeping in these.  We used the two headboards for the bottom bunk and the two foot boards for the top.  The beds are well secured together with pegs and brackets.  ***Use extreme caution in attempting this.  This is not a method/use recommended by the manufacturer.  My husband is an experienced builder and had to alter the construction of the beds***

The nursery is close to mommy and daddy's room.  It is also near our main living area.  We were struggling with littles not cleaning up their messes, having a hard time finding their clothing, or getting into older siblings things.  This way we will be better able to supervise and help these little ones.

We think this will also give them a nice play space that they can have more freedom in.  We will not have to be quite as concerned about curious/mischievous little hands.  *Some toys will be stored out of the way in the closet, others will be out to play with.  We limit what our children have available to them and rotate the toys regularly.  We find them to be more content with what they have when we do this.

Once baby arrives we will be storing 4 children's clothes in this room.  Baby will likely sleep in our room for several months.  We will put a small crib or playpen in here when it is time for baby to join the others. *We're just using the shelves in the closet  and hanging many of the girls things for their clothes right now.  We're holding off on buying a dresser to (1)save for it (2)see if it is really necessary since it would be nice not to have one in there.

The biggest goal here was protecting some sweet relationships.  We could see that some kids were being provoked to wrath either through siblings or the situations we had put them in.  This was something that could be changed, and so we needed to do that.  It has been working out very well for everyone.

I thought I'd share the costs of doing this with you especially since this was a budget project.
Crib mattress- $57 we only needed one since we already had a spare

Toddler bed- $79x2 on Amazon  *while we would normally look for these on Craigslist we bought these new because they had to be the exact same bed to work for our purposes.

The pink toddler bed (with mattress) was purchased quite a while ago by finding it on Craigslist.  It was new, the child that originally owned it never slept in it.  I think it cost $55

*This had been the girls' room.  Our two older girls moved downstairs to a room we had left empty to allow for some growth.  That growth happened sooner than we thought it would. :) 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pantry Challenge week 3

Whew!  I'm slow putting this post together, it was quite a week-end.  I'm so thankful for the retreat I was able to go on (and that I got to take my oldest daughter), and the big work day my family and I tackled on Monday; it all left me tired though.  Our pantry challenge is going well, but between the whole "end of pregnancy" thing and some very busy days I'm getting tired of it. :)  I'm seeing my goals accomplished though, so I'm inspired to keep going.

My poorly functioning pregnancy brain did not track expenses this week.  I didn't purchase much; bananas, pineapple, eggs,  and chocolate coconut (dairy free) ice cream...you know basic life essentials.  I also purchased several items for next month.  These were almost all convenience/specialty items related to the upcoming birth.

Ok, the menu for this week

Breakfast
Baked Oatmeal with fruit (random kinds found in the freezer)
Dutch babies
instant oatmeal

Lunch
Packed lunch 'o junk- my kids couldn't believe their eyes when they saw me packing this.  Caprisun (left over from our move), fruit cups (left over from camping), random crackers and nuts.

Baked potatoes
dinner left overs
Random stuff from the "Pantry Challenge" bag- we will finish this off this week!

Dinner
Chicken, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce- the last of the chickens we processed this year and          Thanksgiving/Christmas pantry left overs
Pineapple curry Chicken
Split pea soup
Tacos- the kids were so excited to hear that I found some extra taco meat in the back of the freezer!
Shredded Pork

This week-end and in the coming week we will start some bulk cooking.  My freezer is nicely cleaned out and ready to be filled with meals to get us through the first month or so after baby arrives.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pantry Challenge week 2

Week 2 is not looking so much like a pantry challenge when it comes to dinners.  There were some great items hidden in the freezer and then we have a birthday.  We make a big deal out of meals for the birthday child; this child chose German food.  I don't keep those things in the pantry. :)

I spent more this week (last week I spent $0).  I placed an Azure (co-op) order; this can only be done once a month and I needed to order our coconut milk, raw cashews (which didn't ship), and pregnancy tea.  Total was $39.  I also ordered raw local honey; this is a group order that only happens once every couple/few months so I have to take advantage of it when it happens $33.

I had to go to Costco to pick up some items for a friend's dinner (she'd had surgery) and I picked up a couple of staples there for us too.  Onions (making it easier to make some flavorful meals), salad, eggs, string cheese (the toddler's favorite snack. This is not an exercise in torture; the whole family will be thankful she has it), GF pizza (because we have regular pizza in the freezer and I'm gonna be gone Friday night leaving Daddy and most kids to cook).  I think the total for our part was about $45.

I needed to go to the commissary to pick up pork chops for making schnitzel for the birthday dinner.  While there I picked up bananas and pears as well as some Larabars for me to snack on.  I'm starting to gather some baby items, so I picked up Newborn diapers and some wipes.  My total was $32

So, what's actually on the menu for the week?

Breakfast
Baked Oatmeal using frozen fruit from the freezer
Waffles (wheat free) and sausage- this is the birthday breakfast
Instant Oatmeal since we still have a surplus
Dutch babies/German pancakes (wheat and dairy free)
Banana Pancakes

Lunch
Dried fruit and nuts, crackers, nutella/PB, carrots, string cheese (this is a packed lunch)
PB&J sandwiches, carrots- this is the requested birthday lunch
Baked Potatoes
Left over stew

Dinner
Pot Roast- roast was hanging out in the back of the freezer
Schnitzel and spaetzle w/gravy, salad and cookies- this is the birthday dinner
coconut soup
frozen pizza- I'll be at a retreat with my oldest, dinner needs to be EASY that night

I don't have every meal for this week planned yet.  If we end up with a bunch of leftovers I'll want to use those up instead of cooking whole meals.

From Last Week's plans we had some great success with the Teriyaki Salmon and rice; this was made from canned salmon and I really thought most of my family would turn their noses up at it.  Instead there were requests for seconds and everyone finished theirs.  The oxtail stew smelled great as it cooked all day and was a wonderful comfort meal on our cold day.  That one was also a great success.

What about you?  How's your pantry challenge going?  What have you had to purchase?  What successes have you had?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Banana Pancakes- grain free/paleo

When I mentioned making Banana Pancakes last week in my Pantry Challenge post several people asked about it on Facebook, so I thought I'd post the recipe here.  It's surprisingly simple and it's been my family's favorite grain free pancake.  I have my awesome sister-in-law to thank for introducing this recipe to my family.  I love her.

1 banana (mashed) to 2 eggs.  Add cinnamon if desired.  Mix together.  Cook on griddle (don't forget to flip!).  Serve with butter and syrup (kids like maple, I like a fruit/berry syrup).

Yes.  It's that easy.

Yes.  All of those frozen bananas you have in your freezer are perfect for this.

For my crew we generally use 5 bananas and 10 eggs; I think I'll need to increase that though.  We often serve sausage, fruit or hash browns with these.  It depends on what we have available, how hungry I think the kids will be, and the day we have ahead of us.

*My kids usually make these.  Usually my 15 year old daughter, but sometimes my 12 year old son.  My 8 year old is able to contribute a significant amount of effort to the making of these as well.   This is a great recipe for getting the kids involved with.  Just exercise wisdom and caution in choosing to have kids work with (or not) a hot griddle.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pantry challenge week 1

On Saturday I went through our pantry and cleaned it out.  I pulled out anything that had been there for a while, had been purchased for a specific recipe (and then not used), open packages, near the expiration date, or just something I didn't think we'd get to unless given a good push.
Much of this accumulated during "morning" sickness and the holidays.  We've only been in this house for about 6 months, so I didn't find anything too surprising or old....this time.

The freezer contained a bunch of open bags of frozen fruit and veggies, a roast, a couple of bags of frozen soup, boxes of Trader Joes pastries....random stuff like the pantry stash.

I made up a rough meal plan for the next week or so.  I'll have to go to the store next week for a certain birthday girl's meal requests, but that's it.  No $$$ being spent this week on food!

Here's the general plan for this week, along with using the fresh fruits and veggies we already had hin the house.

Breakfast
1)Finish off all of the open cereal and granola I found in the pantry.
2)Use up some of the instant oatmeal packets we have too much of...they are generally reserved for hubby's breakfast, but I bought too many when they were on sale.
3)TJ's pastries one morning
4)Banana pancakes- these are just made using frozen bananas and eggs (we generally add cinnamon too).

Lunch
1)Baked potatoes/sweet potatoes
2)crackers, PB, cheese, salami, veggies, fruit
3)spiced cider, quick breads, veggies etc

Dinner- I didn't need to get very creative here since we had some meals in the freezer that needed to be used.
1)Left overs from a large Ham dinner that we made on Sunday.  This will end up being a couple of meals for us this week.
2)Tuscan soup
3)Teriyaki salmon, veggies, and rice
4)Oxtail stew- We recently bought 1/2 a cow.  I'm using the Oxtail now knowing that its a part we normally would not use.  We shall see....

Next week I'll likely get more creative, if my pregnant brain can manage that.  Having all of the "extras" that I want to use collected in one place and out for others to see means that some of the kids have been contributing their own ideas and are finding things they are looking forward to eating.

What about you?  How's your menu looking?  In what ways are you getting creative?  Do share!