Top 5 favorite books for boys ages 2 to 5

Top 5 favorite books for boys ages 2 to 5

Part of our nightly routine is reading our three sons stories before we tuck them in their beds, kiss them, and turn off the lights. I have loved reading different stories to them over the past few years. We all had those stories or movies that are our go to for feeling good. It is comforting knowing how the story will end and still exciting to relive the adventure every time we experience it. Here is a list of just that, five stories my sons have wanted to relive over and over for months on end.

1. LIONHEART by Richard Collinridge

Follow the story of Richard, a little boy, in the whimsical fairy tale of running from monsters and overcoming his fear of monsters and the dark with the help of his stuffed animal Lionheart.

Why you and your sons will love it: Enchanting and captivating as Richard runs through a magical forest and plays with animals while being chased by his fears and monsters. In the end, he realizes the strength he has in his own heart and is able to overcome the fear once and for all.

2. Storybook Knight by Helen Doherty

Follow this tale of one of the bravest mouse knights you will ever read about. He uses his whits to overcome and enchant different mythical monsters he meets on a journey to face a dragon.

Why you and your sons will love it: the captivating illustrations enchant you as you go on an adventure to face a dragon and along the way you learn the power of books. As well as learning that to overcome the worst of things, sometimes you need to think outside the box and show everyone a different way of doing things. That you don’t have to conform to everyone’s views but be yourself and that will be enough.

3. Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

A funny little tale about a gloomy fish whom no one understands and everyone thinks should just be happy. He declares thoroughly that he cannot change because that’s just who he is only to be proven wrong by the act of one special fish in the end.

Why you and your sons will love it: Little boys live funny sounds and this one has them in it. Making funny faces and sounds as you travel through the story, you and your sons are sure to be giggling by the end of it.

4. Roadwork by Sally Sutton

A book about the ins and outs of constructing a road. This one is a fast read with funny rhyming words that boys everywhere will love. See how they ping bang and tap everything into place.

Why you and your sons will love it: If your sons love cars, he will love this book and seeing how roads are paved. Every time I read this, I ended up making it into more of a song because of how well the rhythms and songs move together. The boys love to read it again and again.

5. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Find out what happens in this fun little story about a rusty blue truck making its way through the country side. He enjoys the views and the animals only to be passed up by a big important truck.

Why you and your boys will love it: A car and animal book, your sons will love the sounds he hears through out the book and you’ll love the helping hand lesson he learns from this one. What better way to learn to stop and say hey to all the people you meet along the way? You never know when you will need just that friend to lend a hand!

Other books my sons and I really enjoy are:

Boys List

What are some of your favorites?

Free Digital Download

I wanted to share something with you today. A free fashion illustration for your personal use. I hope you like it and enjoy!

You matter. You are essential because no one can fill the place you have in this world. You affect people whether you realize it, with love or hate. So let’s share love, spread kindness, and right wrongs.

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During this stay in, I wanted to share with you some free fashion illustration coloring pages.
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What it’s like to not go into labor

A pregnancy that began unexpectedly continued in that vein all the way through labor and delivery. Everything that I thought would be was the opposite. That’s how Rowan entered the world.

When I took the pregnancy test, I didnt expect the positive. I was only testing because I had one and knew my period would be soon. When those two pink lines appeared I was surprised but not upset. Those feelings would come later.

Over the next few months, I went through a plethora of emotions. Especially after finding out it was our third boy. I had a difficult time adjust to that and dealing with the disappointment of not getting a girl and how was I going to deal with three crazy little boys.

The first trimester, I barely got off the couch because of how tired I felt. It wasnt easy dealing with the older boys and being exhausted. My patience didnt last long and momma guilt became a constant companion. Was I doing too little? How could I handle more? The boys seemed to take my mood and multiply it with their own 10x over. Days were not always bad, but bad days were really bad.

Somewhere along the way, I entered the second trimester and the tiredness ceased but then the itching began. At first, it seemed just normal dry skin itch that would be soothed with lotion. Then, as weeks carried on, the itch became unsatisfiable. Lotion or not, I was itching. I itched where my clothes touched. I developed a rash on my armpits, similar to one I had with Gabriel, as well as other similar symptoms.

Finally, around 34 weeks, we decided to test for ICP . We took blood for liver enzymes and blood for my bile acids. The liver enzyme test gets results back in a day, the bile acids can take up to 5 days. So the next day, I knew my liver was elevated and we quickly suspected that the bile acid results would come back positive for ICP.

My world was reeling. The labor and delivery with Gabe was one of the hardest things. I didnt go into labor on my own, but had to induce with castor oil and the kitchen sink. It lasted 19 hours, and I was transferred to the hospital from the birth center.

Here I was in an unexpected pregnancy with a boy again about to travel a very hard road I didnt want to go. After all that happened with Gabe, I had done a ton of research about ICP and knew the best course of action was getting the rx to keep bile acids down and deliver in my 37th week to prevent the risk of still birth.

I was scared, I was depressed, and I was hopeless. The whole next week I lived in a dark place thinking the worst and that there was no hope that the labor would be easy and that I wouldnt end up in a lot of pain and possibly at the hospital. The midwife and I discussed what the bile level results would mean and came up with a course of action. Thankfully, she said it depends on how high they are that we would induce at 37 because of it being a white boy and them having a harder time adjusting to life outside the womb, we wanted to keep him as safe as possible but in the womb as long as possible.

A week came and went, and my bile levels came back… normal! They were a 4 and anything above a 10 was ICP. Even with this sigh of relief and little hope, there was still a high chance of it turning into ICP as the weeks went on.  Our plan was to try to get him out by week 39.

So as soon as I hit 37, I started taking labor prepping pills in an attempt to induce. Things that tone the uterus, things that help ripen the cervix, pumping,  etc. Anything that would help bring labor on as early as possible.

My emotions often tended toward depression in this time. It was difficult to see hope or that it would end up anywhere but in the hospital. I would try to cling to God praying that every day was the day I would go into labor and meet this baby boy. I would plead with God for what I wanted. I would surrender and say do your will. I would be angry and ask him why he was doing this. I would praise him because he knew best. Ironically in this time I was doing a bible study on 1 and 2 Kings that was themed trusting God. It kept me afloat and motivated to keep going.

Kyle came home a few times to me melting down. Just dealing with the boys and all the pregnancy hormones seemed to overwhelm me 3 of 5 days he worked.

In addition to that, the rx seemed to make me itch more rather than give relief, but I kept taking it knowing it would help keep my baby safe. Weeks came and went and although I would have Braxton hicks and prodominal labor.. labor itself was far off.

There were two times I thought for sure labor had started, only to realize nothing was progressing.

So week 39 came on a Friday, and on Saturday my braxton hicks woke me up in the night.  I thought for sure this was it. They kept coming at a regular interval, I just needed them to pick up and do something. So, Kyle and I decided to send the kids on their way so we could walk hopefully making labor progress.

After hours of walking, I tried some pumping and by 3pm everything had stopped and I was exhausted. No progress and all that work for seemingly nothing.

Over the next week, I met with my midwife and she told me I was all but 1.5 dilated so we made a plan to induce by breaking my water the next week if another week came and went. I was devastated.  At the rate things were going, that seemed to be where I was at. Here I lasted all this time against all odds by the hand of God’s protection hoping labor would begin only to end up at the end still inducing.

In one of the times that I was praying, praising God and trying to find hope in him, I felt God speak to me through these verse:
“Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the Lord ; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.” For thus says the Lord : “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.
Isaiah 66:7‭-‬14 ESV

It gave me hope. I felt like God had been telling me to wait and trust him. Even though things were looking like I thought they were, he was telling me that he was doing something new. Not what I planned but he was working and it would still be perfect.

How do you continue to cling to that when the world around you is crumbling and your hope is fading?

Kyle would encourage me. Some people would say why are you waiting, others would say those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint .

That night she had checked me, Thursday, I had horrible itching that woke me up for several hours. With everything going on, one thing I was glad was that the itching was not as bad as it had been with my pregnancy with Gabe. But this night was reminiscent of the nights with Gabe. I was not going to go through a week of this only to induce anyway. The next morning, I was ready to go ahead and induce. What was the point of waiting anymore?

But then, How could I not wait on God? He hadn’t failed me, and yet I was running out of borrowed time. I decided to give it Friday night and Saturday to see if I was itching as bad as Thursday night. If I did, I would go ahead and induce Sunday. The days came and went, but thankfully the itching wasnt as bad as it had been that Thursday.  By Monday, I felt a little more hopeful. 

Sunday during the day, I lost my mucus plug. I was ecstatic seeing a little bit of hope that something was happening. Then, I had been up several hours Sunday night with contractions I couldnt sleep through. I also felt a small pop one time as I was getting out of bed. I thought was that my water? But, it wasnt the same as it had been with Kai. There had been more water. So, I chalked it up to other things. As I went throughout Monday, there was more fluid but not constant. I kept going back and forth about what it could be. No labor progression even though the contractions I had had that night seemed to be going somewhere nothing happened.

I kept asking Kyle why I should wait. If we should go ahead and he kept spurring me on. Saying that I felt like I should wait on God and we were going to wait. His faith was holding on more than mine. I didn’t see how God was going to do it in this 9th hour.

I went on walks during the day, hoping things would help. During the day Monday, I got an email from our photographer that she was going out of town thursday and it just seemed like one more thing going against me and that time was up.

Monday night, I was again up for several hours with contractions I couldnt sleep through. Then again that morning more fluid leaked than had been previously. This time I had nothing I could blame it on besides the amniotic fluid. But, I pushed it aside for the time being. I met up with Honour and we walked for a little bit at a park then let the kids play then I went home to rest.

I was hopeless. Two nights of waking up with contractions only to have them taper off into nothing again. Leaking fluid and know that I had only one day and two nights left before induction. I cried and cried after I put the kids down for the quiet time.

I told God and Kyle that I was done and I surrendered all hope. That the last little bit before the baby was induced on Thursday I would just rest, watch tv and not try to bring labor on. I couldn’t do it anymore and I was broken.

Around 430 my itching kicked up, and I took a bath to help sooth it before I had to go cook dinner for us. I was still leaking fluid but nothing constant. By this time, I had decided that I had a leak in my sac but nothing major and just was going back and forth about telling my midwife. Dr Google told me it wasnt that big of a deal, and I knew the baby still had plenty of fluid around him.

After the bath, because my skin hurt to be touched, I put my robe on and cooked dinner. As I was standing there I felt more fluid leak out and decided I should finally at least mention it to my midwife to see what she said.

I text her and she called me within several minutes. We discussed it and decided that she should come test it to see what it was. But both of us knew what it was. Also, on the phone, she mentioned that if it was my amniotic fluid leaking it was probably time to go ahead and get the baby out. Even though on the phone I told her to bring stuff just in case on the inside I was panicked now. I had just surrendered to Thursday but not tonight. I had two nights left and here time was gone. Ripped out from underneath me like a rug.

While waiting on her to arrive, since I was still having Braxton hicks, I tried to stimulate them with pumping to see if that would help bring labor on that evening. I did have several contractions while I waited.

She was there within an hour. We tested it 3 times. The first time, it came back positive and then the subsequent times it was negative. While she was here, she checked me and the good news was that I was now at 3cm. We decided to go ahead and do a stretch and sweep to see if that would bring labor on. After she finished, I was a 4 cm and she confirmed a high leak and not that my whole sack had broken. She wanted to go ahead and break it to deliver the baby within a few hours, but I wasnt ready yet.

We decided to wait til morning to break my water in the hopes that the stretch and sweep worked. She left, what appeared to me, reluctantly and I went to work with breast stimulation to get my contractions going. This was between 7 and 8 pm. By 930, after we had gotten the kids to bed, I could feel a difference in my contractions and knew that labor had begun. We decided to go ahead and and the boys to Honour’s in case the baby came tonight or in preparation for the mornings water breaking.

Kyle took them and I stayed behind working on contractions. When he got home, it was around 1030 and finished a show while I was working through contractions then decided on a walk. They slowed a bit as I let my body take over instead of stimulating things but they continued at an even pace with me knowing that these were the real thing and all i had to do this evening was get it to a 5 to kick my body into labor.

After the walk, I got very tired and just wanted to go to bed instead of labor. So we headed that way. I laid down and with 2 minutes was back up because of the pain of the contraction. It was useless, I wasnt going to be able to sleep through them. As I stood discussing with Kyle what we were going to do, I had a pushing sensation. Kyle and I agreed to call the midwife and get her back worried that she would miss the birth.

Thankfully the pushing sensation didnt last long and seemed to be nothing. Labor was going on but we still had time and my midwife was on her way. We went back out to the living room. We had the birth tub ready to go and put on the Greatest Showman while i stood and swayed through contractions. 20 minutes or so passed and I got a call from my midwife. She got a flat on her way and so Kyle went to get her. Just as he Got there though, she had been able to put the donut on so they both returned back to the house.

I dealt with contractions and watched the movie while they were gone. They got back. We chatted for 5 or 10 min and she sat up things. Then she checked me to see where we were. Thankfully, by now I was a 6cm. My water sac was bulging and she asked if she could break it. I said no that I wanted to wait so she agreed.  After only 30 to 45 minutes more, in the middle of a contraction, my water finally broke fully.  Thankfully, I had been standing on the tarp that the birth tub was on and it didnt make a huge mess everywhere else.

We started filling the tub and I got in as contractions pick up in intensity. We had finished greatest showman and had put on Sense and Sensibility as a background noise. Mostly we chatted through contractions though. It was relaxed and peaceful besides the pain of the contractions. The birth tub felt like an amazing hot tub I had been missing out on for months. But the contractions were pretty bad.

Thankfully, as I got through them, the talking and the movie helped distract me from the pain. I began to mention my fear of the upcoming pushing . With the pain level,  I knew it was right around the corner and I was scared.

The midwife encouraged me saying that I could do it and it would be fine. It would be the final step to having my baby. I had made it this far and there was no stopping it.

I didnt really feel encouraged but her words rang true. I knew there was nothing I could do and eventually I would have to embrace it and not fight it. With each contraction, I started to feel the urge to push.

Each contraction was now unbearable. I was coping with some self applied counter pressure. Kyle tried to help but with the pain, I couldnt stand the addition of touch to my skin. My midwife encourage me to try pushing, both of us thinking it was time. I tried and felt what I thought him coming down a bit, but one or two more contractions didnt seem to amount to anything plus I needed to use the bathroom now.

I didnt want to get out of the water but couldnt just pee in the tub. After one or two more contractions she checked me and told me I was still an 8 and had a lip. Not time to push but time to go to the bathroom.

So finally I worked up the courage after a contraction to run to the bathroom, go potty and try to get back before the next contraction. I managed to get there and almost back before the contraction bit. After doing that, it cleared the last little bit of lip and the baby started coming. Mentally, I started praying for strength to get through the pushing. Christina and Kyle encouraged me telling me I could do it. It took a couple of contractions but finally I hunkered down and embraced the pushing. I was pushing before then but it was a mix of pushing it and not pushing it because of the pain. I felt him move down and the ring of fire begin.

I told my midwife between contractions I didnt want to tear and she said she would help as much as she could and tell me when I needed to stop and wait.  So the final few contractions, I focused on pushing but not too fast so that it would have time to stretch and not tear. Between contractions, I held back tears from the pain, but was able to manage. This whole time I was praying while dealing with it. I later found out that right as he was being pushed out, and I was praying for help, my sister’s dream had changed and she was praying for me in her sleep. She woke up praying and looked at the clock she was it was 310 am. God is so good to have a great cloud of witnesses and support for us when we don’t even know it.

She said he is coming and finally I pushed him out with a declaration of “oh, thank God, he’s out!” I held him and he did a small cry about 10 sec out. Then he did a full cry 30 seconds or so later. I cried a little bit from the pain and relief of being done and then I focused on Rowan.

The rest after the birth was uneventful. I moved from the tub to the bed, delivered the placenta. He was weighed and measured. Other after birth stuff. It was finished, all by the grace of God. My labor started and finished before we had to take measures to “induce”. He is a healthy 7lbs 11 oz, 20.5 in long and 13 in head.

All the hope I lost was redeemed in the end. Even with things spiralling out of control, God remained faithful and in control.

Two days later, I am so grateful to be free from all the ways pregnancy held my body captive. Unfortunately, I’m still experiencing the itching but know with time that too will return to normal. This story is about hope, God’s faithfulness. Trusting God to the end and knowing that He will be glorified and his word does not go out from His mouth and return void. If you feel God leading you, do not depart from it. One of the last things before Tuesday evening I felt God speaking to me was the story of Saul as he waited for Samuel to offer the sacrifices to the Lord. As he waited and Samuel was long in coming, he got impatient and offered the sacrifices himself just as Samuel arrived. Because of this, it cost him the kingdom.

A week later, I am happy to report my itching has stopped completely. Things have ticked up in the world with social isolation and corona but things here have settled down.

Rowan is a sweet little guy who makes the noisiest noises when he is awake but hardly ever cries. He sleeps more often then not and seems to have a chill personality. Only time will tell if he will be as rambunctious as his two older brothers.

Kaius – Labor & Delivery a Home Birth

Kaius – Labor & Delivery a Home Birth

Rejoice in the Lord’s Redeemed. This is the story of how I had a home birth with my second son, Kaius.

From before even the moment that Kaius was conceived, God told me that things were going to be different. In August of 2017, God began to speak to me about His blessings that He would pour out in our life. That thing would be different from the past with Gabe.

If you read my post about getting pregnant with Gabe, you know that we used metformin to help us conceive. Also, if you read the next post, you know my labor and delivery with him was anything but pleasant. In August, I felt like God was telling me that I was going to get pregnant that month and I had finally (thought) I had figured out what was causing my liver issues. I stopped the metformin and was trusting God for the right timing on me getting pregnant again.

We were already trying and it had been several months of nothing at that point. I got excited! I knew when God said things were going to happen they did! So, as that cycle came and went with a negative pregnancy test I questioned whether I heard right. I continued to hope and I continued to trust that when I heard God say I would get pregnant that I would.

In the meantime, my sister got a positive pregnancy test. I was slightly excited slightly jealous. She started investigating midwives and birth centers for her pregnancy. I decided to go with her since I knew it was only a matter of time before I got mine as well. I had been contemplating what to do about my labor and delivery because of the ICP. I was 90% likely to get it in my next pregnancy, which generally means an induction at 37 weeks. I had already visited one or two other birth centers in town and was also considering going with the dr and hospital I had ended up with Gabe at. Or, would I risk it and go for a home birth with the chance of being transferred again?

On the day we went for a tour of one, God showed me the verse Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

We went to the tour and immediately fell in love with the patient midwife. She was our age, also pregnant and personable. She answered all of my questions even ones relating to ICP. This was it. Joy surged in my soul because I knew God was going to use her to birth a new hope in me that I lost after labor with Gabe.

Around mid-September, God showed me the verse Isaish 43:19,

“See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.”

I was beginning to wonder if I should start some type of natural supplement to help or if I should just keep waiting. I prayed and told Kyle we would wait and see one more month then try something. By October 1st, I got a positive pregnancy test! I was elated. I knew this was going to be different. That this pregnancy was from God and things would be completely different from Gabe’s. It was such a glorious answer to prayer and new hope of what God was going to do in this pregnancy.

The whole pregnancy I just felt peace and joy about the upcoming home birth. Things were different because I was resting in the promise that God was redeeming something in me. I took progesterone the whole first trimester, as I had with Gabe, due to low progesterone because of PCOS. Other than that, things were smooth sailing.

By the middle of my pregnancy, I was itching a bit and got worried. I asked my midwife to test me for Cholestasis. I was ready for anything. Surprisingly and not surprisingly, even with the slight itching, everything came back normal. I had started some liver support supplements and vitamins to keep everything running smoothly.

Leading up to labor and delivery with Kai, I was extremely nervous about going to 42 weeks and not going into labor. In TX, legally midwives cannot delivery babies prior to 37 weeks or after 42 for home births. So, starting in my 38th week I began a supplement that helps your adrenal gland. By 39 weeks, I added 3 red raspberry leaf capsules 3x a day to help with effective contractions. In addition to those, I pumped several times, bounced on a ball, and added in 3 (1000 mg) evening primrose oil capsules vaginally two nights in a row.

When I went for my 39th-week appointment on Tuesday, I was a bit discouraged because my midwife said that his head wasn’t engaged at all and I wasn’t dilated at all. She also warned me that second-time moms sometimes had really quick labor and to let them know as soon as possible so they didn’t miss getting there.

On Friday, for the majority of the day, nothing happened except for some house issues that we had to call a plumber in for. Our ac had backed up and caused a huge amount of flooding underneath it. It was stressful and not the right time for us to be dealing with it because the baby would be here any day. And that would cause some complications with having a home birth with no air conditioner in the middle of June! Thankfully, the plumber unclogged it and got everything working correctly. I noticed while he worked that I was having some tightening in my uterus but nothing painful or consistent so I just ignored it.

That night, as we got to bed around midnight, the tightening seemed to be happening regularly but still not painful. Around 1:30 am I woke up to Gabe kicking me and I was pretty irritated and went to take a bath. I realized while I was in the bath they were coming to every 5 min but still not painful or even anything.. around 4 I started to feel them but not in a painful way just there. I was back in bed trying to sleep but would be woken up with every tightening. Not because of pain, but more like an awareness that things were happening.

I went back and forth about telling the midwife but since they weren’t painful. I didn’t want to be the girl who cried labor and really I hedged on waking people up. So, I rested through them and text my birth people at 6ish… Kyle and I were up with Gabe most of the night. For some reason, looking back now I think maybe he knew something was happening too, he wasn’t sleeping well. 

When we got up that morning, Kyle was supposed to go to work even though it was Saturday. He also had planned to take our mower to get fixed. I was still on the fence about whether this was false labor or real, but finally decided it was better he stay home rather than risk him missing everything. We decided we would go out for a nice breakfast and go ahead and send Gabe over to my sisters to be watched. 

Kyle took Gabe to drop him off, and I decided to stay home to prep for the home birth by taking a shower plus put on makeup. Who wants to have a baby and not look great?! 🙂 After the shower, it was like 9sh and they were picking up in pain. But still not unbearable. I was putting on makeup, listening to music and stopping with contractions to dance around through them.

When Kyle got home, instead of going to breakfast, we decided to go to Walmart since we needed groceries and I thought the walking would help. At the rate I was progressing I thought it would be this evening or tonight or even tomorrow cause it seemed slow. I had talked to the midwife several times and assured her that based on the pain that I had with Gabe, I couldn’t be more than a 2 to 4 in dilation.

As I danced and stopped with contractions, it ended up taking me an hr and a half to do my make up because I’d have to stop and dance or squat through the contraction. I was blasting the Greatest Showman soundtrack and having a good time. Finally, we left the house and headed to Walmart around 11:07 am. I had hired a doula for this birth, and the plan for her was to join us at noon back at our house. 

I had a contraction in the car, which seemed to kick up the pain level and intensity but I still managed to sit through it and get to Walmart. When we got there and right as we walked in, I had another contraction. The thought crossed my mind that I should’ve stayed home and this wasn’t the best idea. Why did I come to Walmart? But we needed groceries, so we carried on and I determined that we would just be quick about it.
Around 11:35ish, I start thinking I need to get home I need privacy to get through the contractions. I had been finding empty aisles with every contraction and trying not to have everyone stare at me. Kyle, who had started timing them at Walmart, asked if we shouldn’t call the midwife and have her come? I said Nah, this must just be like a 5 or 6 cm. Walking around they were getting pretty intense around 2.5 to 3 min apart but only lasting 30 seconds so I thought I had plenty of time. I was told that as you progress in labor, the “real” contractions start lasting longer and in transition, you shouldn’t have any break between them.
Finally, I decide I need privacy and start to panic a bit in my head. I communicate to Kyle we need to go. I need to get home. I’ll walk if I have to. I felt a sense of urgency for privacy and getting home at this point. We were done with grocery shopping anyway and head to check out. On the way, I had like two more contractions and the one while Kyle was scanning things and checking out, I start to walk away to deal with the pain and feel this pop.. my water broke.
It was the strangest experience. I was like ah oh and felt it start soaking my pants like a trickle but no puddle on the floor or anything. In Walmart! Like a movie.. I panic a little and laughed a little. I turned around and walked past Kyle telling him that we need to go now that my water just broke.
I am immediately dialing my midwife and heading for the door thinking that Kyle stopped what he was doing and was following me. The midwife says she is on her way and asks a few questions. I feel a little better with her on the way and my contractions had stopped. I stopped to stand where you get a cart trying to calm down realizing that Kyle hadn’t followed me out and waiting on him to come. While I wait, I attempted to see what my pants looked like but couldn’t see past my belly, so I decided to head outside to the car. 
Kyle finally comes out and has the groceries. I realize while I am standing there we didn’t bring anything in case my water broke so I pulled something together to use as he loads the car. The car ride back was extremely painful. My contractions had become something on another level, especially sitting in the car, and all I wanted to do was get on the toilet and try pushing a bit plus get in a hot bath for some pain relief.
Thankfully the house is all but 5 minutes away. I rush inside to the toilet. I’m having a lot of pressure so I was trying to relieve it and had heard if you sit on the toilet and push a bit it helps. As I do this, I am attempting to Start the bath up, but burn my foot cause I couldn’t adjust it while I was I with the pain and on the toilet. Kyle comes in and helps me. I finally get in. It barely helped though. It was now about noon, and my doula shows up right on time. She begins helping with counter pressure and making sure we didn’t need anything. Thankfully, even though they were painful, the contractions seemed to be 5 minutes or more apart now. The training midwife who would be helping with my birth was the next to show up around 12:10 or 12:15. She started getting set up and brought a doppler in to check on baby. 
Finally, around 12:33 pm my lead midwife arrived. Between contractions, I was still laughing and talking and had a rest period between so I thought maybe I was only a 6 or so and headed into transition. Of course, I hadn’t been checked yet. The lead was talking to me about where I wanted to birth. Then she asked if I wanted her to check me. I was like sure and had to turn around in the bath for her to get access since the toilet and Kyle were in the way otherwise.
However, as soon as I turned I was like no I need to push. My body just took over. It felt like the exorcist and it just started pushing. At first I fought it because I wasn’t ready thinking that I still had to go through transition to be ready. It really surprised me and threw me off guard, and (TMI) it hurt my butt so bad. As I fought the push, I was saying, “my butt, my butt, my butt”. The contraction ended, and the midwives immediately had come over to help encourage and guide me through it. She said, this is great you can do this. Okay, now push or it’s okay you are going to get through it, only 10 more minutes then your baby will be here. I remember distinctly thinking when she said that how I pushed for 2 hours with Gabe and didn’t believe that it would only be 10 minutes this time. Sure enough though, I pushed through the contractions and he was born at 12:46 pm. The third and final assistant midwife didn’t even make it before I gave birth. The one who had warned me about second time moms not giving them enough notice to make it in time. 

God Is so good. I was worried about going 42 wks and worried I would have to induce myself. Instead everything unfolded in just a magical way and I was able to have the home birth I thought I would have had with Gabe. It just so awesome how it happened because I didn’t even know I was really in labor for most of it and then it went so fast. He was born healthy at 6 lbs 13 oz, 21 inches long. Every time I think about his home birth I smile and see how God did completely redeem all the negative things I experienced in Gabe’s labor and delivery.

As Psalms 18:30 says, “God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.”
It was everything I could’ve wanted and more. It gave me renewed hope and trust in God to see his promise fulfilled in such a magnificent way. I know that no matter what happens in this life when God gives you a word and you cling to it not letting fear dictate how you react, you will see God’s hand stretched out.

That leads me to the labor and delivery story of the third. It has been a mix of good and bad and holding on. I don’t know the ending yet, but I do know that I leave it in God’s hand and trust him to write a beautiful story it too will speak of His love and His mercy. It will glorify him whether it turns out as miserable as Gabe’s did or as wonderful as Kai’s birth. If I continue and wait to see Him move, he will move mountains and I will praise him either way!
Stay tuned for the third and final story.
The Labor and Delivery of Gabriel – a home induction and ICP story

The Labor and Delivery of Gabriel – a home induction and ICP story

My labor with Gabriel begins early on the morning of August 16th at around 6:30 am when I drank 2 oz of Castor Oil. From there, Kyle, my mom and I headed to the birth center and met with the midwife. My labor had not began as I was not having any contractions. When we got to the birth center, the midwife was late to meet us. As we waited, we walked around the birth center to see if walking would help labor begin.

Check out the beginning of this story of how I got pregnant on my last blog post.

When the midwife met us, we had my membranes stripped and headed to an acupuncturist to try acupuncture to begin labor as well. Our appointment wasn’t for a couple of hours, so we had planned to stop and eat lunch but ended up walking around Kohls because the place we were going to eat was closed.

Acupuncture to Induce Labor

At the acupuncturist, he put a few needles in me and begin to stimulate my uterus with electrotherapy, it was now around 1 or 130 in the afternoon. With the castor oil and acupuncture, I began to have horrible stomach cramps and (TMI) diarrhea.

No one had told me that this is what the Castor oil and acupuncture do to get labor going. That I was going to hurt from this as much as the labor itself and get hemorrhoids from it. We left there and had to stop along the way so I could get to a restroom.

We headed to a mall to walk the rest of the afternoon to continue to stimulate labor until my chiropractor appointment.

***
Let’s flashback a week or two. I had been itching incessantly for weeks, well over 7 weeks at this point. I was told it was likely PUPPS but the itching had increased and then had begun to manifest itself in my hands and feet, as opposed to all over my body where it had been.

My midwife finally thought to test me for ICP or cholestasis of pregnancy. [Find out more about ICP here] Unfortunately, the tests for this usually take 5 days to come back. When I got the call from her, my heart dropped. I was scared, discouraged and at this point 41 weeks pregnant with no signs of labor. I went in for monitoring at 41 weeks and 5 days to see how the baby was doing. I sat on the monitor with my mom for well over an hour and a half, during which there was one really long deceleration of his heart. When the midwife saw that on the chart, she immediately sent me to the hospital for longer monitoring.

monitoring the baby

They monitored him for the rest of the day and there were no more decelerations but they wanted to induce me right then and there. I refused and reluctantly they sent me on my way with an appointment for induced just two days from then.. the day I turned 42 weeks.
***

Kyle and I walked, headed to the chiropractor, and then back to the mall to continue walking. We ate in the food court then carried on our march. I was determined to start labor and avoid the hospital at all costs. Contractions had started coming around 2:45 pm but were very irregular.

Finally, around 10:30 pm, my labor seemed to be full fledge. Contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart and running together or coupling. I called my midwife and headed to the birth center to have her check me and hopefully get the baby out sooner rather than later that night. I was excited, hopeful, and ready to get this baby out.

In my head, I had this idea that birth would be beautiful. It would be painful, but I would have this great support team telling me how to deal with the pain. They would be there to encourage me and show me different things, and then in the wee hours of the morning, I would push this beautiful baby out and all the pain and heartache would be worth it!

I walked a bit around the birth center, but for the majority, I was in a very hot bath because the pain was very intense and the contractions were on top of each other. My birth team, rather than sit and talk to me slept in various locations around the building. The midwife and nurse came in and out of the room to check on my labor or force Raspberry Leaf Tea down my throat.

All the things that I had dreamed this birth would look like, nothing was unfolding as I thought. I felt alone and discouraged. I felt irritated at the surprise of the nurse that I was never told was going to be there. I felt nothing but negative things and pain.

The midwife checked me several times, and thankfully I was progressing. At around 6 or 7 am the next morning, she checked me and I was at a 7 cm dilation. She began to talk to me about transferring to a hospital because she wanted me to get an epidural and rest. This was the last thing I wanted. Yes, I wanted pain relief, but I did not want it from a hospital. My mom and Kyle because to discuss with her and were told that she thought it medically necessary.

I started to act out on my pain a bit more like a toddler hoping for attention; hoping for someone to support me and encourage me like I thought they were there to do. To no avail, I was a lost cause in their eyes.

Finally, after feeling like no one could help me, I agreed to transfer. Discouraged and angry, hurt and betrayed, the midwife gave me a shot of nobane (5 ml) to get me to the hospital and help with the pain. I rode with my mom, while Kyle rode with the midwife. I was too angry and hurt to ride with either of them. My poor mother later explained how terrifying it was for her to drive me because of the rush hour traffic and what if I started pushing on the way.

Overall the drive was calmer than the last two hours seemed to be. Music played and I sat in silence trying to not think about any of it. By the time I made it to the hospital, I had dilated another cm. I was encouraged by that but still irritated by the lack of support and ending up at the hospital. I became bitchy and angry. With getting to the room, I demanded the epidural saying, “Well, we came here for an epidural, where is it?”

My epidural was in and I was in the bed resting by 9:30 am. The morning went by in a blur because of my sleeping state, the haze of the drugs, and my lack of sleep for the past several weeks. By noon, the nurse checked me again, and I was still only an 8. The dr decided to break my water to see if that pushed me to the end. He left and I rested more with nothing else to do. My legs were massively swollen and I was very uncomfortable, but with the epidural, there was no pain.

The nurse checked me again at 3 pm and said I was fully dilated. She asked if I wanted to try pushing, and I agreed excited and thinking this would be over in just a few more minutes. They held my legs and I began pushing, but my contractions were several minutes apart. I would push with contractions and then wait. Nothing seemed to be happening. After 45 minutes of this, they called the dr and we tried a different position. By the time the dr got there 30 minutes later, he checked and the baby wasn’t stuck so I continued to push. He was in and out of the room while I pushed. Finally, around 5 pm, the room began to buzz with excitement as Gabriel began to emerge!

He was born at 5:08 pm, 7lbs 7oz and 21 inches long. After a long, grueling and disheartening birth, Gabriel joined the world. I was relieved, exhausted and done.

It took me months to process this birth. I was sad, depressed and angry at how everything had turned out. I asked God why and what I had done wrong. I investigated my liver issue that didn’t resolve after birth as it should and wondered what was wrong with my body that I didn’t go into labor on my own. Was it stress? Was it a lack of sleep? Was it the ICP? Why and where had it all gone wrong?

I still don’t have answers to many of those questions, but I have a few answers from God on some things. He redeemed this story through Kaius’ birth. He redeemed all the abandonment and pain that I experienced with Gabriel’s birth story. One main thing God told me through it was that I had this plan in my head of how things were going to go, and I wanted it to go a certain way, but I hadn’t consulted God in any of it. I hadn’t asked God to help me. It was all going to be in my own strength. All I needed to do was endure, and it would be beautiful.

But birth is a gift from God. A gift that we can only endure by God’s precious hand and by His strength. We can try all we want to be strong but without God, we can do nothing.

Stay tuned for Kaius’ birth next!

My Holiday Gift Guide – gifts everyone will love

My Holiday Gift Guide – gifts everyone will love

I have sat down and put together this Holiday Gift Guide for after Christmas sales that you will want to check out! These are items my family and I received for Christmas that we are loving and look forward to using all year long!

This post contains affiliate links.

Maternity/Post Partum Wardrobe Holiday Gift Guide

I am currently reaching the end of my pregnancy and clothes have all become constricting and uncomfortable. So this year for Christmas, I asked for several different items to add to my wardrobe.

This is one of my favorite items that I can’t wait to try! It is a nursing nightgown. With no energy in the middle of the night, it is crucial to have something that is easy access for the baby and you. With my first child, I just word my normal shirts and the bottom half of me would freeze. Then, if I wore a nightgown, my shoulders would be cold.

This will be the perfect mix to keep my shoulders warm and easy access to breastfeed in the middle of the night!

I got four of these, they come in pairs. They are so comfy! If you want comfy yoga pants to lounge around your house in with the kids, these are the ones to get. The band can be folded under your belly or you can have the band up over it. Definitely going to be living in these for a while!

Lastly, I got these super soft and comfy Cardigan Sweaters. If you know me, you know I am always cold. I live in the sweater that I got from Target last year, and I am happy to add this one to my wardrobe to switch back and forth from.

This second cardigan will definitely look better after pregnancy, but I am still very happy to have it in my wardrobe now!

Around the House Holiday Gift Guide

The boys got an outdoor playset for one of their Christmas gifts. They love to play outside, but I do not like to sit out there. So, this year I added some patio furniture that I could be comfortable sitting in while they played. This is the one I got and I couldn’t be more excited to get it set up and start enjoying it. Especially since on Christmas Day, it was 70 degrees here.

Kyle got this as one of his gifts and I feel like it was one of mine! One of the first things I did when we got home was to create a space for it and get it set up. Unfortunately, It was the middle of the afternoon by the time I got it in its place so I haven’t tried it yet. But, you better believe tomorrow one of the first things I am going to try is a latte or cappuccino.

With this Keurig, we will be able to sell our old Keurig coffee maker and my espresso machine since it makes coffee, cappuccinos, and lattes. My espresso machine is nice but it is a pain to have to clean it like I do every time I use it. This new Keurig machine will make cleaning a breeze since it is top-rack dishwasher safe! Who doesn’t love a frothy coffee in the morning!?

Gifts that Little Boys will Love

These are a few of the toys my boys are loving that they got this year. Perfect to add to your kid’s birthday lists or even buy now and save for later.

These are their favorites from what they got. The lion blankets are hooded and perfect for play or sleep. They are also very big, so they will last a long time as they grow.

Kaius loves the linkimals that he can play with individually or they will sing and dance together in unison. If you follow me on Instagram, @momma_of_dragons, you will have seen Kai dancing with them as they sing.

For Gabriel, he loves building things so the domino train and the k’nex pieces are entertaining him for hours. As well as the leapfrog backpack, he can practice his letters and play games with them on the go.

Finally, the two scooters are so fun! For now, they are using them as ride-on toys, but I am sure as they get older they will be used more like scooters. The perfect transition toy that grows with them for their outdoor play!

These are just a few of the different items that we were able to receive this year. We are so grateful for what we have and I wanted to share with you our favorites! Thank you for following along! Did you get any similar items, and which are going to be your most used this coming year?

My journey to Motherhood Pt 1

My journey to Motherhood Pt 1

Let’s talk about how I became a mother to two boys and another baby on the way. My fertility journey from PCOS to two boys and another baby on the way. I might have to break this story up into several posts because it spans my lifetime. However, I know a lot of people can relate to having difficulties getting pregnant so I wanted to share my journey. Let’s start with 5 years ago, in 2014.

The Beginning

I had been on birth control for a couple of years but knew it would probably be difficult to get pregnant when my husband and I were ready to have kids. I knew this because my periods before I got on birth control, were 50 to 75 days apart. Sometimes they were even 80 days apart sometimes less, but never regular.

When my husband of several years and I were ready to start trying, I got off birth control. At first, it seemed hopeful because things seem to start off on a good foot with my first cycle only being 48 days long. But the wait then began to elongate. ..

I got off birth control in May, and by October nothing had happened, and I had only had two cycles. I began to look for an answer to what I figured would be a diagnosis of PCOS.

PCOS is Polycystic ovary syndrome. Basically, it means there are cysts on my ovaries that interfere with fertility. I began to track my periods and track all of the signs of fertility.

What was my body and its fertility doing?

As time ticked away, I began to learn a lot about fertility and my body. I started charting and tracking all my fertility signs. I began learning that my body didn’t have a problem after I ovulated except for a low progesterone level. In addition to that, my main and most glaring problem was that it took forever for me to ovulate. I would have a period, then 40+ days would go by before my body even thought about ovulating. Then I would ovulate, and 13 to 14 days later I would have my period.

This made it difficult getting pregnant because it was so long between ovulations. For other people, they can try once a month. Mine was once every 2 to 3 months. Besides this, I was experiencing low cervical fluid levels and low progesterone levels after ovulation.

I was discouraged but not giving up because I knew that everything was in God’s hands. He is the ultimate authority to my fertility, and no matter what happened I would learn to trust him with this. If you are feeling discouraged, I wrote this blog post about some ways to deal with it.

What do I do?

The first thing I did after temping and learning more about my body was looking into natural remedies. I stumbled upon a herb called Vitex via a facebook group I was in. After learning about it, I began to dig dipper into vitex. I learned what it was, what it was thought to do, and possible side effects and how it might help me. In the research, I found that Vitex had similar properties to the prescription Clomid and I became hopeful this was the answer.

PCOS Cycle

Throughout this journey, my husband and I were seeking answers from God. Asking for His guidance, and trusting that in the right time all things would come together. Whether that be through natural remedies, or through a doctor’s help.

Here is a screenshot of my cycles from 2014 to present.

My Fertility Journey with Vitex

After getting vitex and adjusting the dosage to be what I thought was a good amount, I hit my first stumbling block. 4 days after ovulating, I got super dizzy. I ended up going to the ER. They gave me some medicine to help me with the dizziness and nauseous but didn’t have a specific reason for why I was dizzy. I knew, though, based on the fact that I had just started the vitex and ovulated, it must have been caused by the vitex dosage.

I laid on the couch for 4 days miserable and unable to go to work or stand because of the dizziness. Finally, the problems seem to subside and things returned to normal. After this, I adjusted the dosage down a bit and did not experience another dizzy spell. I hit another wall though.

My next cycle was 100 days long. With things not seeming to be getting better I finally decided it was time to see a doctor and figure out what they could do. I made my appointment and describe the symptoms I was experiencing.

She was very nice and ran some tests but almost immediately diagnosed me with PCOS. She prescribed Metformin to me and mentioned Clomid. After discussing both options with her, I decided to hold off on Clomid and see how the Metformin worked. I knew from my research of the Vitex that I couldn’t take Clomid and Vitex at the same time. In addition to that, She mentioned that I could only take Clomid for a couple of cycles because of possible cancer risks.

That scared me and I decided to wait and do more research on the Clomid. I thought it would be good to start with Metformin before jumping to something that drastic. I say drastic because of the limited use options and possible cancer risks.

Fertility and Adding in Metformin

I continued to take my vitamins, the vitex, but now I added in the Metformin. It was February/March. I had been off birth control since May of the previous year and had only a mere 5 cycles in that time period.

Metformin is a diabetic medicine that doctors will prescribe to people with PCOS as an off label use. People with PCOS are shown to be insulin resistant and medicine helps reduce the insulin levels in the blood, thereby assisting infertility issues that are caused by high insulin levels.

Finally, after just two weeks on Metformin, I got a positive pregnancy test. I was over the moon! Now all I had to do was get through the pregnancy and meet my new beautiful baby. Or so I thought…

Continue the journey with me next week in the next blog post…

PCOS cycles