May 31: I had been getting more and more tired of being pregnant and trying different tricks that might get labor going for several days. Of course it was nothing drastic as my due date wasn’t until 9 June. When Kevin and I went to bed that night, he noticed I had a “piddle pad” a reusable thick cloth pad one could use for incontinence; we used them for changing pads for the wee ones. He was teasing me about it; but I pointed out that my water broke as my first labor symptom with Elivette and I wanted to be safe, in case that happened this pregnancy too, I knew only about 15% of labors start with breaking waters, but maybe it would bring me luck. Unfortunately, I’d been sleeping on it for several days too, and it had done nothing to start labor. 😉
We had been in bed for a while, and were still in that drowsy awake stage of pre-sleep when suddenly, I felt a tiny “flick”, and boom: the precautionary mama cloth I was wearing, my pajamas, the piddle pad and the mattress pad were all soaked! Guess who was glad I had preemptively protected the mattress now!
I knew it could be a while before contractions started, but I went ahead and texted my midwives and the people who had promised to be in prayer for us, around midnight. I was excited and jittery and found it hard to get to sleep. I got a surprising number of replies too, which helped keep my mind calmer. I’m thankful for my night owl friends.
I woke up around 7 as usual, and no more signs of labor, just the occasional gush of amniotic fluid reminding me how I wasn’t laboring. By 10, I was starting to get resigned to the fact labor was not going to happen, and frustrated about it. My mother-in-law picked up the three youngest and the girls and I kept busy around the house. We went for a walk down to the lake about 1/2 mile from our house. It was pretty and peaceful and I would have stayed there most of the day if not for a heavily pregnant woman’s need to relieve herself frequently and the fishermen I wouldn’t want to see me do so. We trundled back to the house and relaxed a little.
At lunchtime, Kevin wondered if he and Aviana could drive a few hours to go pick up the milking LaMancha goat he found on Craigslist. I said they may as well, since I wasn’t going to have the baby. My midwife thought it was possible it wasn’t my actual amniotic sac that ruptured, but the forebag. She also thought that perhaps it wasn’t amniotic fluid at all, but pee. I was positive THAT wasn’t the case. A friend,meaning to be helpful, bless her heart, told me she had gone to the hospital one day thinking her daughter would be born, and she wasn’t born for 17 more days. And my discouragement grew.
I posted on Facebook , “We aren’t having a baby, but we are getting a milk goat, so yay.” The support and solace my friends offered were bountiful. My photographer and friend, Kelcy, commented that there was still plenty of day left, and that made me feel a little better.
At 3ish, I felt a twinge of something. A dozen minutes later, definitely, something. I put the first birthing wave in my contraction app at 3:30. I texted my midwives again. Kathy lives an hour away and I’m not known for long drug out labors. Sarah, my midwife’s assistant and friend and I chatted for a while. While we were going back and forth, my uterus amped up. Now the waves were about five minutes apart. I told her I would feel more comfortable if she were with me. She texted back, “ME TOO!” A little later she told me she would leave as soon as her husband got home from getting a chicken.
Meanwhile, Kevin was still 45 minutes away from home after picking up the goat.
Kevin got home eventually, and he started filling up the birth tub. Sarah arrived soon after, much to my relief. Aviana felt strongly that JuneBug, the goat, needed milked then and there. Since I had the tub ready now, and Sarah was with me, I was ok with that. The contractions were coming right on top of one another. Getting in the tub spaced out the contractions so I was able to have some breath of a break; I was amazed at how the water helped!
During the time they were down at the barn, I had a contraction that was ‘different’, one that made me feel if Kevin and Aviana didn’t hurry up with that goat, they were going to miss Fizzy Baby’s arrival!
My good friend Karen arrived. She was here as support for the girls. We wanted someone to specifically be with them, in case of anything going awry especially. She was absolutely perfect in her role, and supported anyone who needed her. She and Brielle went downstairs to get some fruit ready to snack on. The watermelon tasted wonderful. It was the first time I had ever eaten in labor.
Close to 6, I told Sarah she had better tell Kelcy she had better come. She texted back, “I can see your house.” I asked her if she would braid my hair, as it was starting to get wet and was all in my face annoying me.
It was such a peace filled, calm hour. Aviana tried to read some Baby Blues comics to me when Wanda was giving birth. It was amusing for a while, but quickly got to the point where I needed it to stop. I had some praise music playing. The birth affirmations were hung on the mantel so I could read them, and I would think of one when a birth wave came on, over and over again as a meditation.
It wasn’t long before things started to intensify incredibly. A few days before, I had watched a mare give birth out in the open air. It was beauty to behold. She would get up, turn around a few times, and then lie back down again. I found myself sort of spinning around in the tub, and thinking of that mare.
The mare was so composed and tranquil. I was starting to get noisier, but I felt like that mare. I never once felt scared or worried or out of control. With all of my other births, there was at the very least one moment, if not a whole scene, where I felt tumultuous.
A couple of times, as a birth wave crescendoed, I started to say “no” and then I caught myself and released myself into the passionate force of the moment. Being able to do that, being given the safe space, being surrounded by love and prayers, being completely mentally comfortable, was awe striking.
Soon, my birthing waves changed and my body needed to start pushing Fizzy Baby. There was no one moment of “Now, I shall push.” It was a gradual buildup and I didn’t really notice exactly when it was different. I never got checked to see if I was complete. No one told me what to do. Everyone just supported me and held me emotionally.
I had my hand on her head, and could feel as she began to come out into the world. This was a wonder-filled stage for me. I had never felt as in control before, so aware and internally calm.
I have seen several videos depicting the mechanics of birth (start watching about 1:40) and knew cognitively what was happening. Now I could feel it happening to my own baby, under my own guidance, under my own hand! I could feel her head molding. I felt her head turn and then her shoulders slide out, and then she was here!
|Finnella– heart– placenta|
I wanted to share this link with you. It was so encouraging and freeing for me. I cried all the way through this article (which isn’t really saying a whole lot at this point because yesterday I cried that Kevin wanted to do hot dogs in the fire pit…don’t even ask…I’m a crazy person right now). Truly though, this article blessed me so much. May it also bless you.
I have always felt so guilty about this photo–my sweet seconds old Denton Leroyce. I still have the placenta inside of me, and his cord was really short, so I couldn’t hold him up to my chest like I was “supposed” to. I was completely overwhelmed by all the aspects of birth–pushing, finding out he was a boy before I was ready to know, the slippery-ness of the chux pads– all of it. But even though I joke about letting him lie on the floor for his first few minutes of life, I have felt that guilt: guilt that I don’t have the euphoric birth look, that I am not even able to touch him, that I am “selfishly” drinking my water instead of being awed by my baby. Then I read this article today, and it moved my soul.
Add the eggs to the steamer–only once the water is boiling, mind you. Cover.
Set your timer for 12 minutes. Go laugh your head off to a Good Mythical Morning episode. (I guess that part can be optional, but seriously, you should do it.) When your timer rings, immerse your eggs in an ice water bath.
I didn’t time this part, but I first measured my kids’ tee shirts to be sure of their sizes and placed an order for some Classical Conversations shirts.
So however long that took is how long they sat in the icy water.
Elivette and I peeled all nine eggs in about two minutes,
even the ones that had been under a chicken a day or so ago.
I thankfully have had pretty amazing energy the last couple of days, so I thought I would actually make some food instead of the catch as catch can kind of meals that have been happening around here lately. I will share what works for me.
I managed to get dinner made, and some extra meatballs, but making the other batches of soup will have to wait until another day, as that was far too ambitious for this pregnant mama.
We are finishing up our 24th and final week of our first year in Classical Conversations this week. I thought I would write up a quick review of it to help other families perhaps decide if it is right for them or not.
Our community was in its first year. I also was a Foundations tutor. My three oldest, ages 10, 8 and 6 were in it all year. We added my 4 year old at semester. My 10 year old was also in Essentials. Community Day is 1 day a week. The Foundations students, ages 4-11 meet for 2 1/2 hours. There is an hour lunch/recess. Then students aged 9-11, who are optionally and additionally enrolled in Essentials meet for two more hours. The younger siblings attended a child care on campus. You can opt to not be in Essentials even if you are old enough, and it’s possible to only be in Essentials if you don’t want to do Foundations. I would recommend you only do that, however, if you already had a good grasp of the three cycles CC goes through.
The morning flies by, with a half hour each of Fine Arts-ranging from learning about the orchestra and composers, famous artists, drawing lessons to practicing the tin whistle (similar to a recorder), Science, introducing New Grammar (seven subjects, referred to as grammar as elementary schools used to be referred to as grammar schools), Presentations and Review.
The Essentials time is divided up into basics of the English language, like diagramming sentences and identifying sentence parts, learning to write well, and math games.
When I first heard about Classical Conversation in our area, I immediately wrote it off. When I began homeschooling I read copiously about the different methods of learning and styles of homeschools. I could not envision myself as a classical teacher by any stretch of the imagination. It seemed much too structured and linear for me. I am much more of a relaxed, life learning type of person. Or so I thought then.
I watched a couple of friends dive into it and saw how it benefited their families. Last summer I attended an open house and saw a model of a Foundations class at a couple different age levels in action. I thought we would give it a try, mostly to help one of my children have a consistent peer group and to have someone ELSE be in authority over another one of my children, at least for a few hours a week. I didn’t have a real grasp of the Classical Method yet, but I thought it couldn’t hurt.
I was asked to tutor in July and attended a Parent Practicum. The practicums are three day seminars held all over the country for parents for free. This was the best thing that could have happened because my eyes were opened to what the Classical Method really was, and how it can fit into even a relaxed, unschool leaning family. I got so excited about teaching and tutoring. (The moms and dads are the teachers in their homes and the classroom time teachers are referred to as tutors)
|The men walking on the moon is one of the boys’ favorite parts of our time line song.
The children stuff themselves inside a space capsule when we visited NASA.
Students at the elementary age are hard wired for memorization. You may be amazed at how your young child can sing a song from a commercial he has only heard a couple of times or when they remember something you said a few weeks ago, but to the the child it is simple. In the Classical Conversations day, we don’t teach context. We leave that up to the parent to address how they will. But it is amazing even without any context how the content they have memorized applies to the world they interact with on a daily basis.
An example in my own life: One of the ‘pegs’ in our timeline song is ‘Otto von Bismark unifies Germany’. I had never heard of him before or understood how key this was in the history of the world. We are of German descent on both sides. We were at our local German Heritage Museum recently and I was fascinated to discover more information about von Bismark and how his reign directly affected me because of affecting my ancestors! I probably would never have even noticed his name if it weren’t for Classical Conversations. Incidents like this happen regularly to all of us because of this program. Even my four year old will randomly point out things he is applying from learning these basics during CC, and he was only in the actual class for 12 weeks.
|One of our history sentences this year was in regards to the U.S. astronauts walking on the moon.
Brielle tried it out on our NASA visit.
I have watched my children blossom through the loving attention of our tutors. It is terrific for me to see other Christian adults love on and teach my children. They have all matured so much this year, which may have happened anyway, but I do attribute a lot of it to the structure and consistency of CC. My oldest set the goal for herself to memorize every single thing that was thrown her way, and be orally tested on it FOUR different times. She has one more test to do, but I am confident she will achieve her goal. I am so proud of her striving for this challenge, and completely of her own volition!
It is hard to describe all of the benefits we have gained from being a part of CC, but I hope I have given you a good overview of what we experienced and piqued your interest so you do your own research and look into it further.
|how we typically do school|
I’ve been a mama now for 10 1/2 years…expecting our sixth little Farm Fresh Blessing. I should be used it by now…and yet sometimes I’m afraid.
I’m afraid I’ll never have a house clean for longer than twenty minutes.
I’m afraid things will always move around seemingly of their own accord. I’ll forever be finding hairbrushes on the floor and never knowing what happened to my orange handled scissors and my flour sifters will always be taken out to the sandbox.
I’ll always wake up to the sound of people fighting.
I’ll never go a day without someone crying.
Mopping will only happen because someone spilled something.
Someone will always be touching/pushing on/grabbing at/pulling on/poking at/sitting on/kicking (from the inside) me.
I’ll forever have to listen to petty squabbles–because how else should one handle it when someone is reading the book someone else checked out from the library?
I’ll never again have an uninterrupted thought.
I will be repeating myself ad nauseum for the rest of my life. I will be repeating myself ad nauseum for the rest of my life. ISAID, I will be repeating myself ad nauseum for the rest of my life.
I will constantly have to think about what we need when we leave the house; will this outing coincide with a hunger time, do I need snacks, do I have extra bundies/diapers/outfits/wipes, does everyone have shoes, does everyone have a coat, do we need waters? Et cetera, et cetera.
Someone will always be peeking in on me in the shower.
Someone will always be bluntly commenting about my body.
I will forever feel crowded.
I’ll have to listen to other people screaming for the rest of my life.
I will always be stepping over small socks strewn in a swath of other disembodied and discarded clothing, toys and sundry other household items.
I will never be able to do just ONE load of laundry.
People will be making their birthday wish lists nine months in advance and talking about them in great detail every single day… forever.
No one will ever again say to me “I wuv you so mutz, Mama.”
I will never ever be woken up at the crack of dawn by someone asking permission to open my curtains, “betuz I just wanted to share the sunrise wif you, Mama.”
No one will ever again fold their long limbs into my lap saying, “I just need a snuggle.”
I won’t have anyone to rock and breathe.
No one will ever again come banging into the house leaving the door ajar smelling of fresh air and little boy.
bodies to clothe in handmade
tedious and so challenging and then one day, these days will be gone.
Buckling your little shoe
Making toast and jam for you
Caressing your chubby face
Folded neatly, saying grace
Lifting you onto her lap
Tucking you in for an afternoon nap
Helping you plant a tiny seed
Bandaging a scraped up knee
Gently brushing wispy hair
Serenely snuggling in the rocking chair
Wrinkled, sun spotted, capable,
Carriers from above
Calloused, experienced, soothing
Reminders of His unending love
A grandmother’s hands
work hard and create fun
A grandmother’s hands
a life well done.
Dedicated to my children’s grandma Joyce