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Ruth is one month old today and I wish I could tell you where the past four weeks went or where my oldest two children are or how many months ago I washed my hair. Just kidding, the boys are doing a chore for Daddy.
Anyways, I had thought about writing out a full birth story for Ruth; I love a good birth story myself. (While pregnant I really enjoyed all of the birth stories in The Baby Catcher and The Birth Next Door, by the way.) I decided, though, to spare the .05% of the readership that is male here from having to skip this post and stick to just the most interesting facts.
Because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from riding in a car with my two brothers while discussing the topic of birth with my sister-in-law, it’s that the word placenta throws a man over the edge.
Fun Facts About Ruth’s Birth
She was “42 weeks + 3 days old”, according to some calculations, and though she showed signs of being a well-developed baby, there were no signs of anything breaking down, dieing, or being “dangerously old”. All of her brothers and sisters were 41+ weeks, by the way.
The midwives didn’t make it in time… again. And I think that we can all agree that you can’t believe a word I say when I’m in labor. I think I talked Stewart out of letting the midwives come at least a couple of times. This is his second “catch” and thankfully our dear friend Tracy, a midwife-in-training was a tremendous sport and came over within a couple of minutes of Stewart calling for help. She’s definitely got midwife in her bones, that girl.
She was born en-caul. Apparently there are a lot of weird superstitions surrounding this. I don’t know about any of that, but I do know that all of our babies had waters that didn’t break until well into labor or during the pushing phase. I was really thankful as it probably helped with this next fun fact.
She was born posterior. Despite the many hours spent inverted or on my hands and knees in some fashion, Ruth still came to us sunny side up, or not “ideal” positioning. I definitely noticed a difference, but I am so grateful to the Lord that this was my fourth baby and not my first. The pushing phase was still only 5-10 minutes.
Labor didn’t seem to be progressing as it should until I did a side-lying release. I think anyone and everyone involved in the birthing world could greatly benefit from knowing about this and all of the other baby positioning information from the Spinning Babies site. Up until that point contractions had been very intense (from the get-go, actually), but didn’t seem to be getting much longer or closer together. After that one move, Ruth engaged, I only wanted to stay upright, and she was born in less than two hours.
Random, Ridiculous Things I Said During Labor
“I Smell Smoke.” This was during transition and I, in my inability to cope, could not discern that it was coming from the wood stove.
“I can’t, I can’t. Okay I think I can… nope, I can’t.” This was also during transition when I was trying to go from upright in some fashion to crawling onto the bed.
“Maybe it’s not real labor; maybe it’s just a urinary tract infection.” This was Stewart’s personal favorite and brought back a look and reaction that was akin to saying, “Are you crazy?” After many weeks of prodromal labor and “you’re overdue” and “when’s that baby coming?” and “gosh, you’re huge” and “aren’t you worried?”, I tend to go into complete denial when I truly go into labor. I do not wish to be the girl who cried baby, you see.
So, those are the highlights from our fourth homebirth where we welcomed little Ruth Adelaide. She is beautiful and sweet and loves to be held and rocked, which is what I am up to these days. Once again we are in awe of the Lord’s mercies and work in our lives, and we are thankful for the gift that these little ones are every day.
The last few days I have been thinking about writing Part 3 to “The Blessing in the Thorns” series. In my pondering of the various things I wanted to say a word eventually rattled around in my head, entitled. In particular, with the current struggles of having a baby in the house, not having peace and quiet to work, and still being in our original 300 sqft. or so, I realized I was developing a bad and wrong (sinful) attitude. I was irritated that I couldn’t focus on work and was having to pickup more of the domestic duties than I wanted to do. I was fatigued and possibly slipping backwards in my health issues as well.
To summarize, I was ungrateful. I had lost sight of all of the mercy and grace God had shown us in a safe delivery of Ruth, just three short weeks ago (and all his other blessings and provisions which he has given daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly… none of which we deserve). As I’ve been pondering these things I was excited to see one of our neighbor’s, Mr. Sifford, put up a new blog post that put to words some of (and more than) the things I’ve been thinking about with regard to that word.
So while I still hope to get to Part 3 of “The Blessing in the Thorns” series someday, in the meantime I highly recommend you read this post on Entitlement. I hope you read and share it too, because it is a breath of fresh air and something we all need to think about. No guarantees it will be fun though, because the truth about ourselves often isn’t.
Thank you all for your warm welcome of Ruth.
Papa is, once again, the world’s greatest de-gasser of babies.
And so long as that has been dealt with, Ruth is a fairly easy going little lady.
Despite the (tired?) look I wear in the above photo, I find this to be a sweet time of welcoming little Ruth into our home and family. Thank you for being here as well.
By the Lord’s grace, we welcomed Ruth Adelaide on 2/4/14 at approximately 10:10 p.m. Both mama and baby are doing well so far. She weighed in at 8 pounds 4 oz and was born after about 7 hours of labor. When Shannon has fully recovered she may post the full story… but for now here are some pictures. We thank God for his mercy and provision in all things.
I remember early spring days with dirty fingers sunk into cold dirt. These boys were much smaller then – four and two – but even at that tender age, we could see that this was exactly what they needed. Seeds were sprouted in so many ways on those long Sundays spent in the garden.
One of them was the hope that this agrarian way of life would pave a way in which we could provide the basics of life for our family while allowing them to spend their days living alongside their Mama and their Papa. For those days were long cubicle days for Stewart, followed often by long evenings of that extra work we needed to pay off student loans.
There was something about that time spent away – time you can never truly get back – that broke hearts big and small, and led us to seek out something different for these little loves in our care.
Fast forward a year or so and Stewart was quitting his job and we were preparing to move across the country with our two little men and little Annabelle on the way. We didn’t have much in the way of paid work lined up. We didn’t know exactly how this transition from bare land to food production would look. But we knew that this is what we needed to do and that the Lord would provide.
I was prepared for having less than we’d ever had. I was prepared for working harder than we ever had. I was prepared for Stewart to go from well-paid corporate job to minimum wage hired hand. What I wasn’t prepared for was how things really turned out.
That is to say, I was not prepared to jump into the land of the working-for-money while juggling babies, school, home, land, and work. The opportunities and employers we have been provided with have been tremendous and wonderful and literally a dream, to be sure. But I never quite managed to figure out how to be all there – for my family – while being all in on my work, which I had to be.
I’m sure it can be done, just apparently not by me.
And that very thing – the thing I could never quite bring myself to talk about in this space, for it broke my heart so – has been the hardest thing about these past two years of our agrarian journey. For all of us.
Which is why I am happy to say that, at least for a little while, I will be returning home – where I rock babies and feed the hungry masses and am really present for school and garden time and every moment in between.
I will still be a part of the Cultures for Health team, which we are so grateful for, and you can continue to follow along with our culturing adventures at the CFH blog. But I think we will be getting back to a balance that works much better for me, certainly, but also for every single one in our little family.
I never really left, not physically, but I am loving this process of returning home.
*Edited to add: The cutting back and finding balance I am referring to entails me working less on freelance projects for a while. Lord willing, we intend to continue blogging here in this space as always.*
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