Thursday, June 2, 2011


After two weeks of house guests, we were on our own again last week.  Peter was even out of town on business for three days.  Braeden had enough of being passed around and wouldn't let me put him down for a few days.  We're now getting back into the swing of things, and he's allowing Peter to hold him for an extended period of time again.
I've been working on getting him to nap on  his own, which is hit and miss.  He's a good sleeper but likes to be touching someone.  Some days he will sleep in his basket just fine, and others I'm back in there every fifteen minutes to put him back to sleep.  In other Braeden news he's getting super strong and growing like a weed! He started rolling back to front at three days old and front to back at three weeks.  He tries to crawl to you if you move away from him, but doesn't have the arm strength to hold himself up so his front half just gets pushed along the blanket by his legs.  Size wise, he was ten pounds five ounces at the midwife's office last week, and has grown three and a quarter inches!His 0-3 month clothes are starting to fit snug and his 3-6 month onsies are fitting well with just a little length in the sleeves and quite a bit extra length in the pants department. 
I've been figuring out how to manage my time most days, and have started to catch up on drafting the patterns I've promised folks and have been reading a ton.  It feels great to be able to challenge my brain again.  I have one question for all you reenacting bloggers out there; if you had 70" of 60" wide tropical weight wool what would you make with it?  Colorwise it is deep plum with light gray pinstripes. 
Thanks, Jenny

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our birth story

At 36 weeks I was having contractions, but it took me a few days to realize it.  They started when I was driving down to pick up my husband, Peter from the airport.  I thought my pants were just uncomfortable.  The next day I was still uncomfortable, but figured it was part of being at the end of my pregnancy.  Day 3 rolled around and I realized they were contractions, but I was determined to ignore them.  Finally on Day 4 when they were 5-7 minutes apart I decided we should probably call the midwives.  After I was finished with work, and we picked up Peter's car from the body shop, and got both the car and truck inspected, and went grocery shopping, and drove 40 minutes back home.  I'm nothing if I'm not a procrastinator. 
I called the main number and left a generic message about how I was having contractions, but not to worry.  Turns out I had also had inverted a couple digits of our phone number when the initial paperwork was filled out.  They couldn't reach us at home, and I forgot to turn my cell on.  After waiting several hours, during which I did barn chores, made supper, cleaned the house, we eventually called one of the midwives at home.  She recommended that I take it super easy, take a warm bath, and drink a half glass of wine.  WINE?!? Well it has to be better than the drugs I'd get if I went in to L&D at the local hospital.  Plus all the recent studies  show minor alcohol consumption isn't a problem.  Goodbye work, hello wine.
It took a few days for the contractions to settle down, but by 37 weeks they were few and far between.  The midwives came out for their visit that Friday, and I was good to go for a home birth and told I could start doing normal activities again!  We also met with an open minded pediatrician.  He seems like he will let us, as the parents make the decisions.  We also swung by my work to get  updated on the barn news and bought two baby chicks from a local Feed and Seed.  Over all it was a great day!
Going into 37 weeks I was getting impatient, but not enough to get the things done that truly needed to be done.  Instead I played outside, cleaning the paddock, raking the lawn, sweeping the aisles in the barn, even riding my horse.  That took some effort to get up there!  By the end of the week I was having contractions every night, but they'd go away after a couple hours.  I was getting frustrated with not knowing what was going on!  Peter kept laughing and saying I was worse than the days leading up to Christmas (I'm a gift shaker).  Another 2 prenatal appointments with my midwives came and went.  They were pretty sure it was a big baby, and recommended I cut way back on carbs and sugars.  That was the only time a diet has lasted more than a few hours for me!  Peter came home from work around 3 in the morning and gave me the most amazing foot rub ever! I think I fell in love with him all over again, well my poor  swollen feet did anyway!
My gestational weeks started on Mondays, and Thursday morning of week 38 I woke up to the strangest sensation. I quick jumped out of bed and waddle-ran to the bathroom.  My water had broke!  I was groggy after being up late the night before and confused because I wasn't having contractions.  I remembered reading that it doesn't happen like that.  Women almost always know they're in labor before their water breaks.  Apparently my mind forgot to tell my body.  All I had were a few measly contractions the night before.  But here it was...
Once I could leave the bathroom I scurried back to the bedroom to wake Peter.  After telling him the news I rushed back to the bathroom.  Apparently I wasn't done in there.  It was a trip I would be retaking most of the day.  Chalk that up as the second thing I was unaware of for labor.  Peter called the midwife on call to let her know what was going on.  She said rest for now, and she'd call back in a couple hours to check on our progress.  Rest? Ha!  We stayed up, ate breakfast, put the horses out.  Played with the chicks, started laundry, called some family to let them know, and then tried to take a nap.  Peter napped, but there was no way I could nap.  There were way too many thoughts rushing through my head, I couldn't even focus on them.
Around noon, our midwife Kristen checked in.  I still wasn't having any contractions so we upped the dosage of herbs I was taking to kick them in.  The herbs were a combination of blue and black cohosh, red raspberry leaves and maybe something else.  We also decided to go for a hike to hopefully spur on some contractions.  After an hour long hike the contractions were just starting to kick in.  I still considered them to be in the category of  'doesn't really count, because it doesn't really hurt'.  We went home, and called our midwife back to let her know that there still wasn't much going on.  We finished laundry, put the horses in the barn for the night, and tried to stay busy. 
Kristen got to the house around 8, and that's when I decided we should probably eat dinner.  Silly me to forget such things!  Peter made a pizza while I puttered around sort of helping the midwife.  I ate one piece of pizza and decided to lie down instead of watching a show with Peter.  Around that time Kristen called our birth doula, Bridgette to come up.  She swung by one of the other midwives houses to pick up some supplies and got to our house around 10 or so.  I pretty much lost track of time after I ate, so all the times are my best guess.
A short while after Bridgette arrived my contractions finally started kicking it up a notch.  Peter stayed right by my side and held my hand while I breathed through contractions.  They weren't that bad yet, and I could easily carry on a conversation in between.  At some point Kristen and Bridgette came into the bedroom.  Kristen showed Bridgette how to feel the contractions, and use a fetoscope to listen to the baby's heartbeat.  Kristen also did the first pelvic exam at that point.  We labored for a while longer in the bedroom before Peter went out to help Kristen set up the birthing tub.  Bridgette stayed right by my side and held my hand and chatted with me while Peter was out of the room. 
Our water heater ran out of hot water while they were filling the tub, so they started heating water on our wood stove.  The contractions were getting more intense as they filled the tub.  Kristen asked me if I wanted to try laboring in the tub, and I was all for a change in environment.  I used the bathroom, and Peter brought me a swimsuit top to wear.  The tub was wonderfully warm, and as I got in I tried squatting because I had heard that can help he baby move down quicker.  Everyone  was just wonderful! Peter pushed on my back when I needed it, constantly reminded me to drink water, and held my hand whenever I asked for it.  He was and always is my rock.  Bridgette has such a calming personality every time she spoke I would feel myself relax just a little bit more.  Kristen stayed right by my side, doing her thing, with such a quiet assurance I never questioned whether I had made the right decision.  I was so calm and at peace with what was going on, even though there were times that were massively intense.
At some point while I was in the tub, Kristen called the other midwife Kirsten to come up.  To me it seemed like she was there moments after Kristen made the call.  It must have been awhile, because she lives over half an hour away.  When she arrived I felt a sense of relief.  Everyone was there, and I knew that meant things were progressing.  I had switched from laboring in a squatting position, to on my side.  Poor Peter had to help support my upper body while I was having a contraction.  I had also progressed from just blowing air out of my mouth during a contraction to moaning.  Very loudly moaning.  It never really felt painful, just extremely intense.  Around this time I had moved into transition, and was starting to question my thinking.  I kept seeing flashes of light, that turned out to be photos being taken.  I also asked Peter if this was all my idea, was begging for this to really be transition because I wasn't sure I could handle much more, and when Peter offered me water, I told him I couldn't drink because I was trying to concentrate on peeing.  Number three on the list of things I didn't know labor would include, I can't pee in a blow up pool in my living room.  Even if I'm told it's okay.  I took swim lessons as a kid, and there must be some sort of mental block.
With my contractions I was starting to feel pushy, but it could be ignored.  Kristen did one last check and told me I was close, but had a cervical lip.  I still had to pee.  I'm not sure if I got out of the tub right after the check, but it couldn't have been too much longer.  With massive assistance from everyone there, I got up and out of the tub, into the bathroom and finally got to go.  I felt much better after that.  We decided to go to the bedroom from that point on.
I remember being in between contractions in the bathroom and saying it's now or never and hurrying into the bedroom.  My sweet Peter knew I didn't want to be completely undressed during labor, and helped me get my swimsuit top off.  Then the contractions started picking up again, and I couldn't muster the focus to put a shirt on.  Instead he just continually kept trying to cover me up with a towel.  I really wanted to thank him at that point, but speaking was difficult.  I was concentrating more than I ever had before.
We had finally reached the point where I could push.  Then we hit a snag.  Every time I'd pull my legs back to push I'd get massive cramps.  I was dehydrated, despite drinking electrolyte water like it was going out of style.  I had 2 packets of Emergen-C calcium in with various vitamins.  Peter mixed those into a glass of water and I did my best to chug it.  Still things didn't seem quite right to me. The midwives were talking to me about something.  I think it was positions, or pushing, but I can't really remember what.  I flipped over onto my hands and knees and started pushing that way.  Wow, it was easier!  I was having trouble holding my upper body up, and someone brought me my exercise ball covered with a towel to lean on.  Jackpot!  We really started making progress, and I didn't need physical support from anyone at this point.  Kirsten was up by my head coaching me on how to manage my breathing/vocalization while I was pushing and Kristen was down spotting the baby.  There still wasn't any pain.
With everyone there supporting and coaching me through it, our little baby arrived after just an hour of pushing.  I was pretty shocked when they told me I could carefully roll over and they put a baby on my belly.  The cord was short, and we still didn't know if our baby was a boy or girl.  Wrapped in a towel, Peter and I admired our little bundle of joy until the cord stopped pulsing.  Peter cut the cord and announced that we had a boy! 8 lbs 10 oz, 21.25 inches long.  Braeden Oliver came into the world at 5:05 a.m. April 22nd.
Braeden is an amazing baby (as I'm sure they all are).
Peter talked to him so much when he was in the womb that he recognized his voice.  He was perfectly content being held by his daddy.  He had quite a bit of bruising on his face, so we opted for one dose of oral vitamin K, and I've been eating lots of spinach since then.  He's dealing with a bit of jaundice but seems to be getting better every day.
Today is his due date, and it's been pretty obvious that he was a bit early.  He was quite tough to feed in the beginning.  The only thing that would wake him was a diaper change.  Even then he would go back to sleep almost immediately.  In the last two days he has finally started opening his eyes in the daylight for more than a split second, but he still wants to be cuddled up right next to you at all times.  That's something Peter and I won't ever complain about.  We love having him snuggled right next to us.  Well, enough rambling about my handsome little guy for today!    

Monday, April 18, 2011


Well the nursing cover is finished, minus the button and hole.  I thought I had a pretty white button for it, but can't find it.  I'm heading to the city on Wednesday for a prenatal appointment with my midwives, and to do some shopping.  I'm going to use a 50% off coupon to get a new pretty white button from Joann's.  If this child comes before then, I'll just pin it or something.  I'm not too worried.  I probably won't even use it until we start going on outings. 
My frustration lies in my hands being swollen.  It's extremely difficult for me to accomplish sewing tasks when my fingers don't want to work! I've cut way back on salt, and drink lots of water but they're so stiff.  I'm trying not to complain too much about it, because I can still wear my wedding band.  It's tight, and leaves a little mark, but it's there.  I'm a night time sewer as well.  I sew during the day, but I find it much easier to focus at night when I don't want to be working outside.  My contractions keep kicking up at dusk, and trailing off in the early morning.  This is not exactly helping my to-do list, but hey, there are contractions! I'll take it!
I've been working with my cranky sewing machine because I can't manage to sew through velcro or elastic by hand right now.  I have all the covers (11 I think) cut out both shell and water proof liner, with the velcro tabs attached.  The gussets are about half finished having the elastic applied.  All that's left is stitching the gussets to the covers, and finishing the edges with more elastic.  I really am ready to be done working with all these modern fabrics and notions.  I have a true dislike for them, but it is teaching me patience.  Especially after sewing on 6 gussets last night to realize I had the seams going the wrong direction. 
Well I need to get to my list of chores, the main one being cleaning the stinky chick's box (they're inside with us until it warms up).  I'll introduce them soon, hopefully.  Also, if anyone wants a more timely update of  what's going on birth-wise, or just in general feel free to add me on facebook.  If I don't get around to posting something, my husband sure will.

Friday, April 15, 2011

which would you choose?

Still no baby! I'm going a bit nutty with waiting, and the phone calls and messages from friends every day asking where the baby is aren't helping my patience.  I've been cleared to do as much activity as I want because I'm measuring 2.5 weeks ahead and the midwives are predicting that this little bundle isn't going to be so little!
My sewing machine is having issues with the tension or something, and for the life of me I can't figure it out.  It only happens if I use a newer Coats and Clark spool of thread. The thread doesn't come smoothly off the all of a sudden will spin like crazy and several inches will come off and wrap around the medal spindaly-thing that holds the spool.  My husband is going to take it in to a repair shop as a birthday gift for me, but the nearest repair shop is almost an hour away.  Needless to say, we're waiting until we have another reason to head in that direction. 
I've been hand-sewing some, but not too much.  I've finished the nursing pillow cover, and will have my version of a hooter-hider finished tonight.  I have burp cloths and diaper covers left to finish at some point.  I don't know which is more important to have right away.  I have 2 diaper covers that were given to me, and quite a few hand towels that could be used as burp cloths.
Which would you recommend I work on next?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

bed rest...ugh

I've been enjoying these last few beautiful days...spending hours outside cleaning up the yard and paddock.  My braxton hicks contractions had been progressively getting worse as well.  Sunday night they started to seem like a little bit more than normal.  I assumed it was from my uncomfortable pants and being in the truck for so long ( I had to pick the hubby up from the airport an hour and a half away).  All week it's been progressively getting worse, and after two nights of restless sleep I finally called my midwives.  I am truly terrible about admitting when I need medical attention... and I'm now on a semi-bedrest for the next few days.  I need to make it to 36 weeks, which is Monday to keep the baby out of NICU and to be able to birth at home.  Here's to positive thinking and me working on some knitting I guess

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I really want to sew!

19th century clothing...for little ones, or my husband, or really anyone but me. I'd sew for myself but my ribcage has *gasp!* increased by at least an inch, maybe two. I'm already fretting that the dresses I have won't fit.  I have lots of little ones I can sew for, including my own *squee!* and darling husband sure needs clothing but I'm forcing myself to finish making my cloth diapers and covers.
I'm about half way through my goal of fleece pre-fold diapers, and haven't even started on the covers yet.  I've tried knitting some woolen soakers, but I get frustrated and rip it all out.  I'd like to get at least 3 covers knitted as well.  There are multitudes of baby things that need to be sewn before I can move on to the want to be sewn items.  Sigh...I'm half way considering cutting back my hours at work (that have already been cut in half) just so I can have more time to sew. 
Also, I really would like to post photos of what I have sewn, but our internet connection is so poor that it is impossible to load a photo onto blogger.  Hopefully I'll get up the ambition and time to go to the local coffee shop and post some other blog is desperately in need of some updating as well!
Off to sew!

Friday, March 4, 2011

searching for

a good every day bread recipe. There are so many out there, and I haven't made bread in ages! I just hate spending the money on decent bread and the store when I know I can make it at home much better and probably much cheaper too. If anyone has a recipe suggestion, I'm all ears!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In His Hands

Dear Father, thank You for this new baby.
Would You protect and nurture this baby and bring this pregnancy to full term.
In labor, would You remove all fear and replace it with faith and expectation.
Please give those attending the birth wisdom to take the best care of mother and baby.
Please let this baby be born normal and whole, healthy and strong, and at home with no complications with baby or mother.
Father, thank you for hearing my prayer, for I pray in the name of him who is called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
by Donna Wilson

I received this prayer card tucked in with the box of medical supplies I ordered for our home birth. I ordered from a lovely family-run store, called In His Hands. Ordering was simple, the package was shipped that day, and came in a timely manner. All three of those things seem to be hard to come by today, so a special note saying thanks is in order I believe!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What to wear in the winter.

A friend sent me a message earlier this week saying that she was going to an event in February and needed to know exactly what to wear. I thought rather than reply to one person, I could make a post out of it because I’m sorely lacking in “look what I made” posts. This isn't the finished article, but I thought I would post it while the ideas are percolating in my mind and add to it or edit it later.

My first thoughts are that what your clothing needs are in the winter and summer really aren’t that different. In the winter you just need more!

I’m assuming she’s going to an event that is dated somewhere during the Civil War and it’s not a pre-war event. Working on that assumption here is the list I would prepare for myself before I went. I love lists!!!

Sturdy leather boots

Stockings – preferably wool

One pair of drawers for every day

One chemise for every day

A shortened petticoat to wear next to the drawers

Skirt support *

Three to five petticoats depending on the circumstances of the event

One sturdy dress – preferably wool

This list is the typical list I would recommend for anyone going to an average weekend event. The only differences I would have would be the textiles recommended and those would change with the weather.

Additionally I would plan on bringing a few things because this event is * I think* is taking place during winter in the Midwest.

One hood

Outerwear, either a coat or multiple shawls if you don’t have a coat.

Rubber over-boots to protect your leather ones



*It is my belief that most women attending Civil War reenactments would be portraying someone existing in the middle class of society. From the research I have done, and the tons of research belonging to other individuals that I have read, or discussed I believe that the vast majority of women would be wearing skirt support on a daily basis. Either a cage crinoline or a covered hoop, but something would have been worn. There are plenty of working circumstances that would limit the size of the support, but not necessarily negate the use of said support.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

just a lil post

to say that I haven't done anything blog worthy in awhile...but I hope to soon! I'm getting the itch to sew again, mainly because I have a looming deadline. I figure that most of what needs to be finished for the summer needs to be finished before spring if it's going to be finished at all! This means 3 things.
1. I need to finish clearing off my interim sewing desk.
2. I need to finish my mending pile before I start a new project.
3. I need to go into my unheated sewing room to find fabric...and it's a scary mess up there!

I feel like I've been constantly getting yelled at to slow down and stop doing physical things lately (luckily none of this has come from my midwives) so today I'm taking it fairly easy. Hopefully I'll finish at least #1, maybe even #2 on my list tonight. That is after I do barn chores and make supper.

P.S. there has been talk of picking up our sew alongs where we left off last summer!