The Start of the School Year

Well, the kids had expressed interest in year-round homeschooling (days off and vacations through out the year instead of chunks in the summer and such), but it just didn’t work out for us this year. Maybe next year! Then we planned to have the start of the school year begin in early August, but I was struggling! I had to attack our schedules and get my health in order, so I attacked my coffee drinking first as well as getting Craeghar’s nap time sorted so I could get more sleep at night.

I am finally starting to feel a bit more energized, despite no coffee, but I still have some organizing to do. School is ready to start once our junk is not stealing our time! lol So I’m packing all things we own that we don’t use, don’t need, and don’t love. Then next spring, I’ll go through and decide what of it all we want to keep or want to get rid of. This will save us the time of organizing and the time of having to continue to clean it! So I’m very thankful for a shed that we can store things in.

So we’ll be starting school on Tuesday, August 29th. We have some workbooks for Language Arts and Math; we’ll be using All-in-One Homeschooling Curriculum for Geography, Zoology, and Health/PE; we’ll be part of a Homeschool Co-op for Library Skills, Maine Studies, and Fine Arts; and I’m trying out a new curriculum that will get us through all the books of the Bible in a year. I’m really excited. My kids love school and can’t wait for it to start, and I can’t wait for them to start either because their excitement for learning gives me so much joy. I’m so proud of them!

This year Katlyn is in 8th grade, Karyn is in 6th grade, and Christopher is in 4th grade.  Kathryn isn’t registered but is working through Kindergarten and 1st grade, and Kimberlyn is working through Pre-Kindergarten. So exciting! I’ll probably be blogging a bit more about it once we start since it will be what fills our days very soon.

Also something I have to plan around, is halfway through the year, we’ll have a new little Whitten to be mindful of! So amazing… a new little baby!!! So please keep us in your prayers as we dive into this new season and new adventure! God is so good. ♥

The Lord is Transforming Me

Today was a huge success!! After having quite the mental breakdown yesterday and calling my husband, he helped me come up with some ideas of what to address next in getting things in order… so I got to bed at a decent time with plans of getting up earlier in the morning. I was planning to get up at 6am, but Craeghar fussed at 4am and woke me up, so I decided to get up since I was awake. I started the day with some reading, some solitaire, my devotions, and checked my Facebook. Then I got up, did some kitchen clean up because I didn’t want to be in there unless it was cleaner…… LOL
 
I made breakfast and Chris’s lunch, and finished just in time for Craeghar to wake up and for me to wake up the kids. We all ate and saw Daddy off to work. Because it was still before 8am, I didn’t feel rushed to get the kitchen cleaned right up so I had the kids all wash up and get dressed for the day, then gave the girls an option of what job they’d like to have. Katlyn chose the kitchen, gladly, because she didn’t want to do the bathroom haha and she did a really great job.
 
Christopher and Kathryn tidied up the bedroom and then they all got to play for a bit. Craeghar went down for a nap, and I napped too, for about an hour or so, and when I woke up the kids were playing board games together at the table. ♥♥♥
 
We had lunch and gave them the option again for a clean up job and they all got to work, and then played some more once they were finished. I was starting to experience some anxiety so I laid back down and things started to go a little south at that point, but I communicated with the kids that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and needed their help with supper. Katlyn made supper and all the kids chipped in to get the kitchen clean and the bathroom spotless. I rewarded them all with some brownies and then readied them for bed. 🙂
 
I kissed them all goodnight and laid down with Craeghar around 7:30. I sent Karyn to bed (who was helping to prepare Daddy’s supper while I did bedtime) and walked through the house to do a quick tidy. By 8pm, I was sitting in the dimly lit living room and enjoying the quiet. Chris got home at almost 9, I got him supper and chatted with him for a bit and now I’m in bed, enjoying a little more down time before I go to sleep and start again. 
It really makes a difference with how you start your day… it probably also helped that Monday I had prayer time with some wonderful ladies, then Wednesday I got to see some great friends all day, that I had a good cry yesterday with my husband, and a little rant/vent time with my sweet friend last night… but most importantly that I’ve had time with the Lord each and every day this week as I’ve set it aside and made it the most important part of my day.
Things aren’t perfect, but I can see how applying the things I’m learning in my training course to my own life and in my own walk with the Lord, even though they may be baby steps, is how the Lord is transforming me. ♥

Freebirth of Christopher Thomas

First UP/UC, First Son (Third Child) born on 8/6/2008

At the time, we thought our due date was the 23rd of July, but when I was measuring 40wks for 3 weeks I decided to check my dates again just to be sure. Sure enough, I had miscalculated and my EDD was actually the 30th.

Contractions began on July 13th (at 37½ (ish) weeks, but I thought I was almost 39(ish) weeks). They came and went several days and would be between 3-11 minutes apart but would cease after a few hours.  I declared and trusted that they were all prep for the delivery that would come in God’s perfect time.

With lots of prodromal labor, the 26th came with more prep, the 29th brought “bloody show,” our EDD of July 30th came and went, and August 2 brought more progress that left me at 2-3 cm dilated.

As August 5th came and went, even more prep occurred: a quick progression from 3cm to 5cm and a smaller gap between contractions but all this ceased to continue by evening. This left me joking on August 6 that I’d never have this baby and the Lord put Isaiah 66:9 on my heart to which it reads: “Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.” I chuckled at myself and again trusted in His perfect timing.

As I labored all day on the 6th, contractions varying between 4 and 20 minutes apart, I talked with my sister all throughout it to keep myself distracted. We laughed and she kept me accountable to continue to trust in God’s plan.

At around 5pm the contractions were getting quite uncomfortable and achy and I wanted to be alone so I left my husband in the living room with the kids and laid down, still chatting with my sister on the phone. I was still able to talk through the second half of it after the peak past and we’d enjoy conversing and preparing for delivery until sometime after 6. We talked about videotaping it, perhaps using the tub, things to keep in mind after baby came, considering emergency situations and the like.

Following 6pm, the contractions went from lasting a minute or so to lasting closer to a minute and a half and I could no longer talk through any of it but they were still varying between 4 and 20 minutes apart and I decided that when they were more regular (around 4 and 5) that I would fill the tub. Nearly 7pm came and I had a couple of “great” contractions that left me wondering if I should try to go to the bathroom but still 7 minutes apart. Then another came that left me claiming the promises of God for a pain-free birth.

I then let my sister go and went to the bathroom to have a bowel movement. While I sat there, I noticed trickling warmth and thought, “is that my water?” I had the urge to push and have another bowel and so I went with it (because it hurt when I held back) and more fluid pushed its way through. I hollered for dh down the hallway to tell him that my water had broke and he said “Wow, that’s convenient!” It was now 7:30 and I had him call my sister back to let her know that my water broke and I wouldn’t be calling her back right away. He also got our two and four year old daughters into their beds.

I continued to feel the urge to push and as long as I was, I felt no pain. I figured it would be in the next day or two that this baby would be joining us and began to get very excited! And then I realized my urges to push were not to have a bowel movement!!

I hollered dh back in to let him know that I was feeling pushy and asked him to get the shower curtains that were earlier prepared, onto the floor so I could transition from the toilet to the daybed. I checked my cervix and while doing so, I dilated from 5 cm to 10 and began effacing. I again hollered for him to come back in.

I told him “I’m pushing and I think I’m just going to stay here.” He laughed and joked how his baby’s first experience would be a swirly. I laughed and shook my head at his silliness. “On the floor goober!” So we laughed and he came to help me to the daybed but the contractions were on top of each other and moving my legs were out of the question (as long as they were propped up on stools in a squatted position and pushing, I felt no pain). I explained to him that I was waiting for the contraction to end but it wasn’t happening. He exclaimed how fast that was as he rushed to keep our two and four year old daughters in their room (I’m sure they were antsy and wondering what the commotion was).

Suddenly my water burst and baby’s head was fully engaged and crowning – it was time for babe to come OUT! I hollered for dh to come back, that the head was right there. I got up to sit on the floor, and dh came running in and helped me and asked if I wanted a pillow. He ran back out to get a pillow, only for me to holler that the baby’s head was coming out – there is NO TIME!!! He ran back in and threw the pillow behind me. Propped up on one hand I was in tears and laughter at all of this coming together. I felt the baby’s head bulging through and I was tense against it in a moment of fear and then reminded myself to relax. As I did, without even a push, the head started coming out and before my husband could finish telling me how great I was doing, my body gently eased the baby out and the head came through. Dh was in utter shock at how easy that was for me! I propped myself up with both hands and I again relaxed and felt the rest of the baby slide out like jiggly jello into Daddy’s hands. I heard my dh exclaim how much faster that was than our previous births.

Our sweet baby’s soft cry permeated the air around us.

We rested the baby’s bottom on the floor (that was covered in a sheet and a puppy pad) as I held the upper body in my hand and we looked at each other at the craziness of what just happened. It was all in a matter of 30 minutes (but felt like 5), and we were holding our baby in just 5-10 minutes after we “knew” it was time. I realized I didn’t know the gender and reached down. I looked up and said “It’s a boy!” and we both cried and laughed at the amazement and awe of all of what just happened. I held him close as my husband got the girls up to meet their brother. We were all so excited and laughing and celebrating. I wiped him down and rubbed his back as his color got brighter and then massaged the vernix into his skin.

Dh then helped me to the daybed and we loved on our newest addition to the family. I then nursed him as dh called to let all the Grandparents know as well as my sister, his brother, our cousin, and his aunt, that we just delivered our SON.

About an hour later I delivered the placenta into a bowl and I got into bed and nursed him again still in utter awe that God had blessed us with a son. When he was 2 hours old and the cord was no longer pulsating, we cut it and got him all snuggled up and cozy. “I can no longer say ‘the girls’ when referring to my children!” I whispered. We were nestled together for another hour before I laid him in his bed and he drifted into a quiet sleep. I couldn’t sleep… I was so in awe and so I got up and called my sister. We were both amazed at how fast it all happened.

It was a BEAUTIFUL experience; raw, real, personal, and fun. No poking, no suggestions, no tests, no monitors… We were immediately made comfortable and got plenty of rest that night.

<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#3>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#4>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#5>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#6>>

Freebirth Story of Kathryn Martha

Second UP/UC, Third Daughter (Fourth Child) born on 7/13/2011

My EDD was July 21st so when Monday, July 11th came and labor began, I anticipated it to be prodromal labor like with my last baby. After an uneventful pregnancy, I had 2 hours of good contractions about 10mins apart. I got excited that contractions were taking place and progress was being made.The following day, I woke up to some good contractions that were 10-12mins apart and monitored them throughout the day. They stayed approximately 10mins apart for most of the day until later in the evening when they became 8mins apart. As bedtime came, I attempted to rest between contractions 5-8mins apart. Some back pain and pressure began in the early hours on the 13th and it made it impossible for me to sleep. I sat on the birthing ball come 3am as it was the least uncomfortable place to be.I awoke my husband around 6am to let him know he should stay home from work. I don’t know how I knew as I felt very sleep deprived and we were still a week away from our EDD, but I told him that I was either going to have this baby “today” or “tomorrow.” I reasoned with him that the contractions were very uncomfortable and I would like an extra hand with the kids. He took the day off and the contractions maintained 4-8mins.

I was 4cm dilated and anticipated going through another night of contractions. I switched between the toilet where I felt myself opening up and the birthing ball where I’d have my husband rub my lower back during contractions.

I had a few contractions, 7 mins apart, and I laughed at how my first UC went – that after a couple contractions 7 minutes apart, I went to the bathroom and had the baby within the half hour and how funny it would be if it happened like that again! I made my way to the toilet and I had a contraction right away. I breathed and moaned through it. Somehow through the fog, I felt as though it was time to get the bed prepared and I told my husband. He got it ready and came to help me to the bed.

I began to cry as I felt lots of pressure on my bum and perineum. In my exhaustion, I became fearful and began telling my husband that I wasn’t sure that I could do this, especially for another week. He could see that I was in transition and reminded me that I could and to come to the bed. I told him I’ll just do what we did with our son and have him on the floor next to the toilet but He encouraged me to the bed as it was right there and attempted to get me in a squatting position.

My body was not okay with the position because of my SPD through more tears I asked him to help me to get on all fours. I kept thinking how I couldn’t do this for another week (completely unaware that I was in transition). It hurt to push and it hurt not to push… my cervix was farther back than with my first UC so with each push I could feel it bear down on my bum and perineum and became fearful that I would tear. I did my best to massage and take my time with the pushing and calm my emotions. I felt her head at the opening and fought the urge to push hard (reminding myself to relax so I wouldn’t tear). I pushed and in one big swoop and lots of twirling, all of sweet baby #4 came spilling out of me as the bag of waters burst and baby pooped; blood, meconium, and water flooded the bed as I held my 7lb beauty in my hands in shock and awe.

I unwrapped the cord from around the back of the neck and stared at this little darling still in a daze from the experience that brought me to that very moment. My husband prompted me about the gender and then is the moment I saw – GIRL. I wiped her face down and laid her on me as I laid back on the pillows. I don’t even remember anything else… I was so happy that she was there and that I had done it… I had overcome all the obstacles to get to this very sweet success ~ I had pushed through and held another beautiful baby – born into my own hands, in my home, and on my bed. What a beautiful and empowering experience.

<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#3>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#4>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#5>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#6>>

Follow Him and Trust

Today has been chock full of eye-opening moments. I don’t just feel like I’m entering into a new season in my life, I feel like the last chapter of addressing my heart issues and pain has been slammed shut, and it’s time to stop looking back.  “I brought you through that to bring you here. Exactly where you are right now.”  God’s got a hold of my hand, so it’s time trust and look ahead to what He’s doing!  It’s something new and it’s time to walk it out!