Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Been 1 Month!

It never ceases to amaze me how time flies with a newborn. If only pregnancy would fly by that quickly :) I'm also amazed that even though this is the ninth life I've given birth to it still feels just as much a miracle as the first. How awesome Yahweh has been to me! 

Each month I'm going to try to blog about little Yaffa and ten things I'm thankful for that are related to her being in our lives. I hope you'll enjoy our trips down memory lane.

I'm thankful for.......

1. The heavenly smell of a newborn.

2. The velvety feel of Yaffa's face against mine.

3. The dozens of times a day that I get asked, "Can I hold Yaffa?"

4. The way Analise wants reaffirmed every day that when her "Waffa" gets big "she play with me?"
5. Snuggles with her each evening as we spend family time together.

6. Getting to dress up a little girl again. (I L O V E putting bows in her hair)

7. Nursing and rocking her until midnight each night.

8. Eight wonderful siblings to love and hold their sister.

9. The way Daddy gets jealous if he hasn't gotten to hold his Yaffa much that day.

10. Eyes that can gaze so contentedly at this very special and beautiful life in front of me each day.

Thank you, Yahweh, for this blessed life You have given me!



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who's In Control?

This is from a Note that I wrote for Face Book last year. I thought I'd add it to my blog. Enjoy!

A friend recently asked what my position on birth control was. Below is my answer. I though I'd share it with whoever was interested.

Wellllll.... my position is to not judge anyone. What my husband and I practice is to not use ANY form of birth control. We completely allow the Father to open and close my womb. It's a very hard decision, especially now.Eight seems overwhelming right now, but Father continues to give me strength and endurance. Isn't that what we pray for, strength and endurance? Well, unless we have to endure and lift something heavy, how can we grow? Anyway, just preaching to myself : )

Scripture says children are gifts, reward, blessing, etc.... Our Greek mentality cannot grasp that. We consider wealth, homes, cars, vacations as blessings. All of that will pass away, but our children will live eternally, either in hell or in the Kingdom to come. It's a great responsibility. Also, in Scripture you see over and over Yahweh talking about opening and closing the womb. My stance is that pregnancy is not a mere biological function, but something mindfully controlled by the creator. Do I have all the answers? NO! But I can see the Father's hand in so many ways through pregnancy, birth, and the lives of my children.

I read an article about how Scripture says "and the woman will be saved through childbirth". Yes, this is an implication of the Messiah, but I've also seen how the Father has changed me more like Him through out the years and I believe that it has been through my children. I just told a friend embarking on marriage over Sukkot that I believe that I am a better mom now than I would have been had we stopped with just two children. I explain this in this way: I could have ran an immaculate house, seemed to have it all together, trained my children, had plenty of time and cushion to be a wife and mother, but through being maxed out I've been able to see what's truly in my heart. I've yelled and screamed, been impatient, been ugly, and on and on. All of this was in my heart then and even now, but it would have been easier to cover it up with less going on in my life. My children have brought out the ugliness in my heart so that I would have to deal with it and change. Just when I think I have overcome these things, along comes a pregnancy and out pops more. You see there is no refinement without pressure. My children are the pressure that the Father uses to refine me. Could He use other thing? Of course, but He is using blessings to refine me. After I'm through with the refinement I still have these wonderful blessings surrounding me. Did that make sense? I also HIGHLY recommend the book A Full Quiver. It is great. It answers all those questions you have and that others will have of you with Scripture and statistics.
Seven of my nine children.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Yaffa Joy's Birth Story

Dad is helping Joel cut the cord while Analise and Brice watch.

On September 25 at 7:56, Yahweh blessed us with the birth of our ninth child, Yaffa Joy. Yaffa in Hebrew means "beautiful". She is our Beautiful Joy! Here is my birth journey. 

The week before Yaffa's birth I had some very strong contractions, strong enough that I decided to time them. They were pretty regular so I decided to take a shower, go to bed, and get some rest in case this was it. I awoke in the night with even stronger contractions that I tried to sleep in between. This went on for about three hours. BUT I awoke in the morning like normal, no contractions, no signs of baby coming. Boy was that a bummer, especially since  every time in the past when I had felt contractions that strong I was in labor.

Fast forward through a semi-hormonal week, some very cranky moments, and almost no contractions to the 22nd.  During that week I could tell that the baby's head was cockeyed in my pelvis. I called Val, the doula I had with Analise, to ask what I could do to get her head to straighten out. The two tips she gave were to get upside-down for a little while to pull baby out and possibly she would settle back in straight or to put a cold pack where her head was and a heating pad where her head needed to be. I did the first and her head went back cockeyed after a couple days. I did the second a couple days later and her head seemed to straighten back out and stay.

The nights of the 22nd and 23rd I awoke with strong, but sporadic contractions that lasted about three hours both nights. One of the contractions was so strong it made me jump out of bed and breathe through it. I also had bloody mucus throughout both days. Those two nights wore me out and I was so confused by the way this was going. You see, compared to all of my other births this was so different. If I'm feeling pain during a contraction I'm in labor and I don't remotely lose my mucus plug until transition. I'm not at all good at not knowing. I can  pretty much handle the whats of life as long as I know the whens. So, not knowing when labor would begin and having all of the "signs" of labor was really wearing on me.

 Usually my husband delivers my babies, but this time, because of a back injury, I would need to find someone brave and who understood labor to not be a medical emergency but a natural bodily function to deliver my baby (homebirth with a midwife is illegal here in Alabama) and another naturally minded woman to assist her and help and support me. The first people who came to mind were my friends Sunshine and Leigh. Sunshine had had a natural homebirth with a midwife and advocates midwifery and homebirth along with the dangers and misuse of the medical field during pregnancy and labor. I thought she'd be the perfect person to ask to do the delivery. She was thrilled to get to help her friend out in this way. Boy was I thankful that Yahweh had brought this bold and sweet friend in my life. I had previously asked my friend Leigh to help with my last birth, since she had attended births for friends and done some doula training, so I asked her if she'd be willing to help this time. She said she would! Baruch hashem, Yahweh!

The night of the 24th I called my labor partners, Sunshine and Leigh, to give them an update and for some prayer and emotional support. They both encouraged me that it would be soon and that they would be praying. Just talking to them really helped me to relax a bit about the whole thing.

That night the contractions started up just like the previous two nights. I tried to sleep in between them thinking, here we go again, another night of contractions all for nothing :/ Around 3:00 a.m. they kept coming and seemed to get stronger and more regular. I couldn't sleep so I decided to time the contractions. They were coming about every five minutes and lasting about a minute. They weren't letting up so I woke my husband up and told him I was going to take a shower and call Sunshine and Leigh. I took my shower and decided to wait a while longer to call since I still was leery of the contractions just stopping. I didn't want to bother anyone for nothing at that hour. 

My husband got me some pregnancy tea and he sat out in the living room with me while I sat on my birth ball and waited....waited to see if this was indeed going to be it. They did get stronger and so I decided to call Sunshine around 4:30 and have her come since she lived the furthest away. My husband put on our favorite Messianic radio station so we could have a worshipful atmosphere. It was really nice to concentrate on praise for a time while I'd still be conscious of the music playing. 

Sunshine arrived around 4:45 and my contractions slowed a bit. I told her I figured that would happen. We visited with one another in between contractions until they suddenly got intense and I had to concentrate more. The best way I could handle the contractions was to stand up and lean on the back of the love seat. Anything else made the contractions unbearable. Sunshine rubbed my back and pressed on my lower back which really helped. I told Sunshine to go ahead and call Leigh at what I believe was around 5:30. 

By the time Leigh got here I was in the middle of a very strong contraction. She came right in and got to business. She brought cold rice socks and placed them on my neck and lower back. It was a great relief, especially the one on my neck since I was feeling nauseous from the intensity of the contractions. She reminded me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. I seemed to be gasping through my mouth instead. Breathing in through my nose cut the pain in half so I was very grateful for the reminder. She continued to remind me of this throughout my entire labor. Leigh also was right there physically for every contraction rubbing my back, squeezing my hips, suggesting position changes, helping me squat and on and on. I never felt alone or like a watched pot the whole labor. Sunshine was there getting things and being the servant that she usually is. All three of us were flowing so well together, I thought. It was just beautiful. I couldn't have asked for a better team.

Tom was in and out checking on me. He came in once and was with me holding my hand. It was so sweet to have him there in that way even though I know his back was hurting so badly. It also was such a blessing to know he was out with the children and that they were taken care of by the best person who could do that.

I mostly stood and leaned on things while swaying my hips through my contractions. Usually I want to lie down during my labor and I did at one point, which is when my water broke, but it was much more painful to lie down, so stand I did, stand, sway, and breathe. I sat on a low stool for a while, but as soon as I would have a contraction I wanted to be on my knees leaned over or standing. Leigh suggested I squat and lean up against her for some contractions. I did and I could feel more pressure from the baby's head coming down. I told Sunshine to get her gloves on since I didn't know how soon it would be and wanted her to be ready.

I started to worry a little that it was going to be much longer since there was only about a half second thought of not being able to do this. Besides that, it was all very tolerable. I was still waiting for that "I can't do this anymore!, make it stop now!" anxiety to come. Like I said, besides that half a second it never happened. 

Leigh suggested I get on my hands and knees so I got on my knees and put my elbows on the frame of the bed. I felt a lot of pressure and like my body was starting to feel "pushy", but I wanted to get to the bathroom in case it was just a bowel movement. I told them I needed to go to the bathroom and got up and sat on the toilet. 

As soon as I sat down my body started pushing even though I was breathing through the contractions. I called for Sunshine and told her that I thought the baby was coming. I reached down and could feel myself opening up and I could feel the head coming down. I braced myself on the tub and sink counter while lifting myself up off the toilet for just enough room for Sunshine to be able to grasp the baby. She came right out in no time. My body mostly pushed her out on its own. I didn't even feel that ring of fire feeling when she crowned that I had always felt with my previous births. It was P E R F E C T! Sunshine lifted her to me and I held my baby with such gratefulness to Yahweh for his goodness and mercy to me.

Tom missed the birth. He didn't think it would be that soon. He had just been in not too long before and went out. He was telling my oldest son that he thought it would be another half hour or so and then he heard baby cries. He came in and was amazed that it happened so quickly. In the past I usually push for a while. Being upright must have really helped.

I sat on the toilet enjoying my baby while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then Tom tied off the cord and cut it. Someone took baby while I got back in bed to await the placenta. I took angelica to help bring the placenta since it usually takes quite a while for it to come. I also took arnica to reduce any swelling. Placenta came pretty quickly, but was missing a baseball size piece and was very shredded looking. More of the rest of the placenta came out, so I took a dropper of Shephard's Purse and got up and went to take a bath. I was bleeding quite a bit so I showered instead. Yaffa was a mess, too, so I got to shower with her. It was such a sweet time together.

I lost quite a bit of blood and was having a lot of clots while showering. I got out quickly, got got dressed and got in bed. I tried nursing Yaffa to see if that would help, but I realized that I was still bleeding quite a bit. I had bled through all the way to the bed so I got up to change. Blood was pouring out of me. I got cleaned up again while Tom went to get the  cayenne pepper capsules. I took two and laid down quickly since I was feeling very light headed. I  don't know how long I laid there, but it wasn't long before I felt a bit better and could tell the bleeding had subsided. I'm very thankful for the cayenne and the knowledge to use it. I'm convinced that it would have been an emergency situation without it.

Looking back, I would not have taken the Angelica unless there was a problem with the placenta detaching. I believe it was what caused the placenta to release unevenly causing all the bleeding.  Praise Yah, the bleeding was completely normal by noon that day.

After I was settled, they weighed and measured my "Beautiful Joy". She was 7lbs. 15 oz. and 20 1/2 in. One of my smallest babies! Both Bethany and Jordan weighed the same when they were born. No wonder I was so comfortable while I was pregnant! She was so small compared to my other births. The last one weighed 10lbs. 2 oz. : )

Sunshine and Leigh, my heroes!, with little Yaffa Joy

Besides being v e r y  sick for the first 5 months of this pregnancy, it was the best and easiest pregnancy I've ever had. I really only started feeling half way miserable the week before she was born. I feel so grateful and blessed that Yahweh showered His great mercy and grace upon me. He truly only gives us what we can handle. Besides being such a great pregnancy, this was the easiest and least painful birth I've had. I'm a little tired since I'm getting a little less sleep, but besides my abdomen feeling a little sore I don't even feel like I just had a baby. I have no tears, swelling, or tenderness in my perineum. Not bad for nine births.

One day old

Big sister Bethany and Yaffa

Yaffa at four days old getting ready to celebrater her first Yom Teruah