Sunday, February 24, 2013

Birthday Wish!

Ok-I don't normally make requests on my birthday! I mean, I am so blessed in so many ways already, and have so many wonderful people around me who go far and above to spoil me completely without my asking, that I certainly don't feel right asking for more!  But-I think maybe this might go a little ways to changing the world for better... And I think that is a request worth making....And it's kind of fun (I think! :) )

First, some history.... I bought Joel Salatin's "Folks This Ain't Normal" awhile back, (I LOOOVE Joel's books!)  but hadn't had time to peruse it. I happened to bring it with me one Saturday while Tabitha had dance classes, and I (thankfully, and for once!) didn't have a ton of errands to run! I sat down and began to read.  I really really enjoy the straightforward way Joel writes, and a lot of his common sense advice, spelled out in common talk parables, reminds me a lot of how my Dad likes to talk, and I like that.  Anyways, pretty much from the get go he had me nodding my head and laughing out loud (a nudist buddhist, anyone? LOL! I guess you'll have to read it to know what I mean there...) :)

Anyways, another Mom happened to come sit across from me, and I noticed her trying to read the title of my book, probably rather curious as to what this insane woman was finding so amusing....   I told her the title and enthusiastically (ok, maybe a bit too much so) said "I really think that if everyone in the world read this book, we'd be on our way to a better world".  She responded "I'm a teacher, I read enough for work, so the only books I read in my free time are fiction". I told her they have it on Audible too, she didn't actually have to read it! (When I am enthused about something, I may possibly be a teensy bit pushy. LOL!!)  Anyways, the conversation kind of fizzled out after that, and I returned to being entertained by Joel's addictive writing style.

But it had me thinking... What if I really could convince a lot of people, who may not otherwise feel this book is for them, to try it? Not even the whole book, just a few chapters?  I so often feel so misunderstood in this world, if people could read this book, maybe they might understand my perspective, where I'm coming from, a little bit too... Now I don't mean to tell you that I agree 100% wholeheartedly with everything Joel says, mind you (I admit- I love my "pleasure" horses, and my nice new big house a bit much for that... Hey-nobody's perfect! LOL!) Seriously-I know there is a lot that I can improve upon, and reading Joel's books helps inspire me to try!  He gives some tips at the end of each chapter about how people at home (even if they don't live on a farm-maybe especially if they don't live on a farm) can put some of the theory he is sharing, into practice.

We truly do live in an artificial world, and this synthetic way of living is really taking it's toll-on our environment, on the animals, and especially on ourselves-the very creators of this sham.

Now-stay with me here! Even if you:
-live in a highly urban area (maybe especially if you do!),
-aren't into farming,
 -aren't into "natural" stuff,
-really do not think that this book can be for you-would you please consider reading at least the first 4 chapters of "Folks, This Ain't Normal", with an open mind, sometime this year, anyways?
One of the activities Joel suggests (# 8 on page 40 in the paperback copy, at the end of Chapter 2), is to read things you're sure will disagree with your current way of thinking.   If there are some of you out there whose mindset varies greatly from mine (and I know there are! :) ) who are willing to read a few chapters of "Folks, this ain't normal", I would be interested in reading a few chapters from a book that really floats your boat, and that you would like to recommend.
(Now I do realize that, while there are very likely many of my friends are going "Joel who?" several of you are probably wayyyy ahead of me here already. Maybe those of you who fall into the latter category could consider really encouraging others to read it too! Or even take it a bit further and consider purchasing a spare copy to loan  yourself, or donate to a library (if you don't feel comfortable with sharing your own! ) Tell 'em your crazy farmer friend asked you to! :D

It is widely available, and relatively and each have both a paperback and electronic copy, as does,  also, as previously mentioned, has a copy you can listen to, either on your e-reader or Ipod, many libraries have it, (including and ) for those of you who are local, and I have two copies that I am willing to lend out.

Anyways, I would LOVE to hear from anyone who reads it, what your thoughts are, and if it inspired you too, so let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: No one has paid me to promote this book.  :)  I just really, really love it, and want to share! :D

Friday, February 22, 2013

Update to Midwifery in Alberta-Need Your Help!

I must apologize for not having posted in a year and a half. After running over Jewel, I couldn't bring myself back to visit my blog. There are so many things I have thought over this time that I would like to post, but,-and I know it sounds dumb-while I don't want to delete the post I wrote in tribute to her, seeing her picture there would paralyze me each time. I'm finally at a point where I can see her picture without crying-but just barely.  God has blessed us-just as Job was given so much more after his trials, so we have been blessed with a beautiful pack of beagles, starting with a precious girl named Ruby, sent to us by a wonderful family in Saskatchewan, and then we adopted a few more, each one special in our hearts. Still, I will never forget our Jewel.

Anyways, several people have written, asking for updates on this post I had written, the day before we lost Jewel, and I do feel so bad for leaving you hanging.  I have written to Claire MacDonald for an update, and she has sent me some very good news on it!  
I am going to post her account of it, and I would like to thank everyone who made an effort to help.  I would also like to recommend, if you don't already, that you consider a membership to the Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth (Please click on purple words for the link).  Claire is editor of their publication "Birth Issues" (check out their new blog!: is one of the wonderful people who make up this helpful and informative group.  They feature many birth stories in their publication, and I know there are more than just me out there who are "birth story junkies!"  They also help to promote and support women who want to birth their own way, whichever way that may be.  A very worthwhile organization!
Without further ado, here is what Claire shared:

I have wonderful news to share with you and your readers. Of the 5 students, 4 won their appeal during the Summer 2012. Of the 4 who won their appeal, 3 just started practicing as midwives in Edmonton. Tara Tilroe is working with Hope Midwives. Teilya Kiely with Midwifery Care Partners. And Carly Beaulieu is working with Lucina Midwives. (Note from Vanessa-Carly attended my 5th child, Luke's birth, along with Maureen and Kerstin. She was amazing!). Megan Lalonde will be joining the Lucina Midwives sometime in the Spring or Summer after completing some midwifery courses in Ontario. 

The experience was grueling for all parties. The midwifery graduates were individually assessed three times, had to hire a lawyer, and appealed twice. In the end the Alberta Health Disciplines Board asked the Alberta Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee to assess each applicant for registration on an individual basis. The graduates were granted registration with a number of caveats. Some had to take more courses, others needed to be the primary caregiver at more births, and most will need to practice for a number of years under the supervision of a senior midwife. Although they did not receive full registration, they are all very happy to be working as midwives. They just want to put the experience behind them and finally attend to birthing families. It was also a gruesome experience for the members of the board, the majority of whom are not midwives, as they had little formal guidance or framework to assess foreign-trained midwives. It created soem divisions amongst professionals and among midwives themselves. There was a lot of fear mainly, which is the center of childbirth for so many unfortunately.

This struggle highlighted the need for a College of Midwives, which was created in January this year. From now on the College will be the arm responsible for all of these midiwfery related inquiries, complaints, policies, etc. Now that we have a Midwifery program in Alberta, most foreign programs and schools are identified...which ones are accepted as legitimate programs and which are not. There is also a path to "upgrade" your skills to work within Canada.

Although all this appears pretty clear the reality is that it is still a work in progress. The College has a lot of work to do this year to create much needed guidelines, frameworks, and hire staff. The hope is that gentleness and transparency can always prevail. I really don't want to see our emerging midwifery culture to become like that of the medical schools, where it is so competive that everyone eats each other up. When students graduate they are often exhasuted and disillusioned. The midwifery profession is so taxing, that gentleness and patience are skills that need to be nurtured within the midwifery culture.

Sidenote: At this point in time, the degree from the Midwives College of Utah is not one of the programs that are accepted, and it is not recommended for midwives hoping to practice in Alberta to take this program, at least at this time. There is a possibility that a master's degree from this college may be considered more acceptable (the applicants that I mentioned before did not have that, and assumptions were (wrongly) made about their education being "fast tracked"), but it is still not a sure thing, and not recommended.  The list of approved programs is available on the Alberta Association of Midwives' website, here:

Thursday, October 13, 2011


It's been a week since we lost you. It's been a week since my impatience cost you your life. I wish every day, every minute I could go back in a time machine and change that day, change just those few short minutes that shattered everything.

We only had the privilege of having you in our lives for one year, one full season, but in that year you touched our lives and hearts in so many ways. Our house is so still without your crazy busy energy, always quick to engage someone in a game of tag, or chase, stealing Tabitha's rabbit fur change purse every chance you got, or sniffing out food and getting into it, no matter how high it was placed, or how much you were NOT supposed to be into it, or just snuggling into a lap, or on a bed (warm bodies and pillows preferred).

Doing everything you could to try and go home with Grandpa Herzog, you knew you had him wrapped around your delicate little paw.

If I could just go back, and have you here again with us, I wouldn't begrudge cleaning up the garbage you would strew all over the house, every single time the garbage slider wasn't pushed fully into the cupboards, or the disaster you would turn my house into, in your frantic attempts to find us, when we left you home alone and you escaped your kennel (how did you do that anyways?)

You hated to be left alone, always game to go somewhere, so long as it was with us. Didn't matter what mode of transportation it may be. While riding in the van, you amused yourself, and us, snapping at flies, chewing up my green peppers when they just "happened" to roll your way under the van seat.... rolling down the automatic windows whenever it suited you best so you could let your floppy ears flap in the breeze, busy little nose sniff-sniffing, then taking a nap up on the dash like a kitty, silly girl.

It's why it hurts so much to have to have buried you alone now, when being alone was something you hated to be, so much. We buried you next to Old Kye, and Sabu.

I wish I would have gotten a video of you climbing the ladder to the kids' playcenter, and then sliding down the slide with them. A reminder to do things right away, and not put them off-because tomorrow doesn't always come.

You won Leroy's heart, though he wouldn't say as much, when you growled, so low and fierce at him, when he would come home late at night and peek in at Jesse. We knew every bone in your little body was fiercely loyal.

You weren't "just a dog" you were one of the family, which is why this is so hard. You were so young and had your whole life ahead of you-Jesse always asked "how old will Jewel live to be? How old will I be then?" We looked forward to watching you grow up with the kids.

Your name rolled off the kids' tongues so many times a day, especially from Jesse, and usually with humour and love.

Jesse misses you so much, he says he has trouble sleeping without his Jewel. I know he misses giving you rides on the quad, and dreaming about chasing rabbits with you.

Everything happened so suddenly, and with so much finality-no chance to turn it around, or say goodbye, or process it, and I was the cause of it-not like with Sabu, where I knew I was releasing her from a hurting body, and yet even then felt as though I was betraying her, not like with Kye, whom it hurt so much to lose, yet we had had the grace of so many many good years together.

The images and horror from the day we lost you have yet to dim, and still haunt me. I know you were such a sweet tempered, forgiving little thing, you wouldn't wish that. But they still persist. I'm still in shock-still can't believe that I will never see your beautiful, glossy, particoloured figure that almost never quit moving, that I can't call your name and have you come racing up from playing with Copper in the pasture, to the step and sit wiggling, waiting to be let in.

I hope there is a doggy heaven, and you are there right now, getting all the dogs wound up in a grand old game of chase, with lots of good things for you to scent out and gobble up, and warm beds with lots of pillows for you to lay on and stretch out and sigh.

Rest in peace, sweet girl, our Jewel.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Midwifery in Alberta need YOUR help!!

Ok-I am ABSOLUTELY FED UP with healthcare in Alberta!! It is an absolutely crappy system, that much talk has been made about, and very little action taken (case in point-my grandpa was just taken by ambulance to the hospital yesterday, where he waited for 5 fricken hours to be seen!!) Come on, people. Let me reiterate-BY AMBULANCE!! Oh yeah-this is the same hospital where they CLOSED SHARED CARE MATERNITY in, one of the most wonderful maternity programs EVER-why? Supposedly to remedy the emergency shortage. Um hmm...

Well, here's another attack on expectant mothers and families in Alberta, from our wonderful government-they are randomly approving and denying midwifery graduates of MCU (Midwifery College of Utah) the right to practice in Alberta. Claire Vessaire of Birth Issues has explained it much better than I in this letter she sent out, which will be copied and pasted below. The bottom line is:
Alberta needs more midwives! Even more so than ever, with the HUGE loss to women and babies and FAMILIES of the Stony Plain Westview Health center birthing rooms. And this political jerking around of midwifery students is absolute GARBAGE!! I would appreciate it if as many of my friends who can, would please help me show support for these 5 midwives. Even if you aren't having any more babies, or have other preferences for birth-someone in your life (sister, friend, daughter) may wish for the services of a midwife, and not have them available. My sincere thanks in advance!!

Dear Midwifery Supporters:
I am writing to you today to ask for your support. It will take 5 minutes of your time. There are five graduate midwives in Alberta, four of whom reside in Edmonton and one who lives in Cardston who need your help. These five midwives have been denied registration to work as a midwife in Alberta by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee (MHDC). They have made an appeal of this decision to the Health Disciplines Board. This appeal will take place on Thursday, October 20th at 9:15am at 100025 Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. Background information: Midwifery education in Canada has been a troubling issue for many years. It has taken over 20 years for each province to legislate and fund midwifery under provincial health care and there still remain some provinces and territories with no midwifery legislation. Currently, there are only five provinces with midwifery education programs, many of which have less than 10 graduates per year. As you may know, Alberta has only just started their midwifery education program at Mount Royal University this September (2011), with an intake of a mere 14 students. This has led many women seeking an education in midwifery to go outside their province or country. The Alberta Association of Midwives had 21 student members as of early 2011. Twenty of these students are internationally trained, mostly in the US. The Midwives College of Utah (MCU) is a US based midwifery education program offered by distance. MCU has had 32 Canadian students enrolled in their programs in the last year. Some of these students have graduated and successfully registered as midwives in their own provinces. Others have quit due to the unknown route to registration once graduated.

There have been 13 Alberta graduates of MCU in the last 20 months. Seven of these graduates have been granted registration by the MHDC. Six of them have been denied, solely based on the education program from which they graduated. This is arbitrary and unfair.

I am asking you to write a letter of support to the Health Disciplines Board for these five midwifery graduates who are involved in this appeal. The appeal is not a public affair but the legal council for the graduates has asked for written submissions to support their case. Below you will find a FORM LETTER that you can copy-date-sign and email to the Midwifery Students' Association of Alberta at Be sure to include your full name, address, and contact information in your letter, otherwise it may not be valid. It is also very effective to write your own letter telling your personal story. Why do you support midwifery and why do we need more midwives in Alberta? You can send this to the same email address listed above.
You can find more information at
Finally, become a fan of our Facebook page at

Please send your letter in no later than Monday, October 10th.

***FORM LETTER*******************************************************************
[Your Full Name]
City, Province, Postal Code
Phone number
October 4, 2011
Alberta Health Disciplines Board
Alberta Health and Wellness
17th Floor, North Tower Telus Plaza
10025 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton AB T5J 2N3

Subject: Letter of support for Midwifery Graduates.
As a(n) [Albertan citizen, mother/father, childbirth professional, etc.] I would like to indicate my strong support for the Alberta Midwifery Graduates who have formally made an appeal to the Alberta Health Disciplines Board.
These five graduate midwives have been denied registration to work as a midwife in Alberta by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee (MHDC). I find this decision shocking. Not even a year after the wait-time and emergency debates were opened we are yet again witness to the lack of transparency in Alberta politics as well as Alberta Health and Wellness’ unwillingness to follow due process.
I fear that if the Alberta Health Disciplines Board upholds the recommendation forwarded by the Midwifery Health Disciplines Committee, Alberta women and families will be sacrificed. Waiting lists for midwives in Alberta can be as long as 40 names per month. If we had these five extra midwives in Alberta more women would be able to have timely access to midwifery services and this would be consistent with Alberta Health’s desire to offer care and choice to all Albertan families.
Many of these families are being put into a situation where they either have to leave their jobs and wait in the urban settings, at a huge expense to themselves and Alberta, or have to brave our winter road conditions to make it to a hospital. They are endangering themselves and their babies. Having community trained midwives who drive to them would fill the gap that is currently faced by Alberta Health in rural areas.
Finally, I would like to address the issue of transparency and due diligence. I rely on Alberta Health to be leaders in providing safe medical options in Alberta. To me, safety is not only possible through skill acquisition but also through clear and transparent accountability to its patients. How can there be 7 new registrants from the Midwives College of Utah (MCU) in Alberta in the last 20 months yet 6 applicants from that same program have been denied in the same time period solely on the basis of their program? On the one hand I am told that MCU is a problem, but on the other hand MHDC has continued to give licenses to MCU graduates.
Whatever the real reasons behind the refusal of these recent MCU graduates, I feel that the Alberta Health Disciplines Board should not punish the graduates for the MHDC’s biases and structural issues.
I ask the Alberta Health Disciplines Board to not only review their decision but to also grandmother these students into the Alberta Registered Midwifery community. Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
[Your Full Name]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cute cow joke...

This is a bit more rique than what I usually post :) but I think it's cute, and besides-my Mom sent it to me!


It was my first time ever

And I'll
Never forget

I'd do it

Without a
Single regret.

The sky was

The moon
Was high

We were all

Just she
And I.

Her hair
Was soft

Her eyes
Were blue

I knew just

She wanted
To do.

Her skin so

Her legs so

I ran my

Down her

I didn't
Know how

But I tried
My best

I started
By placing

My hands on
Her breast

I remember
My fear

My fast
Beating heart

But slowly
She spread

Her legs

And when I
Did it
I felt no shame

All at

The white
Stuff came.

At last
it's finished

It's all
Over now

My first
Time ever

At milking
A cow...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby's here!!

We finally got to meet that sweet lil person who was kicking inside of me all those months, plus all those extra days!

Luke James Ulmer arrived right at lunchtime-12:14 pm-on Thurs, May 26th, 2011, measuring 21" long, and weighing 7 lbs, 6oz-breaking big brother Wyatt's record for my biggest baby by 4 oz!

His birth story is below for you birth junkies!! Otherwise, feel free to skip the story, and enjoy the photos at the top of this page!

On Monday, I met with my midwife, as planned, for my first NST (non stress test) just to be certain everything was ok with our baby who was supposed to have shown up sometime around May 13th, but, despite a couple of very real feeling false alarms, still wasn't here. The U/S tech had given me a different due date of May 23rd, so I wasn't too concerned, and didn't want to do anything extra, other than a few home remedies, to try and bring labour on myself. The midwife was respectful and supportive, and baby handled the NST very well, including the contractions I was having during the test. Other than going to sleep, and needing a boost from a drink of juice to get moving again! Home we went, just planning on waiting it out-surely it couldn't be much longer?

Wednesday was my 2nd NST, and baby again did very well. But in discussing things w/my midwife, she mentioned that they were required to consult with an OB after 2 weeks overdue, and that would be Fri. (the O/B would likely recommend pitocin augmentation-I DID NOT want that! I also didn't want to have to consult w/an O/B at all, if I could possibly avoid it!!) Also, that the later baby went, the stronger the possibility of there being meconium in my amniotic fluid, which would mean I couldn't have a waterbirth-which I couldn't imagine not having!! She was still fine w/waiting, but needed to make sure I knew the whole picture and could make an informed decision. I really appreciated that! I (rather skeptically!, I'll admit!) decided that I would try their special lemon verbena cocktail, which required a trip to the grocery store for extra supplies. I was a bit disappointed-I've never needed augmentation to go into labour before, and kind of confused as to what was up with my body.... Still, the thought of meeting our new little one really excited me, so I contacted my sister to put her on the alert, and took our kids to Grandma's house, b/c I had gone to the midwives clinic for a quick U/s to be certain babe was headdown, and the midwife there (the same sweet lady who attended Wyatt's birth), had seemed pretty certain that the cocktail would work-and possibly quite quickly b/c of the number of babies I've had. I decided to try it that night, b/c I was feeling impatient, and a bit like the clock was ticking.

The first dose went down quickly and easily-it hadn't tasted awful the way I'd imagined! Then I waited-and waited-and waited-for something to happen. Still nothing. I requested my DH's assistance one more time in the matter, and even that wasn't helping. 5 hours later, I tried a 2nd dose. It felt heavier in my tummy, and half an hour later, it came back up-ugh! I didn't want to try another dose, b/c I didn't know how much I'd absorbed, and really-I was beginning to feel "over" the whole thing! I was actually still feeling hungry though, so I made us a late meal of BBQ chicken wraps, w/cheese and lettuce, then fell asleep on my DH's lap while he watched a movie.

I woke up around midnight and put my head on his shoulder, complaining to him that NOTHING had happened, not even one teeny tiny contraction, and that I would just be pregnant forever. Two minutes later, a long, strong contraction hit! Then a short while later-another one. And then another. Excitedly, I called my sister and woke her up, and then called my midwife's hotline, and woke her up. I laboured at home for a bit longer, and the contractions were quite regular, and there was some bloody show! YAY!! I roused my DH, and off to Westview health center we went!! I remember how clear and fresh, and beautiful the Spring night was, and hearing the frogs chirping in our pond, before happily getting in our van. Surely this was it-finally!! the midwives met us at the hospital, and sister and I walked for a bit, before I requested they run a strip if they needed to, in case things got intense quick. The strip went well (other than baby going to sleep, just as at my other NSTs). My contractions were very regular. I also had them check my cervix-I was at a 5! YAY! Halfway there! Baby's head was still high, so I focused on doing lunges, and deep squats-anything to try and bring baby's head lower!

Sister walked with me all the long night. But my contractions began to slow down, and not hit so hard. I tried taking a pulsatilla spray. Then birth prep homeopathic tablets, every 10 min from 4:30 am on til about 6:10 am, where I finally gave up and had a nap. I would have a good contraction when I took the tablet, and then maybe one more, but they were slowing and calming, and nothing was helping. Sister tried to encourage me, that every contraction did something, and I knew she was right-but I was just so frustrated. I didn't want to have a nap, I wanted to have my baby! And I felt bad for dragging everyone out and up all night to labour with me-only to once again have my contractions stop! in the morning after a long night, no less!! And baby's head was still high! Had I accomplished anything? I'd never had this happen in labour before, and I really wondered what was going on?? Were we ever going to meet this apparently rather stubborn babe?

Leroy had to go move the kids to Great Grandma Ulmer's, and I had him stop at home to pick up my ingredients for the verbena induction method (hadn't thought I'd need them again). He came back with them, and the plan was-to run another strip, check my cervix, me to have breakfast and then take the verbena cocktail again, and start all over. My midwife was so encouraging- "it's a new day, we'll start fresh". Everyone was so tired, and yet so positive and uplifting for me. My sister predicted baby would get there around noon.

Baby had been bouncing around in my tummy, really active-right up until the midwife put the belts for the machine around my belly. And then, just as before-went promptly to sleep, and did NOT want to wake up!! I joked that I was gonna get a machine like that for after baby was born!! As soon as the strip was run and the belts came off-yes, you guessed it-baby woke right up and was bouncing around again!! An absolute rascal, the midwife said, and we all agreed!! He just didn't want to co operate with anything! Complete mind of his own!!

The sweet midwife who had attended Wyatt's birth, and who had done the quick U/S for me the afternoon before, was the back up midwife for my midwife team's births, and she had come in, in the morning, and was helping me, while everyone else tried to catch a bit of a rest, and Sister went to a quick appt she had in Spruce Grove. I had breakfast, and noted that my contractions had picked up-without even taking the verbena cocktail! This midwife checked my cervix, and I was at a stretchy 6, baby's head seemed a bit lower, and the contractions were every 7-8 minutes-and getting longer and stronger when I walked! She put me back to bed, until she could get everyone back there for me!! This was all occurring at around 9:30 am. Once everyone (who had barely left!) returned, I continued to labour in different positions, "dancing" with Sister and Leroy, focusing on going on hands and knees quite a bit, still trying to get baby to drop down. I then had a contraction that had me wanting to climb the walls, and Sister said "I think it's time for the tub!" I wasn't so sure, I did NOT want my labour to slow again. She said (as she often does!) you worry too much! and encouraged me to get in if I wanted. I was really glad I did, b/c the next contraction was also tougher to get thru, and the water was so soothing.

Shortly after, I had a really "pushy" feeling contraction, and I mumbled "pushy". The other midwives had already come in the room though-they said they had heard a noise that sounded "pushy". Each subsequent contraction felt pushier, and we waited for that big cushiony water bag to break and bring baby's head down-and it didn't... I was getting frustrated again, and said "it feels like this baby is really making me work!". One midwife said I could break my own water if I wished, but that didn't appeal to me, so I had her do it for me on the next contraction. That was a tough contraction, I needed to change positions so she could break the sac, and as soon as the amniotic fluid-clear!-had drained, baby's head hit my cervix and labour got a whole lot more intense!! With Sister's help, I was able to get back on hands and knees, and from then on, it just felt like one long hard contraction, and push. One midwife did ask, if I could feel a break in the contractions, if she could get in there and check heartbeat with a doppler again-but there was no break, and I couldn't move, or talk. I could hear everyone whispering encouragement and soothing words, and baby was being born. I was squeezing Leroy's hand to bits, and Sister was videoing for me... As baby was born, something made me yelp ow!-the midwife needed to untangle baby's cord from around his neck. He had just one loop, but it was rather tight... Then they were bringing baby forward for me, and helping me to lean back to get a better look. I felt between his little legs, and, besides the cord... yup-it's another boy, I announced. He was chubby (I had thought so, the little foot that kicked me so strongly felt chubbier than my other babies, who have had long bony feet), with a dark head of hair, teeny ears, and dark, slate eyes. Perfect-and very healthy! He had good colour from birth, even with the tight cord, and as the midwife was helping me, he reached and grabbed her hand!

I got to sit and admire him while they arranged to cut the cord (Leroy isn't into that, so Sister happily did it), and then delivered the placenta in the water. Leroy held baby skin to skin while I was doing that (oh, he and baby looked so good like that!) and then into bed to get to hold and nurse and admire our new little man, who had no trouble latching on, and nursed happily. Born just shortly after noon, just like Sister had predicted!! And the first one of our babies to be born during daylight hours!!

Of course, baby had pooped all over the blankets Daddy was holding him in, and was no sooner cleaned up-but did it again!! And later, once everyone had left, he had filled the little diaper we had put him in soo much that it overflowed and coated him with meconium yet again-the midwife kindly cleaned him up for me, but said she didn't think she'd ever seen so much poop all at once!! He was covered! Still being a little stinker!

I was able to leave 4 short hours after baby was born. The midwives were so wonderful with their aftercare also, and it was so fun to see them hold and cuddle baby like proud Aunties when I needed to set him down, instead of just putting him in a warmer.

He had a huge welcoming commitee when we got to Grandma Ulmer's! I wished I had brought my camera in to snap a shot of the kids, who circled his car seat to admire and exclaim over the new arrival!! Tabitha took the news that she didn't get a baby sister with great grace-she is such a mother hen, and was just so smitten with this little baby no matter the gender, and Jacob was fine with baby so long as he could still crawl into Daddy's arms. Wyatt stroked the baby's downy head and said "look-I'm petting him nicely!" and Jesse wanted to know whether he himself had been bigger or smaller than the new little one at birth. Grandma had made a nice supper, so we all sat down to eat. Baby was napping through all this, so we didn't take him out of his car seat-we'll need to take him to visit Grandma again soon, so she can get her baby cuddle fix!

So we are home and enjoying our new little one very much. I am especially struck with this birth with awe and gratitude for my whole birth team, who were so patient, and kind, and helpful and encouraging, for me, throughout this rather challenging, and yet absolutely beautiful birth.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Silly Sheep

Went out for a walk to the far end of the pasture, hoping to encourage contractions (this was mainly unsuccessful!). Tabitha accompanied me. The lambs weren't visible from the other side, so we were just checking on them. As we came closer, we realised why they weren't visible-they were rolling and playing in a big dirt divot in the pasture-yes, my white lambies were all dirty. As we neared, they stopped their play, and ran to their mothers in alarm!! Only, in their panic-they BOTH made the same mistake-the same thought crossed both Tabitha's and my mind at the same time, and you could see, the ewes' a second later-Tabitha looked up at me in surprise, and said-"they ran to the wrong mamas, Mommy!" And indeed they had!! Hilarious!!