Tot School: More Christmas

We have had a wonderful Tot School couple of Christmas weeks. John learned how to stamp and color with crayons without eating them!  He is also really getting the hang of making creations with his Lego Duplos — thanks to his huge garage sale collections as well as some Christmas gifts from grandma!  So proud of my boy.

We use this schedule – I love to add things as we go throughout the week, to prove to myself that we are learning through play! Homeschool Creations’ great Preschool Schedule. We also I have decided to have six tot trays out for the week and I try to be intentional with activities  that correlate with each of these four categories: Language, Sensory, Mathematics, Practical Life.  We also have a Craft of the Week every Friday!

Our Tot Schedule:

I will add a pic when I get my camera back from my sister :/

Trays:

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Our Tot Trays are out on our shelf all week.  John can play with them at any time, but sometimes I’ll take one out intentionally for us to play together.  A candy cane lacing card, tonging red and green legos into an ice cube tray, a red and green sensory bin pompom magnets with Nativity pages, stacking tower, and Lauri pegs and shapes sorter.

Our Activities:

Language

Our book for the week was Silent Night, a beautiful book based on the song; we sang this together and he fell asleep to it on Christmas Eve (= heaven).  John loves reading about the Christmas story and we have many that we have read throughout this month (and the rest of the year!)  We make sure to read this at least 3 times a day for Five Days in a Row.

The  mini book of the week came from 1plus1plus1equals1 again. I eat my vegetables! (under Letter D).  He really does love vegetables and we’ve never had a problem with him eating them, so this book has been fun.

IMG_5038We did more coloring this week.  This week with crayons — especially since he is understanding (finally!) not to eat them.

IMG_5041And we also learned how to stamp.  Here he is stamping some barn animals onto his Nativity page from Just Color! by Carisa.

 

Sensory

Our trays were pretty senory-oriented (above), along with daily fun in the snow!!!
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IMG_5098We also made gluten-free play-dough and this boy played at the table for TWO HOURS!

Mathematics

IMG_5034Legos were the block of choice this week.  I couldn’t believe how well he has learned to fit these together.  He made towers, more skid loaders, and baked them in the oven (i.e. underneath the couch).
IMG_5076Here’s John with his Lauri shape and color sorter.

IMG_5092And here is John playing with some Discovery Toys that my aunt bought for her grandson. Here are Sam and John playing together.

Practical Life

IMG_5035We did some more cooking this week.  Both with real and his fake food.  He loves to wear his apron that his aunt bought for him.

IMG_5123And he loved helping to make our gluten-free Christmas pumpkin pie!

I have to remember that every moment is a teaching moment!

Craft of the Week:

We made this adorable popsicle stick, paper, and felt baby Jesus.  We found this at Crafty Mama Blog.

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**I plan on beginning 1plus1plus1equals1’s Tot School ABC’s at the start of the new year.  My son already knows some of his capital letters and gets excited when he sees them in books, so I think he’ll be ready!  I’m going to couple this with Songs for Saplings cd and Carisa’s coordinating ABC Bible Verses.  We (okay, I) are [am] so excited!

Tot School

Montessori Monday

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Today’s circumcision is not biblical circumcision

XN Intact Card Front

Check out: A Biblical Journey to Intactivism at SavingSons.org.

And illustrated examples of how Western/today’s circumcision (Brit Periah, entire amputation) is radically different from Abrahamic/biblical circumcision (Brit Milah, small cut).

Flu vaccine, anyone?

So, the latest scare, driven by the pharmaceutical companies, is that having a fever (i.e. the flu) during pregnancy may cause your child to have autism. So what should we do? Get the flu vaccine where the body’s initial reaction is to have a fever to fight the inoculation! These companies will stop at nothing to make their profits. Now they must scare mothers into thinking it is their fault their child has autism. Lies.

  • Per the Fluarix package insert: “There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women” regarding impaired female fertility or harm to the fetus.
  • The same goes for Flulaval, which not only contains Thimerosal, but is given to children, too, despite claims children’s vaccines are all mercury-free.
  • From the Fluvirin package insert: “It is also not known whether FLUVIRIN® can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity.” Fluvirin contains a trace amount of thimerosal, and is also given to children.
  • And Fluzone, which contains thimerosal in its multidose vials and is given to children: “It is also not known whether Fluzone can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity.”

**Read: Flu Vaccine: Not Good for Your Child by Janet Levatin, MD and Sherri Tenpenney, DO.

Our Advent Calendar

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This is the first Christmas where my son is actually present and excited about activities. I saw a lot of ideas for different Advent calendars and I became overwhelmed. I wanted to keep it simple. I came upon this idea from Martha Stewart with 24 cute little socks; this looked doable and not too difficult. It got me thinking about what I could make on the cheap, and with supplies I already had at home.

I already had in my scrapbook box: 25 round, white tags, green and red stickers, twine, mini clothespins.

I went to Micheal’s, in search of socks or boxes or something that would work.  And I found these cute little red bags (which came in a pack of 25 for $2.99).
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I filled each stocking with these adorable bible verses from Happy Home Fairy — they read through the Gospel of Luke. I also bought some cute, Christmas stickers, one per day.
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I clipped them up on three strings of twine to give it a textured look on our wall behind the couch.   I could have added more to the envelopes and there are so many awesome Advent calendar ideas out there — including fun or religious activities you can do with your child every day, but all that would have been too much. My son is only 2, but next year, I’ll include a small craft/activity idea in each bag.  I’m just so happy that I was able to get anything done!
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Merry Christmas!

Tot School: Christmas

We have had a wonderful Tot School week. This week was the first time that John was tracing lines! And he didn’t throw his crayons or markers during coloring time! (This is real progress.) This was exciting because we got to use many of the Christmas-themed printables that I have printed and laminated.

We use this schedule – I love to add things as we go throughout the week, to prove to myself that we are learning through play! Homeschool Creations’ great Preschool Schedule. We also I have decided to have six tot trays out for the week and I try to be intentional with activities  that correlate with each of these four categories: Language, Sensory, Mathematics, Practical Life.  We also have a Craft of the Week every Friday!

Our Tot Schedule:

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Trays:

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Our Tot Trays are out on our shelf all week.  John can play with them at any time, but sometimes I’ll take one out intentionally for us to play together.  We played with a Dressing Joey, sorting and sizing Nativity printables, more pom pom magnets and Christmas pages, a Rainbow busy bag activity, separating red and green blocks, and a red sensory bin.

Our Activities:

Language

clifford IMG_4877Our book for the week was Clifford’s First Christmas.  John loved watching Clifford the puppy help put up a Christmas tree and have a visit from Santa.  (I have Before Five in a Row, and have been working through it with the books we already own in our very extensive children’s home library.  During holidays and seasons, I like to choose my own books that I think he will enjoy reading five days in a row.)  We also make sure to stop and read at least three times a day.

IMG_4954John loves singing Christmas songs, and he felt extra special when reading from these printables. Also, we kept Animals with Baby Jesus from 1plus1plus1equals1 out for the  mini book of the week.  He loves this little book!  We are keeping this in a cute little red Christmas box that his friend brought over for him, the same as last week.

IMG_4951Here he is tracing pre-writing lines!  This is part of a wonderful Nativity pack. He also enjoyed working on a simple puzzle of Jesus in a manger. This was harder for him, but it was his first try!

And he loved coloring some nativity pages that I printed out, from various websites, too. (I had no idea he KNOWS brown, black, and pink, but he used the right names when asking for these crayons!)

Sensory

IMG_4929My mom gave Ezra the Little People Nativity set for his birthday.  He loved playing with this, even before this Christmas season.  And then she just out did herself, by bringing over another nativity set, this time a real-to-life version that I enjoyed when I was younger!  They are made of hard plastic, made in Italy, and are so real-life and beautifully made!  John loved them and lined them up in the stable.  Here he is with both of his nativities :)

Mathematics

IMG_4955IMG_4978These MegaBlocks were out all week.  He loves making bridges and “skid loaders” :)  And this week I saw him creating patterns with the colors and sizes!  This was all one his own; I couldn’t be more proud!

Practical Life

IMG_4956John loves to help out with making dinner.  He is usually “cooking” with me, right at the counter.  One night, he spooned the broccoli into the pot.  He loved this and felt so important!  I hope to find a practical activity like this for him to really be a helper every night.  (Though sometimes it tries my patience, when he is spilling food, etc.!  I have to remember that every moment is a teaching moment!)

Craft of the Week:

We made a tissue paper Christmas tree.
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**I plan on beginning 1plus1plus1equals1’s Tot School ABC’s at the start of the new year.  My son already knows some of his capital letters and gets excited when he sees them in books, so I think he’ll be ready!  I’m going to couple this with Songs for Saplings cd and Carisa’s coordinating ABC Bible Verses.  We (okay, I) are [am] so excited!

Tot School

Montessori Monday

Two things (I can’t live without) (right now)

These amazing Land’s End Starfish tops. So comfy (my husband says frumpy but blah), so warm, impeccably made — I could literally live in these shirts.424049_A712_FF_EGH

And The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats. This has quickly become my favorite Christmas song. The words are so quaint and honest and Gospel-centered. And Mr. Keats is my absolute favorite children’s author. The two combined is simply a masterpiece.thelittledrummerboy

I played my drum for Him
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum

I played my best for Him
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
Rum, pa, pum, pum, rum, pa, pum, pum

Then He smiled at me
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum

Me and my drum

Tot School

Here begins my second week of dedicated Tot School. I am trying to organize my thoughts and Homeschool Creations’ great Preschool Schedule really helps me stay sane.  I’m using her adaptable schedule and make my own type-written notes and handwritten notes too.  I have decided to have six tot trays out for the week and I try to be intentional with activities  that correlate with each of these four categories: Language, Sensory, Mathematics, Practical Life.  We also have a Craft of the Week every Friday!

Our Tot Schedule:

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Trays:

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This week, our trays: Melissa & Doug pattern puzzles, a slotting game, pom pom magnets, a green sensory bowl, caterpillar size sort, and bowls and funnels for rice sensory time.

Our Activities:

Language

Our book for the week has been Tomie dePaola’s Merry Christmas Strega Nona. John loves saying “Strega Nona” and “Bambolona” and loves all the characters from the book. It has been nice to read it every day, as he notices something new from the book with every new reading! (This is Mainly, we have been one book per week focus. (I have Before Five in a Row, and have been working through it with the books we already own in our very extensive children’s home library.) We also make sure to read many other books throughout the day.

IMG_4872And here is John with his mini book of the week: Animals with Baby Jesus from 1plus1plus1equals1. We are keeping this in a cute little red Christmas box that his friend brought over for him this week.






IMG_4819We have several (second-hand) LeapFrog games. We took out these magnetic letters for the first time and he was so happy! He can name about seven letters and was so happy to hear them!




Sensory

  • Here he is with his green sensory bowl (I don’t have a picture?!). We played a guessing game and I placed a green dish towel on the bowl so he could feel and guess the objects. He really loved it and smiled so big.
  • John loves these pom pom magnets and has begun matching one with each circle on the page.  I lost a lot of pictures, I think, we used Confession of a Homeschooler’s C is for Christmas page.
  • I left this simple slot game on the trays to see if he would figure it out on his own. He brought it to me, looking puzzled, but when I showed him what to do, he got right to work!

Mathematics

IMG_4724These pattern puzzles from Melissa & Doug were a hit when my Grandmother bought them for John for his second birthday. Now, he can do these without help and even knows the names of all of the shapes provided (oval, rectangle, square, triangle, circle). Strange that he knows these and not his colors yet!

We also got out our Shape Silouhette Match-Up! game from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Practical Life

IMG_4718John loves tongs, so after he climbed on his stool and grabbed our tongs from the kitchen counter, I thought that he could “tong” his animals from one bucket to the other.  He loved it and was so proud of himself.






IMG_4726We did both a rice sensory bin with funnels and bowls.

And another water play day (he wants to do this every day).




Craft of the Week:

We colored and painted with green this week.  We chose to make a handprint wreath to focus on the color green.  John loved getting his hand dirty in the paint (which he didn’t like a couple of months ago), but his favorite part was making the red berries with a Q-tip!

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**I plan on beginning 1plus1plus1equals1’s Tot School ABC’s at the start of the new year.  My son already knows some of his capital letters and gets excited when he sees them in books, so I think he’ll be ready!  I’m going to couple this with Songs for Saplings cd and Carisa’s coordinating ABC Bible Verses.  We (okay, I) are [am] so excited!

Tot School

Montessori Monday

Baby Ian dies after being given the Hepatitis B vaccine

Ian’s mother, Deanna Gromowski, writes about the healthy birth of her son here, but on his fifth day of life, he was given the Hepatits B vaccine, and fought for 47 days, but died.  This story and its pictures are startling and revolting.  We must all be given choices and encouraged to make choices as parents.  Vaccines are a choice.

**The following is copied/pasted from the CDC.gov website:

How is HBV transmitted?

HBV is transmitted through activities that involve percutaneous (i.e., puncture through the skin) or mucosal contact with infectious blood or body fluids (e.g., semen, saliva), including

  • Sex with an infected partner
  • Injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment
  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Contact with blood or open sores of an infected person
  • Needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person

HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, hand holding, coughing, or sneezing.

Why, oh, why are we giving this dangerous vaccine to our newborns?  We live in a sad, sad world.

Tot School Begins

I have gotten very motivated to begin a some-what-scheduled schooling with my 27 month old son.  John is more willing to sit down and focus, so I am taking advantage of his new-found maturity!  I just wrote some of my thoughts about the Montessori approach and so I’m trying my hand at it here.  I want to stay on top of it, so I organized according to Homeschool Creations’ great Preschool Schedule.  I’m using her adaptable schedule and made my own type-written notes and then handwritten notes too.  Here is what we did this week:

Our Tot Schedule:

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Trays:

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Here are the trays, on the lower half of our kitchen shelf. They are in a communal area, so he can play with them when he chooses, though sometimes, I’ll bring them out intentionally. I wrote the above trays on the bottom of my schedule.  I’m new at this, but I will try to make four to six new ones every week. Measuring cups, Magneatos, water play, blue sensory bowl, lego counting, sandwich baggies.  

Our Activities:

Mainly, we have been focusing on one book per week (I have Before Five in a Row, and have been working through it with the books we already own in our very extensive children’s home library), but for the holidays, I want to pick my own age-appropriate books.  For Fall and Halloween, I chose some Fall Leaves books and Jesse Bear, What a Scare, as well as Berenstein Bears’ Trick or Treat.  This month will (of course) be all about Christmas and this week the book was Mercer Mayer’s Merry Christmas Mom and Dad.  After that, our other language element is simply reading books every day.  John loves this, and we usually read 5+ books about 4-5x per day. (Language)

I’m new to trays, but knew that I would have a color bowl. We have already worked with RED and YELLOW and now we have moved onto BLUE.  He loved this, as we collected the items together, and I’ll get it back out with him every morning. (Sensory Visual, Touch)










Here is a Lego counting activity.  This doesn’t have a site name on it, so I forget where I got it.  Confessions of a Homeschooler has something similar.  My son mostly just threw the legos around, but he is finally getting the hang of stacking them.  Here he is, when his creation broke in half (i.e. the world ended). (Mathematics)

And here is an activity John created himself!  I have seen the “Wipes Game” at Counting Coconuts, and have been meaning to make something like it, but here he is with the sandwich baggies that I had out while organizing all the Tots Printables.  He had a good 15 minutes of fun pulling these out and trying to put them back in. (Sensory Touch, Practical Life Environment)



IMG_4564Here is John playing with Daddy and his new Magneatos!  I have been wanting to buy these, but found them at a garage sale for $5!  Score!  These were a hit with the two year old and the thirty-something year old.

Other activities for the week:

  • Another John creation on his trays.  Measuring cups.  He uses these in some of our (not so extravagent) sensory bins, but today, he decided they were musical instruments and kept hitting the biggest one to all the little ones!  (Sensory Auditory)
  • More tea pot water play!  He absolutely loves this. (Sensory, Practical Life Environment)
  • And vacuuming; John got this vacuum for Christmas when he was one, since I vacuum almost every day, so does he!  This toy is great, and I haven’t replaced the batteries yet! (Practical Life, Environment)
  • And zipping his baby sister’s Bundle Me on her car seat up and down. (Practical Life, Self)

Weekly Craft:

This idea came from Busy Bees Kids Crafts.
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**I plan on beginning 1plus1plus1equals1’s Tot School ABC’s at the start of the new year.  My son already knows almost half of his capital letters and gets excited when he sees them in books, so I think he’ll be ready!  I’m going to couple this with Songs for Saplings cd and Carisa’s coordinating ABC Bible Verses.  We (okay, I) are [am] so excited!

Montessori Monday

The water birth of my daughter

May was born September 2012. I wrote this when she was three days old.

That morning, my two-year-old John woke up at 5:30 am. I was not a happy camper. But I took the morning shift, then took a nap from 8 to 10:30, so I was feeling better after that. I started the day as usual. As normal as any day can be, being eight and a half months pregnant. We ate pancakes as a family. We played some games with him at the table and I played with him outside for a bit. During John’s nap, Marshall and I napped in bed together.

At 6 o’clock, I gave John his dinner. While running around the kitchen, washing and putting away dishes, I began noticing some cramping, particularly in my back. This was different from the weeks of cervical pains that I’d been feeling over the past weeks. Those had been momentarily sharp, but went as fast as they came. These lingered for a while. I didn’t want to startle Marshall, since he was looking forward to going to a friend’s house to watch the Michigan-Nortre Dame game. I was still twelve days to my due date (though John was just about two weeks early), so I just told him I had light cramping. He was worried and began to put the birth-pool supplies together. He realized that the hose he had bought couldn’t connect to the kitchen sink, so I told him to try to find one at the hardware store and just go to his friend’s because surely this was false labor!

I decided to make some dinner for myself; John had eaten some ground beef, so I made myself a hamburger with tomatoes with potato chips (my favorite) and a bowl of my homemade pudding that I made the day before. I knew I’d need my strength if this was the real thing, but knew I might be seeing this food again, too….

Marshall left around 7:30, (and he did find another hose, with the proper adapter at 7:55, minutes before they closed!) and I began quieting John down for bed. The pains were every 10 minutes, but lasted about 30 seconds. I knew something was up, but concentrated on spending time with John and giving him a normal evening. I took pictures with him, just in case, to have a couple last belly shots with my precious only-child-two-year-old. He went down around 8:20, after too many kisses and hugs and I love yous. During these two hours, I couldn’t stop running to the toilet, as my bowels began to empty and prepare. This is how I really knew I was in labor, because that is how my labor began with John. I couldn’t stop going on the toilet, until nothing was left to come out.

Marshall called to check in around 8:45, and I had to tell him that this was the real thing, but I was still guessing at this point. Contractions were still mild, thankfully not in my back, but they were about ten minutes apart, and only lasting about 30 seconds. He called his mom to explain the night’s events and that she should probably plan on getting John. She had her other two grandchildren over, so she left as soon as they were down.

Marshall arrived back home around 9:15, and I think that is when my body was telling me it was beginning to be “go time”. The contractions started to be 5-6 minutes apart, but still mild, controllable, and only about 30-40 seconds long. Marshall began preparing our kitchen for the birthing area. He blew up the pool, set the birth supplies out, and made sure I had enough juice and I was comfortable. I spent my time in our bed upstairs, on my side, or in the living room (catching the last of the horrible Michigan game) rolling around on the ball.

Cathy, my mother in law, came at 10:30. I was well enough to come give her a hug, but I had about three contraction sets while she came (closer than five minutes apart at this point). I hid in the bathroom, so John wouldn’t see me, which broke my heart, but I knew he had to get in the car with as little drama as possible (we later found out that he didn’t fall asleep at Grandma’s until two in the morning)!

After they left, my body was really ready to do its job. I could be uninhibited, groan as loud as I needed, and let my body loose. My contractions became so intense. Every couple minutes, and lasting at least 45 seconds to a minute. Marshall squeezed my hips and rubbed my back through every one. He was very sweet, telling me what a great job I was doing and kissing my head. He was on and off the phone with the midwives, but we kept thinking that they should hold off coming by. John’s labor was through the night, lasting until 5:29 the next morning, so I figured this labor would take at least that long. My waves of pain were progressing quickly enough, unstifled by any movement other than my husband and I trying to get through them. I enjoyed this time him and I had together. We had a closeness that I can’t describe. He kept giving me my juice with a straw, and at one point I wanted an apple, but I ate one slice and felt sick. I had a bowl close, but none of my food ever came up, which was a relief for me.

I spent my time kneeling on the ground, with my arms on the couch or on the big birthing ball. This was the best position for me. Marshall played the “birth play list” that I created a couple weeks earlier, just a compilation of soft praise songs and love songs that I knew would be comforting. I kept asking him to replay “I Need Thee Every Hour,” an old hymn, redone by Jars of Clay. This song gave me strength, as I was reminded of my weakness in God’s Strength and Glory and Wisdom.

I also spent some contractions on my side on the couch. This is how I spent a lot of my time during my first labor, and again, the contractions became so intense in this position. I couldn’t stay there for long, because though I kept trying to breathe and low groan my way through, I sometimes began to lose the battle to screaming. I told Nathan, around 12:30 that the midwives should probably come. He called again (though he had been updating them every hour), and they said they were on their way. Contractions were sometimes 3 minutes apart, sometimes 1 minute and sometimes 30 seconds long and sometimes a minute long. I was a bit frustrated with this inconsistency because I saw it as a sign that I wasn’t in Active Labor yet, that my body still had a long way to go. I didn’t let it get me down, but I was mentally preparing myself for at least 4-5 more hours of intense contractions.

After calling the midwives, I announced I had to go into the pool. Nathan had been filling it up, but it was only about a third filled. I climbed in and felt relief with each wave of contractions. As the water filled, I felt more stable and more strength. The room was quiet, the lights were down low, my praise music was on in the background.

The midwives came in, but I couldn’t even greet them. My job was to lean against the edge, holding Marshall’s hands, and just try to keep breathing. I spent my time on my knees, but also sat down a few times. Over the next minutes, the contractions became increasingly intense. Unbearable. I could not take the pain that I was feeling. I couldn’t groan or breathe; I began to scream and I remember flailing around in the pool, water splashing. I started the contractions on my knees, but ended on my side, lying down for each one. I came back to Nathan who kept encouraging me, and Amanda and Anna kept telling me how great I was doing. I began to feel out of control. My body was doing this, not me. It was not up to me. Marshall grounded me, holding my hands, kissing my forehead. He later told me that I pushed him away. I began to feel so hot and cold wet cloths on my head felt wonderful. I kept sipping juice between the long intense pains. The midwives kept checking the heartbeat with a doppler. It was strong; at one point it was faster than normal, but I moved positions and it went back to normal. This was done in a way that didn’t panic me, but was explained that the baby’s head was being squeezed and I had to move to relieve it.

The last 4 or 5 contractions were the worst. I remember thinking, “I can’t do this”, but Marshall and the midwives assured me I could. I was just thinking in my head that I had hours to go. But after a brief break, which I now know was transition, I began to push. My body was releasing this baby through and I had to finish the job. I waited for the contractions and pushed slowly. I felt her head come with my hand, which was so amazing. Touching my baby for the first time. I kept pushing, and patiently waiting for contractions. Amanda massaged my perineum as I waited, and this also gave a bit of relief. I was happy to be active, not passively letting my body open for the baby, but having to work to bring my baby into the world. As I pushed, the ring of fire was intense and horrible, but I can still say I liked it better than that last round of contractions. I felt the head come. My baby was coming to greet me. The head came, then I felt the arms, then I felt the legs. Eight minutes of pushing brought you here at 1:49am.

“Take your baby, Amy,” Amanda said. I reached down and picked my baby up. I leaned back in the pool and stared at my baby. “You’re here, you’re here.” Gray and blue all over. There weren’t cries yet, but the midwives were rubbing while the baby was on me, and one got the oxygen tank ready. They kept reassuring me that the baby was fine, heartbeat was fine, and the lungs just needed time; still attached to me, through her lifeline, the cord, oxygenated blood was coming to the baby just fine.

Anna told me later, that some water-born babies don’t even realize that they are outside and it takes them some time to liven up. And after a minute or so, I began to hear gurgles, and I was so relieved. I lifted the baby up to see, “You’re a girl!” I couldn’t believe it! I was certain I was having another boy, so this was such a big, wonderful surprise. My baby girl. You are here. Welcome to the world. We love you more than anything.

I was guided up, out of the tub, and into our guest room. I laid on the bed with my precious girl in my arms. She and I had blankets and towels on, and the midwives took a look at my perineum and waited for another contraction to bring the placenta. With a couple small pushes, it came. Cramping came soon after, with more groans. But happy groans, my baby was in my arms. “Her name is May.” We said, “May.” We watched the placenta and the cord pulsing to our baby, bring the last of her blood to her body. I kept her close, skin to skin. She was alert, looking around, interested in the breast, but didn’t latch. Amanda and I tried to begin breastfeeding, but it seemed the she was too content to be here to try to nurse. She did latch a couple hours later, and though it has been a bit painful, I am so grateful for my tough little girl, rooting, latching, and nursing.

Next, Amanda looked at my tear to assess if she could repair at home or not. (With John, I had a significant tear, so I was prepared in knowing that my scar tissue would tear again.) Thankfully, the tear was much less, and Amanda felt very confident in repairing at home. She numbed me up and got to work. It did take her quite some time, and I am thankful for the care she took in repairing me. Next, Marshall held the baby, while I slowly walked to our bathtub, now filled with a healing, herbal bath. It was so wonderful to clean my body while the herbs worked. Marshall was in there with me, holding our baby. After getting out, our baby was weighed and measured. 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 20 inches long. She is perfect.

I am thankful that I could birth my baby in a safe place, a comforting place, with love surrounding us. I was never fearful. I knew I was safe. She was safe. I never feared someone violating my body with cervical exams. I felt protected. I felt strong. I am strong. May and I did it together.

John was brought over a couple of hours later. He met his little sister, “Baby!” and seems to be adjusting well and loving her and wondering where she is. Our parents and siblings came, but we held her tight, not letting anyone hold her – this won’t come until we’re ready in a couple of days. We were home and comfy and loving becoming a family of four.

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And Thy rich promises, in me fulfill

I need Thee, I need Thee,

Every hour I need Thee

I need Thee, I need Thee,

I need Thee every hour.

(Annie S. Hawks)

Here is John’s birth story.