Why I chose to give birth at home to our second child

When my husband and I revealed to those around us that we would be having a home birth, the first words we usually heard were, “you’re crazy.” The next words that followed were, “how will you manage the pain?” For many women the thought of a natural birth, let alone a home birth, has sadly become so – unnatural. What was once the norm for how women gave birth back in the day, has now been surrounded by words of negativity. I will proudly say we had a home birth and if we do have another child in the future, I hope to have another one. I had wished to have a natural birth, free of pain medications, a caring and supportive team to push me through, and a pregnancy and labor free of the hospital restrictions and regulations.

Having a natural birth without any pain medications has always been something I wanted to stick to. It had not gone the way I had planned the first time I gave birth to my son. (I will have another post on that). There is always risks to taking Pitocin and having an Epidural done that could affect the baby and you, and therefore I wanted to avoid that risk. For example, some risks to the newborn include slow or abnormal heart rates as well as jaundice, which my firstborn did experience. Seizures and eye problems are also possible side effects, as well as problems with breathing. As for the mother, risks include uterine rupture, hypertension, as well as some others. I will also have a separate post on that. These risks I did not want to take a chance with. Women were naturally created by God to give birth. There should be no shame in that. Because we were created for this, I believe we are able to bear the pain. As scary as it may be to think about it, I did want to experience what God had intended us women to endure. Having already experienced labor pains and giving birth, I knew what I needed to make things easier. With this birth, I wanted to be in control and have my body do what it needed to do. I wanted to experience pushing when my body felt the need to push, not when a doctor told me to. Nor did I want to push not knowing when, which is what happens with an epidural since you do not feel how your body should naturally push. Pushing incorrectly could lead to vaginal tearing, which was also something I wanted to avoid this time around. With the support of my midwives I was able to achieve all of that.

A caring and supportive team is crucial for any pregnant mother, during prenatal visits, labor, and postpartum. The team behind you makes a major difference. I was blessed to have three wonderful midwives who helped me along my pregnancy journey and made postpartum a lot easier. Giving birth in a hospital setting, you do not know the nurses who are assisting. You have to become comfortable and trusting with them during your most vulnerable time. They do not know what you would like, or what you wouldn’t want. They are in and out of your room on an as needed basis. You also do not know what midwife or doctor will be delivering your child. Sometimes you might be able to get your midwife if you give them a notice when you are heading to the hospital and if they are not busy with other patients. My hospital midwife was unfortunately not available for my firstborn’s birth. With a caring and supportive team that you have had the chance to get to know, you are more comfortable in your own skin during this very vulnerable time. I was able to gain trust in my midwives and consider them as my friends. During prenatal visits they gave me the attention I needed, not rushing our appointments and were able to provide me with holistic approaches to any symptoms I may be feeling. I knew I needed a supportive team behind me and wanted to trust the people who would bring my baby into this world. I was able to be in the comfort of my own home knowing I can be surround by those I trust and care about. In a hospital setting, that unfortunately is not always the case.

One of the final reasons that helped me decide to have a home birth was my desire to avoid hospital restrictions and regulations, especially during their COVID restrictions. Some hospitals require Covid testing to be done on the mother and the baby, and if tested positive, the newborn is kept away from the mother. There have been tests that were falsely positive, and I did not want to risk not being able to take care of our newborn right after birth. The first bonding moments are crucial. A lot of hospitals were also requiring wearing a mask while in labor and when holding their own newborn. Wearing a mask already restricts your breathing and wearing one during labor would not be easy and also uncomfortable. Another big concern of mine was having my husband by my side and seeing my son after our child was born. I was due in March (2021) and at that time guests visits were strictly limited, some not allowing even the husband, while others allowing only one person. I did not want to feel more overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious worrying about who can and can not be near me, when I would need the most help and support. Therefore, making my decision to have a home birth was easy for me.

If you asked me a few years back if I would ever have a home birth, I would have probably said no and would also have thought it to be crazy. But, I think now is the time to normalize home births and respect the mothers who choose to do a home birth. If you have no health concerns and no pregnancy complications, a home birth is a great choice. It provides you with a natural birth and laboring techniques. You are in control of your body, surrounded by a caring and supportive team that you trust. You are in a comfortable environment at your most vulnerable time, free from hospital restrictions and regulations. A homebirth is a wonderful and beautiful thing to experience.

I’m Back!

After a very long hiatus, I am pleased to say that I am back to writing. My son will now be turning 2 next month on the 15th and we have added a new addition to the family. Little Esther is currently 7 weeks and is beautiful and healthy. I am very excited to announce that we had a homebirth with our little girl, and I would do it all over again. With all the regulations in hospitals due to Covid, it was an easy decision for my husband and I when we decided on having a homebirth.

Did the homebirth go as planned, you may wonder? I will be posting a separate blog post specifically on how my home birth went. So stay tuned for that!

I am now into restoring old wooden furniture, and am currently working on finishing an old, antique looking coffee table for our living room. I have decided that I want to experience with the Bohemian style. It is taking a lot of work and patience for me to finish it, as I still have a long way to go, but I will be sure to post the results!

My husband is working on finishing our basement for the kids, and I have so many ideas on what I would like it to be like, unique, fun, and exciting! Should I post a separate post on the before and after, as well as what thought process I had?

Let me know what your thoughts are! Or any questions you may have.

Here is the little guy giving me a hand!

I have so many exciting things that I want to write about, so stay tuned!

Why I stuck to breastfeeding

As many of you may have read one of my firsts post about my breastfeeding journey, you may have wondered why I stuck through it when I could have given up and gave my son formula. Yes it was a painful beginning to my breastfeeding journey, but as I stuck to it I figured out what works best for me. Although my son gave up taking my breast due to a heavy flow, I did not give up giving him my breast milk. From breastfeeding I went straight to pumping and feeding him from a bottle.

Yes, I was stubborn in the beginning and to start even giving him my milk in a bottle was for some reason heartbreaking. Not only heartbreaking, but I also felt like I was letting myself down or not being the mom I was “supposed” to be. Breaking the bond of skin to skin. I knew all the benefits of breastfeeding and could not drop that for the sake of my son. My goal was, and still is, is to have my son be the healthiest he can be. And the thought of dropping breast milk for the ease of myself came across as selfish to me. When I say I badly wanted to give up, I mean I really wanted to and almost did. I was crying for days contemplating what to do and trying to justify it if I was to convert to formula. My husband was being as supportive as he could, but seeing me in such a down state regarding this issue, he was also trying to justify formula so that I could have the ease of mind.

And I did, I said “tomorrow I’m dropping everything.” But then tomorrow came and I put my emotions aside as I looked down on my son and knew he deserved the best I could offer. And I did have milk. I had ALOT of milk. So for me to give up what I had, in my eyes was upsetting. Those that struggle with their milk supply, that’s another story, where definitely your child needs to eat and if they aren’t getting enough then yes supplementing with formula is an option. But to me, a woman who was producing more than enough milk, to get rid of that, was like getting rid of gold. And therefore I couldn’t.

My son is now 14 months old and although I have stopped pumping several weeks ago, I still had a frozen supply left. I am almost out but right now at 14 months my son has been getting the best I could offer him- my breast milk.

Breastfeeding isn’t easy if you have an oversupply. And pumping isn’t easy if you don’t have a portable pump. But I guess this is where we learn to sacrifice for our children, God’s creation. Whom He has entrusted us to look after and raise. I wouldn’t change my decision of breastfeeding. As I currently am a month pregnant now, breastfeeding is still my go to for our second child, and I can only hope it starts off better the second time since I am more experienced and well informed. I’ll keep you updated on my current pregnancy in future posts. 😉

Organic homemade juice

Hi everyone!

Today I would like to share a recipe that my Slavic community constantly uses and one that I have grown up with. This is organic homemade juice, with no additives, no high fructose corn syrup, and no concentrate or chemicals that may harm you, your family, and your little ones.

Once my son started eating and drinking liquids other than breast milk, I really wanted to be able to give him juice but something that was healthy and beneficial to him not just taste good and be harmful. I remembered how my mom and aunts would always make juice at home and it was delicious. This juice can be made with all sorts of fruits, whether one type of fruit or multiple fruit. I usually use apples as a base for my juice and tend to add strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or whatever fruit I have on hand. Even just apples is satisfying to quench your thirst.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED (Sizes can be adjusted)

  • 2 gallon pot
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 13 medium sized apples,
  • A handful of blueberries
  • A handful of blackberries
  • A handful of raspberries

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. While water is boiling, cut apples into slices, the skin can stay on
  3. Once water is brought to a boil, place all fruits into the water and cover
  4. Let the fruit boil in the water for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Pour the juice through a strainer or cheese cloth to separate the boiled fruit from the juice.
  6. The juice will be hot. I usually pour into a big mixing bowl
  7. Once strained pour into a air tight jar if not drinking right away.
  8. For a stronger taste to develop, let it sit for a couple hours or even a couple days.
  9. If drinking right away, let it cool down and add sugar to sweeten.

Cauliflower salad, mini potatoes, and fajita chicken

Are you looking for a quick dinner meal? This meal is quick to make and does not require a lot of major ingredients! I was able to feed myself and my husband and have some for my 11 month old. This is my first time writing a recipe of mine out, therefore it definitely will not sound professional, but bare with me.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fajita seasoning (bought or homemade)
  • Mini potatoes (roughly 30)
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 long cucumber
  • 1 container of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 cup of mayo

Instructions

  1. In a container, mix 1 cup of soy sauce with 1/2 a cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of fajita seasoning.
  2. With a fork, puncture the chicken breasts on both sides and place into the marinade sauce. Cover and put aside to marinade while you prepare the rest. (I typically let it marinade for several hours if I know in advance I will be preparing this meal)
  3. Cut the mini potatoes in half and place in salted boiling water. Roughly for about 6 minutes, until it has been almost cooked through.
  4. While potatoes are boiling, break the cauliflower into smaller bite size pieces and place into a bowl.
  5. Cut the cucumber into slices and then in half and place with the cauliflower.
  6. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and place with the cauliflower and cucumbers.
  7. Dice the onion and add to the bowl.
  8. Mix in a cup of mayo and salt to taste. The salad is done.
  9. Remove potatoes from the boiling water and strain.
  10. Place back into the skillet or pan on medium heat and add the unsalted butter. Let the butter melt around the potatoes. Do not mix often to avoid breaking the potatoes.
  11. Add onion powder, garlic powder, and salt based on your preference. Remove potatoes once they have become golden brown.
  12. While waiting for the potatoes to become golden brown, take the chicken breast and place onto a skillet at medium to high heat. Pour the marinade sauce over the chicken and cover to catch the steam and prevent the meat from drying out. Flip meat over after 10 minutes or once golden brown and cook other side.

The gift of being a stay at home mom

Last night I had a revelation of my role as a stay at home mom. I was listening to a sermon on YouTube by David Wilkerson called “The Healing of the Home.” My son is almost a year old, and I have come to realize that somewhere along the way I forgot how much of a treasure it is to be a stay at home mom. I started to miss work, and I still slightly do, but I got caught up in that feeling and sulked upon it. I started to envy the mothers who were able to go to work for a couple hours and help their husbands bring in an income. Ever since I was 16 I was already working. I was used to providing for myself, having come from a very low income family. I used my own money to buy myself my own cell phone and was already paying my own phone bill. At 19 I bought my first car and was paying for my own car insurance and gas. From my first job working for a cleaning company, to working at a grocery store, to working as a dietary aide at a nursing home, and then as an office manager at a chiropractic office. All of this I did in a couple of years. I was used to having a job.

So, when my son was born, and up until now, I was finding tough to deal with, not having a job that provides income. And I did belittle myself. I did not feel important. Until last night. Last night during David Wilkerson’s sermon he said:

“Now hold it just a minute, what I am against with all my heart and soul is the demeaning of one of the highest callings in the world, and that is to be a housewife and a mother. That’s the highest calling on earth.” “Don’t let ANYONE put you down for being “just a housewife.” or “just a mother.” “In the sight of God, listen who can find a virtuous woman whose price is above rubies. She rises early feeds her household.”

Once I heard him mention that, it really hit me, the importance of all my responsibilities. Even though I may not be earning an income, it is still my job and still my role to be a housewife and a stay at home mother. And I should be doing it with a grateful heart.

I no longer want to look down upon myself. To think I need to always be physically beautiful in the eyes of my husband, for that will make him happy. Yes, do look pretty, but what will really make a man happy is a woman who enjoys and treasures her role as a housewife and stay at home mom. (Not saying you can’t work) This is towards the women who have chosen or have been placed in the role of being a stay at home mom or housewife. To the women in similarity to me.

We don’t “just do laundry.” We help provide clean clothes that our husbands and children can put on every day and be comfortable in. We don’t “just do the dishes.” We provide clean plates and utensils that our family can have their meals on. We don’t “just make dinner.” We provide fresh, hot food, that the family can eat to grow stronger, be healthier, and not starve. We do not “just clean the house.” We vacuum, sweep, mop, dust, organize, and keep a welcoming environment that our family can feel safe and secure in. Comfy, cozy, and loved in. Our responsibilities are wrapped in love. We are not any less than our husbands or the wives who have gone back to work. Our role is just as important and just as meaningful.

So to the housewife or stay at home mom that is reading this. Your role is important. You are important for your role. Yes there will be many days where we will feel unappreciated, beaten up, exhausted, worn out, but do not let that forget who you really are. Once you start appreciating your role, your perspective starts to change and automatically from there your whole day starts to change for the better as well.

A Total Mom Day

Today I had a complete mom day. By that I mean everything that I had planned was totally destroyed. I had planned to meet with my friend and her daughter who is the same age as my son for a little picnic in the park. No I’m not quarantining or social distancing. Judge all you want, I don’t care. Any who, we planned to meet at 1:30, my son’s nap time. But I was thinking I’d put him to sleep in the stroller and we’ll be fine.

I decided to leave an hour early to stop by the grocery store thinking the lines won’t be there since it was about midday. Boy was I wrong. Thanks Coronavirus. So I decided not to go in and thought I’d arrive at the park a little earlier. As soon as I get there, my friend texts me asking if we could meet later since she just got home from waiting in line forever at Costco and her daughter just fell asleep…

Now picture this, I’m at the park with a cranky baby no longer meeting my friend and have to drive 20 minutes back home and put him to sleep. My picnic bag was all ready by the way. And once I got home I now had to put an overtired toddler to sleep which is harder than normal tired. And then my friend has to cancel completely because her mom was over.

From one plan going awry, I couldn’t go grocery shopping and didn’t have our play date. Total bust of a day.

Any body else have total mom days where EVERYTHING goes wrong??

During a Time of Chaos

As I sit here inside my home, during this time of chaos, the selfish people come out from hiding and tear the food off the store shelves. They store it for themselves, leaving the next family to come in and have almost nothing to choose from. If everyone shopped like usual, the food would still be there, as we are still allowed to go grocery shopping. During this time, I start to think of my son’s future and I hope, I trully hope and wish my son does not have to witness this fear. But if he does, I hope he does not catch the fear but lets faith remain in his heart. May his faith in our Lord remain and counsel him. For if Yaweh (Our Father God) takes care of the birds soaring in the sky and the creatures roaming through the fields, wildreness, and woods, then surely he will take care of him and you.

Throughout this time of the Coronavirus going around, I must say it has affected me more than I would like to admit. Since it first started going around, I tried to not look too far into it, and regected its existance in this world, whether it was purposefully made to go around or if it was just a mere coincidence. I continued on with living like I always do and shopping like I always do, until I couldn’t buy the meat I needed for a dinner meal for my family.

And then the nurning homes shut their doors and access to my father was taken from me, my mom, and my siblings. During a time when my dad needs us the most, we are not capable of being their physically next to him. The relationship with my dad was very rocky until his near dear experience recently, putting him in a nursing home for rehabilitaion. And when our relationship was finally healing and the excitement to see him was starting to come back, it was taken from me. I am thankful we can still talk on the phone, but I sure do look forward to when I can see him again in person.

My mom is currently sick as well, no she has not been tested for the coronavirus, but has been isolating herself inside her home for about a week or more now with my two brothers. I know she will be okay but I have not been able to be much in contact with her, as I used to see her every day. Now I quickly drop off food on the porch or kitchen table at hands reach from the front door and make my way back home.

In America, we have gotten so used to have everything at our fingertips. And I hope this time wakes us up to appreciate all that is around us, including the little things like going to the park or eating out with friends or family. Even grabbing a coffee at the local coffee shop. Or having a family gathering or birthday party, which right now is out of reach. And to the women who are giving birth without their loved ones present, I applaud you and give you my prayers and encourage you to stay strong. For this will be written into your history and will be a testimony that you can share. Know that you are not alone, as there are other women going through the same feelings you are. And your loved ones are also hurting knowing that they can not be there next to you. Keep your heads up and focus on the boy or girl that will soon be in your arms, loving you completely and entirely. My heart does hurt for you knowing your fear of giving birth alone.

Stay in contact during your labor either through the phone or face time or any way possible. Your family is also anticipating and will have you in their minds and hearts as you bring life into this world.

As fast as the Coronavirus came, lets hope that’s how fast it will be gone.

I am no doctor but if you are feeling sick, take high doses of Vitamin C!

Wanting to Live a Minimalist Lifestyle

When I first moved into our condo, I wanted every room to feel “full.” When I say “full,” by that I mean every room felt like it needed the basics of today’s expectations. Our bedroom needed a big bed frame, high off the floor with a big dresser across from it, and matching night stands. The furniture was all black and big. And at first I liked it. Our living room needed couches obviously and a coffee table smack dab in the middle with a rug underneath. Or so I thought. No, I did not get rid of everything, but I did make adjustments that not only made our home feel bigger, but also made it easier to live in mentally. You start to have more room to breathe.

About a year ago, I started to do research on minimalist lifestyles and how people can have so little in their homes but still get by. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of families showing their homes with a minimalist lifestyle and I was really intrigued. So you must be wondering, What does a minimalist lifestyle consist of? A minimalist lifestyle is about going through life with only the things that you need on a day to day basis, free of unnecessary clutter. I must admit that I am not 100% there yet, but each day I try to make small changes to help get me to where I would like to be. So far I have gone completely through my clothes and tossed away everything I do not wear. My husband and I used to have a closet full of clothes and a double dresser, one for my husband and one for myself, that was also full of clothes. We sold the dressers and now only have clothes in our walk in closet that I would say is probably 4ft by 10ft. That was my first big step to minimizing things around the house.

My second step was actually an accident. I was clearing out our living room coffee table, trying to organize the books that were placed in the shelf it contained and also was about to clean the glass top it had. As I was cleaning the glass, it reflected a glare onto our wall causing our Australian Cattle dog, full of energy, to jump “over” the coffee table and at the reflection on the wall. In doing so, she snagged the side of the coffee table and tore it from their bolts. And that was a bitter sweet moment to the end of us having a coffee table in the living room. I must say I was upset at first but then realized the space that was created, as well as the little to no importance that the coffee table held in our living room. Also on the plus side, our son could now roam freely between the couches with his toys. I am still trying to figure out where to put my books though. Feel free to give me some unique suggestions! ( I do plan on purchasing an end table or two to have on the side of the couch(es) for when I have tea or coffee). Maybe I can keep my books there?

Our Living Room Currently

Another big step was getting rid of our bed frame. It was big black and took up a lot of space, or so it seemed. We initially wanted to buy something closer to the ground and of a lighter color. So we sold our bed frame and ended up sleeping on our mattress on the floor for a few nights and to our surprise, we loved it! Right now we bought a king mattress but still have it on the floor and our room already feels much bigger.

Bedroom Currently

We try to keep our condo very minimal for our benefit as well as our son’s. Not only does it feel better for us mentally and physically, but it is also easier to clean and I do not have to worry about my son getting into anything he shouldn’t. For the most part he is free to crawl around and not feel limited.

Our bathrooms are not cluttered and very simplistic. What we do not need, we do not really have. I like my kitchen to be clean and I love my counter-top space. I love for everything to have a place and for everything to be in its place after it has been used. Yes, I am that mom that cleans up the toys before or during my son’s nap-times. Or atleast I try to be…

As I go further into this journey of minimalist living, feel free to ask me any questions or give me any advice that you have found useful or may think would be useful!

My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? You just feed the baby with your boob. Well, as easy as it sounds, it couldn’t be any farther from the truth. My breastfeeding journey did start off easy, and I thought I had lucked out or that secretly I was a pro and had breastfeeding all down to the core, as my little newborn come out latching perfectly, making me one proud mama.

I had taken a breastfeeding class prior to my giving birth and was confident that everything was going to go well. Little did I know that I would soon become educated and experienced when it comes to milk ducts getting clogged, Mastitis, as well as breast abscesses. Yes, it did go that far for me and yes as horrible as it sounds, it was so much worse.

A week into my breast feeding journey I had a home nurse visit, which was optional, just to check in and make sure I was adjusting well with the baby and if I had any questions, as well as weigh the baby and such. I was never thinking too much about how my breasts were feeling until she started asking me questions, did my breasts feel okay, have I noticed any tenderness, soreness, any spots warm to the touch, etc. Which in turn had me answering that everything seemed to be going good.. That is until she left and I started seeing and feeling all the symptoms that she was describing. The symptoms for a clogged milk duct.

Photo credit belongs to http://loveandbreastmilk.com/wp/blocked-ducts/

Once I realized that I had a clogged milk duct, I freaked out. I called my breastfeeding mentor and completely broke down over the phone, telling her how scared I was. A great way to get rid of a clogged milk duct is to apply a warm compression to the area while massaging it. That is if your little one can’t suck it out. You are still supposed to feed from that breast, because nothing can suck better than your baby. But aside from that, definitely apply a warm compression and massage the area with your thumb, putting pressure outwards as if you are pushing the milk out. That’s what cleared my first clogged milk duct.. As well as the second.

Now when it came to my third clogged milk duct, I must say I did not take it as serious as I should have. And what made it worse was that it was in the same spot as one of my previous clogged milk ducts. My third clogged milk duct developed into Mastitis.

Mastitis occurs when the clogged milk duct becomes infected. You start to get fevers and the pain increases. Once I got Mastitis, I was given antibiotics by my OB. Which I took for several days. The antibiotics did not work and I then was referred to a lactation consultant and prescribed a different antibiotic. At this point my mastitis had already developed into a breast abscess.

I was once again seen by my OB who confirmed I now had a breast abscess, and boy was it painful. I had been going through misery for about a month at this point, getting adapted to my fevers and the pain in my breast. And at the same time I hated looking at myself and seeing this huge lump just bulging out the side of my breast.

I was referred to a surgeon at the nearby hospital and scheduled for them to drain my breast abscess with a needle. Ouch! Relief flooded my body as I was finally going to get rid of this lump of pain. Or so I thought. That same night my breast abscess returned and just as big. The next day I sluggishly dragged myself to the emergency room, for I was exhausted mentally from having to deal with this for so long. I was again scheduled for surgery then and there but this time the surgeon was to make an incision and I was going under anesthesia.

That night I was going to drop breast feeding all together, for fear of having this all happen again. For the sake of my son, I stuck to giving him my milk, for I knew that was what was best for him. Through all the aches and pains and even to the last string, a mom will always be a mom, and will always stay strong for the sake of her children.