My Birth Story – Baby #1

As I started getting ready for baby #2, I was reminiscing over Precious’ birth and how it went, what I’d change if I had the opportunity, all that I was thankful for, and how I hope this next labor will go.

In many ways I feel I was more prepared for her birth than I am with this little guy’s, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Maybe because we technically did more to prepare – like attending a Childbirth Education Class – or maybe it’s because we had to get EVERYTHING because it was our first, vs. with this one much is already in place. Or maybe it’s because I have her to keep me busy now, whereas before I could devote a lot of time to researching and preparing.

Either way, he will be here soon enough, and she is most definitely a wonderful part of our lives!

Adobe Spark

I had prodromal labor (aka contractions that weren’t the “real thing”, though we later found out they were still doing something!) for a couple weeks before I actually went into labor. While at first we had some doubts, we eventually figured out how to tell that it wasn’t real. They followed the same pattern: started around the same time every night, would get strong enough that I would use the coping mechanisms I learned in Childbirth Education Class (CBC) to get through them, but they would wane after a few hours and I’d go to bed & fall asleep. My husband still had work every morning, so I would wait the contractions out while he slept.

We laugh about it now: I was fully ready for her to come any day, but he was adamant that she couldn’t come early, she had to be born on her due date or later. 38 and 39 weeks passed by, and the day before her due date finally arrived. As a last salute to our child-free life, Josh took me out to dinner at a local restaurant, one that normally would have been out of our budget and that didn’t allow children, so we couldn’t have gone after baby either.

It was a gorgeous evening – partly cloudy and warm, but not sticky. The perfect August night! We were seated at our table, and after oohing and ahh-ing over the beautiful interior, we ordered our food & enjoyed the atmosphere. I remember our waitress didn’t believe that I was pregnant and that it was the day before my due date! I actually stood up and “puffed out” to prove it to her. We watched as a summer thunderstorm rolled in, little knowing what was to come that night & the next day.

When we could come up with no more excuses to stay out, we headed home, and right on track, I had contractions start up around 10pm. They did seem maybe a little more intense than usual, but I didn’t really pay attention to that. Josh and I settled down to a movie while I bounced on the exercise ball, pausing it occasionally when I needed to breathe through a contraction. When the movie ended, I was still dealing with some contractions, so I shooed him off to bed while I waited for them to abate. I would lay down between surges to rest, and eventually I fell asleep.

Around 3am or 4am on her due date, I woke up to a strong contraction. After it went away, I went to use the bathroom and had bloody show. The surges were coming steadily, so I woke Josh up and had him call the midwife. She counseled us to rest as much as possible and try a hot shower to see if the contractions would go away. They quickly picked up the pace though, and when the hot water ran out, I resorted to hands & knees on the bed, intensely moaning through every wave. Josh called and notified our doula later that morning, and called my mother as well, who was our birth photographer.

Josh did a great job reading me. When I wouldn’t let him or our doula touch me (apparently I was very hands off when I was in labor, oops), he got everything ready to go, made me laborade, and prepped the car with towels and a bucket (I was feeling a little nauseous) for our journey. He realized sooner than I did that it was time to head to the hospital, even though everyone told us my labor would take longer than that, and helped me get into the car. Hands & knees was the only position that I could tolerate, so I climbed into the back seat and we were off.

I’m pretty sure every guy daydreams about the day he’ll get to drive lights flashing, speeding down the highway as his wife screams in labor beside him, hoping they’ll make it so he doesn’t have to deliver a baby in his car. Well…it wasn’t that bad, and I couldn’t see exactly what speed he was going down the interstate, but I do know it was fast, and I do also know we arrived in shorter time than we normally do. Before we left, I asked Josh how many contractions I’d have to deal with in the car (they were very regular and could be timed), and he figured out the math & told me a number (I’ve forgotten it now…I think it was 10). So as I dealt with the contractions, I counted them down, and I still had two left go when we got to the hospital.

Our doula had followed us down in her car and quickly parked while we pulled up to the front door. While Josh helped me in, she parked our car for us and brought our bags in. I was hoping I could make it from the hospital door to the birth center without a contraction, but alas, it was not meant to be. I’m sure I got some strange looks from a few people as I stopped to have a contraction on the couch! The midwife was waiting for us at the door of the birth center, and gently herded me into our room. When we got into there, she asked me to lay down so she could check me and see how far along I was. And I was already at 6cm!

After that I stripped down and got into their glorious, warm tub. Due to my positive GBS result, I had to have an IV w/ antibiotics put in, but it was quickly done and didn’t really affect me. I labored there for about an hour, when during one of the contractions I felt a “pop”, which Elizabeth assured me was my water breaking. Sure enough, I reached down and could feel the top of her head. Not realizing what was going on, I had unconsciously started pushing with every contraction at that point. Elizabeth saw it and said that it was time to get out of the tub. Once I got out and dried off, we started working together on pushing. I tried many positions; the contractions, while still strong and present, I think I overruled with my excitement to see my little girl.

All in all, I pushed for about an hour. It would have gone faster I think, except (which I found out later when talking to Elizabeth) I was having trouble stretching down there to accept her head. Her heart rate kept dropping while I was pushing, and Elizabeth looked me into the eye and said, “We need to get her out.” The Mama Bear in me kicked in, and I pushed with all my might.

Precious was finally born at around 11am on her due date, after 12 hours total of labor (only 6 of which I would consider “hard” labor). And Josh delivered her! She was born into his hands with Elizabeth guiding him. They laid her on my chest, but she was so floppy and blue. The nurse gave her some oxygen and they suctioned her out, and finally, to my great relief, she started crying. One of the most beautiful sounds ever.

It’s already been a long story, so I’ll spare you the details of what happened from there, but I had a small tear that Elizabeth quickly stitched up, and we (after our families met her) moved upstairs to a recovery room. I wasn’t on antibiotics long enough before I had her, so it meant an automatic two night stay (which we didn’t mind terribly). She was the most beautiful little girl we had ever seen, and so alert to her surroundings and to us. We were happily ever in love ❤

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For Everything There Is A Season…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ESV


How true I am finding this! As I look over this past year, I am amazed by how I’ve seen God work in my life. There have been ups and downs, tears and laughter, joys and sorrows, hurt and healing. And all through it, I watched as He shaped and molded me. So amazing!

Josh Proposing

Anyways, this blog post is to address my current season in life ~ Love. On February 14th, 2015, a handsome, talented, intelligent young man asked me to become his wife. And I said yes!

There have been so many emotions that I have felt since. Excitement for the life I’ll get to share with him. Sorrow over the “loss” of my family, yet joy at the “gaining” of a new father & mother, brothers, and sisters. Apprehension at the enormity of the decision I made – “I’m going to spend the rest of my life with him..” I don’t have any regrets, and I most certainly am not second guessing my choice, but all the same, this is going to change my life SO much.

Josh with Ring

Over the last 9 months (we started courting in July 2014) I have learned so much about this guy. We are so similar, it really is fun to find out where we are different. Our core beliefs, hopes, dreams, and long term goals are identical. Our communication skills have improved greatly. Our vocabulary and knowledge bank has expanded. He has started learning how to lead; I have started learning how to be his helpmeet. He has been there for me on my worst days, gently encouraging me and providing support. I already know that we can go through anything together. He is my best friend, my truest confidant, my modern day knight, my soul mate. I truly believe with all my heart that we are a “match made in heaven”!

Holding Hands

So it is with great excitement that I look forward to the future! We’ve been on so many adventures, I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us next. Stay tuned for updates! We hope to have our wedding website up and running soon, where you’ll be able to find our wedding info, love story (which I’ll probably also post on here), and other pertinent infomation 🙂

Until next time!

~ Caitlin (aka, the future Mrs. Anderson!)

Us :-)

Hello Again, World!

No, I haven’t died. I’m still here, just very busy with life!

So much has happened this since I last posted – some good, some bad, as typical for life – and I’m now faced with the task of trying to catch you all up. How do I possibly fit almost a year’s worth of events into one post?

I’ll start by catching y’all up with the farm. Here is the total head count currently:
– 2 Full sized horses. One is a registered Paint, the other a draft/quarter horse mix.
– 2 Miniature horses
– 1 Murray Grey bull
– 3 Jersey milking cows
– 1 steer
– 1 heifer
– 2 bull calves (that’s 8 total cows, if you’ve been keeping count)
– 5 St. Croix sheep
– 4 pigs
– 7 piglets
– 3 geese
– 6 ducks
– 75 or so chickens of varying breeds
– 50 meat birds
– 2 turkeys
– 5 dogs. A golden retriever, a livestock guardian dog, a border collie, and two lab/golden mixes.
– 10 puppies (no, we’re not keeping them all!!!)
– 5 cats
– 5 kittens
– 6 rabbits
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Grand Total: 195 different animals

Wow. I didn’t realize how many animals there are until I counted it up for you all! That sure is a lot of mouths to feed; thank goodness most of them in turn feed us!

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As for the humans here on the homestead, we’re all doing well.

Dad is still working for Boeing, but he is looking forward to the day when he can retire and just work here. He definitely enjoys all the different farm “toys” we’ve picked up these last couple months! He finally got his farm truck that he’s always wanted.

Mom could be labeled “Super Mom”! Besides homeschooling us kids and keeping the farm running, she is also currently studying to be a Master Herbalist. And she still manages to find new things to study and research, and is most certainly the one to ask if you have any health questions. She also has been enjoying learning about essential oils with me. Photography has fallen to the back burner unfortunately, but she still enjoys taking pictures whenever she can.

Brianna is now seventeen, YIKES! It doesn’t seem possible that she can be that old. And she’s also taller than me now! She is working on finishing up high school, and enjoys crafting various objects in her free time, such as jewelry, wood burning, and knitting. Willie, our registered Paint, is her horse, and when he isn’t misbehaving, she enjoys riding him around our pasture. She’s also catching up to me when it comes to reading!

Gabrielle is also taller than me now, which gives her an unfair advantage when we argue. Do you know how hard it is to maintain the “tough big sister” attitude when you have to look up to see your sister’s face? Yeah, it doesn’t work. She turned fifteen this spring, which makes me feel really old. She is still a horse lover, and enjoys riding with Brianna when she can. She’s also has a knack when it comes to the animals -I swear she could be a Disney princess, the way she can sing and the cows will come to her, or the horse will calm down.

Caleb is rapidly growing up. At ten years old, we’re having a hard time finding the balance between chores and play. He is responsible for the rabbits and chickens on our farm, and enjoys the income he makes off of selling the eggs, but he often gets distracted with the newest fort idea, leaving chores half down most mornings 🙂 He’s very interested in wood working, and enjoys the few chances he gets with Dad to work on something together.

Joshua is my spoiled rotten 5 year old brother. He not only has all us girls wrapped around his finger, but can smile his way out of almost any circumstance. It’s darn near impossible to stay mad at him for long! He’s all boy like his older brother, and most mornings you’ll find him building an impressive house out of Legos, or role playing Marvel heros, flying around in an Iron Man suit blasting everything in sight.

As for myself, I’m keeping busy. I’m still working on becoming a midwife, but due to my location I’m finding it harder to complete my training than I thought. I am also a doTERRA Wellness Advocate now, and I host essential oil classes once a month here at our house. I enjoy reading and taking pictures in my spare time, and Winnie is keeping me busy with these unexpected bundles of fur!

Well that catches you all up! Hopefully it won’t take me 9 months to write again 😉

You Might Be A Homesteader If….

  • All of your coats have hay in the pockets, including your church coat.
  • You’ve ever been late to church because the cows got out.
  • There are muck boots in the back of your truck. You never know when you’ll need them!
  • Your friends and neighbors are on speed dial, and have been known to come over at a moment’s notice.
  • You get really, really excited when the cow’s milk production goes up. Like really excited.
  • When RSVPing to an event, you add on the condition “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise!”
  • You know where the term “cowlicks” came from.
  • Entire meals can be made off of produce and meat from your land.
  • When you have visitors, they ask to ride your COW. And the cow will actually let you.
  • You’ve ever had a horse, lamb, dog, piglet, baby rabbit, or cat in your house. At least we have. Thank goodness we haven’t had a cow in the house! Yet.
  • Your friend calls you when he’s in the neighborhood to see if there are any animals that need wrangling.
  • You actually do cry over spilt milk.
  • All your animals have food names, like Pork Chop, Bacon, Milkshake, Omelet, Steak, Hamburger, etc.
  • Your brothers go on an Easter egg hunt every day.
  • The four year old thinks hunting produce in the garden is a treasure hunt.
  • You know where the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” came from.
  • There are 500 trees from the conservation department sitting on your front porch waiting to be planted.
  • All your vacation days are spent acquiring new livestock.
  • Your floor is never clean for more than 5 minutes.
  • If you’ve ever chopped wood in -30 degree weather.
  • There is any kind of animal poop in your vehicle.
  • You use your 12 passenger van as a makeshift pickup truck when all the seats are taken out.
  • EVERYTHING is bought in bulk.
  • You’ve milked the cow at midnight because you lost track of time at a party.
  • Reuse and Make Do are now your life’s motto.
  • You’ve gotten used to people identifying you by your adventures, i.e. “Your the one who had that turkey in the back of your car, aren’t you?!”
  • The mailman’s got nothing on you. You work through wind, sleet, snow, ice, rain, lightning, sun, heat, cold, and any other kind of weird weather phenomenon with no pay.
  • Packages that come in the mail don’t hold quite the same joy to your kids as they all are most likely just farm books and stuff. However you are ecstatic!
  • You can identify all your neighbors by their pick up truck and/or the speed their vehicle is traveling.
  • You’ve ever been called to come help your friends find their lost sheep.
  • One of your pigs had piglets unexpectedly, and then promptly rejects them, leaving it to you to bottle feed piglets every 2 hours. And of course you can’t leave them at home because they need to eat so often, so you take them to church with you.
  • After said church visit is over, you realize that you forgot the nipple for the bottle. So you stop at Tractor Supply and buy a new one. While you are feeding them with the back of your van open, you have people walking up asking to pet your pigs. I am not kidding!
  • Butchering parties happen quite often, and you trade off help with your friends. Chickens on Wednesday at the Smiths, a cow on Friday at the Jones.
  • You homestead is named something like “Udder Chaos Farm”

I’m On Call!

It’s really exciting. Here I am, owning my own business now, doing something I love and enjoy. It’s such a wonderful feeling. And yet, sometimes I totally forget that it’s true (Oh, shoot! I forgot my doula bag at home!!!). Yes, that has already happened. I promise I’ll get better.

Anyways, for those that are interested, my website is Blessed Inheritance Birth Services. I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. so please follow/like me! My website also has a blog on it that you can subscribe to. I can only list one service area on most of those websites, but I serve Hannibal, Mexico, and the Greater St. Louis area.

I’d love to answer ANY birth/doula/midwifery related questions, so contact me if you have any questions!

I’m also looking for clients, so feel free to mention me to your pregnant friends. Visit here for reasons why doulas are the best!

And finally, I’m also considering offering birth photography. I’m considering you all my guinea pigs, so comment below on what you think of my pictures. Thanks!!!

Midwife Watching On

Midwife Watching On

Loving Support

Loving Support

Beautiful Hands

Beautiful Hands

Totally Relaxed

Totally Relaxed

Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight

Heart and Hands

Heart and Hands

Baby's First Picture!

Baby’s First Picture!

Getting Warmed Up

Getting Warmed Up

Diaper Time

Diaper Time

Only 7 pounds?!

Only 7 pounds?!

 

Our Farm in Pictures

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Seven little piggies (one is hidden behind the black pig)

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Moses, a 10 year old draft/quarter horse mix

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Willie, a 13 year old Registered Paint

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Winnie the Nut

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J after berry picking

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B and a new(er) kitten

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J watchong everyone ride the new horses

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B on Moses, with everyone else watching

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J’s turn!

Independance Day, DONA, Business, Death, Wedding

Interesting title, eh? Well, that’s what has happened recently in my life. I shall expound below. Independance Day. We had three families over to our place for a barbeque. It was quite the group, with all of us being homeschoolers. Which makes us awesome. Yep. We started off with about half of us kids going for a swim in our extremely deep and murky pond. Even though all of us knew how to swim, we all wore life vests. It was that deep! The rest of the kids (mainly the younger ones) had an epic water gun fight in the backyard, while the menfolk started a game of horseshoes. At 5 o’clock, we started chores (cows do have to be milked on holidays). I think it’s really funny – everyone wanted to milk the cow! So I didn’t have to milk that night 🙂 We then grilled up some hot dogs and sausages, and sat down to a great potluck picnic. Mom let us cheat on GAPS diet, and have potato salad. I think that was the highlight of the day for some of my family members… By the time we finished eating dinner and dessert, it was starting to get dark. Dad started a bonfire, and I started a great game of charades, using a app on my tablet. It’s called Head’s Up,  and what happens is one person holds the tablet or phone on their forehead, and it displays different words. The rest of the group then has to act it out. It’s a lot of fun, and I love watching everyone act. By then, it was really dark, and so we broke out the sparklers and the poppers. While the kids were distracted, Daddy and a friend went down to the pond and set up some fireworks. Mom herded everyone around front just as dad set the first one off. They planned that perfectly! The kids all plopped down in the grass, and the adults sat on the front porch. There were a couple of really good fireworks – I was pleasantly surprised. Of course the whole day I was so busy having fun that I didn’t get a single picture! So that was our Independance Day. Next on happenings was my DONA training course. I am now a DONA trained doula! I had a great time. I met some wonderful ladies, learned a lot, and got inspired,  which brings me to my next topic – business. I’ve started a birth doula business – http://www.BlessedInheritance.weebly.com. I plan on serving at Audrain Medical Center, Hannibal Regional Hospital,  St. Joseph West Hospital, birth centers and homebirths. I am so excited about this opportunity! If you readers don’t mind, could you please visit my website and like me on facebook? Thank you! Onto my next happening. We had another animal die on our farm. This time it hit us a little bit harder. We lost our steer, who we were raising for meat. In fact, he was up to weight, and we were ready to butcher him. Now we have an empty freezer. At least I get to end on a good note! Tomorrow we are going to our Pastor’s son’s wedding. I love seeing the different ceremonies, plus the dresses and reception. Well, that catches you up! By the way, if there are some misspellings or typos, it’s cause my tablet is acting up, and it won’t let me see what I’m typing. Sorry!

On Farming..

To those considering farming.

Just with any job – and actually anything in life – there are pros and cons to it. Farming is no exception. I’m sure you probably are just thinking of the obvious – that farmers are at the mercy of the weather. While that is certainly true, there is more farming than just that.

Farmers get pooped on.

Farmers get peed on.

Farmers also deal with vomit and other bodily functions on an almost daily basis.

They get up with the sun, but don’t normally get to go to sleep with the sun.
The reason? A lamb isn’t eating well. A cow is about to give birth. The steer escaped. They have 150 chicks coming in the morning, and there isn’t a spot ready for them. The field needs to be planted before the next storm hits, even if that means staying up till midnight.

And they deal with a death on a regular basis.

Since moving onto our farm, we’ve lost 4 cats, 1 piglet, 1 dog, 25+ ducklings, 2 goslings, 4 turkeys, and too many chicks and chickens to count. 3/4 of those deaths were caused by animals living on our farm.

Our neighbors lost an entire pond of catfish in a matter of days.

They also deal with the death of trees, crops, and vegatables & fruits.

They spend more money on gas than you could ever imagine possible.

Frustration is a frequent visitor to a farm. Tractors, trucks, and vehicles break down. Tools also break or stop working. The ground can be too wet, too dry, too acidic, or too rocky. Some years find you with a shortage of water for crops, or hay for your animals. Other years hit you with storm after storm. Again, other years, like this year, find you with unpredictable weather. One day it’s 85 degrees and sunny, and the next it’s stormy and 38 degrees.

They break their backs planting seeds, just to have something like the chickens accidentally getting lose and destroying your hard work.

They miss events that are special to them, because an animal is sick and needs nursing, or the cows need to be milked. When farming is your livelihood, you can’t just take a break whenever you’d like.

Farming is hard. On everyone and everything.

But.

Besides becoming a mother or father, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs ever.

The wonder of seeing your siblings, children, or grandchildren’s faces light up with joy when they get to ride the tractor.

Looking out a window, and being able to say that everything you can see, is yours. The cows grazing happily on the new spring grass. The lambs and calves bouncing around the field. The eccentricity of some animals – like a goose that likes to be petted, a cat that nurses on a dog (that has never had puppies!), and the miniture horse who likes to chase and bite the cows.

All the babies! Calves, lambs, foals, and kittens, all hungrily nursing on their mothers. The chicks, ducklings and poults, scratching and searching for food. All bring laughter to your life, and remind you of the miracle that life truly is.

The sound of rain on a roof, or the laughter of a child running free.

Seeing that green of new life after a cold winter.

The sense of home you feel when you go to town and everyone knows your name

The taste home raised bacon. That’s almost a good enough reason to farm there.

I can’t even begin to describe the amazment that I feel when I step outside and see millions upon millions of bright, twinkling stars.

The relief and utter happiness at having neighbors that truly care about and for you.

That first meal evey year, when everything on your table is something you grew or raised. There is such a feeling of accomplishment.

The coolness of the creek after a long day of work.

And the friendly competition that develops between kids, whether that be growing the biggest watermelon or hog, seeing who can milk the fastest, or who can hit the most targets.

And farming is necessary! If there weren’t people like these, you wouldn’t have any food.

So, if you are thinking about farming, here is what I think.

Do it.

It will be THE hardest thing you have ever done. But it is worth it. Every minute of it.Image