Friday, October 30, 2009

Big Green Tractor

Our poor "big" boys have been neglected on the blog lately. Here is what they have been up to over the last two weeks. Yup, that is them in the "Big Green Tractor"

Farmer Brad was kind enough to take them for a few rounds around the bean field while they were harvesting. I guess he noticed us sitting there in the yard drooling while watching! What fun!

Isn't that gorgeous! Now that is Indiana in the fall! I am so fortunate to live where we get to watch this right out our windows.

The boys checking out the new combine! This thing is HUGE!!!

Brooks and I were jealous that we didn't get to join in the fun.
Hopefully next year!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Business of Being Born

Wanted to let you all know that my friend Kathy found where you can watch the movie "The Business of Being Born" online for only $6.95!!!! So worth it! I have watched it probably 4 times now and catch more information each time but this is a great deal if you would like to check it out without having to sign up for Netflix (this is the only place I have seen it offered for renting.) You can buy it on Amazon and I know Goshen Birth Center also has it in their library for borrowing.

This movie is perfect for any pregnant woman NOT just someone planning a homebirth, birth center or even a natural birth. It shows how birthing has changed in our country over the last century, gives statistics and arms you with information on how and why hospitals do what they do with birthing women.

Hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think of the movie if any of you have seen it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Burning Questions: Part Two

Here is a link to the first "Burning Questions"
Here are some of the top things I have been asked over the last week. Not in any real order... Just a warning... I am very passionate about birth. Please know that these are all actual questions I have been asked and I am answering them very honestly from my point of view. My purpose for this is to answer everything at once and hopefully educate women and help them to reclaim their birth experience.

Were you surprised that it was a boy? No! Remember I voted that it was a boy. I will admit that I did think it was a girl but everything logically told me it was a boy. I couldn't be happier with our three boys. God showed me during my last week of pregnancy how much I enjoy having boys. He is so good!

Is it what Ben thought it would be? Yes! He knew it was a boy at 22 weeks along and kept it a secret the whole time.

How did you decide on the name Brooks? We still did not have a name for him when I went in labor. We finally decided on one that night sometime around 10 or 11pm. We wanted a family name so we knew that his middle name would be Frederick after my dad- Robert Frederick and Ben's paternal grandpa- Charles Frederick. I thought Brooks sounded nice with Charlie and Sawyer and we liked the meaning. Brooks means "brooke or stream" and Frederick means "Peaceful leader" We needed a laid back kid and Ben liked the idea of something to do with the outdoors so this seemed to fit. :)

- Where were your other boys born if not at Goshen Birth Center? Both boys were born at Goshen General Hospital with a midwife from Fairhaven Obstetrics. Rachel delivered Charlie and Julia delivered Sawyer. The Birth Center opened shortly after Sawyer was born. We were birth #70 there.

- If you didn't have any drugs why do you have a band-aid on your arm and hand? I got the H1N1 vaccine that morning in my arm (while in labor and holding two monkeys. Tons of fun!) The one in my hand is the Strep B antibiotics. I had this with all three of our boys.

- Are you done having kids? ummm... According to Ben- YES! POSITIVELY YES! Me on the other hand is already having a hard time grasping this. :(

- What was the girl's name? We actually had three that we couldn't decide between. We were just going to wait to see what she looked like. I won't tell you the exact names but they all had a family name in them. Either Charlotte (after me) or Mae (after Grandma Anne).

- Didn't Brooks swallow water when he was born? How long was he under water? My sense of time with the birth is very skewed so I don't know how long he was actually underwater but it wasn't for any longer than 1 minute. Babies are already in water when in-utero so this is no different for them. So no he didn't swallow any.

- Jill commented that the Birth Center looked like a Spa. It really was a lot like that! I had my own suite with large whirlpool tub. After the birth Brooks and I stayed in the water for probably about an hour. We then lounged in the huge bed with Ben and the boys. Later before we left I took an herbal bath in the tub with the lights off and a candle lit. The midwife then gave Brooks his first bath in the tub with me. It was so sweet to see him get cleaned up this way. Also very relaxing and healing! Our boys watched oodles of cartoons in the living room and played with toys. Ben and Kathy ordered pizza and ate while I was in labor and I then chowed down on all the leftovers about midnight. :) The midwives also make you a fresh loaf of bread while you are in labor to enjoy later. Yum!

When did you start having contractions, and when did you know when to go to the birth center (how painful, how often, etc. were the contractions?)- I started labor at 3:20 am that day. He was born at 7:23pm. Very different from the other two boys! I was expecting a short/frantic labor and instead got a long roller coaster labor. I went shopping during the day with the boys, dropped cupcakes off at Ben's school, went to see the midwife and then treated us to Panera Bread for lunch. Ben came home early from school about 2pm.
Usually the midwives tell you to come to the hospital/b.c. when contractions are 3 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute. Since I had Strep B they wanted me to come when they were 7 minutes apart so that I could hopefully get two doses of the antibiotic. I got to the B.C. at about 4:20pm. I never got the second dose with any of the boys. I was at the hospital with Charlie for only 4 hours, 2 hours with Sawyer and 3 hours with Brooks.

Did you know when you went through the "transition" phase? And were you in the water by this point or was this when you knew you wanted to get in the water? I was in denial at this point. :) Rachel kept trying to check me but I didn't want her to. She knew by my demeanor that I was farther than I thought I was. She also kept encouraging me to get in the water but I was stubborn. I was trying to pace myself and I was expecting a longer end to the labor. Once I finally did get checked I was 9 cent. and I then got in the water. With the other two boys I labored in the water for longer.

Did you need an episiotomy? No. The midwives do not routinely do these.

After Brooks was born, did they let you hold him for a long time and did they do any APGAR testing or any other sort of testing on him at the birthing center or is that primarily only done at the hospital? Usually with a water birth the mother or father delivers their baby but since I sort of panicked and just stared at him Rachel handed him to me. I didn't let go of him for at least an hour. Brooks was never away from me for the entire 6 hours except when I took my bath. They gave him an APGAR score of 8 and 9. (loss of points for color) They don't cut the cord until you have delivered the placenta. He also was not weighed or measured until probably 11pm or so that night. No really need to hurry on that. He received the Vitamin K shot and Eye Medicine shortly before we left around 1am.

Were you encouraged to breast feed right away (like in the tub) to help your uterus contract and prevent bleeding? He nursed about 3 minutes after he was born. I nursed him pretty much non-stop the whole time we were there. This was when Sawyer made the funny comment about him getting big and strong! Side note... I chugged Red Raspberry Leaf tea the last week or so of my pregnancy and it really helped with post-delivery contractions. They didn't hurt near as bad as they did with Sawyer. Highly recommend this! I also took the Herbal supplement "5W".

Did they have to get any blood from you or Brooks a couple days later for any reason? They did the metabolic screening on Brooks at our house 3 days after he was born. (The midwives came to see me about 15 hours after having him and then again at 3 days to check both of us.)

My burning question is...where's the blow by? :) Just a little NICU nurse humor! Nope. No oxygen needed. (They did have it ready for both he and I just in case.) I felt bad because I had pictured his birth just like the videos I had watched where he would just slide out and look at me and breathe normally without screaming. Instead he came shooting out, I screamed, scared the poor thing and then he started screaming like crazy!

Were the big bro's with you all the time or in and out? I labored in the living room with them until I needed some alone time. Again my sense of time is skewed but I would say from the time I left it wasn't more than an hour before he was born. Kathy stayed with the boys and then came in just a few minutes after Brooks was born.

Did you ever wish for drugs? No. I did with Charlie but was determined not to get them no matter what. It never was honestly even an option in my mind.

Where was this birthing center? Goshen, In on Hwy 119 right off of Hwy 15. About 25 minutes from our house.

Was it covered by insurance? Yes. Insurance companies are starting to cover birth centers more because they are so much cheaper than a hospital.

Weren't you worried about not being in a hospital? No. Actually this was never a big deal to me. In fact, with the way illness is spreading rapidly right now, I was thankful I wasn't in a hospital! Hospitals are for the sick. I wasn't sick!

I did a lot of reading and researching on the safety of our Birth Center. Every time a concern was brought up I looked into it. Most of the issues that were a concern were the result of an intervention. Since I would be at the center there would be no interventions. Our center is also accredited by the state. (There are only 3 in Indiana.) and we attended a class on precautionary measures they take and emergency situations. There are a LOT of precautionary measures that are taken. They don't handle a birth lightly. They routinely do emergency practice drills and have the EMT's practice coming to the center. They built the center just a few miles from the hospital. It is about a 4 minute drive and only right hand turns on the way there.

On a serious note a Birth Center birth is not for everyone. However it was perfect for us. Ben was very skeptical at the beginning but by the time we left that night he was a firm believer in it. The midwives actually thanked him for putting his trust in them. They had been grilled by him with a lot of questions and in the end he believed in them 100%. He and I both agree that it was beyond wonderful and we couldn't imagine going back to a hospital again. Just today he commented that I have really opened his eyes to how our culture views birth. Woman are taught in today's society that they don't know how to give birth. This is so untrue! God created us for this!

After this birthing experience, IF you had another, Would Ben be comfortable with a home birth now? Nope. (His answer.) :)

Would you still be interested in a home birth? I mean, it sounds like you had an ideal experience for you. Do you think the home would be different/better? Not that I wouldn't want a home birth but I wouldn't pursue it after using the B.C. I did have the ideal situation and it is so convenient for me that I would just love to have more babies there. I am very fortunate to live in a community that has a hospital and B.C. that are very baby/mommy friendly. The epidural rate at Goshen is right around 30%! This is much lower than other hospitals. It isn't because they don't offer them. It is just because woman don't want them as much in our area. If I was in an area that did not have the same views as myself I would consider it more.

What made you want to have a midwife and not a doctor? I have always been skeptical of epidurals so I knew I would have a natural birth. Side note #2... Midwives can issue drugs/narcotics in labor (at the hospital) I just chose not to use any. When I called Fairhaven to schedule my first appt. with Charlie the nurse asked if I wanted a midwife or a doctor. I had no clue what the difference was so she asked me, "Do you view birth as just a way to get your baby and want a doctor to treat you or do you see it as a natural process where you would like someone to help you?" I said the that the second one described me best. So... she set me up with the midwives. The doctors and midwives work very closely together at this combined practice and I couldn't be happier with the care they gave me.

I am interested in having a birth like this. What books and other educational materials would you suggest? Read anything you can get your hands on. Here are a few authors that had good material- Suzanne Arms, Frederick LeBoyer, Peggy Vincent, Penny Armstrong and the book Birthing From Within. A great movie to watch is "The Business of Being Born." This will really make you think. And Cry!! I also am a faithful reader of "Mothering" magazine. I was introduced to this magazine by Courtney and Dianne when I was pregant with Charlie. I don't agree with everything the magazine supports but it is a great resource for factual information on birthing and mothering.
Search your area for CNM's and/or a Birth Center. If there are none in your area consider hiring a Doula. (I would love to be one of these someday!) Speak candidly with your doctor about their practices and hospital procedures so you know what to expect. Also, make a birth plan with your doctor.

I hope by answering these questions it lets other women know that it is possible to have a natural birth the way you want it to happen. Don't get me wrong I am thankful for technology and doctors. When they are needed they can do wonderful things. When they are not needed YOU can do wonderful things. God created women to do this and we need to reclaim childbirth in our country.

Ok, I am off my soapbox now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Déjà Vu

The top picture is of Charlie at about 1 week old and the bottom is Brooks at 1 week. They are like clones! Brooks looks so much like Charlie. They both have tons of black hair and the same facial features. Brooks is just smaller. He was 7 lbs at birth and Charlie was 8lbs.

I am working on all those questions. There are a lot of them! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The "High"

While in labor I said, "Rachel, tell me again why I wanted to do this?" She smiled and said, "You want the 'high'!"
She was right. I would do it again and again (Ben has forbid that) just for the "high." Here is one of my favorite people in the world my midwife Rachel Johns. She has delivered over 1500 babies! (She also delivered Charlie at the hospital.)

Here are some pictures of after Brooks was born.

I doubt the Gap Casting call would be contacting us anytime soon after seeing his newborn shot! He looks like a Smurf! This was probably a minute after he was born.

The boys meeting their new brother about 2 minutes after he was born.

Let the party begin! The boys loved all their presents from "Our baby".

New "Case" tractors, party favors, snacks, airplanes...

and of course their "Big Bro" shirts. Look how proud they are!

I loved having our boys there with us. It was wonderful. They knew that this was a big event for our family and were super excited. Yet it was also just part of our daily life. They knew that this how babies are born and that mom wasn't feeling good but I would be fine as soon as I got to hold their brother or sister.

Both boys have just been in awe of Brooks. At the moment I can hear Charlie in the other room singing to him, "I love you high. I love you low. I love best. I love you most. I love you THIS much."

As you can see the birthing suite is super cute and comfy. It is kind of like a spa Jill!

Charlie kept making really funny comments. Shortly after Brooks was born I was nursing him and Sawyer said loudly, "He drink Mommy milk and get big and strong." The midwives all thought this was hilarious. Rachel said, "You have obviously brainwashed them well!" :)

Nana having the time of her life! :)

Another midwife that came to assist- Patty.

Finally a picture of the proud Daddy! I realized at the end of the night that I am usually the one snapping all the photos and I hadn't taken any of Ben!

I have been bombarded with emails and phone calls from friends and family asking about Brooks birth since it was not your typical hospital event. I am thinking that my next post will be another "Burning Questions" answered post. If you have any questions I am probably more than willing to answer. I won't obviously give you graphic details but if you are curious about something now is the time to ask!
Until then...
a and b

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Final Countdown

This past week the song, "The Final Countdown" kept playing in my head. I wasn't sure if I felt like I should be preparing for a game in Slicer gym or getting ready to have my last baby. Either way I was pumped and it was game/labor time!
After chatting with my midwife Rachel today I am convinced that I am a little insane and if there was a "Birthing Anonymous" group I would probably be over qualified to join. Just looking at these pictures makes me want to do this all over again! Sick I know. Someone please remind me about the pain part of labor/birth again when I start whining about wanting another child! Please!
Anyhoo... here are few pics from the 3 hours we were at the Goshen Birth Center before Brooks was born. They also have a picture up on their Facebook page for those of you who are members. If you aren't into birth. Don't keep reading. I am not showing or giving any graphic details but still it won't interest you if you don't find birth miraculous.

As soon as we got there I started snapping pictures so I could remember as much as possible of my time there. I can't wait for our picture to be added to all of these other births.

Some of the artwork in the living room.

Here is me after getting there. Not the most flattering pic but I am keeping it real. I was sweating like a pig and had just had a little bawling session from being in pain and just overcome with joy. I really was so happy to be there and I couldn't believe our baby would be in my arms soon.

Getting comfy on the birthing ball.

Charlie helping me with contractions.

It was amazing to have our boys and my mother-in-law there with us for the labor. Thank you Kathy! She commented that it was neat that we were all kind of doing our own thing while there but still part of the big event.
Here is one of the last pictures of just me before Brooks was born. At this point it was just myself, Ben and our midwife Rachel in the birthing suite. I am 10 centimeters along but still smiling. Praise God! Don't get me wrong I had anything but a smile on my face during the contractions but I was so happy that I couldn't help but smile during those short little breaks.
I am not going to post any pics of the actual birth.
Here are the basics...
-Rachel didn't think the other midwife was going to make it in time so she told Kathy she may have to assist. (I would have loved to have seen her face!)
-One midwife ran over from the office in time to see my water break while in the tub.
- The other midwife came running in after he was born.
-Ben did NOT get in the tub with me! Lucky duck! I had been threatening to make him. :)
- I pushed for 1.5 minutes.
- I panicked a little when he came out so fast and Rachel had to hand him to me since I was just staring at him in the water.

We praise God for a wonderful experience and are so happy with our little Baby Brooks. Oh by the way... we still hadn't decided on a name until about 10pm that night after he was born! I think it suites him good.

I will add post-delivery pics in another day or so.
amanda and brooks

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brooks Frederick Tonagel

A few quick pics. I will try and write more later during the weekend.

Here he is getting weighed at our house today.

Our first family picture at the Birth Center.

Getting ready to go home at about 1am this morning.
I can't believe I am the mom of three boys!!!!! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a .....!!!!


Brooks Frederick Tonagel was born Wednesday night at 7:23pm. Brooks was born into the water and is doing well. He was 7 lbs 2 oz and 20.5 inches long.
We came home at 1:45 this morning and are hoping to rest. (I have been up for 23 hours now!) Insomnia obviously hasn't gone away!

We will give pics and details later.
much love,
a,b,c, s and b! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It is finished.

My "to-do" list that is! :)
Nothing new here other than annoying little contractions. Nothing to get excited about.
Thought I better put an update on here because all my friends seem to be calling me now worried since I hadn't posted anything. However if I try to call someone just to chat they go into excited/panic mode. No baby yet people! I promise to let you know when he/she arrives! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Home Stretch

Here are the boys and I posing for our weekly picture after church. I am just shy of 37 weeks in this pic. Ben had the boys shout, "Our baby is coming!" in the next one. So cute! They just can't wait for him/her to arrive.

The cradle in the background belongs to my folks. My brother, sister and I all slept in it as infants and both our boys did as well. My parents delivered it this weekend so I could get it ready.
I have overall had a really good week of sleeping and feeling good. I am starting to swell up and get worn out easily. Last Friday I had a lot of contractions, etc but luckily baby held off. Both of the boys came a little early (Charlie 2 weeks and Sawyer 1 week) so I am preparing for another early baby but am fine if they decide to hibernate in there a little longer. I would actually prefer the extra time!
The boys have had some pretty funny comments/questions lately.
- They know the baby is floating in water. Charlie looked at me one day and asked, "Does he have any bath toys in there?" I laughed and said,"No. It is probably pretty bored since it doesn't even have bubble bath!"
-The boys' best friend Luke got stitches last week after a collision with his dog. After seeing his picture Sawyer stated, "Lukey go to Birth Center and get stitches!" Hah! Can you tell what we talk about around here?

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The one good thing about insomnia...

I took this picture last week from our front porch. The corn hasn't been cut yet and it is just a gorgeous view out our windows right now.
I actually have had a WONDERFUL week of sleep so if you were praying for me, keep it up! Sawyer and I grabbed this shot at about 7am after a pretty full night's sleep. Hallelujah!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pumpkin Head

I made the boys and I these t-shirts as part of our MOPS crafts last week. I thought they turned out really cute.
Charlie wore his to pre-school where they went to visit a farm.

Sawyer and I wore ours to our MOPS Pumpkin Patch outing. I tried to convince Ben into letting me make one for him but he wouldn't go for it. I can't understand why????

In other news... at my midwife appointment the other day she thought the baby had flipped around because at first the butt felt more like a head! Apparently the baby has gotten the butt trait from my side and not Ben's. :) Maybe our baby will have a "Pumpkin Butt" instead of a "Pumpkin Head".

Happy Fall!