Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Preparing for Birth

No, not preparing for my birth, unfortunately. ;)

I am excitedly preparing myself for three good friends births. As I've mentioned a hand full of times before in my blog, I am passionate about child birth. It is about the most normal thing... ever. I love pregnancy, birth, and brand spankin' new babies.  A few years back I did a doula training course in Puyallup, WA. While that course was only the first part of becoming certified as a doula, it taught me SO much. I haven't furthered my training, unfortunately,  except by getting some experience at births. Becoming certified is only for the purpose of wearing a name tag from the Doulas of North America (DONA) and looking official. While eventually I'd like to finish up my certification, experience is really what will teach me more.

I am anxiously awaiting my best friend's birth that could be ANY DAY now. Her due date was yesterday. I am honored and blessed to be a part of her big day. She is having a home birth with a midwife and her apprentice, who are amazing. She's got the tub all blown up and ready to fill with hot water. This will be an incredibly comfortable setting for a birth for everyone involved. Homemade food, candles lit around the house, dim lighting, and a set of midwives who will be working hard to keep the house spick and span. Since it is my best friend I will feel right at home spending all those hours with her laboring.

There are two other gals from church whose due dates are one day apart. :) They are due in just about 4 weeks. Their births will be very unique as well. One is delivering her baby at the Salem Hospital which is right down the street from me (convenient!). It is her first baby and I am so excited to be a part of this experience with her and her husband. My other good friend is having her baby at a hospital in Stayton that does water births! This is a very rare thing for hospitals to do, so it'll be fun to be a part of that. While most hospitals let you labor in the water, they will not let you deliver in the water. This one does with the supervision of one midwife - my friend's midwife! I am very much looking forward to seeing the different dynamics of all of these places of delivering babies.

I can't think of many events as huge as welcoming a new baby into the world. I am so honored to be a part of welcoming these babies into the world, while looking out for the physical and emotional well-being of the mothers. Having gone through labor and birth for myself now, I have a whole new empathy for new mothers. Birth is such a vunerable time, and women need as much loving support as possible. My job is to help the husbands my teaching them hands on techniques of comforting their wives as well as doing those things myself. We work together and I do not take the place of the husband by any means.

That's it for now - if anyone reads this has any questions about what a doula is or why they are needed I'd love to talk about it! Like I said, it's a passion of mine. Please leave any comments you may have.

Blessings to you, readers!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Weaning and Sleep Training.

I have wanted to journal this mini-journey in my life about weaning Ruby and really training her to sleep through the night. While I may do that, typing it out seems a lot more convenient at the moment. Sad, I know. I've become so lazy with journaling that it hurts my hand to write much at all. And my hand writing is terrible. So here goes my virtual journaling...

I am still breast feeding Ruby between 3-5 times per day. This number is actually substantially less than it was a couple of weeks ago. While I started introducing solid foods to her at around 6 months, I didn't do it much. Not for any particular reason, other than it is messy and nursing is much more convenient. However, now that she is 12 1/2 months old, I feel like the time is right to really begin training her to rely on solids for her main source of nutrition. In the last 1-2 weeks I have really buckled down and made sure to make her meals 3 times per day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She has done incredibly well with this! As long as my girl has a full tummy, she stays happy. So as of right now I nurse her first thing in the morning (other mommies know WHY that is important...;-)) and before nap and before bed. So, that is the progress I've made with teaching her to eat solids. A lot more of a seem-less transition than I thought it would be! Thankful for that.

At the same time that I decided it's time to start feeding Ruby more solids, I also decided it is time she starts sleeping straight through the night. While I am not a fan of the "Cry It Out" method of sleep-training for little babies, I've come to a peace of trying it with my one year old. I started trying this out about 1 1/2 weeks ago, and it was ROUGH at first. Before this, Ruby was waking up on average 3 times per night, and I would nurse her back to sleep each time. I am so thankful that she's never had a problem with going back to sleep! So, over the past 1 1/2 weeks I have toughed it out and let her cry in the middle of the night. The first few nights I let her cry as long as I could stand it, which was about half an hour each time. After letting her cry for half an hour, I would nurse her back to sleep. Finally, Sunday night we had break through! Both Brian and I were able to fall asleep even though Ruby started crying in the middle of the night. Putting a pillow over my head was the best trick I found. :) That night she cried for a little while then went back to sleep at some point. Didn't wake back up until 7am. I was so excited the next morning, it worked! Then the next two nights went the exact, and last night was even better... she never even cried! She slept straight from 8pm - 7:30am. Victory!

My biggest motivation behind making her sleep more and nurse less is that I have the privilege of being a doula for 3 good friends in the next two months! That will mean lots of hours away from my girl, and I absolutely needed to make these changes to make it possible to be a doula. I am so blessed that Ruby is catching on quickly, and that I will be able to be an encouragement to my friends as they deliver their babies. The first one, Tara, is due any minute now and I am pumped!
*Feeling high on life*

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

12 Months

If you are friends with my on Facebook or Instagram, you know by now that my baby girl is one year old! I post way too many photos of her, and lots of photos of her birthday party. I thought I should write a blog post of my thoughts at this time, and of her party. So here I go!

I've been particularly emotional in the  2-3 months leading up to Ruby's first birthday. It is bazarre, I do not understand why I felt so teary all the time, but I did. Now that she has had her birthday, however, I am a lot less emotional about it. I am so blessed and grateful for the past year I've had with my Ruby Joy. It has been so full and fun. I can say with certainty that I LOVE being a mommy! It has changed my life in more ways than I ever imagined. I feel like I have an entirely different heart, and outlook on life. It really is true that becoming a parent changes you forever, that you experience love like you never thought possible. While I feel like more of an emotional mess than I was before (mostly just more sensitive), I am grateful for the change that's happened in my life.

Along with Ruby's birthday (December 31st) comes a re-cap of my entire year. While Ruby floods my mind as being the biggest focus of mine this past year, there have been many other amazing things to happen in our lives.

-Ruby and I have traveled in airplanes, twice now! Both times were trips back to Ohio where my dad's family lives. We went in April to visit for a few days, knowing it was the end of my grandma's life. Then we went again in October with Brian and the rest of my family, for my grandma's funeral. I could go on about how I have viewed death so differently and so much more than I ever have before this past year, but I'll keep those thoughts to myself for now. While the reasons we traveled were very hard, it was sweet being able to see all the family. We were very blessed to be able to make those trips.

-Brian has now been employed at Outward Church for 2 years! His position at church is "Executive Pastor." While he does get the privilege of preaching on occasion, that's a very small part of his tasks. Brian helps run a lot of things that are more behind the scenes. He is in charge of training all of our Outward Community group leaders. We have between 10-12 Outward Community groups all around town, and Brian trains / teaches / encourages the leaders of each of those groups, in addition to leading a group himself. We have been blessed this past year of ministry to see 3 people in our community group come to Christ. It has been such a joy to see people come to the Lord!! We are so thankful to have this one of our jobs. Praise God!

-Last year when Ruby was only a few days old, Brian started tearing down the old siding on our house and preparing to put new up. One year later, that job is complete! Yes, it takes a while, especially for a 611 sq. ft. house. But my husband is the busiest person I know. I have definitely been taught patience, with this house especially, since we've been married. Now that our siding is all done, we have a crew who have prepped it, put gutters up, and are going to be painting this week! (Hopefully).

-As you can see in the third house photo, we have a new (to us) car. We no longer have the Jeep Grand Cherokee....*tear* but are proud to say we own two cars free and clear. No car payments for us! This is a huge victory to us. The best part is, both of our cars are the exact same! 1998 Chevrolet Cavilers. Mine is blue, Brian's is black. Mine is automatic and 4-door, Brian's is 2-door and manuel. We pretty much just laugh about our cars all the time. However, the black one was given to me a few years back from my uncle with about 60,000 miles on it. The blue one was sold to us from my aunt on the other side of the family, for $500. So, $500 for two cars that haven't given us any problems is a win in our book! Also, the blue car had 60,000 on it when we bought it. Too funny!

-Now that Brian has worked at the church for 2 years, we can officially start looking to buy a new house! We needed 2 years proof of income from that job as well as the business, since Brian has 2 incomes. We will be renting out this one out once we finish the updates needed. I AM SO EXCITED!! We get to move into a bigger house! Which means... we get to have more babies! ;-)

There is a quick re-cap of the Bradley's 2012. It is always so good to look back and remember how far the Lord has brought us. I am really going to try to step up my blogging game soon. Not necessarily just to gain viewers or popularity, but as a way to document big and small events in my life. It is so fun to look back and remember my thoughts at certain stages of life. Thank you for reading, dear friends!