Tag Archives: family birth

Postpartum Freezer Meals

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Before I begin, anything that says (Second Breakfast) can be found by clicking the link “Second Breakfast” at the top of my blog, and going through the list of recipes we tried, love, and use pretty frequently.

Ahem.

During my last post-partum time, I had set aside 40 meals while I was pregnant, so that I did not need to cook dinners during the entire recovery and resting phase with baby. Just that alone was a balm to our time together as a family! Daryl and Melody still cooked breakfasts and lunches, but the dinners were a huge blessing for all of us. I LOVE having my family relax with me and the new baby. Prepping these now is really a selfishness on my part. {laugh}

I’d gifted our deep freezer to someone about a year ago, not thinking about needing it during a future postpartum. It wasn’t until about a month ago, in the midst of Corona deep freezer panic-hoarding by the masses, that someone gifted us a working deep freezer. I thought we were going to have to spend a couple hundred dollars! What a cool (ha) blessing! It was a fun project for Daryl to hone his handyman skills, too.

I was a little worried being so close to having the baby that we wouldn’t have enough meals put up, not only with time but with finances, but resolved to set aside as many as possible. I’d set aside 8 meals before getting the deep freezer, but couldn’t do more for lack of freezer space. Using meats gifted to us from a local ministry house and vegetables and fruits from Harvesters’ drops, I was able to set aside 25 meals for seven people in 2 weekends! Several people in the community made meals as well, and by a month after the freezer was plugged in, I have 44 freezer dinners set aside! I might do a second post to link most of the dinner recipes, if I don’t have them in Second Breakfast already.

Then began a focus on some breakfasts and possibly lunches, because we were gifted an abundance of fruits. Melody has made a BUNCH of Paleo banana bread for breakfasts (her recipe to follow in a different post), as well. Last Harvesters pick up, we were given a crate of bananas. I have cut up enough organic apples (given to us from Harvesters) to make 6 breakfasts for Apple Nut Breakfast Bowls.

Ingredient list for Kitchen Sink Breakfast

Aside from bacon, we have everything we need to set up Kitchen Sink Breakfast (grease crock, put all ingredients except scrambled eggs into bottom, then add the scrambled eggs and cook on low for 4 hours or so – thank you, Paleo Slow Cooking by Chrissy Gower! Buy that cookbook!) for 6 weeks of once-a-week breakfast. Two weeks ago, Harvester gave us a BUNCH of onions and crimini mushrooms – I immediately chopped them with my chopper device and froze them for future use. The same week, we were given 2 huge flats of over 2 dozen eggs each, which I’ll use towards this. I happened to have our own purchased excess of organic bell peppers I chopped and froze, that same day the mushrooms and onions came in. I am still trying to find 1 more freezer-meal friendly recipe to make 6 of, the other breakfasts can be scrambled eggs. I am thinking this delicious-sounding Paleo Pineapple Upside Down Cake, since Harvesters just gifted us with a BUNCH of fresh pineapple (and set leftovers in the freezer for breakfast smoothies) and we were also gifted cherries today, time to make another round of healthier maraschino cherries, perfectly timed for pineapple upside down cakes, really.

Today at Harvesters, we were given 7 three-pound bags of organic potatoes. (Also… A lot of garlic and bananas!) I will turn 6 bags of them into fermented french fries (Second Breakfast) and 1 bag into fermented tater tots (follow step for soaking from the French fries, then follow the recipe at Second Breakfast for tater tots!) to go with fish sticks and cultured tartar sauce (yep, head over to Second Breakfast and look under Condiments)… The fish is waiting to be cooked tomorrow.

I already have two weekly lunches planned for 6 weeks. Milk chicken (we use coconut milk) with raw veggies and Italian dressing, and smoked pork with barbecue sauce for pulled pork sandwiches with the French fries. I want to set up 2-3 more lunch meals for the 6 weeks, as well. Not entirely sure what those could be, yet. Likely at least one soup, because I can make a massive batch at once quite easily and divide up.

Then Melody and I will make and freeze a lot of Paleo pitas (Second Breakfast, scroll down to Breads), bread, buns (Second Breakfast), and tortillas, to have random “sandwich” lunches the rest of the time. We have quite a loaf of roast beef (around 5 lb of a deli loaf) that the ministry house gave us, plus a giant tub or two of almond or peanut butter with some fermented jams should do. And Daryl will likely love to have a lunch or two of burgers with chips.

Like my normal meal plans (see intro to Second Breakfast) the breakfasts and lunches will stay consistent for about 6 weeks, Monday-Sundays, during my postpartum time, then right around winter will shift for the season anyway. šŸ™‚

Perhaps I am a little over-eager, but I would like to make some bulk postpartum snacks, too, like beef jerky, fermented fruit leather, and a BUNCH of trail mix with soaked and dehydrated nuts (we just mix nuts, usually almonds, organic raisins, and carob chips for Stryder or allergen-friendly chocolate chips for the rest of us). Maybe soaked lactation cookies (I used to eat these with cream cheese between two of them, before I went Paleo! Sooo good). I might have Melody and the smaller children make snacks.

Birth Day Celebrations

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Are any of my readers Birth Day celebrators, creating a holy moment of celebration when a child is born? If so, share what you do in the comments!

Being Paleo by necessity, I was a little disappointed when I couldn’t find any grain and dairy free sprinkles, but knew it wasn’t a big deal. I was excited when I came across a much healthier option, though, something I may just stick with even if I can eventually have grains or dairy again.

I decided to make these little coconut sprinkles with the India Tree natural food colors I have had, but the only color that took (and VERY well) was the yellow. So, I hopped to it and dug out a 1 cup jar of organic beet root powder I had made a before I got pregnant this go-around, and 1 frozen blackberry from my freezer and followed the directions for fresh fruit and powders. This was the fruity-pebble results!

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So, I made a little kit so that Melody and Leela could put the brownies together fairly quick and easy. These are our favorite brownies. We have made these with almond butter, sunflower seed butter, AND, when I ran out we have successfully used almond flour and sunflower flour (2 cups, same as the butters). I have also run out of carob chips (Stryder cannot tolerate chocolate, so carob it is now) and used nothing to fill that in and also used an extra 1/2 cup of carob powder. It is wonderful, any of these ways.

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I made a new-to-me frosting recipe, too, that I think is honestly… meh… a little gross, but the rest of the family loves. It reminds Daryl of his favorite frosting, buttercream (which I hate, so it’s probably why I don’t like this one so well). The frosting is in the fridge, waiting for Birth Day cake. šŸ™‚ It’s certainly edible!

We are starting these new Birth Day traditions after a family birth friend mentioned a Birthday Party and I was obsessed intrigued! Melody wants to hang our cloth bunting banner and celebrate banner. I printed off some gender bunting banners, too (it’s the double-sided ones, here). I had JUST enough baker’s twine to string up 9 buntings, with 1 left over, so I made a little banner to plop in the brownies, too.

And, of course, we are doing the cord burning as a celebration, as well.

There is so much to celebrate in the life women carry inside of them while pregnant, the birth, and all that comes after. I feel so honored that God has given me the experiences He has – for not only the life He put within me, coming earthbound three times now, but even for my 8 miscarriages, life held short and dear. I treasure these little earthbound blessings all the more – and I cannot help but celebrate the arrival of each arrow of my quiver.

Cord Burning

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Used taper nubs from Stryder’s cord burning go in to make new tapers for this baby’s cord burning. ā¤

While I was pregnant with Stryder, one of my family birth/unassisted birth friends mentioned cord burning. I became instantly fascinated by it.
Loving data, I went on a search for more information, and found this (now closed) site that detailed the process better than any other article I’d found, Sacred Severance.

When Stryder was born, I had made beeswax tapers, bought a wooden box, and had a placenta bowl ready.
It was evening, the warm light of a lamp in a corner the only thing intruding on us. We lit the candles and burned the cord, it happening just as the article describes. Stryder, though, was quiet. SO quiet. It was serene in the room and Daryl and I were so calm and relaxed.

Melody and Leela had their cords clamped, and for some reason, they both cried during it. It wasn’t hysterical crying or anything, but there definitely was not the same peace for them as there was for Stryder. And, postpartum, the girls were contented little babies, while Stryder screamed and cried until he was about 9 months old, most of the day, unless we could afford a craniosacral therapy appoinment – so I’ve seen (and read from other moms) that cord burning offers a peace-filled moment for the family that normally goes by so quickly you blink and miss it and hope someone caught it on camera.

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Cord burning supplies fully gathered.

This time, I am planning on cord burning again, but I have a deep calling to make this a more intentioned, holy moment for our child. I want a cord burning vessel that connects us to my family that cannot be here after the birth. I have made new taper candles, with bits from Stryder’s cord burning, so this baby and my last are connected in a small detail.

We have selected a beautiful birthday poem from a lovely book by Edward Hays, called Prayers for the Domestic Church. (I am altering the words a bit for it being the actual day of birth, not the anniversary, and the blessing is originally meant to be read at birthday cake time.)

 

Blessing Prayer for a Birthday

Lord of Life,

As we celebrate this severing, in honor of this day when “Little Baggins Baby” is Your gift to us and to the world, we ask of You a blessing.

Bless “Little Baggins Baby” and each of us with wisdom, the wisdom that You shared with Your clever son, Pablo Picasso, artist and lover of life, who said: “It takes a long, long time for one to become young.”

Make us younger on each birthday. Awaken within us the child who is so often asleep with shame. Open our eyes to wonder and awe; delight our hearts with amazement and playfulness.

(candles may be lighted)

May candles burn bright on these anniversaries, as signs of the fire of life that burns today, on this birthday, and on every day – for all days and all eternity in the heart of “Little Baggins Baby” and in each of our hearts.

Lord of Birthdays and Festivals, dance on our roof and join with us in Your divine mirth.

So be it. Amen.

Birth Cave

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photo 3A little bit ago, I wrote about my birth cave, and I thought I would show you more of it.
After next weekend, it will hopefully look a bit different, though, as this weekend Daryl and I tore the carpet out of our bedroom and are planning on flour painting the walls this coming weekend. (The toxic carpet and padding came out in 30 minutes – the staples took about 1 1/2 hours!)

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Right now, this is the state of my birth cave. Melody is hopefully about to create something similar to this for me with baking soda clay. I am also adding in several beeswax candles I am making this week, into the scone on the wall and some on our salt crystal holders on the bureau.

The birth pool is also going to squeeze in here. I have been planning to set up pools in the livingroom, but realized through this pregnancy that despite wanting a water birth, I gravitate towards my bedroom (thus, birth cave). So, I took some time last week, made a spot in the room, aired up the pool, and was excited to find that it does fit. And water can easily be gotten from a nearby source and dumping is also going to be easy!

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I am so looking forward to meeting this little one – we all love them so much already!

Resources for bunting banner (I printed these on half pages, then cut a triangle from the bottom to make bunting, before I strung up on baker’s twine):

Birth Affirmations

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I have slowly been building a little birth affirmation hub since being pregnant with Leela. I collect a few new things with each pregnancy, Stryder’s and now this baby, too.

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With Stryder, a friend and I were going to try our hand at henna-ing my belly, honoring the babies I have lost before Stryder (he’s my rainbow baby). She drew up a sketch of what I told her I was looking for and I as blown away! I was very near due when we planned this, and I actually gave birth to him before we could do the henna, so she blessed me with this gorgeous picture. It hangs in my birth cave along with a prayer from In His Hands birth supply.

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This pregnancy, a family birth friend made this for me, an affirmation that has been absolutely powerful for me this time around – after learning what I have about energy, it liberates me to sink into contractions rather than tense against them. They ARE me.

I have more things that encourage me in pregnancy and labor, but these two are my absolute favorites.

Saved Through Childbearing

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As the “guess date” for little Stryder’s arrival came close, I was as prepared as I could be. I was certainly anxious. I was grateful no one had been pushy about asking the “due date” (they’re not a library book or a rental payment) or if I’d had the baby yet…
You get ready enough for the baby to come, even when you are willing to let baby grow within momma as long as they need.

I’d planned a family birth after much research and soul-searching. It’s the most liberating, trusting thing I had done in awhile, to trust that God is in control and whatever comes is not to be feared.

I had been reading a book called The POWER of Pleasurable Childbirth, by Laurie Morgan. Many of the things she wrote have resonated deeply with me. I am grateful to have read this before, as I near the birth of our next little blessing, now.

The things that stuck out to me the most are these two quotes (italics my own):

I have come to advocate complete parental acceptance of responsibility in birth, and a certain degree of self instruction equips parents to differentiate between necessary and frivolous intervention in emergency situations. I’ve learned that even apparently minor decisions can have serious implications, so that no decision should be left solely in the hands of a care provider. Is it essential to remember that earthly “experts” just don’t qualify for the amount of faith so frequently placed upon them by the average modern parent.

and

While reading hundreds of birth stories, I noticed that something funny happens when a woman gives birth unattended. When there is only mom and baby in control, suddenly mom becomes accountable for the outcome. This can happen regardless of how the woman felt about birth before. The reason so many women forget to eat, drink, pee, poop, walk, dance, masturbate, un-loop the umbilical cord, etc. during an attended labor is that the have given up their responsibility for their birth to an outsider. When she is alone, however, a woman will find within herself the strength and wisdom to birth her baby just as she needs to. Choosing to birth alone certainly allows one to plan better than doing so accidentally. It is possible to choose to ignore one’s own inner wisdom too, which leads to the many dangers I have outlined so far and more.

You know, I don’t really believe that the verse in Scripture that talks about “saved through childbearing” (1 Timothy 2:15) is necessarily spiritual OR physical. I think it’s emotional salvation. I could be wrong. I haven’t studied it in-depth just yet. Call me crazy, but in each of my births, I have found more liberation as a human being… as a woman, as a mother, as a wife.

Pregnancy places women into a strange emotional realm where we can connect more deeply, if we allow ourselves to, with issues we have been pushing aside/ignoring but need to be addressed.

I lived almost a decade with a husband (now ex) that abused me emotionally and with-held sex from me as long as he could… while he sexually, emotionally, and spiritually abused my daughter, his own blood.

I did not realize until the end of my pregnancy with Stryder, that I still willingly would place myself under great abuse and manipulation in the hopes that I will be helping the abuser “get better” because I loved them! That is truly messed up. When I realized that I was enabling a family member (not immediate) to abuse my family, I chose to put an end to it.

Stryder’s pregnancy enabled me to see that in many ways, I had hardened my heart to those I had known for a long time, as I had massive distrust issues after the criminal trial against my ex-husband. I saw how terrible I had been viewing… everyone (including myself)… and my heart broke. I began choosing love, intentional love, even when my mind screamed at me to distrust anyone and everyone.

Loving and setting boundaries for safety/health.

Pregnancy and birth, I have found, really can save women. Save her heart, her spirit, her mind… if she allows herself to take responsibility for herself, her baby, and her laboring. It comes down to that parental acceptance of responsibility… which will flow from wanting to be personally responsible to begin with.

Group B Strep

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Having been a student midwife for awhile before laying it aside for various reasons, a lot of mommas know they can come to me with questions – I have a brain crammed with sites, resources, and information.
I thought I would share the standard email I send out to expectant moms when they ask me about Group B Strep – in fact, you may now be here because I have sent you to this page.
At any rate, I hope you find this information useful and can pass it on to others who may not be given all of the information about GBS by an allopathic practitioner.

First – GBS is transient. This means you can test positive for it one day, negative two days later, then positive again a few days after that – all while doing nothing differently.
Secondly, we actually all have GBS colonizing us, but “GBS” as a diagnosis during pregnancy means that’s its populated to a higher level than what drs feel comfortable with.
Thirdly, the risks, while there, are very, very, very slim. I say this knowing someone close to meĀ who lost a baby to the very slim statistics – but I don’t live in fear or worry of those slimĀ chances any more than I worry about being hit by a car when I cross the street. Thoughtful, but not worried.
Lastly, if you eat lacto-fermented foods regularly (even once every few days), you will basically never have an issue with GBS, as the healthy bacteria from your food/beverages will stave off an over population of GBS bacterium.

My midwife with my secondĀ birth said I had nothing to worry about with GBS because I was eating a lacto-fermented food every few days… and I now eat one with every meal.
I wouldn’t even worry myself with a test that points to a transient issue like this…

Facts about GBS:Ā http://www.nurturingheartsbirthservices.com/blog/?p=790#
Click where this says “The Art of Midwifery: Good Digestive Flora for GBS”:Ā http://www.midwiferytoday.com/enews/enews1012.asp#art

Family Birth and Circumcision

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A couple of months ago, someone who celebrates and supports family birth casually mentioned the circumcision of their unborn child, if they were to be a boy. It caused a lot of confusion and heartache, as frankly, these two issues doĀ notĀ blend together, at all. They are the antithesis of one another. This was my attempt at lovingly sharing why they are not compatible with one another:

You know all of us free-birthers would fight tooth and nail for a momma and her body to be respected, to not be cut open or parts cut off if she had no say or knowledge of what it meant short and long term. We extend that respect to adults of either gender AND to infants, who cannot say, “I want my vagina probed to see if it looks normal” or “no!! Please don’t slice 1/3 of my penis off! I’m not ready! What will this do to me.”

Most family birthers are seeking protection from doctors and midwives who want to take authority over our bodies and tell us it was their belief that it was “necessary,” and from a culture that tells us we should shut up and be grateful to the people who want to do that to us.

When you were asked to further expand on your comment, you have refused to answer, trying to shut down on this topic, and have made it about your beliefs (which you brought up, but refuse to expand on? I don’t know why you brought it up if you didn’t want to inform those who have built a relationship with you on informing, protecting, and encouraging bodily autonomy) instead of your baby being touched in a way that assaults the very core of our beliefs.

Were you to hold this belief and accept that I will not stop fighting for adults AND infants to be protected, your different belief doesn’t matter. But you’re basically requiring me to stand up for your bodily autonomy and ignore your son’s, because you believe/support something you refuse to enlighten about. I don’t get it.

I’ve loved your sharing. I think you can be invaluable and encouraging. But we all have to be willing to be called out on our crap, because this relationship-building is based on not candy-coating the crap we’ve been fed all our lives regarding bodily autonomy.