Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Raisin' 'Em Right

Last night my mom and I were watching "Dancing With the Stars" when Lauryn wandered in and sat in her Nana's lap. The female dancer was wearing a backless dress. First, Lauryn said, "Cool, I want to dance with people!"

Then after the dance was over, she turned to Nana and asked,

"What happened to the back of her dress?"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finally, some more pictures!

This is Janet the midwife weighing Ashlynn. None of us were surprised that she was nearly 10 pounds.
Here is Janet putting Ashlynn's diaper and t-shirt on. The t-shirt reads "I am Special - I was born at Home." This is also the first time all six girls were together - Brynna, Hailey, and Lauryn had just woken up to meet Ashlynn for the first time. Oh, and then there are my lovely swollen feet that somehow made it into the picture.
Here's proud Daddy - AKA Dr. Smith, the delivery man.
And of course, the big sisters have to have their chance to hold her.

Hmmm. Somehow I missed getting pictures of Brynna and Aubrey holding her. Guess the camera ate them. But here are our youngest three. Lauryn is very proud of being a big sister. She tells us "I'm a big sister. I have a big mouth." Guess she thinks all big sisters have big mouths - a good assumption in our family.
Here is a sleeping close up. She is spending a little more time awake the last day or two, so I'll get a better one of her soon.
Here is the gem of the day though. Kora has become my champion baby burper, but I think she got a little more than she bargained for this morning. After her burp, Ashlynn was still hungry!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ashlynn's Birth (A.K.A. Will the midwife make it in time?)

Pretty much all day Friday I was having contractions, usually about 10 or so minutes apart. This wasn't really unusual (as I've said I've been having several contractions a day for a while) but they were a little more regular. They still didn't hurt and never got closer together. They would die away for a while and then return, so nothing to really let me know anything was imminent.

When I went to bed, they picked back up for a while, keeping me awake. They finally went away again, so I got to sleep about 1:00 or so. About 4:20 or so I woke up needing to go to the bathroom. I got back in bed and was just getting drowsy when I had a contraction that was stronger than the others. I glanced at the clock - 4:30. I didn't think too much of it and tried to go back to sleep. Then I had another one not too long later. I looked at the clock and it had only been 5 minutes since the last one. That's weird, I thought. I still tried to go back to sleep, until I had another one. It was about 4-5 minutes later. OK, I am not going to get back to sleep now until I know for sure if this is going to lead to anything. So I got up.

I went into the living room and just puttered around a little, but the contractions kept coming about 4-5 minutes apart and were getting stronger. I went to the bathroom again, and let's just say I had more evidence that this was it. So at 4:50 I called Janet, the midwife. All I said was "It's time for you come." She said she would head out right then. She knew better than to waste time asking questions. I then posted the blog entry, and then went to wake up Kelly.

Of course as soon as I said that I had just called Janet, he popped out of bed and got to moving quickly. Which was a good thing, as I was having to stop more and more frequently for the contractions. Kelly cleaned the bathroom, and changed the sheets on the bed. I helped when I could. He also got himself something to eat and brought me some toast and water as well. I tell you, my husband is the BEST labor partner EVER.

By this time I had changed into a gown and was sitting on my birthing ball. My water had broken at some point but I don't really know when. I guess it just started out as a leak that grew with successive contractions. About 5:30, Kelly begins to wonder where the midwife was, so he calls her cell phone. She was at a nearby intersection, so we figured she'd be here soon. Ten minutes later we still hadn't seen her. So he called her again. She had had to make a stop at CVS, but was now on her way. She asked Kelly how I was doing. Kelly said good, that they were getting closer together but still irregular.

By this he meant that my contractions weren't as long as either one of us remembered. They were intense, and by this point were 2-3 minutes apart, but they weren't the extremely long ones like you can sometimes have. The best thing was that I had not had a bit of back labor. I kept waiting for my back to start hurting like it had with Lauryn, but it never happened. Praise the Lord. The baby had been very active Friday night, so Kelly and I think the contractions on Friday helped her turn to the correct position.

Janet calls back just a couple of minutes later, saying she thinks she passed our house. So Kelly is directing her back to the right spot when I start feeling alot of pressure. Now I'm starting to wonder if the midwife will make it.

Finally just before 6, Janet's assistant midwife arrives, saying Janet is just around the corner and will be here in two minutes. And she was, right at 6 am. The first thing they do is to help me get up on the bed, as the ball is no longer comfortable. Besides I knew I was close and wanted in my bed for the delivery.

By now the contractions were 2 minutes apart or less, and had finally lengthened out to about a minute. I was starting to really have to concentrate and force myself to relax during them. And I had gotten the shakes, so we all knew it was a matter of minutes. Once I was up on the bed, the midwives had time to do one thing between each contraction. They checked the baby's heart rate, contraction, my blood pressure, contraction, etc. She did get one chance to check me, and said, "Oh yeah, we're having a baby in a couple of minutes - dilation 9, completely effaced, plus 2 station." Meanwhile, they are getting out all the equipment they'll need, and Kelly is holding my hands, encouraging me during each contraction. The midwife apprentice gets there around 6:15, about the time Kelly goes to wash his hands.

When he got back to the bed, I told him, "I've changed my mind." For some reason, they all thought that was funny. Two contractions later, I had to push. I tried to say "It's coming" but I think Kelly only heard "coming" thinking I meant the contraction. But I meant the baby. It was great, as it was one of those your body takes over things, and I had nothing to do with it. I heard Janet say "The head's out." So I geared up for the shoulders, thinking I'd have to push those out like I had Lauryn's. But the next thing I know, Kelly was laying our daughter on my stomach. She had come out in one push. Janet later said it was one of the smoothest deliveries she'd ever seen in over 20 years of midwifery.

They immediately start toweling her off and Janet asks Kelly what it is. To no one's surprise he looks and says "another daughter." We were both so excited that he FINALLY got to deliver a baby! We've been trying for him to deliver the last 4, but something has always come up.

Kelly had woken Kora up at about 5:30 to tell her that I was having the baby, so she and Aubrey had been upstairs awake waiting for the news. So as soon as I was cleaned up and presentable, he went to get them. So they were in with us when she was weighed and measured, etc.

I can't express how thankful I am that she turned and I didn't have to face the back labor I had so dreaded. I know that that, and the mercifully short and smooth labor and delivery were gifts from God, just like Ashlynn is. She is also a very good baby so far. A great nurser, and very content. I've only heard her cry twice so far - right after birth, and during her first bath. I am also so thankful for my husband, who is such a rock during labor - and I mean that in the best possible way. He is so calm and supportive, caring and strong. And taken, so the rest of you just have to put up with second best. :-)

Blogger is not letting me post pictures, so I'll have to come back later with more pics. Thanks so much to everyone who prayed for us!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thanks, everyone.

Thanks for all the comments and emails! I have been reading them, but other than that, haven't been on the computer much. I've been resting and nursing instead. Yeah, I thought you'd forgive me for that.

I will try to get a birth story up in the next few days. My mom is here for a couple of weeks and Kelly is taking at least a couple of days off, so we will be just enjoying this time at home for now. I am doing very well, and so is Ashlynn. More pics soon, I hope.

Oh, but I have to tell a funny. This morning, I put Ashlynn in the porta-crib/bassinet in my room so I could go to the restroom. Lauryn had followed me in there and stayed with the baby. When I came out, Lauryn very seriously told me, "I was watching Ashlynn to make sure she didn't climb out of her crib." After I got done laughing, I told her that Ashlynn couldn't climb out of her crib yet, but thank you for watching her. That little girl can't wait until Ashlynn gets big enough to play with!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


First, the preacher's wife wanted me to post one to make all of you jealous (no, really, she did, honest!)

Here is mom. Doesn't she look great? (YES SHE DOES!!!)

Here are mom and baby...

And, finally (for this round) Ashlynn...


Well, for all of you that thought it was a boy...

God has graciously given us:

Ashlynn Faith Smith was born at 6:20 CDT this morning.

She was 21.5 inches long and 9 lbs. 14 oz.

So, not as big or long as Lauryn, but bigger than the others.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Love you all!


P.S. Sorry, guess I should have put in the other major piece of info, she is a dark brunette like Hailey. Not a trace of red.


Just called Janet, the midwife to come. Labor started at 4:30 am. Pray for us!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hangin' in There

Yep, still here, waddling along. Five days late at this point. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little discouraged and frustrated at this point. While I know in my head that God has complete control of the timing and outcome, my flesh is just tired. Tired of being a biology experiment, of lying on my left side all the time (trying to get the baby to turn the right way), of swelling feet, ankles and hands, of persistent back pain, constant contractions that don't seem to be doing anything.

But then I remind myself that it is easy to be at peace and trust when things are going just the way you want them to. It's times of frustration that test us and grow us. Since patience is such a hard lesson to learn, at least for me, it seems like I must go through times like this in order to get refresher courses. :-)

So for those of you who have checked on me, I'm really doing fine. And for those of you who haven't wanted to bother or bug me, I am definitely having symptoms of imminent labor - but I have had them for about a week now, so imminent is a relative term for an over-due mama. And to all of you who are praying for me and the baby, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I have really felt the Lord's grace upholding me in incredible ways in the last couple of weeks.

On a funny note, perspective is an interesting thing. Needless to say this has been a loooong week for me. Then this morning Kora remarks, "Wow, it's Thursday already!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Brynna!

Today, our middle of the middle children (for now) turned 7!
Brynna Nicole is our huggable, insatiable reading, quiet spoken yet injury prone little red head. And she is very excited about her birthday. And about getting a birthday buddy, although I think they are beginning to think the new baby may never come.

I'm beginning to agree. But I digress.

Since I wasn't sure what state I would be in today, I ordered a cake. Brynna was very excited to get a Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses cake, complete with a dancing Genevieve. I usually make their cakes, so this was a special treat for her.

She got some new books.

A new purse.

And some new barbies.

We love you, Brynna!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wonderful Little Book

During the last few weeks, I have been preparing in many ways for the upcoming birth. Not only have I washed and folded baby clothes, bought diapers, and gathered birth supplies, but I have also been preparing mentally for the labor and delivery as well. I've been reviewing my books on labor, breathing and relaxation techniques. But there is also a spiritual aspect of the preparation as well.

Often when we go through hard times in life, as Christians we turn to Scripture and prayer to help us through. And while birth is a joyous time, it is a physically demanding and painful time. Fortunately, it's one of the few "hard times" that we know about ahead of time, even if we don't know the exact date. When I'm in labor, I have learned how to focus and breathe and relax my way through each contraction. But while I'm breathing, I am usually silently reciting Scriptures, or images from Scripture. Images like the Lord being my refuge, fortress, leaning on the everlasting arms are very comforting.

And of course, one of the most loved passages for times like this is Psalm 23. A few years ago, my friend and mentor Cathi recommended a little book to me called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller. The author raised sheep as a young man and later went on to become a lay pastor. This little book looks at each verse of the Psalm from the perspective of a shepherd. His insights into this Psalm make it come alive and provide a depth that I had never before appreciated.

As a city girl from Texas, where the only cattle we are familiar with are longhorns, the images from the Psalm meant little to me before I read this book for the first time a few years ago. Why would a sheep talk about being anointed with oil? Why would you prepare a table for a sheep? As Keller describes the intricacies of caring for sheep, it brings home to me the love and care that the Lord shows to me and to all His people. This is why I love reading this book as I prepare myself for labor and delivery, because I have been reminded every day in these last few weeks about His provision and care for me.

While my reformed friends, like me, will probably wish he had phrased a few sentences differently, this is a wonderful little book for any time and anybody, not just over-due moms-to-be.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Guess

Now that my due date has come and gone, I decided to put my guess as far as the baby goes:

Birth date: April 20
weight: 10 lbs.
length: 21.5 in
hair: brown
labor length: 4 hr

and of course,
gender: just look at the top of the page and I think you can figure out what I think I'm having. ;-)

PS. Why the 20th? It's a full moon. I know that sounds silly, but I have had two babies on a full moon, and every midwife and L&D department I have spoken to says they are always busier during a full moon cycle. Not sure if it is the increased gravity or what. Also when I do go overdue, I tend to go about a week (or more) over, no 1 or 2 days for me. So next Sunday would be 8 days late.

Guess we'll know soon!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Phone Conversation with a Three Year Old.

For a funny story about my mother-in-law's most recent phone conversation with Lauryn, our 3yo, go check this out. She also has one of my favorite Lauryn pictures accompanying it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Confession Time

How many of you are checking my blog each morning to see if there's a birth announcement on it? :-)

I just wondered, 'cause I do the same thing when ladies I know are due.

And just to answer the question I am getting from everyone the last couple of days:

Yes, I am having contractions - lots of them. Last evening they were about 15 minutes apart, but irregular. So every night Kelly thinks this is it, that I'll wake him up in labor. But this is my normal pattern at the end. You know, I just do it to keep everyone guessing. Yeah, right.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Welcome to the Club

Hailey is very excited tonight! Just before supper she lost her first tooth! So she was able to finally take part in the Smith family tradition - one of us takes the tooth-loser to Sonic for a soft serve ice cream cone. She has been looking forward to this for a long time.
She can't wait to show all her friends the gap in her mouth.
Lauryn is very disappointed that Daddy won't "yank a tooth" out of her mouth tonight as well. She wants an ice cream cone that badly! As compensation, Kora braided her hair.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Weird Week

This is a little bit of a weird week around here.

First off, we are nearly done with school. For the year. That's right. We finished up science a couple of weeks ago, history last week. The girls have mostly finished up things like grammar and spelling workbooks. Kora and Aubrey have both finished the Latin books. This is just a "tie up loose ends" week. I had planned ever since I found out I was pregnant to end school this week, so we have structured the school year accordingly. It helps that we started in July. We also haven't taken a spring break. That starts next week I guess.

And of course everything is ready for the birth - except the baby. So we are all in a waiting game. I am finding myself with time on my hands - a very weird feeling for a busy mom of many kids. There's not alot physically I can do as my back and hip pain, not to mention ankle swelling, prevents me from doing much around the house. I have been preparing simple meals, and getting the girls to pitch in even more than they usually do.

Adding to the unusualness around here, Kora sprained her ankle a week and a half ago and still can't put weight on it. So not only am I about half out of commission, my oldest child and most capable helper is limited as to what she can do as well. So this has required a major shift in who does what around here. Never a dull moment, right?

Mainly we are just kinda hunkered down, just waiting. I don't expect to have the baby until sometime next week (I'm actually praying it doesn't stretch into the next week like Lauryn's pregnancy did!). In the meantime, I'm reading and watching alot of movies and HGTV. And dreaming of tiny babies.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I have had several questions about home births. Mostly these are not from my friends here in San Antonio, because enough of us have done it that most everyone knows someone who has had a home birth. And I'm sure each midwife does things a little differently, so I can only give you an idea of how my midwife does it.

For the prenatal visits, things are actually very similar to seeing a doctor. There is blood work done early in the pregnancy. You see the midwife every 4 weeks until you are 28 weeks along, then you move to every two weeks. Then at 36 or 37 weeks you start seeing her every week. At each visit you are weighed (my least favorite part), blood pressure taken, they ask many questions about your health. They also listen to the baby's heartbeat and measure your tummy(to make sure the baby is growing properly). They also go over any supplements you need to be taking and answer any and all questions you might have.

The main difference at this point is that the midwives that I know are much less pushy about alot of the tests you are offered. For instance if you decide not to get the triple marker test (which tests the mother's blood for certain problems with the baby like Downs syndrome), the midwife does not pressure you like I have had doctors do. Also if certain conditions were to surface during the pregnancy (like twins are diagnosed) the midwife by law is required to hand the mother off to an OB for the remainder of her care.

When you reach the 38-39 week point, one prenatal visit is scheduled to be at the home where the birth will take place.

At this point the mother prepares the home for the birth. At the home visit, my midwife brings the "birth kit" and leaves it at the house. This has supplies in it like the bulb syringe, sterilized clamps and scissors to cut the cord, exam gloves, etc. There is also a list of things I have had to gather and have accessible in the room. We have alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, a digital thermometer, as well as a good supply of clean sheets, towels, baby clothes, diapers, and the like. We also have things for the labor, like heating pads, a birthing ball, etc. She also asks for two containers of some type - one for trash, and one for laundry - to be set up in the room.

The thing that surprised me the most at my first homebirth was that you do actually boil water! It's true! When you first go into labor, you are supposed to boil it for 30 minutes, and then just let it cool on the stove. It is used to clean the baby off after the birth. Also they ask you to have someone clean the bathroom, making sure to clear off the counter. Not the time you want hairbrushes and toothbrushes out. You also put a plastic sheet and a set of clean sheets on the bed.

Of course you have to call the midwife as soon as you know you are in labor, and she determines when she comes out. She doesn't wait to show up just to catch like most OB's do, but if you are in for a several hour labor, she will wait a while, keeping in touch by phone, to see how things go. But she has been at homes for over 24 hours before during protracted labors. In my case, I am strictly instructed to call the second I THINK I'm in labor, and they will rush right over.

After the birth, she stays at least two hours, and often longer, to monitor that all important recovery time. At that point you are left with a chart - she asks the mom or dad to take the baby's vitals (and the mom's) so many times in the next 24 hours. I love this because I can do it when the baby is already awake and nursing instead of having nurses wake us up during their rounds.

The midwife then returns after 24 hours for the first check up. This is nice because she comes to your house, no need to get out anywhere. Then you go into the office with the baby for a two week check up.

Of course, each labor and delivery is different and unique, so how she handles each of those is different. But midwives as a whole are much more into listening to the mom and her body, helping her get into comfortable positions - or at least positions that will help move things along rather than insisting you stay in bed - and making the birth as natural and stress free experience as is possible. She also does as much or as little intervention as you want. It is also so comforting to be in your own home, your own bed or bathroom versus a strange hospital.

I know it's not a situation for every mom-to-be, but it is one that I really like. I can't imagine doing it any other way now that I have had one.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Who would have thought???

In the category of "Fights I Never Dreamed I'd Have to Break Up"...

Yesterday the younger four girls (ages 9, almost 7, 5, and 3) were playing in the living room. One of them started whining about something (not exactly a new occurrence).

"I don't want to!"

"Well if you don't, you won't get to be mummified. You'll just get buried!"

Yep, they were taking turns pretending to mummify each other. Then the "mummy" would run around trying to scare the other four. And they all wanted to be the mummy.

And no, I don't know where they get this stuff. ;-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gimme your best guess

OK, time for a blog pool! In a shameless effort to increase comments on my blog, I'm asking you to leave a comment with the following information:

Your guesses about the baby:

1. Gender (I'm throwing this one in just for you few funny people who still think there is a chance that a Y chromosome might be involved here.)
2. Date of birth (remember my track record - 2 on time, 3 late)
3. Size of baby (my other five ranged from 8 lbs 10 oz to 10 lbs 10 oz, from 19.5 in to 23 in)
4. Hair color (At birth we've had a blonde, two brunettes, and two redheads)
5. Length of labor

The person who gets the closest wins the first opportunity to change a dirty diaper. Or bring me a Dr. Pepper. Or smelling salts if it is, indeed, a boy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

'Tis the day

I thought about posting an April Fool's birth announcement... for about one quarter of a second. That's how long it took me to realize that even I didn't think it was funny.

But this is:

New Gmail Custom Time Email

Credit to my hubby on this one, who knew I needed a good laugh!