A birth story

This is the story of my labor with Alexia. It’s got details- somewhat graphic ones- so if you don’t like birth or birth details, I’d skip it.

This is probably going to be somewhat scattered- the whole night was- but I want to get it down before I forget too much more of it.

The day started off early- Thursday the 2nd- at about 3:19 according to when I finally checked my phone and began to wonder if these erratic contractions were it. I was alone in our big king size bed because Jarell had taken to sleeping on the couch due to back pain which in turn allowed me to stretch out to the most comfortable (relative term here) position I could manage with my 40 weeks, 3 days pregnant belly. I spent the rest of the morning tossing and turning and thinking “Oh lord another day of false labor and I brought it on because of my joke about Ali being born on my in-laws anniversary!” They were mild tho so I didn’t complain much. I spent the day mostly just puttering around and not doing much.

At about 4, my mother in law and J14 came down to our house and all of us were hungry so we went to the local Thai place to get our fix. Almost as soon as I sat down, my contractions started picking up, getting uncomfortable, and getting more regular. They moved up to about 7-8 minutes apart but since they still weren’t clockwork regular so I didn’t call my midwife, but I was starting to get more excited. We went to the grocery store and my walking around caused the contractions to get really hard so we hurried through the shopping (as much as one can hurry while in early labor anyway).

We headed home and the next several hours passed with my contractions getting more and more intense. Around 9 or 10 Jarell finally called my midwife because I was in a lot of pain and the contractions, tho not regular, were very intense.When she arrived, I was disappointed to find out that, again, I was only 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. My midwife did some work on my round ligaments which were ridiculously tense and some essential oil therapy, told me to take some ibuprofen, have a glass of watered down wine, and get some rest. I did as she suggested and attempted to go to sleep while Jarell and his mom kept watch. It didn’t take long before I was in pain again and the contractions picked up momentum until I reached the point where I was in constant pain which was quickly more than I could take. Jarell, taking a proactive stance, decided we needed to go to the hospital to make sure things were alright and I agreed because the pain was very intense.

We notified my midwife who headed toward the hospital and headed out ourselves. The drive was a blur and if I never have to ride in a car while having intense contractions, it will be way too soon. We arrived at the hospital and since the midwife had called ahead to notify them to be prepared for our arrival, we were met at triage with a wheelchair and moved quickly to a room. The nurse was really pretty great, even if she did have to hook me up to torture devices (fetal monitor, blood pressure, and heartbeat monitor) and check my dilation (ouch). I can honestly say I have no idea how long I was there, but at some point in there my midwife arrived and started talking me through my contractions which made things soooo much better. With her reminding me to relax my face and shoulders and breathe, I was able to catch my breath once in awhile, but my contractions didn’t lessen in pain level or become more regular.

I decided to have a shot of demerol because my pain was more than I could handle anymore. This required me to be monitored for another 45 minutes which was painful because it meant I would have to stay in bed, but the demerol helped. The pain didn’t lessen, but I was able to step back from it and relax enough to drift off for awhile. As the demerol started to wear off, we realized that the contractions were finally regular and when they checked me, I was 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. Woo hoo!! Although I really wanted to go home at this point, Jarell and my midwife made a strong case for the fact that once I was home, there was no pain relief if I needed it and my midwife was concerned that I might have some nerve damage or another injury that we didn’t know about so to play it safe I opted to be admitted. It was one of the harder decisions I’ve ever made because I knew it meant giving up my dream of a home birth for this baby and that broke my heart.

Once I was admitted, they moved me to the birthing center, a very nice comfortable room with a big easy chair and a comfortable bed. I was determined once I got there that I was going to get this baby out because my midwife was concerned about my energy levels at that point (I hadn’t eaten since 10pm the night before and all I’d managed to eat was an apple with some peanut butter). I was not willing to have any further interventions and so I began walking the hallway. Walking actually made the pain a bit more bearable and so Jarell and I shuffled back and forth for quite awhile. They checked my dilation again, but I honestly don’t remember where I was altho I had progressed some. All of this is a blur to me but I eventually moved to the bed, kneeling so that I could rest against the back of it. When the morning nurse checked me I had dilated to an 8 and my body was doing involuntary small pushes at the end of each contraction. My doula arrived at some point during all of this, but again, I don’t remember when. I remember asking at some point if I was in transition, and they assured me that I was. My response was something along the lines of “Oh thank god!” which got a laugh from everyone. I do know that somewhere in there I dilated 5 cm in 45 minutes which was intense to say the least and I remember going to the bathroom and losing my most of mucus plug in one huge chunk.

Suddenly, I knew the baby was coming. I could feel her moving down and my body needed to push. The nurse checked me again (agonizing and rough- I didn’t like the morning nurse- she was awful!) I remember her asking what time it was and someone told her 8:57 (in the am) and then calling for the OB. The OB came in and introduced herself followed by telling me that I needed to turn around because my position wasn’t safe for the baby and she couldn’t deliver me if I stayed that way. I panicked at this point, turning to my midwife for guidance because I knew it wasn’t true that my position was unsafe and I wanted to fight her. Looking back now, I know I could have told her tough luck you can’t leave because that would be abandonment and I’m not moving, but at the time all I could think was the mean lady is making me move and it hurts and don’t want to move. I wanted to cry when my midwife reminded me that we were in the hospital and we needed to do things how they wanted us to do them (she was trying to keep things on the same positive path they’d been on up to this point without the staff punishing me for her interference like she had experienced in past births) but at the time I was a little lost. Like a child who’s been reprimanded I dutifully turned over and assumed the position the doctor wanted me in.

My water broke not long after and the remainder of my mucus plug came out. I remember that I began pushing soon after that with the doctor doing perineal massage during the contractions. I would have a hard time starting off and I was roaring, but with my doula’s and midwife’s help I was eventually able to focus my attention and energy into pushing in the way that best moved the baby down. It was intense and uncomfortable, but the contractions that led up to this point were much worse than this was so I was okay with it. I drifted off between contractions, but during them I had my husband’s hand clamped in one hand and my doula’s in the other. My midwife brought me a wet washcloth to wipe my face down and suck on since water wasn’t allowed :/. The contractions and pushing seemed to go by very quickly and after what felt like about 5 minutes (but was really 45) I finally decided I was done with this because I couldn’t take much more so I pushed with everything I had until my daughter’s head was born. The OB wasted no time pulling her body out which pissed me off at the time but I had no more energy to be angry. I did manage to get across that I wanted to wait til the cord quit pulsing before it was cut and she mostly followed my wishes.

They laid Ali on my chest and my doula got my sports bra open so I could have skin to skin contact with her which was wonderful (and baffling- I know she did it but how she did it and how she did it that fast was pretty mind boggling at the time lol) The doctor decided that the cord had pumped enough and said we should cut it. I protested that I wanted to wait til it was done which she assured me it was, but I know now that it wasn’t entirely done. Again, I wasn’t in any state to argue at that point so I believed her. She pulled on the placenta rather than waiting to allow me to deliver it on my own, but I was too involved in learning to nurse my baby to notice or care about much else although in a corner of my mind, I was intensely annoyed. At some point they took Ali and weighed and measured her, but I don’t honestly remember her being away from me despite the fact that I remember them doing it. The drugs were long worn off but I was exhausted and lost in baby land. It was 9:49 am when she was born. I had been in actual labor for less than 8 hours. Ali weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 19in long. Her Apgar scores were both 9’s and she was quick to look incredible pissed at the world for disturbing her, but otherwise she was calm and content.

Tho I was sad to transfer and give birth in a hospital, I was thankful to bring my baby into the world safe and sound. I know now that I can do it so next time I will without giving in to my fears, and I’m grateful for the wonderful support of my midwife and my doula as well as my husband and my mother in law.


Finally Friday

Not that it matters much around here for me since my class is a Thursday through Wednesday class instead of Monday through Sunday, but Jarell being home for the weekend is ALWAYS the best part of the week whether he’s been working here locally like this week, or out of town.

I’ve been a busy bee lately between gardening, baby creating, (and creating for the baby), working on assignments, trying to get some cleaning done (not much, but some…), and running the various errands that go with my life. Monday I hit some thrift stores with J11 to look for some clothes for our annual Sisk Birthday bash that’s coming up. If you’re new around here, you won’t know there are 14 kids in my husband’s family, each name starting with the letter J (hence J11 is the 11th child) and, even with 2 kids who are still strict Jehovah’s witnesses, 1 that lives out of state, 1 we prefer to pretend doesn’t exist, and one we don’t see very often because her life is “complicated”, that’s still 9 birthdays to celebrate every year. A lot of those birthdays happen to fall in April so to make things easier, several years ago we started doing annual birthday parties for the April birthdays. This year, we’re combining everyone’s birthdays into one big event (yours truly included) to make things a little easier on this mama to be. The theme this year cracks me up because it is so appropriate for us. We’re doing a Redneck Bash. So the trip to the store was necessary in order to get Jarell a shirt I could rip the sleeves off for his costume. I myself plan to be ‘barefoot and pregnant’ which is just too easy, but should be fun.

While out at the thrift stores I scored some adorable baby clothes for super cheap (think 90 cents a piece!) so that made for a fun day.

Tuesday I overdid it in the garden getting corn, beans, okra, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, and quinoa seeds in the ground. That evening I had to have Jarell just about carry me because with my hip problems + that wonderful hormone, relaxin, I took about 2 steps from the couch and got stuck. The pain was literally too much for me to move. So Wednesday I took a lukewarm bath with epsom salts to loosen things up again and took the day easy by helping my mother in law pick out plants for a flower bed around her house. We got mulch to fill in and spent the last hour tearing out weeds and the super invasive but delicious smelling chocolate mint that had gone haywire there. J12, 13, and 14 helped out to varying degrees- they’re practically grown up and at that age, but still really good kids so they pitched in. I hope to get over there this weekend with Jarell to finish the job.

Yesterday I spent too much time online entering giveaways for diapers and other baby stuff- figured hey why not. When I decided I’d had enough of that, I got to work in the garden again, this time digging a 16 foot long by 8 inch deep by 8-10 inch wide trench for my asparagus crowns. I’m glad to finally have them in the ground because I really want an asparagus bed and I was dreading the work that went with it. I took the tortoise way out and went slow and steady so it wasn’t so bad. I even took a break in the middle to plant zinnias next to my beans since they’re supposed to be a good companion plant.  Last but not least I set up a bed with some yellow straight neck squash inter-planted with nasturtiums for bug control. I’m really getting into companion planting this year because I want my garden to produce as much as possible so I can preserve it and feed us this winter. Its a huge undertaking, but having a baby on the way is a big motivator.

Today I’ll be hitting the library, doing an assignment, and then getting back in the garden to try and finish up with a few more things. This weather has been beautiful, but its crazy. My daffodils, crocuses, tulips and grape hyacinths (muscari) are all blooming at the same time and on Wednesday I saw irises blooming down the road! Fought off the first mosquitoes of the season yesterday and the ticks have been out for several weeks. I’m not complaining tho because getting the garden in now is a blessing since bending over is getting uncomfortable. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures soon to verify all this hard work but for now, Happy Friday!

Oh and a P.S. if you’re on Pinterest, come hang out with me here!

Drumroll please!!!

Ladies and …. well probably crickets, but maybe gentlemen or man! We have an announcement to make! It looks like Baby Sisk will be joining us on the pink team! That’s right folks, at the end of July, or more likely August knowing how these thins tend to go, we will be welcoming a baby girl into our family. We’re both very excited- my husband has been looking forward to an excuse to sit on the porch with his shotgun and now he’s ready to start practicing. Never mind that we don’t have a porch yet, the details will work themselves out as we go.

I’m kind of a hippie…

And I’m cool with that. Not in the traditional free love, flower child, smokes a lotta dope sense of the word, but in the sense that I will breastfeed my children, carry them in wraps or other carriers, possibly cloth diaper them, avoid immunizations, co-sleep and of course there’s the whole home  water birth with a midwife situation. I write this post because I was recently added to a local group on Facebook for cloth diaperers and as I’ve read some of the stories on there, I was surprised to find how many people face so much opposition to these natural things. Women being called hippie freaks in Wal Mart because they have their child in a sling, family and friends lecturing about cloth diapers and home births, not to mention breast feeding. Its all so backwards to me, who was raised with most of these things. I don’t think I was carried much in a sling, although I do have very vague memories of a carrier more like a Mei Tai that my mom and dad both carried me in before my younger brothers were born. I am so thankful tho that all these things are not only normal to me, but encouraged by everyone around me from my mother, my mother in law, my husband, friends, extended family, and even people that I’m only slightly acquainted with. I know there may will probably come a time when someone decides to tell me that what I’m doing is not natural, (giggles) or safe, or normal (snorts), but up to this point I’m thankful beyond words for the people who have raised me to believe these things are natural, as they most definitely are, and not only normal, but the best possible way to raise my family.

I know that part of my respite comes from the fact that, at 3 months plus a couple days, no one can tell that I’m pregnant. I am prepared for the fact that once I start to show many more people will have opinions (that they can keep to themselves or risk the wrath of this pregnant mama) whether they know me well, a little or are strangers on the street and I’m okay with that. I have begun already to build myself a bubble that keeps my baby safe and if that means going from the quiet, sweet and good natured personality I normal possess to angry mama bear, so be it. I know to that putting these beliefs out there  for anyone and everyone to comment on leaves me open to criticism from strangers, but I’m okay with that as well so if anyone feels the need to comment in a negative fashion, please be prepared for some serious backlash from yours truly. I know I only have about 6 or 7 people reading my posts on a daily basis (and many of them get here searching for Charlie Brown, Lot Lizards, and the Michelin Man) so I don’t worry too much about negativity since no one really knows I’m here anyway. 😉

Update on the midwife visit

Well I made the trip to meet the midwife yesterday and boy was it a heck of a trip. I’m a little wary about the trips further along in the pregnancy- its a 65 mile trip one way and I know that’s going to be hard on my various parts. That said, I doubt not one bit that it will be worth it- my midwife is wonderful and we immediately clicked. We talked quite a bit about all sorts of things. Family- she has 6 children ranging from 19 to 15 months which just tells me I’m in good hands since she’s done this a time or two herself :). It turned out that she knows my cousin because their daughters are best friends so that made me grin to find out yet again how small this world really is. She lives on a farm, raises goats, gardens, and is dealing with a recently discovered gluten allergy. All these things just added up to me feeling as though I was talking to a friend and not a stranger and I loved hearing her stories about births, her family, and people’s reactions to the size of said family.

Her philosophies on birth and in general matched mine in so many ways which had me very reassured and her qualifications are excellent. In the state of Missouri, it is a felony for lay or religious midwives to practice, which I guess I understand, but my mother was attended by a very competent “lay” midwife and I feel that there are good ones out there, who have been unfairly persecuted. Do I feel that some sort of certification should be necessary? Absolutely! But I also feel that doctors and hospitals are doing everything in their power to prevent anyone from being able to have an assisted home birth that will cost them patients and money.

When she told me that babies are not taken from their mother, period, I was sold. She said even on the few occasions that she had to resuscitate babies, she worked on them in their mothers’ arms and they responded better for that skin to skin contact. I cannot imagine being separated from my child so soon after birth unless it was absolutely necessary so this is very reassuring to me. Finally, she is well versed in herbs and homeopathy and told me her assistant always makes a cup of traditional Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne to help prevent hemorrhaging that sounds heavenly to me. Can you imagine- birth in your own home with only people you are totally comfortable with surrounding you, holding your baby and no one trying to take it away, and then a cup of hot chocolate when the hard part is over. Or… go to a hospital, maybe have the OB of your choice, but maybe not, nurses, students, visitors coming and going, and they try to take your baby from you to do all sorts of stuff after a few minutes of contact. Now I know I may be exaggerating a bit, and I understand that home birth is not for everyone, but for me it is the only option.

My midwife will have everything she needs for my medical care, with a c-section being the only thing she can’t do. I’m less than a 15 minute drive (going the speed limit, mind you, which my husband wouldn’t be if I were in danger) from the nearest hospital and it takes 20 minutes to prepare an operating room. I know that my midwife will transfer me if the need arises, and I feel safe in her care.

I am so thankful to be moving forward on this adventure with someone I can trust implicitly with both my and my baby’s life.

Finally Some Pictures

You’d think with me being a photography student there would be more evidence of my chosen profession around here, but lately sitting and laying down are about all I’ve had energy for. Yesterday tho, we sent my brother and his girlfriend back to California after their visit for the holidays and I was able to muster the energy to take a few pictures of them back in our woods before we took them to the airport.

This is E and along with being my brother’s partner in crime, I’m totally claiming her as my newest sister- she’s an absolute sweetheart! She and my brother took care of me while Jarell was in Iowa this past week and we had so much fun learning all the thins we have in common.

K and E

Aww young love 🙂

He was opposed to having pictures taken and the sun was in his eyes so this was the face I got

Love this one the best

All smiles after he made a bunch of silly faces and I got the good shot with a rare real smile from him.

In other (i.e. baby) news, I have learned to truly dislike morning (read: all day) sickness, but I am more than thankful that I don’t actually throw up when I’m sick. The one downside is that I’m losing weight due to having food aversions to almost everything. Its got me and even my husband who’s normally unflappable a bit concerned because the weight lost is visibly noticeable. Fortunately I’ve decoded my latest cravings and there is a pot of gluten free pasta cooking on the stove with homemade crab alfredo sauce all ready to top it.

Guess that about does it for this evening so I’ll sign off and wish you all a good night 🙂

What a month!

Well here I am again- just about 3 weeks after the last post and I have a good excuse for once. Got the goats the second weekend of August. One week later, Jarell was hit by a splitting headache after doing… some strenuous stuff…. By splitting I mean my big strong manly man asked me to take him to the ER- he who had to be dragged there when his gall bladder was tearing him apart inside and he was so sick he threw up in the triage nurse’s trash can. So when my tough guy asked me to take him to the hospital and then carefully walked down the stairs to wait for me in the car so I wouldn’t have to carry him if he passed out (he came close a couple of times) I knew something was very wrong and although I’m pretty good at the calm under pressure thing, I was freaking out inside. We got to the hospital and unbeknownst to me the security guards thought he was drunk when he stumbled his way into the ER (I would have kicked their collective sorry asses if I had known this- you should never let a patient know you think they’re a drunk even if that is what you think inside!) When they took his blood pressure it was somewhere in the range of 22o over 110…. Yeah it was THAT bad! Again I didn’t know this til later because it was just the two of us so I dropped him off at the door and then had to go park the car. By the time they took a second reading, it was down to 190 over something- not much better, but you take what you can get. Between the splitting headache, his near inability to open his mouth to talk due to the tightness in his jaw, the tingling in his face and arms, and his high blood pressure, they got him in fast. (despite my first aid training over the years, I had forgotten that these were all signs and symptoms of a stroke which for me was a small blessing because I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together for him if I had remembered)

Fast forward nearly 8 hours and one CAT scan later and they admitted him because they had eliminated the possibility of a stroke, but wanted to make sure there was no bleeding, or meningitis and to do that they had to perform a lumbar puncture the next day. When they got us to a room around 5:30 Saturday morning, I was dead tired, and after he fell asleep, I was out despite the uncomfortable chair futon (in the thankfully private room) and I was dead to the world for about 3 hours before coming suddenly awake to see my in-laws standing next to Jarell’s bed. My mother in law had come to the hospital the night before with my little brother and J12, but I sent them home around 11 because my brother had to work the next morning. Now she and my father in law were standing there and the nurse came in so they were able to ask some questions.

The rest of the morning was a blur-  I was beyond exhausted and my phone battery was nearly dead so all I could do was sit by Jarell and hold his hand when it didn’t hurt too much. Around 10 he had another severe attack and the nurses quiet urgency scared me more than if they had run around shouting orders- the tingling was back, along with the tightness in his jaw, the headache, and the high blood pressure. They were able to get it all to abate back to what Jarell said was a level 7 on a scale of 1-10 which was the best he had managed the whole time we were there, but I was getting more and more concerned. Around noon they took him for another CAT scan and I took the opportunity to make the world’s fastest Wal Mart run so I could get a charger for my phone, a book, and some stuff to knit because I needed to keep my hands and brain busy. I knew I needed something to eat, but the only thing that appealed to me was a box of Mike and Ikes so those went in the basket too.

Back at the hospital I made it back in time for the nurse to just be hooking Jarell back up to the heart monitor in his room. Then we waited another couple of hours for the lumbar puncture and that was the worst part for me- sitting there trying to read and worrying about all the things that might go wrong. He came back a little dopey but otherwise fine and shortly after that his parent’s came back, this time bringing KFC to try and coax him to eat something. He had a couple of Ensure’s and a little bit of macaroni and cheese, but didn’t feel up to the chicken.

Fortunately, my stomach chose that time to remind me that it had been 24 hours since it had anything besides a handful of Mike and Ikes so the chicken didn’t go to waste. That night passed a little less eventfully- I slept like the dead again for 5 hours this time and in the morning Jarell was doing much better. He was anxious and cranky and ready to get out of the hospital. His appetite was back which was the best news so while we waited on the doctor to see if she would send us home, he sent me to Panera Bread to get us some breakfast that was actually appetizing. Of course when I got back the doctor had come and gone and he remembered only the basics (which is pretty common for him on a good day) but the good news was we were going to get to go home.

By 11 we were out of there and by noon we were headed back after he attempted to simulate the cause of the first headache and brought on another one. 6 hours and another CAT scan later and we’re headed home again with an extra prescription that I had to pick up an hour and a half later putting me running on empty mentally driving home at 10 o’clock at night. Monday and Tuesday passed quietly with him trying to recover, and thinking he was going to be back to work quickly. Wednesday we had an appointment with a chiropractor and that was the best thing we could have done. The chiropractor spent a lot of time taking Jarell’s history, thoroughly going over even the most minute details, before doing an adjustment and remarking on how out his back was. He pointed us toward another doctor to see if his suspicions were correct so we had another appointment for the next day with that man. Thursday saw the first doctor’s suspicions confirmed and another appointment with him where he gave Jarell a dietary guideline to start following along with a food journal to fill out. The verdict- extreme hormonal imbalance, glands not functioning right, kidneys offline, parasites, and quite a few food allergies due to a leaky gut. The body was in panic mode and instead of sending out endorphins for pleasure, it was sending out bad stuff and causing pain. The world began to make sense again. Jarell and I made it through the weekend quietly with his pain mostly subsided. We made numerous trips to health food stores in the area and I cleaned all the processed foods out of our pantry. 9 grocery bags full of stuff was donated to a family who needed it and we started over from scratch. All the meals I am preparing now are almost entirely carb free- no sugars other than those found in the fruit we eat, no grains, but lots of eggs, meat, and veggies.

Last Tuesday, Jarell started taking supplements to get his hormones back in balance, and was able to go back to work. His mood has improved a great deal already and the food began making a difference almost immediately. He was soon able to do the things that caused the headache in the first place without any pain and after an acupuncture session, the headache that had lingered for a week and a half was finally gone entirely. Wednesday we go back to the doctor who checked him for the hormonal imbalances to see how the last two weeks have helped and I’ll be getting checked too to see what I need to work on. He’s down 10 pounds and so am I and aside from the feeling that I’m constantly thinking about food (you have to when you’re learning how to plan meals with no quick fixes available) I am loving the new healthy lifestyle we’re living. I’ve always been a lover of veggies and fruits, but Jarell was another story. He used to live on ramen noodles and canned ravioli and given the chance he always would. 2 years ago he ate nothing but ramen or macaroni and cheese every day for lunch because funds were low and those items were a cheap way to feed him and his brothers at work. I could never get him to eat healthy foods because he always picked out the “nasty vegetables” With this history, you can imagine my surprise when I made spaghetti squash with marinara sauce Friday evening, and he not only ate it, but told me it was better than pasta!

All this on top of my college math class has been kicking my butt so that is my long drawn out excuse for why I’ve been gone the last three weeks.

Edit: The hospital doctors were…. less than helpful. They told Jarell he had had a thunderclap headache and that those often caused bleeding but his hadn’t. Cleared for aneurysms, stroke, meningitis, and anything else, but the blood work showed some things were off. Basically the hospital said, “You’re perfectly healthy- go home and take lots of medicine cuz we don’t know how to fix you.” I was pretty appalled by their lack of… interest? If he had one symptom they threw one pill at him and when it caused a side effect they threw another one at him until he was on a ton of meds with no end in sight but plenty of possibility for added complications caused by all the medications.

Busy Bee

I’ve been one. Multiple shooting assignments each week for this most recent class have kept me running and family stuff in between has taken up the rest of my time. I’m finished with shooting for this class tho- it ends the day after tomorrow and then I move into…. College Math *dun dun DUUUUNNNN* Not excited about that at ALL but at least it’s the last math class I’ll ever have to take so once its over at the end of September, I’m done with math forever which I’ve never been able to say before. I have a new project tho and I wanted to stop by to share it with you. Its a big deal- like bigger than the vow renewal ceremony (plans for which have kind of stalled until I get some more money together *sighs*)

This big deal is something I’ve been wanting most of my life and I finally talked my husband into it. I’m the proud new owner of 4, that’s right 4 new goats! I know, I know- what am I going to do with goats? Well we raised them when I was little, for milk and for meat, and I was so sad when my dad finally sold them off because they were my escape as a  very lonely child living in the country. I would play with the goats and my dogs for hours at a time and when he had to sell them I felt a little lost. Fast forward to two weeks ago when I finally got my husband to agree to let me have a few. (he’s the one paying the bills and adding an extra expense is always something I let him make the final decision on) I immediately got to work finding some for sale on Craigslist and found two that I thought would be a good start. I put up a fence, vigilantly searched out and destroyed as many of the poisonous plants as I could, and cleaned out the freezer truck box that is now their barn. If that sounds weird to you, think about it- its the perfect size, seriously well insulated, has not one but two doors, and its totally water proof. It works out great and there are even raised wheel wells that are flat and make perfect feeders because they have a low ledge all the way around them.

The day before I was set to go pick up the two goats I found on Craigslist (65 miles away in my Hyundai Santa Fe that now smells like goat pee *sigh*) my husband saw a flier for some Fainting Goats for sale in the local feedstore. I called the number because he liked the idea of the fainting goats, and the woman was selling them for $50 each because she just wanted to get her herd down to a more manageable number. These goats generally sell for $2-300 so I was all over that idea. I went and picked out two of them with plans to pick them up the next day (yesterday) after I got the two that were farther from me.

The trip home with the first two was uneventful aside from the mama (hereafter known as Madeline or Rotten) peeing on my seats twice. Her baby (two week old Marshmallow) even got friendly enough to come sit on the console between my front seats near the end of the trip. She’s about 10 inches tall and as precious as can be. Her mother is a Nigerian Dwarf/Pygmy mix and she’s got a bit of a bossy gene.

Picking up the fainting goats- Mabeline and her baby Oreo- was also uneventful and she didn’t pee in my car. Getting them all accustomed to each other and to me has been the challenge. I ended up chasing Oreo all over our field after she got out of the electric fence and the only reason I caught her was because Jarell brought Mabeline out on a tether so baby could see mama. Madeline is bullying Mabeline and poor Mabeline is having a hard time of it because she can’t just run away- her legs stiffen up and then she falls over when she gets excited because of her Fainting goat heritage.

I spent the night having terrible nightmares about all sorts of horrible things happening to them, but as of this morning, everything was still okay.

Images from Michigan


I realized that I had posted briefly about my trip to Michigan but failed to post any pictures. Today I have overcompensated for that oversight.

Sign at my great-grandmother’s house (she passed away just after I got home at the age of 100)

My grandfather with his birthday cake

Blowing out the candles- he’s 90. The woman on his right is my grandma

My uncle with my oldest cousin’s daughter (another cousin in the background couldn’t resist the photo-op either)

Beautiful cappuccino art at a coffee house in Grand Rapids

My first Mimosa

Paella, mimosa, and plantain chips- yum!

Me on the left, my cousin in the middle, and a friend of hers on the right

Amazing sandwich *drool*

The free screen printing booth at the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts

Sleeping off his Sprite

Stars and stripes forever

I love the architecture downtown in GR

Getting ready for a concert

Lead singer of a group called the Potatoe Babies


Steam Pig

I must be nuts

To have said yes. I love my nieces and nephews- all 13 and 1/9th of them (yes there is a new one on the way- not surprising with the 13 brother and sister in laws I have plus 2 brothers, 2 step-brothers, and a step sister)- love them dearly and I really enjoy spending time with them as long as I can set my limits and have a place to escape when their parent’s parenting differs enough from my own philosophies that I need a break. So when my step-mom called me to ask if we could take two of my nieces with us on our whirlwind trip to Michigan tomorrow (5 days round trip- driving all day tomorrow to get there, driving all day Sunday to get home with no possibility of extending my trip because my husband wanted me to take someone along… and someone turned into 4 but I’m not frustrated at all… not about being forced to relive my worst memories from childhood- the cramped sweaty uncomfortable drives with 7 of us in whatever car we were driving that summer, not about feeling obligated to either take it slow or drive straight through- no choices about where and when I want to stop to take pictures or a break or keep moving because no one can coordinate pee breaks) GAAAHHHHH

Where was I? Oh yes… I was saying something in my brain that has been well trained to be polite, always say yes, never argue with my parents, etc. said yes when she asked if we could take them along. And the moment I hung up the phone I started cursing my inability to deal with the issues from my past (and the countless ridiculous guilt trips from childhood) that make it impossible to tell that woman no, no matter how much I want to.

I should have called her back and told her I’d had a momentary lapse of sanity, or that my evil twin had answered the phone, maybe a different personality? but I didn’t. I did tell my dad the next day that I had reconsidered my initial answer and asked him to see if he could talk her out of it (since he never let me fight back as a kid, that was also a knee-jerk reaction and I’m going to have to stop that too) but it was to no avail.

So tomorrow I’m setting out unpleasantly early to make the 800 mile drive to Michigan with 4 other people in my tiny Hyundai Santa Fe. The A/C is fixed, but not the strongest so people are going to be uncomfortable. It seats 5 but my nieces don’t get along so well so one of the adults will be riding in the back, most likely between them. It won’t be me because I will be driving. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Its my car after all and my trip, despite the fact that my vacation has been taken over by everyone else and I can barely recognize in it my fun plan to surprise my grampa for his 90th birthday with his only out of state granddaughter and his younger son in tow. I’m trying desperately to put a positive spin on this and that involves this verbal outpouring- I need to get all the angry out now so I can leave tomorrow at peace.

I’m planning on mapping out a couple of stops that can be quick, but hopefully get some energy out- I remember the agony of being stuck too close together for way to long and the rest stops never seemed long enough. The girls will both have portable DVD players and I have almost 14 hours worth of music burned to CD’s for my own amusement. My phone has GPS and I bought an atlas, plus I have Google Maps on my phone as well. I should be set for directions, redirections, and any summer traffic we might encounter. I’m just not ready for the arguments that are sure to happen between the girls. I don’t have kids of my own yet and I don’t like the way a lot of parent’s raise their kids to be rude, spoiled brats (says the children’s photographer). I can handle short periods of togetherness in large areas where they can run around, but in a car for 10-16 hours? not so much. (and I’m not calling my nieces rude spoiled brats btw- I just don’t like most kids these days in general or at least today I don’t *sigh*)