Friday, December 26, 2008

Quickie update...a post from my myspace blog!

Whew!! So, life has been busy over here! I know a lot of you out there don't visit my real blog (not that it entirely matters, as I haven't updated it in about a month...), so I thought I'd post a little update! Most recently, my contract in Walnut Creek was cancelled (the hospital cancelled all of its travel nurses), which caused some MAJOR issues. In the end, I was without a job for a couple of weeks, had a falling out with my company, found a new company that rocks, and have a new job now! I am in Fresno, CA now. Yep, Fresno. The very Fresno in which Trav and I were robbed five years ago. *sigh* Well, the price was right, and the hospital was promising, and it was a JOB, which I so desperately needed, so I took the assignment. So we're here for 3 months. Our place here is really nice, and the hospital is pretty darn cool too. I work on the Neuroscience floor, working mostly with strokes, brain injuries, and neurosurgeries.
Between jobs, we went to Newport Beach to the Dempsey family reunion. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are having their first baby!! Poor Donna was green in the gills most of the time, although days were better than nights so trips to L.A., San Diego, and Huntington Beach were enjoyable. Jason brought his long-time girlfriend, Amber, and it was great to spend some time with her. Apparently, Jason had planned on proposing to her during the trip, but the ring people dropped the ball and the ring arrived the day they left!! So, we just got news this week that he proposed back in Ohio. Welcome to the family, new baby Dempsey and Amber! We had a good time (between me running around from place to place like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get paperwork ready for my new contract), spent lots of time with family, took a tie-dying class, walked along the Pacific ocean, and visited cool places. I LOVED Huntington Beach (a.k.a. Surf City, USA) and Balboa Island. If you ever visit that area, go to Balboa Island. The views and the houses are awesome, and there's this groovy little shop called Art for the Soul that I adored...I could furnish my entire house with stuff from that shop!
Let's see...what best bud, LoLo, became a mommy! Welcome to the world, Emma Lee Juliet, and good job on the home waterbirth, LoLo! You're a strong woman and I know you'll be an awesome mommy. I wish with all of my heart that I could have been there for you and supported you during such and awesome thing as childbirth.
 And congrats to her sis, April, on the birth of Liberty, also a baby girl...also, her sister and my friend, Leigh, is pregnant with her fifth baby girl! Wow. Now THAT is a house full of women! That's about it for now, I think. I'll try to update my real blog more often, and upload some new pics soon. We love and miss all of the homefolks!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oh, the drama!

*sigh* I don't know what to think these days. My contract with Kaiser got cancelled due to low census last weekend, so I'm without a job. Thankfully, my agency provides per diem work and I've been able to pick up hours to still get a paycheck. But without a contract, I don't have any housing. If I don't have a contract by Tuesday, we'll be homeless. Scary. I really need to sign on staff somewhere, but we just don't have the means to do that right now. We didn't know that my contract was getting cancelled...I got literally NO notice. I went into work a week ago today and was told to go home, that I no longer had a contract. Yep, just like that. So, we had been paying bills as planned, trying to make a dent in our debt, so we have NO money saved for a deposit on an apartment or anything. We're nervous, but we're trying to have faith that everything will work out. But all of this has made us reevaluate what we're doing out here. This is definitely the best place to be to make money, but is it worth it? Is it worth the uncertainty and unstability? I mean, my kids might be homeless in two days for crying out loud!!! Should we just move back East and find a way to make it work? I don't know...we just can't figure it out right now.

On a lighter subject, I've been doing a lot of research on moon cycles, since I'm anticipating the return of my fertility soon. It's amazing how we're connected to the earth...the universe, really. A lot of people in the Christian circles that we run in would say that sounds "New Age-y", but it's really not. We came from the dust of the it or not, we're connected. From dust we came and to dust we'll return. Also, all of the references in the Bible about the stars and signs...there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. So, back to the subject of fertility and moon cycles. It is said the moon can actually trigger a woman to ovulate. We've all heard stories where a woman swears up and down that she got pregnant during her period...when it is biologically impossible. Here is a clip from an article that I found that describes the tie much better than I think I could:
"Women's periods have been tied to the moon and the lunar cycle for literally thousands of years. Before modern science came along to explain that a woman menstruates because of her changing hormones, it was generally accepted that a woman's periods followed the lunar cycle. After all, the moon controls the ocean, why not women's bodies? As a result, some believe that it is possible for a woman to have two fertile times during her menstrual cycle: the first occurring when she ovulates and the second according to her lunar phase fertility period. The theory of lunar phase fertility is generally credited to Dr. Eugene Jonas. In the 1950s, Dr. Jonas tried to find an explanation as to why so many women became pregnant despite faithfully practicing the rhythm method. The fact that these women were becoming pregnant at a time when they weren't suppose to be fertile lead Dr. Jonas to reason that maybe women had more than one fertile period during a month. Since Dr. Jonas was very much into astrology, and since the original ways of charting a woman's period were based on the lunar cycles, he turned his attention heaven ward. Not surprisingly, Dr. Jonas was met with quite a bit of skepticism from the medical and scientific world. Since his theory cannot be proven by modern-day scientific reasoning, many choose to dismiss the idea of having two fertile times as nonsense. However, a British study done on lunar phase fertility found that men's sperm counts significantly increased during their lunar fertility period. Another study showed that women who practiced abstinence during both their biological and lunar fertile period were 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. This is a pretty significant increase from the 75% effectiveness rate of being abstinent only during your biological fertility period. Although the connection between the moon and our bodies is not fully understood, the fact remains that we are affected by the moon's phases. Most notably, our moods and emotions tend to peak when the moon is full. This is backed up by the fact that doctors and nurses who work in emergency rooms have said over and over again that their busiest night of the month always occurs when the moon is full. Women, however, have long held a connection with the moon. Charting your menstrual period according to the moon is one of the oldest forms of menstrual calendars. In fact, it is believed that the first calendars were based upon women's charts of their menstrual cycles and the moon cycles. Yet, with the shift from Pagan beliefs to Christian beliefs came the shift from the lunar calendar (consisting of 13 months, all 28 days, totaling 364 days) to the solar calendar, which is what we have now (12 months, 28, 29, 30 and 31 days depending on which month you're in). Many women have chosen to return to the lunar calendar in order to chart their periods while many others use a lunar calendar to compliment the more conventional type of menstrual chart. They also find it beneficial to use the moon as their guide to their periods because it provides them with a visual reference as to what stage of their cycle they are in. To understand the lunar fertility cycle, you must first understand the moon's cycle. Quite simply, every month the moon transitions from a new moon to a waxing moon then to a full moon and finally to a waning moon before becoming a new moon once again. This lunar cycle, from new moon to new moon, takes 28 days to complete. Directly related to this is the fact that, on average, a woman's menstrual cycle is 28 days. However, it is normal for a woman's cycle to range from 25 to 34 days. The lunar fertility cycle works on the premise that you can be fertile during your menstrual cycle when the moon is in the same phase it was when you were born. For example, if the moon was in the waning phase when you were born, then, once menstruation begins during puberty, you will be fertile whenever the moon is waning. It is thought that the reason for this fertile phase happens at birth when the moon arouses certain biochemical and hormonal states in your body, which then continue to influence your body for life. Because the lunar fertility cycle works on a 28-day cycle and your menstrual cycle (most likely) does not, this means that it is possible for you to be fertile twice during the same menstrual cycle. Many feel that lunar phase fertility could be responsible for spontaneous ovulation during the month and could explain why some women get pregnant while they have their period. However, it is also possible for your lunar fertility phase to coincide with ovulation, giving you just one fertile period during the month. By charting and keeping track of both your lunar and biological cycles, it will be easy to know just how fertile you will be during the month."
Hmmm...makes sense to me! I got curious and looked back at when Gavin was conceived, since he was a total surprise. Yep, sure enough, he was conceived during the last quarter, the waning crecent, the phase the moon was in when I was born. Amazing! There are so many connections to birth and water, from the amniotic fluid the baby lives in until his birth to the waves of contractions during labor. As the article stated, if the moon controls the ocean's tides, why would it NOT have an effect on people? I've read that some women have lost their connection to the moon in a way, thus causing the two different cycles in one month. Working the night shift, sleeping with windows and blinds shut...these things could, in theory, effect that. So, as a little experiment, we moved our bed closer to the window, and I sleep on that side of the bed, with the blinds slightly open, and the window open. The weather is so nice here, I can actually do that and be comfortable!! Anyway, over the last couple of days, I've noticed some of my biological signs of fertility returning. I jumped online and checked the moon phase and, sure enough, we're in the waning crecent. Coincidence? I think not. I'm hoping that, by increasing my exposure to the elements a bit, I will be able to keep my biological and lunar cycles in synch so I only have one fertile time in a month. We'll see...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thoughts on a birthing home

With all of my thoughts about my future lately, I've begun thinking about how I would like my birthing home to be. Of course, my ideas are very much subject to change, as my situation could vary greatly depending on how my "stars align", as it were. My thought is to have my own practice as a CNM/FNP, although if I find the right person/people, I'd love to work with the holistic-minded physician or midwife. That being said, I am writing this post under the assumption that I will not be working in a typical office/hospital setting. So here are a few of the ideas that I've come up with for MY birthing home:

~It would be an old house...perhaps historical or Victorian...possibly an old Bed & Breakfast. I love the feel and the energy of an old house. It has charm and personality, but it also feels more wholesome than today's cookie-cutter houses.
~It would be on at least 1/4 acre, but preferably 1/2 + acres. I'd like to have a yard with perhaps a small playground/play area for kids, a flower garden, and my herb garden. That way my mommas would have a place to walk around in early labor, their kids would have a place to play, and I'd be able to harvest my own herbs for my teas and compounding.
~I'd like to have the interior painted in the style of Lazure. I love the peaceful feel of Lazure, and how each room is painted to reflect its purpose.
~If it is ONLY a birthing home, it would have to be at least 4 bedrooms, providing for an exam room, two birthing rooms, and an office. If it is a family practice as well as a birthing home, it would have to be at least 5 bedrooms, providing for an additional exam room.
~Each birthing room should have its own Jacuzzi tub. One of the full baths in the home will have an immense shower...big enough for a laboring momma and her partner to have plenty of room.
~I'd like the house to have a big, open-plan living room/dining room/kitchen area, which would function as the waiting room. That way there would be full access to the kitchen for my families and a spacious area for kiddos to play. I'd have a big TV with cable and a DVD player...let's face it, labor can take a LOOONNNGGG time!
~The kitchen would be fully furnished, with all cooking accessories, dishes, and appliances. That way I could whip up goodies for my families, but also the families could feel free to cook their own after-birth meals if they wanted, or a birthday cake for the new babe.
~Ideally, it would have either an attic or basement or other large space for classes, meetings, yoga, etc.
~For an additional homey feel, I'd like to have the waiting room stocked daily with things like fresh herbal teas, fruits and nuts, and yummy, healthy baked goods if I feel particularly inspired that morning!

So many ideas! Travis is all for it, and is totally behind all of my ideas, for which I am grateful. Our hope is that our time here in California will allow us to not only get back on our feet financially, but also allow us to pay for our schooling and put a hefty downpayment on a house. If we were able to do that, that would give us the financial freedom (I hope!) to do all of these things. It's a lot, I know. But we're determined. Part of Frontier's program has to do with running a business, so I'm glad I'll get some training as far as the business end of things. It's hard for me to even fathom working in MY environment! You know, it's going to be really cool to read this blog ten years from now and see where my thoughts have gotten me...

Monday, October 13, 2008

A few projects...

I've been knocking out a few sewing and crocheting projects here lately. Here are pics of a couple...

This is Deklan's's a wool/soy blend. It was actually going to be for my dad, but it was a modified pattern and turned out too small. So, I guess I'll have to make another for Dad!

This is a crochet blanket that I made for my friend Sarah and her newborn babe, Austin. It went along with the sling that I posted pics of a few posts ago.

This is a sling that I made for my BFF, Lolo. I made an identical one for her sis, April (who is due two weeks before Lolo is), and a wrap for Gavin out of the same cut of material. It's a super-light teal gauze with a tiny silver stripe running through it...I love it!
That's it for now...I had more pics that I wanted to post, but blogger is rebelling and won't recognize my attempts to upload. Guess I'll post them another day. Oh's off to work I go!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

These days...

...we've been making a lot of decisions. Like staying here for an extended contract. This new contract will bring me thru the beginning of February at the hospital in Walnut Creek. I had really hoped to get to Redding straight away, but the only hospital with a need was still two hours away from Redding, so what was the point? So, I'm just letting my recruiter know that the only option after this contract is Redding. If they can't find me a position, then I'll go as staff. Since we're staying, we'll be staying in the same apartment. This makes me kind of happy, as I love our neighborhood! Deklan as become such good buddies with the German Shepherd that lives across the way. His name is Charlie, and believe it or not, he's still a puppy! This is the same friendly guy who greeted us the day we moved in, running into the house and showering Gavin with excessively slobbery kisses. This shot of Deklan and Charlie was taken by Charlie's dad for a project he was working on (he's doing classes in Photography).

I did some overtime a couple of weeks ago, and that check finally rolled in. We had been wanting to spend a day in San Fran and I had a run of four days off over a weekend, so we decided to go! We went to Pier 39 and checked out the shops, the boats, the street performers, and the Blue Angels!! We didn't even know that they were having an airshow that day, and it was awesome! In the years that I lived near Airforce bases, I never got to see an took me moving across the country for it to happen! Gavin was impressed...

We also went to The Aquarium by the Bay, an aquarium dedicated to water-life in and around the San Fran Bay. Deklan loved it! They had different column-like aquariums with various habitats, such as under a pier, reefs, and grassy/sandy areas.

They had an area where you could touch a bat ray, a baby leopard shark, a sea urchin, or a starfish. Deklan was scared to touch them, then Daddy finally convinced him to touch the least "scary" of the bunch if he touched it at the same time. That starfish was really big!
There was also an aquarium tunnel that you could walk thru, and you were surrounded by water. There were two tunnels, one with smaller fish and another with big fish and sharks. There were fish and sharks bigger than Deklan! He was really amazed...he kept yelling "WHOA!! Look at that one!"

We had hot dogs and clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, saw the bridge and Alcatraz, and had a good time as a family. It seems like it's been so long since we've gone out and done something special together, not just the weekly shopping.
I got a call from Lolo yesterday, and she said they're heading back to Alabama from Honduras in three weeks. I found some more awesome material at Joann, so I have a LOT of diaper sewing to do! I got more Aplix in from Kayla's Cloth Kits so I can actually finish some. My sewing has really fallen by the wayside, and I don't have a lot of time left to get quite a bit of stuff finished.
I've also been giving a lot of thought these days to my "career path", as it were. I don't really think of it as a career path, but I guess that's exactly what it is. Anyway, I recently had the chance to talk to a midwife who had also gone on to be a Family Nurse Practitioner. She said that she never regretted that decision, and that she loves the versatility that it gives her, as well as the continuity. I keep thinking how I wish that I could see Harmony (my midwife for Gavin) for EVERYTHING, not just pregnancy, childbirth, and yearlies. How cool would it be to have an NP at your primary provider's office, then discover that you're pregnant and have the same person care for your throughout your pregnancy, childbirth, post-partum, then continue to care for you and your family? What a relationship! I would love to be able to work in a somewhat rural area and provide that kind of continuity! I want to start my Master Herbalist program sometime in the next few months. When we're done here in California, I'm going to start the midwifery program. Since Frontier offers NP programs as well as CNM, they will "combine" your programs as best as they can to minimize redundant classes and expedite your schooling. Geez, I guess I'll have a lot of alphabet soup behind my name if I finish all of this as planned. Can you see it? Jessica R. Dempsey, RN, MH, CNM, FNP. Dang. I don't care about the credentials, though, as much as I care about what I will be actually doing at the point. I was trying to explain it all to Travis during our drive yesterday. I always wanted to be a nurse. I was never super excited about going to school for nursing...I loved it and still love it, but it was just kind of always what I figured I would do. Now, looking at years of schooling ahead of me, I'm excited. REALLY excited. Like I can't wait to start, excited. I'll be in my 30's when I finish. Experienced enough to know a thing or two, but young enough to keep learning and have years to establish myself. I can't wait!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Well, I'm going to be 27 in a few days. That amazes me! I don't think that I'm "old" or anything, I'm just amazed at how time passes us by. It's little hearing an old school Green Day song and then realizing I liked them in middle school when I was 12-13 years old. That was 15 years ago! Holy crap! Has 15 years really passed? It makes me suddenly feel like I'm in a time warp or something. I've been married for over 6 years, I have two children. I've changed so much over the years. Oh, I'm still the same me, I just view things differently. I remember thinking about my future before I married Trav, thinking about how life as I envisioned it would be. How different it has been than I imagined it! It's been wonderful, mind you, just different than I thought it would be. I thought that we'd end up in New York, doing street and teen work for the local church. Or perhaps we'd stay in the Florida panhandle and start a girl's home there. I thought I wouldn't be working, just being a stay-at-home mom to my children. I thought that I'd have more than two children after 6.5 years of marriage! Instead, we've been burned repeatedly by "the brethren", although we still hope to be in the ministry in some capacity. We've lived in 4 different areas of the country. We had two precious little boys. My views regarding nursing, the medical field in general, and working have changed. I want to keep my home, but I also want to work. I want to go back to school. I want to be a midwife and an herbalist. I've learned a few things about breaking out of the mold and being who I really am. I've learned about balance. Twenty-seven years. I'll be thirty soon. My husband will be thirty-two the day after my birthday. Thirties?? When did that happen? I love my life. I love the direction it has taken. I wouldn't change a single thing. Even the "bad" things that have happened in my life have been blessings in disguise, shaping my way though life, guiding me in different directions, meeting new people, going new places. I am thankful for them.

So, where do I see myself in the future? Well, I see us owning a home up north somewhere...hopefully Michigan. I see me becoming what I so desire...a midwife. I think I'll be doing homebirths only initially...maybe open my own birthing home after a while. I see myself having land, animals, and a be as self-sufficient as possible. I hope for more children. I'd love to be able to serve in the ministry in some way...beside my husband with him being a pastor or youth minister, perhaps. My future is wide open, and anything is possible!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I got a lot of crocheting done on the way to Cali! I am working on some Christmas presents, and have actually completed three of them. I also crocheted my first "granny square" this week, believe it or not. I know that's a basic pattern for crochet, but I had just never done it. Now I'm hooked! I am currently working on two baby blankets using the granny square. Here are some pics. The camo is for a little boy (as well as the camo-lined sling...the camo was at the request of his momma). I also picked up knitting again after a long hiatus. I'm currently knitting a pair of w ool legwarmer/babylegs/knee protectors for Gavin in this awesome yarn! I finished the first one and realized it's quite tight, and won't fit him for long. So I'm going to have to get more yarn and modify the pattern to make them a little bigger. I learned how to knit in the round using the "Magic Loop" method, and it's awesome! I need to get some wool off of Etsy so I can make some felted covers for my sons Klean Kanteens. I can't find any wool that I like that will felt in Joann's.

I didn't finish my sewing projects before moving out here, but I brought my sewing stuff with me so I can finish them. I'm also working on a partial stash for my BFF, Lolo. Her babe is due in December. I'm making slings for her and her sister (due 2 weeks before her) out of this beautiful teal gauze with a silver stripe. I had gotten that material for a sling for myself, but I love my batik one so much, it's the only one I use anyway. All of this crocheting and knitting and sewing, all while trying to work and be a mom and much to do, so little time!
Gavin is has hit a whole bunch of milestones, all within the last week or so. He had been crawling backwards for several weeks now, and taking belly-lunges forward for the last few days. Well, last week finally brought his first real crawl. And already, one day after he figured it out, he's moving FAST, getting into stuff, and terrorizing the cats. Just these last couple of days, he's already started pulling up on things. So far he pulls up on us, the sofa, and the dining room chairs. He clapped for the first time yesterday. And on the last day of August, he cut his first tooth! He's also finally getting some hair on that bald head of his.

Well, we've been busy since my last post! I've got to get back on here more frequently! Well, for the record, I got the position in Walnut Creek, California. I started on July 28th, and I really like it! If nothing comes available in the Redding area any time soon, we'll probably just move up there and I'll sign on as staff. I didn't write for so long because we were so crazy busy, packing and getting things ready to move, moving, travelling out here, and getting settled in. It's been an adventure! We made it to Sacramento from Ellenton in five days! I got my license without any problems, headed to Oakland for paperwork, then settled into our new apartment. We were greeted by a German Shepherd named Charlie, who loved the kids and nearly licked them to death. There are several lovely parks in the area, and we've had great fun exploring them on my days off. We were also given a couple of kittens by a nice lady we met at a pet store...she rescues cats and had two litters born in April and was looking for homes for the kitties. So, we adopted Jasmine and Emma...Jasmine is the gray one and Emma is the black one. The boys have great fun with the cats, although we had to do some pretty intense training with Deklan to teach him to be gentle.

Deklan turned four the weekend we got out to California! My baby is four! Where does the time go? He's such a joy, and I'm so blessed to have been able to spend these last four years with him.

*sigh* This post ended up in sort of backwards order...messed up while uploading the pics. Well, I'll try to update more often than every few months!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fluffity fluffy fluff...

So, I had this pair of pajamas that I almost never wear...Curious George long-sleeved t-shirt top and fleece pants. So, I decided to do a little recycling and repurposing and make a matching fitted pocket diaper and fleece cover for Gavin. So, here are the results!

This is the fleece cover...
This is the back of the fitted pocket looks off-center, but it's just the camera angle...
This is the front of the fitted pocket. It's stuffed with a prefold.
I used the free Rita's Rump Pocket and Cover patterns. The pattern is easily adjustable, so instead of making it so that it fastens with a pin, I used Aplix to's more "Daddy-friendly". I just finished them this evening, and I can't wait to put them on Gavin in the morning!
As for a life update, I've been in touch with Agostini, and they're trying to get me into a hospital in Walnut Creek, CA. It's just a bit east of San Francisco, and is a really nice town as far as I can tell. The hospital there is smallish, under 300 beds. We're just waiting for my references to come thru so they can schedule an interview. We've been packing and selling off some of the bigger furniture on Craigslist, and we got our storage unit reserved this week. I'm really hoping that the Walnut Creek assignment works out!
The boys are healthy and growing like weeds. Deklan is hilarious...he's starting to pick up things that he hears in conversation...earlier today he just walked into the living room and said "I give up", then walked away. ???? Silly kiddo. Gavin is trying SO hard to crawl, but he hasn't done it yet! He is teething, though. No teeth have broken the gum yet, but he's miserable, poor guy. Well, I guess that's about it...

Friday, May 30, 2008

I found an awesome use for carrot pulp!

This is a pic of my newest creation, along with my morning coffee and a glass of milk...yummm...
So, I have a gallon Ziplock bag in my freezer full of carrot pulp from my last juicing. I've been searching high and low for a recipe that uses carrot pulp...there are some, but nothing that really caught my eye. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. And hour or so of tinkering around in the kitchen yielded some pretty tasty results! So here, for your viewing (or baking!) pleasure, is my recipe for Carrot-Banana Breakfast Medallions.


1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 c. carrot pulp
1/3 c. raisins
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped


*Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, spray with cooking spray and set aside.
*In a medium bowl, sift together first grouping of ingredients. Set aside.
*In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar.
*Add eggs and beat well.
*Add banana and carrot pulp. Mix well.
* Stir in raisins and walnuts.
*Drop batter by 1/2 cupful onto baking sheet. Bake for approximately 25 min., or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on baking sheet for 5 min., then remove medallions onto cooling rack.

These are great on the run or with a cup of coffee or milk!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's been a while...

So, it's time to update my's been a while!! Here are a few recent pics of Gavin...Deklan is his same stinky self... "What?? The Red Wings are in the Stanley Cup Finals?? GO WINGS!"
He could stare at the fishtank for hours and hours... This is what you get when you sneak up on a baby and take a picture...
He's such a happy baby!!

So, things are going well on the homefront. I'm trying to round up some professional references for the agency, and I have to tie up some loose ends when it comes to paperwork. The whole CPR card fiasco is causing an issue yet again, so I'm just going to have to take the darn class again and get a card. I'm starting to get butterflies in my stomach. It's getting more and more real...the fact that we could soon be gone from Florida forever! Wow. I've lived here for so many years of my life!

I'm going to start perusing the local thrift stores looking for wool...sweaters, blankets, etc. Until we settle down and buy a home where I have a craft area in which I can learn to spin, I'll have to buy my yarn. I've been talking about knitting a couple of soakers for Gavin, I just haven't done it yet. I also need to make some fitteds for Trav to use, and a couple of fleece covers. I want to venture into the realm of PUL, but first I want to knock out these first projects.

I learned how to wear Gavin on my back with my ring sling this week! Not the best picture ever, but here's what it looks like. I tried with my wrap (Tibetan high back carry), but it seems that my wraps are too narrow...18 inches in width. I'm thinking I'll need future wraps to be at least 22-24 inches wide to successfully do some back carries. I'd rather use a wrap for back carries...just seems more secure. My sewing projects are piling up!! I really need to get them done so I won't feel like I have a gazillion things on my plate when we head to CA...I'll have enough to do as it is, settling down in a new place, starting a new job, etc.

WWWWaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiitttttttttttttiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg for our stimulus check!!! Ack!

Well, I guess that's about it for now. I can't wait till I can post about WHEN and WHERE we're going when it comes to a contract!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gavin just pushed up for the first time!! I think this kiddo is going to crawl early...

Life in the ghetto

The bottom pic is what an intact tubing looks like. The top two pics are ours.

O.K. So I don't really live in the ghetto...we call it the 'hood. Typical low-income housing apartment complex. This is one of the sacrifices we made to come down and work with the business (knowing our income would be significantly less than what we were used to). It's not too bad, we think, as we first move in. It's gated, well maintained, in a decent area of town, etc. Well, we're so sick of living here now, we just can't WAIT to get out and get on our way to California! This morning I woke up and it seemed warm in the house. Well, it's not the first time our AC has bombed, so I didn't think much of it. "I'll just call maintenance when I get the kids up and dressed", I think to myself. Well, not two minutes after I realized there was an issue with the AC, there's a knock on the door. It's maintenance. He informs me that we'll be without AC for a while, they're not sure how long. I asked what was wrong. "Someone vandalized your AC unit, and cut the tubing to your AC. It's running, but it's not working." I ask how long...a day or two? He doesn't know. It depends on the weather (it's raining right now). So I think nasty thoughts about the packs of teenagers and pre-teens that lurk around our building, and go grab my robe. As I walked outside, I see my upstairs neighbors leaving their home. I ask if they are also without AC. Nope, it's just us. She told me how she heard a noise around 1:30am, and looked out her window to see the tubing flopping around like a snake. She called maintenance this morning, which is how they knew what was going on before I had a chance to call. I proceed out to the AC unit, where I find that all of the other units were untouched...only ours was vandalized. Someone had attempted to cut a large copper tube, but couldn't cut through it. It was, however, crimped completely closed. The tubing beside said copper tube was completely severed. My thoughts take me back three days to me calling the police on a pack of teenagers. They were standing outside of my building shouting and screaming profanity at each other late in the evening. Not only did it scare Deklan, but it also woke Gavin. I asked them nicely to be quiet or leave the area, I have children who are trying to sleep, etc. They were quiet, so I went back inside. As soon as I had closed the door, they started up again. I went back outside, and asked if any of them lived in this building. None of them do. I ask them to please go to their own building and cause a ruckus, but to please get away from mine. They glare at me and start swearing. I go back inside and call the police. They made a drive-by, and the pack dispersed. So, was it them who did it?? Maybe. Was it a random act of a vandal? Possibly. The point is...I WANT MY OWN HOME. So far since we've lived here, we've had our truck vandalized, our porch furniture stolen and then the new furniture broken, our water line broken, our gas line tampered with, our power tampered with, and now this AC issue. We've lived in two other similar apartment complexes, but even when the people were loud and their behavior questionable, they never vandalized. So here I sit, sipping my ICED coffee, windows and blinds shut and fans on, trying to cycle what cool air there is left and keep the hot, humid Florida air out, dreaming of California and saving for a downpayment on a house. We've moved so much since we've been married. Four times in six years. It's been by choice, of course, going on this adventure or that, but I'm SO ready to settle down into one place. *sigh* It's only a couple of years away!!

The moving sale went well! We ran it Saturday and Sunday, and made $420. Not too shabby!! I can't believe we made $420 on stuff we were just going to give to charity! I still ended up dropping off a trunk-load of stuff at Goodwill, the remaining things that didn't sell. This means we can now begin to PACK!! Woohoo!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Busy as always!

Ah, yes...he has discovered putting things up his nose! He actually got a piece of cereal stuck in there the other day, but thankfully the candy corn was too big to get stuck! As you can see, the boys are growing so fast! I can't believe that Deklan will be four in a couple of months, and Gavin is almost 4 months old! Speaking of Deklan, he's becoming quite the artist! He drew an elephant the other day, and you could really tell it was an elephant! Here is a picture of a whale that he drew:

I'm getting ready for the moving sale this weekend. I just can't wait till it's all done...blech!!

I came across this picture on a friends myspace page. I liked it so much that I just HAD to share it. The earth is, indeed, alive!! Is this possibly a female Ent?? Was ol' Treebeard wrong when he said that the Ent women looked so much like the Ent men that you couldn't tell the difference?? (Or was it Gimli who said that about Dwarf women? Anyway...) So here, for your viewing pleasure, is the Dancing Tree!

Nothing terribly important going on these last couple of days, just getting paperwork ready for California and getting our stuff ready to sell. These weeks are flying by and I have no idea how I'm going to have everything ready in time!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

*sigh* This Mother's Day was a little rough. Well, it was basically just like any other day...cranky kids, tired me, house needs cleaning, etc. Trav was working last night so he was sleeping today, which gave me no relief. Well, that's real life for you! Maybe one of these days I'll actually be treated with the opportunity to sleep in and have breakfast in bed!

Well, the NHL playoffs are on. Detroit has been dominating, and I'm hoping they win the cup this year. I think it'll be Detroit vs. Pittsburgh for the finals. That would be a good final series for sure!

Even though my day hasn't been the best, I'm sitting here looking at my boys...Gavin is laying on the floor "talking", and Deklan is tickling his feet, making him laugh. Every time Gavin laughs, Deklan announces "He laughs!!" Deklan is in his pj's, and they're both looking pretty darn cute right now. We make cute kids.

I've been looking at some spinning wheels today. I can't wait till I can actually start working on my "To Do/Learn" list. These are the contents of my list so far:
1.) Learn how to sew diapers really well.
2.) Get an embroidery machine and learn how to embroider/applique.
3.) Knit some woolies for Gavin.
4.) Learn how to batik.
5.) Learn different ways of dyeing/painting fabrics and raw materials (wool, angora, cotton...)
6.) Apply my newly-acquired batik/dyeing/painting skills to my ring slings.
7.) Set up an Etsy site for some of my stuff.
8.) Make some really groovy clothes with my new groovy skills (hand-batiked/dyed/painted).
9.) Crochet some produce bags.
10.) Learn how to work with paper...specifically, I want to make my own calling cards with Deckled edges.
11.) Learn how to spin wool, angora, and cotton (which would require purchase of a spinning wheel).
12.) Learn how to tie-dye in really cool patterns.
13.) Learn how to watercolor.
14.) Learn how to make pottery. My goal is to make my own dishes.

So, how's that for a master list? Yes, it does seem as if I want to be a jack-of-all-trades. I'm sure I'll be adding more stuff to the list as time goes by. I have so many creative ideas, I just lack the time and the means to make them happen at the moment. Maybe I'll have to wait until after California to do these things. Maybe I'll get into some of it while I'm there as a creative outlet for my stress. In any event, I'd love to do (or learn to do) these things. The ideas are literally overflowing...I write them all down so I won't forget.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gavin is making me laugh! I'm on the laptop in my rocking chair. He's on his back, scooting and pushing himself around the ottoman! Slowly but surely, he's made his way over to me...and he was about 3 feet away when he started! Amazing, the determination of a 14-week old!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The future...

I'm so excited! I talked to the people at Agostini today, getting the ball rolling to get out to California! What's more, the lady that I spoke with knows about the school that Travis wants to go to (Shasta Bible College) because her mom went there! She's going to dig up the file that I had with them 3 years ago and email me with the info that needs to be updated. I'm jumping out of my skin, I'm so excited! I know that it's just the beginnings, but it's so cool to be back in this position again, gearing up for yet another adventure. And THIS adventure will allow us to save up enough money for a good downpayment on a house! I know I'll be sick and tired of the hours and the work, etc. in 6 months or so, but two years is a small price to pay to realize our dream of owning our home. I've also been digging around on the Frontier School website today (for Midwifery) and been thinking about the idea of 4 more years of school. Again, a small price to pay for the realization of my dream of being a midwife. I'll have to do their ASN to MSN bridge program first, which is a year, then 2-3 years thru the midwifery program. With 2 (or potentially 3!) kids, I can't see myself blazing thru it in 2 years. But who knows? Maybe it'll work out that way. I'm looking at the long run, and realistically, I'm about 6 years from where I really, REALLY want to be in Michigan, in our own home, and finished with midwifery school. I'll be 33 years old. That's not too bad! If we spend two years in CA, I'll be around 29-30 when we buy our first home. Travis will be 34-35. That's not too bad, is it? In these 6 years that we've been married, we've learned so much! About people, about life, about's really exciting to look at the prospect of being out of debt with money in the bank for a downpayment and being able to apply all that we've learned! After we have a house, I want to get pregnant again. Then most likely, I'll end up pregnant again toward the end of midwifery school. That would be decent timing, I guess. One at the beginning, one at the end!!! Then we'll most likely be done childbearing (but who knows??) and I can concentrate on working a little more as time goes by. *sigh* In 6 years, Deklan will be 10 years old, and Gavin will be 6.5! I can't even imagine my boys being that big!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Wish I could have stayed...

The benefit last night was awesome! I wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to get home so Travis could go to work. I brought Gavin with me, and everyone loved my sling! I got to see a lot of friends and make some new ones...Carmela was the live entertainment (I seriously need to get a CD), and people actually bought raffle tickets for the bag I made!!! :) It makes me so happy to know that someone besides me liked it enough to buy it! My sis, Janna, also graduated from SPC yesterday. The whole thing brought back such memories. It was almost 6 years to the day that I walked that same platform. Then 3 weeks later I got married! *sigh* It made me look at myself (wearing a baby and holding the hand of my 3.5 year old) and think about how much those 6 years has changed me. I wonder what the next 6 years hold for me?

So, there's been a rash of "How old do I look?" posts in TAO on MDC. I wonder how old I look. Maybe I should ask them? I seriously look at my wedding pictures and think I look 10 years older, at least, when it was only 6 years ago.

I hate folding laundry. And putting it away. And hanging it up. Besides diapers. :) I love looking at a nice, clean, fresh stack of prefolds and pockets! I could do without folding all of the wipes, though. ;)

I still have a bunch of sewing projects to do. I'm waiting to see if my friend, Sarah, is going to have a boy or a girl. She should be having her US soon, and she's going to find out. Oh, and I also found out that my BFF, Lolo (Laura) is preggo again! And so is her sis April!! I'm so happy for the both of them, as they both lost their first to stillbirth, one to miscarriage. My heart still breaks for them, but I'm also revelling in their joy with them!

I can't wait till I'm finally a midwife! I know, it's years away. But I just can't imagine doing anything else with my nursing education than going futher with it and becoming a midwife. Not to mention that I LOVE having babies, being at births, etc. I SO wish I could be with Lolo when she has her bub in December, but we'll be in California by that time, so I won't be able to. Maybe with their second. I just can't wait to do something that I LOVE. I like nursing. I would LOVE to be a midwife!

Deklan just came up to me, pinched his nipple, and said "Look, Mommy. I have tiny boobs!" Oh, geez!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What is with my boys and loving to spill things on me? Travis is forever knocking into my elbow and making me spill my coffee, water, etc. Deklan is always spilling and dripping on me. Gavin...well, I can't blame him because he's a baby. But it seems that I can't make it thru a single day with dry clothes.

*sigh* I have some sewing projects to do. I found a pattern for turning prefolds into fitteds, and I think I'm actually going to do it. I also have 4 more slings to make, and a shirt to alter for my sister. I also found a really cool crochet pattern for hacky sacks...I'd like to make some for Deklan. And I'm thinking that I'll make a wool soaker and see how it goes. I found a pretty good free pattern online, so I want to give it a go.

We had a little graduation party for my lil'sis tonight. It was nice to spend a little time with the family and play some cards....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do you ever seriously just dread the thought of cleaning? Not even deep cleaning, just the standard old empty-the-dishwasher-and-load-it-back-up type stuff? Today is one of those days. Plus I have a noisy little boy demanding my attention, and a babe who is currently on a growth spurt and nursing every hour...I just can't seem to get my thoughts in order or my butt in gear. So what do I do? Blog. Is it making me feel better? Not really. Just aiding and abetting my lack of drive today. Maybe I'll get up and make coffee. Then I'll feel a little more chipper.

Deklan got up in the night and brought a bottle of water into the bed last night. He drank a few sips, then left it open in the bed, unbeknownst to me. Well, gravity and wrinkled covers happen, and needless to say I woke up at about 4am to a stream of freezing cold water hitting my shoulder and side. I stumbled to the bathroom for a towel to lay on the now wet sheets, and went back to sleep. Gavin slept thru the whole thing. Oh, the joys of the family bed!

O.K. I can't procrastinate any longer. I'm getting up now. I think...

Monday, April 28, 2008

To wool or not to wool? That is the question...

I'm really excited about this coming weekend! Not only is my lil' sis graduating Saturday morning, but Saturday night is the benefit for the Florida Friends of Midwives. It's going to be awesome! I made a bag to go up in the raffle. I hated to part with it, but I made a similar one for myself to ease the pain a little! Here is a pic of it:

So, to the burning question of the day and the REAL topic of this blog entry...wool covers. I've been doing a lot of research on wool diaper covers these days. We're gearing up for another gloriously HOT Florida summer, and I've heard that wool is great for hot climates because it breathes. I'd end up making my own soakers, and would probably only make one longie for sleeping. We'll see what happens. I had a hard enough time talking Travis into cloth in the first place, I'm afraid throwing wool in the mix might spook him a little more. Speaking of other diapers, I claimed victory over the fish funk in the BG's that I bought! Woohoo!! I stripped those puppies 3 times before it made a difference! *sigh*

So we're talking more and more about the future and California. I'm not relishing the thought of being a full-time working mom again, but it'll be temporary. Two years temporary, but temporary nonetheless. We decided against moving our junk to MI first, but will leave it here in a nice climate-controlled storage unit somewhere. Trav is also going to skip Academy, as much as he wanted to do it. So all things considered, we're going to try to get out of here when our lease is up, at the end of July. We're already working on a major home overhaul, getting ready for a yard sale. Eek! I'm just trying to look at the whole thing as the means to an end, to a home and some land and midwifery school. That's where my heart is, I just have two years of work before I can get there!

Gavin's Birth Story

Well, my water broke at a trickle at 7pm on Jan. 21st. I was getting off of the sofa and felt a little "pop" in my upper belly. I didn't think anything of it until I stood up and started trickling! After I was sure it was my water and not just me peeing myself (not going to miss THAT finer point of pregnancy!!), I called my midwife, Harmony. Since I had not started having any contractions yet, she told me to go to bed and get some rest. Being as excited as I was, I got off the phone with Harmony and promptly started cleaning my house. After cleaning and making sure everything was packed, I showered. I recall looking down at my pregnant belly while I was in the shower, thinking that this was the last shower I'd be taking with my baby inside of time he would be earth-side. Around midnight, I finally went to bed. I woke up at 2:45am Jan. 22nd with contractions that weren't bad, but were enough to wake me up and not let me go back to sleep. So, at about 3:30am, I called Harmony back and told her about the contractions. She said "Well, it looks like we're having a baby!" and we made arrangements to meet at the birthing home at about 5am. It was cool outside and lightly raining. We settled in, and waited for my family so they could watch Deklan, then Travis and I holed up in the birthing room. It was so beautiful and relaxing...fresh flowers, candles lit, dim lights, and soft music playing, the bed was turned back and waiting for was better than home! I rocked on my ball for a while, then my back started aching and I decided to get into the bed.

Travis got a hot pack for my back, then we snuggled up in the bed with the hot pack sandwiched between us for a while and just let the contractions come and go. They were painful, but I could easily breathe thru them. At about 8am, Harmony checked my cervix and saw that I was at 8cm already! And not only that, but when she checked me, the forebag of waters released with a gush. She called in her birth assistant, Jodi, who rushed to the birthing home, thinking it would be soon...well, my ornery little boy threw us all a curve ball!! I got into the birthing tub and relaxed a bit (by the way, I would recommend water birth to ANYONE!). When people call a nice, warm tub of water an "aquadural", they're not was amazing how much it relieved the discomfort. I had also studied Hypnobirthing, and was loving how it was helping me relax thru each contraction. After a while, Harmony checked me again, I had actually gone BACK to 7cm! I started to get discouraged, which made me lose my focus, which in turn made the contractions seems twice as painful. After one particularly painful contraction which left me wondering if I could actually do this, I looked at Harmony with what must have been a look of utter despair, because she read my mind and said "Jessica, you are not going to have to go to the hospital." I tried vocalizing through the pain, and found that it only distracted me...made me focus on the pain instead of on the relaxation. At one point, Harmony told me (so softly and gently, but firmly) that if I wasted my energy whining, I wouldn't have enough energy for the rest of my labor! Ha! I really was whining, and that was exactly what I needed to hear. I decided she was right, reached down deep and found my focus again, relaxed, and let the contractions do their job instead of tensing up and fighting against them. As my cervix was slowly melting away, I tried pushing with a contraction to see if it would complete my cervix, but that didn't just hurt. At her suggestion, I got out of the water (she figured it might have been a little too relaxing!) and tried changing positions. Before I made it to the bed, I had a contraction which came with a wave of nausea and I threw up everything that I had been drinking. I tried laying in bed, but that killed my back. I found that the most comfortable position was sitting on the edge of the bed. With contractions, I circled and swayed, which helped. Finally, I just had a rim of cervix left, but that little bit would not go away! Harmony started giving me herbs to help my cervix finish dilating. They tasted terrible, but I drank the concoctions willingly knowing that they would help. When she saw that I was tired and struggling and that Gavin was having some trouble getting into place, Harmony got behind me and supported my tummy with a rebozo with each contraction, and let me rest against her between them. My belly was so BIG (I forget what my fundal height was at my last appointment...48 cm, I think?) that we thought it, along with Gavin, might have been leaning forward in a strange position that might have been inhibiting him from moving down.
Since my labor had lasted longer than we had thought it might, and since I wasn't keeping much down, Harmony asked if I wanted an IV of fluids, just to give me a little extra energy, and I said YES! I knew it would help. I wanted to be checked again, but at the same time I knew that if I hadn't progressed, I would get discouraged again. So I told myself that I would have her check after the IV bag was empty. When the bag was almost empty, Harmony suggested that I try to get up and use the bathroom, so I (reluctantly...I didn't feel like moving at all) said O.K., and that I'd get in the water again after I went, and she'd check me in the tub. But when I stood up at the side of the bed, I had a massive contraction and it hit me like a ton of bricks that my body was PUSHING...without me! I remember leaning forward onto the bed, roaring like a lion, then looking at Harmony and saying "I have to push!" Suddenly, a whirlwind! The tub was being filled, my IV was getting disconnected, someone was trying to help me get something on for the walk from the bed to the tub (I couldn't stand the feeling of clothes on me, though), and I was trying to make that forever-long journey from the bed to the tub. I really wanted the tub to get filled in time, so I tried my hardest not to push, breathing (well, it was more like a growl, but it worked!) out the contractions while bearing down instead of holding my breath and pushing. I had two big contractions like that at the bedside while waiting for the water to get going in the tub, the IV to be disconnected, etc. At this point, my friends and family, including Deklan, piled into the room, filming and taking pictures. Travis helped me across the room, me almost breaking his neck as a huge contraction washed over me and I curled into myself while holding onto his neck...poor guy! Then I got in the tub, and my first instinct was to get to my hands and knees. The whole time that I was in the water previously, I had been floating on my back and didn't want to move, but the thought of being like that during this phase never even crossed my mind. The water was only about 4 inches deep, not deep enough to give birth yet, so I breathed (growled) thru another two contractions like that. FINALLY the water was deep enough and I could really work with my body and bear down and push...the first or second time I pushed, he crowned. It burned, but I remembered to relax with the burn and stop pushing, to let me stretch. The next time I pushed out his head...I remember Harmony telling me that his head was out and that I could feel it. I remember reaching down and feeling that smooshy little head and being once again in awe of birth. The next contraction, and a push and joy! that crazy squirmy feeling of a baby being born! Harmony told me to get my baby and I reached down into the water and caught my sweet little boy, and held him to me...I did it!
The last phase was so much shorter with Gavin than it had been with Deklan. Waiting until my body was ready to push was amazing. I remember in my body and in my mind it was so crazy and intense...the thoughts, the sensations, the feelings seemed loud and rushing and incredible. Yet when I watched the birth back on video, it was so incredibly quiet! You could hear the water swishing as I moved in the tub, nobody talking, only water and me breathing. I had a 3rd degree tear with Deklan, and only ended up with a first degree tear and a couple of superficial lacerations this time. I think the perineal massage really helped a lot with that, and also, when he crowned and it really started burning, I tried to breathe and not push and let his head stretch the tissue rather than pushing his head right out. When his head was out, I had still not torn. But he had a little arm right up by his face (nuchal hand), so with the next push it wasn't just his shoulders that popped out, but an arm too. Travis said that it burst out like a sports fan pumping his fist in the air. When I pushed him out and caught him and pulled him up out of the water and held him to was awesome! I held him in the bath until the cord stopped pulsing. I was bleeding quite a bit, so we decided to go ahead and cut the cord so that I could get into the bed and get a better idea of how much I was losing. So Travis cut the cord and held him while I birthed the placenta. Then I got out (thinking how strange and empty and light my belly felt), climbed into bed, and started breastfeeding him. It was so cool. Travis and Deklan climbed into bed with us and inspected him while he had his first meal. While we were in bed and everyone was gathered around us, Jodi showed us the placenta and gave us all a little tutorial. It was really cool to see the organ that we formed and that nourished and protected Gavin for his first 9 months! She showed us the inside, the outside, the sac that was once the bag of waters, the vessels in the umbilical cord and the "tree of life"...the huge blood vessels that supplied blood to the placenta. They also took placenta prints by pressing the placenta and cord onto paper, and it really looks like a tree! After he had nursed on both sides (I'm sure he needed those few sips of colostrum after such a harrowing journey!) and I had eaten some fruit and cheese and drank some fluids, Harmony took him to weigh and measure him.
He weighed in at a whopping 10 lbs., 1 oz., and was 22 inches long! Big boy! It made sense then why my labor took so long.
After he was checked and weighed and got dressed and all, I was taken back to the exam room to get stitched up. Laying flat on my back was so terribly uncomfortable, although Jodi and Holly tried endlessly to make me comfortable. Harmony mentioned how she loved suturing, and I said sarcastically that I was thrilled to give her the opportunity! After that, I took a shower, then went downstairs and had a bowl of soup and got my post-partum instructions. Then we went home! All in all, it was a long (well, longer than I had thought it would be, anyway!) labor...about 11 hours long. But it was worth every bit of it. It alternated between exhausting and empowering. At one point, I looked at my hubby and said "Next time I'm having a c-section!", and was only half kidding. Long labor can be so taxing, more mentally than physically. But then, just minutes after I wanted a c-section, I was laughing to myself when Travis was asking Harmony why I hadn't had a contraction for a long time...I had had two of them, but since I was quiet and relaxed and focused, he thought I was sleeping!! It's amazing to know that you really have that much control over your mind and be in pain and out of control one minute, and resting and quiet and focused the next. Travis was very helpful, but when things got intense, he got quiet because he was worried for me. Harmony helped me so much, encouraging me and grounding me. She did things for me that no doctor would ever have done. Toward the end, when she was in the bed with me, sitting behind me supporting my tummy with a rebozo and letting me lean back against her and was just a really unique experience. Small things made the biggest difference to when I was sitting on the edge of the bed and circling and swaying until that IV bag was empty, and I saw Jodi sitting cross-legged on the floor at the foot of the bed, silently circling and swaying with me and inconspicuously timing my contractions. Seeing her do what I was doing made me feel like I was doing something right! Even though I'd say that this labor was harder than my first, it was still better. I liked the whole birthing home/midwife experience, and wouldn't have traded it for the world. We learned so much, and with that new knowledge, we are doing things differently this time around, like co-sleeping and babywearing. Gavin is very happy and alert, and is very much attached to us. I think the initial time of bonding immediately after birth makes a huge difference!! Also, the fact that Deklan saw his baby brother "come out of mommy's tummy" helped him adjust easier. It wasn't like we just came home with a new baby. He has really made an easy adjustment and loves being a big brother. And I love sitting and nursing my little guy and reaching back and feeling that soft, smooshy head that I felt as he was exiting me and entering this world, and it just takes me back to that moment. As he's growing bigger and his head is less smooshy, it makes me sad to know that that tangible link to such an awesome part of birth is leaving. I hope someone who loves reading birth stories as much as I do enjoys his birth story! Writing it all down is such a powerful reminder. Now, about that third baby... ;)

My first post...

Well, I can't seem to keep a written journal, but I'm decent at getting on the computer, so I'm going to give this a go. Also, I had kept a little blog on a pregnancy site... ...but I'm afraid that the site will go down (again!!) and everything would get erased, so I'm transferring my entries over here. Plus I'm embarking on a lot of new life changes, so I'm eager to write about all of that and just get it OUT! So, here are the entries for my pregnancy with Gavin:

Hi there, I'm Jessica! I am a 26-year-old wife and mother of one, with our second on the way! I've been married for 5 years to the love of my life! We're really excited, and we're hoping it's a girl, since we already have a boy (Deklan Ryan...he's 3). We'll be finding out on Aug. 27th if it's a boy or a girl. The names we have picked out are Gavin Newton Robertson for a boy, and Brighe Meghan for a girl. I've been a nurse for 5+ years, and I love my profession! I've done local work, as well as travelling, in many different areas of nursing. I'm only working part-time now that I'm pregnant. I have been seeing a midwife at a free-standing birthing house, and I'm planning a water birth there. I have really enjoyed the experience that I've had with this midwife...everything is very calm and laid-back, and there is a great emphasis on doing things naturally, which is what I want.

Aug. 27th - Thought I'd give the whole blog thing a whirl...we had our ultrasound scan today and the baby is healthy and whole, as far as they could tell. No congenital heart defects, which was a concern for us. Also, we found out that we're having another baby boy! I'm happy with that, but my hubby is a little bummed out...he REALLY wanted a girl. And as sick as I've been this time around, and as different as this pregnancy has been than that of my first, I was thinking it was a girl. Well, I was wrong! The only thing that matters to me, though, is that he's healthy. So, Gavin Newton Robertson is on the way!

Sept. 9th - All is well so far! Gavin is jumping around in there like a little mexican jumping bean, and continues to stomp on my cervix and bladder. I can also feel the subtil rolls and movements now, not just the kicks. I had a great appointment with my midwife last week...we went over the ultrasound results again (the actual U/S was done in a different location), and it was so nice to hear the word "perfect" come out of her mouth. We talked for awhile about my pregnancy and birth with my son, Deklan, and his heart problem and how my entire plan for the remainder of my pregnancy and delivery was turned upside down. What a relief to find that we won't have that struggle this time! I just continue to pray that God will keep this little one healthy and growing well inside me until it's time to hold him in our arms. It's so scary sometimes being pregnant. Well, not so much scary as just worrisome. There are so many unknowns. I suppose life in general is like that, though. Anyway, on a different note, I've decided to, in addition to having a water birth, try hypnobirthing this time around. I'm impressed with the statistics, and the premise of it just seems to make sense. I am so excited about this labor and delivery! I am actually looking forward to it with anticipation, not dread. Nice feeling! If you're interested in checking out what hypnobirthing is all about, go to and have a peek!

Sept. 12th - Several people have asked me about my midwife, birthing house, etc. So, for those of you interested, here is the link to the website for the birthing house: . I'm really excited about giving birth here. I'm not 100% comfortable with a home birth, and this birthing house is located a few blocks from a great hospital in case of emergancy, so it makes it an ideal situation for me. I have had a non-eventful pregnancy, a healthy baby, I don't want a hospital birth, but I DO want a "controlled" setting with a professional. So this is the perfect compromise! They've done a little re-arranging since the pictures, but the main birthing room is the same. They have 3 birthing rooms. But anyhoo, check it out if you want!

Oct. 24th - Well, I'm 28w1d today, and growing! Gavin is a very active little boy, although it seems he's been doing more rolling around than kicking these days. I believe he's settling in the head-down position now, as the kicks that I get are pretty consistantly in my right upper belly. My next appointment is on Halloween...I take my Glucose Test that day. Then it's every two weeks from that point until 36 weeks, when it'll be weekly visits! Deklan is starting to understand what's going on, and will poke my belly to try to make Gavin move, and he also talks to my belly! He thinks the best place to talk is into my bellybutton, and he says "Hi, Gavin!" or "Hi, baby brother!". He has given Gavin the nickname of "Bo-Bo"...I have no idea why, since he can say "brother" clearly...he just sometimes calls him Bo-Bo. So I have a feeling that name may carry on till after Gavin is born! I have been giving the thought of a baby shower a lot of thought...I didn't really want one, because I don't need anything...I already have a little boy, and I have pretty much everything I need for him, with the exception of diapers and a few miscellanious things. But a friend of mine, Rene', has been asking me to think of who I want invited to my shower and when it should be, etc. So, I was on my birthing home's website the other day and learn that the doula who works there, Tami, had just had her son...and the announcement included pictures from her Blessingway. I had a little double-take and thought "Blessingway??? What is a Blessingway?" So I looked it up and LOVED what I found! A Blessingway, also called a Mother Blessing, stems from a Navajo ritual, a sort of rite of passage. It has been modernized to be a "baby shower substitute", religious or otherwise. For that reason, some Navajo people who observe it as a sacred ceremony have asked that the modern version be called something other than a Blessingway, hence the term Mother Blessing. But anyway, what it basically is is just a celebration of the pregnancy and the mother and the transition that she will soon be making. IF there are any gifts involved, they are gifts for the mother. But many simply include mom-centered activities, such as belly casting, belly painting, henna art done by girlfriends on the mommy's tum, making of beaded jewelry with varying significance, lighting of candles or giving of candles as gifts to attendees (to light when the mother is in labor, to remind them to think positive thoughts or pray for the mother), talking about the positive aspects of birth, talking about each person's relationship to the mother, etc. What a wonderful idea!!! You still get to be with friends and celebrate your pregnancy, but without worrying about gifts, etc. I love it! So I'm going to talk to Rene' about it, and see if that's something she would be willing to coordinate rather than a baby shower. I welcome any comments or suggestions from anyone!!

Nov. 1st - Wow...yet another month has passed. It's hard to believe that 2007 is almost over. Well, I had a good visit with my midwife yesterday. I passed my glucose test, which was a relief, as is every other test or milestone in pregnancy. I am, however, anemic. No big shock to me, since I was VERY anemic when I was carrying Deklan. So, I have to start on double doses of iron. But anyway, Gavin is indeed head-down now, as I suspected. He's incredibly active, stretching and moving in there. His heartrate was in the 140''s been 140's and 150's all along. My appointments are every 2 weeks now, which I'm so happy about! I think time is going to go by faster this way. Oh, and I was reading my midwife's blogs the other day on her myspace page, and I thought I'd "borrow" something that she said. So, the following thoughts are not my own, they belong to my midwife, Harmony.

"I would like to share some thoughts with you. This has profoundly effected my life views. As you may or may not know a female baby has all the eggs she will ever have before she is even born. This means that the egg that I eventually developed from was inside my maternal grandmothers body while my mother was a fetus inside of her. This means that half of the genetic information of every male and female was once inside the body of their maternal grandmother who was not only inside of her mother but her grandmother as well. It goes on and on. I believe this to be physical proof that we are all connected. It is even more far reaching... There are energetics involved. A part of me was with my grand mother. That part of me was influenced by her thoughts, emotions, environmental pollutants, the food she put in her body. Then as my mother grew that potential part of me was influenced throughout her life. Then I was conceived and that egg that had been traveling through my maternal lineage met with sperm from a body also from an egg that had traveled down his maternal lineage. As I developed inside my mother every bite of food she ate came to me via the inner workings of her miraculous body. Every emotion she felt triggered a hormonal response that released hormones into her bloodstream . That blood filtered through the placenta that we grew and exchanged those hormones and nutrients for my waste products. I received hormonal messages everytime she smiled, laughed, or cried...I have often wondered how the knowledge of all the medicinal plants and edible foods came to be. Massive trial and error? I have heard and read of Plant spirit and the plants communicating if you listen. I have also read of the medicine men and women and "The Memories" How these healers, holders of the sacred knowledge were born with a gift, the memories of those before them. In an ancient tribal setting the healers were usually of the same lineage they would pass this knowledge down. But an accumulated knowledge would be necessary in this ancient time before writting, before language. It has been said that the next generation was born with the memories. Could this be because they actually learned it together? That egg already exsisted when it's grandmother and mother were studying, experimenting, remembering...I was sitting last night remorseful that I had not known my maternal grandmother well when I realized I may know her more than I had ever imagined. I am of her. Her blood and breath nurished me and grew me and my mother."

Nov. 9th - I've been so busy! I'm working for my mom and the family business, in addition to part-time work at the hospital. But I'm trying to stay home as much as I can to spend time with Deklan and rest a little. Gavin is still doing very well...a little less kicking now, but he still moves a lot. Mostly turning and stretching out. He gets the hiccups every day feels so funny, but it's so cool to know what he's doing in there...I can almost picture him hiccuping. Before Travis got up this morning, we were just laying in bed half asleep and he hand his hand on my tum. He felt the hiccups, and a few rolls and stretches...he just smiles. :) It's so cool to know that the little life growing inside me is ours...half Travis, half Jessica, all ours! Deklan and I went to the beach this morning with my friend Rene' and her son Noah. Noah and Deklan played on the rocks and ran thru the tidal pools and tried to catch shrimp with their nets. It was windy and a little chilly, but they didn't mind. It was about 65 degrees and windy. Then we dug around in the sand and looked for shells and hermit crabs...we found lots of shells with holes in the middle and made a shell necklace when we got home. We also found some really cool ones without holes...he's playing with them as we speak. Then we had some turkey and cucumber sandwiches and headed home. Being outside is so fun, but it makes me so tired!! My fatigue is a little less these days...I think the iron is starting to benefit...I'm not quite as tired or short of breath. Some days, though, I wake up tired and am tired all day and go to bed exhausted. It's hard work on my body to grow a person! I think growth spurts are hard on me, since it's not every day that I'm that tired. Still waking up to pee several times in the night...I think I should switch sides of the bed with my hubby so I'm closer to the bathroom. Hahaha... Oh, while we were eating lunch, Deklan came up to my belly, said hi to Gavin, then started telling him all about the beach! How cute is that!

Nov. 16th - I went to my midwife's appointment yesterday...all is well, both Gavin and I appear healthy! But the main reason for this blog entry is something VERY IMPORTANT. A dear friend of ours on this site recently lost her 7 week old son to SIDS. While I was at my appointment, I spoke to my midwife in depth about SIDS, risk factors, co-sleeping, etc. She told me to go to the birthing house myspace site and check out a blog that she had posted there. I am including the link to the blog, and I hope EVERYONE who comes to my page visits this link and reads the article. It links chemicals in mattresses to SIDS. There is a very simple solution to the problem, and yet this is not common knowledge, which is frustrating. So anyway, here's the link...PLEASE READ!!!

Dec. 2nd - Well, everything is just rolling merrily along over here! I've got about 6 weeks left, and it suddenly dawned on me that I have a LOT to do in just a little bit of time! Gavin is still very active, although the kicks are becoming still slightly less...more of just body parts rolling around in there. He had a tremendous growth spurt a couple of weeks ago...I gained 5lbs and gained 8cm of fundal height in 2 weeks!!! Along with that came several new itchy stretch marks, of course. But other than that, all is well, baby's heartbeat is still good and strong in the 140's mostly, no swelling or anything like that. I am getting more and more tired these days...I just don't have an abundance of energy. But I've started doing prenatal yoga again, which helps some of the aches and pains. Oh, I also got my birth kit in the mail last week, which was exciting! Kind of makes you realize how fast the birth is approaching! I also ordered several nursing bras from at the recommendation of my midwife. They're having some great clearance right now on their nursing tank and supreme nursing bras, if anyone is interested! As a big-busted girl, it's SO HARD to find bras that fit right, especially with all of the body changes that come with pregnancy and breastfeeding. But honestly, these are THE MOST COMFORTABLE bras that I've found yet! I love the supreme nursing bra because it's not underwire, but I swear it supports me better than an underwire bra. Anyway, I've also been on ebay and got an exercise/birth ball for me to use here at home to exercise and in the early stages of labor. I also found an awesome deal on some pretty nursing nighties with matching robes...when I was breastfeeding Deklan, I really didn't care about sleeping in just a bra and undies because we didn't have any other kids...but now that Deklan's 3, I have to be a little more decent about it...hahaha! But anyway, I have to interview Gavin's pediatrician this week, and then all of my birth preparation will be done...all of the paperwork signed, etc. Then I just have to ready myself and my home! I think I've begun "semi-nesting"...I SEE all of these things that need to be done, and I start to do them, but then I run out of energy! Oh, well! It'll all get done eventually. I've been drinking my red raspberry leaf tea faithfully, and I'm SO hoping that it helps me to not go overdue this time! I have some new cravings...dark chocolate orange BellyBars, and Pomegranate Lychee Green Tea by POM. Oh, talking about food reminds me...I have to clean out my freezer and prepare some meals for after the baby comes. And I have to put a couple of lists together...a shopping list for the birth, and a list for what to much to do, so little time!! :) I can't believe it's almost time for Gavin to arrive!!

Dec. 14th - Well, I have 32 days left till my due date! I have to admit I'm getting a little frustrated at the birth team meeting with my midwife is next week, and I have been pulling my hair out trying to get everyone's schedules to coincide. Other than that, this pregnancy is just rolling merrily along. I believe Gavin had another growth spurt early this week...more itchy stretch marks, and he was not moving as much yesterday as normal, but is off the wall today. That's how he was when he had his last growth spurt! He's got hiccups all the time, actually has them now as I type. Sleep is coming harder and harder...every week or so I'll get a really good night's sleep that refreshes me and makes it not seem too bad. But I'm seriously up every 2 hours to use the bathroom, and just rolling over in bed makes my hips hurt so badly that it wakes me up. When my midwife was measuring my belly, she pressed on my pubic bone and it was all I could do to not cry, it was so sore. Rocking on my birthing ball helps a bit, but I just try to remind myself that it's just for a little while longer! Soon Gavin will make his grand appearance! I'm still trying to get the last odds and ends wrapped up (which technically I should be doing right now, instead of, and it seems my list is never-ending. Here lately my appetite is a lot less, I've noticed. I eat a lot of fresh fruit...especially strawberries and pineapple, and drink a lot of tea, water, and mineral water. My energy is still lacking, I'm afraid, which probably explains the never-ending lists. I feel like I could SO take a nap right now, but Deklan is busy tearing up the house, so I can't really do that. He's getting a lot better at cleaning up after himself, though. And we're starting to have some victory in potty training. He's got the pee-pee down, but we've been struggling with poop for a LONG time, and we're just now making some headway. Also, it seems like I'm awfully short on patience here lately. Maybe it's because Deklan takes so much that I have very little left for other people...hahaha. But seriously, I'm normally one of the most laid-back people you'd ever meet, but I feel on edge the last couple of days. Well, on a happier note, my Blessingway is scheduled for Dec. 30th at 3pm, I believe. I'm looking forward to it! I had a huge tiff with my step-mom...she seemed to think a Blessingway had too much "pagan ritualism" for her, and was wanting to change the whole thing. I think she's still in denial that I'm having one, as she constantly refers to it as a "shower". Oh, well. It is what it is, whether or not she likes it! Well, I feel a little better for ranting...I think I'm going to go clean the fans and the fishtanks now. Maybe I'll run to the store later and get some things to make banana pudding (which I've been craving for days).

Dec. 31st - Happy New Year to everyone tomorrow!! It's hard to believe 2008 starts tomorrow! What a year this has been! So much has happened. But mostly I'm excited about 2008 bringing our son! Gavin and I are both doing well. At my last visit with my midwife (which was Thursday), I found out I am negative for GBS, which is awesome. Also, he went from 42cm of fundal height to 40cm, and his head is nice and low, so he's dropped "officially". I'm 37w6d today, and feeling every day of it! Lots of aches and pains, and they're not getting any better. Several things help, like hot packs and rocking on my birth ball, but nothing takes away the discomfort. I'm still having lots of powerful BH contractions every day. I went on a nesting rampage Saturday and have been disabled ever since!!! lol Such back pain! My Blessingway was yesterday, and it was really cool. Due to the timing around the holidays, a lot of people weren't able to come, but I had a nice little group of close friends and family. I'm now wearing my Blessingway bracelet, which I won't remove until after Gavin is born. Everyone who came (and even people who couldn't!) sent/brought a bead representing a thought, wish, hope, or prayer for me and the baby. So I look at this beaded bracelet and am reminded of the individual people thinking of me and Gavin and wishing us's so cool! They also gave me a pedicure (which I was in desperate need of!) and so now my toenails are a lovely shade of dark metallic purple for the delivery. ;) We wore rosemary in our hair and they made me a flower crown...we ate some great "comfort food", opened a few small gifts, and talked about all kinds of stuff, from life in general to everyone's experiences with birth, breastfeeding, etc. It was just a really good time! Now, each person went home with a candle to be lit when I go into labor, to remind them to think of us and pray for us until they get the call that he's OUT! :) My next appointment with my midwife is Jan. 3rd. I'm just in disbelief at how FAST this pregnancy has gone! Even these last few weeks are going by fast! We only have 15 days till my due date! And last but not least, for any of you out there wondering where I went for the last 2 weeks, I was having major technical difficulties!! Out of the blue, one day I just couldn't access the site! Long story short, it took several emails to poor Dirk, about 10 hours worth of technical support phone calls, and almost 2 weeks to get me back on here. This site was the ONLY one I couldn't get to! I could go ANYWHERE else on the web but here. How weird is that?? I still have a little more "fixing" to do, so if I disappear again, it's probably just the computer being stupid. Anyway, I'm REALLY glad to be back with all of my friends on here! 2 weeks without you all was too long! :)

Jan. 9th - Well, only 6 days till my due date! I am running out of time, it seems, to tie up my loose ends. So today, I'm going to try to finish my "deep cleaning", and sew my slings. That's a tall order for someone who gets winded after about 10 minutes of working, but I think I can do it if I pace myself. Gavin is going to be a big boy! At my last visit with my midwife (last Thurs.), I was 38 weeks and measuring 44cm! I'm pretty certain that it's mostly a positional type thing, but I'm also pretty sure he'll be a big boy, at least 9 lbs. is my thought. We shall see soon! I see my midwife again tomorrow. He's been measuring ahead the whole time, so I'm not really concerned. I guess I just have a big, roomy uterus! I've been having lots of strong Braxton Hicks contractions, some of which are a bit uncomfortable. They're starting to feel like they're running down my back and the backs of my legs and the sides of my tum, not just the typical "tight belly" that is a BH contraction. Today is Wednesday, and I just have a feeling about Friday or Saturday...I've always thought he'll show up a few days early to a few days late, but I don't think it'll be extreme in either direction. Anyway, I'm going to start doing some visualization tonight and start talking to my body and my baby and see if we can't get them to work together and get me into labor Friday or Saturday. :) I've had diarrhea for several days now (ick) and had a much decreased appetite. I would seriously go all day without eating if it were O.K. But I eat a little bowl of cereal or oatmeal in the morning, a granola bar and some fruit in the afternoon, and something light at night, most times some soup, a salad, a sandwich, or another bowl of cereal. I just don't feel like eating. I'm very achy in my pelvic area and hips, even my ribs. But it seems it's been like that for so long that it's becoming normal, so it doesn't bother me as much as it once did. Travis is wonderful these days, helping with Deklan and cleaning and rubbing my feet (which have started to swell as the day goes by). He loves resting his head on my tummy and feeling Gavin roll around in there. He talks to Gavin and pokes him and gets him all riled up, mostly at night right before I try to go to sleep! We found a stuffed monkey for Gavin, and named him "Mookie". All of the baby gear is out in the living room and ready to go, the cradle is in the office for now, since we will be using the co-sleeper for a while at first. At least the first couple of weeks. By the way, the Snuggle Nest is one of the best inventions ever! It really makes me feel more comfortable co-sleeping, knowing that I'm not going to squish Gavin in the night. Well, I'm going to go eat my little lunch...we're just waiting now!!!

Jan. 20th - Well, here I am, 5 days beyond Gavin's due date. I really didn't think that he would still be residing in my body at this point! Well, he's still a welcome guest...I won't be getting pregnant again for a few years, so I'm really enjoying every moment that he's still inside of me. The one thing that I REALLY wasn't happy about is the fact that my mom flew down from Michigan to be with me for the birth, and already had to leave. :( I was really hoping he'd be born while she was down here. But she could only stay for 8 days total, so it was really a gamble either way. I have siblings who are 8, 4, and 2 years old, so she had to arrange for their care, etc. while my step-dad was at work. It just didn't work out for her to stay any longer. So, for that, I've been a basket case the last two days, crying at the drop of a hat. I know most of it is just the preggo hormones in overdrive, but it really does just SUCK. Well, I've been trying to look on the bright side...I'm still going to have my sister and stepmom and a good friend there with me, as well as my husband. That's more than a lot of people have. I think of the women who's husbands are deployed to different countries, etc....that's got to be the biggest not even have the father of your child there for the birth! So, instead of allowing myself a huge pity party, I'm trying to just tell myself that it COULD be worse, and at least I got to see my mom and spend time with her for a while. *sigh* The tears DO get the better of me still, though. As for the technical end of things, I saw my midwife this past Friday, and all was well, thank God. She checked me and found that I was about 80% effaced and 3.5cm dilated. She stretched me to 4.5-5cm, and stripped my membranes as best as she could. I've been having lots of mucous and bloody show ever since...that's 3 days now. I'm getting strong BH on a regular basis, but nothing that strengthens. Also, lots of twinges in my cervix. My whole pelvis is just uncomfortable. My hubby laughs at me, saying "You LIKE this??? You want to do this AGAIN??" It's a strange thing, pregnancy. It has its ups and downs, its good days and bad days, its aches and pains and magic moments. In spite of all of the things that can make your life miserable (the morning sickness, pain, worry, etc.), it's still one of the coolest things in the world, and something that I would do time and time again. Well, that's about it. I'm just going to try to keep the house clean and keep whittling away at my to-do list until he decides to show up. Hopefully, my next entry will be Gavin's birth story!! :)

Feb. 2nd - Wow...I can't belive it's been 12 days since I gave birth to Gavin! Time is flying already. He's such a little cutie! It's strange in a way, having a second child...knowing how fast they grow up now, I truly cherish every moment with Gavin, every time he nurses, every little smile...soon he'll be a big boy like Deklan. His next visit to his pedi is Thursday, and I'm curious to see how much he weighs now. He had lost some of his birth weight, of course, until my milk came in. But I could swear he's gained that back with interest! He's just a big boy...not fat, mind you, just big. He doesn't have any chubby fat rolls or anything...except his chubby little cheeks. Anyway, I go to my midwife Tuesday to be checked out...hopefully she'll take the lifting restriction off of me. It's hard to take care of a 3-year-old without being able to pick them up. Thankfully, though, my hubby has been home with me for these first couple of weeks. The first week he took off was paid, and the second unpaid. That's going to strap us financially, but it's SO important to have that help for those first couple of weeks, as well as just bonding time for Daddy and baby. My recovery has been so much faster than last time, even though my labor was harder. My "hinder parts" are almost totally healed now, which is nice! For the first week and a half though, my pelvic bones just ached. They hurt so badly! Then one day, like magic, it was better. Also, one day I ran a fever, between 100 and 102. By the next day, I was fine. Other than that, though, my recovery has been uncomplicated. My boobs are huge, and my tummy is shrinking. I'm also 12 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm not overly concerned about getting back my pre-preg body FAST...I have to worry more about good nutrition right now, since I'm breastfeeding. But really, with the good nutrition, the weight has been dropping off pretty fast. I'll be happy when I can start working out again. I really miss the way it makes me I'm doing something good for myself...not to mention the nice, relaxed feeling after the workout. Oh, for any of you out there who are breastfeeding, my midwife recommended an organic, vegan nipple cream that works 100 times better than Lanolin. It's by a company called "Motherlove". You can check it out at I had really bad nipple issues when I was breastfeeding Deklan, but it has been SO MUCH BETTER this time around! Part of it is just experience, I know. But when my nips started getting sore and I started using that stuff, I was shocked at how well it worked! Plus, it's not sticky and gluey like Lanolin is. And lanolin comes from sheep. Sheep get all kinds of antibiotics and stuff, and I was concerned about that, since what goes on my nipples goes into my baby's mouth. So when my midwife told me about it, and I looked it up and checked it out, I was impressed. Anyway, Gavin is crying, so I'm going to wrap up this update.