Our Kathleen Claire is six months old! I feel like these months with my baby girl are flying by. And we all love our sweet baby so much, she is such a fun girl! She is one of the happiest babies that you will ever meet. She wakes up with a smile and noises and goes to sleep with thumb being sucked and a contented grin. Since she got over being sick, she rarely cries and then only when she is tired or has a dirty diaper. She loves to be cuddled and played with especially by her sisters. I won’t lie, I have been completely enjoying having an ‘easy’ baby as my other two were far from that. I love all her happy noises when she wants to be held and that she ‘talks’ when she wants something. The way that she already gives hugs and how her whole body moves when she smiles just melts her mama’s heart. She has been such a gift to us. And we aren’t complaining that she sleeps through the night.
- Like her sisters, everything goes into her mouth!
I discovered my slight obsession with wool felting during last years long, cold prairie winter. I had stumbled across a bag of raw wool in a thrift store and finally tracked down a felting needle. My first project, a ball for daughter’s first birthday, was a miserable failure. But a little perseverance, a couple of online tutorials, and a lesson from a crafty friend later; I had discovered the beautiful Custom Woolen Mill and was holding evening felting parties.
The most popularly requested lesson was the felted finger puppets that began creating for my daughters and their little friends. They are made entirely from felted wool using both wet felting and needle felting techniques. Quite simple to make and a natural play toy; these puppets are well loved by children…and adults who still like to have fun. As a teacher even before I became a mama, I love the idea of making these little puppets to go along with stories and topics that we are currently reading/interested in.
Duck Finger Puppet
Wool Roving (for the duck, I used bright yellow)
Medium Felting Needle
Begin winding around your finger (not too loose or tight) and continue until it is the desired thickness, just remember that it will get thinner with felting and you do want it to be sturdy.
Lightly needle felt to hold the wool together for wet felting.
Attach it to the puppet:
Note: Because of the small parts that are needle felted on, I always recommend that either they are for directly supervised play or for children who are passed the exploration by mouth stages as well as the discovery by pulling apart stage. It differs for different children, so I just leave it to each parent’s discretion.
Generally, I share guest posts on Friday but I’ll just be honest and say that I am a little behind in that department. There will be more of those coming but for this week I decided to finish a post of my own that I have been wanting to share for some time. It also goes along well with last week’s guest post from my friend Lola on being a Doula and with my friend Beth, at Red and Honey, who is doing a book giveaway (check out the last link at the bottom).
With my medical history, I was considered a “high risk” pregnancy from the beginning of my first pregnancy. I fought against what that seemed to entail with each of my doctors, both of whom I have known and had a good medical relationship with for years (28 years with one to be exact, he says that he delivered me, my mother says that he didn’t make it.). For the most part, I was successful in having a somewhat intervention free birth with Aneliese. Then, while pregnant with Cecily, the ultrasound showed that I had complete placenta previa making it impossible to birth her vaginally and I was scheduled for a caesarean at 38 weeks. Instead, I went into labor at just over 34 weeks resulting in a quick emergency c-section. Thankfully, I had made a few plans with my midwife who was present for the birth. I requested that I be given Cecily immediately and prior to any of the customary weighing etc. and I was able to hold her briefly before the preemie check-up was done. We held her again for a few short minutes prior to her going to NICU (with Dan) and I to recovery. Dan was with Cecily the entire time that she was being observed and I was able to nurse her within an hour or so. With Kathleen, I had another c-section after a long attempt for a VBAC. Again, I asked that I be given our baby immediately and although there was some resistance, it was as I asked. We were given time to hold her and bond while I was stitched up after which she and her daddy spent the next while cuddling. She was brought to me in recovery so that I could hold her and nurse her.
While not without challenges, I would say that my caesareans went well; each time, I had doctors and nurses who were very positive and agreeable to my wishes even if they found them strange. For that I am very thankful. However, as I have heard other women’s stories and even as I have had time to think about my own, c-sections don’t always go as smoothly as mine. At times this is because further interventions are necessary, but often it seems that standard practice includes unnecessary interventions.
Although I strongly believe that caesareans happen far more regularly than they need to, there are times when they are needed for a healthy baby and/or mama. I for one am thankful that Cecily and I had that available to us as had we not, her birth would not have resulted in life. My sharing all of this is not actually to debate the relevance of caesarean births or the overuse of them but is actually to share a few things that I think are vitally important when having a caesarean. Especially if you are strongly for birthing naturally (home, hospital, unassisted, drug-free, intervention free; however natural looks to you), you might not even prepare for the case of a caesarean.
There are so many great books and resources out there on birth and how to take responsibility for your body, pregnancy, birth, and baby. However, I personally didn’t find a great deal of information on how to really take responsibility for my cesarean births. I tend to be strongly inclined to follow my instincts in situations like this but I will admit as soon as I became a “medical emergency”, I struggled against just doing what I was told. It was harder to speak up when I was basically immobile on an operating table. So here are a few things that I think are important as well as some helpful links to other information. I know that in mainstream terms, many of the things that I am suggesting seem a little extreme and I won’t argue that. I’m not saying that in order to take responsibility for the decisions surrounding your baby and your birth, you must do any or all of these things (though I would strongly encourage it.). I just know that some things, I wish I had thought of and known sooner and others, I look back on with true thankfulness that I did them; that’s why I would like to share them. I’m not naturally a fighter, I don’t find it easy to stand up for what I want. Especially not when I am facing those who have done years of training and often have years of experience to back their looks (and statements) that I am over the top or crazy. Somehow, being a mama brings out the determination to politely stick to my guns if I am prepared ahead of time. So here you go:
- Antibiotics: You will be given antibiotics via IV during your caesarean; as far as I know there is no way around it. If you have a scheduled caesarean, I would really suggest beginning a good probiotic at least several days prior and continue it for a few weeks afterwards. If your c-section is unplanned, ask to be prescribed and immediately begin a probiotic to regain “good bacteria” in your gut flora.
- Bacteria for Baby: Generally, as the baby exits vaginally, they will receive your bacteria as they go through the birth canal and then through touching, kissing, and breastfeeding. This gives them their best start health wise (and of course in many other ways). With a caesarean, the baby bypasses this step and immediately is exposed to foreign bacteria which will then have opportunity to flourish, especially as your bacterial balance will be messed up due to antibiotics. This results in poor digestive flora, including the common and unpleasant thrush, as well as an compromised immune system. Here are a few things that I know of to counteract this:
- Use your own baby blanket and hat (I don’t use clothes the first few days really). Also have receiving blankets for them to be cleaned up with. I had planned this for the baby’s birth regardless and so had been sleeping with a baby blanket and hat to insure that it had my bacteria. Kathleen was wrapped in this rather than the hospital blankets.
- Start your baby on an infant probiotic immediately. I wasn’t prepared for this and so wasn’t able to start her for a few days, but I wish that I had had it to begin using immediately. I also didn’t think to ask for a prescription for one temporarily while in the hospital unfortunately.
- It is also possible to use vaginal excretions (swabbed prior to antibiotics) to swab the baby. That may seem strange and gross, but think about what happens in a natural birth.
- Breast feed as soon as possible.
3. Epidural and Drugs: If possible know what will be used for the epidural. In many cases, you can even meet with the Anesthesiologist prior to discuss what will be used. It is possible to ask for the lowest amount of anesthetic so that you regain feeling sooner and so that it is out of your system quicker. I wish that I had known more about each drug used so that I could make a more educated choice about immediate breast feeding.
My experience each time was that each time I was told that I could leave recovery as soon as I could move my legs. I didn’t bother to tell them that I could make my legs move when I couldn’t feel them and boy, were they impressed with how quickly I was able to do that as I was being wheeled from the OR into recovery;).
4. Laboring: Now, you may be thinking that I am crazy, but if you can, labor (drug free) prior to your caesarean. This will encourage the production of oxytocin and endorphins prior to birth. It will help clear their lungs, add blood flow to their brain, heart and kidneys, give energy, help with bonding, and I have read helps build immunity. It is a good stress for babies.
5. Bonding: This is the area that I felt very, very strongly about and the one that is easy to miss out on.
- Ask to be given your baby immediately. Go skin to skin. Unless the baby is actually in distress there is no reason for the cleaning, weighing, etc. to happen right away. Your baby needs you, even premature babies. Even though many hospitals still have the policy of observing premature babies separate from their mamas there is solid research done that in most cases, they tend to thrive when skin to skin with the mama. I chose to wait to breast feed for close to an hour, even though both Kathleen and Cecily tried to immediately, due to the drugs in my system. I might do that differently now.
- Have your baby remain with you while you are being stitched, I discovered that this isn’t standard but very possible and again generally, there is no reason not to.
- Consider having your baby with you in recovery. I didn’t push for this with Cecily because she was premature but I would now. Kathleen was with Dan in Kangaroo Care for a time before she joined me in recovery. I wanted to keep her with me the whole time but because of my reaction to the epidural was going in and out of consciousness (I don’t think this is common).
- In case of a general anesthetic (being unconscious): It is still very possible to have contact with your baby. You may not be aware, but they will be. This is more complicated and as I didn’t end up doing a general anesthetic, I can’t tell you in practice how it works. Especially if you have a mid-wife, they will be present in OR and you can plan for them make sure that this happens.
6. Cord clamping: This is something that I didn’t think of until after with Kathleen but there can also be a delay in cord clamping. I had intended this with a vaginal birth but forgot to request it with the cesarean. I don’t know anyone personally but I have read about it in a few birth stories.
7. Don’t Stress: It was so easy for me to get really tense and worried that everything wouldn’t be done exactly as I wanted and to feel like it was me against them. Sometimes that is how it went. For example, the nurses didn’t undertand that I wanted Kathleen to be cleaned up with our own blankets, so used theirs and wrapped her in what I had given them. Some details are worth a fuss, others maybe not so much and you need do decide that keeping in mind that it is a bit of a flurry with neither you or your spouse thinking totally clearly. That’s okay and it doesn’t give you a bad mommy award.
8. LINKS: I have tried to keep my links here pretty simple without including really long ones that have a ton of medical lingo.
Best Baby Probiotic: Nutrivene Baby Biotic
http://www.probiotics-help.com/baby-probiotics.html A little more info on Infant probiotics
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/9/1796S.full A study on Intestinal Bacteria in Cesarean and Vaginal Births.
http://womantowomancbe.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/skin-to-skin-in-the-o-r-after-a-c-section/ Skin to Skin in the OR. It includes a beautiful video.
http://wellroundedbirthprep.blogspot.ca/2011/02/how-to-have-natural-cesarean.html An Article full of links on how to have a “natural cesarean”. I’ve not read all of them but liked the ones that I did read.
http://mockabeenews.blogspot.ca/search/label/Twins A beautiful cesarean birth story
http://pregnancy.about.com/cs/laborbirth/a/aa042300a.htm a brief explanation for why labor prior to cesarean is good.
http://redandhoney.com/2012/05/unbound-birth-how-to-have-a-natural-birth-in-the-hospital-review-giveaway/ My friend Beth is offering a book giveaway and review on a book called Unbound Birth: How to have a natural birth in the hospital. I personally haven’t read it but I trust her judgment that it is worth a read.
Do you have any other thoughts or links to add? What went well for you during a cesarean and are there things that did not go as you would have liked? I have missed any points to consider? Have you or do you include the possibility of a cesarean in your birth planning?
She has been counting the sleeps for this big day, April 29th. It’s an important one because as you know, “Four is really old.” And so my eldest daughter is really old. Her chatter today was several decibels higher and the volume many notches louder as she soaked in the specialness of her fourth birthday. As we are coming to expect from her, her birthday wish was a strawberry cake with ice cream.
From the moment she saw her birthday crown and gift at the breakfast table, Aneliese laughed and bounced through the day. She told Cecily that when she turns three in December that she will laugh the same way because, “it is SO MUCH fun!”
After a caesarean with my second daughter, Cecily, due to complete placenta previa, I knew that a VBAC would be a challenge with my next baby. Especially here in Nova Scotia where midwives are basically unavailable. I asked Lola to attend my birth for several reasons; 1) she is a good friend, 2) We share much the same view on labour, birth, and well, much of life in general, only Lola is far more knowledgeable than I on pregnancy and birth. 3) I knew that I would need a strong support if I was going to have a VBAC. Lola was a perfect mix of what I needed as she provided physical support during a long labor, helped me keep my sense of humor, and most importantly, helped advocate and offer her knowledge as I made birthing decisions. I am so glad to be able to share some of her thoughts on being a doula with you today.
I’ve been a Doula for seven years now. When Marissa asked me to write about my experience as a Doula and my views on birth I was really excited. And then I panicked. I’m not your typical Doula and I have some very strong opinions on how birth could and should be handled better in North America. I’ll share a bit about it all and try to keep it brief.
What is a Doula?
DONA International defines a Doula with the following…
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.
That seems to be a pretty accurate description. I also take photographs or video tape births if that’s what the parents want.
Why, Where and When did I become a Doula?
I need to say right at the beginning that I find the idea of hiring a Doula strange. In other cultures, birth attendants have always been close friends or family members such as sisters, mothers, aunts or grandmothers. Unfortunately, in our society we have lost vital understanding of the process and we no longer approach birth with a feeling of confidence but rather with fear and trepidation. Many women do not even know how the actual growing and birthing of a baby happens and that negatively effects the way we can offer each other support and assistance. It’s sad that we have to hire someone to fill in for the roles that used to be had by close family or friends but I do think that with the current state of things, Doula’s can be incredibly beneficial for an expecting mother.
With that said, I’ll explain why I decided to enter the profession almost 8 years ago. I’ve always loved pregnancy and birth. When I was newly married, I longed to somehow be a part of the birth process but I wasn’t sure how so I researched different ways I could help women to have a wonderful birth experience. A doula fit the bill perfectly. I was trained by CAPPA Canada and found three lovely women who agreed to let me attend their births as a part of my certification process. Looking back now, I realize what a novice I was. I’ve learned so much since then and have gained a very deep respect for the birth process. My views are more realistic but I still see birth as a natural and beautiful event.
At the time of my training I lived in a small town in Alberta that had a small hospital where all of the low risk deliveries took place. I had my first baby there and attended many families during my time spent in Alberta. It was in that delivery room I gained my confidence as a Doula. I massaged and photographed and massaged and ran for water and… did I say massaged? As wonderful as it was to gain so much experience, It’s also where I started to see major flaws in the way birth is managed. We’ve moved many times since then and I’ve been able to work with many different women and a variety of care providers. Over the years, I’ve discovered my specific gifts and also my weaknesses. We can’t be all things to all people and I’ve learned to embrace that and be up front with my prospective clients so they can know ahead of time if I’m what they will need. I’m a very knowledgeable Doula who serves well under pressure. I have a healthy bank of information stored in my head that I can access when needed. I am encouraging and affirming. But I am not good at making birth a moody or dramatic event. Some women really need and want that. There are some Doulas who are wonderful at making birth ceremonial and emotional but that is not my specific gifting and I gladly refer women to others who can better suit their needs if that’s necessary.
We live in Nova Scotia now and I have three (almost four) beautiful young children so I don’t advertise as a Doula currently but I will always attend births. It’s just something that I love. Lately, I definitely feel more drawn to the possibility of becoming a childbirth educator for the area and I’d love to focus on helping underprivileged, single or very young mothers confidently birth their babies.
The female body works in amazing ways. Pregnancy and birth provide a unique time for women and their families to understand this and to become confident in making decisions about what, where, when and how they will bring their children into the world.
We have the unique privilege of living in a society of plenty. We have food, water, information and medical help available for most people in Canada and that is such a blessing. But somehow, in the last sixty or so years, we have handed over our rights of carrying and birthing babies to a system that has shown itself to be less than ideal, mostly by the embarrassingly high infant and maternal mortality rates and the soaring Caesarean sections being performed. There are legitimate reasons for medical interventions but the excessive and unwarranted use of them can cause serious harm to young vulnerable newborns and mothers. It’s only when we are confident and informed that we can say yes or no to the options laid out before us. Doula’s can help with this sometimes drastic learning curve.
As women, we have also become out of touch with how our bodies function. Things like assessing our own cervical dilation, fundal height, foetal position, and fertility awareness are all things we should be knowledgeable about and comfortable with. Trained health care providers are a service we are privileged to have access to in Canada but that doesn’t excuse us of the responsibility of understanding the process ourselves. We routinely force babies out before they are ready, clamp them and lay them in plastic containers to be blinded by lights, foot thumps and cold instruments before they have shown any sign of needing to be taken away from their mothers. One of the saddest things I see as a Doula is a women lovingly and longingly looking over at her baby on the warming bed while he or she is weighed, measured and dressed before being handed back to be fed, sometimes an hour later. Babies belong to mothers and fathers and we must remember that. We can gladly accept medical help but ultimately the decisions we make, or refuse to make fall on our own shoulders. It can be a frightening realization but also a very empowering and freeing one. I love what I do. I’m blessed to be able to be a part of such a life changing time for so many families but I want to encourage women to know and understand what’s happening. Take charge of it. Own it. And whether you have a home birth, hospital birth or caesarean birth you can know that you were able to make the best decision for your baby and yourself.
Have you had a Doula and if so, how did affect your birth experience? How has your birth experience affected you?
My name is Lola and I’m a pretty ordinary woman, wife, and mama who also happens to be a Doula and novice homesteader. I live in Nova Scotia with my family and live for sunny days at the beach and deep conversation with friends. I am wildly blessed and am learning to not become sidetracked from the truly beautiful and meaningful things in life. www.nearerstillnearer.squarespace.com
We cleaned out our front hall closet today and wondered what we were going to do with it. Because why use a closet as a closet when you only have two in the entire house? At first, I thought of a book nook for the girls as they are all the rage and frankly, I think it is a great idea. However, as Dan pointed out, we have plans for more reading spots than we have closets.
Then I thought of a play kitchen. Perfect. The girls have been setting up random kitchens lately and having so much fun. So after thinking about it for a few minutes, I did what any self-respecting, creative woman would do; I googled it because surely there have been others out there who have done it beautifully. I’d have used Pinterest because that seems to be where all the best ideas lurk but my computer is broken and it doesn’t work well on my phone. Anyways. I hadn’t looked long when the absurdity hit me. Who am I kidding? No matter how many lovely ideas I find, I am likely going to stick some crates, baskets, and a little side table on the tacky 70’s linoleum, hang a couple of pictures on the un-cool old wall paper, and let the girls raid my kitchen for supplies. And they will love it. If I could come up with the idea then surely I can figure out how to create it on my own.
So where am I going with this? Well, I have been chewing on a word for a couple of weeks now. Inspire. It seems to get used a lot in the online social media world. There is Pinterest to inspire creativity (in so many ways); there are blogs to inspire better parenting, eating, living, learning, and so on. If you really love the word there are some brilliant DIY wall décor ideas. And sometimes I spend so much time seeking inspiration that I forget what I was looking for in the first place. I discount my own ability to act (or choose not to act) based on my own thoughts, beliefs, and creativity.
Inspire, by its definition, means to influence, move or guide. It means to spur on, to bring out, or to infuse life (Thank you, Merriam-Webster dictionary). Inspiration brings action. It doesn’t/shouldn’t bring guilt, discouragement or inaction.
Through all the forms of social media* I have found so many great ideas for my home, family, and life from others. I have been encouraged and challenged as a mother, as a wife, and as a woman. In many ways, I would say that I have come to realize more of who I was created to be. I’ve been inspired.
On the other side of the coin, I have collected “inspiration” and become dissatisfied. I have read about parenting and second-guessed what I know to be best. I have read about balance and felt less for the time that I spend with my children. I’ve turned from the computer to my life feeling that I need to be “more” and frustrated with my lack of ability to be that. I’ve taken some one else’s words, ideas, beliefs, and beauty on as my necessity. And that is stifling. It’s uninspiring. But the thing is I don’t think most have intended to share their stuff that way; it’s me taking it in with my own insecurities and hang-ups.
And so I want to say this plainly. Don’t allow my words in this place to do that to you. If you read my thoughts and feel pressured, looked down upon, guilty or hurt, turn away from them. Throw them out. Perhaps my struggles and insecurities are not what yours are but perhaps the things that I write about bring out yours. I am tempted insert all kinds of disclaimers here of how I don’t think I am all that or that I have any thing more than another and I suppose this is a disclaimer in itself. But the truth is that I know I am not alone in feeling that I need to measure up…to what I’m not sure any of us know exactly.
I had someone recently make a kind comment on my charming life and at first I chuckled and then I sighed. Is that really what is seen? Yes, my life is lovely. I am incredibly blessed. I have been given much and I have much to offer. And my life has just as much, or more, of the disorderly, the messy, the hard, the mundane as I can handle. Yes, there are some things that transfer to screen well and look very charming. But that is not all of what life is.
I think that perhaps I am writing this mostly for the mamas who are also in my particular place in life. We are raising our children and there is so much that we can be and do. We think that we can and should be everything. And life laid out on a screen is so much neater than life in motion. Including mine. As I already said, I have received so much from the lives of others and I very much want to offer what I have to others both on and off screen. I want to inspire. I want to be inspired. But, I don’t want to spend my days thinking that I should do or be something that I am not. I don’t want you to either. I don’t want either of us to spend time and space on lies when our lives can be and are filled with so much good. I want you to be inspired. Truly. If anything I share can do that for you, take them and use them. I will be blessed by that. But please, please don’t be brought down by mine or anyone else life on the screen. There is so much more than that.
Oddly enough, I saw this blog post, http://powerofmoms.com/2012/04/your-children-want-you/, circulating as I was writing this one. I had feelings of, “she said what I was trying to say, and she said it better” and “ why even bother finishing this” welling up. But then I realized that was exactly the point she was making. I don’t need to be someone that I am not. She was specifically talking about being a mom but the thing is that each of us would do well to focus on living well as ourselves. Not compared to someone else.
* I am talking about social media but I think that this can often also apply in face to face friendships as well…I know that it does for me.
- After last week spent in the hospital with Kathleen, this week is just zipping right along. Kathleen is doing well although the antibiotics aren’t sitting so well with her and so she is much fussier than normal. But we finally got an almost decent sleep last night so I almost (not quite) feel sane today. Dan does so much better than I on less sleep.
- It’s turned a bit colder again and since the girls can’t reconcile themselves to pulling on hats, boots and coats, they have been spending more time at inside
arguingplay. Actually, they mostly play really well, but there are definitely sibling squabbles when they get a little stir crazy. Lately they play fairies, dress “their children”, raid my kitchen to stock their kitchen (sounds like something I did back in BC), climb furniture, and slide banisters. I should mention that their kitchen is a garbage can, a mop bucket, and our little red electric stove. Their house is the mud room.Two nights ago they were friends coming to visit me for supper and so I was Marissa to Aneliese and as Cecily was her child, I was Auntie Missy to her. We were friends for about 1.5 hours with only an occasional slip. This morning Cecily was upset at Aneliese and getting mad until as Aneliese said “I just gave her some time to take some deep breaths and we worked it out.” and Cecily wasn’t hitting, by her description, she was “patting”. Oh my.
- We are getting a goat at the end of the week. Well two actually, a doe and a baby. We are going to attempt to drink goats milk as our raw cow’s milk source is gone. I am hoping that we like it but not too sure. I love goat’s cheese though. And goats are fun, provided they don’t get into my garden.
- I’m also realizing that just because I grew up with animals and worked with them my entire life, I don’t know as much as I need to. Which why I really appreciate sites like this one to fill in the things that I need to know about goats.
- Dan is building a barn in his spare minutes (?). It’s just a little one that we can add on as we are able. Right now it will house our goats and the fifteen chickens that we have on order for the end of the month.
- We are also getting a steer in a couple of weeks so that we have our own beef for next year. We are almost a little farm don’t you think?
- We have our first guests coming at the beginning of May to stay in our very unfinished guest house…for a few weeks. My good friend and college dorm room neighbor. I am so very excited.
- I love pussy willows and I spied some in our neighbors orchard the other day. I was very brave (for me) and asked if I might have some.And on that note, I bid you good night.
Our week started out with all of the girls having a bit of a cold that seemed to be almost at its end. Kathleen’s seemed a little worse than the other girls had and she had it longer than they had. On Monday, I thought she was perhaps getting better but by Tuesday had decided to take her to have it checked out. After being told it was RSV (as I had suspected), we were sent home to watch her for any worsening symptoms. Within a couple of hours, I was headed back to the hospital with a very sick and unresponsive baby. Long story short, after a getting her on oxygen we were taken to a larger hospital via ambulance where we have spent most of the week while Kathleen has been treated for bacterial pneumonia. After the initial worrisome hours of watching her too fast heart rate and low oxygen levels, she seems to have recovered quickly and well. Crazy how fast it happens both ways. Now we are home where she is sleeping like a little kitten in the sun and I am catching her up on all of her missed feedings, giving her probiotics to replace good bacteria and trying not to worry too much about the state of her precious gut flora (already disturbed due to C-section birth) from the antibiotics. And she is getting increased kisses and cuddles from all of us which of course she is soaking up:).
We celebrate the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox today. The sun and earth are celebrating in style with their warmth calling little ones to run about in bare feet and cats to laze in the sun. I believe that I shall fold my laundry outside in the beauty of it all.
We celebrated the first day of spring by starting some of our seeds. I’m not sure how great our garden will be this year as we haven’t a prepared garden plot but we are going to give it a go. With starting seeds in mind, I have been saving eggshells for the past couple of weeks to start my seeds.
I’ve used eggshells for a few years and always find that it works well. Not only are they a free pot, but the calcium in the shells is good for the growing plants, they are the perfect size for starting plants, and they break down completely in the soil while still providing essential nutrients to the plants.
This idea is not in any way original to me, even though I was the first person I know to do it, and I think there are probably plenty of other how-to’s on it but really I just want to share pictures of the fun that we had together. That is the fun, when I remembered to let go of control and not stress about it being done exactly as I would do it.
- Eggshells ~ when you are using your eggs for cooking, just crack off the top third and save the bottom portion. It’s a good idea to give them a little swish with water but I often forget.
- Egg carton ~ to store the egg shells and to hold them once you have planted.
- Seeds~ I ordered my seeds from Hope Seeds this year. They offer local seeds with a commitment local and sustainable agriculture, which includes the avoidance of genetically engineered seeds. I’ve also heard lots of good things about Salt Spring Seeds, based on Vancouver Island.
- Dirt ~ I use a seed starting mix.
- This is the step where you should carefully poke just one hole in the bottom of the clean eggshell using the needle. This is for drainage. I forgot. I’ve forgotten before and the seeds have been fine because I just water lightly. So if you remember, great. If you forget, don’t stress.
- Fill the eggshells with soil. Fill them full and even compact the soil just a little. If the soil is dry you might want to lightly wet it (a spray bottle works well).
- Plant your seeds. I usually do one or two seeds per egg, depending on the size of the seed.
- Cut the most of the top of the egg carton off, leaving enough to write what you have planted in the rows. Actually, it would be a good idea to do this as the first step but I had some eager planters that got a little ahead of themselves.
- As was implied in step four, write above each row what you planted. I try to do it as I plant each thing otherwise I forget. I also record it in my garden log with the date, how many, and other info that I want to remember.
- Lightly water. My little water girl occasionally soaked them but I wouldn’t recommend that too often. The idea with seedlings is to always keep them damp, especially as they germinate. I find that a spray bottle works well.
- Keep the egg cartons in a warm sunny location. Once the seedlings have sprouted and grown enough to be transplanted in the garden or a larger pot, gently crack the shell before planting. It will biodegrade, the roots will grow out into the soil and the shell will continue to provide calcium to the plant.
May you experience Light and Life on this first day of spring!