Friday, June 10, 2016

Nicole's Birth Story

Wow!  I can't believe it's been almost 6 months since Nicole joined us in this world.  Hopefully I can remember most of the details of her birth, poor 6th baby....


Stomach bug...

Just what you need before a baby, right?!

All 6 girls in the Bradley house got lice a few weeks before Nicole was due.  Seriously!!  I had nesting to do!  Good thing it came in the form of eradicating lice from our home so that I didn't have to worry about it while nursing a new born.  With the help of friends and family we got it taken care of just days before baby Nicole decided to arrive.

Of course all of this was happening right at Christmas time as well, so we really had nothing else on our minds.....

I had been having false labor for a few nights.  I'd even gone as far as calling the midwife, but luckily knew better than to make the 40 minute trek to the birth center just yet.  Things calmed down and still no baby.  My big girls were disappointed to be put to bed.

The morning of the 23rd, around 5am I woke up to Josh getting ready for work.  I got up to use the bathroom.  Without grossing everyone out, that trip to the bathroom gave me some indications that things were going to be starting soon.  I got back in bed and tried to go to sleep.  All the while planning out my day of how I was going to be able to drive myself to the birth center since Josh would be at work.  Contractions began at 5:30am.  I got up and asked Josh if he could put himself on  "delay" for going in to work just to see if this was really birth day.  By 6am I was sure of it!  I called the midwife and my mother and let them both know it was game time.  I decided not to delay very much because I was Step B positive and knew I needed antibiotics.
After packing up our final things and enduring the long drive in, we made it to the Birth Center at 7:30am, just before shift change.  I was only at a 3 and my labor had slowed down a bit on the ride in so we decided to make ourselves comfortable.  I had invited Makayla and Caroline (my oldest two daughters) to the birth.  They were 9 and 8 years old respectively.  They hunkered down with a movie in the waiting room....for 30 minutes.  I called our friend who is a doula just to let her know.  I didn't know with the holidays if she would be able to come.  Luckily, she was free and said she could make it in after she got off work at 11.

It turns out that Makayla and Caroline were a wonderful distraction during labor. They were so loving and helpful to me,  I got my first round of antibiotics and paced the floor with the poll.  It was actually nice to have something to lean on as I was walking.  Once that first round was done I decided I wanted to get in the tub.  I knew I was going to birth in the tub because I was told it helped decrease the risk on passing Step B to the baby.   I didn't receive my first round of antibiotics until 8:30-9am and you can't get the next round for another 4 hours.

I had told Josh ahead of time that I was really going to put him to work this time.  As our sixth, and potentially last child, I had to live this up for all that it was worth!  So I did.  I held his hand in the tub and had him remind me to relax and tell me I was doing a good job.  I know.  I'm a real slave driver.  He dominated his job by the way.

Around 10:20 we started taking guesses as to when the baby was going to arrive.  Everyone else seemed to be a lot more positive about it happening sooner rather than later.  I figured I still had plenty of time.  I wasn't screaming yet ;)

Then my water broke.  I figured it was something that the nurse and midwife might want to know.  Only we couldn't find them!  I had been so calm that the midwife figured she had plenty of time and had gone upstairs to make some coffee.

By the time she came to my room it was game time.  Only I had no idea. I couldn't have transitioned so quickly!  The pain went straight to the "I can't take it stage" which I'm pretty sure I said a few times.  The midwife did a quick check and told me to go for it.  Seriously??  Already!!  My mind wasn't in pushing zone yet so I gave myself a contraction to adjust.  After a little foot re-positioning on my part I was good to go.  The pain was still too intense for me, so I didn't really give it all I had, but that really didn't matter.  Nicole Peace Bradley was born at 10:58am whether I was pushing or not!  Makayla started crying tears of joy (whom I thought would be running to the lobby as soon as I was screaming) and Caroline was a little grossed out (whom I thought would LOVE the experience).

Once I got rinsed off and in bed, our sweet doula walked in the door. She had no idea the baby had been born and was a little surprised.  Caroline was the first to get peed on since we were loving on baby Nicole so much we forgot to put a diaper on her.  Makayla got spit up on all over.  Apparently when babies come out so fast, they don't have a good chance to clear things out on the way out.  Such a good baby sister already!

She weighed in right at 7lbs, which was wonderful since my last baby was almost 9 lbs and I had heard that they just keep getting bigger!

We are such a blessed family and we absolutely love our 6 sweet daughters!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Not that kind of blog

There are many different kinds of blogs.

Sharing blogs, recipe blogs, religious blogs, mothering blogs...

Mothering blogs....sigh....

There are many blogs that I have fallen in love with, only to be disappointed to realize that the blogger really had no greater credentials than I have.

There are so many blogs out there offering parenting and spiritual advice, but only from the heat of the moment they are experiencing at the time.

Parenting is such a ever changing process.  The "wisdom" that I gained with just two young children no longer applies to the two young children that I have now.  The spiritual advice I would have given myself as a mother of young children no longer applies, yet I still have young children. The way I ran a household even just last year does not apply to how I run a household now.  

I don't need a mom in the process of motherhood giving me advice on how to be a mother.

If that is what you are looking for, this is not your blog.

I don't have any answers.  I've tried a lot of different things, but really, life is very case specific. So unless you've had 5 kids in 6 years, live in NC and are married to a nurse, my life is going to look very different from yours.

I also don't believe that my job is harder than my husbands.  I don't feel like I deserve a break all the time or that I'm always deserving time away from the kids.  I like "girl time," but I don't deserve it any more than my husband deserves "guy time."  My husband works very hard.  He has a great burden on his shoulders to provide for our family.  In no way do my responsibilities at home trump that.

So really, all I can offer are the experiences that I have.  I like to share and write.  That's why I have a blog.  It's also nice for family and memories.

That is my kind of blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fishing Trip

 I have so many memories of fishing with my dad growing up.  I'm not sure what I found so thrilling about it, but something about feeling the fish on the line, or even just the peace of standing at the edge of the water fills my heart with warm memories.

So when my girls started begging me for a fishing trip, I knew who to ask.

Of course, I knew 5 little girls would press the patience of my father.  But I also knew that these memories would be too important so pass up.

My father knew of the perfect fishing hole.  It was small enough to keep track of all the kiddos and well stocked with fish so that everyone had a chance to catch something!

The two big girls had their own pole and the 3 little ones shared a pole (which was PLENTY to keep up with).  Poor Papa spent the majority of his time baiting and fixing fishing lines.  I ran back and forth between girls making sure they were having a good time and helping them with technique.

I have to admit, it was pretty fun for me and I was anxious to do some fishing on my own.  It's a good thing the little ones have a short attention span; I gladly took over for them many times!

Here is Papa helping the girls cast their line

The majority of the fish were about this size, which was plenty big for their little arms!

And of course the highlight for me was catching this HUGE catfish!!  And of course I caught it on the little one's 3 foot pole.   I have to admit, I did have to let my dad reel this one in!

That is one BIG fish!

Abby found her own little treasures while we were fishing.  

The owners of our fishing hole also had bunnies!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Girls Pilgrimage

There are a lot of girls in our family.  

And they just seem to keep coming.  

The more the merrier, right!?

My older girls are definitely getting older.  Being one who loves tradition, I have been starting to think about how I want their life to look as they age and mature.  I want to provide them with momentous, growing adventures that they will cherish forever.

Men have it easy.  They pack up a few things, walk out into the woods and camp for the weekend.  The return home bonded and more manly,  Memories were made, plans are dreamed of for future camping trips.

I don't camp.  It's not that I won't, it's just unfamiliar to me. And something about camping with my girls doesn't sit right. I'm sure they'd have a good time doing it.  I'm sure there are lots of other girls that would prefer to camp.  

Then there is the girls pampering weekend.  Getting nails done, nice hotel, fancy dinner, pretty clothes. Which I'm sure they would love to do and I'm sure many other girls would prefer that type of getaway.

But that's just not what I want for my girls.  

Late one night shift when I was still working as a Nurse Aid, I was doing a little research on Monastic life.  I found a female monastery in SC, Saints Mary and Martha Monastery,  that was not too far away. On their website they advertise that they host Mother/Daughter Retreats.  


Here was our chance to get away from the world, out in nature (but not too out), living simply and focusing on God and each other.  This is exactly what I was looking for!  Plus, I was pretty curious myself as to what the female monastic life was like.  I e-mailed the Abbess and we made plans for a summer trip with my two oldest daughters.  

And what a peaceful weekend it was!  The Mothers there were so kind and welcoming.  They had no expectations for us, except to have the respite we desired.  We walked many times through the woods, inspected tombstones, toured the candle making facility, fellowshiped with other Christian sisters, put together puzzles and worshiped God.  

It is truly amazing watching my girls grow up into beautiful young ladies.  I know that raising them is no small task.  I pray that this will be a wonderful new tradition for my girls and me!

My girls with Mother Thecla and Mother Helena

Bricks of beeswax for candles

Candle molds

Where they warm the beeswax and make the candles we use in church

A beautiful meditation spot on one of the trails

Caroline hanging out in the Hermitage house
Makayla relaxing in the Hermitage house

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Adding to the family

It's been quite a while since I've written a blog post, so I thought I would start with our fun news.  Our family will be adding another member in December around Christmas time.  Watch this fun video to find out if it will be a boy or a girl.  Many thanks to my niece for making such a great video!