**a note** I am in no way trying to tell anyone how or what to do. I just want to share my experiences. Because knowledge is power!
Before Elijah was born and even before we knew we were having an Elijah, Brandy wanted to have a natural birth experience. This is not an entirely uncommon thing now a days. Brandy didn't want a partially natural birth, she wanted 100% natural. For her, this meant not in a hospital. This freaked me out. Many thoughts went through my head about how this was not a great idea. "The closest hospital is 30 minutes away?", "If labor starts and Brandy decides the pain is too much we can't stop the labor", "insurance doesn't cover this", and "the birth happens in a cabin on a place called 'The Farm'?" You know, the usual:) I of course supported my wife and we began the process of having Elijah at "The Farm". The process:
- All prenatal appointments were up in TN. This was over 2 hours from our home.
- We really didn't have the support of a local OBGYN because most won't see you if you are not having your child with them.
- Insurance would not cover this birth. We had to put money away for the birth.
- Our delivery room was a "birthing cabin" on property at The Farm. One room downstairs with a single bed upstairs (for guests/midwife during labor). We had to pack our vehicle for a long camp trip and plan on bringing back a new family member when we came home.
If and when baby number two happens I will be more than happy to have that child at The Farm or a similar place if God allows that to happen.
This was something I never thought of in a bad light, but was a little worried about the um... practice of using them. Modern cloth diapers are not the same thing as our grand parents or maybe even our parents used. They come in so many different styles and colors and are really very cleverly designed. I think we own three different brands of cloth diapers along with a hand full of the traditional "pre fold" diapers. The selling point for me was that you don't throw away a cloth diaper. The practice of using these things has been much easier then I had thought. In Elijah's almost two years on this earth we have maybe used a pack of "standard diapers". I will admit that there were and are times that we need to use a regular diaper, but those times don't happen that often.
It turns out that using cloth diapers is pretty easy. We have even taken them on long trips.
Baby signs are awesome. I do highly recommend these to new parents. If you don't know what it is, it's basically very simplified American Sign Language. Elijah can speak now, but he knew and used over 40 different signs. It was great knowing what he was thinking about and what he wanted even at 5 or 6 months old. It sure cut down on crying because we could respond to his needs quicker.
In the early months I did think to myself that Elijah would never pick up on all these signs we were doing, but boy did he.
This was another practice that I was reluctant to at first. Co sleeping, also known as the family bed, is the practice of sleeping with your child. I was assured by my wife that it was a common thing throughout the world. My fears ranged from me rolling onto the baby to just plain not wanting a baby in the bed all the time. I believe we did agree to use a convertable cradle that one side could lower. The cradle would sit along side the bed on the mothers side. That was our middle ground. For one reason or the other we never got that special cradle. In Elijahs early months we had to use a small "baby holder" so that he wouldn't roll onto his tummy. I joke with Brandy that I have gotten very comfortable sleeping on the edge of the bed:) If nothing else, co sleeping has been great for Brandy because she doesn't have to get up in the middle of the night to feed Elijah (breast feed). Now I can't imagine bed time without Mr. Elijah. I will say that when the day comes when Elijah wants a "big boy bed" I will be ready:)
This blog was written not only to share my experiences, but to (hopefully) encourage people to give new things a try. There are plenty of things, parenting wise, that have not worked for our family. Brandy has been instrumental in all of this. She is the one who does the research and educates me. I maybe a reluctant father at times, but I have a wonderful partner to help push me along.