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The Cahill’s Corner of The Internet

Thanks for joining us!

Welcome to my little corner of the internet! We’re winging life, one day at a time! Here, you’ll be able to follow me along, in all the ups and downs of life! I’m 27 years old, married to the greatest husband, mom to the greatest son, and mom to 2 dogs and 7 chickens!

We are always on a new adventure, or trying something new! We’re not exactly “crunchy”, but a little on the “crispy” side.

There are a million ways to live life, and we want to live ours as best as we can! So follow along, to stay up to date in all we do!

Follow me on Instagram @chaoswiththecahills

Live a good life, and in the end it’s not the years in the life, but the life in the years. -Abraham Lincoln

The Stress Of A Toddler Can Make You Cry In a Grocery Store

I’m currently hiding in the bathroom from my toddler as I write this. Mom life ain’t easy!! Whoever told you it’s easy, is a liar. The last several weeks have been unbelievably stressful and chaotic, and I know Murphy can feel my vibes.

We thought we had found our next home. It was a little further away, but sat on 5 acres and a little more secluded. We really liked the house! It was something we could have easily made home. It needed very little TLC, so ideally we could spend more time having fun, and less time with projects.

There were two major flaws with the house though. Number one, the stairs in the house were oddly steep. Actually, dangerously steep. The more I thought about it, the more I had to figure out if I was really willing to go up and down those stairs DAILY. Problem number two, the driveway. They had recently gotten fresh gravel, however they didn’t get the right gravel, and it wasnt properly compacted.

We put an offer in on the house, and then we waited. A couple of days went by, and during that time we had a small storm. Kevin decided to check out the driveway after the rain, to see how the fresh gravel held up.

It looked terrible!! The one rain, had already created channels in the driveway! After seeing that, we knew that wasn’t a battle we were willing to fight. We had already done that once. Now we have a paved driveway!

Seeing the driveway washed out, made us realize this wasn’t our new home. So we withdrew our offer on the house. However, prior to coming to this realization, we had been frantically trying to get our home ready to put on the market!

We quickly started donating things we don’t need/ don’t want to pack up. I’m pretty sure Murphy can sense the stress, the frustration, and the hustle. All of this happened in less than 5 days.

Within those 5 days, we were cleaning like a bunch of crazies! We got our carpets professionally cleaned, we had a cleaning company come to the house, and we had a handy man come give us an estimate to finish up all our odds and ends. The estimate was $800! So Kevin (being the rockstar that he is) has started doing everything in his free time. Which he has no free time because he’s going to school full time, in addition to working full time.

Last week, Murphy and I went to Wegmans for our standard grocery trip. I messed up though, and we didn’t go at our usual time. Typically, we go late morning, and on this particular day, we went early afternoon.

We get to the grocery store, and right away I knew I was in for it. He threw the biggest tantrum possible when I tried to wear him with the Tula (baby carrier). So I decided to put him in the cart. He then threw and even BIGGER tantrum. I gave him a second, hoping it would pass, and it just got worse. Right then and there, I should have gotten back in the car and ordered a pizza.

I finally get him strapped into the cart and we started shopping. Immediately I get the fresh fruit, and head for the veggies. While I’m trying to pick out asparagus, this really really nice lady strikes up conversation with me. Her granddaughter is his age, and she was just being very friendly.

While talking with this woman Murphy managed to stand up, he wanted to go into the large part of the cart. Trying to maintain conversation with this woman, I put him in the back. I was trying to then place the veggies in the seat, so he couldn’t get them. Well, he’s significantly faster than me when I’m distracted. He threw the entire container of blueberries on the floor!! I was mortified!

Spilt blueberries everywhere

I instantly turned bright red and went into panic! What was I supposed to do?! Of course, the lady laughed it off, insisting a staff member would clean it up. She went to get get someone, while I quickly tried using my flip flop to sweep all the berries together.

The wegmans employee arrived with a broom in had and reassured me that it really wasn’t a big deal, accidents happen. Apparently, a few days prior, someone knocked an entire garlic display over! Then a few days before that, it was a soy sauce display!

I definitely felt a little better after that, but I was still really embarrassed. So I got the cart situated, put Murphy back buckled in, and tried to finish the trip.

Murphy screamed the entire time. Nothing I did was helping either. I tried giving him a million different food options, and he wanted nothing to do with it. I rushed as fast as I possibly could. I even bought things I didn’t need! I just wanted to get out of there.

I felt like everyone was staring with judgemental eyes. All I could think, was that everyone else was thinking, I dont have control of my own kid! I wish I had just abandoned the cart, and left the store. But I didn’t.

We’re finally ready to check out. I find what appears to be the quickest line! There were two people in line. The one paying, and an instacart employee. If you’ve never seen an instacart employee, they literally bag the items throughout the store. Then go to the register, and pay. They don’t put anything on the belt.

The instacart employee was paying and the belt was completely empty, so I’m rushing, throwing everything on the belt in no particular order. Usually I have a method, and certain things go with certain things. Not this time.

I was also really thirsty so I grabbed a water bottle. Of course Murphy starts screaming, he wants the bottle. So I hand it to him thinking it’ll buy me one or two minutes. He is trying to drink the water and screaming. Of course now I feel terrible, what if he’s been upset this whole time because he’s thirsty?!

Against my better judgment, I go to give him a sip of water. In the blink of an eye, he squeezes the bottle has hard as he can, it shoots up like a fountain, and he’s SOAKED! Then he throws the bottle, and what remained is now all over the floor.

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was sweating bullets and doing everything in my power to hold the tears back. I notice some paper towels by the cashiers feet. I quickly try to clean up the floor, but also I cannot wait to get out of there!

Luckily, another Wegmans employee quickly makes me stop, and they finish cleaning up so I can leave. My eyes are filled with tears when the cashier hands me the receipt, and I’m not out of the store before the tears fall uncontrollably!

I was mortified! I put Murphy in the carseat, and yes he was still screaming. I’m sure at this point he’s screaming because hes cold and wet. I’m crying uncontrollably while trying to put the groceries in my trunk. It was a disaster. I was a disaster.

I called my person, Kathleen (stepmom), who was able to talk me down. I was a hot mess. Luckily she, along with 99.9% of other moms, have been there.

The rest of the night went equally as stressful. It was the day of hell. Fortunately the great days outweigh the crazy days.

Toddlers can be crazy though. I love him to death, but hes insane.

Toddlers will break you. They will embarrass you. They will drive you absolutely INSANE. But he really is the greatest person in the world. 100% worth it all.

Breastfeeding Almost Didn’t Work Out For Us

When Murphy (aka Pickle) was born, he was 7lb 8oz of pure magic. I knew I wanted to breastfeed before he was born, and nothing was going to get in my way! I had heard of people having breastfeeding struggles, but I had read everything there was to read! There was no way it could happen to me, right?

WRONG! I had no clue I had low milk supply until our 2 week check up and Pickle was 6lb 3oz!! WHAT THE HECK?! He had lost so much weight. I beat myself up so much, and I was devastated!! I thought so low of myself. My poor baby was literally starving to death.

He cried all the time unless he was at my breast. That was normal though, right? New borns nurse constantly!! At LEAST every 2 hours. How was I supposed to know he wasn’t gaining weight?!

I had read about what letdown feels like, but I never felt anything. That’s okay though! Some people never feel a letdown.

There were no signs that I saw (or felt), to indicate that there was an issue. I very quickly found out that there was a major issue.

When he was first born, we seemingly didn’t have any issues. Everyone checked him for tongue and lip ties. Someone mentioned that he had a tongue tie, but immediately after a different person said he didn’t. I didn’t know any difference. Besides, what’s a tongue tie? When we were breastfeeding in the hospital, everyone said we looked great! Although it really hurt. Now, from the research I had done, I know it shouldn’t hurt. Everyone in the hospital kept telling me some pain is normal and it will get better.

Breastfeeding in the hospital

I much later find out, that I suffer from vasospasms. When breastfeeding, the tip of my nipple would go blanch white because there was no more blood flow there. Then when he would unlatch, all the blood flow would return and it would be burning pain!

At the hospital, they gave us a sheet of paper indicating how many wet diapers a new born should have. If I recall correctly, it’s at least 1 wet diaper for every day of life. So day 1, 1 wet diaper. Day 2, 2 wet diapers. Day 3, 3 wet diapers and so on. Well, every day I was counting his wet diapers like a crazy person. It just didn’t seem right that he was nursing NON STOP, and I felt like there were barley any diapers. It was very frustrating and I was obsessing over it.

At a hospital close to my house (not where Murphy was born), they have a free breastfeeding support group every Monday at 10am. Murphy was 2 weeks old, and I decided to go to this group because I was hating breastfeeding. It was so hard and not enjoyable, but I was so determined!! This was also the same day of our 2 week check up.

At this support group, you weigh your baby naked, then nurse them! You then weigh them again after they eat one breast to see how much they’ve drank. You weigh them again after the other breast to get a total amount of milk transferred!

This was when I first found out that Murphy was BARELY getting ANY milk. I was DEVASTATED. I cried hysterically for about 10 minutes while Murphy screamed. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in a room surrounded by supportive women, and I had never felt so alone in my life. I was drowning in tears.

Luckily the registered nurse who ran the group, had extremely intense mom hugs. She hugged me so tight. She instantly started breaking up the next few days. My first goal was to get to his doctors appointment and figure out if he needed to be hospitalized (fear of possible dehydration). She told me that Murphy definitely needed to see an ENT for tongue tie. Then she told me about “SNS tube feeding”. That is a supplemental nursing system.

SNS tube feeding is INTENSE and hard. You take a syringe, and fill it with either breastmilk or formula. You then latch your baby to your breast, and slip in a tube into the baby’s mouth. That tube is attached to the syringe filled with milk. The baby thinks they’re just nursing. The benefit to that is, having baby latched, will help increase your supply! We chose to use formula in the syringe since I legitimately had low supply and had no breastmilk of my own, to put in the syringe.

SNS tube feeding

Let me stop right there for a second.
Low supply
A lot of women think that they have low supply for various reasons.
Your newborn baby is going to eat ALL THE TIME. Close to every 1.5-2 hours. So don’t listen to anyone when they say, “but your baby just ate, they can’t be hungry again.” But they are. That’s okay. FEED YOUR BABY. Just because your breasts don’t “feel full”, that doesn’t mean you have low supply! Your breasts start to feel softer. That’s okay, once milk regulates, things change. It’s okay if your breasts never leak. Or all of a sudden, baby is nursing like crazy. It could be a growth spurt. However, if you ever have any doubts, go see your doctor or your pediatrician!!!

TRUST YOUR INSTINCT

Correcting Tongue Ties and Increasing Milk Supply

Hind sight, I wish we had gone to the pediatrician sooner. But luckily we went when we did, and we found out that Murphy wasn’t getting enough milk. Now, he was getting enough to stay hydrated. They did a blood draw to make sure we didn’t have to go to the hospital. The pediatrician also noticed Murphy had a tongue tie and recommended the local ENT.

A few days later we have an appointment at our local ENT. I have mixed feelings about him. He clearly didn’t understand the importance of correcting the tongue tie. He told us that Murphy had a high palette, and correcting the tie wouldn’t fix anything. I’m so grateful that he corrected it anyways, because it literally saved our breastfeeding relationship.

I even had an international board certified lactation consultant come to my house to help in any way possible! She was wonderful, and informed me of a medication that is helpful for some with increasing supply. She also told me about 1,000mg of fenugreek daily. I asked her about all the stories I had read about fenugreek LOWERING supply. Turns out, most people don’t take the right dose. It isn’t that its lowering your supply, it’s just not increasing your supply

BUT none of this was going to stop me from breastfeeding. At this point I had to supplement because Murphy needed to put on the LBs. However, I ONLY used the SNS tube because I wanted to keep him at the breast as much as possible to help increase my supply. I was worried that if we gave him a bottle, even just one, it would impact our breastfeeding relationship.

I was feeding him every 2 hours (literally EVERY 2 HOURS) and then pumping for 20min afterwards every time. Every. Time. Then I had to clean the pump parts, and the syringe and the tube. That was leaving me with about 40 minutes to an hour before the cycle started again. I had to take reglan for a week (a prescription from my Dr that could cause severe depression but increase milk), 1,000mg of fenugreek, lactation teas, and lactation cookies. I was also drinking all the water in the world (100oz minimum every day)!!

In the beginning I was only pumping drops of breastmilk. DROPS! There were moments I wanted to give up because I never thought my supply would increase. But I stuck with it, and thank God I did because after 5 1/2 weeks we were exclusively breastfeeding. Thanksgiving Day was the first time we didn’t supplement anything and just breastfed and we haven’t looked back!! It was absolutely the greatest day ever!!!

Thanksgiving Day!

Then January 15 at approximately 4 in the morning, Murphy only ate on one side and then went back to seep. I had to pump because my other breast was going to explode. Now, I know you produce the most in the middle of the night, but this is the most I’ve ever pumped!! Murphy turned 13 weeks the next day and I could not have been happier. I almost cried. All of our hard work paid off.

The first time I pumped and could see our progress

Also I should add we found out late in the game that he had a tongue tie. It was 2 weeks postpartum. Most people find out within the first few days, but for whatever reason, there seemed to be some confusion as to whether or not Murphy had tongue tie.

I cannot thank my AMAZING husband Kevin enough for his support through all this. There is no way I could of done this without him. There were so many times he’d do all the prep work and all the cleaning so I could catch every extra minute of sleep. I truly have the greatest husband in the world

Worth all the struggles. I was so determined to breastfeed and I did (and still do).

Random side note:
During those 5 weeks of chaos and stress, Murphy and I were sleeping in the living room so Kevin could sleep since he was going to work. During those 5 weeks, the hallmark channel was playing Christmas movies. Thank God for those movies, because it kept me awake while trying to feed Murphy. Every time I watch a Christmas movie, I think of what we went through.

Building Our Chicken Coop Last Minute

There is a major twist to this story!!

Here we are, first time chicken owners, and we are literally winging 90% of it! In January of this year, we decided to take the plunge and get chickens for the very first time. Being new to the game, we decided to tag along with our friend and add to her order. Check our,First Time Chicken Owner, blog to get the story!

Once we purchased our chickens, I knew we had some time to buy/build a coop. I did some research and decided to buy a certain coop at tractor supply. I was so excited because it was on sale!! Originally it was over $200 but I got it for $150! I was super excited to snag a good deal like that!

I went up to Tractor Supply to actually make the transaction, and then I was going to put the coop in the car. I get there and my coop is the last one! Gosh was I excited or what!! The first wrench in the plan, the coop didn’t fit in the car, OOPS! Luckily our amazing friend Crawford, who is Sarah’s boyfriend, was able to help me in a pinch with his truck. PHEW crisis averted.

After he got off work, I met him up at tractor supply, we throw the coop in his truck and get it back to the house. Luckily he mentioned a major pro tip: set the coop up where you plan to leave it!

Later that evening Kevin informs me that Farmer Erica, with Hayfield Farm, is willing to sell us their old coop for $125, and its bigger! Well initially I was a little deflated because I was so excited to have a brand new coop! However, after thinking about it, I decided it made WAY more sense to buy her coop because it’s cheaper, bigger, already set up, and they were going to deliver it! I would have been foolish to turn that down.

Now I had to figure out how to return this coop that we had purchased. Luckily with the help of a trailer, we were able to return our first coop within the “30 day return” window. We got to back to the store on the 28th day!

In talking to Farmer Erica, there wasn’t a rush to get the coop. We had the chicks in the brooder in the basement, and it wasn’t like they were going in the coop anytime soon. So after some back and forth, we finally decided on Friday March 22. Which was perfect because meanwhile I was being super sneaky, and secretly order 2 polish chickens as a surprise for Kevin!! (Erica placed an order for a bunch of chickens and I just added 2 onto her order.)

The reason Friday was going to be perfect, was because I was going to get my 2 baby polish chickens in addition to the coop. That way, I could put my original 7 chickens in the coop outside, and the 2 new baby chicks in my brooder.

Of course Thursday and Friday, there was wicked rain so the ground was SOAKED and they couldn’t get their truck to the coop. Which was no problem, we just pushed it to Sunday. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!!

Late Sunday morning, Erica gets the coop loaded up and they’re in route and then the unthinkable happens.

THE CHICKEN COOP FLEW OFF THE BACK OF THE TRUCK!

Yupp. That’s right. The chicken coop flew off the back of the truck and into a ditch on the side of the road!!

Before we found out, we ran out to grab lunch, and luckily Murphy fell asleep in the car. We get back to the house, and I immediately start tending to the baby polish chicks. Meanwhile Erica had texted me but my hands were gross. She then started calling me, Kevin answered on speaker and we heard her spill the news.

My mind instantly starting going in a million different directions! How on earth were we supposed to get a coop, set it up, and wrangle a toddler all before bedtime?!

So first, we decided to make good use of our time and we made a quick trip to the dump! We recently replaced our toilets with brand new ones! So we threw the old trash toilets on the trailer and set off.

While on the way to the dump, Kevin instantly started googling coops, prices, and locations. At this point it was about 12:30/1pm. So we quickly ruled out Walmart, Rural King, and Southern Estate because they didn’t have ANY in stock, in our price range. Fortunately Tractor Supply had a bunch available.

After dropping toilets off at the dump we quickly start thinking of anyone who can watch Murphy! We called my dad (Murphy’s Papou), and see if he’s free to come play with Murphy. Luckily he was able to clear his schedule, and he and my brother Nick headed our way! The two of them were absolute LIFE SAVERS!! It couldn’t have worked out better.

We pulled up to Tractor Supply, and quickly looked through all of their available coops. They varied in prices, but the cheapest one available was $300. OUCH!! The good thing is it is very good quality and surprisingly sturdy! Buy the same coop here!

We purchased the coop and got it strapped to the trailer and quickly headed home. Once we get home we started up the lawn tractor so we could tow the coop to its destination in the backyard. Not too long after that, my dad and Nick arrive!

I cannot stress enough how much the two of them saved the day. There is no way we could have completed the coop while also trying to watch Murphy. Or we would have ended up just killing each other.

We quickly got to work because we needed to get our chicks into that coop so we could get our polish into the brooder!

It’s very surprising how simple it was to assemble the coop. The instructions were definitely better than IKEA instructions!! Its set up in two parts. The first part you assemble the coop. The second part you assemble the run. The third part, you attach the coop, the run and the roof.

Once we finished setting the whole thing up, Kevin and Nick did the “skirting” around the bottom of the coop. The skirting is added protection against digging predators such a raccoons. I understood that we were going to burry chicken wire (aka hardware cloth) around the edge of the coop. In my mind, the wire was going to go straight down into the earth. In reality, the wire was going to go down a few inches, and then go out away from the coop like a skirt. So we attached two by fours all around the bottom for stability and to better attach the wire.

When I was thinking of a skirt, I was thinking of a pencil skirt or a maxi skirt. I was not thinking of a skirt that flares out. Needless to say we were not on the same page, so I had to walk away. When I returned, he and Nick were basically finished with it! Once I could visualize what Kevin meant, it made wayyyy more sense.

There you go! We completed the coop, Murphy got to play with Papou and his Uncle Nick, Kevin and I didn’t kill each other, and we had hot pizza from our favorite pizza joint for dinner! It was a great Sunday! Added bonus, the weather was absolutely FANTASTIC.

We got our 7 chickens in the coop, the baby polish in the brooder, and Murphy put to bed all before 7:30pm!

As you can imagine I was so nervous having my birds in the coop OUTSIDE for the first time. I was so worried I’d wake up in the morning and a predator would have managed to murder my entire flock!

On the inside, you can close off the coop from the run. So at 9pm I went out into the yard with Zoey, and on the phone with my sister in law because I was scared I was going to get attacked by who knows what, to put my chickens to bed! I grabbed each one, and threw them up into the coop and shut the little door.

The next morning, Murphy and I went out there right at sunrise, 7:09am, and opened their door. I know I don’t have to do that, but it gives me peace of mind and helps me sleep at night.

Additionally, I’m really glad it played out how it did because having to build the coop, gave me a much better understanding of everything. I literally know the coop inside and out! Also it was a fun chaotic adventure!

EDIT TO ADD!!!

Checked the link to the coop, and now it’s on sale!! So I went to Tractor Supply and they refunded me the $100 difference!! WOAHOO!!!

Lesson learned, always check to see if something you’ve recently purchased is on sale. As long as its within the 30day return window theyll honor the price!!

How I Had A Natural Birth In A Hospital Setting

I’ve known since I was a little girl, that I want 6 children. I’ll never forget when I was at the grocery store at about 7 years old, the cashier asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’m sure she was expecting me to say doctor or lawyer, but I told her I wanted to be a mom of 6 kids! You can imagine the look on her face! Shocked and in disbelief. To this day, I still want to be a mom of 6 when I grow up.

Currently, I have one beautiful angel baby named Murphy! He is my pride and joy. He is wild and untamed and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My little adventurer is always exploring and finding new ways to get himself into sticky situations.

I could absolutely do this 5 more times! Motherhood was made for me! I love every moment. There are ups and downs, but the ups outweigh the downs.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had already known, “all natural” was the route I wanted to take. I’ve been through a lot, and I KNEW I could have a natural birth. Ideally it would have been completely intervention free, but I didn’t expect to go to 42 weeks (see my natural birth story here!!).

After some research, my husband and I decided to hire a doula. Maybe you’re wondering what a doula is. A doula helps the mother have a safe and positive birth! A doula helps you advocate for yourself, whether you want an all natural birth, or you get an epidural! A doula is trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth. So obviously, I hired the best that there is. Bridget Ballenger with BB Birth Services!!

She is an absolute goddess. Hands down the best that there is. We interviewed each other in my home, and after our meeting I knew she was the one for us! She has this overwhelming calming and positive sensation. I cannot say enough nice things about her. She is everything you’d hope for in a doula and THEN SOME.

Here is all three of us (Bridget, Kevin, and Me), right after Murphy was born!

She also does placenta encapsulation!! I’m sure you’re cringing right now, but it’s so natural!! Almost every other mammal eats their placenta! There are so many benefits, and as long as it’s done properly it’s safe!! I’ve struggled with depression in the past and I was genuinely scared of post partum depression. I made sure I was as educated as I could be, and one of the benefits to placenta encapsulation, is reduced risk of postpartum depression! WOOT WOOT!! I was willing to give it a shot! It has many other benefits, but it can also increase your milk production! I was all for it!!

In terms of care providers, I’ve personally never had success with an OBGYN. I just feel like another number. There is never any patience or compassion, and I feel like my thoughts and feelings are mitigated. Fortunately I was able to find a group of midwives!! They’re 100% supportive of you, and each visit they take the time to actually LISTEN you. I highly suggest looking into a midwifery. The level of care is unlike any other.

The Bradley Method gave me the birth I wanted!

We also took The Bradley Method of Husband-Coached Natural Birth. It was 100% worth every penny!! It was a 12 week class, and in those 12 weeks we learned about prenatal nutrition & exercise, relaxation for an easier birth, your husband as a coach, birth plans and so much more! There is so much to learn, and there are so many things that you’re led to believe are mandatory, when in fact you have so many options!

Side note: I really wanted to deliver in a free standing birthing center so that I could have a water birth. It seems as though most hospitals will only let you labor in water, not actually deliver in water. My husband and I decided together, that being in a hospital was the right decision for our family and I have no regrets about that! I don’t know how things would have played out in a birthing center, however Murphy needed immediate assistance and I am so happy that we had the hospital staff help him.

Luckily, we found a hospital within an hours drive that had a birthing center attached (it was called the Birthing Inn)! As long as I was 100% low risk, I was a candidate to deliver in their birthing inn. I worked my butt off to meet all the qualifications, and 4 weeks before my due date, the facility flooded with fecal matter and they had to shut it down. You can imagine how deflated I was to get that phone call. They did tell me that they would honor as many as the birthing in perks as they could, on the hospital side.

Being in a hospital environment, there are a lot of things that, you as the mother, need to decide what’s important to you. Example: it was so important to me that I be able to wear my own clothes! That might sound silly to you, but I didn’t want my beautiful birth to feel clinical! There was no reason for me to have to wear a hospital gown. So I wore my husband’s tshirt (let’s be honest it’s my tshirt), and a pair of my favorite pajama pants.

Sitting on a peanut ball!

It was also important that I was able to move freely while in labor. One of the birthing inn benefits was, to not have to wear a fetal monitoring device. As a compromise, I wore a wireless fetal monitor. It was waterproof so I could still labor in the tub with it.

Another very important thing to me was to be able to deliver however I felt comfortable. If I wanted to pop Murphy out on the floor, that’s where I was going to do it. If I wanted to pop him out on the toilet, that’s where I was going to do it. Everyone seems to think you have to be laying on your back, with your legs in stirrups. You can in fact, deliver however you want! Now if you choose to get an epidural, I’m not sure what the “rules” are.

Long story longer, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Know what you want and advocate for yourself. Also, there’s nothing wrong with an epidural if that’s what you want. Just KNOW what you want. Also, we have c-sections for a reason. They can literally SAVE LIVES!!

Also I need to add something extremely important. My husband!! I could have never done what I did without him.

No one would go out for an Olympic event with less than 3 months of training. Shortening the time of preparation for birth is like being in a rush to run a marathon and only starting to train the week before. Training to run in a race takes time and the human body takes time to prepare for birth.” -The Bradley Method

Beginning Composting for the first time

My husband and I are working on getting closer and closer to self-sufficiency! One key component is COMPOSTING!! Let me just start off by saying, OVERWHELMING!!! Who knew something as simple as throwing a bunch of stuff in a pile could be so stressful!

Composting is so beneficial in a ton of different ways! One way that’s great for us, it helps minimize trash! The list of things that CAN go into the compost is crazy!! From food scraps, to the cardboard roll at the end of the toilet paper, to lint from the dryer! All of that is less “stuff” going into the trash, and more “fuel” for our compost!

When I first started googling about composting, and the benefits of it, I was flooded with all these scientific words and phrases. Ewww. My brain and science do not go hand in hand. Trying to decipher all these different articles, was like trying to decipher the Davinci code!

So I’m taking more of a “winging it” approach! After talking with farmer Erica with Hayfield Farm, she showed me an awesome way to make composting a little easier (and definitely visually appealing). On her counter top she keeps two different containers. A mason jar for things her chickens cannot eat (lint, coffee grinds, tea from tea bags), and a beautiful bucket for things the chickens can eat (fruit/veggie peels, left over dinner, dried up rice, stale bread). The great thing about owning chickens is you can feed them all your scraps, then they poop it all out and BAM, into the compost it goes!! Eventually, your compost will become beautiful rich soil that you can use in your garden!! Its a beautiful cycle.

Tip: Thank you Erica for letting me know chicken shavings (coop bedding), are compostable #winning

You Don’t Have A Garden

So maybe you’re reading this, and thinking to yourself, “but I don’t have any chickens” or “I don’t garden”. That’s okay!! You can still compost! You’ll cut back on waste, and I guarantee you have neighbors who would LOVEEEEEEE some free compost soil! Or you can post online that you’ve got free compost soil and you’ll probably have someone come that day!

If you don’t have chickens to feed, that’s okay, throw all that stuff in the compost! It’ll all break down!

You’re still a little skeptical about a big pile of “trash” in your yard? That’s okay! They make really pretty, and convenient, composting tumbling bins! You can easily find one online (Amazon prime for the win), and start composting within the next 2 days!!

I’m not kidding when I say I literally just started throwing stuff into a pile. I had to clean out my chicken brooder for the first time, and I knew I could compost the bedding. I went to the backyard, just picked a spot, and dumped the bedding into a pile. I had this idea that I wanted to use 4 pallets to create a box, so our dogs wouldn’t go digging around for a snack.

We found a couple of places nearby that have free pallets! Just make sure you check with the facility first! You wouldn’t want to get a theft charge over a couple of pallets. Near us is a pest control company, and behind their building was a mountain high stack of pallets! I went in to ask about them, and apparently, they get their chemicals delivered on pallets and have no use for them after that! They’re also in EXCELLENT condition. Additionally, you can reach out to your local hardware store, and see if they have any for free.

TIP: Keep in mind pallets come in different sizes!

We took a stack of pallets home, and together we started attaching them. We (let’s be honest- my husband) did 90% of the work inside the garage, then we finished screwing them together in the compost location.

I used a rake, to make sure all my used chicken bedding and leaves/dirt were in a good pile. I found some old bags of soil laying around the garage and I threw that in there too.

Looking forward to seeing how this comes along! Make sure to check back regularly for updates!

First Time Chicken Owner

February 14, 2019, we decided to bring on a brand new responsibility… CHICKENS!! That’s right, I’m not flocking kidding (sorry for my fowl language, be prepared for a ton of puns)! I could not be more eggcited for this new adventure!

Minor backstory:

For years, I’ve always want to raise chickens! However, living in a subdivision that isn’t exactly realistic, or allowed. Two years ago, we decided to move from our three story condo, to an amazing single family home on one acre! I wouldn’t say we live in the country, but we have the country views/feels, and a Target within 10 minutes!

We moved into our home, in January of 2017, and we were going to get all of our ducks in a row before we introduced a flock. Shortly after moving in, BAM I’m pregnant. I was not ready to scramble to get chickens! Then a year later we have a new born, and I kept chickening out at the thought of getting chickens! Fortunately I have a really supportive flock of friends and family! Here we are now, with 7 chickens in my basement!!

My friend (and farmer), Erica at Hayfield Farm, has been a WEALTH of knowledge! In addition to my friend, Lauren at Hillsborough Homestead!! Without them I don’t know what I’d do! They’ve been in the game for many many years, and they’ve taken me under their wings, to help my family get closer to self-sufficiency!

(As I go on this journey of owning chickens for the first time, I’ll add new posts as I go along!)

SOOO, my dear friend, and neighbor, Sarah, decided to add chicks to her existing flock! I decided to tag along with her online order, and get some chicks for myself. She ordered 25 chicks in total, and 6 were for me. Believe it or not, but the chicks came via USPS!! Who knew!! Apparently they can survive in the mail up to 3 days. I still think that’s pretty funny. The birds arrived at the post office the morning of Valentine’s day, and Sarah called me asking if I could go pick them up. Obviously I said yes!! So with my toddler in tow, we headed out to the USPS office! Once I got there, I had to call them, to let them know I was out front. Within minutes, here comes a woman with a TINY box of 25 chickens!!

That was one of the most stressful car rides ever!! Sometimes they were chirping like crazy, other times they were completely silent! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared to open that little box! We get home, I already had my brooder set up, and I open the box. Right away I was terrified! There was reddish pink all over!! I thought someone was bleeding! I later find out, that the red marking was an indicator that they had been vaccinated. I wish that they had used a different color!! Very scary. But, I get them out of that tiny box, and into my brooder! Seeing all 25 baby chicks in the brooder was the sweetest thing ever!

I had read on the internet that your supposed to dip each birds face in the water so they know where it is, but I didn’t because so many of them naturally went to the water.

Later that evening, Sarah comes by to collect her chicks. When she arrives, she noticed that one chick wasn’t doing so hot. I interpreted what she said to be, “don’t be surprised if this one doesn’t make it”. I was crushed! She had to make it! My first 24 hour experience with chickens could not include one dying!! For about an hour I forced her to drink water straight from the tip on my finger, and we got her to eat too! By the time we went to bed, she was doing much better! You better believe I was up at the butt crack of dawn to check on her, AND SHE LIVED!!! That’s right! So we named her Chance the chicken!

Here we are, 3 weeks later, and we don’t even know which one she is! For a while, we could tell her apart from the rest because she was so tiny, but she’s since caught up. My heart is so full!! Other than Chance almost dying, our first 4 weeks have been great! I’m learning a lot as we go.

Something we do with our birds, we try to get the dogs used to them. Every single night we spend quality time with the birds and the dogs. We will put each bird on top of the dogs. We let the dogs sniff the birds, and scope it all out. So far it’s been a huge success because our mutt dog, Zoey, is in LOVE with them! We’re pretty sure, she thinks they’re her babies! Any time we go towards the basement, she darts straight to the brooder! She shows nothing but love and curiosity for these sweet birds

One thing we’ve learned along the way is, we probably shouldn’t keep our birds in the basement! We vaccuum our house regularly, but the dog hair is almost unavoidable. Dusting on the other hand… well… we don’t do that! My husband Kevin noticed that the table in the basement was looking rather dingy. He ran his hand across it, and there was an absurd amount of dust on the table. After investigating, we found dust is EVERYWHERE. I mean EVERYWHERE!! Anything in the basement, from all the toys, to the furniture, the woodstove, and the walls! It never ever crossed my mind that the shavings in the bottom of the brooder, would create dust!! I know my friend keeps her chicks in the garage, and we were going to, but they were just too itty bitty at first. The garage is so cold and lonely, I didnt want to leave them out there. Now that they’re 4 weeks of age, and have a decent amount of feathers, I don’t feel as nervous. We have them under the heat lamp still, theyll be fine!

From personal experience, I dont recommend keeping the chicks in the house. It’s definitely doable, obviously we were able to clean everything up, but if it’s somewhere you’re frequently hanging out, I’d be concerned about breathing it all in.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll have our coop all set up outside. In no time, these wild girls will be scrambling around the yard!

Natural Birth at 42 weeks!

Saturday October 14, 2017 my husband Kevin and I went and got our “last supper” from Wendy’s! I was days past my due date (October 3, 2017), and my midwives wanted to induce me prior to 42 weeks.

So, we showed up to the hospital for my induction at 7:30pm (we were a tad late, we were supposed to arrive by 7pm). Then, we got admitted, and started cervidil around 8:30/9pm. Cervidil is supposed help dilate the opening of the uterus (cervix). It is a vaginal insert that contains a type of medication called a prostaglandin. It helps jumpstart labor by softening the cervix and preparing it for birth. That’s why it’s typically used in women who need to have labor induced but whose cervix is closed or hasn’t “ripened” yet (TheBump).

My husband and I watched a little bit of tv on our iPad, as well as watched the first episode of the Netflix show Mind Hunters (highly recommend). I got the worst night of sleep in my entire life! I tossed, turned, and every few hours I needed my vitals checked. Prior to “going to sleep”, the nurse offered me benadryl to help me sleep, but I don’t like taking medication if I don’t need to. Hind sight, I wish I had taken the benadryl because the day ahead of me was going to be such a LONG day.

Eventually, morning rolled around and I ordered breakfast at 6:30am- French toast (yum). At 7:30am the cervidil was removed and pitocin (pit) was started at 8am (Sunday October 15). They started the pit in small increments, and every 15 min upped it by 2 units (the max being 30 units). Before you know it contractions are rolling in! Early on, the only way I knew how to describe the feeling of contractions was “diarrhea cramps “. Before you know it, my midwife Juli, recommend we call our doula, Bridget (worlds greatest doula). Which is funny because in that moment, I really didn’t think Bridget needed to come yet. Boy was I wrong! It took her about an hour to arrive and as soon as she got there my contractions had REALLY picked up.

I could no longer talk between the contractions! They were hitting me hard EVERY 2 min. One right after the next. I tried many different positions to ease the pain. One of my favorite positions early on, was sitting on the peanut ball facing Kevin (while he faced me sitting in a chair). The peanut ball is similar to a yoga ball, but in the shape of a peanut! I’d put my legs on either side of Kevin’s, and I’d have him use his legs to push mine out, but also use his hands to squeeze my legs in. It sounds like a very strange position, but there was something about the counter pressure that felt great! Then, I struggled with thinking I was actually going to have diarrhea! Luckily I didn’t have diarrhea but, I did finally go to the bathroom (yes you will poop in the laboring process-get over it).

Between going from the peanut ball, to standing up swaying, I eventually ended up in the tub, because the contractions were out of control. Oh and not to mention when I was breathing, I was somehow whistling. No clue how, because I can’t really whistle! Anyways, I labored in the tub for a long time which was great!! There’s something about being in the water that really helps! So, after being in the tub for approximately 4 hours, Juli wanted to check how dilated I was. I got out of the tub, and when she checked me, I told her I did NOT want to know my progress. I was worried I wouldn’t be very dialated, and I’d get discouraged because I had been laboring for so long.

Thank God she didn’t tell me because I was only 4cm dilated! So then I continued laboring. I get in the tub, and out of the tub. In the bed, and out of the bed. On the peanut ball, and off the peanut ball. I was all over the place, trying everything to get through each contraction. My one nurse, April, early on described pitocin contractions like the ocean. Every 2 min getting hit with a wave, and you’re able to ride them, but every once in a while one will knock you off your feet. Just when you think you can’t get back up, that’s what bridget (my doula) and Kevin (my husband) are there for! To pick me up and help me. She was right! If it weren’t for Kevin and Bridget, there’s no way I could of gotten through it.

So at some point I ended up back in the tub and it was getting too real. I was starting to sound like a wild animal. I was beginning to scream during contractions. Bridget and Kevin both were trying so hard to get me to deep moan through them, and eventually I picked up on it. For whatever reason, I could not seem to grasp the deep moaning. I was exhausted and losing steam. At one point in the tub, my body was shivering so bad, but I wasn’t cold! Somewhere along the lines, I had to go to the bathroom (yes #2 again), and my mucus plug fell out! Part of me was so excited because it meant that everything was really working!! But another part of me was also completely terrified because it meant that everything was working!

We believe, at that point is probably when I began “active labor“. Shortly after that, I wanted to get checked, and I wanted to know the status. Juli checked and I was 6cm. Everyone was so elated! All I was thinking was, how can I only be barely halfway there. I know that sounds really pessimistic, but I was struggling. Luckily, I was able to keep going! I’m not sure how much time went on, but I continued with my crazy position changes, and the tub really was my best friend. After the last time in the tub, things were beginning to seem impossible. I really didn’t think I could go on much longer. I was in the bed and nothing was taking the edge off. I just kept saying that I couldn’t do it. I never asked for the epidural, but at this point it was all I could think about.

It was about 11pm (give or take), and Juli wanted to check me again, and this time I was 8cm!! I was almost there!! Everyone else could see the finish line! I just had no idea how close that really was. Knowing I wasn’t going to make it much longer, Juli offered to break my bag of waters knowing it would really pick labor up! I decided it was the best decision, because I wasn’t going to make it. My water broke and sure enough, my son started to descend!! After my water broke, there was only an hour/ hour and a half left! I pushed for 30min to an hour and the entire time I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it. At one point, I was repetitively saying, “no no no no no no no!!!” And then the contraction would stop, and I could breathe/catch my breath.

Fast forward a tad, and it’s push time. I had no clue which position felt the best, so I tried them all! I was on my left side but that wasn’t cutting it. Then I turned around and faced the back of the bed. I was on my knees, I bared down to push, and I lowered my head a little too much, because my eyes felt like they were going to pop out of my head (I ended up popping a lot of blood vessels in my eyes)! I was about to pass out!! Luckily, my one nurse Kori, quickly got an oxygen mask on me and I felt much better.

At one point, someone insisted that I eat a honey stick, but it did not agree with me. After throwing up, I spun back around and this time was laying on my right side. Which was good, because he was beginning to come!! I distinctly remember a burning sensation and I didn’t think I’d make it. Pushing through the contractions did feel much better though!! And next thing you know, they’re asking me if I want to reach down and touch my baby! At first I was creeped out, but Bridget said if I don’t do it I’d regret it. She was right because I reached down and touched my sons head and I’m SO glad I did. As soon as I touched his head the next push his head came out!! Now the umbilical cord was around his neck (very common), but very loosely because Juli was able to just flip it right over his head!

Then came the worst part. I had to listen to Juli tell me when I could push, and how hard. She then told me NOT to push at one point, and I remember telling her that I had to!! Somehow, I managed to listen to her, but that may have been the hardest part of the day! Next thing you know, it’s 1:20am (Monday October 16,2017), and my son Murphy is on my chest!! I didn’t have him for longer than a second, before Juli quickly cut the cord, and all of these nurses quickly rushed him to a table in the corner.

I was panicking. He was purple. I had no idea what was going on. Over and over again, I kept asking if he was okay. Fortunately, Kevin and bridget both reassured me that this happens sometimes, and everything was going to be okay (but I was still freaking out). The 1 min apgar score was a 3, but the 5min was an 8, so he recovered quickly, but he had swallowed a bunch of blood. They had to put a little tube down his nose and into his stomach to suck all the blood out. The scary part was, they didn’t know whose blood it was. Turns out, it was mine. They think what had happened was, when they broke my water, my placenta probably started to detach, and he ingested some blood during his exit. Luckily, the neonatal nurses were able to recover him quickly, and he was handed back to me. I think the first thing I said was, “oh my god he’s so tiny”. A whopping 7lbs 8oz of pure magic. I’ve never felt so overwhelmingly happy. It was truly magical. Then I noticed how soft he was. I was in heaven. That’s when I wished him a happy birthday and bridget helped me to start breastfeeding!

Next, the placenta was delivered and it was super healthy! Bridget then gave me a glass of OJ, and it was the best thing I’ve ever drank in my life. Unbelievably refreshing and hydrating. We got our skin to skin, as did Kevin and Murphy. Then after that, nurse Kori brought me a personal size pizza and I destroyed it. Then a plate of Mac n cheese and I destroyed that too! I was STARVING. At some point (before all the food) Juli told me I had a small tear and asked me if I wanted stitches. Well, if she had left that decision entirely up to me, I’d still be sitting there trying to figure it out! I have no idea what does and doesn’t need stitches! She’s the doctor! She should know. So she HIGHLY encouraged me to get them, and I took her up on it. After that, they made me go pee and while peeing, they squirted water down there! The only way to pee after popping out a baby!! I was then wheeled into the postpartum room, while holding Murphy and we got to enjoy every second of our angel. I was DETERMINED to have a natural birth and I DID!!

I could not be more pleased with our birthing story. I am however, looking forward to our next baby because, hopefully I can do it 100% intervention free!!