Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Little Flock of Sheep!

One of the most lovely things about living on a farm is baby animals.

We have a small flock of sheep which we keep primarily for their meat. Our sheep are Wiltshire Horns, which are great for meat - because they shed their own fleece. This means that we don't need to shear them, and greatly reduces the likelihood of fly strike - which can be a real problem in Australia. They become lovely and woolly in winter, but shed their fleece in bits and pieces as the weather warms up.

They also have gorgeous horns!
2 of our ewes were pregnant when we bought them, and 5 months later we had they joy of welcoming 2 very cute lambs to our little farm. We have since bought a ram - however he is not the father of our lambs.

As we were new to the baby lamb thing - we overreacted when we had the first lamb and thought that the ewe wasn't mothering it properly. We took over and handraised the lamb - who now plays with our dog and the kids in the backyard.

The second lamb stayed with it's mother and has done just as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Henry's Homebirth

The birth of my 3rd child was so amazing that I can’t wait to write it all down. My 2 previous children were born at a birth centre, with the help of the same fantastic midwife. I had decided to have this baby at home, and after talking with this midwife, she agreed to attend to my homebirth for me. I was so excited that the same midwife would help me birth all of my children.
My pregnancy was usual for me. I am very well during pregnancy, but find it physically difficult and had lots of problems with sciatica and pelvic pain. I was keen to have bubby out! My husband had taken on a job on a mine site and was away a lot leading up to my due date. This had concerned me, and I really had to come to grips with the idea of birthing without him. As it turned out, baby arrived on his due date, and Dan was home! What a good boy!

The night before my due date, we went out to dinner for a friend’s birthday. I wasn’t all that keen to go, and felt like I needed to be in my nest – I hoped that tonight was the night. We arrived home late and got the kids settled into bed. Then I had a big cry to my husband about how stressed I was that he would miss the birth. He was due to go back to work in 2 days. I was hoping that this cry might release some tension and let my body go into labour. We went off to sleep. I woke shortly after and wondered if it might have been a contraction that woke me. It was! I headed to the bathroom and back to wake Dan. I told him that things were definitely happening tonight! He thought I meant the next night, and proceeded to go back to sleep. I waited another half an hour just sitting on the bed. Yes these were definitely contractions, but I wanted to be sure before I rang the midwife. I decided to check my cervix. It was almost fully effaced – just a tiny ridge – so I had the confidence to get things underway for the homebirth. I woke Dan again. He got the message this time, and rang the midwife. It was about 12:30am. She had a 2 hour drive ahead of her. Dan started to set up the birth pool and all our other bits and pieces in the lounge room – he was starting to get pretty excited and nervous as well. He was always a bit nervous about having a homebirth, as we are a good 40 minute drive from hospital, and live rurally so difficult for an ambulance to find us. But I was confident things would go well and he trusted in me.

Contractions at this stage were going fine. I was pottering around the house, and sometimes kneeled beside my bed and lay my head on the bed. I was just breathing calmly and visualising my cervix opening up.

The pool was set up and I decided to try it out. It felt great, but I knew I didn’t really need it yet, so I hopped out.

A quick trip to the loo and back to the lounge room and leaning over a bean bag on a mattress on the floor. My midwife arrived about now (2:30am). Contractions were starting to bite, and I felt bub turn around in my tummy. He had become posterior in the last day or two, and thankfully he turned anterior prior to birth, but boy this turning around business hurt.

I slipped back into the pool – heaven! Contractions started to really spread out and I was having a lovely rest in between. I thought I was in transition and began to panic a bit about 2nd stage. Both my previous babies had been very easy to push out, but this one felt different. I was feeling a lot more pressure through my back and sacrum which was new to me. As he moved down the canal I could feel pressure in my bum. I decided he must have an enormous head! I still felt strong and just breathed through contractions.

The backup midwife had arrived to and we were all just doing our own thing. The urge to push finally came, and after just a couple of contractions that big round head was out! He had been sitting high in my pelvis until that day, and so his head really hadn’t moulded.

Dan was right there ready to catch him. Next contraction and he was born. 4:02 am! He was beautiful. Perfect. He gave a little cry right away, so Dan could finally relax! He handed him to me – what a big baby!
We were in love! The backup midwife was concerned about my blood loss and wanted me to get on with birthing the placenta. I wasn’t worried, I felt great. When I later asked my primary midwife about it, she hadn’t been concerned either. But I took some homeopathics and stood up and delivered the placenta 13 minutes later. It looked unusual and my midwife suspected I may have originally had a twin pregnancy. I had a threatened miscarriage at 13 weeks, so perhaps that had been the twin. He weighed 9lb 1 oz – my heaviest baby by far. I had a small tear that my midwife stitched. Just as she was finishing up, my 2 other children woke up and came in to meet their new brother. My mum and dad were staying in their caravan outside, so they came in too. This photo is taken about 3 hours after the birth.

After a beautiful breastfeed, a shower and some breakfast – my midwife tucked us up into bed before cleaning up and finishing some paperwork. It was the most fantastic birth I could have hoped for and I recovered amazingly quickly. Dan is converted to homebirthing! Welcome Henry John – we love you!

Meet the Family

Time to introduce my brood.

I have been married to Dan for 6 1/2 years. We have a son, Charlie who is 4 1/2. A gorgeous daughter, Emelia who has just turned 2, and our newest member, Henry who is 8 months old.

Our kids bring us so much joy and laughter.

Charlie - having a great swim in our creek!

Emmy .....

Henry - enjoying a kiss from Daddy.

Henry was born at home here on our little farm - with the help of my amazing midwife - who has helped me to give birth to all of my children. I will share the story of his birth shortly.

Fresh, Raw Milk

Meet Daisy!

She is a 5 year old guernsey cow that we purchased recently so that the family could enjoy fresh, raw milk like the days of old. Some of the benefits of drinking raw milk are discussed here: Dan (my husband) became very industrious and build a fantastic little dairy off the side of our shed - so that we could milk in relative comfort.

We use a milking machine, rather than milk by hand - which saves us a lot of time and keeps the milk really clean.

The milk is absolutely delicious. So creamy. I have been learning how to make some simple cheese to put all of this milk to good use.

The first post

What an exciting day, as I get started into the world of blogging! My family has made many changes to our way of life over the last few years and along the way we have been inspired by regular people, sharing their stories on the web. Now we want to share in the same way!

My aim through this blog is to share my thoughts and knowledge on running a small farm and a small family! We love to eat nourishing food and enjoy the great outdoors. We aim to live a sustainable life which is as self-sufficient as possible. We hope that you will enjoy the journey too.