Anyone else have a child who has no problem speaking their mind?? After an embarrassing confrontation... I learned a few things last week...
Check out the post on the topic @ alexandrakulick.com
Back when I was expecting my first child, I did my routine prenatal care the routine way. When you're walking in new territory, it's comforting to follow a map. But I've started to say "no" a whole lot more to different tests and approaches, and believe it or not, it's pretty common and completely your right.
The first thing I deny is the genetic screening test. I do this for two reasons, the first being that the tests result in false positives up to 50% of the time [read more here}. which opens the door to more needless testing. The second reason is that genetic deformities wouldn't cause me to terminate the pregnancy, as they may offer. Instead, I reason with the doctor that if there's something seriously wrong, it would show on the 20 week anatomy scan and then we could plan the delivery in a well equipped facility accordingly.
But, you might also be surprised that you can deny the 20 week ultrasound as well. We opt to go for it simply to find out the gender, which they've gotten wrong once and are currently unsure of because of the babies legs, but I still prefer to have the ultrasound done. The reason some deny it is that there's the very real chance the ultrasound shows a choroid plexus cyst .. sounds alarming right?? But it shows up in roughly 20% of perfectly healthy babies and causes the doctors to want to monitor more in the slim chance the cerebral cyst is a marker for down syndrome. I've had one show up 2x now. The first time, I went through additional ultrasounds to confirm everything was fine, and the second time I said "no."
The next thing I say no to is traditional glucose testing. That orange glucola is loaded with dye and high fructose corn syrup that I would never put in my body, so why would I expose my baby to that and see what happens? Instead, I opt to ingest the same 50 mg of sugar in forms that I might actually indulge in. There are many different ways to ingest it, talk with your provider about what they'd prefer, but I ended up drinking 8 ounces of juice [not from concentrate] and 14 natural gummies in a minute to reach the 50 mg of sugar (this site has some great alternate ideas). I felt that sugar rush and dizziness, but thankfully passed the test with flying colors!
Once you reach 30 weeks, many providers bring you in for appointments every 2 weeks, we'll, I say how about 3 weeks? If everything is routine, shleping my crew to the doctors 45 minutes away for a 5 minute check is a ridiculous task, but many will agree to a more lenient schedule from 30-36 weeks by seeing you twice instead of three times.
Finally, when the big day comes, I refuse internal checks during labor. Some hospitals require them to be admitted to the labor and delivery room, which I'm ok with. They need to know your body is really making some progress, but once inside I say "no thank you" to any additional checks. New research is showing that multiple checks in a routine labor can increase the baby's exposure to harmful bacteria and certainly isn't fun for a laboring mom. Now, if there was a serious concern about labor not progressing, I'd certainly allow a check, but gone are the days of mandatory 1 hour cervix checks for this mama!
Make sure to check with your hospital or midwife to hear about their individual policies! Just as you have the right to say no to them, they also can say no to you. Then, keep looking for a practice that's a better fit... I've been to 4 this pregnancy :)
What kind of things have you spoken up and said no to during your pregnancies and births? Share in the comments below!
About three years ago, my family was living in a relatively small town in Virginia. There was a downtown city area, some housing developments, and then a lot of farmland. One day, I was at the playground behind the grocery store with my son and my daughter. We had the place to ourselves and were enjoying a beautiful early spring day. Another car pulled in, and I watched to see if the passengers were familiar playmates.
Instead, a woman emerged from the car dressed in all black from head to toe. She was wearing classic Islamic dress, and the only part of her that was visible was her eyes. This was particularly uncommon in our area. Sure, there were Muslim families, including our lovely next-door neighbors, but the full black dress was rarely seen. What shocked me even more was when she began to speak to her daughter. I anticipated a Middle Eastern accent, but by her voice, she was a southern African-American woman who had converted to Islam.
She let her six-year-old daughter play on the playground while she sat in the car with a smaller child. I continued to play with my kids, looking over at the car periodically. When her daughter got stuck on the slide, I went and helped her, and the mom emerged from her vehicle. She came over and we had a brief, pleasant exchange before she loaded her daughter in the car and they left for the day.
As she was leaving, I was still watching with perplexity. Jesus interrupted my thoughts. Now, Jesus rarely interrupts my thoughts. Normally, God seems to wait for me to talk to Him… but we had a brief and powerful exchange.
“Ask me what I think of her…” Jesus said.
“I know… you love her…” I thought.
“No, ask me what I think of her…” Jesus responded.
“Ok- what do you think about her?” I asked.
“I think she’s a princess.” Jesus said.
[now I’ll be brutally honest, my next thought wasn’t my finest]
“…princess of darkness…” I scoffed.
But, my heart meditated on those words, and soon enough agreed. When we look at people, we see flesh. We see what is current, we see what’s now. When God looks at people, He sees how He created them. He sees their [and our] full potential and it’s the job of the spirit of prophecy to speak that truth and call people as God sees them, not what our own eyes see.
I never got the chance to tell that woman what God said on that day. I saw her another time, and fumbled the words in my mouth in a mess of nerves. But, that experience greatly shaped my own perspective on dealing with people… particularly the difficult people we don’t want to deal with. Though what we see and experience in our interactions has physical truth, the spiritual truth of what God sees will always be higher, and sometimes just needs a word or two of encouragement to manifest in people’s lives!
I've been particularly negative these past few months, from interactions at home to my prenatal care nightmare that I've been dealing with... but last night God pressed my heart to start envisioning my birth and prenatal care in a perfect world. Sometimes, choosing to be positive is the first step to releasing faith when you feel like you're past EMPTY.
So, this week I challenge you to release God's love to people who we don't think deserve it, and try to see them how God sees them, and release positivist into areas of your life that feel barren and filled with dry bones!
...and let me know how it goes!
Have you ever been spiritually stuck, wandering around in a dry, desert place? Well, I feel like I’ve pitched a tent in the Egypt over the last few months. You’d think that my mind would be peculating and preparing for my upcoming birth, but this season has been completely opposite. I’ve been wondering what on earth I’m doing and trying to figure out God’s plan in the midst of changes and uncertainties.
In an effort to get unstuck, I’ve been going through a process of remembrance. Often times, these desert seasons are so dry and lonely because God is counting on us to pull from the seeds He’s already planted and remember the great works He’s already accomplished. Just consider how many times God instructed the Israelites to remember: 48 different times! Before Moses died, he warned, "Be careful, and watch yourself closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live..." (Deut. 4:9). The Lord gives the instruction to remember (often through ceremonies and monuments) as well as teach others about it because when we forget, we easily diminish our own faith as we stand at the foot of great mountains.
The Bible recounts how David stirred himself in remembrance before he went toe to toe with Goliath. David remembered how God had already helped him defeat a savage lion and bear and defend his flock from ferocious animals (see 1 Sam. 17:34-35), so of course God would deliver Goliath to Davids feet.
Take a moment and ponder the amazing things has God done in your life. They may have been 15 years ago, but God's not bound by time. When we remember, we stir ourselves in the same spirit of love, power, and gratitude that enveloped us years ago! Could there a better way to wake up from spiritual slumber??
I’ve been remembering a particularly fertile season in my spiritual walk. Back in 2014, I began a journey of praying for one stranger a day. I wanted the Love of God to move mountains in the lives of people that I encountered, and through this process, I feel like I developed a much deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. I’ve kept so many memories and lessons packed away in my mind, and I’m preparing to share them on the blog so that I can re-learn and re-member God’s awesome works and hopefully encourage you along the way!
Let’s buckle up and prepare for a brand new adventure with God!
P.S.- I'd love to hear some of your awesome memories of things that God has done in your life in the comment section!
This means I have to interact with humans. Normally, I really enjoy this. After all, my time on the checkout line is likely my only outside interactions with people who can use the bathroom by themselves. Today, the woman started by counting my children and giving them each a sticker. She noticed my belly and my three-year-old divulged that there could be two babies inside. I was measuring much further along and was awaiting another ultrasound to confirm my due date and the number of babies growing inside me! This slightly baffled the cashier. Yes, five children under the age of six would be a lot!
She gave me my change and I took a few steps forward before putting the money in my wallet so she could check out the next customer in-line.
Clearly, the cashier thought I was out of earshot as she began to divulge all of her thought about me to the next customer.
"What is she thinking!!" She said. "Clearly, she doesn't even know!"
I stood there baffled for a moment. Really? I'm like two feet away and you're bashing me to another complete stranger?
I was angry. My first thought was this is why I shouldn't shop at Target. Clearly, a company that allows men in the women's changing area would have employees that don't respect life or customers who choose that. You'd think they would welcome large families because they have to spend more. But that's not the case anymore these days. I contemplated emailing management and starting a social media war #boycotttarget and getting all my pro-lifers involved. But I didn't.
As I was loading up my car, the scripture, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” came to mind (Matt. 5:44), so I stopped my complaining and prayed for her. I'm sure she never planned to be working as a cashier in her 40’s. Her life probably didn't go as she planned, and neither had mine. I didn't plan for a 4th baby and certainly didn't do some crazy fertility dance in hopes of having twins.
Truth be told, we were in the same boat.
But I chose to take two lessons from the angry cashier:
1) Live joyfully. The cashier seemed miserable standing there, and I seem pretty miserable at 8:30 pm when I'm exhausted and trying to finish the dishes and get my kids to bed. But, I can choose to be joyful and not spread misery. A sink filled with dirty dishes isn’t nearly as toxic as an angry mama.
2) Don't speak badly about anyone, ever. When we speak badly about someone, we minimize an entire human being to our meanest assumptions about them. Is it any wonder God would instruct us not to gossip, after all, we’re speaking about His creation (for more scripture on this topic, check out Belief.net ). We all make mistakes and we're all works in progress, but the important part is to keep growing! As Chrissy Weems tweeted, "sometimes we win, and sometimes we learn."
If you feel like you’ve got your tongue under control, I challenge you to take it to the next level and not think badly about anyone. When you meet a difficult person, ask God what He thinks about them? His thoughts are good, and they just might surprise you!
And if you’re still wondering about the possibilities of twins? An ultrasound confirmed it’s only one!
Has anyone ever negatively commented about your family’s size, names, or dress? How did you respond? I’d love to hear your response in the comment section!
In case you haven’t heard, and you probably haven’t because I never officially announced it- we’re expecting baby number 4 in December!
I had one week in this first trimester that truly kicked my butt. All of a sudden, coffee became repulsive so fatigue, nausea, and crazy cravings kicked in. I’m talking about an unquenchable urge to eat General Tso’s chicken, which takes some prep work to prepare gluten-free, yet by the time the food is finished, I feel personally offended that I ever could have wanted this meal and I just want to hide in my car because I can’t take the smell.
But don’t worry too much about me; I’ve managed to gain more weight than I ever have in the first trimester. Somehow my doctor didn’t think this was a grand accomplishment! Nevertheless, I’ve learned that the body does what it needs to during pregnancy, and it will all even out some point along the way.
Finding proper ways to nourish yourself takes a much deeper role than simply eating well. Our bodies are only one-third of our being. And let’s face it, when our souls are craving something, we can stuff the “answer” into our bellies instead. I’ve been notorious for trying to treat stress with chocolate, and then I’m still stressed and crash from a sugar high.
Over the weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to meet with representatives from some of the leading vitamin companies and sample their products. I’ve been particularly impressed with Child Life’s DHA. I use Child Life for my kid’s multivitamins, calcium, and echinacea and vitamin C, but didn’t know they offered anything for an adult. I had avoided taking DHA supplements during this pregnancy because I thought I might not stomach it well. But I decided to try it about an hour and a half before bed, just in case I ended up in the bathroom. Unlike many other brands, they had the great idea to add a lemon flavor to their formula so that when you burp, you’re not propelled to vomit because of the awful fish taste!
Getting back my nutrition back on track with Child Life’s DHA and my prenatal vitamins have helped me feel slightly more “normal.” And, once my stomach's strength returns, I'll add in some probiotics and collagen!
What kind of vitamins did you take during your pregnancy? What are your recommendations?
When I was pregnant with my first child, nearly 7 years ago, I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers. I had babysat for families that used them and loved how they were eco-friendly and saved you thousands of dollars. Diaperdecisions.com reports that you'll save approximately $2,500 by using cloth diaper! Multiply that by 3 children, and we've saved a ton! (Not sure were that money went though ;)
As first-time moms do, I researched endlessly! Choosing diapers and detergents might as well have been picking a house! After hours of research, I decided to use Charlie Soap for cloth diaper detergent and ordered a set of Oh Katy cloth diapers that were on sale on Amazon.com. I also bought some pre-folds, covers, and diaper clips, and was gifted a BumGenius diaper.
We chose to use disposable diapers for the first few days until the black tar poop stopped and then I wrapped my bundle of love in cloth diapers, and they worked wonderfully for the first 6 months. We had occasional leaks, which were mainly from waiting too long to change him, but all things considered, I was happy with our choice.
After 6 months, the Oh Katy diapers began to leak in the legs, every single time he went to the bathroom. I would change him and ten minutes later he was soaked. I decided to strip the diapers and strip them again... But nothing helped! It was as if the inserts just weren't wide enough. I tried stuffing them with pre-folds instead, and they still leaked. My sole BumGenius diaper was my only trustworthy friend.
I hung up my cloth diapering hat for a while after that and was disappointed in my diaper investment. Oh Katy was Oh Bummer so I decided to gradually build a stash or BumGenius diapers.
By the time baby number 2 came, we were set.
I wash my diapers with one tablespoon of Charlie Soap under hot water. Make sure your washer setting is turned to the highest water setting. (My HE washer has an “extra soiled” setting, and with my older washer I’d simply select “large load.” ) Occasionally, I sub a scoop of OxyClean to remove any build up on the diapers.
Then I dry them on low heat for 50 minutes with wool dryer balls. The dryer balls are non-essential, just NEVER use bounce sheets. I learned this the hard way!
My BumGenius collection has served three kids with no leaking and I'm currently adding new elastic to a few of the legs for baby number 4.
If you're going for cloth- go with the best and save yourself a mess!
I should trademark that :)
Do you cloth diaper? What are your tips for new moms?
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms making 8 snacks a day and filling up sippy cups every 20 minutes. Your work has more value than you know!
Happy Mother's Day to those of you answering the 1 am, 3 am, 5 am cries for milk. You're building an incredible start for your baby.
Happy Mother's Day to you geniuses at making a meager grocery budget stretch for 7 days. You're are stewarding well through the roughest seas.
Happy Mother's Day to you who are shuttling your children from one activity to the next. You're investing in a brighter future.
Happy Mother's Day to you mom's wearing a cloak of loneliness through the longest shortest years, remember your never alone and loved by the Creator of the world.
Happy Mother’s Day to you moms wondering if you’re in over your head. We all are. But are worries and struggles are no match for an unstoppable God.
Happy Mother's Day to you tired champions, working to provide for your children and giving it all, even when you're running on empty. Your sacrifices are more than enough.
Happy Mother's Day to you women facing greater struggles than your children can comprehend, in your weakness, there is One whose strength is more than sufficient.
Happy Mother's Day to you moms who stay up late each night, pouring your heart out in prayer for your child. Your prayers will not return void.
Happy Mother's Day to you tending to a broken heart in an endless sea of grief. May the Comforter guide you moment by moment.
Happy Mother's Day to you remember the moments when you're children were small and would slip their tiny hands into yours. Your love has built generations.
Happy Mother's Day to you who are reflecting on the passing of time. How can your child be a grandmother herself already? Your righteous influence will guide your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to seek the narrow path.
To moms young and old, near and far, have an incredible Mother's Day!
(Did I miss your the stage of life? Add your Happy Mother's Day statement in the comments!)
Back in the '90s, Jackie Mize coined the phrase 'supernatural childbirth' in her best selling book by the same title. The concept seemed unheard of until she shared of her miraculous conceptions and pain-free deliveries, which encouraged many Christians to believe for the miraculous in their pregnancies and births. Mize's book was a gateway into helping believers expect and receive more from their pregnancies and births.
I was given the book in my first pregnancy by a friend who was also expecting. She shared her faith and the miraculous birth stories her mom had and I was so intrigued. From the moment I found out I was expecting, I had been afraid of actually giving birth, but after reading supernatural childbirth and inspiring testimonies online, I started to actually look forward to my birth experience. (You can read that story here )
So why did I write Re:Birth and how is it different from Supernatural Childbirth?
God first put this book in my heart during my second pregnancy. I had been reading scripture and studying Biblical Theology at Regent University, and I started seeing some concepts in the Bible that appeared contrary to what I had read in Supernatural Childbirth. But, I had experienced an incredible birth so I wanted to search for truth. My journey and Scripture interpretation took me through the finished work of the Cross. For example, in Re:Birth, we address prophetic metaphors of women writhing in pain during birth- but in the New Testament, we witness the renewal and reversal of the same metaphor, how cool is that??
Another concept that was important to address in Re:Birth was the amount of woman who experienced a supernatural birth..."BUT..." I had read so many testimonies were filled with amazing, miraculous experiences turned to sorrow and dare I guilt as woman shared what God had done during their deliveries, and also how they somehow messed it up of 'stepped out of faith.' Those ideas frustrated me so much, because believe me, I've been there! I've felt the weight of disappointment after a birth, but it doesn't mean that God was any less present or any less capable! Birth looks and feels different, even with the same women, there are no two births that are exactly the same, but we want to CELEBRATE you amazing Mamas and the amazing God we serve!
Don't forget to send us your stories so we can encourage others!
I hope you all are having a fantastic week-
Love and Hope in Christ!
While writingBirth in Blantyre, I was able to connect with so many wonderful people and hear their stories, concerns, and victories. One mom took the time to share her three birth stories with me after learning about Re:Birth and felt that God had given her miraculously short labors. I love her birth stories because they break a "birth stereotype," where women feel like labor will be long... because it's labor!
That simply doesn't have to be the case. I've shared before about praying for a three hour labor with my first baby, and being 9 1/2 cm dilated after three hours! During my last birth, I only experienced 40 minutes of regular, peaceful, contractions!
Martha shared: On my first birth it took me about 6 hours after signs of labour. And the other 2 just within 5 minutes of going to the hospital.
"[In Malawi,] whenever we are at home we feel that we are in labour pains. We go to the maternity ward reception whereby the midwife gets our details and checks on the cervix. If they see that you are in the first level of your labour they admit you and they keep on checking you till you get to stage number 8 whereby they know that you are in the last stage of your labour. That is if you find a good midwife. Sometimes you find a midwife who is inconsiderate when she sees that you are on the early stages of your labour she can even ask you to go back home and come back when you are going to the last stage of labour.
I don't know what actually happened to me. It just happened that these two kids I feel it was by God's grace. I just felt my back sore around 7am and when I went to the toilet only to see that I am in labour. I told my husband that i was not feeling alright and he said ok as.he was getting prepared I could feel that It started to be very painful By the time he finished it was around 7:30am he took me to the hospital and while I was in the car I felt that the baby was already on its way.
I remembered the moment he stopped the car I was the first person to.get out of the car and I run to the maternity ward and get straight to bed. The midwife asked me to go.to the reception I told her that I feel the baby is on its way. She immediately got her gloves and checked me only to see that the bay was coming. And she just asked me to push then the baby was born by 8am.
And my last born daughters birth was also a very quick one. It was also in the morning around past 7 when my husband was getting ready to drop my boy at creche. I told him that I could feel a slight pain and he asked me if he could drop me to the hospital first I said no he can drop the boy to school. The moment he left I felt the pain was unbearable. I asked my sister to go to my neighbours house and ask if the neighbour can take me to the hospital. By then I was expecting my husband to come back from creche after an hour. The neighbour came and take me in his car. That time I couldn't sit upright because I could feel the baby was very close. When my husband came back he was told that we already left for the hospital. He just followed us to the hospital When we get to the hospital the hospital attendants run with the stretcher and let me lay there. The midwife asked me to sit upright when we got in the hospital i told her that I lt won't be possible since the baby is close Then she rushed to get the gloves to check only to see that the baby was really coming. She asked me to push again and immediately the baby was born. Thats how I experienced the labour. "
I love how Martha knew her births were "by Gods grace." Her words remind me of Eve's when she remarks, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." (Gen. 4:1). God is with us at every moment during labor and delivery. He already knows the next moment- so there's no reason to fear!
If you're looking for more positive birth stories of God's goodness, check out Re:Birth!
Blessings, my friends!
Is a wife, mother of three, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps and phish food ice cream.