Monthly Archives: September 2011

Why we choose homebirth

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I realize that this is a broad topic. A lot of you have asked why we chose to have our kids at home. I want to start this post by immediately saying I do not feel like this choice has made us better than anyone else, or that I am stronger than someone who chooses medical intervention or that I look down on other birthing options. That is an elitist attitude, and if you feel that way about your choices, whether they are the same or different from mine, please don’t continue to read this and definitely don’t comment. This note is purely about why me, myself and I (and, oh yes, Matt Murray) made the decision to give birth at home.

It started before Jack. Matt and I conceived and lost a baby in our first trimester. I had a terrible experience with our OB/GYN and never wanted to go back. When we found out we were expecting Jack I panicked a bit because I hadn’t found a new OB yet. I knew I needed a more personal relationship with a care provider and asked a woman at my church if she had any good recommendations. She told me about a midwife who birthed at home and who had delivered 2 other children at Renovatus… I honestly hadn’t considered home birth and the idea of it freaked me out a bit but I took the information anyway. Later than week I ran into my girlfriend, Lauren, and she told me that same midwife had delivered their son. It was too much of a coincidence not to at least meet this woman.

I started to research. I still at this point found the idea of having a c-section very attractive. I was terribly afraid of going through labor because of the pain and also I worried about recovery a lot. I had a friend that didn’t have sex for quite a while after their child was born and that freaked me out, too. I knew a lot of people who had c-sections and felt like it was just fine. I knew next to nothing about pregnancy or delivering at the beginning of my pregnancy and I was shocked to learn that there is SO MUCH to know about it. I was fascinated and thrilled to learn as much as I could. I’ve never had a great memory but it seemed like everything I learned about birth I committed to memory immediately, it was just too amazing to forget.

Through my research I started to realize that vaginal birth seemed to be far better for baby and mama health and recovery wise. The only problem is that there are a lot of rules that hospitals have about who can and can’t have a vaginal delivery and when they could have it. I realized that as far as hospitals go, I am not a good candidate. A lot of doctors still induce labor early because of macrosomia (fetal size of 8 lbs, 13 oz or larger) even though the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises against it. My family has a history of large babies and Matt wasn’t that tiny himself at birth. Also, most hospitals have a time limit of 42 weeks before they will induce labor (if they even let you go that far, which is unlikely). I have a family history of going closer to 43 weeks before labor starts on its own.

I wasn’t worried  yet, though, because that research didn’t suggest to me that I wouldn’t be able to deliver vaginally, just that I may have to be induced and start labor sooner than I would have naturally. And who doesn’t want to have your baby sooner than 43 weeks? It sounded fine to me until I found the statistics that made me realize I might not have that good of a chance of vaginal delivery in the hospital at all! Our C-section rate in the US is over 30% and when you are induced, your chances of having a C-Section DOUBLE! Now I was scared. That put me at a 40% chance of having my baby vaginally. (Naturally was already out, if you remember, because inducing is not done with natural methods at the hospital.)

I do not think it is wrong to have a c-section. I do not think it is wrong to be induced. I do not think it is wrong to have your child in a hospital. Doctors are not evil villains. But I did not want that for myself and my family! It didn’t work for us. I met with my midwife and really loved her. She isn’t an overly flowery hippy like I was expecting (and nervous about). She is sharp, filled with knowledge and wisdom, kind, and passionate. This woman could handle an emergency. She would tell me the truth. She isn’t an idealist who thinks that every single baby should be born at home, but a realist who knows that the majority of all babies can be. It was a perfect fit. It was because of my midwife and the encouragement of my dear friend and doula, Jordan, that we chose to giving birthing at home a try.

As we continued on our journey I learned so much more that made me more and more confident concerning our choice. Simple things like not using an epidural made it so that you could labor in other positions besides flat on your back with your legs in stir ups, which is a very difficult position to deliver any baby in. Knowing that mine were probably going to be big would make that even more difficult. The infant mother mortality rate is lower for homebirths, too. That was really reassuring! Knowing that there wasn’t going to be any unneccessary medical intervention really made me the most sure, though. I think that in the hospital if a Doctor had told me that something was necessary I would have wondered if it really was. That’s not a good frame of mind to be in while delivering.

I know that it is meant to be sweet when people say that I am special or strong for delivering these kids at home but I just don’t think that’s true. I think that when God designed birth, He designed it perfectly. I believe that hospitals are for sick people or folks with emergencies. I wouldn’t go to the hospital for a cold just in case in turned into pneumonia any more than I would go to the hospital for a birth just incase something went wrong. I know that C-Sections, and our countries ability to perform them well has saved many people’s lives. I believe that the advancement of medicine is necessary and  good. But I also believe that medical intervention should be used only when necessary or when a patient and doctor have agreed on it before hand. I wouldn’t want to go to the hospital wanting natural birth and end up with a c-section for non-emergency reasons. That is too sad for me to think about.

Birthing should make you realize just how beautifully women are made, not make you tremble with fear. I went into this adventure with concerns and questions, but without fear. It has made all the difference for me.

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God is not an angry old man

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Today I received this text message, verbatim:

“God has seen u struggling with something. God says its over. A blessing is coming ur way. If u believe in God send this message on, please don’t ignore it, u are being tested. God is going to fix two things (BIG) tonight in ur favor. If u believe in God, DROP EVERYTHING & PASS IT ON. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF UR LIFE. DON’T BREAK THIS CHAIN. SEND THIS TO 14 FRIENDS IN 10 MIN U WILL BE BLESSEd.”

And I am sad. I am sad that this viewpoint of God exists. I am sad that it is such a strong viewpoint of God that it is actually a chain text message. Do we really think that God will bless us if we text people? That He will only move in our favor if we do something to “earn” it? Friends, that is not God. God is not an angry man sitting in the clouds watching your every move, hoping, just hoping that you will please pretty please break a rule so that He can punish you. God loves you. Yes, you. Every single person who is reading this. God made you, and He made you perfectly. If you are doing wrong, like any good Father He wants to see you restored to wholeness, but that is for your sake, not His.

I believe that God sent His son to die for us. I believe that once you have entered into a relationship with that Son then you are perfect. Done. We are no longing striving to make peace with God, the peace has been made. The more whole that we become, the better we feel, the more that we can equip and help others along their journey. But again, this is for our sake. Not His. He already loves you. He already wants to bless you. Sometimes those blessings look like removing major obstacles in our lives, sometimes it looks like lovingly walking through them with us. It does not mean that He is waiting, like a spider, for us to get caught in a web so that He can devour us whole.  God’s ways are not our ways, they are better.

So, if you believe that this is true you don’t have to forward it, or share it, or comment on it, or memorize it. Be encouraged. I have told you these things so that you can have peace. Be of good cheer! He has overcome the world. When the Bible says God is Love, it is true. He is a good Father, He wants good for His children.

Meghan Grateful Murray

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I’m doing a study called The Good and Beautiful God right now with some of my lovely friends. At the end of every chapter there is a soul training exercise. Sometimes it’s sleeping. Sometimes it’s meditating. This weeks it’s making a gratitude list. As I was making mine I realized that I feel guilty about some of the things that I am grateful for. When I feel grateful for health insurance or the stability of Matt’s job it makes me feel guilty because some people don’t have that. This isn’t okay. I think that it is good to be aware of the things that others do not have and to constantly work for equality and to help others as much as possible, but it isn’t okay to feel bad for the things that you have been blessed with. There have been times when Matt and I went without, before he got this job and after Jack was born when I didn’t know how we would pay our bills or buy our groceries, and even though those times were very hard I still found things to be grateful for. We still had more than most. We were still surrounded by a community of dearly loved ones who gave so that we could live. I have so very many things to be grateful for in my life and I refuse to allow feelings of guilt to crowd out the pleasure that I take in the Lord’s provision. Here are some that are on my heart today:

My family. Healthy babies. A husband who really loves me. Like, really. Renovatus, a church I would do anything for and who would do anything for me. Feeling at home. Charlotte, NC. A sister-in-law who encourages me to keep an open mind. Best friends who love to be with me. The old lady at Harris Teeter who calls me Puddin’ and reminds me to be grateful. Hank Williams. How much Jack and Charlotte love each other. Baking. Crockpots. Google. A friend who does hair. Southern Sisters. My friend who has grown immeasurably since her child was born (you know who you are). Aaron and Amie competing over who likes to eat my food more. The Yanceys. Jack being in preschool. Being able to carry large babies post term. Being able to have homebirth. Being able to breastfeed. Babysitters. Boys who open the door for me and call me Ma’am. Two cars that work, and work well. Good credit. The moment I discover how to do something a little bit better for my family and realize it’s no harder than what I was doing. Murray family movie night. Matt’s job. Health insurance. Amie’s kitchenaid that I have borrowed for the last 3 years. Garlic. Autumn. Flowers. Outdoor furniture. Bonfires. Being able to stay at home with my babies. Friends that open your mind. Friends that keep you grounded. Old photographs. Intentional community.

 

…my spellcheck turned “crockpots” to “crackpots”. I am grateful for that, too.

What are you grateful for?

A family favorite made healthy

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A family favorite made healthy

Matt’s mom makes an incredible banana bread. For years now  it’s been the only recipe I would use, but we haven’t made much of it lately because it’s more of a dessert than anything. Tonight I decided to play around with the ingredients to make it more of a healthy breakfast than an after dinner treat. I am seriously shocked at how delicious it is! The only mistake I made is forgetting to substitute the butter. (Duh.) I am going to give you the recipe I made up (based on Matt’s mom’s amazing recipe) but note how much applesauce should have been used. I will be making this for my Good and Beautiful God bible study this week and I’ll let you know how that goes, too!

3 VERY ripe bananas (too quickly ripen bananas put them whole in the freezer overnight and then let them defrost in the morning. The peel will turn black. Perfect!)

2/3 cup honey

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup butter (Next time I will use 1/4 applesauce)

1 cup total of pecans, walnuts & almonds (whatever your favorite is. I put mine in a food processor on pulse for a few seconds to make them itty bitty.)

Mix everything together and then pour it in a well-greased bundt cake. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Seriously, this stuff is awesome! I know that you are going to love it!

 

***UPDATE*** I made this with the applesauce and it was FANTASTIC! Even better than with butter, I think. Good luck!

Pumpkin Spice Granola

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I love the Fall. A lot. I have been looking at different recipes for Autumn for a few months and trying to concoct a few as well. (All in my head. Aside from Chili I would never desecrate Fall by making her recipes in the Summer months. ) For the past few weeks I have been itching to make Pumpkin Granola. I finally did it, friends, and she is a beauty! I want to share the recipe with you but the only problem is that I’m not the type of girl who measures things when I am making up a recipe… I just taste it until it’s right. Here is my best guess at the ingredients, but don’t worry if it’s a little different. Granola is so forgiving! This recipe is dedicated to my friend Yuri N. since it has no sugar in it. Yay! Thanks for pushing me to make a healthy granola, friend.

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, almonds and pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 cup applesauce

Mix it all together in a big bowl until well coated.

Spread over a foil covered cookie sheet

bake in oven set to 300 degrees for 35 minutes, stirring after 10-15 minutes

Leave out to crisp for a bit and then enjoy! (You can also add cranberries, raisins, or mini chocolate chips after it cools if you would like.)

Friends, it could not be easier to make this delicious and healthy snack/breakfast/ice cream or yogurt topper. And if you’re like me and you love Autumn you probably have just about, if not all, of these ingredients already. I hope you try it out!

Opinions? Yes, I have a few.

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While driving this morning I noticed a bumper sticker that said “Marriage = 1 man + 1 woman (no exceptions)”. After wondering if I should do mankind a favor and run these people off the road (I didn’t. Yet.) I started wondering what would possess someone to put such an opinion “bullet” on their car. Why do they feel so strongly about this issue that they want to be seen as combative by every single person who drives behind them? Do they just enjoy drama and want to fight? Do they want to hurt people’s feelings who are hoping to be able to marry their partners? Or do they feel like that bumper sticker will truly change the minds of those on the other side of this opinion?

A while ago I wanted to put a bumper sticker on our car. It had a picture of a arabic looking man, whom I assume was Jesus but strongly resembles Osama Bin Ladin, and it simply said “Love One Another.” I thought it was beautiful. Matt wouldn’t let me because He said it would make people angry. (Plus, he just hates bumper stickers.) I think I like stirring up emotion in people who I consider to be wrong about issues that I believe are clear-cut across the board. The only problem is that for every 1 opinion that I have, there are hundreds of other ways to look at it that are shaped by hundreds of other experiences.

Now when I want to do something, I ask myself what my motivation is. Is it to make other people see how wrong they are? Don’t do it. It’s not my job. Is it to provide love to others in hopes that my kind words turn away wrath? That’s a go. Is it to make me look good? Tough one. Still do the good deed, but deal with the inner workings of my heart. When people throw their opinions out like bullets on bumper stickers, FB statuses and tweets everyone really loses. Even if your point is a good one, make sure you say it in love, friends.

My favorite bumper sticker of all time:

 

 

Non-magic and other foolish muggle things

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Matt is on a business trip and for some reason everything magical in our house has come to a complete halt. No, I’m not being mushy, I mean the real magic everyday stuff that happens here. For instance, when I woke up this morning my coffee wasn’t prepared. I was taken aback but shrugged it off fairly quickly because everything has an off day, right? Poor coffee pot just probably overslept. I made coffee by myself like any true pioneer on a new frontier, by plugging in my grinder, filling my coffee pot with water and hitting the on switch. Then I had to wait. Did you know that it can take up to 5 whole minutes for your coffee to brew?! Minutes that you are awake with no caffeine. Torture.

The next odd thing occurred when our dog Stanley kept following me around with big eyes, sort of whimpering. I can only conclude that he was not magically transported outside this morning to empty his bladder. I rolled up my sleeves and did the tough work… unlocking the back door and opening it. Ouch, workout. Next, I realized that Stanley’s food and water bowl were empty… now I was starting to panic. What was happening here? My work load was doubled this morning!

After that everything seemed fairly normal for a while as I dressed the children, fed them ,packed Jack’s lunch and book bag and headed to school. Charley and I ran errands. While I drove. Charley slept and I enjoyed the silence. And then it hit me again – silence! My phone wasn’t working. Normally by now there are 2 or 3 sweet messages checking in on me and the kids. I was perturbed to say the least, but I had confidence that things would return to normal around 4:30 when my work usually slows down considerably.

Boy was I wrong. Things got crazier! By 4:30 the children were not magically taken care of while I prepared dinner. When I realized it was closing in on 6 and they still hadn’t been cared for I turned to what a million desperate mothers every day turn to – boxed mac and cheese. I made some, fed the kids and then realized it was time to start preparing them for bed. I got their PJ’s and diapers laid out like always but then was shocked to find that they had not been magically bathed? Someone who knows voodoo must have it in for me. I slaved over bathing them both, lotioning them, brushing their teeth and hair and then diapering and changing them and then put them to sleep. Whew! Now it’s 7:30 and I am looking around, absolutely puzzled. The dishes from dinner are still scattered about. The laundry that I started this morning has not put itself away. And I’m not sure if I should just assume the coffee pot will still be broken in the morning and prepare some tonight or if I should just see what happens.

All this to say, I am starting to wonder if I am a squib and it’s purely Matt’s magic that holds this house together. Come home, babe!