Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Roxy Girl

We love this little girl so much; she's been eating well, sleeping well, and making us smile with all her little faces. We are so very thankful for Miss Roxy Grace.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Roxy's Birth Story

Wow, where do I begin? I feel like the journey from when I got pregnant with Roxy to the day she was actually born has been a long one so get ready for a post to match it:) It has definitely been a path I could never have predicted taking, but isn't that so the Lord? He always leads us in a way that gives us the greatest opportunity to grow in our faith and trust in Him, which usually isn't ever what we originally planned. 

It all started with me finding out I was pregnant at the beginning of October. We weren't purposefully trying to get pregnant so we were a bit surprised to find out we were expecting again (but not too surprised:) Then I found out that since I am still considered a visitor in Canada, I wouldn't have any insurance coverage (we're still waiting for my paperwork to be approved for me to become a permanent resident). And everyone knows that the cost for anything medical when you're paying out of pocket is going to be pricey so we began to pray.

About a month later I happened to find a forum online that talked about the province of Ontario providing free midwifery care, whether you are a citizen or not, so I called up a local midwife clinic and found out that this was true and that they only had 2 spots left for the month of June. So I quickly booked my spot with them and later came to find out that several people from our church had gone to this clinic and loved it, which was reassuring. I was able to go in for monthly checkups and not pay a dime, the only things I had to pay for were lab fees for some tests and the ultrasound, but even the cost of these things weren't that high.

During the next few months, Matt and I were pretty set on doing what we did with Jet, which was to deliver in a hospital where I could get an epidural.We had heard all sorts of numbers regarding the cost of having the baby in the hospital here out of pocket, somewhere in the ten to twenty thousand area, but we were intent on being in the hospital just because we thought this was the only and best way to have a baby.

It wasn't until I met with one of my three midwives at a regular appointment when she asked if I ever considered doing a homebirth (which costs nothing in Ontario) to which I quickly responded, "Uh...no." When she asked why not, I told her that the thought didn't make me feel comfortable and what if I wanted an epidural? She suggested I come to a homebirth class just to at least learn what it was all about but I assured her: "No, that's okay, we're pretty set on going to the hospital so I think we're good."

A few days later, I started really thinking more about what my midwife had suggested and began praying about it. The funny thing was I didn't even really want to pray about it because what if that was what the Lord wanted me to do? What about my epidural?! For the next week or so, I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety about what we should do, I didn't want to spend all that money to be in a hospital but I also wanted to do what I thought was the safest and best thing for me and the baby.

As I continued praying, I talked with other people about their various birthing experiences and started to do a lot of research and reading on homebirths. I also watched a documentary called, "The Business of Being Born" that really influenced my thinking on birthing at home and Matt and I ended up attending the homebirth class my midwife suggested. And slowly but surely, the Lord began changing my heart and mind and suddenly, doing a homebirth didn't seem so absurd anymore. 

Then finally, after a lot of prayer and consideration, Matt and I became confident in the fact that homebirths were just as safe as hospital births (which statistics support) and I felt like it was a good fit with my preferences: i.e. wanting to be in the comfort of my own home and feeling like I had the privacy and freedom to do whatever I needed to do in order to cope with labor, not being manipulated to have unnecessary/unwanted interventions, etc, etc. It wasn't about the money anymore, it was about getting educated and becoming open to other birth options. So about four months or so before our due date we officially decided that doing a homebirth was the most ideal choice for us at this time in our lives so we began planning for a water homebirth.

June 11th was Roxy's due date and it came and went with no Roxy in sight. Jet came 4 weeks before his due date so we were very surprised that Roxy didn't arrive early like her brother and not only that, it looked like she might be coming really late, like, "need to get induced" late. Everyone was wondering when this little one was coming but I honestly was in no rush. Yes, I was starting to feel very big and tired and uncomfortable but I knew that she would come at exactly the right time so I took each day in stride.

On Wednesday, June 15th, at around 6:45am, I was laying in bed half-awake when I felt a "Pop! Pop!" in my belly. I immediately wondered if my water broke. I didn't feel anything at first but then I moved and it became very obvious that my water indeed had broken. I nudged Matt and told him what happened and we immediately went into prep mode for the baby's arrival. I paged the midwife clinic and found out that everyone on my midwife team was busy and that two other midwives from another team were coming instead. I didn't really mind this switch up since I heard that every midwife at this clinic were great, plus there were contractions that were starting to garner my attention so I hung up the phone and got onto a birthing ball.

(Okay, my recollection of the whole labor and delivery part is a little hazy so I'm not sure how accurate this account will be but I'll try my best). By the time the first midwife arrived at around 8am, my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. The second midwife arrived soon after. I labored on the birthing ball for a while then I got into the pool. I labored in there for a while, then one of the midwives suggested I labor on the toilet, which I did for about a minute, then she suggested I labor on my side on the bed. This brought on stronger contractions so we went back into the pool since my goal was to deliver in the pool. But when I got into the water, I think it relaxed me a little too much and my contractions slowed down. At this point I was almost fully dilated, the last centimeter was a little stubborn. So the midwife suggested I go back on the bed and labor on my side again. This brought on the contractions fast and hard and I soon began pushing. 

With Jet, I pushed for about 40 minutes total, and this is with an epidural. With Roxy, I ended up pushing for 2 hours, during which I felt like I was never going to deliver this child and could someone please help me and just get this baby out! Well, at 1:54pm, Roxy's head finally emerged and 3 minutes later, she was fully delivered. These 3 minutes were incredibly intense and I ended up delivering her on my hands and knees. Because of her size, she would not come out after her head emerged so one of the midwives had to really maneuver to get her out. Usually when the baby's shoulders get stuck for more than 4 minutes, they will do an episiotomy and break the baby's clavicle bone in order to get the baby out in a safe, timely manner; we praise the Lord that this did not happen in our case, but we weren't too far off from that demise.

Roxy was initially a little stunned but after a few seconds she cried and the midwives checked her out and besides a little bruising on one of her arms, she was perfect. 

I still cannot believe that we actually did it, we actually pulled off doing a natural homebirth and we were able to do it because of the Lord empowering us and giving us the grace and strength we needed to make it happen. We thank Him first and foremost and my heart cannot stop praising Him and being in awe of His amazing faithfulness and care for us in every single detail throughout the entire pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

I also have to give some major shout outs: thank you to all of you who faithfully prayed for us throughout our entire pregnant journey - the Lord heard and answered! We are so thankful for all your love and support.

Even though I had never met them before, I loved the two midwives who attended Roxy's birth. They made me feel so comfortable and were amazing in guiding and supporting me, delivering Roxy safely, and taking care of me after the birth. I love midwives and highly recommend well-trained, certified midwifery care.

And to my mom who helped take care of Jet for most of the laboring and who held my other hand during delivery and was able to witness the birth of her first granddaughter.

And to my wonderful and loving husband who ran around setting up for the birth and who was there by my side, holding my hand (or should I say letting me squeeze the life out of his), encouraging and cheering me on, and staying strong and calm even when it got really intense.

So would I choose to do a homebirth again in the future if the Lord blesses us with another baby? Perhaps. If Roxy was smaller, I probably would have had a very easy delivery, which would have made me more inclined to do another homebirth in the future but Roxy was so big that it ended up being more of a difficult birth than it typically should be for a second baby and my midwife told me that subsequent children tend to be bigger so if that's the case, I am leaning towards going with a midwife again for sure, but doing it in a hospital where they have epidurals. I am thankful to have experienced two very different birthing experiences, I learned a lot through both of them but who knows what I'll do in the future? But I for sure can tell you one thing: the Lord is good and He is faithful and I know He will guide us perfectly as He has done with Jet's birth and now with Roxy's. Besides, I'm too busy enjoying the fact that the Lord answered all our prayers and that Roxy is here, safe and sound.

I got this pool for about $35 at a local store, so much cheaper than an official birthing pool but works just as well. And now Jet and Roxy can swim in it for the summer.

On the birthing ball in the early stages of labor.
Ever wondered what birth would have originally felt like if Adam and Eve hadn't sinned? 
Yeah, me too.

Welcome to the world Roxy Grace

I couldn't have done it without the help and support of this amazing man

Brother and sister!

Matt making the big announcement of Roxy's name to the family

I am so blessed

My Babies

I can't believe that I am now the mother of two, and not only that, but to a daughter now too! We have been rejoicing over the two lives the Lord has entrusted to our care. Here are some photos of the last few days with our little munchkins - let the fun times begin!

First towel bath


Reading time with Daddy

At 5 days old today

A bonus in using a pool for a homebirth? Your kids can swim in it later! (Don't fret: we cleaned and washed it:) Our little fishy loves it.

LOVES playing with the hose

 Is it me or does he look like "Muscle Man Baby" here?
Must have inherited the physique from his Dad:)

My handsome little man

 Are those not the juiciest little thighs you've ever seen? Love em'!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Roxy Grace Sylvester!!!

Born at 1:57pm on Wednesday, June 15th. 
9lbs, 5ozs, 20 inches long.

Proud Daddy

Our precious little girl

Happy big brother and Grandma Sylvester

I will post Roxy's birth story when I am in a less fatigued mindframe but we ended up doing a natural homebirth and we praise God that everything turned out well and that everyone is healthy and happy! Thanks for all your support, love, and especially prayers - we are so thankful for all of you who were so faithful to uphold us in that way. More to come...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Mama!

Today is my amazing Mom's birthday!!! I think that I can unequivocally say that my mom is the biggest servant I have ever met, and not only does she serve others tirelessly but she does it with much joy and no complaining, never expecting anything in return. My mom is fun, funny, sweet, thoughtful, and generous and I am beyond blessed to be her daughter. Mom, you have set such a wonderful example for me to follow in how I should love and take care of my kids and I am so thankful for you and for all the ways you have sacrificially loved me. I hope I can be as great of a mom as you have been to me - we love you so very much - happy, happy birthday!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Like Father, Like Son

Already picking up the clubs... must be in the genes

And just discovered that my Photo Booth Video was infiltrated by two of the cutest guys I've ever seen:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

If you're looking for a tasty and simple dessert to serve, especially with the summer months now upon us, may I suggest this yummy banana cream pie?

(crust and pastry cream recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, with some of my own alterations):

For the crust:

* Preheat oven to 350 degees.

- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the pastry cream:

- 6 egg yolks at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
(optional: 1 teaspoon Cognac or brandy)

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until mixture is light yellow and falls back into bow in a ribbon. On low speed, beat in cornstarch. Bring the milk to a boil in large saucepan and with the mixer on low, slowly pour into egg mixture. Then pour mixture back into saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with whisk or wooden spoon, until mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat 2 to 3 more minutes. Taste to be sure cornstarch is cooked. Remove from heat, mix in butter, vanilla, cream and Cognac and strain into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold.

Slice a banana cross-wise and line the bottom of the graham cracker crust with one layer of sliced bananas. Then slice up 2 more bananas and mix it into the pastry cream. Pour pastry cream into crust and even out top. 

For the whipped topping:

- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/8 cup of powdered sugar

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, then add powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Make sure to not overwhip the cream, you want it to look fluffy, moist, and full, not dry and overly firm.

Top pie with whipped cream, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!