Friday, July 16, 2010

As we celebrate Anna's 2 month birthday and it seems a good time to reflect on her birth.

I was diagnosed with diabetes at 24 weeks after failing my glucose test. I had been feeling awful so it was no surprise. Every time I ate I would get all sweaty and faint feeling. The doctor tried having me control the symptoms with diet but it quickly became clear I would need insulin and lots of it. I do not like needles so the finger sticks were really horrible for me. I dreaded them and would have to work myself up to it. When I found out I needed insulin I really panicked. Insulin meant giving myself shots in the belly every day, my worst nightmare. Funny enough the shots were easier for me than the finger pokes. Even with the insulin I did not feel well. I was nauseated all the time and I had trouble keeping my meals down.

I woke up the morning of May 13 and went to my normal doctor appointment. I had to go every other day for fetal monitoring because of the diabetes. I guess on top of the physical ramifications for mom, diabetes is very dangerous for the baby. Still birth and SID's are not uncommon in babies with diabetic mothers. As I sat on the non-stress monitor that morning I realized it was measuring contractions. My doctor was off that day so his partner came in and checked me for dilation. I was not dilated so they sent me home to wait it out. I was fine with that because according to my dates I had at least 2 weeks to go. I went home and braced myself for a long night of contractions spaced about every 5 minutes.

The following morning was a school day for Jacob and Sarah so I got up and started getting ready to take them to school. I got in the shower and got hit with the worst chest pain. I can't explain how bad the pain was. I could not breathe. I fell on the shower floor and screamed for help. I was sure it was a heart attack and I was going to die. I screamed for help. The pain would subside and then hit again. I had gone through gall bladder problems with Robert a year ago so I figured that was what it was. We called a sitter, took the kids to school and went to E.R.

We got to E.R. and really long story shorter, I was diagnosed with lots of gall stones and a rupturing gall bladder. Our options were limited because as the day went on I got sicker and sicker. Finally our doctors decided they had to operate. I was going to have to be put under and have a c-section and then the doctors would remove the gall bladder laparoscopically. It was really emotional because Robert would not be allowed in the room and neither of us would see our precious daughter be born. I was also personally terrified of being put to sleep and intubated.

Going into surgery was the most embarrassing thing EVER! I had a all man team. Even my nurses were men. Nothing against men, but I am a bit modest and this was mortifying for me. If you have never had a c-section they strip you down and lay you out on a tiny narrow bed with your arms strapped to boards crucifixion style, I am pretty sure my boobs melted into my armpits. It's freezing in there and I was shaking and my gall bladder had me vomiting every few minutes. I doubt even a super model would look good in those circumstances, but I am pretty sure I was at my worst. My vanity aside, I started to have a panic attack as my doctor drew his incision lines on my belly and planned his attack, I begged to be put under.

The next thing I remember is screaming how bad it hurt. Lucky for me that was short lived. I have to say with all the surgery and how sick I really was I felt amazing really fast. Robert was playing super dad the whole time I was in surgery and recovery and spent that time bonding with Anna and making sure my wishes concerning feeding and vaccinations were respected. While I was still in recovery they brought Anna to me and held her to me to nurse. I have fuzzy memories of a nurse manually putting my niples into Anna's mouth, but by then all concern for modesty and vanity were long gone.

Anna Lynn came into the world on May 15th. She weighed 6 lbs 7.5 ounces and was 19.5inches long.

When we got settled and began enjoying our new baby We looked at the camera and saw that one of those men in that E.R. had taken the time to take about 100 picutres of the birth neither of us got to see. He even took a picture of the clock the minute she was born.

Robert and I spent the night loving on the baby and enjoying time together. Robert of course did his best to recruit Anna to the "daddy" team. In the morning he went home to get the whole brood to meet their new baby sister.

I was blessed enough to feel awesome and by day 3 I was ready to go home. I missed the kids and the farm and was so glad to get back to life as usual.

Welcome to the world my love.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Spring On Fargo Farms

Spring was a little Topsy Turvey here on the Farm.

I was pregnant and feeling very ill. I had been diagnosed with diabetes but unbeknownst to me my gall bladder was a time bomb. Fargo Farm never rests though so we all strapped on our boots and hunkered down to getter done.

We had taken on a bottle baby "practice" bull from auction and he needed to be fed twice a day. The kids took to it immediately and I only had to take on bottle duty a few times myself.

Our sheep finally lambed and we had two ewe's with single lambs and one with twins. I cannot describe the excitement of going out in the morning to find new life in the pen. It seemed all our hard work and planning were paying off and we might just be farmers after all. Sadly, our elation was quickly replaced with heartbreak when we lost one baby. It was a hard lesson on the harsh reality of farm life. Through the loss of the lamb, I learned to better trust my instincts. I hesitated taking that baby from his mama even though I did not think she was caring for him, because I doubted my own judgement and did not want to unnecessarily remove a lamb from a perfectly good mother. In the end had I chosen to bottle feed him I may of saved his life.

All these new additions needed management so on Mother's Day we went out to vaccinate, worm, trim hooves and castrate the new and old, as need be. As always it was a family affair. We banded the boys which is a castration method that uses a band to stop circulation to the testicles allowing them to atrophy and fall off. We also had to slaughter a few chickens that had begun to cannibalize the other hens in the hen house. Being pregnant I was a bit sensitive and proceeded to vomit half way through the procedure. I was instantly demoted from pioneer woman to city slicker!

Spring is said to come in like a lion and out like a lamb, but ours ended with quite a roar...

Heritage Breeds

When Rob and I started dreaming of the farm we did a lot of research and reading. We decided our homestead would focus on heritage livestock. What is heritage livestock you ask? Well the American Livestock Conservancy defines heritage livestock as breeds that are threatened. Due to changes in modern agriculture practice, modern food production now favors the use of a few highly specialized breeds selected for the ability to produce lots of milk or eggs, gain weight quickly, or yield meat within confinement. Many traditional livestock breeds have lost popularity and are threatened with extinction. These heritage breeds are an important part of the American agricultural inheritance. Not only do they remind us of our past, they are also an important resource for our future.

For a smaller farm like ours they are especially fitting because heritage animals have traits that make them particularly well-adapted to local environment. Heritage breeds are generally better adapted to withstand disease, parasites and harsh environmental conditions, their bodies are also suited to living on pasture.

The benefits of heritage breeds are many, but the drawback is the expense and difficulty of obtaining breeding stock. Due to the fact the animals are endangered finding a suitable breeding pair can take years and the animals are usually located across country.

We have been lucky to find Jacob Sheep locally and also find our Myotonic Goats in California. Heritage cows and pigs are still not in our reach but we have added a few "practice" animals to our little farm. This way we can work out the kinks before we have the countries livestock genetic pool in our hands. Bacon and Sausage, the pigs, were slaughtered already. And we have just recently picked up some cattle at auction and through our friends at the feed store. Let the practice begin....