Monday, April 30, 2012

Kaileb Connor: Birth Story

Warning: This post does have some graphic pictures. If you are squeamish at all I suggest you either skip this post or hurry past the pictures.

This is Kaileb's Birth Story:

I have always known that I wanted to do a home birth. I wanted to do it all natural without meds or any intervention at all. All my friends thought I was crazy for wanting this. Up until I met my next door neighbor, I thought that I would have to have a hospital birth. I didn’t know how to find midwives or if Washington even had midwifes. She opened that door for me.

I started researching midwives before I even got pregnant. When I finally did get pregnant, the next step was convincing my husband that it was safe and that this is what I wanted to do.

Yes, we had a few arguments over this. He was dead set against home birth. He wanted me to birth in a hospital because he did not think home birth was safe. Finally we agreed that I would meet with doctors if he would meet with midwives.

Well we never did interview doctors. He went with me to interview our first midwife and left completely sold on the idea of a safe home birth provided I was low risk throughout my pregnancy. We finally found our midwife and started making preparations for our home birth from there.

My entire pregnancy was low risk. My only complaints were the inflamed sinuses I had since I got pregnant, the insomnia, and PUPPPs. I was also border line for Gestational Diabetes. Which, looking back now makes sense for how big my little chunk-a-monk came out being.

On Sunday April 22, I was having issues’ sleeping (which was totally normal). I finally gave up and moved out to the couch so my husband could sleep since he had to work. All I was doing was tossing and turning. Throughout the night I was have Braxton Hicks contractions, I would have one ever hour or two, so I did not think anything of it. At 8:20ish I got up used the restroom and went back to the couch and fell asleep for another 20 minutes.

As I went to adjust positions on the couch I felt a trickle. All I could think was “what the hell I just used the bathroom, I can’t need to go again!” As I went to get off the couch I thought I was losing my bladder (which I was told was normal during pregnancy). When I finally managed to stand up all of a sudden it just let lose.

I knew then that I was not peeing, that my water must have broken. I called out to my husband and grabbed my phone to call my midwife. All I could think was “damn it, I only had 4 more days left till I was 37 weeks and could birth at home.” I told my husband that I thought my water just broke. He told me to quit standing there and go to the bathroom. To which I replied that until it stopped I couldn’t move. I felt stuck standing there until it was done.

My midwife answered her phone and I told her what I thought was going on. She was at an appointment and asked if I thought I could wait for her to get there at 10:30. I told her of course that I didn’t want to rush to the hospital if I didn’t need to. At that point I still was not 100% sure that it was really my water that broke (even though I knew it was).

I called my next door neighbor and doula (Charm) and had her come over. I was sitting in my computer chair relaxing while my husband rushed around packing a hospital bag. The bag we never packed because we were having a home birth. When Charm got to my home I went to stand up and more water gushed out. Seriously it was like the classical movie scenes you see the way my water kept coming out every time I stood up. I then realized this was happening, and called my sister (Ashley). I told her what was going on and that I needed her to come up and be here with me. She lives an hour away. She made it to my home in about 30 minutes and even beat my midwife to my home.

Ginger (my midwife) showed up and we determined that yes my water broke. My baby was going to need to come out now and unfortunately I was going to have to have a hospital birth because I was not far enough along to have a home birth.

So we piled into our cars and drove the 2 minutes to the hospital. I was taken up to L&D to an exam room where I was going to be checked. With my Charm (my neighbor), Ashley (my sister), my husband, and Ginger in the room with me, I met my doctor and a nurse that would be delivering my baby. I had to lay back on the bed to get check. The doctor was not nice about it. He took three fingers and rammed them up inside me, to the point I was screaming stop.

His only saving grace was that he stopped when I asked. I yelled at him to take it slower that it really hurt and I was really sensitive down there. He was not happy about it and told me that it does hurt and he needed to check me. But he did go slower and it was more manageable then. I was 1cm and 80% effaced and not contracting at all.

I was told I would have to have pitocin to get my contractions to start. Since I still wanted to do an all natural birth the nurse said we would do a slow pit that way we could hopefully get my contractions to come regularly and then we could ease off of the pit. I looked at Ginger and she said she thought it would be best, so I agreed.

Before moving me to my room, Ginger got called to another birth. I had a good support net with me already, so when she left she had me promise to call her with updates as they happened. Charm would be the one who would update her though because I was way too busy to think about it.

It seemed like only a matter of hours to me before things really got going and it was time to push. In all actuality I labored for almost 24hrs from the time my water broke to the time he was born. My water broke at 8:49am Sunday and little man would enter the world at 8:16am.

The labor in its self was not bad at all. I had a few visitors come and go. I was able to eat solid foods until I couldn’t talk through my contractions anymore. I even got to labor how I wanted to. I was able to labor in the tub for a little bit, on the birthing ball, hanging around my husband’s neck, on the toilet, on all fours, on my sides and eventually on my back.

My little man gave the nurses a run for their money though. He kept knocking the heart monitor off. To the point where my deliver doctor came in and grabbed my tummy, lifted it up and shoved the heart monitor onto it all while trying to yell at the nurse about not being able to find the heart beat and keep it going. I remember being in a lot of pain because of that. A few weeks prior I had a stretch mark that ruptured and bruised really badly in the same spot I was just grabbed and had the monitor shoved onto.

The doctor left with the nurse for a moment, and when she came back in it was without him. I would later find out that she kicked him out of my room until they absolutely needed him. Needless to say I was really relieved he was gone. Contracting while doubling over in pain from being man handled was not fun at all. Soon after that I started contracting with the urge to push. I would labor like that standing up for well over an hour.

My poor husband held me upright the entire time. Finally they convinced me to move to the bed and get on all fours. I labored like that for another hour before they suggested that I lay on my side to try and deliver him. At first I did not want to move. I felt stuck in that position, but I knew that I needed to move because my knees were hurting so badly. When I finally got on my side, baby boy finally started to play peek-a-boo. At that point I remember being really hungry and my energy dropped.

The nurse had Charm go get a French Cherry Icy for me to sip on. It did the trick; it had just enough sugar in it to give me a small burst of energy. Half an hour later everyone helped me to the other side because I had stalled out. Same thing would happen on this side.

I was however crowning enough the nurse called for the doctor. After about 20 more minutes of pushing, he had me get on my back to try. I pushed like that for what seemed forever. It was the one position I did not want to be in or like being in.

I started losing energy again, so the doctor suggested that we try the vacuum. I looked at my husband, Sister, and Charm to see what they thought. They all said they thought it was for the best. So I agreed. I felt him slip it onto my baby’s head and a few seconds later I was pushing again. I got his head half way out before losing the urge to push. Thankfully another urge to push quickly came. All it took was 2 pushes after getting his head halfway out for baby boy to come all the way out.

It was the worst burning sensation I have ever felt. I remember telling everyone that it burned. I would later find out that had gotten stuck and tore me from the inside out, which made the ring of fire sensation all that much worse.

Once they finished clearing his pathway and I heard him crying they placed him on my chest. All I could say was my baby, my baby, my baby. Then I looked at my husband and told him it was our baby. The doctor waited just long enough for the cord to finish pulsing before cutting it. He didn’t let my husband cut the cord like he wanted to. He would later claim that it was because he needed to get the placenta out as fast as possible so he could sow me up.

Thankfully a nurse let my husband finish cutting the cord down after they clamped it off.

Once I was all sown up, they did the normal pushing on my stomach to make my uterus harden back up. I won’t lie; it was really uncomfortable and did not feel all that great. When that was finally done I was able to try to breast feed. My milk had yet to come in so I had to supplement with a bottle and formula at the hospital. His blood sugar was low so it was either that or they would have taken him and put him in the NICU. I quickly agreed to do feed him that way. I did not want to be separated from him.

The next few days were a complete blur. Finally it was time to go home. I was so relieved to be out of the hospital and in the comfort of my own home. It may have not been the birth I originally thought I would have, but it was the birth I wanted. I brought our son into this world completely natural. I could not be happier that I was able to do this not just for me but for my son too.

Kaileb Connor was born at 8:16am on April 23, 2012 weighing in at 8lbs 12oz, 21 inches long. He is the love of our lives.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A quick hello....Kaileb is here!

The last few days have been really interesting. Sunday I woke up thinking I was peeing myself, at first all I could think was "oh crap, I finally reached this stage of pregnancy".

Before I get into Kaileb's birth story I need time to decompress, heal, and not post from my phone.

In the mean time here is my baby boy, born April 23rd at 8:16am (almost 4 weeks premature) at 8lbs 12oz, 21 inches long with a head circumference of 13.5cm:

Friday, April 20, 2012

36 Week Bump Update

On Wednesday I went to my Midwife appointment. I didn't feel like it was a good appointment. I felt like I let myself and my baby down. I don't know if it is just because I am so close to having him or if it is just what happens during the third trimester.

I went into the appointment and immediately went to the restroom to pee on the stick thingy they give you. Well for the 2nd time in a row I had to much sugar in my urine. 

I do not have GD, so this is really concerning to her and to me. Especially since I usually wake up and go to the appointment before I eat anything. All I have is water. 

On top of that my feet have been super swollen. If you follow me on instagram (@capturing_magic)/twitter/facebook you probably saw this photo here:
Other than keeping my feet elevated, I have been alternating hot and cold packs to combat the swelling. It works, but is usually only temporary. I do notice that if I stay off my feet the swelling is not so bad, but if I am up running around for hours at a time then I have "elephant" feet.

On top of those two symptoms, my blood pressure was slightly elevated. Still in the normal range but higher than what it has been the entire pregnancy.

Needless to say I left feeling like crap. I know what I have to do to reverse it, so I am taking the bull by the horn so to speak and doing what I have to do to make sure this baby of mine is healthy.

On a good note his head is down and I did not grow anymore. My measurements were that same as the week before. Which is a good thing.
He has dropped some. And is still super active. I love feeling my lil turtle move around in there.

Oh and before I forget...hubby and I got our maternity photos done! Scott Butner is amazing. Here is a sneak peak at one of the many photos we took the other night:

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Magickal Monday: Living In Sync With the Elements

We had group yesterday. I am going to share the lesson that one of my group members wrote, because I think it has some really good points. 

She added some homework for us to do at the end of it. I am going to leave that part in because I would love to see if anyone does it. If you do please come back here and share your experiences with it. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions and anything you may have learned by doing the exercise at the end.
Living In Sync With the Elements
written by: Jaguar Sun
April 2012

            As Wiccans (or Pagans practicing in a Wicca-like fashion), we are aware that we call upon the Elements as we create our sacred Circles. Have you considered what the Elementals may have to do with your life outside of the Circle? You might not even think about them at all.
            The Elements are a part of our daily living. Not all Pagans feel called to acknowledge them, but I do think it is important to be aware that they are there. That is what this lesson is about. We are made easily aware of the earthly aspects of the Elements, but understanding the spiritual aspects takes a little more digging and a little more thought.

            Rocks. Sand. Dirt. These are all examples of Earth. Easily seen, felt, smelled, and tasted. How do you use Earth during your daily life? Earth is an Element associated with the physical. Every time you touch someone, someone you care for in particular, you are syncing with Earth. Cooking or baking. Money is also associated with Earth as are material goods. We all wear clothes and we all require money to survive in our society. Gardening, lawn care, hunting, and fishing are also ways in which we can connect with Earth.
            Birth is also associated with Earth, but it is not exactly something we all experience on a daily basis. Just wanted to let you know I was not neglecting that aspect.

            Air is something we can’t usually see except as dust devils or tornados. It is an Element associated with smell. We use incense in Circle as a way of visibly seeing Air as well as smelling it. However, Air is more complex than just smelling things. It is also the Element of thought. Whenever you use your imagination or learn something new, you are connecting with the essence of Air. Meditation, prayer, and sending out energy are also ways to sync with Air.
            To feel a truly powerful connection, stand in the wind and let it whip around you. Close your eyes and meditate on the feeling for just a moment.

            We sometimes only associate Fire with destruction. While this can be true, new life and fertility can come from an area that has been burned. Fire is more than only heat and flames. It is an Element associated with sight. The colors of a fire are also the colors we associate with vitality and energy. Fire offers purpose to a Circle, helping to cement whatever spellwork is being done. We use Fire in sports (watching and participating), protesting, and in the physical act of sex. Arguing points in a discussion, defending another person, fighting, and gameplay could also be associated with Fire.
            Scrying with Fire has been a great connection device for me. I have had a lot of trouble with Fire in the past (matches would not light for me, grills would not start, etc.) and we are now on pretty good terms. Just meditate on a candle flame. Let it take over your entire vision and allow the images to come to you. This is also a pretty nice relaxation tool.

            Changeable, touchable, yet difficult to hold, Water is a little bit mysterious. It is associated with taste and emotions. Our own emotions tend to change during the day. We can go from happy to angry to hurt to happy again in a span of mere hours. The emotional aspect of sex and loving a person are connections with Water. Intuition is characteristic of Water. Throughout the day, many of us will use our intuition as we make decisions. As for the taste part: take time to enjoy your meal. Don’t just eat it – that is only using the Earth aspect of food. Savor it. Or hate it.
            A simple Water meditation is to enjoy a bath. Really. Just relax and sink into the water. Let it start to talk to you.

            The unknown, the void, the everything. Spirit can be scary. It is what makes us all individual. It is associated with hearing. I believe we should practice listening to what people say to us. We should listen to ourselves. We should listen to what our own subconscious really wants us to hear. It is through our Spirit that we are able to transcend to the next level of consciousness or learning. We use Spirit ALL the time and cannot explain how. Spirit will not be included in the homework, but it is an important Element that is often overlooked and I felt it needed to be addressed.

View Your World Differently
            Go out and see how much you really need every one of the Elements. You will use every single one of them during the course of your day. You are to write down the events of a single day and how you connected with Earth, Air, Fire, and Water during your day. You can include using the earthly aspects as well as the spiritual (taking a shower = water, and so on). Use the Elemental Correspondences from the last lesson as a guide.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

35 Weeks Bump Update

Holy moly! I've made it to 35 weeks!

Boy do I ever feel huge!

How far along: 35 weeks

How big is baby:  he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon).

Maternity clothes: Oh yes, anywhere from yoga pants to maternity tops and jeans. Although I do still find some of my longer tank tops still somewhat fit over my pregnant belly. Although it is really close to showing some of the belly off at times.

Stretch marks: Definitely got them. Even though I have been slathering on the stretch mark creams and oils, I still seem to be getting them no matter what.

Sleep: I am up and down more often than not. Between having to pee every time I turn around to the hip pain which wakes me up, or my hands going numb... You name it my sleep is very broken now a days.

Best moment this week: Kaileb has been moving like crazy. Not so much today though. He seemed to want to move this morning all kinds then barely move today except to head butt my cervix or bladder.

Belly button in or out: It is still in and out! The skin on the outside of my belly button pokes out but the actual button itself is still hiding inside, but just barely.

Cravings: Ice Cream, Chocolate Milk, Chinese Pork (with the hot mustard and seeds), water (even though it gives me heartburn), and My Fro Yo.

What I miss: Sleeping on my tummy. I really miss doing that, like you wouldn't believe. 

What am I looking forward to: 5 more weeks left of this pregnancy and hopefully I will have had him by then.

Tomorrow though I am getting a pedicure, I am super stoked about this! I seriously can't reach my feet anymore.

Milestones: Hitting my 35th week and knowing that baby boy is strong and healthy. Maybe a little to healthy because he is measuring 4 weeks ahead of schedule, but that could just be because I am a little on the fluffy side too.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Date Night

Yesterday was awesome! I got the best surprise in the mail from my Secret Stork.

She prepaid for 3 prenatal massages for me! 

I called the place and they had an opening for I went in and got my first prenatal massage.

Then the hubby and I had an awesome date night. 

We went to Outback Steak House:

Doesn't that just look yummy?

Oh and I was totally rocking the bump last night too:

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

34 Week Bump Update

Can it really be? 34 weeks is here already?

That means there is only 6 weeks left until my due date.

6 weeks left.

If the next 6 weeks go as fast as this pregnancy has, my little man will be here in the blink of an eye.

In the last few weeks, I have been asked so many times if I am sure I am not having two babies. (this actually started at the 6 month mark for me, but it has gotten asked more and more in the past two weeks). Even my family looks at me and says how huge my belly is. I guess the pictures I have taken do not do the bump justice as seeing me in real life does.

So far everyone insists that I am all belly. Which I guess I can see and most days that is how I feel, but some days I just feel like a freaking house! I am sure I am not the only one who feels that way either.

Not to much has changed other than I am suddenly craving cinnamon sugar toast like crazy. Chocolate milk is still my best friend.

This ever growing kiddo of mine (who is about the size of a cantaloupe now) loves doing what I call the "stretch, drop and roll".

He literally stretches out as far as he can go from my cervix to my rib cage then drops to the bottom of my uterus rolls over and does it again. I get a kick out of him doing this but man does it ever hurt! Lil man does not realize that there really isn't anymore room in there for him to keep doing that.

Well, I guess there is, except for the fact that it hurts me when he does it.

**on a side note**
This was supposed to be up yesterday, but I was not finished writing it all out. And I was still unsure if I wanted to post the picture of my husband and I...especially since I was really bloated that day and had absolutely no make up on. Oh well, embrace the camera right?

Yesterday was a hard day for me. Kaileb was doing his "stretch, drop and roll" maneuver until about 5am. Then when he stopped and I thought I could sleep, I was up every 30 minutes running to the bathroom until about noon when Matt got up to get ready for work. I opted to sleep on the couch so he could rest since he has to work 12hr days.

After he got up though I moved to the bed where I was finally able to fall asleep for about 2.5hrs before the entire neighborhood's dogs went berserk barking at the mail man (which is a daily thing). I usually don't care but between being 8 1/2 months pregnant and sleep deprived, I was seriously thinking about getting my husbands AR15 and shooting every dog in the neighborhood, including my own sweet bundle of puppy.

Instead I just gave up on sleeping and got in the shower and got ready for the rest of my day, which really amounted to doing nothing.

Although the text message my husband received about me going on a murderous rampage on all the puppies in the neighborhood, pregnant and wielding his AR15, apparently made his day.

At least I was able to make someone smile yesterday even if I was a pissed off grouchy pregnant lady.

On that note, enjoy your weekend and Happy Easter everyone!

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

32 & 33 Bump Update

Two weeks ago I was running around packing to get to Yakima. I had so much going on that weekend it was not even funny. I did manage to snap this 32 week picture of my belly though.

32 weeks
What kept me so busy? I had my Dad's 62nd birthday to attend to on Thursday (which is the day I decided to go down on). My sisters and I celebrated it by taking to The Toppenish Eagles (it is a bar that I practically grew up in, so no awkwardness going there 8 months pregnant). We ate pizza and proceeded to get my Dad absolutely hammered.

Friday morning I spent it with my bestie Heather. We were supposed to do her maternity pictures but her lil one was not cooperating and kept giving her some pretty bad braxton hicks. At one point we both thought I would have to take her to the hospital cause they got pretty bad. Thankfully that never happened. So I hung around until her Hubby got home, ate dinner with them and then headed to Yakima.

There I spent a fun laughter filled night with at few of my other besties before heading to bed. Even if Jen's dog Sugar and way to many blankets eventually drove me to their couch. I don't know about Jen but I think Sugar was happy I gave her back her side of the bed.

The next morning I was up and out the door to do an Engagement session for some really awesome friends of mine. Aren't they cute:

After that I had about an hour to kill before I went to my nephews 4th birthday party. By that time I was to exhausted to bring my camera with me and chase toddlers and little kids around Sarge Hubbard Park, so I left it at Jen's house so I wouldn't be tempted.

Unfortunately I ended up eating something bad at the party that made me really sick. Thankfully Jen and Michelle are both nurses so they kept a good eye on me. Then Stephanie made me a make shift  saline drink to keep me hydrated better. By 3am I called my midwife and begged her to let me take some pepto. Even though it didn't work on what I wanted it to, I found out that it really helped my heartburn.

Who would of thought that would be what helped my heartburn? 

I felt better the next morning so I ventured home after spending half the day visiting with my Dad and his awesome Girlfriend again. Although I should have just went straight home since I had to drive an hour back to Tri-Cities. Oh well, it was worth spending some extra time with my Dad.

Last week I was super busy/tired/ name it I was probably it at some point during the week. I even ended up canceling my chiro appointment after a really restless night where I woke up feeling yucky. I blame this on whatever food I ate at my nephews bday party to why I felt so off this last week.

By the time I actually fell into a nice good sleep it would be around 11ish and I would be out cold till 6pm! This lasted for three days. Before I started to feel anywhere near like myself again.

I managed to drag myself out of bed on my husbands days off around 3pm. I was obviously grumpy and not myself. Poor Matt had to take the blunt end of my grouchiness. I almost didn't even take a picture on Thursday on my 33 week pregnant belly (which would have been a first).
33 weeks

Obviously I am feeling much better this week. Can you tell? I've actually been blogging pretty much everyday this week.

Check back tomorrow for my 34 week bump update!
PS. does it look like I have dropped?

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

This and That

We got more done on the nursery. Even got all K's clothes washed and put away now that the dresser is finally finished.

This mama is exhausted. I believe the hubby and I are going to veg out on the couch and play video games. We won't be able to do that much longer.

Here's what that usually looks like:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Instagram for Android???

Heck yes it finally happened!!! 

Follow me on Instagram @capturing_magic

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Magickal Monday's: History of Handfasting

Hello! I am back. I took a week off from blogging. Things were pretty insane around here last week. Between helping out some friends and baby sitting for them to getting the nursery finished and spending some quality time with my husband, I did not find the time to blog. 

I am so glad this week seems to be a little slower than last week. I have been able to catch up on a lot of things...such as some much needed sleep! On Thursday I will only have 6 weeks left till my due date...3 weeks until I am considered full term. I am so excited and so not ready yet! Here's hoping I can get my house back under control and fully ready before little mister makes his arrival.

Speaking of the little mister, I will be making a double update on Thursday, one for last week and one for this week and of course it will have pictures!

Oh and  before I forget thank you all for the comments and congrats on my making the front page of Bloggers!

Now without further ado here is this weeks Magickal Monday:

The History of Handfasting

Handfasting at one time was the only way that couples could be engaged and/or get married because the church let the civil government of the period take care of these matters. In the British Isles, Handfasting was the old pagan ritual of marriage and it remained legal in Scotland all the way up to 1939, even after Lord Hardwicke’s Act of 1753 declaring that marriages in England were legal only if performed by a clergyman. 

After Lord Hardwicke’s Act, the Scottish border town, Gretna Green became a Mecca for eloping couples from England who fled there to perform their own Handfastings. In those times, the couple themselves performed the Handfasting before witnesses. It was also used in Scotland for the engagement period of a year and a day before a wedding was proved.

The very word handfasting got it's origin in the wedding custom of tying the bride and groom's hands (actually, wrists) together. In some versions, this is only done for as long as the ceremony lasts, but in others, the cord is not untied until the marriage is physically consummated.

Handfasting is the marriage rite used toady by many Heathens, neo-Pagans and Wiccans. The term itself comes from the custom of shaking hands over a contract. It is a custom steeped in old tradition.

In most Pagan traditions today it may mean a non-state registered wedding or one in which a marriage license is filed. For some it is a year and a day, renewable "so long as love shall last" and for others a commitment to be together through many lives.
There are probably as many rituals for this as there are people who have joined themselves together.

The hands are generally bound with a cord as part of the ritual.
One custom is that while facing each other, the couple placed their right hands together and then their left hands together to form an infinity symbol while a cord is tied around their hands in a knot. Another custom is that the man and woman place their right hands only together while a cord is used to tie a knot around their wrists.

The ritual itself might have been led by a respected non-church affiliate such as a Chieftain, Leader, Priest, Priestess, Shaman, or Elder of the community while the couple took turns reciting their vows of promise to be engaged for a year and a day in front of witnesses. On the last day of “the year and a day promise” they would then make a promise for infinity repeating their promise to each again. A cord is tied in a knot around their hand while the ritual takes place. This is where the term “tie the knot came from” when referring to getting engaged or married today.

In day of old, records were not kept who got engaged, married, had kids, and died. Today the Sacraments of the church has the responsibility of taking care of these things. Before the church took over these duties, these things were overseen by the whole community and therefore were set in law by their witnessing what happened between the couple making the promise.

If a handfasting was performed with the two left hands together without the tying of the knot, as was the custom of rich and influential German nobility, it meant that the woman was a mistress and would not be able to claim the name, inheritance, property, etc. of the real wife and was only in the protection of the man. But her offspring would be taken care of as legal heirs second in line to the man's legal and first wife. Having lots of children was once the only form of "Social Security" in one's old age. The previous combinations were all considered legal and binding in an engagement or marriage except for the “left hand ritual.”

The Handfasting gesture seems to have been derived from one of the ancient Indo-European images of male-female conjunction, the infinity sign, whose twin circles represented the sun (female) and the moon (male) or in some of the southern Mediterranean traditions it was sun (male) and moon (female).

Two-handed Handfasting still constituted a fully legal marriage throughout Europe whether the blessing of the church was sought or not. Clergymen, of course, recommended that newlyweds attend church as soon as possible after the signing of the contract and the Handfasting. Marriage is now one the Seven Sacraments that had been ignored by the church for centuries. Only the very wealthy and affluent could afford church marriages. Handfastings were under the jurisdiction of common law rather than canon law. In the 16th century in Switzerland, if couples were seen in public drinking together they could be considered married.

Copyright Reverend Helen J. Carol Thompson
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