Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Birth of our second Dear Son

TMI warning, this IS a birth story. :)

Here is the birth as I remember it.
The midwives never checked my dilation and I wasn’t watching a clock. So I don’t really have a clear timeline for it all. I am sitting here amazed at how our bodies are Created to bring new life into this world. My home, water birth with D was very different but yet very similar to my unmedicated, hospital delivery with W. Both amazing and empowering experiences! I’m sure I’ll be writing about that more later.

I woke up early in the morning of Sept 21st with strong rushes (contractions). I stayed up a bit, but then fell asleep on the couch. I had been having strong “practice” contractions off and on for about a week so I didn’t think much of it. They slowed down during the day and were not regular at all. I think my body knew Papa K had to work and I had to care for Wes during the day so it put everything on hold.

About 6pm that night I noticed that the rushes started coming in a regular pattern of about 7 minutes apart. I took Wes on a walk around the block a couple times. Then I called the midwife and she said to keep her posted. I wasn’t sure that this was the real thing yet, but since I was a couple days past my due date I figured it would be sooner or later. I called my doula and she was more convinced than I was, but I told her to stay put for now. When K got home from work we tidied up the house and got a few things ready just in case.

I went to bed around 11pm to try and get some sleep. At 2am the rushes were strong enough to wake me up. I got up and called my midwife and doula. I still was thinking that maybe this was a false alarm, but they were steadily getting more intense. I wasn’t really timing them anymore, but they seemed to be coming at about 5 minutes apart. I knew my doula and the second midwife had to drive an hour so I figured better safe than sorry.

J, my main midwife was the first to show up since she only lives about 10 minutes away. She listened to the baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler and all was well. (She checked his heartbeat regularly throughout the labor as well.) A little bit later Kristi, my dear friend and doula, arrived. I took a couple walks and watched a few episodes of Flight Of The Conchords. (Thanks to my bro for getting me that DVD. heh.) Nothing better than comedy, right? I sat on an exercise ball while watching TV. I know I got at least part of the way through “The Tough Brets.” As the intensity increased Kristi started doing some hip squeezes and counter pressure on my lower back. They asked if I wanted to get in the tub. I remember saying “I keep waiting for it to get worse before I get in.”

Meanwhile, Papa K filled up the birth tub and fought with the hot water heater a bit. Thankfully there was only one casualty, the faucet in our guest bathroom. :)

I tried to take another walk with Papa K but didn’t get too far. I remember that the sky was clear and I could see the constellations. I leaned on K during the rushes. They started coming faster so I wanted to go back in the house.

At some point W woke up and walked into the living room. I think it was around 4am. He was a little surprised to see all the people and would only go back to bed if daddy took him. He went back to sleep fine after that. We called my mom to come down to watch Wes in case he got up again.

After a few more really strong rushes, I decided it was time to get in the tub. Things were getting serious now and there was no doubt the baby was coming. I focused on breathing through the rushes and staying as relaxed as possible. The hot water helped me stay calm, but I also felt really hot. They put cold washcloths on my face and neck to cool me down. K and Kristi stayed by my side rubbing my back and encouraging me. The midwives did a wonderful job of staying unobtrusive yet making sure all was progressing normally and safely. After I was in the tub awhile they had me get out of the tub and walk to the bathroom to keep things moving along. I had a few more rushes out of the tub. It was nice to cool down a bit but I still wanted to get back in the water after that.

I remember at some point thinking that I might be in “transition” because I was having a hard time staying relaxed and started to get scared at the intensity of the contractions. I briefly thought to myself, “What the hell was I thinking doing this again?! I don’t want to do this.” Oh yeah, a classic emotion for transition! I knew that meant we were nearing the end.

I tried to focus on thinking/saying “open open open” and “peace peace peace” with each rush. (Both were Hypnobabies key words which I quickly ran through the last couple months.) I could literally feel my cervix pulling and opening up! I felt keenly aware of what was going on in my body. (Even though my first birth was unmedicated, I don’t remember feeling things so clearly. Probably because I was much more fatigued.) This was an amazing and scary sensation.

I don’t know what time it was, but I know that when I got in the tub it was dark, but it started to get light out before I hit transition. I could hear mom talking with W in his room. At some point she got him dressed and took him out of the house for a few hours.


With my first labor, “transition” lasted a couple hours. So I was surprised to find myself pushing all of a sudden. I told my midwives that I felt like I started to push on that last contraction. I think they were a little surprised too, but they reassured me that it was good and that the baby would be here soon. Pushing was so intense this time! It only lasted about a half an hour but it was hard work. Some women describe this part as a “relief” but I didn’t think so. I knew I was at the end and I just wanted him out. I had my eyes closed and I remember hearing everyone telling me what a great job I was doing. I felt my water break at some point during this stage.

I was tired and hurting and ready to meet the baby already! It was very primal. I think they described me as roaring. LOL My throat was sore afterwards so I definitely was loud. I kept checking to see if I could feel him, but could only feel and inch or so when he was just crowning. This was frustrating and motivating at the same time. All fear was gone. Kristi told me later that she never saw such a look of determination in anyone's eyes before. I wanted him out NOW! I wasn’t counting, but I think they said it was about 6 good pushes. It was such a relief when I felt his body come out.

His cord was wrapped around a couple times. I was on all fours in the water and the midwife unlooped the cord and caught him. She passed him to me under the water. She noticed one more loop as I grabbed him and said something. So I pulled it off of him before picking him up out of the water.

Amazing! He was finally here! Papa K was crying and I was just so elated to meet him. Keith kept saying, “Is he ok?” I guess because D wasn’t crying right away. But I knew that babies born in the water don’t always cry so I knew he was fine. He was moving and frowning. Then he took his first breaths while I held him and the midwives checked him out. I looked between the legs. It’s a boy! For some reason I wasn’t surprised at all. He reminded me of W when I first laid eyes on him.

I just sat back and enjoyed my new little guy for a few minutes. He was perfect! We hadn’t been 100% decided on a name, but D----- was a front runner. Papa K said, “It’s up to Kaiya.” So I said, “How about D?”

Daddy held him while I stood up to deliver the placenta. I got out of the tub and held him skin to skin under a warm towel to warm him up. Meanwhile J checked us out and everyone else took care of cleaning up the kitchen. I got Dex to latch on and nurse a little bit. He seemed to know right what he was doing.

K called my mom to bring Wes back. He was more interested in them deflating the pool than his new little brother. He was pretty interested in the umbilical cord. (He tells all visitors that Dex has a “uterus cord” and shows his cord stump to them. Heh.) We let the cord pulse for quite awhile. Then daddy cut it before I moved to my bedroom.

I grabbed a quick rinse in the shower and got into bed. I was really hungry and thirsty all of a sudden so I sent K out to get me a bagel sandwich and drank some sports drink stuff. They did the newborn exam in my room. Wes and my mom came in to watch. Kristi took pictures. They weighed and measured… 9lbs even and 22” long. Head measured 13 3/4 cm. D was alert and perfect! They stitched me up a bit at some point. Only one 2nd degree tear and some other minor ones. Nothing worse than what I had with Wes.

Recovery has gone well so far. I am feeling that adrenaline that comes after a natural birth. The best part! The only trick is to NOT over do it because I feel so good. I am following the “in bed for a week” advice and not lifting anything heavier than the baby. With W I admit I spent too much time entertaining and being up and around because I was surprised at how great I felt. I now know that at 2 weeks most babies get fussier, your hormones drop and most of your help leaves. So I am taking it easy, resting up and just enjoying my snuggly new baby boy!

Life is a precious gift. I praise God for I am fearfully and wonderfully made! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IT'S A BOY!

Baby D entered the world at 8:32am this morning. He is 9lbs and 22" long.
Another little man to join our family! I am feeling so blessed after an amazing, intense birth. Best shot I could get on my camera phone. He's about 5 hours old here. More photos and birth story to follow... :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

chop chop

This isn't news if you are my friend on Facebook, but last weekend I chopped my hair. I had about 20 inches taken off. I donated it and hopefully it will go to good use. I had been growing it out since I got pregnant with W. I started at chin length and after 3 years it was to my lower back.

Before (June 09):

After (Sept 09):

I had wanted to go a little shorter but the hairdresser said this would be easier for the days I can't blow dry. Now that I've lived with it for a week I will definitely go shorter next time. It is all crazy when I don't blow dry. My hair has gotten wavier as I've gotten older apparently. I have to say the short hair makes me look younger. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

fall!

It feels like fall around here. I was really hoping to enjoy a few more beach days this month, but I guess summer is over now. A very short summer at that.

I am enjoying having the windows open and am looking forward to some fall treats... pumpkin baked goods, caramel apples, hot spiced cider...mmmm!

We will be ordering some more wood to keep our woodstove going this winter. I love a cozy fire! Hopefully that will cut down on some heating costs as well. The woodstove is in the main part of the house and is quite efficient at heating up the living room and play room.

In baby news, nothing major is happening yet. The baby "dropped" 2 weeks ago and I'm having tons of "practice" contractions. All good things but nothing to predict the big day!

The well meaning, but annoying, phone calls are pouring in daily. If we make it into next week I will be seriously screening my calls. So feel free to call, but don't be offended if I don't pick up or call back right away.
Really, asking me if anything is going on DAILY does not make the baby come any faster and does not help me to be calm and patient either! Sheesh.
I finally said to my dad today, "You know it could be another 2 weeks yet! It's up to the baby when he/she wants to come out."

I'm considering skipping church Sunday just so I don't have to have the same conversations as I have had the past 2 weeks. "Have that baby yet?" "Um nope" "Any day now!" "Yeah, hope so." Everytime I go to the grocery store it's like open season for weirdos. They all come up and start a conversation with me. So many odd comments. You do begin to feel like a bit of a freak show. At least people have enough sense not to touch me. I might get ugly if that happened. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

So when are you due?

At my appointment Friday, my midwife said that otherwise healthy white women usually go into their 41st week. (aka past their EDD). I thought that was pretty interesting.

A due date is just a GUESS of about when the baby will come. A guess with a margin of error of about 2 weeks either way. What I don't understand is why doctors cause such a fuss over a date that is based on info that the patient gave them in the first place. Women are routinely induced based on this arbitrary number which often leads to cascade of more unnecessary interventions.

I was googling around and found this article quite interesting:
http://parenting.ivillage.com/pregnancy/0,,jb56,00.html

It says that some German OB in the 1800's came up with the 40 week gestation period and that it has been proven that it's not all that accurate, but it is still the standard used by Drs today. It confirmed what the midwife told me:

When researchers in the late 1980s followed a group of healthy, white women with regular menstrual cycles, they discovered that pregnancy in first-time mothers averaged eight days longer than this, or forty-one weeks plus one day. The average was three days longer than forty weeks in women with prior births. The researchers also refer to other studies suggesting that other races may have average pregnancy lengths that are shorter than white women.

And that is given that you are sure of your dates and have a "regular" 28 day cycle, which many women do not. W came a few days after his EDD but I think that my membranes were stripped without my consent. So that would have kicked things into gear. I know that the worst part is the mental stress that you feel when you pass that date. On top of your physical discomfort, you begin to doubt that your body will ever go into labor on it's own and the Drs seem to confirm that.

As much as I wish I knew when this baby is coming, you can't predict these things exactly.

True for you?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Update

39 weeks!

Baby "dropped" a couple weeks ago and the head is engaged. I have the feeling that we are getting close.

Other than some non-essential sewing projects everything is pretty much ready.

W-man has been a bit easier on me this week. I've been making a real effort to take a walk with him each day or get him to the park to burn off some energy. He's all about practicing writing his letters and learning to read right now. So I'm taking advantage of it, abet in a completely unorganized fashion. I think I remember reading somewhere that this a natural age of "readiness" for reading for lots of kids. He's always been very verbal and ahead on the language skills so it makes sense. Once everything settles down after the baby is a few months old I'll get back on some more planned preschool learning stuff.

Thinking of doing a big chop... my hair that is. I always liked it either pretty short or really long. Loved the bangs but couldn't keep them trimmed enough to rock the look. I guess I better decide soon as my apt is in the morning. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Boycott Fisher Price

It has just been announced that Mattel/Fisher Price, the company at the center of the recent lead toy recalls, have been given a pass out of the new 3rd party safety testing required by Congress. They are the whole reason this new legislation got started and now they are not required to participate?!?!

I definitely will NOT be purchasing any of their products in the future and urge you to do the same. I cannot believe that they even asked for an exemption. This law, which was intended to protect our children from toxic toys, has caused much stress and extra work for the smaller, cottage industries as they scramble to meet the new requirements. So in essence this law has "punished" those who have always been ethical and the big company who broke the public's trust by allowing lead laced toys to enter our homes gets a free pass.

Nature Moms Blog has a more in depth article with more of the facts.

Check out Non-Toxic Tots for eco-friendly and ethically made toys!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Blessed

Last weekend my friends threw me a Blessingway.

What may you ask is a Blessingway? For one, it's an alternative to a traditional baby shower. While "showers" focus on material gifts for the baby, a Blessingway has a spiritual focus and is more about the mother. It's meant to be a celebration of new life and a time of encouragement and support for the expecting mom.

Even though none of us had ever attended such a gathering, my two good friends went out on a limb and planned a lovely event for me. The guest list was small. Just good friends and some family. In lieu of traditional baby gifts, everyone brought a freezer meal for us for after the baby is born.

One essential element of a Blessingway is for the guests to convey their "blessings." After we enjoyed some yummy food, we sat in my livingroom and each guest presented me with a bead they were instructed to bring. As they handed me the bead, they said a blessing/prayer for me and/or the new baby. It was a very intimate and encouraging time. I strung the beads up into a necklace I'll have with me at the birth. Something special to remind me of all the women who are supporting me. Then I took some shell beads and tied one on to each of the guests so that they would think of and pray for me. Some wanted long necklaces some did bracelets. It all came together quite smoothly I must say!

I had fun playing with the beads and it took a couple attempts to come up with the arrangement. The big pendant in the middle was from my mom. Sorta fitting, right? I'll probably rework some of the beads into a nursing necklace later on as it is super heavy right now. (Was going to post a pic, but can't find my camera ATM.)

I definitely think this is a great tradition. I have the feeling we will be holding more of these gatherings from here on out. It's a fabulous alternative to a traditional shower for baby 2 or 3, etc. It would also be a great late pregnancy distraction for the first time moms who may have already had the big traditional shower. I'm all about mothering the new mother. With so much focus on the baby, mom and dad are often forgotten in the mix. Since mom is the primary caregiver in the beginning, if we take good care of mom we are enabling her to take good care of the baby and supporting her in her new lifetime role.
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And can I just say I am so stoked about my full freezer right now? We have over a week's worth of dinners ready to go.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Links

* Battling Mommy Brain: 6 Strategies to Boost Brain Health - who couldn't use this one?

* Baking Shortcut: Make your own baking mixes - I have thought about this several times, but never actually put it in motion. I think this might have inspired me to give it a go. Baking from scratch is much cheaper and usually healthier but takes a bit more planning. I make pizza crust, bread and corn bread enough that it makes sense to do this ahead of time.

* Xagave Recipes - I love agave, a low-glycemic natural sweetener, and have been experimenting with using it in baking. So excited to find some proven recipes!

* Limeaid Recipe from Planet Smoothie mmmm

* Me and my Girl Quilt Tutorial - I have never made a quilt but I think I could swing this. It's made from colorful bandannas!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Theatrical Threes

In talking to some more experienced mothers, apparently there is a little secret that no one shares. The "terrible 2's" are nothing compared to the 3's. I guess we use that label because 2 is when most of the drama gets started? IDK. But let me be the first to say it, "Two is just the warm up!" Here I was thinking we've survived the worst of it. Ha!

Now W has had his share of messes... squirting lotion or creams all over was/is a big favorite. As is unrolling the toilet paper all over the house. And lets not forget the time I left a permanent marker out. (Good one, mom.) Shaking his water bottle all over his room, books, etc has happened more than once. He's also gone through the "no's" as he's learning his boundaries.

Thank God he has stayed away from the food for the most part. I have heard stories of a dozen broken eggs or children thoroughly coated in vaseline... or worse of all, poo!

Now my darling boy is suddenly taken a turn towards the violent. All of his previous attempts at mischief were largely motivated by curiosity and having fun. Now his little temper is in full force and he is lacking the emotional maturity to act in appropriate ways. The highlight of last week was when he pushed the TV over because I told him he had watched enough Caillou. (This is after an HOUR of Caillou while I cleaned the house.) I'll spare you the rest lest you think my little guy is evil or something. He has always had strong emotions, even as a baby. But all of a sudden it's like I have a little teenager on my hands. The back talking and tears and screaming and THROWING stuff... oh my!

There are several thing going on that are not helping... all the change going on in the house as we get ready for the baby, daddy working LOTS more hours, me being too tired to give him all my attention, etc etc. I also realize that as he's gotten older I've gotten more lax on keeping him in a predictable routine. The weekends have been a crapshoot, naps are abandoned, grandparents coming and going. I think he does better when things are more structured. (Too bad for him I'm his mom. heh. Structure is not exactly my strong suit.) I'm guessing with the new baby I will probably want to get back into more of a routine.

For now, I am focusing on ME. Meaning my reaction to the misbehavior. I cannot fly off the handle and be an emotional basketcase all the time. I need to be the adult... why is that so hard? I have accepted that this is normal for this stage in his life and I am going to teach him how to behave more appropriately... and pray that some of it sticks!

Mothers of toddlers, you have been warned. Pace yourself. The antics of 2 will seem darn cute in comparison to this drama!