22 May 2010

Xander's Birth Story

For those of you who love the play-by-play labor story- read on. You know me, I don't mince words. If you are the type who likes the Sport's Center version, well - you can ask Justin :)

To start, I had been having contractions every night the entire month of May. Now, I know that this can happen with any labor. Although I am glad that it got me a head start on the whole dilating process, it also served to make me very anxious. Seeing as how I didn't know my EXACT due date, and knowing that Naomi was 2 weeks early, I spent all of May wondering if tonight would be the night. By the time the weekend of the 15th rolled around (a weekend I thought I would be taking care of a newborn) I was ready for him to come.

So, I took the advice of my midwives. I sent the girls to Nana's, and Justin and I had a relaxing date night, with all that a date night entails. I guess it did the trick, because by 4am, my body was emptying itself of all contents (beginning with my stomach and intestines.) When the contractions continued to get stronger and closer together, we were pretty confident that we would have the baby that day. Since the girls were next door, Justin and I had a relaxing morning together. Although I knew that I was still in early labor, at 9:30am we decided to head to Annapolis to see how things were going. (With Naomi's pregnancy, I went from "I think we have lots of time" to "Oh My Goodness, I Have To Push!" in less than an hour.)

We went to the Birthing Center, and I was only 4cm (I had been 3 the week before). So we decided to go for a walk, and since I was feeling better, we went for breakfast. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and I actually enjoyed a morning just walking (and laboring) with Justin. After walking for a couple hours, the contractions were getting more intense, but still manageable. So, we headed back, just to check things out again. This time I was 5cm, so we went for a walk around the hospital grounds. It was interested seeing the different reactions between the people at the hospital ("Are you ok?!? Do you need us to rush you to labor and delivery?!?") compared to the people at the birthing center ("All right, you look like you are in early/active labor, and doing great - want to go for another walk?") After an hour of walking the hospital grounds and stopping every so often to assure people that I was ok, I was getting a bit tired, and the contractions were getting more intense. So, the midwives officially admitted me to the Birthing Center around 12:30pm.

I thought now would be a nice time to try out this whole "jacuzzi laboring" thing. So they filled up the big tub and I hopped in. Justin - remember, he has been aimlessly walking this whole time with me - sat down next to the tub and promptly feel asleep. The warm water felt good. Too good. After 10 minutes, and only 1 contraction, I was afraid I had just slowed down my progress. As nice as it felt, the last thing I wanted to do was prolong the inevitable. So I got out, got dressed, and started pacing. Praying that the contractions would come back. (I know, sounds a little insane, but hey, I wanted to get that baby out.)

I decided to go for another walk. Let me just take this moment to say that I LOVED my time with the Birthing Center. It was so wonderful to just labor in a way that felt comfortable and productive. So, around the hospital grounds I went again. Only this time, I was a little more motivated - practically powerwalking. The contractions returned to the same intensity and consistency as before, and I was glad that I hadn't completely stopped the process. But I was also getting pretty tired. By now, I had been walking for about 3 hours. I decided to head back and labor in bed for a bit.

I got into the room, and all of the sudden, my water broke. That was kind of cool. I have never experienced that before, and I kept thinking that I wouldn't notice it if it happened. But, it was just like everyone described. I felt a pop, and then a gush of water. My excitement was short lived, as with the breaking of the water, often comes the "strong stuff." The midwives checked me, and I was only 6cm, so I decided now might be a nice time for the tub.

I assume this is the time I hit transition, because my thoughts went from, "Oh good, he is definitely coming today," to "What in the world was I thinking!?! Why did I think I wanted to do this again!?!" Pretty soon, I was telling them I needed to push. Now, Justin and I had talked about the whole water birth thing. I was ok going either way, but Justin was pretty sure he thought it would be too "Discovery Channel." So, I told him that when it came time to push, he was going to have to get me out of the water, because I knew that I would not be in any state of mind to move myself. And, turns out I was right. We didn't expect me to be ready to push so soon, and when Justin asked if I wanted to get out of the water, I told him there was no way I was moving any more than necessary. (Ok, it probably came out more as a whimpering, "I can't move.") Suffice it to say, I stayed in the tub - and pushed.

By this time, I was pretty tired. And for some reason, I was only half-heartedly pushing. Later, Justin and the midwives said that I had great control during the pushing portion. Little did they know it was just exhaustion. Finally, a sane thought pushed its way through, reminding me that if I pushed, he would come out, and then the pain would be over. Ahh, now that was motivation. I got serious then, and he was out. That was at 3:33pm, Thursday, May 20th.

Words can not express the emotions of that exact moment. He barely cried (just enough to count on the Apgar) and was purple all over. Apparently I did better with my breathing this time. I think it had something to do with the fact that I allowed myself to make noise. I was pretty noisy. As a friend said earlier, "Some woman scream their babies out." I figured screaming was way better than holding my breath. He pinked up pretty quickly, and he was perfect. We moved to the bed to deal with the rest.

No one warned me that the contractions to release the placenta get more intense with each subsequent labor. I was a little surprised at the intensity of these contractions. I guess it makes sense, and all in all, I should be thankful that my body did what it needed to do to prevent hemorrhaging. Soon, that part was over too, and my little Xander was latched on and eating like a champ.

Although I was tired, I felt really great, and was looking forward to going home so introduce Xander to his sisters. I ate a little food, my blood pressure was good, and my uterus was contracting as needed. I was cleared for release at 7pm. The girls came over, were both enamored by their little brother. After a couple hours, they were getting a little overwhelmed, and went back to Nana and PopPop's for bed. It was nice, just me, Justin and Xander for that first night. It was wonderful to be in our own bed. To not be woken up every couple hours to have my vitals checked, or to make sure the baby was eating enough, or all the other million things the nurses have to make sure they do when you are a patient. And just as importantly, Justin was able to get a full nights sleep, making him rested and useful the next day, when I knew I would need him.

All in all, it has been great. I mean, don't get me wrong. I just went through 12 hours of labor, and now I have 3 young kids running around. It isn't all roses. But, when I step back for a second, and just enjoy my amazing family, I feel blessed. I have an amazingly supportive husband, (who made delicious waffles, from scratch, this morning.), a beautiful 3 year old, who has been so helpful, throwing away diapers, putting toys away. I am amazed at Naomi's gentleness with her brother. She really does love him. And I have a beautiful, perfect little boy, who I look forward to getting to know more and more.

21 May 2010

20 May 2010

Getting Ready for Baby Brother

Well, it is May 20th, the official due date for this little guy, and I must admit, we are all getting pretty excited to meet him. I can hardly believe I am about to give birth to my 3rd child. There is something special about it, being a 3rd child myself. Something I have always been secretly proud of. I like my "middle child" qualities, the fact that I grew up with others always around, that I have never really had my own room and things. I like that I don't view material things as "mine," but rather "stuff that I use." This had effected how I have prepared for each child. When pregnant with Annalia, we were careful to register for all gender neutral items (the big stuff, at least.) With Naomi, I think the only new thing I bought to prepare for her was a coming home outfit. She didn't seem to mind all the hand-me downs. Now, because this is a boy, a few new things were necessary. Justin probably didn't want me to bring him home from the hospital wrapped in pink flowers.
So, lately I have been having fun with boyish fabrics, and decided to make him a few special things.

We haven't moved Naomi out of the nursery yet, so I purchased a used changing table to put in the corner of our room to hold his daily needs. Annalia insisted on organizing the blankets. I thought it was sweet of her.

Justin is going to kill me for this, because I didn't tell him what he was putting on, or that I was taking a picture, or that I was going to post it. But I decided to make a nursing cover up this time. I have always used a blanket before. But, knowing that I will be out and about more often, I thought I would try it out.

Last year, I designed a carseat/stroller bunting that I sold. So, I thought I should make one for my own child. So, we have the carseat all set up and ready to go. And if he comes on a rainy day, he will be protected. If he comes on a hot, sunny day, we can just leave it unzipped. Either way, we'll be ready.

My boppy cover wasn't really girl (in fact, it was less girly than this fabric looks in the picture.) But it was made of velour, which is quite hot. So, I wanted a cool, cotton cover. However, Annalia has decided that this is her new favorite pillow. She has slept with it every night for the past week, wrapping it around herself. I have warned her that she will need to share it with Baby Brother. We will see how that goes. Here she is nursing her little Aslan.

06 May 2010

Curse of the Creative

When Annalia told me that she wanted a mermaid costume, of course the first thing out of my mouth was, "Sure, we could make one." In fact, Annalia hears this so much that when we are in the store, she no longer asks for things, but asks if we can make it. (It is actually a good way to avoid the "I wants" in a store.)

I would love to say that my impulse to make, rather than buy, is based on the honorable desire to create something beautiful. But no - it is really about some warped rules that I have made for myself. I am not sure when I decided that commercialism was the root of all evil and should be avoided at all cost when raising my children. It probably has something to do with my desire to be different, and not have just another Disney-Princess-tee-shirt wearing girl running around. It is a pride thing (which, ironically, I am not proud of). I don't want to have to say, "Yes, I bought that Ariel mermaid costume because she wanted it." Somehow, in my head, it sounds better if I can say, "Oh, well, she wanted a mermaid costume, so I just whipped one up."

But that isn't exactly the case. She has been asking for this costume for weeks. Finally, we picked out some fabric, and another 2 weeks later, I started. It soon became a chore that I needed to finish before the baby came, and so I hurriedly finished this afternoon. Not exactly worrying about quality or perfection.
There are a couple things about this project that I am proud of though. For one, it only cost $1.50. I try to be frugal in my spending, and aware of the resources that I use in my daily life. One of the ways I achieve that, while still doing the crafts and projects I love, is by using the things I have. I did purchase a yard of fabric at Walmart, but everything else is scraps I had laying around. This is something I want to pass on to my children, using what you already have before purchasing something new.

The other pride, that I am truly proud of, is the joy this costume brought for Annalia. As soon as I put it on her, she exclaimed, "Look Mommy, I am a real mermaid now." And she swayed her hips, twirled around, and then ran outside to show her Nana. Knowing kids, and what happens to even the most beloved toys, I know that this outfit will eventually be shoved to the bottom of the dress-up box, and forgotten for months. But for now, she is blissfully happy to pretend that she is a real mermaid. And I am glad that my part in it was more than just an impulse buy, but rather a thought out, time consuming project that I endured for this moment of childhood joy.