Friday, March 25, 2011

Fits of Laughter

Anyone who knows me well knows I like to laugh, a lot.

Having my mom here and two kids has definitly provided me with many fits of laughter these past two weeks.

The other day we were outside and Sophie looked to the sky to see an airplane. It had that cloud trail behind it leaving a streak in the sky. Sophie asked me to get it for her. I told her I couldn't reach it. She turned to Phillip and said..."You get it, you're a tall guy."

Yesterday I went for my two week postpartum check up. Sophie was in tow because we were headed to the grocery store after the appointment. She patiently played with the toys in the room with Gramma. Before we left I asked her if she needed to go potty. She went in the bathroom and got a dixie cup off the counter and told me that she wanted to pee in the cup. Just like the moms do for the urine sample at prenatal visits.

Last night I asked my mom to fix me an ice cream cone. I was changing Emma and getting ready to nurse her. I heard her in the kitchen, alone, laughing hysterically. I couldn't figure out what was so funny. She came back to the bedroom barley able to tell me what was so funny. The ice cream cone was minuscule. I bought "kid cones" because it was the only cake cone I could find. I knew they would be smaller than regular cones but didn't realize they were only 1 1/2 inches tall and 1 inch in diameter. I would have to eat about 10 kid cones to make the equivalent of one regular cone. We laughed about this for at least an hour and throughout the rest of the evening and today would just look at each other an laugh!

There have been many more spontaneous, ridiculous outbursts over the past few weeks. I should have written down some of the other funny things Sophie has said. Laughter sure beats the tantrums!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

3 minutes to myself

Quick! Let me post something. I have moments to spare until I need to feed, change, help, or do something else for someone else!

Things are going pretty well. I had a week with Sophia at daycare full time and this week we cut her back to just preschool Monday-Wednesday for three hours. Her disposition has changed dramatically as she has had way more time with me. She loves that we have breakfast here, I take her and pick her up from daycare, and she comes home mid-day. She's still a toddler and nearly 3 years old so we still have our battles but she has gotten considerably better over the past few weeks. My mom heads home next week. That's when the real test will begin of how well I'm handling everything!

Emma is continuing to grow and develop and show us who she is. Two weeks young today. She doesn't cry much as she does screech and squawk. She sounds like an owl. Phillip has taken to calling her Hoagie roll because of her long lean body. I'm amazed that for at least four months when she was in the womb we called her Emma. But now that she is here in the flesh I constantly try to call her Sophie and her name usually comes out Sophemma. Poor thing. I'll get right some day!

She sleeps a lot! She has already given me a few nights where she has gone four to five hours at a stretch between feedings letting me have solid sleep spells. But once she wakes and is fed it often takes 30, 45, to 60 minutes to get her back to sleep. That makes for a tired mama. During the day I can feed her and put her down relatively quickly but at night it's a different story. Hopefully once she transitions to her crib instead of the bassinet she'll do better.

Emma is breastfeeding well. I'd give her a 7 out of 10 if we were judging. She has torn up my right nipple and I slather lanolin on it every chance I get. I'm going for my 2 week post-postpartum check up today so I'll ask the midwife about that. Ouch!

The only thing really giving me anxiety is any semblance of a schedule. I feel like our eating and sleeping schedule is so sporadic. I was going to try the Contented Little Baby method but haven't gotten the gusto to put it to the test yet. The schedule she suggests seems to regimented and a bit depriving Emma of eating when she needs to eat. I would love to hear from other moms as to how they slipped into a schedule with their new babies. Also, how they have worked the balance between frequent feeding and entertaining/enjoying their other children.

Duty calls....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Emma's Birth Story (Part 3-Compare and Contrast)

Now that I have experienced both a hospital birth and a home birth I have done a lot of comparing and contrasting the two births.

I don't begrudge the way Sophia was brought into this world at all. It was what we felt was right for us at the time. We lucked out with our OB and she understood that I desired a natural birth and helped maintain that as much as possible.

There are a few main things that made the home birth such an amazing experience.

First of all just being in the comfort of my own home, in my pajamas, on my bed, with my family around helped to maintain a calm and loving atmosphere. I loved not having to put on that dumb hospital gown!

Secondly, I was able to eat and drink as I saw fit. I had coffee and a bagel the morning I went into labor. Not knowing if it was real labor at first and not knowing how long it was going to last it was nice to be able to eat and drink. I also had a Popsicle mid way through the labor. Yum!

Thirdly, after delivering I felt great. If you look back at the photo of me in the tub moments after delivery you will see how alert and awake I am. Not only do I think the water birth contributed to that but also the low stress of being at home helped to keep my energy level up. This also has to do with the very quick labor I had with Emma compared to the full 22 hours with Sophia.

Fourth, I didn't tear hardly at all. Peggy and Kim confirmed that I had a small nick that did not need to be mended. With Sophie, I tore, a lot. It hurt! I attribute the lack of tearing to being able to deliver in the water, control my pushing much better, and being able to adjust my body accordingly to a position that maximized the ease of the delivery rather than convenience of a doctor being able to see what was going on. The lack of tearing has kept me much more comfortable in regards to sitting, walking, getting in and out of bed, hemorrhaging, etc. Because I didn't have complications there I have more energy and want to be up and out of bed more.

With Sophia I wanted to stay in bed and my pajamas for a long time! With Emma I have had the energy to be up and a bit more active. We even took a trip to the grocery store yesterday!

All in all I just feel great. I feel more confident but I'm sure that has a lot to do with this being our second go around at being new parents. Emma is for the most part a very calm baby. She was very alert upon birth and has been very mellow and relaxed since then.

My biggest hope for anyone reading this is to just educate themselves and realize there are more options out there than we initially think. Having a baby is a NATURAL process but we allow ourselves to get trapped and blindsided by the medical community thinking they know best. A hospital birth can be a wonderful, rewarding experience. But there are other options. Regardless of which option a woman chooses I just wish more would look at the possibilities of home birth, water birth, using a birth center, VBAC, etc. My only regret with Sophia's birth is that I didn't follow my gut and use a midwife and do a home birth for her too.

For more information about midwifery and home birth check out my midwives' website.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Emma's Birth Story (Part 2-Labor and Delivery)

* Disclosure: I may use words that may make readers squeamish...I gave birth, in a pool of water. You've been warned.

Phillip got Sophia up and out of our room so he could start filling up the birth tub. There was no way we could send her to school/daycare at this point. We were too involved in my labor, she had a runny nose and a terrible cough.

I labored on my exercise ball for a while longer. Sophia asked several times if I was okay and I assured her I was. At one point I got very cold and put a blanket over my shoulders. She stood by me and gently rubbed my back. She busied herself with juice and toys. She even indulged me in a little music that she played on her recorder. I intended to have music playing while in labor-a toddler playing the recorder was not what I envisioned but at least she was content.

By the time my mom and sister got home from the grocery store I had moved into the bedroom so I could sit on the exercise ball and rest against the side of my bed. Phillip had prepared the bed according to the instructions of the midwives-top sheets, waterproof mattress cover, pillows in trash bags and then cases etc. The tub continued to fill but obviously a standard hot water tank can only pump out so much water. He started heating water in pots on the stove to speed up the process.

Since I was recording my contractions on paper I knew they were between seven and five minutes apart and lasting for one to one and a half minutes each. At 8:15am I had Phillip call the midwife again. He told her she should head on over.

Kim was on her way to pre-natal appointments when she received the call from Peggy that I was in labor. She got to the house about 9:00am. She changed into scrubs, set up her supplies and checked my vitals.

I asked when I could get into the tub. She said at any point but the closer I was to delivery the better it would feel. In between contractions we would chat. She asked if I wanted to be checked to see how far along I was. I think we were both a little surprised...I was 8cm to complete! Emma would be here soon.

Kim added this "When I arrived, I never would have thought you were as far along as you were. I thought maybe 4-5cm. But, then, you started sounding much more vocal, and I thought you might be more like 6-7cm. But, by the time I checked you, you were 8 to complete, and your cervix was literally melting away as I checked. Definitely more like really soft butta :)"

I think I did one or two more contractions and was ready to get in. I was still in very good spirits upon being nearly fully dilated and entering the tub.

Entering the tub was amazing. The warm water just enveloped me. My mom said she wished she could have had a recording of me. I went from moaning through most all of the contractions to relief, relaxation (as much as I could be), to a sense of focus on the next step.

Being in the water is like stepping into a hot tub after a good work out. The feeling of having your muscles melt away from you and the buoyancy of the water helping to remove the tension from your body.

Through the next round of contractions I labored mostly on my knees with Phillip outside the tub on a step stool. We held hands and breathed through the contractions. By this time Peggy, the other midwife and woman who started Birth By Design, had arrived to assist with the birth. Everyone was in the master bedroom gathered around the tub. I realized I hadn't alerted Phillip's mom that I was in labor. My mom called her and she was able to hear me moaning through a contraction. Mom asked Kim if she had a guesstimate on how much longer it would be-while always hard to guess Kim erred on the side of caution and said an hour.

I knew it was getting close to time to push. By now I had gotten off my knees and was sitting. I could brace with my toes through each contraction by pushing my toes into the sidewalls of the pool. I had Phillip on my left and Julia on my right. Sophia was right next to Julia. A gripped each of their hands through the contractions. I told Kim I had to push and she said to go ahead. I gave a little push with the next contraction. The next contraction was the big one.

I felt the baby come through each of the stations of the pelvis. Including when she hit whatever nerve runs from the leg to the pelvis. OUCH! I think that could have been more painful than some of the contractions. As I pushed it was like a cork had popped. I could feel the mucous plug pop, the water break, and then she was really on her way out. The one thing I did yell during the whole process? "SHE'S CROWNINGGGGGGG!!!!!" And very quickly I could feel the rest of her body come through the birth canal and out. She was born at 10:15am.

I don't remember seeing her swim through the water. Phillip saw Emma make her way from between my legs and literally swim up to the surface. Kim reached into the water, caught Emma and put her on my chest. Once she took her first breath of air she cried with delight. She was here. We are now a family of four.

Emma laid on my chest for about 15 minutes. I continued to contract. Once the cord stopped pulsing Peggy and Phillip clamped and cut the cord. We finished the rest of the birth process on the bed. This is the only part of the whole labor and delivery that we didn't have Sophie witness. Kim checked to make sure Emma was healthy, had all the right parts, and was declared "perfect." She weighed in at 7lbs 10oz. and 20 1/2" long.

Emma has been alert and calm since birth. I was in bed eating lunch and calling family and friends around 12:00pm that day. We know we want one more child (hopefully our boy!) I will do a home water birth that time too. Even my mom said she is a convert!

Next post: Emma's Birth Story (Part 3- Compare and Contrast between Sophie's Birth and Emma's)

Emma's Birth Story (Part 1-Pre-Labor)

* Disclosure: I may use words that may make readers squeamish...I gave birth, in a pool of water. You've been warned.

Emma was due March 6. I could tell she was not going to arrive that day. I tried to follow my own favorite advice "Babies are born on their birthday, not their due date." But I was anxious.

I had had some Braxton Hicks contractions, cramping, and other pre-labor feelings but still felt way too good for labor to be knocking on the door. I had kidded with my colleagues that I would be there on March 7. I could have gone...but opted not to. I declared my maternity leave as of March 7 and stayed home. The last thing I wanted to happen was to have labor start and be over an hour away from home.

I was okay on Monday not being in labor yet. We ran some errands, did a few things around the house and started reupholstering a chair. I figured if we began a big project that labor would of course start because we were onto other things. No dice. For three more days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I waited-impatiently.

We tried a few "home remedies" - chicken Parmesan, acupressure, pineapple, black licorice, "what got you in, get's you out," raspberry leaf tea. Nothing seemed to be jump starting the process. I was really thinking I should have gone to work and I was wasting my maternity leave.

Wednesday afternoon Sophia came home from school with a cold. This turned out to be the perfect storm. We put her to bed that night and I told my mom and sister to be prepared. Now I'll go into labor because I have to focus on Sophie too.

Sophie was up around 11pm and needed her pull-up changed and was coughing and couldn't get comfortable. I changed her and settled her into her sleeping bag on the floor. Around 2am she was awake again coughing a lot and generally miserable. I needed to sleep so gave in and let her come to bed with us. I didn't want to catch her cold but sleep was a priority at that point. She tossed and turned and flopped and fussed. Sleep was a joke.

Thursday, March 10, 2011
At 3 or 3:15am I realized I was having contractions. They were manageable and about 20 minutes apart. I would wake with each one, check the clock, go back to bed. The alarm was supposed to go off around 4:30am but because I wasn't really sleeping I was able to preempt it and get Phillip up. He was supposed to travel to Gettysburg with his students for a two-day trip. I told him he wasn't going, I was having contractions. We talked about him heading to the the school to see the other chaperon and the students off. Within the hour I told him he couldn't do that either.

So at 4:30am I got up, told Sophie I would come back to bed in a bit, showered, had coffee, ate a bagel and checked the internet to confirm I could be having contractions without my water breaking or loosing my mucous plug.

I sat in the living room on my exercise ball, having contractions, watching the news, and cleaning out my Crackberry for about an hour. I was most certainly fully in labor-I wasn't going back to bed. I called the midwife around 5am to let her know I had been having contractions but my water was still intact. She said to call her when my water broke or 8am which ever came first.

Sophie continued to sleep-probably the most restful sleep she got that night. I continued to have contractions and just wrote down the timing on paper to gauge if they were getting closer and stronger. Phillip sprung into action cleaning, gathering, organizing. He got the bassinet down from the attic, did laundry and sundry other things to prepare for the birth. I was totally fine laboring through the contractions on my own at this point because they were manageable and I didn't really realize how strong or close together they were!

At 6:30am I had him wake up my mom and sister. They came into the living room, sat on the couch with their coffee, and stared at me. It was like they were watching television. "Hey, what's going on?" "I'm in labor. What are you doing?" I sent them to the grocery store for some last minute items I knew we needed. Milk, butter (salted and unsalted), apple juice, and ice cream. After all, if Emma was going to come we needed ice cream.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Here Comes Emma

Emma has finally decided to make her appearance sometime today...hopefully.
The birth tub is full and the midwife is here. Emma's heart beat is healthy and Kelly is fully dilated.

Now if we can stop Sophie from putting her bath toys in the birth tub....

Ghost Writer

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Still waiting...

I guess I was just born to incubate. It must be warm and cozy in there. It's two days past my due date.

I'm not really fretting that much it's just that I feel like I should be at work. I opted to just go ahead and start maternity leave yesterday. I figured being calm and relaxed and not stuck in the terrible traffic on I-66 would be better than being an hour or more away if and when my water breaks!

A friend's mom, a nurse, calculates due date differently. Date of last period, count back three months, add 7 days. So that puts my due date at March 9. Tomorrow. I can deal with that...but I'd like her to be born then too. I'm ready to meet her!

I've had chicken Parmesan, black licorice, acupressure, spicy food. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Birth Tub

We have the birth tub set up in anticipation of labor. As Sophie says "that's a cool birth tub mom." Thanks, Soph, you're opinion on such matters is important!

It is set up but not full yet. We had to rig up an adapter for the shower head and when the time comes will run a garden hose from the shower to the tub. The tub gets filled with warm water and has a heater built in to maintain the heat.

My favorite item that comes with the tub is a small fish net, like you'd use in an aquarium. I'll let you guess what that is used for.

I did ask the midwife what the two drinking straws are for in the birth kit. I was hoping they were for something cool like an emergency tracheotomy but...wait for it...they are for drinking! The midwives encourage drinking while in labor! (Something they don't allow you to do while in labor in the hospital.)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Baby on the horizon

I had my 39 week appointment with the midwife yesterday. I am 2 cm and 60% effaced. She said my cervix was soft, very soft. I asked "How soft? Like a rotten banana?" She said "Like Butter." My cervix is "like butta" that's one for the quote book!

So here we go! I'm working from home today tying up some loose ends. I feel pretty good but it is a comfort to be here just in case I start to go into labor.

For the curious I will be blogging and on Facebook when I can be. My sister will be ghost writing for me and posting in both places. You can follow me on Twitter too. I'm going to label posts "labor" so you can easily find and follow my home birth experience.

Hopefully by the time the weekend is over I'll be the mother of two girls!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sooner or Later

I have been teeter tottering between if this baby is coming soon or not. Some moments I feel she will let me know she's ready to come out at any moment and the next minute I think she is going to incubate as long as she can.

I have kidded with coworkers that I'll be at work on March 7 (day after "due date) and also joked that Emma is fully aware of Sophie's tantrums of late and not coming out until she settles down!

Last night I was uncomfortable, hot, sweaty, upset stomach. I labored into bed and turning over is like an Olympic event. I think I've picked Sophie up one too many times the past few days because I feel like my abdominal muscles are stretched out and I've done too many sit ups (which is most definitely not the case!)

No tell tale signs of labor have presented themselves. So I'm just impatiently waiting at this point. The only thing that is indicative of her arrival is my nesting instinct. We still have a lot on the "to-do" list and I think Phillip is a little worried I'm going to have him running around like crazy tonight getting last minute things in order.

Here is what I'm looking like at 39weeks, 3 days.

It's hard to tell what I look this time around compared to when I was pregnant with Sophia. You be the judge!