Saturday, August 22, 2009

Birth Quilt and Birthday

Today was my daughter's first birthday. We will have a small party at my parents' place tomorrow, but today we just stayed home and appreciated our family (as much as we could with a screaming toddler and fussy one year old).

Last year my mother and I both independently came up with the idea of a "birth quilt", and both independently picked out the same pattern. This pattern spoke to me, and I knew that she was making it, but never imagined how beautiful it would really be. Last weekend she gave me this wall hanging, "Lone Star Spiral", in celebration of the birth of her grandchildren. The pictures don't do it justice.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A year ago...(birth story)

My baby will be one year old tomorrow. I have been thinking a lot lately about a year ago and how much has happened since then. A few days after our daughter was born I wrote the following about the birth....


My midwife, MW, and her family stopped by to check in at around 4:30 on Friday. She did a quick prenatal while the kids and husbands played in the yard. They left about 5:30 and then our son, D, and I helped WanderingDad cut some lumber for the new play house and I started to get dinner ready.

Around 6pm I noticed that the contractions started getting pretty frequent and stronger. By 6:30 I called MW and my doula, MC, to tell them that I thought real labor was starting and wanted to give her a heads up. We put my parents on stand-by but told them we would try to get D to bed at our house. We quickly had a bit of dinner and soon I had to "sing" through contractions. I called MW back a little before 7pm and told her that I would want some company soon and that she could call MC and the "supervising" midwife, DB, who was over an hour away. I also called my parents to tell them to head this way to get D. They had people at their house and had to get send them on their way before they could leave, so they left around 7:05 for the hour drive over here.

WanderingDad rushed around trying to get D's last minute things together and start filling the birth pool, clean up tools in the yard, etc. D did really well and hung out with WanderingDad most of the time. WanderingDad said he handled me "singing" very well. MW arrived around 7:30 and I think contractions were around 4 minutes apart by then. I was going on all fours for contractions. She listened to baby a bit and everything seemed fine so she just hung out and started getting things ready. MC showed up shortly afterward and joined us in the basement. The hot water ran out about half way through filling the birth pool (we think an element is out in the water heater - great timing...). WanderingDad was still trying to get things together upstairs for D to go, and MW had him boil a few things since she wasn't sure DB was going to make it in time.

Things were getting pretty intense by then. MC and D played ball down in the basement with us, and D didn't seem to be at all upset by the fact that I was not being exactly quiet during contractions. The only time he got upset was once before MW and MC got there when he and I were playing ball and I had to quit during a contraction. That made him mad. :) During some of my contractions when I was down on all fours D came over and crawled underneath me saying I was a bridge. Amazingly, it didn't bother me to have him there and crawling under me. I hugged him and talked to him some between contractions.

Around 8pm (I think) I was ready for him to be out of the way so I could have peace and have MC focus on helping me. We sent him upstairs, but he wanted to come back down and play. Luckily my parents showed up right then and WanderingDad put the car seat in their car and D was thrilled to see them and to go with them - we had been talking about how he would go to their house while mommy had the baby. My mom could hear me working hard and didn't even come down to see me, which was just fine with me. I was glad to have D out of the way, but I was also glad that he got to be there for part of it.

After that things happened very quickly. The contractions were very intense and I was glad to be done with each one. There wasn't much time in between to rest, and I heard MW tell MC that I had 3 in 10 minutes. I started feeling a little water with a few contractions and so they put some pads underneath me on the floor. I was leaning on the bed on the floor for the contractions. I just let my body take over and didn't try to do anything in particular, just what felt right. MC and MW asked a few times if that contractions had felt different - said I sounded different. Soon we had more water and they said that I was starting to open up. I was kind of feeling the urge to push and they said to just do what felt right.

After a few more contractions I was really pushing. It was really intense, but happened very quickly. Once I was pushing the contractions were a little farther apart with more time to rest in between. WanderingDad was there by then and was able to see what was going on. He saw her crowing and then saw it when her eyebrows were out and then her nose, head, etc. Later they told me that it's really neat to watch a baby come out when mother is on all fours since baby is looking up (in ideal position). WanderingDad was not grossed out by it at all like he thought he would me. It was all so calm and lovely (except that I was working darn hard ;-) ). The baby came out around 8:27 I believe.

There was a fair bit of bleeding so they had me get up on the bed and lie down. The bleeding pretty much stopped then and they think that the placenta separated when I had her and that's what caused the extra bleeding then. They put her up on me and we got to look at each other. It was lovely. DB showed up shortly afterward and said everything seemed fine.

After a while (no idea how long) they clamped the cord and WanderingDad cut it. They tied it off with string so she doesn't have a big hard clip - that's nice. Then they had me help deliver the placenta. WanderingDad got to hold the baby then. They checked out the placenta and put it in a bag in the freezer so we can do as we please with it. After a while they checked me out - while DB was still there. I had a small tear on the inside, but it didn't go all the way through and there was no need for stitches. Everything else was fine.

They weighed baby and wrapped her in a different blanket since the first one got kind of cruddy. We weren't ready for diaper or clothes. DB went home after a while and we hung out in the basement for a while with MW and MC. We didn't take many pictures because we had the lights low and the flash really made the baby jump. When I was ready they helped me get upstairs and take a shower. I had managed to get blood from my shoulders to my toes and was happy to stand in nice warm water for a while. I was feeling really good. Mainly just weak and "empty" feeling. I guess my organs rearranging felt strange.

MW and MC washed off the baby's face and hair a little bit. She doesn't have much hair. The "cheesy" stuff (can't remember the real name) on the rest of her absorbed pretty well so we didn't worry about bathing her all over. She's nice and soft and lovely without a bath. I had a snack and got settled. MW and MC cleaned up in the basement and had a snack while WanderingDad and baby and I rested and talked and looked. We thought we knew what he name was going to me, but we weren't sure (and it changed the next morning). MW and MC got us settled and left around 11:30pm I think. WanderingDad and I talked a little more and when to bed shortly after that.

I didn't sleep well at all that night - probably all the hormones. The baby wanted to be snuggled right up next to me - I guess trying to get as close as she could to "home". Saturday morning we all snuggled for a while and then got up and puttered around a little. I felt really good except for being very tired and weak. By afternoon I was feeling a little more sore down below, but not too bad.

D did really really well at my parents place – his first night alone there. He was wound up when they got there so it was around 10:30 or so before he got to bed I think, but they said he slept well from 11-7am. He snuggled with my mom most of the night. The next morning he didn’t want to eat anything (not unusual) and was pretty grumpy by the time he eat much at 10:30. My dad went to work but came home at noon. They tried to take a nap and were nearly successful but D started thinking about us and wanted to come see Mommy and the new baby. So he slept some in the car on the way back over here.

When he got here he was not at all happy and wanted to go back to their house. Our daughter, SR, and I were on the front porch swing and stayed there for a while since we didn’t want to introduce her when D was in a bad mood. After about 20 minutes of sitting stubbornly in the car by himself WanderingDad convinced him to get out by offering a set of construction vehicle matchbox cars. That got him out to play in the driveway. But he pooped about the time SR and I made it around there, so he had to go in for a diaper change.

So we all went inside and D was just delighted to see the new baby. He wanted to hold her, so we let him sit on the sofa and hold her and then the both nursed. It was really sweet. He has been very good with her so far. Very gently and kind. He wants to hold her a lot, so we are trying to accommodate that request when possible and let him pat her when he can’t hold her. He’s a little distressed when she cries, but just wants to help make it better.

Bedtime last evening went well. MW came to do a checkup around 6:30, so we were a bit late on bedtime. It was 8pm by the time D was done with his snack, and by then he was pretty wound up. I got SR swaddled and to sleep over on the side of the bed so that D and I could have our regular bedtime routine. Part way through reading books she woke up and wanted to nurse and he was very patient and good for that. I got her back asleep and then he nursed for two minutes (that’s the limit at bedtime) requested and extra minute of boob time and then wanted to be “upside down superman” and fly over to his room and use the potty before bed. WanderingDad lay with him for a while and then was able to leave.

This morning when D came in he was all smiles and wanted to see the baby more than he wanted to nurse. I had already nursed her for about an hour, so she was quietly awake. That was nice. D nursed for a few minutes, but not his normal morning half hour. Then he patted the baby and felt her fingers and ears, etc. He is so sweet. WanderingDad changed SR’s diaper and then both children nursed a little more. The morning really went well. SR has really wanted to nurse a lot, so I carried her around nursing while I got some breakfast and then hung out with D while WanderingDad ate. D has been very interested in what she’s doing and it’s lovely to see him so caring with her. I’m sure that there will be rough times ahead, but so far he’s being an absolutely wonderful big brother. D wanted the baby to go grocery shopping with them this morning, so we had to convince him that she would stay home with mommy.

So I’m tried and should probably be resting this morning while WanderingDad and D are out, but I really wanted to type some of this up while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Sibling Breakfast

Every evening we leave a jar of cereal on the toddler table in the living room because our son likes to have some food available first thing in the morning (and sometimes he gets up before us and we don't feel like getting up to help him). Lately the kids have been sharing their half pint jar of Shredded Spoonfuls. It's really cute to see them eat breakfast together.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

calendar play

Our son always asks what day it is. "What today called, mommy. Mommy have to go to work today?"

After we found him neatly marking off days on our planning calendar, I got him his own whiteboard calendar. He works very hard at writing down something for each day and then erasing the whole thing clean.

Eventually we will try to use this calendar as an actual monthly planning tool for him (it is magnetic too, so I imagine making pictures to represent people/activities that he can put on specific days), but we're waiting for the newness to wear off and for him to be ready to not erase as soon and it's full. And we must find a hanging place that his little helper can't reach....