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Archive for November, 2012

It’s done. NaBloPoMo has reached the end and I’m not going to lie, I’m glad. This was both the easiest and hardest of the four National Blog Posting Months I’ve participated in. Easy because, with a newborn, I almost always had something to write about. I never had that panicked feeling of Shit! Maybe I can dress the cat up in people clothes and post pictures to buy me an extra day. Hard because, uhhh, we had a newborn, and I don’t know if you know this or not but they’re kind of a lot of work.

Coordinating writing time went great when I could sit up to the computer, lay Ezra on the boppy to feed him and then hunt and peck with my free hand to cobble together a post or edit and upload pictures. Unfortunately it didn’t always work out so smooth and much of the time when I was writing I felt guilty because there are always just so.many.things. I know every mom says it and I will again freely admit how bad I am at math, but how one little baby can add up to so much extra laundry is just not mathematically possible. DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Having the completely imaginary pressure of the internet waiting for me to post will not be missed but it has been nice to have a focus. When one minute you’re holding a sweet, peaceful cherub, plump and happily slumbering in your arms, and the next minute the dog barks and said cherub turns on you and is all of a sudden simultaneously shooting spit-up down your back while having a massive poop and when you go to change that massive poop he starts peeing all over you and himself at the same time he is spitting up again HOW IS THERE EVEN ANYTHING LEFT IN YOU BABY and you have no idea which end to wipe first and how did things go so wrong so quickly so…yeah. To have some control amidst the chaos was a welcome break.

Another plus? Having this record of Ezra’s first days. One of the first things people ask you right after you’ve had a baby is So… are you done? For the record I think it’s totally unfair to ask someone who’s just had a baby if they’re “done” because more babies are really the last thing on your mind in the days after giving birth. And my go to answer is, well, Bill is done, so unless things fall through with Brad and Angelina, I’m probably done too.

In truth, I want four. The reality is though, that kids are expensive and holyhell a lot of work {also: THE PUKE} so I really understand why three is more than enough for Bill. Still, I think we’re both in the never-say-never camp as who knows? I might win big playing Bingo someday… you know! If I start playing Bingo! Point is, circumstances do change so we’re not closing any doors permanently but Ezra will more than likely be our last so having this record of his first weeks is pretty invaluable to me.

And now? I’m going to ride off into the sunset to revel in my family and enjoy the peace of the impending holiday season. HA HA JUST KIDDING! Did I mention we are throwing a pool party for many small preschoolers in honor of Keaton turning the big OH- FIVE? Because I am throwing a motherfucking pool party for many small preschoolers. And it is in two days and I don’t know what the hell I was thinking because DUMB and STUPID and I think I should probably buy some cake plates or a balloon bouquet or something oh god what is wrong with me. At least we don’t have another birthday to attend tonight, a full day at the dance studio tomorrow and our own packed evening of getting our tree and decorations up in the evening. OH SHIT WAIT. Of course we do.

With that? Thanks for once again for sticking out NaBloPoMo with me. I’m so grateful that people take time out to read about our adventures, even if it is only to laugh and be thankful you’re not as ridiculous as we are. Pray for my stupidity, Internet! I will need all the help I can get.

 

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Seriously. Not one thing of substance. Bill and I talked about how we were operating with such choppy, low amounts of sleep and we agreed that we were okay as long as we didn’t acknowledge how much sleep we’ve lost the last 5 weeks~ equating it with the whole Don’t Look Down mentality. Bill confessed he had started to look down over a week ago and Internet? I’m looking down right now and it is not a pretty sight.

So here, have some Adorable Baby while I stare off at the wall trying to remember how to spell my own name…

Good thing these cheeks make it all worth it, huh?

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{Parts One, Two, Three}

Believe it or not, even though I knew I needed an epidural I wasn’t ready to admit defeat. Thankfully after a 10 minute period of one continuous contraction, my midwife brought it up so I wouldn’t have to, and she did it gentle enough so I wouldn’t feel pressure but we all knew my body was wearing out and I hadn’t even begun to progress. At this rate, even if my body figured it out and began progressing at the normal rate of 1cm per hour, there was absolutely no way I would have any energy left to get the baby out. She suggested I get an IV put in so they could administer fluids because I was running on beyond empty and then if I decided on an epidural I’d be ready.

My midwife left the room to order the fluids and I asked Bill what he thought. To his credit, his eyes said Get the freaking epidural already but his mouth said We’ll do whatever you want. If you don’t want it you don’t have to. It took me roughly 4 minutes into the next continuous contraction sent directly from Satan with love, for me to say, fine go tell them to order the epidural NOW, NOW, I WANT IT NOW, WHAT IS EVERYONE WAITING FOR?

My nurse came back in to start the line. In her defense I’m never an easy stick, especially when pregnant, but she spent WAY to long attempting to jab me; the inside of my forearm was bruised from my wrist to almost my elbow for two weeks after the birth. After 20 minutes of being assaulted by contractions and a giant needle digging for a vein, she finally went out and got another nurse who did not look happy to be helping out. You could tell she was their vein ringer and even she had trouble getting the line in, eventually having to settle on a stick that didn’t get the best flow but was finally in.

I was more than ready for the anesthesiologist at this point but they had to drain at least one bag of fluids into me beforehand so during this time I was lost in a haze of pain so great I didn’t even remember what is was like to feel normal. Listen. I know labor isn’t supposed to be easy but from others I’ve talked to and videos I’ve watched, I find it a little unfair the way my body handles getting a baby out. I could see it if I had fast labors, so I had a tremendous amount of pain with progression and had a baby in my arms within 5-7 hours but the way my body does it? FOR THE BIRDS. Seriously. If anyone’s asking, I do not recommend you do it my way.

Sometime around 6:00, the anesthesiologist entered to start the epidural process. I’ve had two epidurals before so my hesitation and concern for the giant needle that would have to go in my back went something like this SHOVE THAT MOTHERFUCKER IN THERE, THE END. It was pretty tricky because you have to sit very still, meaning they like to insert the needle between contractions so he kept asking over and over, “Are you having a contraction right now?” And since the answer was always YES, DUMMY he just had to bite it and administer it and I had to concentrate very hard on NOT DYING FOR ALL THE PAIN. {Good Lord. I’m sorry about all the caps lock but YOU try writing a birth story without it. NOT POSSIBLE.}

The good news: It began to work!

The bad news: It began to work only on the right side of my body jesusshitasswhatthefuck?!

I had heard horror stories about this so I was admittedly very nervous when I realized I was only going numb on one half of my body. The Dr. was very calm and said as long as I was feeling numbness, the medication had made it to the epidural cavity and just needed a little help spreading out. It ended up needing a lot of help and time~ I had to lay on my left side and he kept pumping more and more drugs into me, so much so that I was completely numb from the waist down for 7 hours afterward. I think he was a little nervous that it wouldn’t kick in after 45 minutes, but finally it spread out and my body was able to relax and oooooohhhh boy did I need it.

Roughly 20 minutes after the pain meds started working, my midwife asked if I wanted to be checked. I was pretty pissed at my body at this point but wanted to know where we stood from here on out so I consented. As she was checking me her eyes got wide and she asked how many centimeters I thought I was.

“Five?”

“No.”

“Six?”

“Nope.”

“Seven?”

“NINE AND THREE QUARTERS.”

This is where I tell you that, despite how much I absolutely love to swear, I have never done so in labor. I KNOW! I’ll wait for you to get up off your fainting couch……. For whatever reason, something that comes so automatic to me in everyday life, completely disappears during labor~ I don’t get it either. So it was actually a pretty big deal for me to shout, “HOLY SHIT!” when she told me how far I dilated and even though something similar happened with both Rowan and Keaton after I got the epidural, it hadn’t happened that fast. I was beginning to think this baby wasn’t going to come for three more days so to know I was nearly complete meant that he would be in my arms soon. Or so I thought…

To be continued…

 

JUST KIDDING! Let’s finish this bad boy.

My midwife gave me a foot message to relax me before pushing. This will very seriously go down as one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced. To be laying in relative comfort, laughing and talking while getting a message after enduring so much pain was surreal. At 7:15pm I was complete and my midwife guessed, based on my experience with Keaton who came out with two and a half pushes after my epidural, that by 7:32pm I would be holding my baby in my arms. I was completely over-joyed at this notion! Also? Delusional! I won’t build suspense here and just flat-out tell you that this guess was off by almost exactly three hours.

At this point, after contracting continually for 7 hours and being relaxed by the epidural, my uterus had thrown in the towel, so I was given Pitocin to kick-start contractions again. I began pushing and immediately knew it wasn’t going to go that fast. With Keaton I was fully numb but I still felt how to push and did so very effectively. In order to get the epidural to take effect the doc had to over-administer so I had no idea what was going on below my belly button. Through this whole first session of pushing, which lasted a little over an hour, I thought this was the problem so I just kept straining and struggling harder. True to form, though, Ezra was still not ready to make his appearance and was not engaging properly. The ultrasound I had that morning showed that he was head down and face down~ just how babies are supposed to be born. Unfortunately, the real reason he wasn’t progressing wasn’t because I wasn’t pushing effectively but because sometime during labor he had flipped sunny side up. AWESOME! When my midwife attempted to turn him, his heart rate plummeted so no dice. Meanwhile, I was still exhausted but working so hard and after an hour of this my own heart rate was dropping and the oxygen they were administering between contractions wasn’t cutting it so my midwife told me I needed a breather which would let the baby labor down, hopefully delivering him to the front door so he’d come much easier when I resumed pushing.

I was disappointed but so tired, I knew she was right. Ezra also was being a stinker and no one could keep him on the monitor for more than a minute so my midwife and nurse took turns holding the monitor in place and chasing him around my uterus. At 9pm I started feeling pressure and really felt this was it. I resumed pushing and sure enough, his head was right there- they could see his hair with each push, but he was not making it around that last bend because he was face up. After an hour more of hard pushing, he began showing signs of distress so my  midwife asked me how I felt about an episiotomy. Uh…generally not great, I said. He had to get out soon though, so she made the first cut, and I pushed… then she made the second cut, and I pushed… then she made the OH SWEET HELL third cut, completing what I now lovingly refer to as my franken-crotch and I’m sorry I told you that, Internet, but I plan on using this post to outline to teenagers across America why unprotected sex is STOOOOOOOPID AND OUCH so it had to be said in all its horrifying glory. And even with being sliced from you-know-where to you-know-where, it still took a half an hour for Ezra to make his grand entrance into the world at 10:29pm.

And when he did? THE RELIEF. I had honestly begun to think that he was never ever coming out and when they all cheered when his head came out I seriously could not believe he was here and I had to be prompted to push the rest of him out because are you sure? Really? I looked at Bill in disbelief, He’s here? I asked. Yes. He’s here. And then in one flash he was lifted up, in the next I heard his sweet {loud!} cries and then he was on my chest and I finally got to wrap my arms around him and touch his perfect cheeks and fingers and nose and elbows and thighs and lips and I just wanted to take all of him in because, Internet? I waited a really long time for this moment and he was here and he was perfect and he was mine and what is with all this blond hair? I am way too impatient to ever wait to find out the sex until birth but I got a little piece of the surprise when I realized he had a full head of blond hair because what? I don’t make babies like that~ at birth my babies have thick, nearly black hair just like both Bill and I had. We’d briefly discussed how weird it would be to have a bald baby but I never pictured a little blondie so it was sort of neat to be surprised.

It took Ezra a little while to calm down~ I imagine being stuck in someone else’s pelvis for three hours sort of sucks~ but once we did skin-to-skin and I breastfed him for the first time, he settled into the world. Then they cleaned him up, weighed and measured him and they wrapped him in swaddles and laid him next to me and we got  to properly snuggle for the first time and Internet? It was everything I’d hoped for. Everything we’d worked and waited for. Times infinity and always.

:::Jazzhand:::THE END:::Jazzhand:::

Also just kidding! Of course we need old man newborn pictures!

First photo! {Get used to it, kid.}

Holding hands.

Together.

Snuggled up.

Brannie New Budders

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{Parts One, Two}

Before I pick up where I left off, I should explain the whole wanting to go drug free thing. While still pregnant, I had a whole series of posts planned out about Rowan and Keaton’s births and why this time it was important to me to try something different and I even typed up a massive post on Rowan’s labor and delivery, with one for Keaton in the works but then I was so miserable and tired and busy that the posts never saw the light of day.

Without going into either of those experiences it’s hard to explain why it was important for me to at least attempt a drug-free birth but what you need to know is that with both Rowan and Keaton I had labor dystocia {abnormally slow progress, specifically dilation in my case}. This basically means that I had very close together, very violent, ferocious contractions but my cervix would not dilate past a 3.5 on its own, sorta making that whole “getting the baby out” thing difficult. Both times I needed an epidural to relieve the pain so my body could relax and dilate and both times I dilated to near complete within an hour of receiving the epidural. Had this not worked I would have needed a c-section but thankfully it did and I’m grateful for it.

Only this time I really wanted to try to relax my body on my own. When I experienced a contraction I would clench my body up as a way to deal with the pain, tightening and pulling in on myself. Instead of viewing the contractions as tools that are opening things up to make way for baby’s arrival, I was really trying to turn my body into stone so I couldn’t feel the pain. I was so sure that if I could focus my mind in the right direction I would be able to dilate on my own and so I ordered the Hypnobabies home study program and began the meditations around 26 weeks into my pregnancy. I should say that I probably didn’t use the program as they intended. I had no desire to “hypnotize” myself, only to use the CDs as a meditation guide to get my mindset in the right place and I will say I learned a lot of great relaxation/meditation tools through listening to them but I wasn’t drinking the kool-aid. I did not buy that these would allow me to have a magical, completely pain-free birth. I did, however hope that they would help me to go as long as I could without pain medication so I could be as involved in the birth process as possible.

To give you an idea of the time frame, I had gotten the prostaglandin gel at around 12:15pm and was admitted to the hospital at about 12:25pm. After an hour or so of being monitored, and my contractions already coming 30 seconds to one minute apart and lasting more than a minute, it was time to start trying some pain management techniques to get my body to relax naturally. At around 1:45 I was offered the choice between a hot shower or bath. I did not feel like I could sit down at this point so I chose the shower, where I just let the water pour over me as I gripped the bar on the wall with each contraction. The nurse, Bill and my mid-wife took turns standing guard as I labored in there for almost an hour. The contractions were intense but I definitely feel like the shower helped me cope. My mantra the whole time was “open, open, open, open”. I kept repeating it in my head, and sometimes under my breath through the entire shower and I felt like it helped my body relax.

Unfortunately, because of the bleeding at the start of labor, the nurse needed to monitor me at least 20 minutes for every hour. My first nurse was very lax about this as she had found Ezra’s heartbeat right away and could see I didn’t want to be strapped down so she let me stay in the shower without interruption but I needed to be put back on the monitors when I got out. She set it up so I could rock in the rocking chair while hooked up and after 10 solid minutes she let me off, offering me a birthing ball which I accepted.

Bill set up my hypnobabies tracks on the i-Pod and so I rocked on the ball while listening to the meditations. I was still in an incredible amount of pain, but I found myself drifting off into the meditations, thinking about what my son would look like, when he would get here and how perfect he would feel in the crook of my arm. It’s hard to explain… I was certainly working hard, certainly feeling pain, but I was also at peace, very calm, and I truly felt excited that I was going to get the un-medicated birth I wished for.

Then? Shift change. And it was all over.

Bill had stepped out to make a few calls and while he did my new nurse came in. My eyes had been shut but I had that feeling that I wasn’t alone so I opened them and the new nurse was in my face, looking expectantly and when I paused my meditation she immediately began bossing me around, saying they needed to get me on the monitor right away and I had no choice in the matter. I was confused because I had just been hooked up not even 45 minutes ago and now that my concentration was broken the pain really, really intensified. All the literature on birth told me I could refuse monitoring but she was so matter-of-fact and dead-set on it that I didn’t feel like I was being given any choice in the matter so I did as I was told. She tried to hook me up while I was on the birthing ball but she kept fumbling around and couldn’t find the heartbeat so I moved to the rocking chair where she found his heartbeat but could not keep it on the monitor for more than a minute or so. After struggling with this for over a half hour she told me I needed to lie flat.

When she asked me to get into the bed I knew it was over. The whole time I felt that if I got back into the bed I wouldn’t be able to get out again and I was right. The pain was near constant and so very intense that I could NOT get back into my mindset of staying open. I found myself falling back to how I spent my labors with Keaton and Rowan which was gripping the bar of the bed, pulling into myself as hard as I could and praying that the pain would just be over. I was completely lost in the agony of contractions that would not let me catch my breath.

At 4:45pm the nurse checked me. At this point I was so lost in the pain but I rallied at the thought of knowing how much progress I had to have made over the last almost 5 hours of constant contractions. I had to at least be dilated to a six but I was hoping for a seven or an eight and WHAT WAS THAT?

Three.

THREE.

I had not progressed at all since being checked at my appointment. If I hadn’t been so exhausted I would have broken down sobbing, but as it was, I had no energy left to cry. But I was completely devastated because after all that work I knew what had happened and I knew what had to be done.

And………. yes, I’m totally going to make this four parts. I know. I totally suck.

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The Duke is one month old today! I’m going to lovingly bullet point this post as said Duke has taken to only napping in my arms {which isn’t ideal but I’ll take it over those two days where he wouldn’t nap at all}.

At one month…

* Ezra’s hair is magnificent. After his bath it sticks straight up, electric shock style, in a faux hawk. It is the best. The one down side of all his blond hair is that it only looks clean for about 4 and a half minutes after his bath, then it gets slick with a combo of baby sweat from hats and such and so. much. spit up eeeeww.

*Cloth diapering is going great. After a trial and error period, both Bill and I are fully comfortable with prefolds. We had been using disposable at night but even with only those 3 or so diapers a night we were spending more than we wanted. Ezra’s still waking up often to eat so we haven’t had to experiment with extra leak protection, but we have lots of extra doublers from our pocket diapers so it shouldn’t be a big deal.

* Big fat baby has already sized out of the newborn clothing items. To be fair most of this is due to the unfortunate side effect of Bowling Ball Butt from the cloth diapers but I bet the kid weighs close to 9.5 -10 pounds. We’re solidly in 0-3 territory but have already added some 3-6 to the rotation.

* On Saturday Ezra went on an outing without me for the first time since he was born. Daddy took him to the chiropractor so he was in good hands while I snuggled my two giant babies for a half hour or so. It felt really weird to be without him- like one of my appendages suddenly disappeared.

* He is no longer the newest member of the family~ his cousin Jackson was born exactly four weeks after him and even in the same hospital room, pretty cool!

*Breast feeding is going much better, the girls are mostly recovered from those first few weeks and functioning great and Ezra has already gained enough head control to feed more independently and efficiently, knocking the average feeding time down from 50 minutes to roughly 35.

* I don’t know what the chiropractor did last Saturday but the boy is pooping like it’s an olympic sport and he would definitely be a contender for gold.

*His eyes are getting so so big and blue. Just in the last week he’s really woken up to his surroundings. I’m 85% sure he is smiling with intent now and not just because he is peeing. He is also starting to experiment with his voice~ we’ve gotten quite a few adorable coos out of him.

* He has a predictable fussy period, which is unfortunately anywhere between 3 and 6am. He spends this time grunting loudly between fits of sleep. A fussy period is to be expected in any newborn but I’m not going to lie…the timing could be better. Unfortunately Bill and I weren’t consulted on what time worked best for us, which is sort of inconsiderate, Baby, but whatever. I’ve researched his specific symptoms and it appears the only thing for an immature digestive tract is time; although with the amount and frequency of spit-up, he definitely has some degree of reflux.

* There are probably a thousand more words I could write, most of them an ode to the adorableness of his cheeks and the perfect shape his lips form when he’s sleeping but I’d rather spend my time nomming his sweet little face than writing about it so, with that here are his one month pictures which are only semi in focus because I have barely gotten more than 3 hours of sleep at a time in weeks …

Hi! Look at how gigantic I am!

I’m already super good at karate.

It’s no big deal. I’m just that awesome.

See what mommy makes daddy do for a good shot? She’s awesome, too.

Can’t have a photo session without a silly shot with my brother, who knows ALL about being silly. I have much to learn from him, but I’m a pretty quick study.

 

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A mobile is supposed to be soothing, calming, quieting… Or also maybe scary as hell, sharp-toothed, ready-to-eat-your-soul dragons.

Yeah. Bill chose the second one.

 

PS~ Will someone please explain to me why there is a vulture tagging along? So it can pick the eyeballs clean after the dragon has eaten what it wants from its prey? And why is my husband not bothered that he has set this up circling our baby’s crib? He did say he was going to craft and hang some fluffy, white clouds to make it more kid friendly, but cotton fluffs will only go so far when trying to distract from the gaping maw of a flying reptile. Good Lord, this is disturbing, right? {Awesome, yes, but also disturbing.}

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Overheard as Keaton was giving Ezra the once over:

“The baby has a tongue, too?! …Woah.”

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