36 weeks, almost 4 weeks later

*Another evidence of the technological hold-up I’m mixed up in.  Here is a post I wrote almost a month ago, but due to inadequate access to working technology, it’s been sitting around in the draft file.  So here’s what I was thinking…a while ago.  (next up, baby news!)

Here I’ve been traipsing along, pretending I’m still in mid-second trimester.  And then Saturday, BAM, The End hit with a vengeance.  At first I chalked it up to too much heat and a long day.  But then I needed a nap on Sunday (still managing to fall into bed “early” and sleep like the dead) and again on Monday, and again on Tuesday…well, you can’t ignore the signs.

Signs like increased Braxton Hicks.  Fake-o contractions.

Or the baby beginning The Descent and all the odd and imminent sensations that go with it.  Only to pop back up this morning and give me some relief.  If Baby keeps this up, I’m naming it Bob.  (As in, bobbing up and down).

I’ve been feeling very cute with my round little belly and mourning the fact that no one has taken pictures of it.  So Amelie took one, just for documentation purposes.  I especially like my little belly button.

I hope to get a few more (and better ones, with better hair) before I get to the feeling-like-a-large-blimp stage.

{And no, I was not mopping the floor.  The chairs get routinely stacked on the table as soon as they are vacated or a very small someone hijacks them and uses them to get into all sorts of unauthorized hijinks.}

I’ve finally made a few ‘special’ things for the baby.  Booties, mostly.  The girl ones are just darling.

I’m making slow progress with my labor anxiety.  First I determined to savor every bit of this…this which may very well be the very last.

And when the savoring runs thin, I think of this awesome homebirth video where the mother is laboring and birthing twins (one unexpectedly a footling breech) unassisted…and at one point she finishes groaning through a contraction then looks up and says, “This is so f*$@* amazing!”  What a great attitude towards nature’s awesome birthing process.  (And then she apologizes, mid-labor, for using profanity, haha).

And when I’m too tired to muster up Gung-Ho, I turn to some of my favorite hypnobirthing videos.  The peacefulness, the centeredness, the inward turning.  I used this method with Levi, and while I didn’t experience an absence of pain, I spent most of my 7 hour labor like these videos show, peaceful and present.  This time I’d like to release myself from judging the presence of pain, to even more fully go along with the process for what it is, not for what a method said it should be.

But we’ll see, won’t we?

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Trepidation

I’m 34 weeks this week.

THIRTY FOUR WEEKS? Are you kidding me? How did my internal pregnancy counter stop around 25 weeks while real time kept ticking?

That’s three weeks from “full term”, six weeks from “due date”, and way way way too close to “labor”.

I’m, um, not ready yet.

But just because I’m not ready doesn’t mean that I’m reckless…the clothes are ready, the carseat is ready (oh, yeah, we’d better figure out a car with six seats and PRONTO), the baby swing is up and running (unless the kids turned on the music again and drained the batteries…whoever designed baby swings with a musical feature did not have more than one child). We’re pretty good to go in the details department.  All I need is a cheesecake in the freezer to instantly put back on whatever weight I lose at birth.

Despite my small (as usual) belly size, I’m definitely entering the ponderous state of The End.

You know those belly packs that they have for sex ed classes and expectant fathers to try on?  You know the ones that add the extra weight of pregnant breasts and belly?  I feel like I’m wearing one of those.  It’s odd.  I’m often overcome by a desire to rig up some sort of contraction to just release me from the added weight.

Edited to add:: Talk about a Freudian slip!  I want to rig up some sort of “conTRAPtion”…but I guess some sort of contraction would probably do the trick as well.  hahahahahaha.

Good thing I gained all that backside weight in the first trimester.  It’s keeping me balanced.

I get to the top of a flight of stairs with Levi on my hip and I’m out of breath, feeling like a wimp.  Sheepish.  Slightly disgusted.  But then I think, Who wouldn’t be out of breath when lugging an extra 50 pounds up the stairs?  Then I feel better.

The temperature finally spiked this week (trying not to feel guilty about running the AC, but desperate times call for desperate measures).  And both pools available to us are…unavailable.  Consternation of the cruelest sort.  The school pool is closed between spring and summer session…okay, no big deal.  The condo pool (for which is paid an exorbitant amount of dues) is unavailable due to ducks.

Ducks.

I don’t think I like ducks anymore.

(This is the home owners association that let the pool remain closed for four months of the spring/summer two years ago.  They are not known for quick and urgent action on pool matters).

In other news, I’m working on my labor attitude.  My birth preparation philosophy this time around is to BE HERE NOW.  Take it moment by moment.  With calm, centered breathing.  I know I can do this…I’ve done it twice*.

*Amelie’s labor had nothing remotely in common with moment-by-moment or calm, centered breathing.  That labor basically took me and shook me until I didn’t know which way was up.  A completely out of control vortex of wildness.  In the birth video you actually hear me saying -crying? Baby, just come out!  Please, just come out!

But, by the same token, I also find myself in long conversations with myself about what kind of labor I think I could handle gracefully.  Without undue anxiety in the preceding weeks.  And my parameters usually involve “painless” and “short”.  Which is really not very helpful, considering.

I’ve definitely got some psychological work to do here.  But not at night…it’s not a good idea to try and be rational and calm at the tail end of a day.  Somehow, I’d like to move from the thought of starting labor as a shrinking, oh no, oh no, oh no to wow, this is exciting or hooray or at least a kind of vigorous let’s get this show on the road.

But you know what?  It’s night, the tail end of a long and productive day and I’m lacking in oomph, to put it mildly.  Not the time to think about this stuff.  Let’s do it tomorrow instead.

Full days

It’s been a whirlwind of a two weeks since I was last here.  I guess I was just too busy living, to borrow (and maybe send you to) Renee’s words.

Suddenly I’ve transitioned to the quiet, endless days of mid-pregnancy to The End, and the scramble to get things “ready”.  Although, the baby clothes that are sitting quietly in stacks on my dresser would not testify to any “scrambling” on my part.

And here I am, mid-morning (I almost said early morning, but then I looked at the clock), sneaking a few minutes to write when I really should be mopping the floor.  And no, I can’t put it off another day, we have company coming.

When it seems as though the whole world is putting school away and taking summer out, we are taking school out (and rejoicing that hot summer has not yet appeared).  We had taken somewhat of an extended spring break from school, and now we have launched into a summer session (which is going really well).

I’m working to get a good school routine going before the baby comes…with the idea that it will help us more easily take school back up after the baby comes.  Which I think is pretty logical.

These days are full.  Not hectic, but full.

 

 

making room

20110513-082632.jpgOne of my favorite baby gifts from my first pregnancy was a tender little Willow statue of a pregnant mama.  (Pictured third from the left).  And thus followed my first (and probably last) adult collection of things that are simply pretty.

The only one that managed to escape the last six years unscathed was the Papa statue.  The rest, as you can see, have been cracked, smashed, beheaded, destroyed.

All accidentally.

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Except for this one.  Someone thoughtfully provided her with a face.

When I took these pictures a couple of months ago, this post was going to be a wry cry for advice…should I try (again) to glue the pieces together?  Or advice for my rather sad self on dealing with the destruction of my pretties.

But this week I undertook a fairly serious overhaul of our junque and finally got up the courage to toss them in the garbage.  On top of the watermelon rinds.

It stung.

Please, I beg you, nobody tell me that I could have fixed them…you will upset my fragile equilibrium on this matter.  Haha.

Sometimes emotional connection is really no reason for holding on to things.  Which is perhaps why it might not be the best idea to purge when pregnant…it seems like everything has an emotional connection.  College assignments and notes, books that I will never read again, toys that no one likes except me…and I don’t play with them.  Wrenching business, I tell you.

But after donating a fairly significant load of stuff this week, I feel like there is still more crud hanging out here in my dwelling.  Maybe even two more loads of stuff.  Stuff I’m hanging on to that I really should clear out.

I actually love this part of pregnancy, this inborn drive to make room for new life.  I feel like I should go to counseling and clear out the past, go to a sauna and clear out the pores (not when pregnant, I know, I know), go to the dentist and clear out the plaque. Or whatever.  It’s the spirit of the thing.

But I’ll probably just go upstairs and see if there is anything else I can clear out of the closet.

Stylin’

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My new (much shorter!) haircut, minus a smile. Because apparently I can’t smile and hold still at the same time.

Of course, it will never look the same again. I have neither the patience nor the skill to round brush and blow dry at the same time.

And I’ll have to wash it tonight because of the whole ‘heightened sense of smell’ bit. Right now, I’m all about free and clear products and taking out the trash frequently. Or more frequently than frequently.

I told Kelly that I just want to rub something in it and go. Technically, that is not true….what I’d really like is to just brush it and go. But I think that’s like asking for the moon.

Brush-and-go + me = winner of fluffy sheep look-a-like contest = ewww

And I like fluffy sheep.

I’m loving the new length so far and trust that it will be light and easy for the summer, and do a better job of masking my disappearing jawline than the long style. Haha.

–posted from my iPhone while waiting for the three naughty kittens to just go to sleep already!

Vain about Veins

Gorgeous.

I’ve been feeling like this pregnancy is going by way too fast.  But when I look at my legs, I’m a little concerned that the next 16 weeks or so is going to result in the utter destruction of my leg. And my future leg…as I’m told that only the spider veins are zap-able.

Of course, I love my Grandma’s philosophy :: If someone doesn’t like my varicose veins, they don’t have to look at ‘em. (Does that go for me, too?  If I don’t like them, I don’t have to look at them?)

But I don’t want people thinking my husband beats me.  You know. 

Limp Creativity

Maybe I should go back to napping every day.  It would leave me with some get-up-and-go in the evenings, after the children are tucked in and settled down.

Which is pretty much the only time I have the quiet and space necessary to do creative things that involve my mind.

Like stringing together sentences.  Coherent sentences.  Or deciphering sewing patterns. Or doing something other than staring blankly at a screen or a book.

Without a nap, 7PM finds me like a stalk of limp celery.  Half hanging over the edge of the refrigerator shelf.

Limp celery is incapable of creativity.

Or rational thought.

Or any thought, for that matter.

There are about a hundred things that I’d like to do this evening ::

(let’s make a list, shall we?)

  • work on the slipcover I’m sewing for an armchair (out of a painter’s drop cloth!)
  • finish the doll dress I’m making for Amelie’s birthday
  • work on putting together the Easter program for church
  • blog about something other than the immediate bleary-eyed and unfocused sensations that manage to reach a muddled brain
  • write a novel, just like that
  • practice (boy, that’s a novel idea)
  • make something pretty
  • cook something yummy
  • CREATE SOMETHING (this one counts for the other 92 things on my list of 100…in case you were counting…um, I actually had to take a minute to do the math, correctly)

I suppose I should remember that I am currently involved in an full-time creative project.  Called gestation.

But I have more untapped creativity! I do!

It’s just that it’s only available at about 10AM.

How do you make an appointment with peace and quiet at 10AM, and (possibly more tricky) how do you get 7PM’s work-done/deeds-finished/creativity-ready self to show up?

Lent Begins

Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been and are not. Lent is the grace to grieve for what we should have done and did not. Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not. Lent is not about penance. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.

Lent is a summons to live anew.

~Sister Joan Chittister

I’m not sure that I wish to fully embrace this particular Lenten journey.  Pregnancy has a way of cleaning everything out that has been stored in my attics and basements.

It pretty much makes me feel like this most of the time.

I suppose that Lent is a type of “pregnancy”…a time of waiting, excruciating vulnerability, getting rid of the old junk to make way for new life.

Maybe I should count myself blessed to be ahead of the game, already prepped and ready to go on this journey, thanks to coursing hormones and general biological upheaval.

Maybe I should gather courage to embrace the raw meat.  Become an emotional sashimi enthusiast for the duration of Lent.

But, frankly, it’s daunting.  I’d rather just get to the “new life” bit.  (Wouldn’t we all?)

Hi Baby

19 weeks, 0 days, ultrasound.

Hello, Baby!

It looks like Baby has Amelie’s nose.

And no, we didn’t find out if it’s a boy or a girl.  We’re going to go for the surprise this time.  And I don’t feel the least bit antsy about it.  With the other three I was counting down the months to the ultrasound to find out if it’s a boy or a girl.  Maybe it’s because we now have experienced both genders.  Maybe it’s a primal knowledge that I have clothes for either sex, and can provide for the baby.  I just know that I will be super disappointed if for some reason we find out.  I’ve even started to get peeved at knowing the baby’s heart rate, because I know what rates are typical for boys and typical for girls.

I was thinking over the ultrasounds of our babies and how even then they were showing bits of their personalities.  Lia was, despite my full bladder, hiding down in the pelvis and refused to come out.  She’s the home-body, always preferring to stay at home.

Amelie was so wiggly it took the technician forever to get the required pictures.  She’s still wiggly.  Like she told Devo the other night, “I have to wiggle.”

Levi was calm and we sped through…until the end, when the tech couldn’t get a view of the top of his head.  Levi is still the calmest of the three personalities.

And this baby hardly moved, very relaxed.  S/he seemed to be enjoying the massage.  We spent 20 minutes trying to get the baby to roll over so we could get a picture of it’s spine…baby finally did kinda roll…the wrong way.

They let the whole family into the room…the policy is to only bring one person.  But we brought them all and hoped for the best.  Amelie was entranced.  At one point when the baby’s hand  moved, Lia gave the baby a high five.  Levi chatted about the baby in Mommy’s tummy, and then told his favorite joke, which is that there is a baby in Pappie’s tummy.  Or Levi’s tummy.  Then he laughs and says, “Nooooo.”

Playing Catch-up, as usual

Oh, for pity’s sake.  I haven’t been blogging because I had a stellar birthday that deserves a big post, complete with pictures.  But that’s too much for my post-children’s-bedtime self to handle.  And I must blog in chronological order!  Right?

In other words, I’ve suffered from another attack of perfectionism…get it all right, or not at all.  <sigh> I’ve killed the Big P monster time and again, but it crops up unexpectedly.

Perfectionism, I slay thee again!  Stab, stab.  Bury.

Things are ticking along here, peacefully.  I’m 15 weeks along now…Baby is the size of a navel orange.  Due to gestational appetite and inadequate exercise, I am increasing in width and breadth at a rather alarming rate…navel orange notwithstanding.

At least I’m growing symmetrically.  You could say that I’m <ahem> well-rounded.

Lia is still fascinated with Shakespeare.  We’ve only got one more renewal on our Shakespeare books at the library.  Then what will we do?  Ah, check them out with Lia’s card, that’s what.  Problem solved, check!

We watched Twelfth Night, but I decided against Much Ado About Nothing for the girls.  Too earthy, I think, for their tender years.  I, however, watched it almost twice. We’ve read books about the Elizabethan era, and Shakespeare’s London.  I, myself, have been doing some ‘adult’ reading, and haven’t been able to decide if I should bring up the possibility that Shakespeare possibly isn’t Shakespeare.  I’m just curious how Lia would take that bit of news.  But it’s probably unnecessary at this time.  Haha.

Their imaginary play is peppered with characters such as Olivia, Maria, Juliet, Romeo, and Viola.  There are even drawings of the inventive “Julia” Caesar (she’s a girl, apparently a cousin of Julius?).

Of course, after a morning of listening to the story of Saul/Paul on Adventures in Odyssey recordings, they were travelers to places like Tarsus and Damascus.  (And how could they kill Stephen just by throwing rocks?  That wouldn’t kill anybody!)

I rarely worry that my little girls aren’t learning enough.  At almost every point in the day, I can identify something that they are learning.  They spend almost an hour on the couch every morning “reading” while I clean up breakfast and make lunch.

<segue!>

It is infinitely easier to make lunch directly after breakfast for a number of reasons.  But it is currently most convenient because Levi is usually preoccupied with morning play.  Otherwise, the minute I begin to prepare a meal, he decides that he is perishing with hunger and must hang about in the kitchen (most often on my leg) with raised voice, wailing and lamenting his imminent demise if he doesn’t immediately get “noo-noos”.  (noodles = food)

I’ve been hit early with the second trimester nesting impulse.  Due to some events that made it necessary, closets are being organized (against our wills, Papa!  against our wills! ~Pirates of Penzance).  And I’ve been working on a number of projects, most notably upgrading our ghetto furniture into something with a little more beauty.

Very important in the last few weeks is that I have remained faithful to my New Year’s resolution to be more methodical.  Meals are still rather hit and miss, but I’ve made great HUGE strides in mess management.  Like, Gigantic.  I’ll tell you all about it soon.  I’m sure the method is here to stay, but it’s kind of silly to say “hey, this is a great way to do it, and I know because I’ve done it for two weeks!”.  That would be like those amazon reviewers who review the product BEFORE it arrives in the mail.

Miscarriage – The Club I Never Wanted To Join

We just got news from our close friends Greg and Allison that they lost their baby at 10 weeks along. She is scheduled for surgery tomorrow at 3pm.

I hope that no one will tell them that it’s “God’s Will” that the baby died.

I hope that no one will tell them that it’s “better off this way”.

I hope no one will be quick to urge them to “try again”.

I do hope that they will find, as I did, that there is a hidden host of people who have shared their experience.

And I hope that they can share their pain with these people who still have their own lost babies tucked deep inside their hearts.

Um, there’s something in the freezer

Opened the freezer the other day and noticed an unidentified ziplock-bagged blue package in the door.  Thought it might be more maternity pads.

It was a placenta.  Frozen.  Forgotten.

Not exactly ewwww.  I like blood and guts too much to be grossed out.  But it was definitely a little…unsettling.  How can you forget that there is a placenta in your freezer?

It’s gone now.

Hazards of home birth.

Levi’s Birth Story

Levi Aaron will be one week tomorrow.  (Yes, we finally named him.  Took some thinking.  I was gratified to find, after we named him, that we chose the most popular name on the baby name poll.)  One week ago right now I was starting labor and I wasn’t very happy about it.

I actually started having contractions on Sunday night.  After a week of “peace and safety” (read: absolutely nothing, not a twinge, not a cramp), things started up again.  And this time they were cramping in the front AND along the back. And to make them a little more believable, I had lost part of my mucus plug that morning…and my other two were born the same day as losing the mucus plug.

So I bustled around and fed the girls dinner and put them to bed and started making phone calls, to let the various people know that there might be a possibility of labor in the near future.  Karen (my midwife) decided to forgo the last night of camping with her family in San Diego and headed up towards home, only 45 minutes away instead of 2 hours.  My mom assured me that her day was clear.  And Devo came home after the church meeting.

And the contractions just moseyed along.  For another 24 hours.  At either 5 minutes apart or 10 minutes apart.  I thought, “At this rate, the baby will ooze out by next July.”

And then I thought, “Maybe this baby likes privacy.  Maybe I shouldn’t have called anybody.”  Hahaha.

So I slept, fairly fitfully, and took a nap, and went to the library and mailed boxes and went to yoga.  And, oh, yoga was great.  After a day of back cramps, the slow deep stretch class was just what I needed.  Things slowed down, I think I only had three contractions in the hour and a half.  By the end of class, my spirits were dropping and all I wanted was to go home and crawl into bed and sleep.

Devo went off to tennis and I put the girls in bed.  And that’s when it decided to start.  Of course the girls didn’t go to sleep easily.  And I was grumpy already.  And now trying to manage them with these annoying contractions threatened to send me over the edge.  So I abandoned my children to their mischief (which I could hear plainly) and crawled into the bathtub.

I’m so glad I didn’t know I was going to be in labor for seven more hours.  I had really been banking on two hours.  Ha.  Maybe next time.

By the time Devo got home, my mental state was tremulous indeed.  I squeezed out a few tears of self-pity.  And then I lay back in the bathtub and worked at pulling myself together.

Devo put the girls to bed, got me a heater and my swimsuit top and my toothbrush and the ipod with my relaxation and affirmation tracks, started filling the tub, setting out supplies, calling everyone.  Assuring Karen that I “looked pretty serious”.

My bath water got cold, so I transferred to the filling tub in the living room.  Lia woke up and came to watch.  Marni arrived.  Karen arrived.  Devo climbed in the tub with me.  And I labored.

It was a very relaxed labor.  I would have a contraction and then, nothing, for quite some time.  I imagine the gap were like 5 to 7 minutes between contractions, but what do I know?  Time is blessedly distorted in labor.  It would give me time to relax or to pull myself back together again.  Or to ask Lia for water or a towel (she was so sweet and helpful).

Amelie woke up and Devo got out of the water to go get her out of bed.  Amelie is in almost every picture that was taken during labor.  She played right around the tub, holding my hands, giving me kisses (“I love you, Mommy”), dabbling in the water, chatting away.  Amazing the empathy she has at just barely two.

Lia spent her time (that I saw) with Marni, reading and snuggling.  She would come to help me any time I asked.  People are so shocked at the idea of letting your children be with you during labor and birth, but I really don’t know why.  It is such a beautiful experience.

labor

Now, about hypnobirthing.  There is one visualization exercise that involves turning a dial on your “sensory panel” from ON (which is where it normally is) to OFF.  The idea is, letting endorphins work their magic and only experiencing comfort and relaxation.

It didn’t work for me.

I don’t know if I didn’t practice enough, didn’t have enough “faith”, or what.

But I do totally believe that eliminating fear eliminates tension, which in turn greatly reduces pain.

I also really liked the birth affirmations, which I had recorded myself (didn’t want to pay the additional $18) adding certain psalms and Bible verses in between.  Having them run continuously gave me something to ground myself with in between contractions.  I’d catch a blip here and a blip there.  The background music was my favorite “monk chant” that I got from my yoga teacher.

The Slow Breathing advocated by hypnobirthing was great.  Bradley also espouses ‘abdominal breathing’, but I like the hypnobirthing variation better.  Inhale for a fast count of 20 (or a slower count of 10), exhale for the same.  And, this is what made all the difference for me, pushing the stomach out out out while inhaling.  This extending of the stomach helped keep me focused and changed how I felt the contractions.

I found that if I could stayed calm and focused through two to three breaths, the main part of the contraction would be over and I’d be homefree.   In a manner of speaking.  In almost all the pictures, I look so relaxed, it’s almost funny.  My whole face is so slack, I laugh when I look at the pictures.

With Lia’s labor, also long and slow (9 hours), there was always an underlying current of pain.  The only moment of ease I experienced in her labor was when I threw up.  It was my favorite part of the whole experience.  Haha.

With Amelie’s labor (short, fast, and wild…2 hours), I had breaks in between the contractions, but the contractions themselves were so strong and overwhelming that the breaks were merely moments to try to recover my shattered self.

But this time I’d have a contraction, a manageable one, and then a long break.  It was rather…glorious…comparatively speaking.

Devo spent most of the time in the pool with me.  I’m surprised his arms weren’t sore…he pushed on my sacrum most of the time.  Towards the end Karen showed him how to squeeze my hips together.  The only problem was that when I’d try to tell him a contraction was starting and to push harder, he couldn’t hear my murmuring over the ipod.  I remember once just yelling out, PUSH! and then wondering if they were laughing at my imperious, demanding tone.  (He says they weren’t).  In between we’d just lay together, or I’d relax back on to him.

Sometime around 11, I asked Karen to check me.  I had decided that if I was at 4 cm, I’d need to brace myself for a long labor.  But surprise, surprise, I was 7-8 cm!  That was the best news.  I could feel myself grinning like a chessy cat, all proud and happy.  I perked up so much I thought I should tone it down.

I also thought that if I just willed it, I could dilate completely in a timely fashion.  So I concentrated on relaxing during contractions, and thinking “open, open, open”, and opening my mouth (a clenched jaw can inhibit dilation).

But to no avail, things just kept la-di-dah-ing.

Finally, finally, probably about 1am, Karen said I was complete.  I was starting to get uncomfortable AND impatient.  I had read so much about feeling the baby starting to move down and the mom moving quietly and seamlessly from Slow Breathing to Birth Breathing.  I was looking forward to that, the end stage.

Yeah, well.  Spent some time on the toilet, which to my surprise felt (comparatively) good.  With Lia’s labor, I had begged to pee in the shower, because sitting on the toilet made it so intense.  Tried the birth breathing.  Tried some pushing.  He wouldn’t budge.

There was a lovely, bulging sac preventing everything from moving.

Finally I decided to ask Karen to break it.  She suggested that I first try to pop it with my fingernail during a contraction.  No such luck, it was like thick plastic.

I think it took her like 7 or 8 tries with the amniohook to pop that sac.  It was a thick sucker.

By this time I’d had enough.  I was ready to be done.  Forget birth breathing, I was going to push. Back to the pool.

Now that the bag of waters was out of the way, pushing gave me results.  I think I pushed for 12 minutes (according to the video) after rupturing the membranes.

I was like a pushing machine.  I remember as he was crowning and it was stretching and burning thinking, “I was right, this isn’t the worst part”.  I was so proud of myself, I pushed and stopped and pushed and stopped and eased his head out. (I DIDN’T TEAR!!!! WOOHOO!!! …that’s a first).  I reached down to feel his face and had Devo (who was sitting behind me supporting me) feel his head, too.  Devo hadn’t felt the baby’s head with either of the girls, and I was eager for him to get to this time.  It is, after all, the best part…such an amazing moment when things are neither here nor there, suspended in space.  I asked Lia if she wanted to feel, but she didn’t.  I don’t know that she could have reached, anyhow.

And then, I don’t remember this from the other two, but I actually felt his head turn to align with his body.

I heard Karen asking if I wanted to catch the baby, but I didn’t respond.  She gave him a little support while I pushed out his shoulders and his body, and I heard her ask Marni to take a picture of him under the water before I lifted him out. Karen said that while he was still underwater, his eyes were open and he was moving his arms and legs.

1:58am.  April 21, 2009.

waterbirth

And then I lifted him up and out.  On the video I heard a shriek, a holler.  It was me yelling, “I did it!  I DID IT!”  I don’t remember that at all, but I wasn’t surprised.  My little self-pep talks through the whole labor consisted of, “You can do this.  Leilani, you can do it.”

And Amelie said, “Baby Brudder born!  Put him in the carseat!”

And Mom said that Lia’s eyes were wide, wide, wide.  Not quite scared, she said, just wide.

And then he didn’t breathe.  And we rubbed him and he didn’t breathe.  And we rubbed more vigorously and he didn’t breathe.  Karen felt the cord and decided to cut so that she could work on him.  So I stood up so that she could get at the cord (my cords are always embarrassingly skinny and short), and the shock of the air must have done the trick, because he started breathing and managed some cries.

And we were all happy.

girls with baby

Lia cut the cord.  She wanted to wear a blue plastic glove like Auntie Karen.

And then I lay back on Devo and we all admired our perfect new baby.  He looks remarkably like Lia.  Dark skin, dark hair, very similar features.  I had thought he was going to be dark.

It took forever to deliver the placenta.  Like 45 minutes or something.  I finally had to get out of the tub and nurse to help things along.

The baby had some moisture in his lungs, so he was patted and got it all drained out.  A nurse named Beth came along to assist Karen, and she took good care of our little baby.

I voted he was 7 pounds, 4 oz.  Somebody else thought maybe 7, 6.

He was 8 pounds, even.  21 inches long.

Long, long fingers.  Dark hair.  Beautiful little body.  Toes that can spread wide wide wide (good for yoga!).  Lots and lots of vernix.  Lots of downy, soft hair on his shoulders and back.

I took a shower…not quite the soothing glad experience I had so fondly remembered…the water never got very hot.

I had orange juice.  And cheesecake.  And, boy, was that cheesecake good.

I noticed that I was the only one to finish my piece.  I guess cheesecake doesn’t sound quite as good to normal people at 4am.

Devo put the girls to bed, I’m not sure what time.  But it was so amazing how they were awake virtually all night, and as happy and cheerful and contented as can be.

The baby was so peaceful, so contented, so quiet.  The next day he cried, and Devo came in from the other room to see what he looks like when he cries…he’s such a quiet little guy.

We crawled into bed about 6/6:30.

The girls woke up around 8:30, and we were off on Day 1.  My loving husband made me a delicious breakfast and we spent the day admiring our perfect new son.

I felt so good on Tuesday that I was asking Karen when I could go back to yoga and admiring my new, svelte self in the mirror (I love the deflated belly look…at least, I love it for the first week or two).  I was bustling about (okay, not really bustling, but compared to my energy level after previous births, I was bustling) taking care of myself and the baby while Devo did absolutely everything else.  Not tearing and not being exhausted from the labor made all the difference.

I’m going to try to jot down the different things from this last week that I wanted to record.  Hopefully I can remember them.  But now that I have the birth story out of the way, I feel I can jump forward to NOW without guilt.  🙂