And together we learn

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The birth story

Here's the long version of the birth story.

I had a goal yesterday that I wasn't going to complain at all or cry. I was going to be positive and upbeat and just DEAL with the whole 9 days overdue thing. Steve and I figured that this whole process would come down to the midwife breaking my water, just like it did with the other three. Since we would have to transfer care, by law, at 42 weeks, it seemed like it was worth any risk of complication if we were going to end up at the hospital anyway. So yesterday was my day to be cheerful and just not stress about things.

Then my midwife called and she pretty much flat out refused to break my water, calling it negligent. So I broke the no tears goal as we talked about options and what to do to have this baby. At this point, I'd tried so many things, and was so tired of trying to stimulate my blasted uterus, and I felt like giving up. I contracted regularly, just no labor. Well, the midwife promised me that if I'd try her method of castor oil, then she'd break my water if it didn't work.

Castor oil! The one thing I was so adamant I WOULDN'T do, more than anything else. Tried it with Hazel, thank you very much, and once was enough. Nasty.

But I felt like I was up against this ticking clock, and didn't have many options left. I planted flowers and weeded my garden and cursed the midwife all the while. Andrea, my sister, came with me to buy the needed supplies. There are few people in the world you can purchase castor oil with--she's one of them.

I sent the kids to my mom's, just in case. Did the doses. Cursed life and wished to die a few times there, but we're just going to gloss over the details of this part for a moment!!!

The contractions had been regular, but really wimpy for hours. I started to have guilt that the kids were at my mom's and had her bring them back so they could go to bed here. Steve started to put together the birth pool while I alternated putting the kids to bed and pooping. Around 9:30, the kids weren't asleep and I was thinking that maybe this just might happen, so my longsuffering mother took them home with her again and put them to bed there. Steve and I went to sleep around 11, after I called my mom and apologized that nothing was possibly going to happen, and I'd be pregnant for ever.

Right before bed I took my second dose of castor oil. I had contractions while we slept, but I mostly slept right through them, same as all of them for the last few weeks. I woke up at 1:15, needing to use the bathroom. That's such a euphemism for what actually happens with the nasty stuff, but we'll stick with it. It sounds much more polite. I started having stronger contractions right when I got up, and after 5 minutes of them I called the midwife and my sisters. Normally I would never have called after such a short time, but I was shaking and teeth chattering through even the milder ones, with let me know that this was serious business!

There's an aside to the story that needs to figure in here. Last Sunday it was very difficult to make myself go to church, especially Relief Society (the women's part). Facing the comments was such a dread--it seemed much smarter to stay home and mope. But I knew that that's not the example I want for my kids, so I made the decision to do the hard thing and I went with a heart determined not to be affected by the comments. And it worked--I was genuinely happy and felt nothing but love and support from people. Here's the key part of this tangent. During Relief Society, I was given a gift. A blessing for obedience, almost. We sang a song that struck me with such force. The lyrics are:
I will not doubt, I will not fear,
God's love and strength are always near.
His promised gift helps me to find an inner strength and peace of mind.
I give the Father willingly, my trust, my prayers, humility.
His Spirit guides; his love assures, that fear departs when faith endures.

Not a hymn I was familiar with, but oh, the power of those words on a woman about to surrender to the power of having a baby!

So that hymn became my mantra. I grabbed the hymnbook and paced through the house, reciting the words over and over during each contraction. Steve and my sisters raced to set up the birth pool, and I just read my hymn.

The midwife and doula arrived within minutes of each other, about 1:45. By this point, I was pretty loud through them and deep in the fogs of labor. Jules the midwife started setting things up and called to me to try a kneeling position by the couch. Clutching my hymnbook, I knelt down with my head in Steve's lap and moaned through two big ones. The doula applied counterpressure on my back through one, and Steve did through the other one. At the peaks I was feeling a little pushy, but thought that there was no possible way I could be even close to there. The next second I was pushing--the primal yelling, overpowering, not caring even a whit that I was massively pooping and my pants were still on and not a thing was ready kind of pushing.

Jules displayed some mad midwifery skills here and sprinted in from the other room, throwing plastic in time to catch all of the goo, got my pants off and caught the baby, all in about 2 minutes. Are you getting a sense of the timing here? Wake up at 1:15, deliver at 2:10. Crazy.

The baby was strong and rosy, with apgar's of 8 and 10. When we got him all weighed and measured, he was 8 lbs 8 oz and 20 1/4 in. long, making him my biggest baby by an ounce. They got me all tucked into bed and left Steve and me to marvel over this newest baby.

I can't for the life of me understand why someone would willingly choose unassisted birth. I was THRILLED to relax in bed while they cleaned up the mess. Having a baby is a messy job.

Since everything was so fast, I did end up tearing, which kind of stinks. It's not stitchable, since it's really shallow, but it is long and in an awkward place, so my midwife has ordered me in bed for a week. I feel fabulous except for that, so I'm really not happy about total bedrest, but I guess it's much better to let this heal without infection.

The baby is gorgeous and perfect and he now finally has a name. Samuel Phillip is our sweet little guy, and we are so happy.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


He's here! My darling, as yet nameless baby boy was born last night at 2:10 am, after a lightening fast labor.

8 lbs 8 oz, 20 1/4 inches long, and absolutely perfect in every way.

I'll post the long version in a while. Right now I have some sleep to catch up on, and a baby to snuggle. Hooray!! I'm not pregnant anymore!!!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

My new philosophy

I came to a decision yesterday. I can either mope around the house, doing everything in the books to bring on labor, and get all frustrated and depressed when it doesn't happen. OR, I can live my life, hoping of course that I go into labor soon, but not stressing so totally over it.

Choice #2 won. I went to the nursery and bought all the plants for my containers in the yard. Ran my errands, did some laundry. Contractions come and go, and that's ok. They're getting me ready for the big event, which WILL happen. Someday.

Getting out of the car yesterday, my pants split down the front. I didn't change immediately, but sat on the couch with my beloved laptop for a few minutes. Cue the doorbell, and a family who moved away and came back for a visit. At 6 pm. With their 4 kids. I hadn't started dinner yet. Aaack!!

We visited with the parents while the kids ran absolutely wild and got into all kinds of mischief.Tthey were hungry and the random kids kept asking for food. And I couldn't get up or do a darn thing about any of it because my pants were split all over the place!!!

Finally after and hour and a half Steve stood up and started to make grilled cheese for my brood, but explained we didn't have enough bread for everyone. Poor hospitality, I'm sure, but who shows up unannounced at dinnertime with unfed kids, and stays for that long in the home of a 41 week pregnant mom?????? Grrrr.

Enough of the blackness of my heart. Now you all know what kind of a person I really am. But trust if any of YOU showed up, I'd laugh off my split pants, run to the bedroom and change, and make cookies for everyone!


Friday, May 23, 2008

The state of the cervix

My camera has been broken for ages. I could take pictures, but the display was black so it was shooting blind. Less effective. I was trying to debate repairing it vs. buying a new one, but the nice guy at Canon suggested doing (insert technical lingo here), and it worked! No need to buy a new one. So here's a picture of my three darling ones, just for fun.

Now that that's out of the way, on to the state of the cervix. Yea, no baby yet. Don't you just love how people have to point that out to you?? Really, I promise I've noticed that there's no baby yet. Trust that I know!!! I CANNOT face church on Sunday, when every single person I pass will say, "Haven't you had that baby yet??"


But, at today's midwife appointment, I learned that I'm at a 4, not very effaced, and the baby's in a fairly decent position. Still sort of high, but not too too bad. The contractions are still Braxton Hicks and obnoxious. I've been going up and down the stairs, two at a time, walking, and drinking nasty horrible black cohosh tinctures. Hopefully this will turn into labor sometime this weekend. I'll keep updating as there's anything to report.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Belly talk

Today is the day I get serious about getting everything ready for this baby. I'm going to get my bedroom completely cleaned out and shiny scrubbed, make sure all the supplies are close at hand, and pack bags for my kids to take to wherever they end up going. I'll finally haul the birth pool out of the van and make sure it's ready for a quick set up. I AM going to have a baby soon, so I'd better make sure I'm ready.

I'm 4 days past due now, and doing everything I know to bring this baby on. Except castor oil. Never, ever that. I'm faithfully drinking my raspberry leaf tea, even though I hate it with a passion. I'm taking black and blue cohosh tinctures, and those make the raspberry tea taste like nectar! Horrible things. I've got the evening primrose going on, and Steve is definitely doing all he can to *ahem* get things going (blush). SO WHERE'S THIS BABY???

Last night I did start contracting regularly--just braxton hicks, but they were extremely regular for about 6 hours, then through the night. Maybe. I go in tomorrow and my midwife will strip my membranes, have me walk stairs for hours, and in general convince this small guy that we're in earnest about wanting him here!


Sunday, May 18, 2008

More updates. More of the same updates

How should I put this??? I'm still pregnant. Still, eternally, never-endingly pregnant. Today is my actual official due date, and I've been late with all the others, so I really didn't expect anything different. But hey, one can always hope, right?

I've tried so hard to ignore my due date and focus instead on the time window, but there's something very seductive about that magic date. Much as I've tried to resist, my hopes did get a little bit pinned on one calendar moment that has come and gone with no changes.

Midwife appointment tomorrow--she's pretty hands off, but maybe she'll have some good ideas to get things going. Ugggh. I'm so ready to have this baby!!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Still pregnant. Still very very pregnant. I'm not technically due until Sunday, so a few days away, but I've been late with every baby so far. This one seems to be following the same pattern! Dang it.

I have strong, working contractions all over the place, but never anything that develops into actual labor. With the other three, this continues for weeks and I slowly dilate to a 6 or so, then they've broken my water. I don't really want to do that this time, so it will interesting to see how things will progress.

Maybe he's waiting until we choose a name for him. Poor baby--he might be waiting a long time! Still no luck on any kind of a name.

Calvin played hard all day today and climbed into my lap for a snuggle this afternoon. In just a few minutes he was sound asleep in my arms. He smelled like little boy and sunshine and sweat and outside. He's only going to be my baby for just a few more days. I rocked him and reveled in the moment, then carried him into my bed and we snuggled and napped together. Bliss.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Nesting and sunshine

Where to even start????

Such an amazing day today. 75 degrees and absolutely glorious outside--we spent the whole day soaking in the sun. My sisters came to hang out, I met with my doula who's wonderful, then we turned on the sprinklers and the kids ran around in their bathing suits while I weeded. I'd forgotten the beauty of little squealing bodies and splashing water. So fun!!

Then on a whim, we ran inside and made up a batch of chocolate chip cookies to take to a neighbor with a new baby. I started itching to hold a newborn, so off we went for a walk with a plateful of cookies. Oh so cute!!! There's something so magic about a new baby, and holding him made me so excited to meet my own small boy.

We went up to my mom's and we made dinner together while the kids played. Her neighbor just got a truckload of topsoil delivered, so after dinner the kids played in the dirt for an hour. Shovels, trucks, a couple of dinosaurs, and 7 kids. Absolute bliss. This is what childhood is all about.

Home again, where we planted some bean plants then a quick (desperately needed) bath. They couldn't wait to get into bed!!

So that was our day. I'm feeling absolutely fantastic lately. I have so much energy, and I'm not nearly miserable enough to be 38 weeks along. My chiropractor is truly amazing. My ribs don't hurt anymore!!!!! There aren't enough exclamation points to convey just how monumental this is. And my pelvis is perfectly aligned and I can move with complete freedom from pain. So incredible. My chiropractor is actually going to attend the birth. Yippee!

I must be nesting. So far in the last few days, I've done the dreaded clothing swap out for all the kids, washed and put away 7 loads of laundry, sorted and washed the baby clothes, weeded for hours, homeschooled with aplomb, and generally been a bundle of energy. I even washed the girls' bedding and quilts AND line-dried them. But let me just say that if Dante had only known, he would have made a special level of hell for poor souls condemned to eternally change the bedding on twin bunkbeds while nine months pregnant. Whooo! That wasn't so fun.

But holy cow! By the end of everything tonight, I was about ready to collapse. I got the kids in bed barely, grabbed a hot pack for my lower back, and fell into bed to veg out with American Idol and my laptop. So so nice. And so my friends, I'll post next when the next wild swing of emotion hits. I'm sure it won't be long!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Small successes

Look at what I finished!! My sister-in-law is due on the exact same day I am, so this little sweater is for their baby. This was my first attempt at knitting a sweater, and I'm so delighted it actually turned out ok. The yarn is the softest, most yummy wool imaginable. I've got some in green to knit up for my own little man.

Other successes? Well, I've started chipping away at the mammoth to-do before baby list. I got the winter clothes put away, the hall closet cleaned out, and I finally found the 0-3 baby clothes, to the great delight of my girlies. They practiced holding the onesies and cradling them--they're so excited for this little guy to come. I bought diapers and little hats, and really, what else do I need?

38 week appointment tomorrow, and hallelujah, a visit with my fabulous chiropractor. The clock is ticking, and I'm almost there!