Thursday, March 31, 2011

A nice evening

Thursday, March 31, 2011
The weather here turned warm yesterday and today, so after I got home from work, and after dinner, Luke and I played outside for a while. Diana suggested I get out the camera, so I thought I'd share some pictures of my little buddy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Newborn Ben

Sunday, March 13, 2011
It's so hard to make definite statements about a newborn because they are constantly changing. Still I want to record some things about these past couple of weeks because my memory will fail me. I already have forgotten so much of what Luke's newborn period was like.

Ben is so sweet and calm so far. He sleeps more than I remember Luke sleeping. This may be due to his jaundice that is still not quite cleared out. I'm hoping that he just loves sleep. His abundance of sleep has made things pretty easy (especially at night when he usually sleeps in 3 to 4 hour stretches) but I feel like we don't get much of a chance to interact.

He is pretty mellow and will give me ample warning when he needs attention before he gets worked up or distressed. Consequently he usually doesn't cry except in the car. He has started to have tummy issues in the past couple of days. It reminds me of Luke. In the late afternoon/evening he will seem starved and root around like crazy. The trouble is he will over-eat or have bubbles to work out and then be in pain. I've had to make sure I don't feed him too much that time of day and sometimes give him the binky instead. I feel bad because he gives me this bitter beer face that let's me know he doesn't like it. I've just learned that he can't eat any more until his tummy is settled or it compounds the problem. I did some research and think that the problem might be hyper-lactation syndrome. I might have to modify what I eat for a while too. Luke seemed to be sensitive to dairy and I would't be surprised if that was part of the issue with Ben too. Also he seems to have pretty severe tongue-tie. Luckily he is getting plenty to eat (in his first 5 days he gained 10 ounces), I think he just tends to swallow more air than he would if he didn't have tongue tie. I bet his latch would be a lot less painful, too, but that is slowly getting better. I sure do love all the newborn snuggles and the funny faces he makes.

Oh and we've started ECing him. His "I'm about to fill my pants" grunts are pretty obvious so we just take him potty. We started on day 5 and have had several 'catches' every day. I'm fascinated by it because we missed that window with Luke.

One thing Ben loves is bath time. Especially when he's having tummy trouble. Last night he was terribly uncomfortable with his tummy and I had tried everything- massage, two kinds of medicine, laying him on his tummy, burping him in every conceivable position, you name it. Finally I asked Mac to run a bath and as soon as he was in the bath he went silent and content. He protested when it was time to get out, though.

Luke seems not to be too affected by Ben's arrival. Instead of smothering my belly with kisses, Ben gets them on his nose or head. Sometimes Luke misses me a little and I try to make sure he gets attention.

He is still 2, though. Some days he's a piece of cake and other days I'm closing my eyes and silently counting to ten to keep my patience. Luke really is a good boy, there are always little issues to work out. When I have to deal with little thing after little thing it just wears me down. I'm just trying to find solutions and deal with one thing at a time. For example this week I figured out that the 'tantrums' he was throwing in the car were not about his car seat being uncomfortable ("it's too tight" he likes to say) but rather a boredom issue. Now I give him a toy or a book and we're good to go. One small issue worked out, 20 more to go.

Luke and Dad have been reading a lot of comic books lately. One day Luke insisted on carting "Calvin and Hobbes" to Costco.

Speaking of reading, Luke has decided he wants to be like Benjamin Bunny and smoke some rabbit tobacco in his pipe.

Holly, Abby and Lillian (I'm not sure I spelled that correctly) came over to meet Ben. I have to say that the older Luke and Abby get, the more fun they are to watch play.

First they did dress-ups...

And then got their cell phones out for some conversation and "texting".

It's odd how quickly it seems as though we've always had two boys around. Now that the mystery is solved of how we'll handle two, we've only got to solve the mystery of who in the world Ben looks like.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

He's Here

Sunday, March 06, 2011
7 lbs 12 oz 20 inches
Born March 5, 2011 at 5:58

The short version

1:00 (am) woke up from a contraction
1-4:30 contractions 7 min apart, knelt and leaned on birth ball, watched Scrubs, had snacks
4:30 decided to clean the house
4:30-4:45 tons of contractions
4:45 woke up Mac to help get things ready to go, accidentally woke Luke too
4:55 call midwife (Ruth), leave message
5:00 call back from Ruth, she says since I can talk through contractions and they seem short I should get in the bath and see what happens
5:05-5:30 this is a major blur for me but includes: getting out of the bath, getting dressed, calling JoAnn and asking her to go to the store, then calling her back and asking her to come straight to the house, then calling the midwife to say we're coming right in, and then calling JoAnn to say meet us at the birth center instead. Mac gets the stuff (including Luke) and we get in the car.
5:30 Leave for birth center, transition in the car, call to Lorna is placed
5:48 Pull up to birth center, involuntary pushing in the parking lot and breaking of waters, crawling into birth center
5:53 In the birth center, on the bed, the midwife checks me and can see the head
5:58 Baby is born

It was once fast, crazy ride.

The Pictures:

At The Birth Center:

Back at home:

Luke insisted on wearing the hat he wore when he was a newborn.

Luke wanted to read to baby brother- he picked out "Mommy Loves Me" and even showed baby the pictures.

After dinner the desert was doughnuts in honor of one of Luke's favorite books "Arnie the doughnut".

The long, National Geographic version:

I woke up at about 1 o'clock to a contraction. This was definitely different than any other night because I'd never been woken by a contraction before so I dared to hope I was in labor. I went to the restroom and then back to bed to see if I could sleep or rest through contractions because I was expecting a long labor and wanted to maintain my energy. I thought maybe labor might be as short as 12 hours but hopefully no longer than Luke's (36 hours). I couldn't sleep through them so I decided to get on my knees next to the bed and lean on the birth ball so baby would have plenty or room to get into a good position. I started watching Scrubs on Netflix to pass the time and borrowed Mac's iphone to time contractions. They were about 45 sec to 1 minute long from 1 am to about 4:45 am and 7 minutes apart. Sometimes I would get up to get a drink or snack and at one point I migrated to the living room to set up a little station with food and drink and entertainment. Contractions were very easy- sometimes I did deep breathing and closed my eyes, sometimes I rocked my hips side to side (because it felt good and I heard it helps baby move down and get in a good position) and other times I just laughed at scrubs. All the while I was doing lots of positive self talk and imagining the baby turning into a good position (can you tell I was paranoid about a posterior labor?).

I imagine it was about 4:30 when I got the brilliant idea I should clean the kitchen and tidy the living room so that I'd come home from the birth center to a clean house. I noticed that basically any time I moved the contractions became much more difficult and much more frequent. I decided to wake Mac so he could do the stuff I wanted to do myself and I could concentrate on laboring. I also contemplated sending him to the store for something to help with my 'gas' and 'constipation'. Turns out that was a big clue as to how close I was to having a baby. That feeling that I needed to pass gas or have a bowel movement was really just the feeling of the baby moving down. We called the midwife (Ruth) to give her a head's up that she should call her assistant but because I could talk through my contractions if I wanted to she wasn't worried I was close to delivery. She suggested I take a bath which could either relax the contractions away or intensify them. Luke woke up with Mac and wanted to get in the bath with me. The bath felt good but pushed me into the-contraction-that-had-no-end. When I realized it was time for us to get out of the bath to get going to the birth center Luke was royally ticked. I asked Mac to get me a towel and any old pair of pj's. When I got out of the bath my water may have broken a little, but I'm still not sure. I had Mac call the midwife and tell her we were on our way. I almost got snippy at Mac for turning off the lights and locking the door instead of just getting us in the car and on our way but I told myself to chill. You see, I promised myself I'd be nice until transition and I didn't realize I was in transition at that point and I could be snippy if I wanted. As we drove I just tried to hold it together. I was kneeling in the passenger seat holding the headrest with one hand and leaning my head on little brother's car seat. I was sweating bullets and hoping I was at at least a 6 or 7 cm dilated. I was trying to stay positive but had thoughts that I wouldn't be able to handle it much longer and maybe we should go to the hospital instead of the birth center so I could get an epidural, which was sounding very good at that point. I realized that that might hurt Ruth's feelings, who had provided all my prenatal care and didn't deserve to get ditched at the last minute for drugs. I can't tell you what a psychological relief it was to get to the birth center and know that I'd have help managing the rest of what I thought might still be a few hours of labor. Not to mention someone to catch the baby who knew a thing or two about birth. We beat the midwife there by a couple of minutes and I got out of the car to get more comfortable. I immediately dropped to my knees and had some involuntary pushing, at which point my water certainly broke, although I thought I peed my pants at the time. It was then that I realized that I had certainly passed through transition and was probably fully dilated. The midwife arrived and told me to breath instead of push, which was difficult but kind of a relief. From there Ruth (the midwife) had to run inside to prepare things. I willed myself to start crawling toward the birth center because there was no way I could stand up and walk. Poor Mac had no clue how to help me other than get the bags and take care of Luke. I kept saying to myself "my baby cannot be born on asphalt". That mantra and sheer will power got me in the door and on the bed. Once I was on my back I had more involuntary pushing that I had to breath through. I told Ruth "I can't stop" and she said "If you can talk, you can stop". I love a no-nonsense birth attendant who puts me in my place. It reminded me of the doctor who delivered Luke who told me "if you just push 20 more minutes you'll have a baby. I digress. After a minute Ruth was gloved up and I could start pushing. I don't think it was more than 3 pushes or 5 minutes. Thankfully while I was waiting for Ruth to glove up I had the presence of mind to tell Mac to get the camera. From our arrival at the birth center to baby's arrival was no more than 10 minutes. I had to stop pushing at one point because the cord was around his shoulders. I was unprepared for how it would feel because I had an epidural with Luke. I think my good friend Holly said it best when she said it felt like pooing a big rock. The phrase "ring of fire" didn't make sense to me. It felt like when you go to the dentist and they stretch your mouth open with those plastic thingies. To me it was no more uncomfortable than that, although it felt very urgent. Baby cried right away (and got suctioned) which was good because he had meconium staining. Oh, and luke was there the whole time. Both grandma's missed it by minutes which I feel guilty about but I really had no idea how far I was. I really wished I'd called them earlier, but I didn't want to wake them up unless it was necessary. There was no one there to take Luke but he was so chill about it. I didn't make much noise besides a couple of points where I felt like groaning/moaning (once at the house and once in the car) so he wasn't scared at all. I remember being on the bed pushing with my eyes closed and hearing luke scooting around on the ride-on duck. He came over and watched the baby come out on the last push and it must have seemed very natural to him because he made no funny faces that I saw and we didn't get a peep out of him. Mac tells me Luke looked very excited and said something like "baby brother". From there I snuggled the baby and nursed Luke (you read that right). The midwife was worried about my blood loss so I got a shot of pitocin and got both kids latched on because that helps with blood loss as well. Little brother proceeded to nurse for about 2 hours at which point he was measured and weighed (7 lbs 12oz and 20 inches). We couldn't believe his coloring- his eyes were blue and his hair was fair with some red in it. I still can hardly believe my experience. I had no idea it would be so easy. Ok, so maybe it wasn't easy, but it was a walk in the park compared to what luke's birth experience was like. I'd seriously do it again tomorrow. After a couple of minutes JoAnn arrived and a few minutes after her my mom and Emily came. We all just talked and laughed about how fast he came as I delivered the placenta (which was trickier than the actual baby for me) and got stiched. Ruth suggested I slow down pushing to avoid tearing but at the time I felt like I'd rather tear in two than stop pushing. Luckily she said it was just an itty-bitty tear. We ate the breakfast burritos JoAnn brought while every one took turns playing with Luke and eventually others took turns holding the baby. When we got home I sent Mac and Luke to the REU garage sale where Mac found us both some five fingers for 75% off (I know that sounds crazy, but he had been talking about going to it for probably a month). We all tried to nap later but Mac and I couldn't. JoAnn was a miracle worker cleaning the house and doing a Costco run. Later the Schofields came over to bring dinner (taco soup with plenty of veggies and salad) and so Papa and Peter could meet the baby. All day baby slept. I had to wake him to nurse after 6 hours. Finally in the evening he was a little more alert. He only woke up twice in the night (I wish I could say the same for myself)

Things I'm grateful for:
- healthy mom, healthy baby
- short labor
- only an hour of discomfort
- I made it inside so he wasn't born on asphalt
- only 5 minutes of pushing (compared to 2 hours with Luke)
-a speedy midwife
-a sweet nurse
-the midwife and nurse did things based on when it was convenient for us because we were their only patients. I hope I never have to birth in a hospital again.
-I got my favorite room because it was closest to the door and couldn't have crawled any farther
-Luke handled the day beautifully. He was less shaken than me.
-We got to go home hours after the birth because we were ready
- a mother in law that takes good care of the whole family- before and after the birth. She would have taken good care of us during if she had gotten a call in time
- that the baby was born after my mom had a little time to recover from passing a kidney stone on Wednesday
- I was nice to my husband. I even said "please don't accelerate so fast". Not all of my requests came with a please but I'm glad I don't have to deal with any lingering guilt.
- this pregnancy is over
-I didn't go overdue
- I got about 3-4 hours sleep before going into labor which is better than none
- this experience "healed" me a lot from the feelings of failure and inadequacy I had from Luke's birth
-this pregnancy and delivery left me feeling like I could do it again soon if I wanted unlike last time when I felt like I never wanted to be pregnant or give birth again.

Lessons learned:
- it's OK to wake people up if you think you're having a baby and you want them to be there. Your midwife, for starters, and grandmas too
- trust my body and my instincts
- what things feel like. Having had an epidural last time I had no idea what transition or pushing would feel like and now I do.
- take the time to turn on hypnobabies! I took all the time to listen to the tracks during my last trimester but didn't hardly use my skills and I know it would have made transition easier.
- the labels they put on "early" and "active" labor don't apply to every labor. I should have paid more attention to the intensity of things rather than the timing. My contractions were just plain weird from 4:30 on. Some were short and easy and others were really, really intense.
-I wish Mac had gotten at least the crawling-through-the-parking-lot part on camera. I would have laughed about it today, although living through it wasn't ideal
- I wish I'd had the midwife check me at my last appointment. Now I'm really curious as to how far dilated I was Friday.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Guess who's here?

Yup! It's JoJo! Do you know what that means? It means intense amounts of fun and spoiling (all the love and stuff that goes on in Utah year round gets condensed here in California). Here's what we've been up to:

A really fun Saturday including Dr. Seuss story time at Target and Mikuni with Aunt Melanie, Uncle Johnny, and Joey. Luke really likes Melanie and Johnny- they've kind of become like a third set of grand parents.

We've done the library, parks, shopping, you name it.

This morning we did the Fire Station. Luke's favorite parts were climbing in the truck, seeing the fire fighter's gear and getting a fire fighter hat.

For anybody who wants an update on the baby watch (warning: may contain stuff you don't want to know), things look...unpredictable. For more than a week I've been having false labor, and not just Braxton Hicks. Two Sundays ago I was bored in Sharing Time and timed contractions. They were 10 minutes apart for several hours. Same thing Monday. I had a break on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday night they got as close as 5 minutes. Similar on Friday night. Saturday I don't remember. Sunday night they were 3 minutes apart. Monday they were 8 minutes apart. Tuesday and Wednesday I got a break. We'll see what tonight holds. I've been trying to keep myself busy so that I don't think about timing them because timing just gets frustrating. I keep hoping they'll get stronger and longer and more intense. I've been trying to stay positive about going overdue, which looks very possible at this point. I'll just have to fill up my calendar for next week so that time doesn't drag. The midwife says I was at a 3 and not effaced 2 weeks ago and last week I was at a 3+ and 50% and like butter (I say it "like butta" 'cause that's how they say it on Coffee Talk). I have another appointment tomorrow and I'm not sure if I'll have her check me because I probably haven't changed too dramatically. I have so many superstitions about going into labor and my latest theory is that it's like waiting to find the right guy. When you give up, it happens. That happened to work for me. So I officially give up. I will be pregnant forever and ever. Get used to my nice, round belly because it's here to stay.