Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can I Help To Cheer You?

Before Tommy was born, Shane and I were beyond stupid. No, really. We were stressed because Luke wasn't sleeping well, and we were wondering how on earth we were going to handle a new baby and a headstrong toddler.
And so this stress manifested in us bickering about something trivial EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Then Tommy was born. Luke went back to sleeping through the night like someone flipped a switch. We made the transition from three to four like it'd always been this way, and in a way, it feels like it has. Tommy came crashing into our lives and exploded our hearts in ways we never dreamed possible.

Three days after Tommy was born, Shane pulled me into his lap, kissed my cheek, and told me how sorry he was for all the bickering, all the stress, and that he realized now how wonderful this whole thing is. I told him the same. I hate that we spent those days fighting with each other, but I love that we can say I'm sorry. I love that he is the calm to my storm and that even though he's the most squeamish person ever, he thinks it's totally cool that I gave birth on our stairs. I even love that he brought his bag to the hospital and when I said, "Did you get my suitcase?" he didn't say anything or even move for five seconds, like he was trying to mentally will my suitcase to appear at the hospital, even though the truth was that he grabbed his and left mine sitting in our bedroom. I loved it so much that all I could do was laugh. And I love that when he tells people about Tommy's birth story, he remembers that I said, "I think we waited too long!" and how he wanted to say, "No shit, honey," but he didn't think that was the right thing to say at the time. I love how he elbows Luke and says, "Your mommy looks pretty good for just having a baby, doesn't she?"

Mostly what I love is knowing that this glow will wear off, that we'll bicker again about stupid things, but no matter what, we'll always come together when we need to, we'll always be able to step back and just love each other.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You Capture: Black and White

If I had to choose a favorite part of our house, it would be the wall of family photos. I love all of our family shots, because they represent so much to me. I can't wait to add photos of Tommy to this wall. When I was pregnant, I would walk past these pictures and smile at the thought of adding more photos the wall.
But what I never imagined was that our newest addition would be born on the floor underneath that very wall.

You Capture: Black and White

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rocket Man

I'm not quite sure how to begin Thomas's birth story. I'll begin by saying that in a million years, I never would have imagined his birth like this.

But also, in a million years, I would never change a thing.

I woke up early Friday morning with some cramping and very light bloody show, but I'd had some a week prior that amounted to nothing. Beth was determined to send me into labor, so we set up pedicure appointments for 1 that afternoon, with Beth explaining to the girl that she had to put me into labor. She worked on my Spleen 6 pressure point, and I felt some contractions afterward, but nothing major. I went to my midwife appointment after the pedicure, and my cervix was still so posterior that she had to reach up to my throat. I'm not joking. However, after feeling around my tonsils, she said I was 2-3cm and 70% effaced. I knew that didn't necessarily mean anything, but it was good progress, so I felt positive. On the drive home, I felt a couple more contractions, but they were still 10-15 minutes apart. I called my doula at about 5:30 to update her and let her know that I was contracting some, but they were very, very mild. She told me to call her back at 8 and let her know how things were going and to eat a good dinner, just in case. At that time, I started timing contractions, just out of curiosity. They were ten minutes apart and less than a minute in duration. I ate dinner, watched Thomas the Train with Luke, then gave Luke his bath and got him ready for bed. My contractions were still ten minutes apart and while they were definitely noticeable, they still felt like they could fizzle. At 9, I called my doula, and she said she wanted me to do 30 minutes of knee to chest on the floor, with pelvic rocks during contractions. After that, she wanted me to get in the bath for 30 minutes, then climb into bed and try to get some rest. She said if it was real labor, it'd relax me and enable me to sleep a bit before real, active labor hit, and if it wasn't real labor, it'd put a stop so I could rest. I followed her instructions and from 9-10, I did pelvic rocks and the bath. From 10-11, I slept in between contractions. They were still 10 minutes apart. When I'd have a contraction, I'd get up and walk through it, as they were still that manageable. They were starting to hurt more, but mostly, I was feeling pressure. Since the baby was still so posterior earlier in the day, I assumed what I was feeling was hopefully movement to an anterior position. At this point, I knew I was in labor, but I didn't see myself having a baby until the next morning, like around 7 or 8. My labor with Luke was all natural but long (24 hours from the time my water broke), and while I felt this one might be shorter, I was thinking around 12 hours of active labor, which would be half of what I had with him.
I should note also that my midwife always says to call her when contractions hit 3-5 minutes apart OR when your water breaks. I kept waiting for my contractions to get closer together, but they stayed at 10 minutes apart with hardly any bloody show, so I didn't think I had a whole lot of progress going on yet. At 11, I got up and filled up the bathtub, thinking I'd get in there again and relax. I went and got some water, checked my email, and did a few other things with contractions still ten minutes apart. At 11:40, I was hit with a hard contraction that felt like my pelvis was splitting. Four minutes later, I had another. At this point, I checked, and while the bloody show was still VERY light, it was redder. I called my doula at 11:48, and she said she'd leave and meet me at the hospital. I woke up Shane and called my midwife's emergency number, then called my mom to tell her to head over to watch Luke. At 11:53, I spoke to the on call midwife, who asked me a few questions, then said to come in. I hung up the phone with her and sent an email to my girls at 11:55 saying I was in labor. I hit send, started to type up one more email, and was hit with such a hard, fierce contraction that I went right to my hands and knees. In the midst of it, I started to bear down and felt something between my legs. I don't know what went through my head at this time, but I automatically reached down and felt.

This is the part where I wish I could say that I kept it together, but what I felt was not what I expected. I expected either nothing or a head. What I felt was like a water balloon, and I knew it was not a head, and my hand came up covered in blood. I started screaming for Shane, who was downstairs putting in his contacts. I asked him what he saw, and he said it was something, but it wasn't a head. I panicked. I yelled at him to call 911, then looked up as Luke appeared at the top of the stairs saying, MAMA!? I said, Mommy's okay!! Then jumped up and started to head downstairs, my goal to get to the bathroom. Shane was on the phone with 911. I made it four steps down to the landing, when I was hit with another powerful contraction. I gripped the railing, looked down, and saw his head, at which point it hit me that my water hadn't broken, so what I felt first had to be the amniotic sac. If I'd seen a head first, I wouldn't have told Shane to call 911, but I was just so freaked out by what could have been coming out of me. I dropped into a squat, and his head came out the rest of the way. Luke was in the kitchen, peering down the stairs with tears in his eyes, so in the midst of this all, I was assuring him that everything was okay. I cupped my hands around the baby's head and his body corkscrewed out of me and into my hands without pushing any more at 12:02AM on July 18th. The sac was still intact (yes, he was born in the caul, and I think that is the coolest thing EVER), so I used my thumbnail to slit the sac open, at which point the fluid broke all over my legs. I peeked between his legs and shouted up to Shane that it was a boy, then told Luke that he had a new baby brother. I brought him up to my chest, rubbed his back and said,
"C'mon baby, cry for mama," and he gave me a loud cry. He was the cleanest baby I have ever seen because he was inside the completely clear amniotic fluid the entire time. Shane was still on the phone with 911. The dispatcher told him to tie off the cord with string, and hilariously, I completely forgot that my birth plan included not clamping the cord until it stopped pulsing. Interestingly, Shane was so nervous that he tied the twine so loosely that it didn't do anything, so by the time any one even got around to cutting the cord, it was pretty limp and white.

At this point, we heard a knock on the door, and it was a volunteer firefighter who lives around the corner and jumped in his truck when he heard the dispatch. I should mention that this poor guy had to be younger than me and looked like he was vaguely wondering what the hell he walked into. I was still holding Thomas tight to me, Luke was peering from the top of the stairs, and Shane was answering the questions the kid was asking. Next thing I knew, I looked up and there were five firefighters standing in my kitchen staring down at me. Did I mention that I was completely naked? Oh yeah. Next, two female EMTs came in, and I swear, choirs of angels sang at this point. One immediately shouted for someone to get me a blanket, while the other asked for a clean dry towel for the baby. They talked to me and helped me rub him to get him to pink up, even asking me right away if I was going to breastfeed. I told them yes, and they said great, because I could get started in the ambulance. I held tight to Thomas this entire time, and Shane was holding Luke in the kitchen while talking to him about his new baby brother. The EMTs asked if I could walk up to the kitchen to get on the stretcher, and I said, Uhh, I just gave birth to a baby on the stairs, I think I can handle this. I carried Thomas up the stairs with me (still completely naked save for a small blanket) and climbed on the stretcher. They got me a gown and found a little hat for Thomas, but let me lay him skin to skin with me before covering us up with warm blankets. They wheeled us outside, at which point, I realized that there were more fire fighters in the front yard and that both the ambulance and the firetruck had the lights going. They put me in the ambulance, and shortly after, my parents pulled up, both freaked out at the scene. My parents got on the ambulance with Shane and Luke to look at Thomas. Luke looked at Thomas's toes and said, "Baby has piggies!" My parents, Luke, and Shane all went to go inside to get their things and follow us as the ambulance left. Again, let me say that these two female EMTs were like angels. The one in the back with me helped me get Thomas into a position where I could nurse him, though he mostly just played with my nipple. She massaged my uterus (placenta still hadn't delivered) whenever I'd complain of cramps, and when I said, "So uhh, this doesn't happen very often, does it?" She laughed and said, "No, not so much."

We got to the hospital and they took me in through the ambulance bay, which meant that my doula and the midwife on call stayed in the ER waiting for me to come in, thinking I was coming in in labor. I was situated upstairs with Thomas for ten minutes before they got there, as they didn't realize I was upstairs until Shane and my parents came walking into the ER. My doula ran over and gave me a hug and a kiss and said she couldn't believe it and joked that she warned me how quickly second labors can turn. I delivered the placenta and started nursing Thomas while the midwife stitched up a second degree tear, exactly how I tore with Luke. I was worried that with the sheer speed of things, I would've torn worse, but it wasn't bad at all. My wonderful, amazing doula fed me bites of a chicken sandwich and it all started to sink in. Shortly after, Beth called, and I filled her in on the whole story so she could tell everyone that this email, sent at 1:41, was not a joke:
"Its a boy, you guys. He was born on the stairs before we could even leave. No I'm not kidding!! Someone call Beth in case she's still on standby. We are at the hospital now."

There's more, so much more, but this is already so long. Suffice to say, everyone at the hospital knew our story within a few hours, and in the past 36 hours, I've told it more times than I can even remember, but the truth is, I like telling it. It was wild and crazy and a little bit scary at times and our first birth photos were taken with my iPhone because obviously Beth didn't make it and hello, who thinks to grab a camera? Still, it's so special to me. This was how Thomas John came into the world, and I wouldn't have had him any other way.

July 18th, 12:02AM (the 911 dispatcher had this on the transcript as the time that Shane told her the baby was out)
7lbs, 110z
20 inches long

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fabulous Forty

This is the part of my pregnancy that is always such a catch-22. On one hand, I am so beyond thrilled to carry a baby inside of me until it is completely grown and healthy, because I realize the ability to do that makes me incredibly blessed and lucky. But on the other hand, I just want everyone to know that I think due dates are stupid. And also, that my babies apparently like it inside me so much that when my stupid due date approaches, they cling to my ribs for dear life and actually try to climb up into my throat. Shane said I should take it as a compliment because I apparently have a very comfy uterus. My midwife said that she loves me because I'm not whiny and begging for an induction like many of her full-term patients.

Mainly I'm happy, but I'm also a little annoyed because all of a sudden, I'm gaining more weight weekly than I have for the entire pregnancy. What is THAT all about? I had to cut my workouts down to 20 minutes because 40 minutes was just too much, but I've also been walking 3 miles a day. Therefore, I'm blaming it all on all the baby and fluid and not admitting that maybe my steady diet of sweets has finally caught up to me. I'm taking comfort in the fact that no one is going to tell me otherwise! Also, my back is killing me. I thought it hurt toward the end of my pregnancy with Luke, but I had no idea how badly it would hurt when 40 weeks pregnant AND chasing a 2 year old. In my next life, I'm marrying a masseuse!

I feel like maybe this post is whiny, so I want everyone to know that I'm seriously so content to let this baby choose his/her birth date, even though it might seem otherwise at times. I'm enjoying this time. Every day, we've gone for long walks, and I've napped with Luke. This morning, Luke and I made cookies, and he took his job of stirring the dry ingredients SO seriously. Tonight we're going blueberry picking, and then when we get home, I might work out. Or I might eat cookies.

And then, one of these days, I'll suddenly have a baby in my arms, and I'll be sitting here thinking, "Remember when I was pregnant? That went way too quickly!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You Capture: Food

Alternately titled: I eat nothing of nutritional value
So, uhh, I have a little dessert eating problem. If there's a 12 step program for sugar addiction, I need it, because these were all eaten in the past week.

Absolute deliciousness from: Paparazzi (glass of wine belongs to my husband, dessert is ALL MINE), Starbucks, Tonya's Patisserie, and Lucrezia.
Sometimes I make my husband order dessert when I can't decide what dessert I want. He doesn't really have a sweet tooth and would rather just drink a glass of wine while watching me inhale sugar. I love you, sugar. Whether I'm calling my husband sugar or declaring my absolute love for sugar in that last sentence, I'm not entirely sure. I'll let you decide whether I love him or the dessert more.

I haven't had a chance to check out the other You Capture posts yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing some more delicious photos!

Dude, where's my zip code?

Forgive me for the public restroom photo, but I took it today at class. That is also why I am wearing a name tag. I haven't gotten so bad that I'm forgetting my own name... yet! Truthfully, I'm feeling like I finally understand the phrase all baby, because I am ALL BABY. My belly proceeds me into rooms. Living as close as I do to the line between two counties, I sometimes wonder if I'm big enough to fit into two separate zip codes. I bump into things. I can't bend. I'm not sure where the baby is going to come out, because well, I can't see anything down there anymore. I hope everything is still in the right place!
I'm tired and achy and so ready to meet this baby, but I'm still enjoying this last week or days that I have left. The baby is so clearly running out of room, but I feel him/her move all the time. I can feel little feet and little hands, and it nearly breaks me to think that soon I'll feel those little feet and hands on the outside, wrapped tight in my arms.

I may be giant, I may be unwieldy, but I'm so in love.

Monday, July 6, 2009

One More

Last week was my first week without teaching, being a student, OR having a toothache. And it was great. Today, I start my second round of license renewal courses, and I am so not feeling it. So please leave me comments to keep me occupied because if this class is anything at all like the last one, everyone will be ancient and think my iPhone is a MAGIC BOX and not realize that I can access the interwebs via a PHONE.

School rants aside, last week was great. It was our week to make magic with Luke. Playdates, the zoo, special lunches at his favorite restaurant, daily park trips, we did it all. When I look at this little boy, I can hardly believe that this person who took us from a couple to a family is going to go from one-third of the equation to one-fourth in a manner of days or weeks.

I love every little bit of him. I love how I nursed him until he was 22 months, and the last time he nursed, he stopped and said, "Bye bye, num nums," and moved on. I love how some times, he still seems like such a baby. When he wakes up in the morning and wants to cuddle and drink warm milk. When he hugs me, he has to give two hugs. First with one side of my face to his, then he says, "And this one," and we have to switch sides. When he purses his lips for the sweetest kisses. But then, there are times when I realize what a boy he is. When he doesn't want my kisses because he's too busy doing something much more fun than spending time with mommy.

His latest thing is that he always wants to do one more of something. The way he uses the phrase one more isn't always grammatically correct, but it's always cute. After going to Sarah's house, Luke woke up the next morning and said, "One more Asher, mama, one more!" When I told him we'd play with Asher again soon, he smiled and asked me for a cupcake. I love the way his little mind works.

Every day is a new journey with him. As each day passes, I can't wait to see him as a big brother. I know there will be days when he likely resents the baby and wonders why it had to come into his life, but still, I can't wait to see him lay eyes on his new little brother or sister, and I can't wait for the day that he asks to give him/her "One more kiss, mama, one more."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You Capture

This week's theme for You Capture was photographer's choice. I've been pretty blah about taking photos lately, mainly because I have no batteries in my camera and have been too lazy to get new batteries. Also, I had a root canal last Tuesday and spent the rest of the week holding the side of my face, whining, and taking pain killers plus antibiotics because my face was swollen. It was SUPER.
Luckily, I still managed to get a few decent shots with my phone, so it hasn't been a total loss!

What better subject for photographer's choice than my favorite little guy to photograph?
Even though he's my favorite, he's recently decided that sleeping is lame, after spending his entire life being a great sleeper. The fact that this is horrible timing for such a decision is a whooooole post for a different time, but it's resulted in him doing cute things like falling asleep in the car, which he hasn't done in forever.

We've been trying to do a lot of Luke things before the baby comes, so we took him to his favorite train restaurant. He was such a good boy and sat and ate first, but he could hardly sit still when his food came out on a TRAIN. I mean, can you blame him? I'd like a train to deliver my food every night, too.

Funny story about Luke. One of his first words was tootle, after the Little Golden Book Tootle because we read it eleventy-zillion times when he was a baby. As such, even though he knows that trains are trains and he knows the name of every Thomas the Tank engine (seriously, even the ridiculous names like Skarloey), he still mostly calls trains Tootles. Isn't that cute? I think so.
After he ate his cheese sandwich and mommy ate most of his chips (I had to balance out my salad), he very seriously pressed buttons on the model train set for somewhere around an hour.

And just for fun, here's one of me. Last Friday, I got to spend a day at the spa, thanks to gift cards from my wonderful husband and Leah. I had a massage, facial, pedicure, and a hair conditioning/style. The result was totally awesome hair and glowing skin, which I wish I could replicate daily, but sadly am not independently wealthy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Balancing Act

At 38 weeks, I feel like my balance is precarious and not just because I've essentially got a bowling ball strapped to my stomach.
I have to go from the balance I've found in being a mom to one to being a mom to two. To be honest, it scares me just a bit. When Luke was a baby, we'd spend hours lying in bed, just staring at him. Now, we won't have those hours in bed because, well, we have Luke. And though that's great, I know it'll be different. Different good, though.
I'm transitioning from that balance of a working mom to a mom who has six months off of work and then has to go back to being a working mom. Likely kicking and screaming and not wanting to leave TWO kids, but knowing she has to do it. Again, I'll find that balance, but I worry about how hard it will be. Still, I'm going to enjoy it all, knowing that there will be days when both feet will be firmly on the ground, only to find that I wake the next morning reeling and holding on for dear life.

I'm at the stage where I see my midwife weekly now, which is great because I love my midwife, but not great because peeing in a cup has become the world's worst challenge (see: lack of balance). No further changes on ye olde cervical front, except that the baby's head is RIGHT there. Good job, baby.
I also met with my doula today who I love and adore and wish I could just call up to come over and give me back rubs and hugs without me having to be in labor.

As I'm waddling across the finish line, I should probably start asking for those baby guesses, huh? So, give it your best shot! What day will this one be born? Boy or girl? Weight?
To help you out a little, I went five days overdue with Luke. He weighed 9lbs, but I gained (gulp) 40 pounds with him. My official due date is July 16th. Anyone who guesses a date in AUGUST gets a punch in the face. Hard.