Thursday, June 28, 2012
We're all smitten.
I am perfectly aware of how fortunate I am to not have had one single jealousy issue from either of my older girls as this new baby has moved into our lives. It's been an extremely peaceful transition. Martin went back to work on Tuesday and while the thought of being the sole caretaker of three young children was a little scary at first, it turned out to be a piece of cake. This might be because Elka is The Perfect Infant and my big girls are The Perfect Preschoolers. I don't know. But whatever the reason, the past two weeks have been AWESOME.
We spent the babymoon period with Martin home from work hanging out outside. The girls ran in the sprinkler, we ate lunch on the patio, we took a few family outings. Mostly we just hung around and were happy.
And that's what we're still doing! Elka's most wakeful time is first thing in the morning when she's awake for 2-3 hours. She's so fun and alert and since it's morningtime, Anja and Greta are usually happy and so excited to hold her and fuss over her and help change her diapers and clothes... they LOVE having a baby sister. (Greta is kind of obsessed with the idea of throwing up and has been for a long time... she thinks it's awesome that Elka might just throw up at any time, for no reason. She's also really interested in poo, so she loves to see the pooey diapers.) And since Elka is still a newborn and sleeps most of the time, AND since she's a third baby and sleeps really well despite the screeching, drumming, fighting, more screeching, etc. of her older sisters, it's easy for me to still pay attention to the big girls all day long. Today was the first time I've had to put them off, when Elka was tired and fussing (I say "fussing" but it really just means she squeaks a little more) and wanted to be walked to sleep, so I had to tell them I'd read to them when Elka fell asleep. Which she did, in like two seconds, and everything was fine.
I'm telling you, this easy newborn stuff is incredible. I've never had an easy newborn. My newborns have always been the type who cry all the time... you know, to the point of not really being able to leave the house. When Anja was a baby, we would strategically plan our outings to take place only while she was asleep because if she woke up, that was it. It was a constant scream-fest the entire time she was awake for the first few months of her life. But we thought that was normal! And when people (*cough* my sister *cough*) would say how much they loved newborns, I always thought they were lying because the newborn stage was SO HARD. But now I see what she means! If all babies were like Elka (and apparently like my sister's kids) I would love the newborn stage best of all too!
Oh, and by the way, I think Martin is going to start hiring himself out as a postpartum doula. He cooks, cleans, takes care of older children, brings home fresh flowers, and NEVER complains..... I think we could make a lot of money from him.
I can't believe it's been two weeks already!
My next post will be on the unfairness of pregnancy.
You might remember three years ago when I raved about my labor/cesarean experience that brought Greta into the world. Well this time was even BETTER.
Let me begin by saying how grateful I am to my OB, who will never read this blog post. My goal for this birth before I was even pregnant was to have a successful, drug-free VBAC. Preparing for such an experience led me to read a lot of traumatic hospital birth stories; a lot of accounts of unsupportive, sometimes downright mean doctors and hospital staff who left women feeling cheated, bullied, and ultimately robbed of the birth experience that they wanted and deserved. I never, ever encountered this from my doctor. He was supportive from beginning to end, giving his opinions and advice without being threatening and leaving all decisions ultimately up to me. He didn’t go on and on about the risk of uterine rupture during VBAC—in fact, at the very beginning he said there was no reason I shouldn’t try for one because I had no extra risks for uterine rupture in the way of thinning and that my incisions were great. I feel like with all the horror stories out there of Big Meanie Doctors I was very fortunate to have the prenatal experience that I did.
And now, here’s the birth story:
My doctor and I had "penciled in" a c-section for the day after my due date because it was a scheduled surgery day. He wanted us to have a bail out plan, but at every appointment he said he hoped he'd see me at the hospital soon. But he kept not seeing me there because no matter how hard I tried, I just wouldn't go into labor. The day before my last doctor appointment before my due date (when we were going to talk about whether or not to go through with the c-section) Martin and I got a 24 hour stomach bug--nothing major, but the next day I didn't really think it would be very considerate of me to go spread my germs to all the doctors office staff. So I called to reschedule the appointment, and try to reschedule my cesarean--which the nurses told me I couldn't do. I tried really hard to remind myself that they didn't know the full story, they didn't know that the cesarean was penciled in, etc.... but still, I was beginning to freak out a little bit... especially as time went by and it was the afternoon of my due date before I heard back from anybody about it. But, the "anybody" happened to be my doctor calling me and telling me that I absolutely did NOT have to have a c-section the next day if I didn't want one, but that if I did want to go that route, I was welcome to keep my noon appointment. We talked over pros and cons, I talked with Martin, I scheduled a regular appointment for the next day, therefore cancelling my scheduled c-section, and less than 24 hours later my labor began.
Funnily, this labor was an exact mix of my Anja and my Greta experience. My water broke as I got out of bed on Thursday morning—exactly the way it did with Anja, I just happened to be getting up a couple hours later. So there I was, stranded on my bed having the most massive amounts of liquid imaginable pouring out of me, Martin downstairs and me unable to shout for him because the girls were sleeping right there. Eventually I was able to waddle downstairs and get a towel to sit on. I had a cup of coffee and my contractions started up right away. Our “plan” had been to labor at home for a long time. And I did for awhile—and I took a shower (best thing ever)—but then Greta woke up and my contractions were coming really close together though they weren’t incredibly intense yet, but at some point it occurred to me that I would much rather labor someplace else, where there would be a designated custodial staff to clean up my leakage, rather than have my amniotic fluid pouring out all over my house. So we called The Grandparents to come be with the girls and Martin and I headed off to the hospital.
Early labor went really well! Everything was looking good and my contractions were working very efficiently, though they were super long and super close together. As I was getting ready to go back to the shower for awhile the anesthesiologist came in, who happened to be the same doctor who administered my epidural with Greta. (Really nice lady!) She was going off to surgery and had come to offer me an epidural before she went. At this point my contractions were lasting four minutes and coming a minute apart, so it didn’t really take a whole lot of arm twisting before I agreed to have one. So there went my chance for a drug-free birth, but I didn’t really care because Martin and I had a pretty fun and relaxing afternoon. We just hung out and were happy all day. It was kind of like an all-day date! And while the epidural dulled the pain, it didn’t take it away completely so I was still able to concentrate and make progress all day long. It was awesome! Eventually in the afternoon I got to 8cm.
And then I stopped.
And I stayed at 8 for hour after hour as evening came. And during one check he said the baby was getting a pretty big conehead, and it looked like it wasn’t going to be able to make it through my pelvis. Again.
My doctor would have given me more time if I had asked. He had been so optimistic and supportive all day long, but the conehead thing kind of did it for me. That, and the fact that it was getting late and I was starving and I just wanted the baby out and, you know what? I’d given it a really good shot. I feel like I did a really good job making labor work for me. I read a lot of stuff throughout my pregnancy about laboring for a purpose and I applied all the techniques I knew and they worked all day up to that final point. And I have a feeling that even if I had dilated all the way, that baby never would have been able to get through.
My doctor didn’t do the surgery, but the doctor who did was really, really nice. Much like with Greta’s birth, the operating room had a very pleasant, birthday party kind of feel to it. I don’t know if any of those nurses and doctors actually do care, but they ACT like they care about what’s happening, and that means so much. And when the doctor pulled her out through the whole in my abdomen and announced she was a girl, the next thing I heard him saying to her was “hello, sweetheart!” and it made the experience that much nicer.
I love cesareans. I love the feeling of having almost-total numbness but still being able to feel what they’re doing to you as they slice away your internal layers and then pull out a baby. I’d forgotten how cool it is.
Still, it was too bad I didn’t get my VBAC. The day afterward the doctor who did the cesarean came in and he told me all about how optimistic my doctor had been about the whole thing, how he’d been calling him to update him with every development and how hopeful he was that it would work out in my favor. Isn’t that so nice?!
And so, once again, I don’t feel cheated or betrayed or mistreated in any way. I feel like we all gave it a good last shot and it just wasn’t meant to be.
Hooray for happy endings!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Three Daughters! On Thursday morning my water broke as I got out of bed, just exactly like it did when Anja was born. If we have more babies I'm going to have to be one of those girls who carries a cooler of water I can accidentally fall into when my water breaks in public. It's incredible. And incredibly gross, too. But who cares about amniotic fluid?! We have our Little Elkaberry! Anja and Greta are over the moon. Anja especially has been waiting a long time to hold this new baby; she came into the room with her arms outstretched, ready to hold her baby sister. (that's ketchup on her face, not blood.) Welcome, Elka Rebecca!!!! 8lbs 1oz, 21 3/4 inches long, conehead, mohawk, c-section delivery. Birth story will come from a real computer!
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Am I a big loser for Instagramming all my pictures?? It's just that I'm totally and completely addicted to it. You might call me an Instagramaniac.
Yesterday I thought labor was beginning. It wasn't. Every morning when Martin wakes up he wakes me up to ask me if I'm in labor. I find this funny, since chances are if I go into labor in the middle of the night i'd be the one waking him up. And if I hadn't woken him up yet, then I'd be relishing my last bit of sleep and probably wouldn't want to be woken up. But he is so nice--the other day he said I was glowing. I know that the term "glowing" is only used on fat/swollen, sweaty pregnant women who exceed the weight capacity of most bridges, but I don't think HE knows that, so I'm certain he meant it as a genuine compliment! And it was better than this morning when he found that I had saved my old, broken phone case in the junk drawer and accused me of being a hoarder. Then he threw it away! He said we didn't need to be keeping broken things! When I asked what I'd do if my new case were to break (I don't think it can--it's made of rubber. But still...) he told me we'd "buy a new one." And he refused to retrieve the broken one from the trash! Ugh . The nerve.
Anyway, I'm still pregnant. And I'm pretty comfortable! I've come to terms with the fact that I will be pregnant forever and that I can go ahead and stop re-organizing the newborn clothes, and I am settling nicely into my role of The Eternally Pregnant Woman. That could be a super hero. Hm, what could her weapons and super powers be?...... Throwing up on people? Inflicting heartburn on others through her Hormonal Death Glare? That sounds good.
Last week I woke up wanting chocolate cake and vanilla chai so I walked 2 miles to get some. When I got to the coffee shop they were closed. Then it started raining. So I had to walk all the way home in the rain with no chocolate cake thinking that at least the long walk would give labor a jump-start. But it didn't. Still, I am proud that I can voluntarily walk 2 miles in my last month of pregnancy!
Today I have walked only half that far and now it's time for me to walk home again because I just got a text from Martin (aka "Dad Of The Year") saying he was feeding our kids string cheese, Cheerios and pizza for dinner. I guess he didn't [want to] see the big potful of healthful, homemade chicken soup that is in the fridge. Ha!
I hope my next post will be of babyish nature. The born kind.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Last weekend I started itching. Not like "itching to have a baby" but physically itching, in the most crazy, intense way. I had a doctor appointment on Tuesday and when I told him about it he said it's Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Evidently it's some kind of liver malfunction and in my case it means absolutely nothing except that I will itch like this until the baby is born. Strange, huh? It's the worst at night, when the bottoms of my feet itch so much that I wake up every 30-40 minutes and have to soak them in ice water to numb them enough to go back to sleep. Pretty goofy! Oddly, last night while the rest of my body itches crazily, my feet were ok so I got a solid sleep at last. Yay!
Tadpole tea, anyone? It's an Anja specialty!
We have everything ready for the newest family member. The first photo here is of our upstairs landing, all set up as a bedroom extension. To say I am in love with this new little area of our house would be an understatement. It is so warm and inviting. It's bright during the day and at night with just one soft lamp it is perfect and cozy. I loooooove it. The baby has it's own dresser drawer stocked with clothes enough to last the summer as well as a pile of handknits. (I finished the oatmeal Pebble vest! I love it!) I knitted up a cute Teddy bear in the same yarn as the vest... Pictures will probably appear at some point.
So anyway, with the itching I've been incredibly desperate to get this baby out, but since I wasn't much bothered by it last night, today I don't feel that way so much! Now the sooner it comes the more likely it is that we'll get to go to the Fiddlers Gathering, which is pretty important, of course. It's always so exciting when the posters show up all over town and the big sign goes up at Battleground!
Last night the girls had a non-family babysitter for the first time ever! Our neighbor Kelsey came over and Martino and I walked over to Main Street for dinner! It was a really nice little date.
Also yesterday at the Farmers Market I picked up the rest of the herbs I've been wanting. So today we'll be working in the garden and maybe taking some long walks to, you know, get things moving. Tomorrow's a full moon!