Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I feel blessed beyond words to share our wonderful news. Miss Louisa Mae (aka Lucy or “the Goose”) is a big sister to our brand-new daughter, Miss June Elizabeth (formerly known as “the Deuce,” now frequently referred to as “the baby” or “Junie-bug.”)
And now, before I forget the details, it’s time for her birth story.
As of my last post, I was feeling very down and very pregnant. A great deal of my stress was due to the fact that my dear Mama, who had flown in a little over a week ago, had a return flight scheduled for today. I was worried about who would watch Lucy while Brett and I were at the hospital, whenever I actually went into labor. Because Brett is a stay-at-home dad, and I have a strong dose of working-mama guilt in my system, we rarely either need a babysitter or go out at night. In fact, since we’ve moved here, we haven’t left Lucy with a sitter. Anyway…
On Tuesday (the very next day after I posted my woe-is-me blog), I had a regularly scheduled appointment with my midwife. The appointment went great- blood pressure still very low, measuring a little small but still “normal,” and although I was still only 50% effaced, baby’s head was very low and I was a full 4 cm dilated. We decided that the day had come for an all-out try for non-medicated baby eviction. (Please let me preface this by saying that I am NOT supportive of elective chemical/hormonal inductions, and in a different situation, I would not recommend repeating what I did. Any action that is intended to push baby towards delivery is an induction of sorts. However, I will say that the strategies I used will really only work if baby is ready, and that I was absolutely sure of my conception date, so there were no concerns about potentially delivering a pre-term baby). The strategy I used could be referred to as MCB- membrane stripping, castor oil, bath. My midwife stripped my membranes, I took a big hit of castor oil once I got home, and then followed that with a soak in the tub. The idea is that the membrane stripping causes the release of prostaglandins and subsequent dilation and cramping, the castor oil causes contractions in the intestines (the theory is that when the intestines touching the uterus contract, a “ready” uterus will be encouraged to contract as well), and the bath helps to minimize the nasty side effects of castor oil and relax mom. Trust me when I say that castor oil is NOT fun. For me, it’s simply terribly difficult to get down, and causes what I’d categorize as moderate nausea and intestinal discomfort, but I’ve heard of plenty of people who have severe vomiting and diarrhea. It’s not for the weak-hearted or weak-stomached, and you certainly don’t want to go into labor dehydrated.
I chose to have my castor oil in mixed into a three-egg omelet. Brett mixed in lots of veggies to help cover the taste and mouth-feel of the castor oil, and we figured this was a good way to get in plenty of protein and quality calories, in the case that it worked. I managed to get the whole thing down, and then hopped in the tub. Within a few hours- by about 2 or 3 pm, I was having mild contractions.
By this point, I knew that this might be it, and was ready to encourage my contractions on. Brett and I walked over to a nearby park and played with Lucy- or should I say, Brett played with Lucy, and I walked circles around them, because walking always helps me manage my rushes. On the way home, I started feeling a lot of pressure, and a more definite feeling of “this is it.” I took another bath, got out my birthing ball, candle, and labor beads, and started to work more purposefully through the rushes.
By about 6/6:30, things were getting a lot more serious. Brett and I took another walk, and I was not able to talk through my rushes anymore. I focused on breathing through “loose lips”- making horse-like sounds (Ina May says loose lips above = loose lips below). When we returned home, I told Brett to go fill up the gas tank (I had forgotten to take care of it earlier) and get my bags ready. I still intended to stay at home for as long as possible, but I wanted to be ready. By the time Brett got back, I was really working hard, and at around 7:30, I felt a gush of fluid. I was admittedly very nervous when I realized that it was not my water breaking, but blood. I’m obviously familiar with bloody show, but this was a considerable amount of blood- and I hadn’t had much at all with Lucy. At that point I decided we needed to head out for the hospital- I wasn’t comfortable with the bleeding and wanted to make sure the baby was okay.
The ride to the hospital was a blur. It took about 45 minutes, and the whole time I was in the back seat of the CR-V, facing the rear, crammed on my knees between two car seats and hanging over the back. I am simply unable to work through rushes sitting down, especially in the front seat. Please don’t ask how I managed to climb into the back seat in the first place- I couldn’t tell you. Anyway, Brett turned on some soothing music, and I continued to low-moan and hip-rock my way to the hospital. When we finally reached the hospital parking lot, I jumped out before Brett could park- I absolutely could not have another contraction in the car. I headed into the hospital while he grabbed our bags, but was stopped by another rush. He caught up with me, and we made our way to labor and delivery. Rushes were probably 2 minutes apart by this point, and I needed to squat and rock with each one. However, I was still very calm in-between, and had a few quick conversations with some of the staff members we met in the halls.
We finally reached L&D at roughly 8:15 pm. When we arrived at the desk, I was in-between rushes, and the nurses asked, “What are you here for?” Brett just looked at them, dumbfounded, and said, “WE’RE HERE TO HAVE A BABY!” They looked in some sort of scheduling book and said, “Oh, well you’re not scheduled.” I guess they thought I was there for an induction! Luckily, another rush hit right then, I got into it, and they started to take me seriously.
I was put into triage, and the nurse quickly realized I was easily 7, quickly approaching 8 cm dilation. Everything went kind of crazy then, because my midwife hadn’t arrived yet, the attending OB’s didn’t want anything to do with me or my birth plan, and I was not in the mood to lay in a bed and be monitored- I was going through transition at this point (I found out later that neither OB was at all comfortable with a natural birth). I remember having 2-3 rushes in bed while they monitored and got the heplock in, then said to the nurse, “I’m sorry, I HAVE to get up!” With that contraction, I started feeling very pushy and told the nurse so. I laid back down, and proceeded to pant- I wasn’t sure how dilated I was, and didn’t want to push too early (I had a 2nd-degree tear with Lucy and REALLY wanted to avoid a tear this time).
Since it appeared that I was being ignored while the nursing staff and attending OB’s decided what to do, I knew I needed to grab their attention. I did so by yelling, “I NEED TO PUSH!” Luckily Miss Only-Nice-Nurse-In-the-Room looked down and realized baby was crowning. Her exact words to the docs were, “I don’t care WHO it is, but someone needs to put on some gloves!” One doc snapped into action, and my bed was quickly broken down. He tried to coax me into the stirrups, but I evaded him and grabbed my ankles instead. He broke my water (baby would have been born in-the-caul otherwise, which would have been pretty cool, but he was afraid, in his words, of being “splashed”) and baby June was born immediately. I believe it took 3 solid pushes total. What was cool was that I was managed to really control my pushing this time. The staff was pretty freaked out that Brett and I chatted and kissed between pushes, and I was trying to laugh and joke with them. June was born at 8:35 pm- about 20 minutes from the time I had arrived. She was 6 lbs, .6 ounces, 18 ½ inches long, and I was tear-free.
I will give the docs/nurses credit that they followed my birth plan to the best of their ability. Brett got to tell me she was a girl, and she was placed on my chest immediately. The staff did her Apgar (9-nearly perfect!) while I was holding her, and they didn’t touch her again until she had nursed well (she latched immediately). They respected my wishes regarding vaccinations and eye drops, let me keep her placenta, and delayed all routine checks. I did end up getting some pit after June was born as a precaution, but I didn’t mind. I felt really great and was up and moving immediately. After a while we were moved from Triage into postpartum, and we ended up staying the minimum (for June) of 24 hours before heading home.
June’s birth was definitely an adventure, and was truly beautiful in its own way. I’m grateful that we avoided the hospital for as long as we did, and that I was able to bring her into the world on my own terms. I’m also happy that we were able to show a group of non-believers what natural birth can be.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Disclaimer: This post represents my feelings only. It is not meant to serve as judgment of those who choose to use corporal punishment in a loving, restrained, and consistent manner. We all must decide how to discipline our children, and I have learned that judging others for their decisions is unproductive, unnecessary, and not at all loving. That being said, open discussion is encouraged in the comments section- I’d love to hear from both Gentle Discipline/Attachment Parenting mamas and those who practice corporal punishment (I’m sorry I’m not familiar with all the terms here).
I was raised by parents who did not (regularly, anyway) spank. I can count on one hand the number of times I was physically struck by my parents, and it was always by their hand on my bottom.
Brett, on the other hand, was (according to him, anyway) spanked much more regularly. Apparently the belt was an option, too.
So when Lucy became old enough that we needed to discuss discipline in more detail, we found ourselves somewhat divided. I am squarely in the “hands-and-other-objects-off” zone. Brett is in the “time-outs-don’t-work” and “I was spanked and I turned out great” arenas. After much discussion, Brett has finally agreed that our home will be spanking-free until Lucy is at least 3, or when we judge that she is capable of fully understanding what she is being punished for and why. Admittedly, I see this concession as a window of time in which to convert Brett to my way of thinking. However, there are times when I question my own convictions.
Like when Lucy throws food from her high chair. It drives me absolutely crazy! For months she was a dream- we could take her anywhere without making a huge mess. Then, out of the blue, she started throwing food. It began with her feeding the dogs, and now, even if they are kenneled or not around, she does it anyway- it’s become her way of telling me she’s done eating. What’s especially frustrating is that she KNOWS that sign for “all-done” and will do it. I truly don’t understand why she’d rather throw food than just tell me she’s done.
I did read a piece by Dr. Sears that addressed this type of behavior. According to him, children of this age love our reactions, and will continue to do a specific action to see ours. In other words, it’s not a case of “mommy told me not to, but I’m going to do it anyway;” he argues that children are not mentally capable of this. Rather, Lucy is thinking, “when I throw food, Mama makes a funny face and talks in a funny voice.” She actually enjoys seeing my frustration, because she is emotionally incapable of empathy at this point- she doesn’t understand that I am angry or sad. So, for the time being, I’m working on not giving her the reaction she’s looking for. I will walk away from the table and do the dishes. I’ll tell her in a quiet, regular tone to stop- making sure to keep my face composed and neutral. If it continues, I’ll ask her (and sign) if she’s “all-done,” and then remove her from the high chair.
But it’s so hard! I occasionally worry that I’m spoiling Lucy. I wonder if a smack of the hand would help her better understand what I’m trying to convey. I fear raising a child that doesn’t understand or respect boundaries, or that I cannot take out in public because she cannot behave properly. I fear being judged by other parents for not disciplining enough.
Then again, I worry about the implications of teaching my daughter that there is room for physical pain in a loving relationship. I’ve read studies indicating that little girls who are punished physically are more likely to experience abusive relationships. I also am concerned with teaching immediate obedience, mainly because I want my children to know that there are times when they should NOT obey an adult- namely when an adult asks to touch them inappropriately, or be touched inappropriately, or, in the case of a stranger, to get into a car with them. Finally, I worry that spanking sends the message that hitting, even when done with a greater goal in mind, is appropriate.
In just a few words, I want my children to behave out of a genuine desire to do the right thing, not out of fear of being reprimanded. And, believe me, I know that sounds like a lofty goal. To be honest, I’m still not exactly sure how we’ll get there. I know that I want my children to be compassionate and honest and trustworthy and to live lives that are solidly grounded in Christian moral values.
For the time being, I’ll keep reading, and talking to other moms and dads making the same sorts of decisions.
I’ll continue to speak respectfully to my daughter, to illustrate how I expect to be spoken to.
I’ll view this phase as an opportunity to work on my own character, particularly my patience.
And I’ll work on demonstrating the same grace towards my daughter that our Heavenly Father does to His.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Lucy has recently learned how to pinch. Hard. It’s just one of a string of recent developments that has her acting like less of a “baby” and more of a “little person.” One moment I was playing with her on the couch, the next she made a grab for my knitting needles. When I hastily pried them from her fingers, she looked up at me, yelled, and, that’s right, started pinching my thigh.
Where do kids learn this stuff? Admittedly, Lucy gets much less peer interaction than most kids her age. To my knowledge, she’s never been pinched by anyone else. And with the exception of her Baby Signs and Classical Baby dvds, she doesn’t watch tv- and I KNOW there’s no pinching on there. I am at such a loss! Clearly she’s not aware that it hurts, and she finds my reaction hilarious- it’s only slightly different from the one I have when she isn’t careful with her teeth when nursing or chucks food on the floor from her high chair. It seems as though Lucy is constantly researching how her behavior affects ours. If I had to name this stage, I would call it, “Let’s see what I can do to make Mama and Daddy make funny faces and funny sounds.”
Some of Lucy’s other recent developments/favorite activities:
- She LOVES to give hugs- to her stuffed animals, us, the dogs….
- Although she’s still not speaking many words, she has so many associations! I can ask her, “Lucy, can you please go in your room and get Tugs (her stuffed puppy) and bring it to Daddy?” And she’ll do it! I can ask her to hand me things I drop (handy when you’re super-preggo) and she will.
- In that vein, Lucy is obsessed with opening and closing drawers and doors, as well as moving items from one area to another. What’s worked for us: if I catch her opening a drawer, I’ll ask her to close it, please. Usually she does- then I make a big deal of it, saying, “THANK YOU, Lucy! Thank you for closing the drawer!” She gets very excited that she is doing what Mama wants and it generally distracts her from what she was doing- which is usually preparing to dump everything on the floor and move it somewhere else. I’ve found socks in the kitchen drawers, and once discovered she’s dumped the wet wipes from the wipe warmer in her room, only to replace them with dry ones from another basket.
- She loves to open the clothes hamper in her room and shove *clean* clothing and diapers into it.
- The girl is crazy about animals! In the last week, she’s managed to grab a lizard (a green anole), and has had two near-snake experiences. And no, she wasn’t scared. Lucy pets and gives her puppies hugs constantly, and is constantly trying to catch the neighbors’ dogs and cats.
- Lucy is still taking two/three bottles a day- one in the morning (she wakes up around 5 am, then I nurse her, she has a bottle, and goes back to sleep), one at naptime, and one at night. As soon as the Deuce is born and my supply comes back, I’m planning on exclusively nursing her morning and night, which will easily cut out those bottles, and she’ll be on a cup for her naptime milk. The rest of the day she uses a sippy. She still takes her pacifier, but only at night, and I’m not in a big rush to drop it. I know that she still has a need to suck, especially with still being breastfed.
- Can you say hissy fit? Lucy is the queen of throwing a tantrum. Last weekend in Best Buy, Lucy wanted to climb the lower merchandise shelves. As soon as I told her “No” and pulled her away, she threw herself on the floor, yelling and kicking her arms and legs. The kid is quite the actress! I’ve also seen her throw fits over having items taken away and for not being allowed outside. What does Mama do in moments like this? Ignore, ignore, ignore. I’ll walk a step or two away, and pretend to be very interested in something else. If we’re at home, I’ll walk out of the room. That usually does the trick.Overall, I’m amazed at what a little person my daughter is becoming! She is starting to really show her personality and her own preferences and dislikes, which can definitely lead to parenting challenges. However, I’m loving how interactive she is, and how independently she’ll play now. Brett and I both agree that many kids these days have too much schedule and form in their lives in terms of early education- classes, routines, pressure to develop a certain way, etc. Our focus is on independent, creative play. I’m also starting to look into what type of home-schooling we’ll be pursuing (Waldorf? Classical?), but that’s another post for another day.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Since Saturday, I’ve been 33 weeks preggo, which means that if I deliver the Deuce at the same time as Lucy, I have just under 5 weeks to go. I’m not gonna lie- 5 weeks sounds a lot more appealing at this point than 7 or, heaven help me, 9.
- I’m up roughly 10 pounds from my non-pregnancy weight. I’m guessing that I’ll end up gaining about 15 or so total- that would put me about the same as with Lucy. I’m fine with this, because it means that after I deliver this little one, I will be on the fast track to “back-to-normal.” Being practically continuously pregnant for the past 2 years has not been good to my self-image.
- I have (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK ON WOOD) no stretch marks yet. I’m going to credit my daily application of shea and coco butter for this. That and drinking tons of water. And great genes (thanks, Mama!)
- My hair looks fabulous. My skin is pretty clear.
- I’m sleeping pretty well. Lucy is napping in HER crib in HER room now, and at least starts out the night there. She still ends up in our room between 4:30-5:30 most nights, but that’s fine because I get up around 5:45 every morning, and she nurses before work.
- This baby is a mover! I seldom worry about whether he/she is doing okay because there’s so much movement.
- I’m still in nesting mode and getting a lot accomplished. Realistically, the baby could come at any time and we’d be ready. Diapers and covers are washed, I have some ‘sposies, we already have wipes in the warmer for Lucy…clothes are all sorted and washed. Diapers, boobs, some sleepers…that’s all you really need (oh, and a carseat if you want to come home!)
- I have SO MANY Braxton-Hicks (BH) contractions. I have a couple every hour during the day, and then when I get home at night…WHAM! I actually ended up in Labor and Delivery last week to be monitored because I was having near-continuous, super-uncomfortable, borderline-painful BH. Luckily the baby is handling the BH fine, and there is no cervical change so far. Stay put, baby- at least for 5 more weeks!
- Just about everything sets off the BH. Walking too fast, peeing, bending the wrong way, baby movement….all turn my uterus rock hard. I’m hoping that because of all the practicing, this labor will be even quicker and easier than mine with Lucy was. I’m supposed to call L&D if I have more than 6 BH in an hour…but….that is practically every day. My strategy now is to simply lay down, drink *more* water, eat protein, and see what happens- if that doesn’t stop ‘em, then I’ll call.
- I’m starting to get a little nervous about tandem-nursing. Don’t get me wrong- I didn’t push through all the nipple-soreness, nursing strikes, etc. to give up now. Plus Lucy is nursing as enthusiastically as ever, so I don’t foresee her giving up in the next few weeks. I actually pumped the other day out of curiosity and got an ounce easily, so I know I still have milk. I guess I’m more wondering how it will all work…nursing both before work, both before bed….how much I will be able to pump…is it true that you produce as if you had twins…so many questions! I guess I will just have to wait and see.
- Even though I’ve not gained that much weight, I’m quickly outgrowing all my clothes- including my maternity stuff. I think I’m down to 2 pairs of jeans and a pair of capris that fit. However, I’m not up to buying more stuff, so I think I’ll just suck it up for now…especially since I wear a uniform to work anyways.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Anyway, Brett managed to pack the car while I was at work while simultaneously keeping Lucy distracted from her morning nap. That way, when I got home around lunch, we could hit the road- and Lucy would sleep. All went to plan and the trip went pretty smoothly. I only wish we didn’t have the time-change to deal with- we lose an hour moving from Central to Eastern.