Thursday, December 20, 2007

Meara's Birth Story

Looking back, early labor actually began on December 10th. It was in the morning that I felt the first noticeably stronger than usual contraction. I'd been having braxton hicks (practice contractions) for weeks but that morning I felt the first of what seemed to be a step up in intensity of the contractions. They were still quite sporadic but by the end of that day they were coming atleast one an hour, sometimes more. They weren't getting stronger though so I didn't think anything was imminent. Plus, the moon was still in Capricorn and I told the baby that I thought it would be better for her to wait until the moon left that most challenging of moon signs. That meant she needed to stay in until about 8:15pm on December 12th. I was concerned that perhaps little Meara may not heed my advice but was hopeful that labor was still a couple days off.

December 11th was much like the 10th. I was still feeling semi-regular contractions that were quite noticeably stronger than just regular braxton hicks but they didn't seem to be escalating in intensity. They did pick up in frequency. I was feeling about three an hour or so. I thought maaaybe real labor would start on the 12th and visualized actually meeting this baby sometime after 8:30pm. I kinda wished I didn't know anything about astrology so I could just have this baby without having to worry about such things as the sign the moon is in but it's too late for that. I reminded myself I have no control and this baby would come when she wants to.

On December 12th the contractions were consistently coming on 3 or 4 times an hour and really annoying at this point. I was extremely irritable so I dropped the kids off with my mom so I could get some last minute stuff done. Like pack my bag to take to the birth center. I also went to the craft store to buy plaster strips to make the belly cast that I'd been trying to get around to doing for the last two pregnancies and yet still hadn't managed to do. Did I mention that I'm a major procrastinator? Brett got off work at 2 and we went to buy a Yule tree. I was very happy to get that taken care of before baby arrived. We got a modestly sized but beautiful Noble Fir. It smells so lovely. After that we put in a movie- Fast Food Nation- and started in on the belly cast at about 7 pm. By this time I was happy that there was no way this baby was going to be born with a Cappy moon and I was ready for labor to really kick into high gear. I could tell that I was in the early stages but was still skeptical that the real action was imminent. Even though the contractions seemed to be getting slightly stronger they were still really easy to handle, albeit somewhat distracting. During the belly cast creation I had time to sit quietly and watch the clock and I noticed that they were about 10 minutes apart rather consistently. We were done with the movie and cast at 9 pm and at this point I think it's safe to say that my thought that the baby wasn't coming that night was somewhat foolish. Looking back it seems obvious that labor was picking up speed but I must have been in some kind of denial because I drove to my mom's house to pick up the kids- 20 minutes away and I didn't even pack the kids overnight stuff just in case. Before I left I took a quick shower and tried doing a cervical check on myself but had absolutely no luck even locating the darn thing. This was frustrating because I can very easily visualize the female anatomy, since I'd been reading pretty much nothing but midwifery texts for the last 3 months or so, but was completely unable find my own cervix.

The drive to my mom's house was actually quite uncomfortable. The contractions seemed to step up abit to the point were I was feeling really squirmy when one would come on and I had to tell myself to relax and be mushy. I kept thinking the phrase, "mushy mama." I probably should have just turned around and went home but I drove onward thinking that these contractions would keep on like this for another day. Silly me. When I used the bathroom at my mom's my mucus plug fell out. The contractions were decidedly uncomfortable and five minutes apart at this point. My mom laughted and said, "You'd better just leave the kids here tonight, it sounds like that baby is coming soon." I thought I'd really rather not drive home and tried calling Brett to come pick me up but he'd already gone to bed, since he was scheduled to work at 5am the next morning and he didn't hear the phone. So back in the truck I went, thinking that I could just pull over every five minutes if I needed to. I ended up just slowing down to about 30 mph every five minutes instead, continuing with my mushy mama mantra. I made it home and as soon as I did the contractions got even stronger. I told Brett that tonight was the night and he called his manager to let her know he wasn't coming in. We both laid down to try and rest. Brett had only slept four hours the night before, so he was already exhausted. I was totally unable to sleep due to the combination of excitement and the fact that the contractions were getting progressively stronger.

I called the midwives' hotline and my call was returned by Vanessa around 11:30. I let her know that tonight was the night. I said that it would probably still be a couple hours before I was ready to come in. As it turns out around 12:30 I was feeling like the pushing stage could be close. The contractions were about 4 minutes apart and I was moaning through them on my hands and knees. Brett called Vanessa and she said she'd meet us at the center in 45 minutes. The contractions were strong enough that I was actually concerned that I wouldn't be able to wait that long. Fortunately the birth center is only about five minutes from our house. We arrived and I asked Vanessa to check my cervix because I was curious about my dialation. She said I was about 7 or 8 cm. That was good to hear. I quickly stripped down and hopped in the birthing tub. Sweet relief! What had previously been hard contractions suddenly seemed so much bearable after submerging myself in the warm water of the deep tub.

The relief didn't last long though. It was about 30 minutes until the contractions got strong enough to cause me to groan and moan through them. I was trying to keep my vocalizations to a minimum because my throat always ends up feeling raw before long and it's really aggravating to me but there was just no way I could be silent.

I had a terrible chill on any part of me that was out of the water and I asked if they had any heaters. The midwives obliged and after alittle while the room was toasty warm. There was the unfortunate side effect of a yucky smell that came from the heater but it was worth it in exchange for the warmth.

I found that I was much more alert and aware of the passage of time than my previous labor experiences. I think it was because I was over analyzing the experience instead of sinking into my body and listening to it's cues. After I'd been laboring for a couple hours in the tub my contractions were overwhelmingly intense and I tried giving little pushes during them. It felt good at first. But I kept doing that and it quickly became exhausting and nothing seemed to be coming of it. Dana, the other midwife had arrived awhile earlier and she'd been laying quietly on the bed. She came over after I'd been pushing futilely for awhile and said, "So you're not feeling pushy yet?" It was a gentle way of saying, 'stop that, you're wearing yourself out for no reason.' I got the message and gave up the misguided hope that it was time to push. In retrospect, I think my expectation that this labor would be quicker and easier was getting the better of me. The lesson I've taken from this is to let go of all expectations for labor and just get in touch with what your body is telling you instead of over thinking the whole thing.

After I stopped pushing during the contractions I just focused on relaxing as much as possible in between and during them. I stopped thinking about the passage of time and it wasn't long before I felt like I really needed to poop. So I jumped out of the pool and went and sat on the toilet. I had a major earthquake of a contraction that was the most unpleasant of them all yet and realized it was actually a baby that was starting to come down so I jumped up and paced around the room. I was somewhat panicky and desperate to find a comfortable position, as the tub had started to become uncomfortable to me. I wished it was padded. Even though the thought of laying on the bed seemed alluring, I knew that it was a fool's hope and that the moment I laid down, the contractions would be most unbearable. Being upright was the easiest way for me to cope so I tried sitting on the birthing stool. No, the pain in my tail bone let me know that the birthing stool was not for me. Kneeling sounded most appealing but the floor looked even more uncomfortable than the tub and the thought of pushing out the baby
on land instead of in the familiarity of the water where I'd had my previous two babies suddenly didn't seem so appealing. So back in the tub I went.

The baby moved down rather quickly, thankfully and that ring of fire was intense but bearable because I knew that meant I was almost finished. I think at that point it was only two or three pushes until her head came out. There was a brief bit of relief but not much. I waited for the next contraction to push her body out and I felt the most interesting sensation of her squirming. I said, "I can feel her moving." Dana said that she was turning herself into the right position to come the rest of the way out. I pushed with all my might at the next contraction and her shoulders slipped out but the rest of her didn't! I was very frustrated by that since my other two babies just slid out entirely after their shoulders emerged. So I had to muster up one last burst of energy and push her little butt out.

Oh the sweet blessed relief! Brett reached down to pull her up out of the water but she had the cord around her neck a couple times so Vanessa reached down and slid the loops over her head and then he could scoop her up on to my chest. her first picture
She was just perfect. Meara looked up at me and was very calm. A bit too calm for the midwives comfort. She was breathing but it was shallow and light and even though her body was a good pink color, her hands and feet were a light white/purple color. We rubbed her back vigorously and Vanessa got the oxygen tank and used the tube like a little wand and waved it in front of her nose and mouth. Her cord was still pulsing very strongly so she was still getting oxygen that way but it was time for her to start breathing like a land dweller and after a minute or so she started taking deep breaths and making some little annoyed baby noises. I offered her the breast and she latched on right away. She was already a nursing pro!
nursing within minutes of being born!

I have some more thoughts to share on the experience but since this post is already turning into a book I'm just going to hit publish and come back later to add more thoughts when I get a chance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Baby is coming!

Think happy birthing thoughts for me.. The baby is on her way tonight! Mucus plug fell out at 10 pm and contractions are five minutes apart. whooohooo!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

waiting... not so patiently

Last night I had a good strong contraction right before I fell asleep and was hopeful that it could be the start of something but it doesn't seem to have led anywhere. Bummer. I am very eager for this baby to be born. The sooner the better for so many reasons, but especially for her own good. I mean, her birthday is going to be close to Christmas as it is but to have it suuper close to it is a bummer for any kid who quickly realizes that they get less birthday presents than, say, a July baby. Not to mention the challenge of trying to schedule a party when half of your friends may be gone on holiday vacation. Yeah, it's in her own best interests that Meara waste no time in getting herself earthside in a timely manner. Also, December 9th is a pretty good date astrologically.. she'd be a double Sagittarius- sun and moon- It is afterall, the night of the new moon. Which is cool. A couple days earlier would be even cooler, since she would have a Scorpio moon to go with her Saggie sun just like her mama. Though I'm not sure I should wish that on the poor child. It's got some perks but it's also a challenging moon sign to carry. If she's going to be late then she'd better skip over the later half of the 10th and the 11th and 12th.. A Capricorn moon is the toughest of all moon signs, and has a tendency to reflect a difficult mother figure in one's life. Yikes.. I'm really hoping baby plays nice and just arrives as scheduled so I don't have to worry about the possibility that I'm one of "those" mothers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Christmas gift experiment

prototype potholder, originally uploaded by harpyr.

So this is what I made today. It was a fast knit on size 10 1/2 needles with Noro Kureyon. I felted it in the sink with hot and cold water and then threw it in the dryer. However, I think it needs to be felted more to be safe as a potholder. It's just too holey still. It would work as a table protector for a hot pot. I'm needing to whip out some fast knits to give as gifts to extended family since I think we've blown our entire present budget on gifts for the kids already. We're just about done with all our shopping for them so now I can devote my spare time to crafting some stuff for everybody else. I hope people can appreciate handmade washcloths and potholders. Kinda mundane but I think it's all I have time for. I really should have started knitting gifts months ago. I have to admit I'm something of a selfish knitter still. I'm forcing myself to put down the big entrelac wrap for myself in order to knit for other people. It's easier to convince myself to do that by making these entrelac potholders. I get to practice my technique so I can be sure to get Lady Eleanor just right. Here's a finished example of the wrap in the Noro Silk Garden colorway that I'll be using.

Gorgeous, eh? It'll probably take me four months to finish but it'll be worth it.

Alrighty, I need to finish this up and get the kids to bed. I've been procrastinating on turning in Quinn's work samples to his contact teacher. (We participate in a charter school program) For some reason I have this aversion to using my scanner. I don't know why but the process seems tediously slow to me and I have to really force myself to muster up the gumption to do it. Tonight I must. Even if it means dragging myself out of my nice comfy bed after Zay falls asleep and taking care of this. I'm already five days late. Gotta stop slacking on this!

Monday, November 12, 2007

the science of color

experimenting with color, originally uploaded by harpyr.

Quinn had fun learning about color mixing with this little science kit. He got to fill a little tray with 24 of his own color mixtures and then add some little crystals that absorb all the water and look like jello until you let them dry back out, and then they look like tiny colored crystal granules. It was pretty neat.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy Birthday B!

, originally uploaded by harpyr.

Brett spent the morning creating his own birthday cake work of art. He has been working a new job at Fred Meyer's decorating cakes so this was an opportunity for him to practice and show off for the family. It was a most yummy demonstration!

Monday, November 5, 2007

random thoughts

Today I babysat my nephew Evyn. I took all the kids up to my mom's house to get some help with all the kids and it was really nice. Got some knitting on my cardigan accomplished and helped my mom get signed up on myspace so she can keep in touch better with my brothers. It's wild how many people are on that now.

Hm.. I'm having a hard time with this regular blogging thing. I find I just don't know what to write about. I mean, there are so many things that I could ramble on about but when it comes to focusing in on one thing and doing it, I just hit a block. It probably doesn't help that children demand my attention about every five to ten minutes so it's hard to keep a train of thought. I should try and blog after they are asleep.. The tricky part is dragging myself out of the cozy bed instead of just lying there with a good book and drifting off to sleep myself. That's how things go most often...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

wish lists and last night's dinner

Phew.. I just got done starting a wish list for myself. Every year people ask me what I want for my b-day and X-mas and often I'm at a loss for what to say. It will be easier to just have a nice tidy weblink to give everyone. Now I just need to put one together for each of the kids and B too.
It's a bit more time consuming than I anticipated. I should probably take a break from the computer and do some housework. B was a sweetheart and did some major cleaning on his days off and so now all I have to do is maintain it. Should be a piece of cake, right? Let's hope so. I did some very light Yoga a few days ago and now my hips are aching like crazy. I've got about five weeks left to go before this baby is due and I already feel like my due date was yesterday. I fluctuate between extreme lethargy and body aches to these bursts of nesting energy. It's strange.

I still have yet to cultivate a strong enthusiasm for cooking but thank heavens my darling husband likes it. Last night he made a delicious dinner of corn on the cob, creamy mashed potatoes and baked salmon. Check out the main dish.. yuuuum.

Did I mention that my husband is wonderful?

Ooh I should also mention that Zay is using the potty during the day now.. Without accidents! Whoooo hoooo! I love love love it!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

candy overload


My friggin mouse is fritzin out on me. I don't know if it's the mouse or a computer glitch but it keeps freezing (the cursor) and so I have to reach around, unplug the mouse and then plug it back in and it will work again. This wasn't a big deal for the past week or so because it would only happen once per session but now it's happening every couple minutes. For a big ol preggo like me who has a hard time getting up and down, this is especially irritating. Well, I'm sure it would probably be irritating to anyone, no matter how easily they could stand up. I don't have the slightest idea how to fix this problem. *sigh*

So last night was Halloween. Q dressed up as a battle robot and we walked around our neighborhood with this buddies across the street and then after we'd hit the few houses of people we knew, we said bye to his friends and drove over to the ritzy part of town. The old neighborhood with the really big houses were every darn person in this town takes their kids to trick or treat. It was like a zoo. I felt sorry for the people who are slammed with kids knocking on their door for atleast two hours straight. I mean there was hardly a break in the stream of them at each door. Q had to wait in line often. I was my typical forgetful self and left the camera at home. DOH! Zay stayed home with Daddy to hand out candy... But nobody came until Q and I got home and then we had exactly two groups of kids. I gave them each two giganto handfuls of candy because B brought home four giant bags. UGh.
Way. too. much. sugar.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

pregnant gypsy pool shark

Last Saturday the kids spent the night at their Grandma's house for the first time. It was Zay's first overnight EVER. It went pretty well. She did wake up at 3 and refuse to go back to bed but quickly went back to sleep with Grandma on the couch. Q got abit homesick but he said he had fun anyway.

B and I went out to a Halloween party at the Howling Dog all dressed up. He was a pirate, as were his friends that we met up with there. I was sort of a fortune teller or something. I was going for a witchy pirate look but people at the bar referred to me as a gypsy. Close enough. The highlight of the night was playing pool. I don't get to do it much these days but back in my single, pre-munchkin days, I was a regular at the Watertrough- a Portland dive featuring several cheap pool tables, pool shark regulars and great bartenders. If I might toot my own horn abit, I got pretty good at the game. As it turns out, with a bit of concentration, it's much like riding a bike, it would seem. Saturday night I was in top form; I made several tough shots and no one beat me all night. Okay so I only played three games before we had to go home due to B needing to get sleep for work in the morning, but they were three awesome games, lemme tell you. People seemed to get a kick out of the pregnant gypsy kicking butt at pool. It was quite the confidence booster, I must say. (Even if I did have the sober advantage over the drunken people I played)

I made a difficult shot that required alot of side english, a bank shot into the side pocket and my dreaded shot wherein the object ball is directly in the center of the table and the cue ball is centered at the other end of the table- usually a scratch shot but with the proper english and just the right amount of gentle touch, I made it into the corner pocket. Whoooweee did that one make my night.

My only major complaint of the evening was the smokiness of the place. Ugh. I found myself squatting down to get to the fresh air closer to the floor in between my turns. The smoke was really nauseating.. I don't know how people can stand going to such places regularly.
All in all it was a really entertaining night though. Surprisingly, about 95% of the people were in costumes which made for great people watching.

Monday, October 29, 2007

a new blog

Allrighty. Here I go again. Trying the blog thing. I'm moving away from Livejournal (old blog: over here to Blogger because I like the ability to customize the header with a graphic of my own creation... Not that I've gotten off my duff and done that yet but it's on my to do list. Just as soon as I come up with an appropriate blog title. Easier said than done, no doubt. It might help if I could pin down exactly what it is I want to blog about. I'm so all over the board. I like to knit, I'm studying midwifery, I want to keep friends and family updated on the goings on around my house and I've got lots of opinions on a wide variety of topics that I like to share from time to time. I suppose this will just be a mishmash of all that stuff instead of being focused on just one.

Let's see.. where to begin?
I should be cooking dinner right now. Unfortunately I don't like cooking so this procrastination is a frequent problem for me. Zay is helping her daddy feed the snakes right now and Q is across the street playing with his buddy. We need to watch a movie that is due back tonight but Heroes is on at 9 and it's already 7... and B needs to get up and be at work by 5 am. There just aren't enough hours in the day it seems at times. He just told me that the store where he works doesn't allow any food or drink in the bakery. So he can't even have a water bottle with him and has to drink water on his breaks or at lunch. That's soo messed up. People need to hydrate more often than that. He said he's had a headache all day today and I'm thinking that this store policy is likely contributing to it.

*sigh* Okay.. My tummy is rumbling and time is awastin' so I'm off to make some dinner.