Monthly Archives: July 2012

Happy

Ever since baby girl has been about 4 weeks old I have been experiencing a really strange way of feeling.

I’m happy.

I’ve been happy before, at times, of course. There have been happy moments and even some happy days. But my default has always been mildly depressed, and the happiness is the exception.

Now, I just feel…right. Content. Happy. As a default.

It’s not all the time, of course. There are times when baby girl is screaming and I am frustrated, or when I want nothing more than to be able to sleep, or that I am annoyed at school. But now those are the exceptions.

Right now my life mainly consists of caring for my daughter. I’m not working anywhere. I have very few outside obligations. I’m still in school, but that is flexible in it’s timing and small enough I can treat it as a minor annoyance instead of a cornerstone of life.

And watching my daughter grow, watching her develop, feeling her snuggles, meeting her needs; I find it fulfilling in a way I never imagined I would.

I always thought I would want to have children, but that I would find the actual raising part to be somewhat annoying. Not enough to feel purposeful. Kind of an add-on. I was sure I would need some way to get out of the house and do something real.

And who knows, maybe I’ll feel that way as time goes on.

But for right now? I am content waking up every day and having basically nothing to do but live. Enjoy my day and help my daughter enjoy hers. Figure out my role as a mother and how to do it successfully. Take pleasure in accomplishing the little things, like doing a load of laundry or picking up a section of the house.

And so, of course, in my screwed up brain, I begin to feel guilty. Because if I am this happy with my life, it must mean I’m not doing enough. If I have the energy to enjoy my days, I should be diverting that energy into doing more for my family and my husband. A little voice keeps telling me if I’m content, I should be pushing myself harder.

I’m trying very hard to shut that little voice up. It helps that my husband thinks that little voice is dead wrong, so I don’t have to feel guilty to him.

Who knows if this will last. Maybe I will feel the need to get out of the house and do something in the workforce. But for now? For now, this is wonderful. And I am enjoying every day I get to spend with my sweet baby girl.

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Baby Burrito

When our daughter was born my husband and I both sang to her. We had sung “Isn’t She Lovely” to her almost every day she was in the womb in the last trimester, but when she was born she showed no affinity for that song. One that we happened across, however, that she absolutely loved, was “Baby Beluga.” Did you know it had three verses? I didn’t! But my husband did, and since it was often the only thing to soothe baby girl I soon learned them.

We swaddle her to sleep, and so we started calling her our little burrito, along with a slew of other adjectives paired with “burrito.”

This combination led me to write these lyrics, to the tune of Baby Beluga, after my husband suggested the first two lines:

 

Baby Burrito in the swaddle so tight

It’s time to go to sleep for the night

So close your eyes and relax your limbs

Soon a new day will begin.

 

Baby burrito, baby burrito

Is your swaddle warm? Is your mama home

With you so happy?

 

Your daddy loves you and your mommy, too.

In fact the whole world loves you!

You are so precious and you are so sweet

From your head down to your feet!

 

Baby burrito, baby burrito

We love your little hands, we love your little cheeks

We love all of you!

 

Behind your lids imagination will play

Dream of what you’ll do in the day

The stars are shining and the moon is out

Goodnight little girl, good night!

 

Baby burrito, baby burrito

With tomorrow’ s sun, another day’s begun

It will soon be morning.

 

Baby burrito in the swaddle so tight

It’s time to go to sleep for the night

So close your eyes and relax your limbs

Soon a new day will begin

Soon a new day will begin

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Why my birth wasn’t empowering (and that’s ok)

I have moved! I am now blogging at The Energizer Mommy. Please come join me there!

When you look into natural birth one thing you’ll hear over and over is, “It’s so empowering!” It comes in many forms, like, “It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I did it and now I know I can do anything!”, but one thing pro natural birthers seem to agree on if that the experience is ultimately positive and empowering when all is said and done.

Mine wasn’t.

And that was hard.

I never did it to be empowered. I did it because I thought it was best for me and best for baby (and because my social phobia and bad experiences with doctors made the thought of hospital experience terrifying). So I wouldn’t have thought I’d mind that the experience wasn’t positively transformative.

But I did. A lot.

Mainly because this is one thing about natural birth everyone agrees on, so if I didn’t feel it that way it must have been some failing on my part. I must have done something wrong.

Talking with my doula, I realized these kinds of feelings aren’t uncommon. Not everyone has the amazing experience advertised.

And I wish people would talk about that. Because no one should choose how they birth for the experience. That shouldn’t be a “selling point”. And no one should feel like a failure because they felt in a totally normal way.

My labor sucked. Plain and simple. I said “I can’t!” a lot. I felt out of control. Not that I think you can control labor, but you can be not out of control. It’s like being caught in a raging river. You can flail and struggle and flounder and be utterly out of control, or you can hold yourself together and ride the current. Either way you end up down river, but the two paths are not the same. I feel like I flailed. That is why, even though I “did it”, I don’t feel like I actually did anything.

My time just after birth, the supposed payoff for labor, sucked. There was no flood of endorphins. No getting lost in the wonder of my newborn. I had a lesser version of that for a few minutes, but I still felt like shit. I was having back labor to deliver my flipping placenta. I was getting dizzy from rapid loss of blood. I was exhausted on top of that. I felt guilty afterward that after a few minutes I had no interest in seeing my daughter until my placenta was out.

These experiences were not empowering.

But that’s ok.

That’s not why I did it.

I am glad my daughter got to cook until 42 weeks. She was doing great, she wanted it.

I am glad I had no interventions that made my healing harder or baby girl’s experience more dangerous.

I am glad I felt respected before, during, and after labor.

I am glad my daughter avoided formula.

I am glad there is no decision about the management of my labor that I would change. Not one. Not even minor preferences. I cannot imagine that would be the same in a hospital where my preferences are so different than their default and I had strangers attending me.

My birth was not empowering. It sucked.

But you know what? I did something hard because I thought it would be best for my daughter and myself. And isn’t that what being a mom is about?

It didn’t have to be empowering to be the right decision.

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Slow down, already!

Tonight my baby slept 5 straight hours. (Of course, I didn’t sleep 5 straight hours because I kept waking up trying to figure out why she was still asleep!)

She went 5.5 hours between feeds.

When she woke she was squirmy and unsettled. I fed her, but that didn’t fix it. I checked her diaper. Still dry. From 6 hours prior. I took her down to her potty where she peed a river and settled.

She’s now nursing herself back to sleep.

My baby is growing up! It’s happening so fast! Slow down, sweet baby girl!

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Dumb name, amazing results

Many months ago I was looking at diapering options and came across EC. EC is short for Elimination Communication (possibly the stupidest name ever), and basically it means you potty train your newborn. At first I was bemused and perused the site for fun, but as I read it started to make sense to me. I mean if infants are capable of learning to hold their bladders, why would you untrain that by putting them in diapers and basically teaching them to stop paying attention to their body? It makes for a hell of a time at age 3-5 when you’re trying to teach them to tune back in to their bodies and use the potty! What if it really was possible to skip that? At first it would mean I would have to tune into her cues and give her lots of opportunities to go potty in the “right” place, but honestly, that is pretty much exactly what housebreaking a puppy is. Over time you build up the habit, but at first you just give lots of opportunities and pay close attention. Seemed doable.

After giving birth to baby girl I was knocked out. Very exhausted from a long labor and lots of blood loss. But when baby girl was almost 4 weeks old, I ordered a potty from Amazon. I figured, hey, why not try? I wouldn’t be religious about it, but if it worked, great! I’d just give her the opportunity to go every time I changed her diaper, when she was already naked. Everyone knows how babies love to pee on you when the air hits them. It was a good time to try and “catch” an elimination.

The first try she peed in the potty. I was elated! How cool! Then she didn’t for me for the rest of the day. But the next day, she did again. And the next day, three times!

Within about 5 days every time I held baby girl over the potty in position and made the “tsssss” sound she would begin to try to go potty. Usually she did if I gave her a few minutes.

Within a couple days after that she would go potty almost instantly upon being given the chance. And if there was anything more in her system, she’d keep trying until it was all out.

It’s been just over a week, now, and if I’m paying attention I can use the same diaper for hours and hours with it staying clean and dry! I still haven’t really figured out her cues as to when she has to go potty, but I’m just giving her opportunities. And she seems to be starting to wait for them. She used to go potty while breastfeeding regularly. Now she doesn’t. She will sometimes go long stretches (a few hours) without going potty, and then go a lot when I give her the opportunity at the potty. It’s nowhere near reliable, but funnily, she seems to prefer NOT having her waste all over her private parts!

I’m sure we could be doing better, but right now we aren’t ECing at night. Or in the mornings when we’re chilling in bed. Because our only potty is downstairs. So that means it’s only about 8-10 hours a day when we are ECing, and she’s STILL getting it this well!

I am blown away by my one-month-old’s ability to control her elimination. We’ll keep her in diapers for a good long while, but hopefully this way we can use a lot fewer of them. And if we’re using fewer, maybe we can even switch over to cloth and I’d be OK with that! And hopefully, even if we stay in diapers until she is several years old, potty training will be much easier since she won’t have lost the ability to tune in to her own body’s needs.

I thought this was crazy-woo-woo. I certainly am not telling others in real life we’re doing it. But so far…I am impressed. I’m glad I heard about it, EC was definitely worth giving a try!

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Baby girl’s birth story

I have moved! I am now blogging at The Energizer Mommy. Please come join me there!

This is a birth story which means it includes things about female-parts. You have been warned…

My birth story begins on May 28th. I was 41w5d pregnant and the deadline for hospital transfer and medical induction was loomng. That morning I went to see my midwives to get lemon verbena to be used with castor oil, almond butter, and apricot juice in a disgusting natural induction cocktail (that doesn’t make you sick). I was not even remotely dilated and my cervix was still fairly posterior, but it was very soft. I took the cocktail that afternoon and…nothing in the 4-6 hours it was supposed to take. However, later that evening, contractions started. They were 3 minutes apart and uncomfortable (the first contractions I had ever felt! My BH were painless), but only lasting about 30-45 seconds. I was excited but cautious. Over time they got stronger and harder and longer. Around 2:30 they were strong enough I couldn’t sleep through them and about 2.5 minutes apart and a minute long. Definitely within 4-1-1. We called the midwife, and she said that since I could talk through them I should labor longer at home and call her back when they got too intense for that. I agreed, and tried to sleep a little bit between them. I dozed until about 4:30 on the couch, then moved to bed. I woke up at around 8AM with…nothing. The contractions had stopped. I was devastated.

We had another midwife appointment that day (41w6d) to check on baby and try to get things going again. We also did another NST, which baby girl passed with flying colors. I was hoping that at least I had dilated some from the hours of painful labor that kept me up most of the night, but still nothing. My cervix was a little more anterior but still completely closed. My midwife even tried to open it a little herself so she should do a membrane sweep, but my cervix wouldn’t budge. We agreed I’d take the other induction cocktail that afternoon and be in touch.

I took the cocktail shortly before my acupuncture appointment at 5 that afternoon, which was also to induce labor (I was desperate). On the drive home from acupuncture at about 6:30 I told my hubby I could feel contractions starting again. They weren’t painful, but this was only the second time I had even felt contractions, so we were cautiously hopeful. By the time we got home at 7 they were moving beyond discomfort quickly. By 8 they were taking all of my attention to cope with, but were only lasting about 45 seconds and 2.5 minutes apart. I knew I should lay down, since I had had no sleep since the 4-ish hours the night before, but I didn’t want these to peter out as this was my last chance to avoid the hospital, so instead we went for a walk. After going about a block and a half I realized this wasn’t going to happen as I was in too much pain to keep it up, especially since I was only getting about 90 seconds between contractions. We made it home and things ramped up quickly. All of those early labor activities people tell you to plan, like putting sheets on baby’s crib or baking a birthday cake? Yeah, those didn’t have time to happen.

At 8:45 we called Geraldine (our awesome midwife) and told her I’d been having contractions I couldn’t talk through for about an hour. When I told her I was doing OK coping with them she said that since it had only been an hour my cervix probably hadn’t had time to change, so we would check back by phone in a couple hours. We agreed and the countdown began. I was living until those two hours were up so I could call her again, I was having killer back labor and it was HARD. I wanted to get in to the tub at the birth center!

We called at 10:45 and she said there still probably hadn’t been time for my cervix to change so let’s wait another few hours. I about lost it. I told her that no, I wanted to go to the birth center (if you know me you know how very hard saying something like that was!). We agreed she’d check back in in 30 minutes. She did, and then we agreed to meet at the birth center at 12:30 (which gave her time to get there and get set up).

At 12:30 we arrived and Geraldine checked me, with my permission. She told me she was extremely impressed and that I was already at 4cm and my cervix was basically gone it was so thin, amazing after where I’d been that morning. She left me to labor with my husband and our awesome doula, Lauren. As soon as she was gone I said, “Ha, I told you so, Geraldine!” I knew that with contractions as intensely painful as I’d been having there had to be progress being made!

I continued to labor for awhile. I got into the tub, my expected pain-destroyer, and it was…nothing. Didn’t help. I was having KILLER back labor, and the tub was so small I couldn’t have my front and back in it at the same time. I asked if I could get back in the shower, which was my savoir at home, and Geraldine told me that it needed to be cleaned from a birth that had happened earlier that evening (it was attached to another room). So I managed. Somehow. I was exhausted because my last real sleep was two nights ago and labor came on so fast I didn’t get a chance to eat dinner. Coping was HARD. But with the help of my amazing hubby and doula, I did.

At 5 Geraldine suggested checking me again sometime, and I agreed, asking her to now. She did and told me I was now at 8cm. I was disheartened and said, “Then shouldn’t I be in transition?” She kind of smiled and said, “I think you have been for a bit now!” I hadn’t noticed a difference in the pain, except it kept getting stronger, but evidently this was it.

My husband asked her if the shower had been cleaned, because he noticed on a run to reheat the heat pack for my back the door was closed. Geraldine said yes, and I got in the shower. Which was HEAVEN. The shower virtually negated my back labor. The regular labor I could deal with just fine, by swaying on a birth ball, it was the back labor that made it so very, very hard for me. Labor in the front was painful but felt productive and I could work with productive! I did so much better in the shower, in fact, that when Geraldine came back to check on me she was afraid my contractions were slowing or stopping because I looked like I was in so much less pain!

Eventually my hubby and Lauren somehow convinced me to get out of the shower. I went back and was checked again and Geraldine told me I was at 9.5 with just a little lip of cervix on the sides and back. She said if I labored for another 30 minutes laying down and switching sides then she could hold my cervix out of the way and I could push. I agreed, not knowing that, as the assistant midwife said later, pushing through a cervix being held out of the way is about the most painful and hardest thing you can do in a labor. But I was so exhausted and running out of energy I still think that was the right choice.

After what felt like it should have been more than 30 minutes I finished a contraction and said, “Where the FUCK is Geraldine???” I heard a quiet, amused voice from the other side of the bed say, “Right here.” Oops.

She checked me again and told me I was almost completely dilated, the lip had reduced. Then the pushing began. I had no urge, because my body wasn’t really ready yet. Pushing felt wrong, it intensified the pain where my cervix was being held out of the way. It took several contractions before my birth team could convince me to really push through a contraction. I pushed on the birth stool until I moved baby girl down enough Geraldine could release my cervix. Then I switched between squatting (which is when my water broke), being on my side, and being on my back, before going back to the birth stool to deliver. While back on the birth stool I finally got the pushing urge, and then pushing felt so good and I made great progress with it!

After roughly an hour and a half of pushing, my daughter was born at 8:28 AM! She was lifted up instantly to me and I held her on my chest. My hubby leaned around me, where he’d been supporting me as I sat, and we stared at her together. I was moved to the bed with baby girl and laid with her on my chest for awhile. My hubby took her after a bit when my placenta refused to come out and I was losing a lot of blood so we could try some things, and eventually I completed the third stage. I didn’t need any stitches, and the only medicine I ended up having was some Pitocin after the delivery to stop the hemorrhaging. One my placenta was delivered I felt so much better and was ready to really see my sweet baby girl. I love that she was naked and not a burrito for those first moments with her, I got to feel and explore the entirety of this amazing little creature I had created!

Baby girl was 8lb 3oz and 19.25 inches born on May 30 at 42w0d. Her head circumference was 14 inches, the 69th percentile, ouch! She was perfect and amazing and after a nap and some food we all headed home at 1 in the afternoon.

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Wordless Wednesday: Melts my heart every time

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