Sunday, July 29, 2012

365 Days Later, The Birth Story

DISCLAIMER: Birthy birthy birthyness to follow. If the terms "bloody show", "cervical dilation", or "nipple stimulation" bother you, I would recommend closing your browser. Men, this means you.

After my weekly appointment where I had my membranes stripped for the second time, I was prepared to feel emotional and crampy like I had the week before, the first time my membranes were (more lightly) stripped. But I didn’t feel crampy immediately afterwards like before. I took BB to the park and to a play date with E.  My due date was just four days away, and with my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis the doctors had mentioned inducing me if I hadn’t had the baby by my due date – in fact, since I was already dilated 3-4 cm and 60% effaced and my cervix was soft (although still posterior), at my appointment Dr. Hudson had even said “We can certainly induce you anytime you want.” But I didn’t want.  I was prepared to argue against getting induced before 41 weeks if my due date came and went, but I really didn’t want to have to fight that fight, so that afternoon I decided to try some other more natural inducement methods, especially after a couple of stronger-than-I’ve-had-so-far contractions starting around noon, and some bloody show. 

While BB played in his room instead of napping, I googled the proper technique for nipple stimulation, which is supposed to release oxytocin (the hormone responsible for contractions). I also googled castor oil and thought about taking it, but the GI side effects were extremely undesirable, and I decided to pass on the chance of it launching me into labor since it came with a side of violent diarrhea. I was going to attempt giving birth without pain medicine, and I was not interested in simultaneously dealing with the pain of contractions and explosive diarrhea, thankyouverymuch. Lo and behold, the nipple stimulation technique was fairly effective, as I started having mildly uncomfortable contractions about every 10 minutes for an hour. Then the contractions dissipated in frequency, and then with more nipple stimulation, the frequency would increase again. I texted J that I had been having contractions and I just wanted him to have a heads up, no need to rush home or anything. We talked on the phone and I described how my contractions were getting more uncomfortable. We were both feeling nervous and excited and wondered how soon J would be leaving work. After a couple hours, I stopped doing the nipple stimulation, figuring that I had done enough to stimulate labor and I would see what my body did on its own. The contractions continued irregularly throughout the afternoon, and J came home early around 5. We decided to go walking around some stores (since it was too hot to walk outside). We stopped by to drop something off at Steve and Han’s and ended up visiting for a while, and then went to grab a quick dinner out so we could still squeeze in a “walk” around TJ Maxx before BB’s bedtime. But the shoppingd ended up not really being a walk and my contractions had pretty much gone away. I was disappointed, and once we were all tucked into bed, J and I decided to try some “other” measures to help things along.

At 3 am I woke up suddenly with a surge of heartburn, and then I felt a small gush of warm fluid - I leaped out of bed in case my water was breaking, very concerned with not soaking my mattress. I went to the bathroom and after a moment of waiting, my water broke in one big gush. It was different than when my water broke with BB, which happened in several gushes stimulated by activity – this was a bunch of fluid all at once, one big splash. In a hushed voice I called out to J, who was sound asleep in our bed, “J, my water just broke.”

Because it is a fairly uncommon way for labor to start, I really hadn’t expected my water to break again this time. I thought I was going to experience the increasing contractions, timing them (J finally getting to use the I-Touch app that he had downloaded two years ago for BB’s birth and was so excited to try), and trying to decide when we should go to the hospital, the delicate balance between laboring in the comfort of my home as long as possible but not giving birth in the bathtub because we waited too long. (In fact, in the last couple of months I had read not one but TWO (count ‘em TWO) accounts of college acquaintances who had their second babies at home because they waited too long to get to the hospital. These aren’t rumors of stories, these are real women that I actually know who wrote out their first-hand accounts of delivering their babies at home unintentionally - one, on the bathroom floor and the other, in the backseat of the car in their driveway. J was terrified of these stories – I thought they were fascinating and kind of awesome, since I was hoping to have a natural labor anyway.)  But anyway, I figured there was low probability for my water to break again, and that made my impending labor a big unknown, despite the fact that I had done it once already. I was planning to stay home as long as possible, even if my water broke. But at 3 am we were excited and anxious and since I had been having contractions throughout the day I hopefully thought “What if I’m already dilated to like 7?”  With BB I hadn’t had any contractions before my water broke and I never had any painful contractions until they broke my forebag, so I thought maybe those afternoon and evening contractions could have been doing the job even though they were only mildly uncomfortable. 

With all of that in mind, and just due to the general excitement, we didn’t even think about staying home and I called my wonderful friend and doula Tricia and told her my water just broke and she said she would meet us at the hospital. And then it was a flurry of activity and to-dos – adding things to the hospital bag, calling J’s parents to come watch BB, realizing that since it’s 3 am they would be taking BB back to their house and I needed to pack a bag for him too which I hadn’t thought about at all before that moment, calling my mom who was coming to town to take over with BB, calling J’s sister. My mom and J’s sister didn’t answer right away so we kept redialing until we decided we would get to the hospital and call again once we had more info.  When J’s parents got there I was still packing for BB. Once he was all packed up and we were ready to go, I got really sad about leaving him. I knew I would see him again soon, but I also knew that our life would never be the same again. I suddenly felt like I was leaving my entire known wonderful life behind.  The last month of being off work and being home with BB every day, just me and him, had strengthened our bond, and I was sad that I didn’t know what might change between us now that our entire family dynamic was about to be forever altered. Of course in hindsight, I know that we only gave BB (and our whole family) a wonderful gift - a little brother, someone to play with, grow with, a potential lifetime best friend; but in that pregnant-labor-hormone-charged moment, a wistful sadness swept over me and I teared up as I said goodbye to my sleepy-eyed toddler.

But then J and I were driving to the hospital and the excitement took over again, as well as anxiety that poor Tricia had probably ended up beating us to the hospital with all of the waiting and packing. Sure enough, there she was waiting outside the building when we pulled up. We registered and then were taken to triage, where my neighbor Catherine, a Labor & Delivery nurse, was waiting for us. I had texted her that we were on our way, and it was fun to see a familiar face. At this point I had had a few more gushes of fluid, and by the time I was changed into a gown (with my black maternity tank top underneath – I was determined not to labor in those giant hospital gowns this time around, they look horrible in photos and just aren’t comfortable) and sitting on the table, I could feel that I had leaked quite a bit. So I laughed when the nurse told me that if my amniotic fluid wasn’t visible, they may have to do this and that – I assured her that there was a giant puddle underneath me and it wouldn’t be an issue, but of course she gave me a knowing “everyone thinks that” look. But sure enough, when she pulled up my gown she quickly realized that yup, my water was absolutely broken. They monitored me for a few minutes and checked me – I waited for her to tell me that I was already at 7 cm, but instead she said that I was 3-4 cm, 70% effaced. Whaaaaaaaat? That’s practically what I was this afternoon at my appointment, only 60% effaced! All those contractions for nothing today? went through my mind. But of course, once your water’s broken, you aren’t going anywhere since baby needs to be born within 24 hours to avoid infection (and with BB my placenta actually did get infected), so I got transferred to my Labor room. This was about when I remembered that I had wanted to stay home as long as possible. Whoops.

I decided to let them place an IV, since they wanted to draw labs anyway, but I requested that I not get IV fluids and that I have intermittent monitoring. After my neighbor Catherine and another nurse tag-teamed admitting me, J got our bags out of the car and I gave our nurses copies of my birth plan, which outlined my desire for a natural labor, fairly free from medical intervention. It only had some minor tweaks from BB’s birth plan. Because I didn’t want IV fluids, I was once again able to drink juice and have popsicles, and J, Tricia and I started walking the hallways, trying to jumpstart things since I was only having irregular contractions that were only a little crampy-feeling. By 6:30 am the nurse had already brought up that the doctor might want to start Pitocin, a medication to stimulate labor, but that makes contractions multiple times stronger than they are naturally and that increases the risk of emergency C-section. We couldn’t believe that it was only a few hours into my labor and they were already bringing up Pitocin. When the nurse left the room, I looked at Tricia and we started talking about what was next and made a plan with some questions to ask. The nurses changed shifts at 7, and my new nurse was Deb, recommended for me by Catherine since she is great with natural labors. She told me that she had had four natural deliveries of her own, which I was excited to hear. We asked if we could talk to our doctor about the Pitocin, or at least hear what her plan was, what kind of timeline she was looking at and if she would give my body some time to stimulate labor on its own without the Pitocin. I was glad to hear that the doctor on call was Dr. Hudson, who I had seen the last few weeks of my pregnancy and who seemed more supportive of my desire for a natural labor than some of the other doctors I had seen in the office.  

And sure enough, Deb came back in the room after speaking with Dr. Hudson and said that Dr. Hudson would wait until noon, giving me time to walk walk walk (and do some more nipple stimulation) to try to get things going. Deb said that Dr. Hudson didn’t think the nipple stimulation was very effective, but I had seen it have some effect yesterday afternoon, so I wanted to try to do that during the times they wanted me on the monitor and I couldn’t be walking. Dr. Hudson also said that I could eat breakfast - I was thrilled with this news! (I knew I would need strength to get through this labor and I had a few secret granola bars in my bag.) They brought me a breakfast tray and it did not appear to be diabetic. I figured that if they hadn’t said anything about the gestational diabetes, I certainly wasn’t going to, and I enjoyed my carb fest of French 
toast and fruit and oatmeal. 

Early on, during my intermittent montioring

We were really encouraged that Dr. Hudson was waiting until noon, as we knew not all doctors would have been so willing to do that and we would’ve had to fight harder to avoid the cascade of interventions. So we were in high spirits walking through the halls – I even tried doing some lunges and things, joking around. Tricia had a class that morning and since nothing was really going on yet I encouraged her to go ahead and go to the class and that I would let her know if anything changed, so she left. Around 11 my mom got to town (we had gotten hold of her around 5:30 when I was still in triage) and came to the hospital. BB was napping at J’s parent’s house so there was no rush for her to head home so we visited and I sent J home to shower and eat something. Sometime while my mom got there, Tricia came back from her class, so we all went for a walk together through the halls. I remember that all of the sudden I started feeling overwhelmed. Even though I wasn’t having consistent or painful contractions (they were mildly uncomfortable but I could walk and talk through them), I realized that having more than one person there (other than J) was too mentally draining for me. Tricia went to find some lunch and once J was back, we decided my mom should head to the house to settle in before J’s mom dropped off BB and she was on full-time-BB-duty.  This gave J and I some alone time and I instantly felt more calm. Noon had come and gone and Deb had told us that Dr. Hudson was in an emergency C-section, and then another. By this time Tricia was back from lunch and Deb decided to check me to see if all of our walking had caused any dilation – when she checked me I think I was at 4, maybe 4 ½ cm. Essentially, I hadn’t progressed at all. I knew that this meant I was most likely going to need Pitocin, and I was very discouraged. Dr. Hudson came in and confirmed that yes, it was probably time to start Pitocin. I knew that she was right since it was 2 pm and my water had broken 11 hours before, but I was so disappointed. Dr. Hudson and Deb both told me that I would probably only need a little bit of Pitocin to jump start things. I tried not to be discouraged and to tell myself that however God wanted to get this baby out was fine, we just want a healthy baby, but I just felt like it was exactly what happened with BB and all of my hopes for a different, natural labor with SS were disappearing. 

Tricia immediately picked up on my discouragement and began telling me how because my body had already started dilating and my cervix was soft that my cervix was favorable to dilation and I may only need a little bit of Pitocin, unlike with BB when they cranked me way above max dose and it wasn’t effective until they broke my forebag. When I said that I felt like it was going the same as it was with BB, she reminded me that I had had contractions the day before and that was different than with BB. And then Tricia said, “Just because you are getting Pitocin, it does not mean you have to get an epidural.” And the truth of that statement really clicked for me. That statement helped me realize that it does not have to be the same. I do not regret my epidural with BB at all, and I really do feel like it was the right choice for me, but I had been very hopeful that this labor would be faster and my body would remember what it was supposed to do and would just require less medical intervention. I was very nervous to have another fourth-degree tear, even though the last few weeks several different doctors had told me they rarely or never have seen two fourth-degree tears in a row, but I had read in the Bradley book that when you are pain-medication-free you are better able to push instinctually and to control your pushing and have a less likelihood of tearing. That was one of my three big reasons for not getting an epidural that I had told J to repeat to me during labor when I was in the throes of labor pains and I wasn’t sure why I was doing this anymore. The other two reasons (not necessarily the top reasons, but the reasons I thought would most encourage me during labor) were that I wanted to be able to move around during labor and that I wanted to be able to get up and take a shower afterwards, like my sister had been able to do after her second birth. That sounded so refreshing to me.

So my nurse Deb came and started the Pitocin drip – she assured me that she was starting it at a very low dose and was going to adjust it very slowly and that she was sure I would only need a little bit to jump start my body.  Tricia went home, so I decided to get into bed and try to rest before things kicked into high gear. After a while, I got up and got into the chair though, I just couldn’t relax. I would have a few bigger contractions, and then they would die back down. Once again, I began thinking that this was just like my labor with BB, the Pitocin wasn’t working, and I started to feel discouraged. My nurse Deb came in and increased the Pitocin and said “I want to get this baby out before I leave tonight” and I remember thinking “Um, it’s 4:00 pm and you leave at 7 pm, there is absolutely no chance of that happening.”  I was discouraged and in my frustration I put my underwear and velour pants back on, convinced that it was pointless to be undressed when clearly I wouldn’t be giving birth for another month or so.

Deb came in another time to increase the Pitocin slightly. I remember I saw her notice I was wearing my pants and I offered a testy explanation about it, and her expression just said “Okaaaaaay.” Shortly after that increase in Pitocin I suddenly had a few stronger contractions. I think I was sitting on the birthing ball, brooding that I wasn’t progressing. It was 4:30 pm. I felt a strong urge to go to the bathroom and walked over, having to stop during a contraction. I sat down to go to the bathroom, and the contractions started coming every minute or so – each time I would get myself cleaned up, I would have another contraction accompanied by a gush of amniotic fluid that I would then have to clean up, right before another contraction after which I had to repeat the whole process. I was stranded on the toilet and started to feel panicky. (I did not want to labor or give birth on the toilet, this wasn’t an episode of I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant). Finally I was able to stand up and walk out of the bathroom, but I don’t think I even made it to the chair. The contractions were consuming and frequent. I stood with J, arms around his neck, swaying through the pain of the contractions. My nurse Deb came in to check on us, and observed me during the contractions. It quickly became clear that labor was happening. J frantically texted Tricia to come back to the hospital. I remember trying to sit on the edge of the chair but quickly scooting to the edge of the chair trying to hang my pelvis off and then standing up, because sitting was excruciating and felt like I was squishing my belly. I swayed with J for a while – I think that’s what we were doing when Tricia got back.  At some point Deb and Tricia suggested changing positions, and I had a hot flash. Deb suggested I take off my pants and I remember desperately kicking them off, leaving them piled on the floor, so that I was only wearing my black tank top. The position they suggested was to have the hospital bed positioned with the head of bed up, and for me to face the head of the bed on my knees with my arms hanging over the top of the bed. This was how I labored for the majority of the time – it allowed me to be vertical without having to stand (which I didn’t feel controlled enough to do). Tricia and J and Deb were all amazing – they were so encouraging and met my needs as I labored. When I whimpered “I just want the pain to stop!” Tricia would remind me “It will stop once the baby is born”. That made me want to punch her in the face a little bit, but mostly it reminded me that this pain had a purpose and an endpoint – it brought me out of the moment and into the big picture for a second. Tricia had encouraged J and I to establish a password to indicate if I truly wanted an epidural, so that I could complain about the pain and even mention an epidural without sending J into a tailspin to rescue me with an epidural that I didn’t really want – the password was so helpful.

There were three things that carried me through my contractions. I meditated on a Bible verse that our friend and youth pastor had shared one Sunday morning just before SS was born, Ephesians 2:10, which says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I just kept repeating This is my good work, this is my good work which God prepared for me in advance over and over to myself.  And I moo’d. Yup, as in cow. Livestock. Udders. My dear friend had told me that in her Bradley classes they had been taught to “moo” through their contractions, and Tricia and I talked about it before I gave birth. Tricia told me that giving the pain a verbal manifestation allowed for some kind of therapeutic release, as well as relaxing the body and encouraging dilation rather than repressing the pain and tensing and as a result, inhibiting dilation. I remember when I was laboring with BB before I got an epidural I was just silent, just breathing, internalizing the pain, and the idea of that release and subsequent relaxation made a lot of sense to me. So I started making a low, guttural moan during each contraction when I first started swaying with J, and it really did decrease my pain experience during labor. And the third thing that got me through labor was recommended by my nurse Deb – before my contractions started I was sure to ask this 4-time-natural-delivery-veteran what got her through her labors, and she said that it sounded crazy, but she would rub her foot on the sheet of her bed and focus on that sensation, and it distracted her from the pain of the contractions. Because of my position, I scratched the pillowcase or sheet, and it really did detract from the discomfort.

After some time the contractions started to stack up on each other, and there was no break between the pain anymore – each contraction was riding the wake of the previous one and I felt weak and panicky and I started sobbing and whimpered “I can’t do this anymore!! I can’t do it!!” Tricia encouraged me by reminding me “You are doing it, right now,” but I now know what her and Deb were both thinking – Transition! Finally! Deb wanted to check my cervix, and I had to roll over onto my back – I was terrified, because I knew that this was the most painful position I could be in. She checked me, and I honestly don’t totally remember, I think I was 8 1/2 , 9 cm – as soon as I felt a contraction coming on, I panicked at the idea of the intensity of pain in this position and swung my legs over the edge of the bed and tried to stand up, telling J to help me. I thought J was helping me at the time, but later he told me that he put his hands on my shoulders and pushed me down back into bed as Deb said “You can’t get out of bed because you’re about to have this baby!”  That motion was all it took – after that, everything seemed like it happened at once. Deb checked me again, I was a 10, Dr. Hudson was there, my uterus started firing off rapid contractions that not only squeezed, but compressed my uterus and everything in my body told me to PUSH NOW!  “I’m pushing! I’m pushing!” I shouted, panicked, feeling totally out of control – I felt like a fish flopping around on a dock, and like my uterus was an automatic weapon firing at high speeds. “Try not to push, try not to push,” Tricia said, and then she told J to get in my face and breathe with me. I remember staring in his eyes as he watched me in pain, compassion and care and fear shining out at me. 

And then I heard the calmest voice carry through the chaos, saying “Okay K, you can push.” It was Dr. Hudson “WHAT?! I CAN PUSH?!?”  “Yes, you can push.” 

I started pushing around 6:15 pm. Those first pushes felt incredible – pushing was all my body wanted to do, and I no longer had to try to resist. I remember, sometime just before I started pushing, thinking I think I might actually deliver without pain medicine! I think this might really happen! Which, looking back, is hilarious, because at that point I was ABSOLUTELY delivering without pain medicine, I was about to push my baby out, this was a done deal. But it wasn’t until that moment that I truly realized that SS is almost born, this is nearly over, and I actually labored without pain medicine and am about to deliver my second baby boy.

After the first few instinctual pushes, pushing became much harder. I waited to push with my contractions, which had slowed done, giving me rests in between pushing. Deb and Dr. Hudson instructed me to curl up around my abdomen, which was so hard because, like when I was sitting in the chair, I felt like I was squishing my uterus (I mean, I guess that was the point), and I remember them telling me to “Push through the ring of fire!”. I had learned that expression about birth in nursing school, the “ring of fire”, but man alive, now I know what it means. It was so hard to push when pushing increased my pain, but I remember giving myself a little pep talk (much like I did when I was pushing with BB), telling myself Look, there’s no other way he’s going to come out. I know it hurts, but you HAVE to do this, it’s the only option. And then I buckled down and pushed, pushed, pushed. In the mirror watched him crown, appearing and retreating in the canal with the pressure of pushing, a circle of wet dark hair changing diameter. And then I closed my eyes and pushed with everything I had, and eventually his head came out. Dr. Hudson knew my history of a severe tear, and as soon as his head was out she began instructing me on my pushing, how much strength to use and different ways to position my legs – at one point I had to put my knees together over my belly and push, which was sooooo difficult. I found out later that one of Dr. Hudson’s nicknames is the Kama Sutra doctor, and I totally understand why! (She is also known as the Vagina Whisperer, if you were wondering.) Because of this, it took a few minutes for the rest of his body to come out.

And then at 6:27 pm my sweet boy was placed on my chest, with almost-black hair and blue eyes, and I cuddled him for the first time ever, with J leaning over my shoulder.

Once Dr. Hudson started stitching me up (only a second-degree tear!!!!!!!!!!!!!) my legs started shaking uncontrollably and I got nervous that I was shaking too much and would drop SS, so the nurses took him while J held my hand while I got stitched up.

J with his boy

7 lbs even. 19 ¾ inches long.

Everything about this post birth experience can be characterized by one word: peace.

Especially in comparison to BB’s difficulties breathing, chest x-ray, being told BB would need to be treated and monitored in the NICU, BB being taken away (J going with), taking forever to be stitched up, having my catheter left in because they didn’t want me getting out of bed that night due to the severity of my tear, fainting and vomiting in the NICU, not being able to breastfeed until the following morning, having to juggle monitoring equipment and IV lines to hold and feed BB, waiting for him to be discharged from the NICU, and then home – it was very stressful and a little scary the first couple of days. I’ve always meant to write about that, the post-birth birth story, Part 5: The Afterbirth.

But with SS, everything was peaceful. He stayed with me the whole time, cuddling and breastfeeding, and both grandmas came to meet him that night (BB stayed with Papa since it was past bedtime). SS slept with me, I woke him up to nurse him, and I was able to get up and go to the bathroom (although I saved the shower for the morning). 

First bath by our neighbor, who we got to have as our nurse that night!

Nacky and GG holding SS for the first time

My wonderful friend and doula wrote out my birth story from her perspective, and I wanted to include some excerpts here, as it is both informational and touching.

     “At 4:30 pm your dad texted me to say “the Pitocin is working…contractions are getting stronger.” I texted back and told him I was on my way, and for her to “moo through the contractions” (be sure and ask your mom about this!). I arrived at about 5 pm and your mom was having strong contractions about three minutes apart from each other. She couldn’t talk while she was having the contractions, only between them, which meant that you were close to being born! The nurse, Deb, your dad, and I were all trying different things to help your mom get through each contraction. We tried ice, pressure on her back, holding her, and breathing with her. She was very uncomfortable! I suggested trying a new position. We raised the head of the bed up, and your mom got on her knees with her arms and head resting over the top of the bed. She was moaning low during her contractions, I could tell they were very strong, but she looked so beautiful and peaceful, and was really in control. She was very direct about telling us what she liked and didn’t like us to do during her contractions. At about 5 pm her contractions were getting so strong that she said “I can’t do it anymore!”. When your dad and I told her what a great job she was doing, she said “It feels like you guys are just saying that!” but she really was. Deb had her turn on her back so she could check her, and your mom was almost fully dilated, it was almost time for your arrival! Your mom was really uncomfortable now, saying she didn’t think she could do it. All of the sudden your mom had a strong urge to push. I told your dad to get right in your mom’s face, breathe with her, and look her in the eyes so she could keep focused during this hard time. That really seemed to help.
    “The doctor came into the room and got all set up for you to be born. Your dad held one of your mom’s legs and I held the other while she pushed. She started pushing at about 6:15 pm and you were born at 6:27 pm. She pushed beautifully. I could tell that she was hurting, but she was so calm and focused. She wanted a mirror so she could see you head. It motivated her to keep pushing even though it hurt really badly. Your dad was reminding her that she was doing what God made her body to do, and it really seemed to encourage her. After you were born your mom was SO relieved! You let out some nice big cries to let everyone know you were here. The doctor wiped you off and put you on your mom’s chest so she could get a good look at you. The nurse took you to clean you up and count all your fingers and toes. I took a LOT of pictures during this time, I hope you get to see them! I asked the nurse if I could wrap you up so your dad could hold you. He talked to you very quietly and introduced himself, it was very sweet to see. Then, he brought you to your mom. She was overjoyed to talk with the little man who had been growing inside her for nine months. I could see the beginnings of a lifetime of love between you and your mom.
     “It was such an honor to be at your birth. Your mom only had a few hours of hard labor, and she brought you into this world as she wanted, experiencing all of the physical and emotional feelings that are so unique to birth without pain numbing medicine. You mom was absolutely stunningly beautiful during your birth. I saw generations of women who walked in her footsteps before her in her face. It was truly miraculous. You and your brother are lucky boys to call [K] and [J] your parents!”

I have wonderful memories of both of my experiences giving birth – I feel like I underwent and conquered a rite of passage of womanhood by delivering naturally other than a little Pitocin and without pain medicine, something I had always wanted to do. It was such an amazing experience – I cycled through it over and over again in my mind the first few hours after giving birth. Our bodies are so powerful and intricate. My neighbor Catherine was my nurse after SS was born, and she told me later that after SS’s birth Deb told her “Today is why I became a nurse.”  They also all remarked “I can’t believe you didn’t swear!” which I thought was hilarious. I do remember at one point sitting up and saying “This sucks,” and then immediately feeling guilty. I guess that was my version of peri-labor swearing.  

I’m so thankful for J, for Tricia, and for Deb – Team SS! 

They were such a knowledgeable and supportive team to labor with. 

Photos from the next day

BB and GG came the next day and BB met his brand new baby brother and SS gave BB a present. And then BB wanted to give SS kisses, without any suggesting from us.

First family photos

BB asked "I give SS a kiss?" 
"Sure honey, you can give SS a kiss on his head."
"I give SS a kiss on the mouf?"
Sweet brother love. All totally on his own.

Going home from the hospital, teeny tiny in his car seat

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since this birth story took place. 
Happy 1st Birthday SS – I am so happy to be celebrating you.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Three on the Fourth of July

Post about an event in the same month that it happened, whhaaaaattt???

We had three precious kiddos to celebrate the Fourth of July.  We didn't feel overly celebratory two days after B's first surgery, but we knew we needed to push for normal for the kids, and we ended up having a nice evening. I found a free community event with bouncy houses, a movie in the park, and a fireworks show at the end of the night. The kids opted out of the face painting, but that was another activity.

Red, White, and Blue, and a firework!! 
(I suggested something red, white, or blue, but Tada wanted to stick with her firework dress.)
It was a little overcast, so it was cool out, and there was a rainbow, which you can see in the left of this picture!

One of very few pics of BB jumping - he was very nervous in the bounce houses, which was surprising because I thought he would be all over it. I think it was the mass amounts of people and lack of supervision. There weren't anyone supervising the three bounce houses - not the number of kids allowed in, not the activity inside, not the giant air compressor motors they were attached too....we thought it was a little crazy, and some vigilante moms made sure kids formed lines and took turns, but it was very free-for-all.

Tada held her own in the bounce houses and loved them.

Being a firework

Fireworks together

This was a lot of our evening - Tada in the bounce house, trying to coax BB in, BB getting scared and coming back out with us.

But Tada loved it!

Tada AWESOMELY went down on her tummy!!!!

Together on the slide, after BB got a little braver

After making a macaroni necklace at a craft stand - BB's face perfectly describes his feelings about his cousin.

Waiting for the movie in the park to start while J gets our blankets from the car

And we finished the night with fireworks

My fam watching the fireworks

Grand Finale!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SS's first swim


Big pond, small fish.

No diaper in the pool! We all giggled at his little booty.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh, people.

Oh, people. 

Should I discuss the irony of B going back to the hospital the day after I posted the last post?

Should I regale you with reasons why my perfect catch-up posting schedule got completely dismantled last week?

Or should I just post cute pictures of my kids?

B had a second surgery late late Wednesday night to repair a CSF leak. Thanks to wonderful friends and Nacky who watched our kids for us in shifts, J and I were able to be at the hospital with Serene and Matt while we waited for B's surgery, which was pushed back and postponed all day due to emergencies and a full OR. We watched you tube videos and played Chutes & Ladders and Yahtzee. Finally around 11:20 pm we accompanied B down to the OR, and she was out around 1:10 am. The surgery went well, and she came out with a lumbar drain and has been on bedrest since. This morning she woke up crying with a headache, and then her cries progressed to screams. After her pain was doused with morphine she was able to fall asleep, and she has been sleeping all day. A CT scan did not show any reason for the headache.

It's been a hard day. 

Yesterday was hard too (just for me, not B).

On to the posting-cute-pictures-of-the-kids part.

a new perch


With our dear friend L after the splash pad...
Oh sure, everyone's smiling now. But I assure you that in the park bathroom stall where I was cleaning up poop-in-the-pants and BB, stark naked, slipped on the wet floor and hit his mouth on the stainless steel toilet, causing a bleeding fat lip, no one was smiling. This photo is proof that we survived that debacle. Also, this is the same public park toilet that I dropped my sunglasses into the week before. I hate you, toilet.

Matt and Serene's dog Java is also staying with us, and SS had his first taste of dog food. 

And also his first dog-water bath, on the way out the door (of course).
Due to an unfortunate diaper-trash incident, Java was evicted today.
SS will miss the free-for-all snacks.

Sardines in a tub

BB reading his Bible in bed (in June)

SS loves this black and white ring, it's one of his favorite toys. SS crawls around the house with it in his mouth, making him look like a little bull.

And somehow he hooked his other favorite toy, this green ball, onto the ring, and crawled around with all of it hanging out of his mouth.



That'll do for now.