Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hank Louis' Birth Story

This is the fourth, and I'm expecting final, birth story I will write. As I was jotting down the details of Hank's arrival, my daughters were eagerly asking about their own births. I told them that, yes, I had wrote down each of their stories. I can imagine them comparing the stories to those of their own babies some day. (Except my oldest who says she is going to foster/adopt and would prefer not to be pregnant. Watching your mother puke for months on end must have that effect.) This raised some questions of my own. Will Hank, as a man, ever care to read this story? Will I be sharing it with his wife, who will then think I'm one of those natural childbirth freaks? I expect that Goldie will enjoy reading her story. Do I share the whole story with her? How will she feeling reading about the diagnosis and my reaction? Hopefully, I have a few years to think about it. I'm going to trust that the answers to these questions will reveal themselves to me when the time comes. Life has a way of preparing me for what comes next.

Enough touchy-feely stuff, its time for some statistics. Over 4 million babies are born each year in the United States. Hank was one of the 1% that was born outside of a hospital. Of that 1%, only 27.3% are born at a freestanding birth center. He is my only child to not be born at a hospital. I drove 45 minutes each to way to every prenatal visit and took a lot of flak from well meaning family for choosing to have a midwife attended birth. Even my husband was not completely sold on the idea and let everyone know it. He knew that the research supports my position that it would be safer, but still worried about the "what ifs". I could do another post just on the advantages of using a birth center and compare my experiences with 4 different birth attendants.

Now for the good stuff. To save time, I tried to stick to the important parts and didn't add a lot of detail.

Monday, December 28, 2009
3:00 I'm officially 41 weeks, so I need to have an ultrasound and a non-stress test. The ultrasound will measure the amniotic fluid and the NST will listen to the baby's heart and make sure he is moving around.
The ultrasound revealed a nuchal hand (the hand is presenting next to the head) and that he was face down. I wasn't too surprised, he was waving hello to the midwife during an internal at 38 weeks.

5:30 When we get home I fall in the driveway, twice. My husband orders me not to get up until he can help me.

8:30 I start having contractions. I pack Hank Sr's lunch for work that night and get the coffee pot set up for him. I assume the contractions will stop once I lay down. Just like they have for the last 3 weeks.

9:00 I lay down to watch tv with the girls

10:00 I try to get some sleep

11:00 The contractions are getting stronger and keep waking me up. I decide to go upstairs to wake Hank Sr up. It takes me 20 minutes to talk myself off of the couch. Between the fall and the labor, it hurts to move.

11:20 Hank Sr. is up pouring himself some coffee and I'm calling the midwife. Hank calls my mom and stepdad to come watch the girls.

11:45 We head out into a snowstorm to the Midwife Center. This is my 3rd baby born during a snowstorm. I kept asking Hank to slow down because I was afraid we would slide off the road and get stuck.

12:40 We arrived at The Midwife Center. Kathy was the midwife on call and Gretchen was our nurse. In the dark, I could see the lights of the Forest Room waiting for us. Kathy checked me and I was dilated 4cm, then Gretchen listened to the baby's heartbeat.

1:00 Hot tub anyone? I lowered myself into the warm jacuzzi tub and found instant relief. I hadn't been this comfortable in at least a month. Water is a better analgesic than anything I've ever gotten at a hospital. Gretchen brought me an english muffin with pb&j and a glass of gingerale. She continued to check the baby's heart tones, reminded me to drink, and asked if I needed the water warmed up. She also showed my husband how to apply counter-pressure to my back. During a contraction, the midwife asked my husband if I always this quiet when I was in labor. He made some smart remark, I laughed and told her yes. It's true, I was completely silent other than the sound of my breathing.

2:00 The contractions got much stronger and the baby moved down even further. We decided it was time to get out of the tub. I paced the room, leaning on my husband during contractions. I tried leaning on the birthing ball and began to feel some pressure. I wasn't ready to push, but started feeling antsy.

2:15 I asked Kathy to check me again. I had reached 7cm  I knew from my previous births that if she broke my water I'd be holding my son within 20 minutes.

2:17 I decided that 41 weeks was long enough and asked the midwife to break my water. As I had anticipated, the contractions were overwhelming. Everyone kept reminding me how great I was doing and that it wouldn't be much longer. Laying on my side, I began pushing when I felt ready. I really wanted this to be over, so I didn't stop pushing until they reminded me to breathe. I know it didn't hurt this much with other babies.

2:32 I pulled Hank Louis up onto my chest and he raised his head to look at me. His daddy and I looked at each other with mutual joy and disbelief.  In 15 minutes I went from 7 cm to holding my baby boy! Kathy explained that he was born with his hand next to his head, so I'd be a little sore this time.

We spent the next hour chatting while Hank nursed. I now know what the expression "born to breastfeed" really means.  The cord stopped pulsing and his daddy got to cut it.
He weighed in at 7pounds 11oz and was 20 1/4" long. Gretchen cooked a breakfast of eggs and toast for us then left us to get some rest. Of course we couldn't sleep, but we did enjoy an nice snuggle, just the three of us. I've know that you can't always get what you want in life, but this time I did. Hank was blessed with a birth that went just as his mama had planned.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Words

After Hank was born, over 5 weeks ago, Goldie pretty much stopped talking. She resorted to whining and only using the words Mama and Dada. Because she needed to get our attention before she began whining at us.

This week she has been amazing me with the words. Not only is she saying more words, but her speech is getting clearer. This blog also serves as my record of her milestones, so I'm going to bore you with the details.

Goldie refolded some laundry for me and I asked her "What happened here?" She replied very carefully, "I did that."

At lunch we ate "am" (ham) Her shoes are "white"

Tonight she was dividing her time among several baby dolls. Then I noticed that she was making one of them wave his hand while she said "bye". A lot of her words sound like "bah", but it was cute to see her bending the baby's arm.

She gives her little brother fist bumps and was blowing raspberries in his face today. If he is crying and you don't get him settled down fast enough, Goldie will find a binky for him.

Another thing that I noticed, she stopped looking at her books after he arrived. She also wasn't very keen on letting me read to her. The last couple of days she has resumed emptying the bookshelf. I found her engrossed with her books, pointing at the pictures and signing to herself. Its so nice to see that she has made progress beyond what she was doing when Hank was born.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When I Wasn't Looking

New babies are such a savory distraction from "life as usual". And while this mama was staring at new gray eyes and enjoying the aroma of milk breath her little girl learned some new tricks.

In the last two days I have found Goldie inhaling spices from opened jars and tonight we cleaned up a bottle of A1 sauce. It seems somebody has taught herself to unscrew lids.

While nursing Hank last week, I look over to see Goldie walking up the steps, unassisted. Her daddy swears she's been doing this for a while now.

The puzzle she insisted she wasn't ready for last week, it was completed with perfection today. Just for her OT.

When I ask "Who took Goldie's clothes off?" The answer is Goldie.

And when I say "Hey, thanks for putting Goldie's boots on." The response is "I didn't. She did."

But, I haven't missed everything. While I was watching my oldest spin around with Goldie hanging over her shoulder, I heard "I want down!"

Yesterday, while we were rolling playdough she said "Grace", her big sister's name, for the first time.

And when I look at this picture, Im reminded that "3" is just around the next bend.

Wordless Wednesday - Hank's First Field Trip

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One Word

Saw this at My Cool Family and thought it looked like fun. And not a lot of typing. I'm one handed. Again.

Not as easy as you might think! Now forward, change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's really hard to only use one word answers. Be sure to send back to the person you received it from!

Where is your cell phone? counter
Significant other? dedicated

Your hair? brown

Your mother? selfless
Your father? selfish

Your favorite thing? harmony
Your dream last night? none

Your favorite drink? Cafe Vienna
What room are you in? Living

Your hobby? Laundry
Your fear? Grief

Where do you want to be in 6 years? Wherever
Where were you last night? Here

Something that you aren't? Extrovert
Muffins? Blueberry

Wish list item? Bra
Last thing you did? Coffee

What are you wearing? pajamas

Your pets? Variety
Friends? Dependable

Your life? Lovely
Your mood? Ambitious

Missing someone? yes
Drinking? tea

Your car? van
Something you're not wearing? Contacts

Your favorite store? Target
Favorite color? yellow

When is the last time you cried? Wednesday
Who will resend this? Yes

Where do you go to over and over? Vermont
My favorite place to eat? Mom's

Favorite place I'd like to be at right now? Friends
Four people I think will respond ?

Tag you are it! Copy and fill in your own answers.