Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Piper's Birth

First I'd like to mention that I never thought I would go into labor before my due date, February 5th.  This labor was nothing like my previous two - my water broke on its own before my due date as opposed to going into labor at 41 weeks with Nathan and Teagan. 

Being that I never had my water break spontaneously, I was not entirely sure whether I was wetting myself or if it was in fact my water.  I was leaking every time I changed positions, when I stoop up, when I sat down, with a full bladder, with a just emptied bladder.  I changed into clean clothes a few times before I made a call to the Midwives of NJ, the same group of midwives who helped me deliver Teagan.  .

At 6:30 that evening, Jay drove me to the midwives to be checked.  Lisa quickly determined that I was leaking amniotic fluid and was about 3 cm dilated.  This was also the first pregnancy that I was group B strep positive so before heading home I received a dose of iv antibiotics. 

We left the office at 7:15 pm, walked around Target to get gift bags for the kids gifts, I was equipped with a super heavy duty pad, which I leaked through almost immediately.  By the time we got back to the car having finished our shopping, my pants were entirely soaked.  I did have a puppy pee pad in the car so I sat on that for the rest of our ride home.

When we got home my in laws were there with our kids.  I went straight up to the shower to clean off and then tried to get some rest in bed.  Teagan of course came up to lay with me, pouting about me leaving her that night.  She kept asking me questions but I finally got her to fall asleep.  I didn't even bother setting an alarm for midnight, the time we had to leave to drive back to my midwives office, because I knew Id constantly be checking the clock intermittently through contractions.  Surprisingly I did get a little rest. 

At midnight we drove back to the midwives office, and were met at the door by Lisa.  I sat on the monitor for about 20 minutes, got another dose of iv antibiotic and we stayed the night there.  The plan was to drive to the hospital at 6 am to beat traffic unless labor kicked in sooner. 

I slept a little between contractions until around 3:30 am. I went to the bathroom several times throughout the night and at that time I realized it felt more comfortable sitting up, so I grabbed all the pillows around me, sat with my legs crossed and leaned over the pillows.  I put my playlist on and just tried to relax.

I asked Jay to come sit with me around 5 am and rub my lower back.  A mixture of discomfort and exhaustion started to set in and at 6 am, Jay had to coax me to get up and head to the hospital because I was comfortable and getting in my zone.  

When we arrived at hospital, Jay parked near the entrance and I waddled into Labor & Delivery, squatting in the hallway for a contraction on the way.  Jay pressed the button to be buzzed in, "we are here to um have a baby".  That made me laugh, I mean what do you say on those intercoms.

He checked me in while I sat trying not to pee my pants.  My midwife and her assistant arrived as I was waiting for a room

In my room, I got hooked up to the monitor for about 20 minutes and sat uncomfortable in the bed until the nurses were done monitoring, asking questions and administering my 3rd dose of antibiotic.  At this point my midwife examined my cervix which was 4 cm, but 80% effaced.


Monitor came off and I was free to roam.  First I sat in bed hunched over pillows, then between contractions managed to make my way to the rocking chair to again hunch over pillows, then as I got my pants and shoes on to hopefully walk about I ended up sitting on the floor hunched over pillows again.





I scratched the walking idea and the midwife assistant recommended I go into the shower.  I kept switching positions between standing, sitting on birthing stool and kneeling forward onto stool.  I'm pretty sure my labor progressed the most switching between these three positions.  At one point I felt like I was going to vomit, I was so thirsty but the ice water was making me nauseous.

Lisa then said I could get into the tub to switch things up.  My back was killing me with each contraction I needed constant pressure applied to my lower back.  The awesome assistant kept switching out washcloths to cool me down.  She is also the person who took these awesome photos.






I kinda zoned out at this point,  I do recall the midwife telling me I could push whenever I felt like it.  I think that was around 10:30 am.   I didn't want to get tired too soon so I tried to be patient and controlled




There did come a point when I couldn't not push and even then I was trying to not rush anything because I was afraid to tear like I did with Teagan's birth.  When the midwife made note of the fact that I wasn't utilizing the entire contraction, I decided it was time and in a few more contractions she was out.

At 11:32 am she was born,  






















*****

The prenatal and postpartum care offered by The Midwives of NJ is above and beyond that which is provided by an obstetrician.  From the moment you walk into their office you recognize it as a space for women and supporting women.

The small details of a business may not be significant to everyone but I always take note of the details wherever I go.  Comfortable sofas surrounding a fireplace replace uncomfortable waiting room chairs.  Toys in the waiting room and exam rooms let me know the rest of my family is important and welcome as well.  Soft, inspiring music plays and friendly faces greet you.  I've been to numerous medical offices, believe me I have the experience with taking Nathan to appointments, where staff is not friendly.  The rooms here are decorated with feminine touches, desk lamps and floor lamps in place of bright florescent tube lights, a day bed with throw pillows in place of cold paper covered exam tables, and a face to talk to.  The appointments allow for extra time to discuss important points of fetal development, vitamins, nutrition, exercise, education, etc.

During labor, you never feel alone.  A midwife or a midwife assistant is always by your side, supporting you and advocating for the birth you want, with the least amount of medical interventions.  The photographs above were taken by the midwife assistant (talk about having an awesome job!) and presented as a slideshow accompanied by music as well, that was an emotional moment.  These are so special to me since it allowed my husband to focus on my needs instead of photographing the labor and delivery.

And after delivery, you still have the midwives to talk to.  You are scheduled for a 2 week checkup in addition to the typical 6 week visit and they also have complimentary mother care classes where you get together with the midwives and other moms who recently gave birth.  This is a nice addition to postpartum care because you realize things you may be experiencing aren't unique to your life.  I've also connected with a few moms whom I now consider friends.

I know we said we were done after 2 kids, and then again before having #3, but if ever the day comes when we decide to have another, it will definitely be a homebirth with Midwives of NJ.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Reality, I'm not a Supermom

I'm starting this post off without a title because I feel like I have something to say but I am not sure what it is.  I guess "stream of consciousness" would be most appropriate because I do not want to be confined to one topic, nor do I think my brain is capable of staying on track at the moment.  The past five weeks have been a whirlwind. It's all good but I have too much going on and I feel like I am dropping the ball at times.

I'm trying not to be too hard on myself because I know our family has just gone through an enormous adjustment and to be honest we are doing incredibly well.  We have amazing support from our family and I feel like my patience has tripled since first becoming a mom in 2008.  When Nathan was a newborn, I couldn't handle any amount of crying but now I know that as long as I am taking care of Piper's biological needs, everything will be ok.

Piper cries alot during the day even in my arms and when she falls asleep she will begin to fuss as soon as I start multitasking.  I wonder if maybe it's my fault she is fussy.  Maybe her latch isn't right and she is sucking in air and I'm too preoccupied to notice.  If I wear her in a wrap it is definitely easier to bounce, sway, or pat her when she begins to fuss but it is still difficult to get anything done during the day.  And I'm definitely going to need to be making some extra money so I can pay a chiropractor to take care of my back because of this.  When she is not in a wrap, she is always in the same arm, over the same shoulder and my neck and back are not appreciative.  

I don't choose to post on social media about how miserable she is during her waking hours.  I also don't go around pretending she is a perfect little baby.  This is just my reality and I don't want to be seen as a supermom (nor do I want to be one) because to be quite honest, I don't have it all together.  I know certain things can wait - an untidy house can wait, laundry can wait.  But the eye opener this week was the day when I didn't eat anything until almost one o'clock and I didn't eat anything else until after nine o'clock at night.  The same goes for keeping hydrated.  Not to mention the fact that I didn't brush my teeth or shower at all that day.  Forgetting to take care of myself, forgetting to take my medications and vitamins, forgetting to feed myself nutritious food or any food for that matter, this is the problem.

My husband and I are hustlers.  We have to be.  We need to jump on any opportunity that presents itself no matter what it is.  Being in debt is overwhelming and stressful no matter the specifics of who we owe money to and how much money we owe.  I took time off from photography last year because I was dropping the ball on communicating with clients.  I was overwhelmed with all that was going on with Nathan in school and spent all of my time fighting to get him what he needed and dealing with all the incident reports, detentions,and suspensions because he wasn't having his needs met.  I saved the sealed envelope with the uncashed check from the client I lost in 2014 as a reminder. I received this deposit in the mail and never opened the envelope, for over a month.  It was a session that could have paid back many debts and when I occasionally come across this envelope I get angry with myself.  When the client emailed saying they booked another photographer, I responded that I completely understood.

My husband has been in this position as well.  When an opportunity to make money arises, he accepts.  But since we are so busy just trying to survive he will sometimes forget to bill a client for computer repairs or IT work.

I'm taking it one day at a time.  And to be perfectly honest, this is the last thing I should be doing at the moment.  I should be taking advantage of this hour before Teagan gets out of preschool to work on some freelance photo editing, or to hang the diapers, or to drink some water, or even brush my teeth.  But I needed to let this out because as I look around my house I see everything I am not doing and I am not giving myself any credit for what I am doing.  I've been hustling all week and neglecting so much.

I see a Cub Scout uniform that has been needing patches sewn on since Christmas which makes me think of the at home Cub Scout projects we haven't even begun.  I see Nathan's prescriptions on the counter which reminds me that I need to reorder his medications.  I see five cases of  Pediasure 1.5  in the middle of my foyer sitting in the same spot since delivery last week.  I see a basket full of fabric, yarn, and sweater scraps that I've been meaning to do something with to make money on esty.  I see our dining room table covered in papers that need to be dealt with and think of how I've been wanting to go food shopping so I could make a dinner we can enjoy as a family at this table.  I could go on.

But right now, I am going to enjoy the few minutes of quiet before the fussing and crying recommences...which has already happened since uploading this photo.


Now back to the grind.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

She is here! Miss Piper Renee

Piper Renee

Born February 3, 2015 at 11:32 am
Weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces
Measuring 20 1/2 inches

Birth story and more photos to come...




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Baby's Firsts Knits

I can't believe I'll be 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  Both of our kids were born at exactly 41 weeks so I have been expecting the same with this pregnancy but little tiebreaker has been surprising us every step of the way.

At my 36 week growth ultrasound, she flipped breech/bottom up after being head down the entire pregnancy.  I followed all advice of my midwives and the spinning babies website to coax her to turn on her own (pulsatilla tablets, forward leaning inversion, breech tilt, moxibustion through my local acupuncturist) before my scheduled version (ECV) at the hospital to turn her.  We were definitely surprised 3 days later at the hospital to be told she was already head down.

She is an active baby, and I am hoping that doesn't mean she is going to have the sleeping habits of Teagan.  Her activity along with the frequent contractions make me think that I wont see 41 weeks this time but I am hoping I am wrong.  I'd like to keep her in as long as possible since Nathan is currently sick, with a persistent fever and cough.  He started tamiflu as a precaution and the pulmonologist just called in Cipro as well.  Today I am experiencing early symptoms that I'm catching what he has (headache, cough) - definitely in no mood to be in active labor.

In an effort to ease my mind, I am trying to make sure our bags are packed and ready to go.  I've never been one to need much in my hospital bag - my camera is the most important item since it is the one thing that can't be brought to me after delivery.  Regardless, I added baby tiebreaker's coming home outfit along with the lamb stuffie I knit for her.

It took me months to decide on the perfect pattern for her coming home outfit and I am so glad I didn't settle.  I knit the entire set with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which is a soft blend of cashmere, merino wool, and microfiber.  The little lamb stuffie measures just under 8 inches head to toe.







Pardon any grammatical errors, 8 pm means bedtime.  I don't cheat myself out of sleep these days.  I never know when I will need the energy.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Pug

Baby Felix Valentine turned one year old on Christmas Morning.  We were busy with Christmas festivities with the kids so we celebrated her birthday the day after.

I made her a mini two layer peanut butter and carrot pup cake with whipped cream cheese icing dyed pink with juiced beet.














I don't think she got past the cream cheese frosting but I had to stop her before she made herself sick.

*****

After Baby Felix's cake smash, her buddies Big Felix, Lola, and Family joined us to celebrate.