Friday, October 31, 2008

My little treats...

All these pictures are basically the same, but I love the progression of the pictures. Especially poor Helam. He started out great, and the first picture is actually the best.
Still good, but starting to scrunch, and you can't see his shirt...

So done. I love Sariah's and Essi's face in this one. Sariah's still trying to smile, Essi's wondering what the heck we're doing still trying to get pictures.

Helam's done, Essi's done, Sariah's still trying..

Okay, last shot.. The girls did great. Poor Helam.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2 week update

Well, on the lighter side, my little man is just over two weeks now. On Monday at his check-up he was up to 10 lbs 4 oz. He's my hungry little piggy.
(Also, he may have been a little constipated, so that may have added a bit. Later that night he'd have been nowhere close.)
On the diapering subject,
(I love how when parents have a baby it's totally okay to talk about poop and puke, and we think it's all cute calling it "presents" and "spit-up" etc. I don't get why it's okay, but that doesn't stop me from doing it, and now I'm blogging about it. If he were any older he'd be mortified. Actually, I take that back, my three year old would be delighted to share all her details. Anyway..)
I have to brag about how blessed I've been in this area. I have not had to change 1 poopy diaper since Sunday the 11th.
(But that one was a doozy and it was my first little boy with a pistol, on a changing table at church, pee all over the stall, other stuff coming out faster than I could grab wipes, while trying to shield the waterworks extravaganza. I did clean up any mess, and I sensibly stayed home the next week. Luckily, I did have another outfit (for him) a lesson I learned from my cousin over 8 years ago when we ran into her at the mall for her little ones first pictures. They ended up being really cute naked or diaper baby pictures, but I learned my lesson, so there's a tip for you.)
Anyway, yeah. Jerrod has gotten that privilege. Somehow little man knows how to time it to spare momma that unpleasant task. So actually, I've been double blessed, a baby with great timing, and a husband awesome enough to change diapers! Or maybe he's only so willing because that's the only time I'll let him hold the baby! haha.. kidding.. slightly...
(Now that I've admitted that though, I'll probably get like 5 in a row while he's in class.)
Jerrod's been incredibly awesome throughout all of this. He's totally kept the house from falling apart. I've maybe unloaded the dishwasher once since Helam was born, also not many times the month before. He keeps telling me not to worry about it, and just to enjoy my baby. How sweet is that? He's also helped Sariah with homework, and has gotten the girls breakfast for them for the past two weeks.
(Actually, I think it's all part of a big conspiracy. He wants to have more kids. Lots more. I think he's hoping I'll love these newborn days so much that I'll forget what pregnancy and labor is like, and I'll willingly consent to more. There's a reason that Essi is almost 4 years older than Helam, and I still wasn't ready to get pregnant when we found out I was with Helam. Don't tell Jerrod, but it's kind of working. So, it's either that or he's just a truly wonderful husband, or maybe a combination. But he really is wonderful. Thanks Babe.)
Well that wasn't much of an update, and I'm not even posting more pictures yet. I know. Lame. I just don't want to go get the camera right now, I'm still holding my sleeping baby. But, I will post some, soon.
Thank you to everyone who has sent well wishes, posted comments, and everything else. Sorry I haven't been able to thank you all individually. But, thank you. It means so much to me.
Now while he's still asleep, I need to decide whether to...
A) Sleep. I'll need it as he's always up between 11:00 and 3:30.
B) Shower. I stink like baby barf, and it's been a while.
C) Wash his quilt. It, and his other boy blanket are covered in aforementioned baby barf, and he's currently wrapped up in his sister's fuzzy pink blanket.
D) Dang-it. None of the above. He just woke up while typing out C for his previously mentioned in A routine.
(Oh, and to you who won the predictions contest, you'll get your prizes before my next baby I promise. If you know who you are (by looking at the comment page) and you don't live locally, please email me your address.)


I don't usually do mushy posts, but I'm in love, and it's still so new and exciting, that I'm going to indulge myself.
He's in my favorite position right now with his little arms folded beneath him while he sleeps on my chest, with my cheek on his head. I love his contented coos, his little delicate puffs of breath, and his little shuddering sighs. I frequently find myself with teary eyes wishing there was some way to forever preserve every detail of him at this perfect age. I love each tiny wrinkle, each delicate eyelash, his tiny little fingers, his oh-so-soft cheeks, and silky hair. He does a little kissy lip thing when he breaks from eating, and this adorable happy, full of gratitude, life is wonderful, pursed, but stretched lips smile that could make me do anything. I'd love to see that every day for the rest of my life. I love his little newborn cry, and how immediately it turns to contentment when he gets back to mom. I love his helpless snuggling and how wonderful it is to fall asleep with a sleeping baby snuggled close.
I'm convinced that the unconditional love for and from a fragile newborn is a gift and perhaps a glimmer of the love of our Father in Heaven, and our Savior. It also makes me wonder about our mother there, and the love she must have for us. I feel so truly humbled, and so full of gratitude to have this little blessing and tender mercy in my life. Though it's passing too quickly, and as fleeting as it is, I love the blessing of being able to share this season of our lives together.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Welcome Helam!

Helam joined our family at 12:48 pm MST. He was born at home (assisted by midwives who were gold) after 7 hrs and 20 minutes of active labor. He was 9 lbs, 11 oz. Head and chest measured 15 inches, and he was 21 1/2 inches long. He's so perfect, and we're so happy to have him here. (Though I wish he'd do most of his sleeping from 2-8 am instead of pm..)

A cool little thing about his birthday is that I predicted the 7th about a week before he was born (though I really REALLY wanted it to be earlier.) All of the members of our family have our birthday's on the same weekday every year. So this year, all of our birthday's are on a Tuesday, next year, we'll all have birthdays on Wednesday. So, now his birthday fits in with our family. Odd huh?

Now for the pictures.

Not even 2 hours old.

Dad and the girls.

Does dad look tired? He is.

Already a thumb-sucker. Heaven help us.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our homebirth story

(This was written over the course of many days, so if it says "this morning" or "yesterday" or whatever, that's why. Then I backdated the posting time, so it wouldn't be the top post until I decide I want to post again.)

The Prize

Stats again, October 7th, 12:48 pm 9 lbs 11 oz, 21 1/2 long 15 inch head and chest.

We had Helam at home assisted by midwives who were absolutely amazing!! I'd been having prodromal (pre labor) labor for over a week and a half, every night thinking that the baby would be on his way soon. The day before, I was so incredibly unbelievably cranky, so I hoped that meant that he'd come soon.

The morning of the 7th, around 5:30 Essi climbed into bed with us, I felt something pop, and went to the bathroom and had bloody show. Immediately I was having contractions 4 minutes apart, so I was in active labor, but early active labor. I snuggled on the couch with Essi and timed them for about a half hour, then I called to Jerrod and told him I thought I was in labor for real this time, then Sariah woke up and we told her that the baby would probably be there today or the next. We called a sister in our ward (an angel, actually, it was her birthday too, but we didn't know that until afterward) to watch our kids, and she came and got them just as the midwives arrived (around 7ish.. I think.) They took my stats (blood pressure, pulse, baby's heartrate, etc. and I got in the tub.

Things progressed fast, so we thought. They were sure I was in transition around 9:00-9:30. I was kind of happy because I thought I was going to have a really quick labor. Around that time I remember asking if she thought we'd have him before noon, and she seemed to think that he'd definitely be here by then, and probably within the hour. Up until transition, things were pretty good. Not comfortable, but manageable. During "transition," things started hurting a lot more than they had and I remember with each contraction getting really upset at myself, and at labor because I wasn't feeling the "urge to push" which is supposed to come at the end of transition, which is supposed to be the shortest part of labor.

Then I went through a few more hours of transition, and I think those may have been the worst of my life. I kept trying to relax through the contractions, and surrender to the "waves." I didn't do so well with that. lol. I remember thinking (during a contraction) of some(guy) author's words that labor didn't hurt, it was just the anticipation of pain yadda yadda yadda that made it seem like it hurt. I'd like to toss a fork at him. I'm very grateful my kids were not in the house, as we'd originally planned. (They were just going to be in another room with Aunt Trista.) Normally, I'm so not a screamer, and I have a really high pain tolerance, but I was screaming worse than anything you'd see on a horror movie in the middle of each contraction. I'm really embarrassed about how much I screamed. I also sounded like a cow a few times. Luckily we're surrounded by a cow pasture, so they probably just thought it was one of their own. ( A lot of them have been having calves lately, but I've never heard them, I think they handled it better than I did.) There's also an elementary school pretty close, and I'm hoping those poor kids at recess didn't hear me. I think I'd make a horrible scientologist. (Aren't they supposed to stay silent the whole time?) I probably scarred my baby for life. Anyway, it was pretty horrible. I have no idea what would have happened if I were screaming like that in a hospital. I probably would have never gotten to that point, as I would have begged for drugs, and an epidural, and or general anesthesia before we got to that point. But, let's pretend I didn't, and some poor girl was coming in to be induced to have her first baby and heard me. That would have been pretty traumatic. lol.

During labor, I loved being able to move around as I wished. Throughout the process, I was on the bed for a while, (biting my pillow snarling like a feral rabid beast) standing up in the bathroom a while, doing squats through the contractions, sitting backwards on the toilet, and in the tub (I'm grateful we have a big jetted one here) for a while. It was really amazing because I really felt like at each point, I absolutely had to be where I was at each different part of labor, and I loved being able to move around like that, I can't imagine any part of labor being done in a different location than I was at when I did it. So that was awesome, and one of the things I liked about birthing at home.

Jerrod was amazing throughout the whole thing. Completely awesome. I felt so bad, because I yelled at him quite a lot during those hours. Almost every time he'd talk, I'd tell him to shut up, I'd start a contraction then yell, "Don't touch me!!" followed by, "Why aren't you pushing on my back?! Touch me Jerrod, touch me!!" Then if he'd move his hands in slightly the wrong way, I'd yell like he was completely insane, "What are you DOING?!?" Then my contraction would stop, and I'd start blubbering apologies, telling him how sorry I was, and that I shouldn't yell at him. I remember mentioning a vasectomy being a really good idea as well. Then, he needed to pee, and poor guy, that just was NOT an option. He'd whisper, "Hon, I need to go to the bathroom." I'd reply in despair, "You can't!!" or "Too bad, hold it." The midwives thought it was funny, because they've heard that at many many births. Finally, one of them took over rubbing my back for maybe 20 seconds, so he could go, and it wasn't a big deal at all, and I'm really grateful they found a way to let him go, because it was still a couple hours after that before Helam came.

My midwives were absolute gold, and were able to help walk me through the contractions, gently suggesting through each one that I relax my hips, and bottom, and stomach and vaginal area, and think of it opening up, and helping me breath through the contractions instead of scream through them. They were amazing. I can't even describe how much it helped to have them there helping me like that. At that point I was sitting on the toilet seat backwards. I was there for probably at least an hour, I was backwards, and Jerrod was on a chair behind me supporting me.

After being on the toilet for a while, I wanted to get back in the tub. They drained a lot of it, and filled it so it would be the right temperature again, I got back in and about 1-2 contractions later, my water broke again or something. (It had broke earlier I'd thought, and they say it's normal for there to be two, or that before was my fore waters or something.) There was a pop, then I felt a gush of fluid go between my legs, even though I was in the tub. Then maybe one contraction later, I felt the baby's head shoot through some opening, on it's own, into my vaginal area. That was one of the best feelings EVER!! I knew what it was, and that I was almost done! I could have sang!! The midwives weren't aware it was there, and were continuing to say "relax your legs, relax your bottom." I was thinking, "No way! This baby is coming OUT!!" lol Jerrod saw me smile at this point and wondered what was going on. So I started pushing him out. They saw I wasn't relaxing but didn't realize I was pushing, and said to relax, I finally said, "he's coming," and put my hand on his head, that was already partway out. (I didn't want to tell them before because I didn't want them to yell at me to push (like in each of my hospital births.) I also didn't want them to tell me not to push.) When they saw the head, everyone was quite surprised and excited. They suggested I push slowly, and not let him rush out, to prevent tearing. (Can I just say how much I loved that?!? Both times in the hospital, they were yelling at me to push like if I didn't hurry and push the baby out, it would die or something. Then they'd always cut me. I've always hated that part.)

So I was slowly and gently pushing him out not during a contraction, and Jerrod was feeling his face, I remember him saying, the nose is almost out, I can feel the mouth, etc. That was neat. I pushed the head out, they checked for a cord around the neck, it wasn't there, and then they said all I needed to do was push the shoulders out. I was kind of expecting them to just fall out after the head. I did a practice push, realized it would take a little more than I wanted to do, and asked if I could switch to my hands and knees. They said yes, so with baby's head out, and body inside, I went from my back to my hands and knees in the bathtub. DH said they were quite impressed that I wanted to do that, and that I could do that. He also said it was very interesting and funny when I turned because all the sudden, the baby was facing up so there's my backside, with a chubby little face sticking out. That strikes me as really funny for some reason. Once I was on my hands and knees, it was one push and his shoulders, and the rest of his body slid out, into Jerrod's hands. They were saying how great he was, I was just thrilled to finally be done. I rolled back over, and took my sweet sweet baby. This was our biggest baby ever, and my first with no tearing or cuts! (Also the only one that came early, and I wasn't induced with.) The total pushing time was only 3 minutes or less, so that was awesome.

A few minutes later, the placenta came out, they cut the cord, yadda yadda, and it was done. His apgars were 10 and 10, he was doing so great. He was all pink and perfect, doing everything he should!

Then it was done! It was so normal, it was weird. I remember saying to Jerrod, "We just had a homebirth." It seemed so weird to me that it was over, and though I didn't expect anything to go wrong, it just seemed strange how natural it all seemed. But, I'm still kind of having a hard time realizing that this huge event is over. Going to the hospital to have a baby seems like such a grand event, and it divides things nicely into a before, during, and after. So in the past, I'd go to the hospital and come out with a baby, this time I went to the bathroom, and came out with a baby, so that is different, and a little weird to wrap my head around, but nice.

After the delivery, it looked like I was losing more blood than the midwives wanted me to, so they had some stuff they gave to fix that, and then I was fine. Then we rinsed me and the baby off, (clean-up was so easy, all the mess was in the tub.) and went and snuggled in our bed. I was so thrilled to have our little guy, and to not be pregnant anymore. (For a while I wasn't sure which I was happier about.)

Anyway, it was perfect. I loved a lot of doing it in a homebirth setting. During labor and right after, I figured if I ever did it again, it would only be under general anesthesia, but a day later, it seems as though it was totally doable. It was amazing. Oh, and if you've actually read this whole thing, you're amazing too! lol! Now, almost a week later, and with Helam already growing too fast, I'm wondering how soon we can do it again. (Someone please remind me how horrible pregnancy and labor is/was, because this little guy is making me think it was all worth it.)

Things that I really liked about midwives, and having him at home:
No vaginal exams. (Unless I wanted them, and um, I didn't.)
No stirrups.
No iv.
Not being stuck in a bed.
No monitors, except the midwives checking his heartrate when they needed to.
Not having to drive to the hospital in labor. (I cannot even imagine having to do that, (with my others I was induced,) and I have so much admiration and/or sympathy for women who have done that.)
Being able (and encouraged) to drink during labor. (Even being offered food, but that idea was laughable.)
No catheter.

This was such a neat experience for us. Since this birth, my mind has been focused a lot on the Atonement. It really feels like the whole labor process is so intertwined with the Atonement, and this experience has deepened my appreciation for that. I remember at times the utter reliance I felt, and I feel like there is still so much there to ponder.