Friday, February 29, 2008

Verbal video

This morning, Bird popped off my breast and looked up at me. His eyes were wide and bright. His mouth puckered up into a little "O" shape and I smiled at him.

He cocked his head, squinted his eyes, and his mouth burst open into a huge smile.

I want to remember those few seconds for the rest of my life.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shower the people you love with baby stuff

I totally just copied and pasted this post because it's more efficient that me trying to sum it all up. I can't tell you how much I adore Liz. You better believe I'll be showering her, and I hope that you will too. Baby Alice has lots of virtual auntie's out there, I know. Let's give her a huge warm welcome into the world!


Lizarita here. I’ll get right to it:

My good friend Liz and her family are going through some hard times (as we ALL have) and I got to thinking…”What can I do to help???” And then I read her comments and talked to her and came up with a solution: Liz’s Virtual Baby Shower. This baby shower will function in two parts: I’ll be heading up one side of the shower and Julie will take up the other side (see: below).

Since so many of you have graciously offered to pass along your gently used baby items, I was thinking that I could administrate this effort and make sure all the items are delivered safely and soundly to the house of h.

And for those of you that know me, you know that being bossy is what I do best so this is the PERFECT job for me. Ahem.

The Details:
If you have any gently used baby items that you would like to contribute, please send me an email to lizaritablogs AT gmail DOT com and I will tell you where to send your package.

In order to get the word out to as many of the good people on the Interweb as possible, there is a little contest involved. Create a post on your blog about the collection efforts and link to this post. Please let me know via email if you are participating. And feel free to grab a little blog bling while you’re at it! Please be sure to mention this contest in your post so others can join in the fun! A winner will be chosen at random.

The prize? Liz’s baby! (Kidding). I’m not sure what the prize is yet, but I can assure you that it will be FABULOUS!

Please keep in mind that Liz is having a GIRL so even though she would appreciate those navy blue corduroy overalls with the trains and planes on the front, her daughter would look kinda funny in them, so please refrain from sending them.

Thank you in advance for your kindness.

BUT WAIT!!! That’s not all! Some of you are thinking “Liz needs to get some NEW stuff, too!” and we thought the same thing…

And this is the second part of Liz’s Virtual Baby Shower:

Hi all—Julie from the calm before the stork here, and I’m helping to host the Brand New Baby Things side of Liz’s Virtual Baby Shower for those of you that want to hook a sister up with some new things.

After I read her recent post about money, or the lack thereof, I thought my awesome internet friend Liz—who so completely propped me up with her encouragement around the time of my baby boy’s birth not so long ago—could use a little mirth in advance of the birth of her daughter, Alice.

So here’s my extra little somethin’ offer as co-host of this interweb-wide giftie event. Not only will you pick up some sex-ay blog bling, but you’ll be entered to win one of my mugs. If you would like to purchase a little somethin’ somethin’, please check out her Babies R Us or Target registries, and be sure to drop by my place and leave me a comment letting me know that you’re in. I’ll draw a winner at random in early May, so stay tuned!

Baby Alice is due June 13th and Liz is registered at Babies R Us under first name “Hilarities” and last name “Ensue” (registry# 86825422) and at Target as first name “Liz” and last name “Hilarities Ensue” (registry# 011003997423613).

And don’t forget to to post your blog bling (designed by the Always Fabulous, Carly)!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Totally faking it here

This would not be a picture from today. Because this is not what Bird did today. Except for when I ran two errands.

I can't sleep when the baby sleeps if the baby decides to only sleep in the moving car or in my Moby while I'm walking around Joann's.

I can see it now . . .

I'm the crazy lady in the back of the store, standing propped up against some soft spools of batting, trying to catch some zzzzzz's. Don't mind me, shoppers, and could you keep it down a little? I'm having a nap.

So very very very tired.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My life's work

In a few weeks, I'll have to start working again. Students will start coming back for their lessons. I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to it.

Really, as far as a work scenario goes, I've got it good. Students come to my house for their lessons. I've been teaching in the area long enough that I don't have to take students who don't do their work. I have the luxury of auditioning them and laying down some strict guidelines for remaining in my studio.

I love my kids (and Bach too!!!). Always have. Most of them have been with me for at least 5 years, some up to 10 years. They are not just my piano students, they are important people in my life. That is what drives me to continue. That and a 6'4" Mason & Hamlin sitting in my studio that I'm not finished paying for yet. Or for a few more years.

Today, I got an email from one of them, an adult student, asking if I was going to be ready to start teaching again next week. That will have given me 5 weeks off. I expressly told her before the baby arrived that I was taking at least 6 weeks. As of today, I'm thinking of taking 7 because of all the issues that we've been working through.

The email got under my skin, and I realized that for the first time, there is somebody that I want to put before my students. There is somebody who means more to me than anyone else ever will, and I want for people to realize that.

While I love teaching, and I love my students - Bird will always come first. I can do both; be a mommy and still teach. Plenty of women work longer hours than I do and are still mommies too.
But if I can't give him 6 or 7 work free weeks at the beginning of his life? That would be ridiculous.

Really though? I have my work. My heart's work. He's laying nestled on my left breast, sleeping peacefully on his boppy.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One month

Happy one month birthday, little dude. Thanks for not chomping my nipples off today. I greatly appreciate it. I had in mind to write you a heartfelt letter about the first month of your life, but then I realized that most of it would be about boobs and that didn't seem right.

I can tell you this. You are the most interesting baby I have ever met. I never thought a baby could be good company, but you are. You are fascinating. And when you smiled at me this week? Smiled without farting soon after? I melted. I was singing you the "Little Bird" song from the CD that your Auntie Bubblewench sent to you, and you broke out in the biggest grin for the first time.

And I fell completely in love all over again.

How many times will I do that? Once a day? Once an hour?

You are amazing.

Hey look, I'm crafty! He's wearing some baby legs that I made. With a sewing machine. Yay, me! Are you proud, Momma?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Because I can't believe it myself

At the pediatrician's office today:

Doctor: I don't see any signs of thrush.

Me: Are you sure? Because my breasts hurt so badly. Like I would rather be in labor again than have my breasts hurt this badly.

Doctor: And you're sure you want to continue breastfeeding?

Me: (after initial stun of question wore off) Absolutely I do, and I will.

Doctor: Well, they're your boobs, not mine.

OH MY DEAR GOD. He actually said those exact words to me. Perhaps I am still hormonally sensitive???


Please. Weigh in. Would you be taken aback if your older than dirt pediatrician actually taunted you about your persistence in breastfeeding? And used the word BOOB? I mean, I use it all the time, but the letters M.D. don't follow my name either.

Let's discuss, shall we?

And you don't have to tell me to get a new pediatrician. It's already in the works.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Of course, if you live anywhere near us, I can highly recommend a fabulous photographer. Just click the announcement to see more of her work.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


As much as I like the co-sleeping . . .

As easy as it is to just roll over and nurse right where we are . . .

As much as I don't like thinking of Bird sleeping alone even if it's right next to the bed . . .

I miss being held through the night by my husband.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Andria said it. It's strange how something so natural can be so difficult. But it is. Breast feeding has been very very hard. I keep reminding myself of all the reasons to continue. How good it is for Bird.

Then, there will be moments like these, after I nurse him. He pops off with milk still dribbling out of his mouth. His little lips smack and he squirms his way in just a little bit even closer to me. One of my favorite faces he makes involves the raising of his little blonde eyebrows followed by a quick nose wrinkle. Most of the time, I even get a smile or two from him.

As he falls asleep, propped up on the breast that just nursed him, I'm reminded of how good it is for me too. Good to be able to give him something no one else can. Good to bond with him.

Good to get to be his momma.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Finding peace. Keeping peace.

It's not so much about finding the peace. Talk to me at any random moment, and I'm perfectly fine about how things are going. Christopher has gained a pound since that day at the doctor's office. He is doing really well, and is a happy baby.

That is all that matters, really.

How I feel varies from hour to hour though. As whatever hormones are left in me have their way, and as the Reglan inhibits whatever dopamine it has to in order to help my milk production, and as the sleep deprivation messes with my emotions - as all these things come into play, it's hard to know how I really feel.

Yesterday, on the phone with Whymommy, I felt good. I was able to discuss where we were with things in a positive manner. Is my baby exclusively breast feeding? No. He has to have 4-6 ounces of formula a day in order to not be hungry. Am I doing everything I can humanly possibly do in order to increase production? Yes. I am nursing and pumping 90% of the time I'm awake. I'm taking my herbs. I'm taking my prescription. I'm drinking plenty of water and eating plenty of good food. I'm getting skin to skin with my baby. All of the advice. I'm taking all of the advice and doing it as much as I can.

Today, on the phone with my momma, I felt crappy. It bothered me that I had missed the crucial piece of information that regular, frequent nursings have to do with keeping my supply up as much as they have to do with feeding the baby. So when that doctor told me to alternate nursing with bottles? Leaving me to nurse only about 4 times a day and supplement the rest? He blew a hole in my supply. I didn't know then. I know now. I don't know how I missed it. I was just doing what he told me to do.

Right this moment, I'm okay again. My baby is full and growing. He is getting mostly breast milk, and who's to say that I might be able to have him exclusively on it again in a couple more weeks? It will be fine. I'm going to do whatever I can to have him be the healthiest baby he can be.

And thank God for the hands free pumping bra. Making this post possible. I wish I had it from the very beginning.


We got the proofs for some beautiful baby shots back this weekend. If you would like the link to see them, shoot me an email and I'll send it to you.


Gratuitous photo of the day

We think she likes him. Seeing as how she gets this huge grin on her face every time she gets to hold him? We think she likes him a lot.

Lovely is doing great with her new little brother. She has taken getting peed on during a diaper change in stride. She is becoming a pro at dressing him. And she is the best at walking him when he needs that constant motion to settle down.

She's an awesome big sister.


Finally, I wish that I had opened comments on the breast feeding post. I forgot that while I couldn't handle anymore advice because I was on overload - I forgot that most of the time, people are just relating. Just understanding where you are and where you've been. Some times, they are right there with you, and some times, they have made it through where you've been and can remind you that nothing lasts forever.

So for those of you who took the time to email or comment on another post, thank you. It does help to know that I'm not alone. I hope that it helps to know you aren't either.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Day late but worth the wait

Happy Valentine's Day from a good looking guy. A Mini Guy, if you will.

We took the picture on Wednesday, just to make sure that we wouldn't miss wishing the Internets a Happy Valentine's Day on time.

That obviously didn't work. I am that behind these days.

But my half price dark chocolate peanut M'n'M's? Well worth the delay.

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!!!

Thank you, Aunt Shelley, for our adorable bib!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentine for Guy

Dear Guy,

I could just buy a card or something. Tell you these things in person. Some times though, it doesn't seem like enough. Since there will be no big Valentine from me this year, and probably no candy hidden in the carport by your ex-wife, I thought I would just tell you a few things publicly. Things that make you the most wonderful husband in the world and me the luckiest woman.

When the doula took this picture, we did think it was a little crazy. She said we would be glad later. I'm glad now. This picture reminds me of how much you hold me up. How much strength you give me. For four some odd hours, you sat behind me, letting me labor on that birthing ball while leaning back on you. You sat through every contraction with me, rubbing my hair and holding me just tight enough to know that you were right there for me. I think this picture says so much about you, and I'm so glad she took it.

I love this shot for the pure unadulterated joy that is on your face. Holding your son for the first time, showing him off for that picture - you are completely elated, and I was so proud of both of you. Both my boys.

You listen to me. You don't dismiss my ideas as silly or too granola. When I said to you that I thought it was important for you to have skin to skin contact with Little Bird, you took your shirt off and did just that. I love that you provide the scientific balance to the natural approach I so long to have in raising our son. I love that you can gently discuss things with me, and that you accept things like skin to skin as important, maybe even just because I asked you to.

Lest you think I've gone completely sappy on you, I can remind you that I also love you because you are so stinkin' good looking. The two of you snoozing before we left the hospital just melted my heart. I think you are the best looking men in the whole world. Ever.

So these are some of the reasons I love you. It's not a fancy card or swell gift. I know it's not much. I know I've been really hard to deal with the past week. Or two. You have done an amazing job of balancing when to step in and intervene and when to let me work something out on my own. You have rescued me from my hormones. You have stuck by me when I thought we weren't going to be successful at breastfeeding. You have loved me. You have loved me like no one else ever could.

I hope that you feel the same way. I hope that I show you that I love you like no one else ever could.

Happy Valentine's Day, You. Thank you for this life we have.

Your littlest Shamoopie

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What I thought would come naturally. Not so much.

In a rare moment of two handed typing, I find myself wondering exactly what I need to unload here. There is a post about breastfeeding that I have been sporadically working over the past couple of weeks. In general, it details all the outside obstacles that I have encountered while simply trying to feed my child. It lists the number of heath care professionals who have told me to just use formula. Use a pacifier. Switch to bottles.

It was quite a surprise to me.

What was an even bigger surprise is how I've had to try and convince not just everyone around me that breastfeeding is worth the effort, but how I've had to convince my own body that it's worth the effort.

After a week of engorgement, Christopher was hungry. This is why he was screaming. The poor child was hungry. He had not been able to get the milk I was producing. I had pumped to soften them. Run hot water over them. Placed hot packs on them before feeding. I thought he was eating. He was staying at the breast for an hour or more, but wasn't getting what he needed.

Let me tell you - sitting in a doctor's office and being told that you have been starving your child, and that is why he has been crying? He could have just taken a scalpel and cut my heart out.

And once again, I was told that I needed to start him on formula.

We haven't. We did start using the breastmilk I had in the freezer in bottles and alternated nursing and bottles to make sure he was getting enough to eat.

Then, something I never imagined would happen, happened. For some reason, my breasts decided they were no longer needed and went on vacation. I was pumping on Thursday to try and make his next meal, and got nothing. Not even enough to cover the bottom of a bottle. The girls were on strike.

I was ready to punt the pediatrician and the long list of every piece of advice I had received. Even the source of some of my biggest support emailed me to tell me that it was my own fault I had dried up. That she told me not to use bottles. I was beyond rational and spent the next long hours sobbing and panicking over my empty breasts.

I did what I should have done from day one before there even was an issue. I hired a lactation consultant.

Now, as often as possible, but at the very least, every 3 hours from start to start, we are feeding our child. Guy and I both. Baby at the breast until he empties them or pisses himself off trying. Then, the syringe and tubing at the breast with expressed breast milk until he is full.

Before, during, and after feedings, Christopher gets weighed. Guy helps position him and holds the syringe. He thaws and warms the milk. He changes the diapers in between. He holds Christopher after feedings so that I can then pump to encourage my breasts to start making milk again.

But he goes back to work again Monday, and I find myself wondering how I'm going to continue this on my own. I need four more hands. And I need to figure out how I'm supposed to sleep and keep this up.

And tonight, we will run out of expressed breast milk. As much as I know that plenty of babies have been raised on formula, and it isn't Satan's spit as some breast feeding advocates would have you believe? I don't want to feed my child formula. I just don't. I don't want good enough for him. I want the absolute best.

I know there is a lot of wisdom out there, but I'm turning off comments for this. I just can't bear another piece of advice right now. I swear to you that I've heard them all. The herbs, the pumping, the beer, diet, rest, prescriptions and everything else. Even my favorite piece of advice for how to get pregnant is back. Just relax. Oh please.

But I have a plan now and a lactation consultant that I trust.

So I'm just going to keep at it and know that you are silently cheering me on for this round.

Not surprisingly, it is time to go feed my child. If you could say a little prayer that the well isn't dry, I would greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In flood the doubts

Weaving in and out of the warm fuzzy posts is a post about a screaming baby. A post about a baby who is uncomfortable, hurt, upset, or angry about something. Something that I can only guess at.

Yesterday, Christopher spent all of his waking moments as screaming moments. By 2:30 AM, I was completely frazzled. I sat, rocking him in my grandmother's rocking chair, with tears streaming down my face and a voice running through my head saying,

"This was a mistake. You aren't cut out to be a mother."

Where does that voice come from? How can I fly from the safety of intuition to the despair of failure in less than 12 hours?

And now? My child is sleeping soundly beside me after a long night and a long day, and I wonder how I could let myself think such things.

Dr. Sears said something to this effect: It isn't your fault that they cry, and sometimes you can't stop them from crying. The best you can do is to not let them cry alone.

And so that's what I did. It didn't seem like nearly enough.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I've spent the past week trying to learn how to do this thing called motherhood. Some parts of it come naturally. Others are being learned through trial and error. And still more is being learned through the advice of friends and family.

My parents are gone. Guy has gone back to work. It's just me and Christopher, and of course the pups during the day. It's quiet, and it's giving me the chance to get to know this little bird of mine. We are doing alright.

Sunday, we had a session with a newborn photographer. Lovely was with us too, so it was perfect timing to get some family shots as well. Thing is, Christopher decided that he would just be hungry or awake the whole time. No sleeping baby shots for us. He also let loose with the most poop I have seen come out of him yet - while he was naked. In my arms. I had handfuls of runny yellow brown poop. And I didn't mind. Amazing.

I didn't understand what people were telling me about just "knowing" how to be his momma. Before he was born, it was blind faither that you all knew what you were talking about, and that once he was here, I would suddenly get it. But you were right. Granted, I learn new things every day. I'm still unsure of a lot of things, but you were right. I do know how to be his mom.

I know when he needs to be picked up. I know that the sound of my voice is going to stop him from crying unless something is hurting him. I know that he much prefers the right boob over the left one. I know that he loves to sleep on either my chest or his daddy's chest, bundled up like a little peanut. I know that he hates to be hot.

Last night, I didn't know how to help him though. He was inconsolable for about two hours. We tried to nurse; we rocked; we walked; we bounced; we took off clothes and put them back on. Finally, we called the doctor. The 24 hour nurse talked me through his day and told me it was most likely his tummy and some wicked gas. She gave us some things to try, and within about 30 minutes, he was asleep. I let him sleep on my chest like a little peanut because I didn't want to risk putting him down and waking him up again.

As he lay there, finally consoled and content, I gently rubbed my face across the top of his head. It's so soft. It smells so good.

What I don't know, I can learn. There are family, friends, nurses, doctors, books, and the web to help provide me with information.

What I do know though, can't be taught. I understand that now. All the preparing I tried to do - all the reading and all the questions - they just won't teach you.

You know how to be a mother right when you become a mother. I get that now.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

How Little Bird was hatched

I'm reminded more and more that this space, though shared with many, is still first and foremost a personal journal. So as I begin this journey through motherhood, I'll most likely drone on and on. Don't feel badly to skip some posts, come back later, or even just skim. I'm going to just record it all for the record.

For the record, for my record, the very long birth story about about a very long birth.

Thursday morning, January 24, I got out of bed after a really terrible night’s sleep. Guy was already up. We ended up fighting, I was completely irrational, and I felt so badly that I cancelled my lessons for that afternoon. I took two hot baths that day, trying to make myself feel somewhat better. It didn’t occur to me that I was in labor.

That evening, Guy and I were resting on the bed. I was talking to my sister-in-law on the phone. We were discussing whether or not the menstrual type cramps I had been having were coming in regular intervals and could be contractions. As soon as we decided that I should think about timing them, I felt a pop and a little dampness. I told Sil that I thought my water just broke, and as I stood up, there was a gush.

We decided that I had in fact, been having contractions. Even though I had posted on my blog earlier that day that I was not in labor.

I called the doula to let her know, but we told her that we would be fine for awhile. We were hungry, and I had a ton to do because I had lay around all day and wasn’t ready to go to the hospital.

We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and had some dinner. My contractions were much more distinct now, and as soon as we got home, we started timing them. They started coming about five minutes apart, but only in groups of four or five. Then, they would stop for about 15 minutes. After trying to sleep for a couple of hours, I needed to get up, breathe, and sway through the contractions. When I had almost an hour of regular contractions lasting a minute, I called the doula.

After I hung up the phone with her, I stopped having contractions. It was about 6:30 AM and my water had been broken for 12 hours.

When the doula arrived, she got me up and walking. We walked the dogs, I walked the stairs, I sat on the birthing ball, bouncing and rocking. Still nothing.

Guy said, “Let’s get your bag. We are going to the hospital.” I didn’t argue. Laboring at home had come to an end. A literal stand still. And the birth preferences we had carefully crafted and planned for Little Bird had to be put aside in order to get him here safely.

I was admitted to the hospital after stopping at my OB’s office and discovering that I was still only a fingertip dilated and 50% effaced. It was as if labor had never started the night before. The OB said that this was a worst case scenario with first time moms. I was disappointed that the pitocin domino had fallen, but I accepted it. Around 10:00 AM Friday morning, I was getting my IV and they were starting me on Pitocin by 10:30.

At first, the contractions were most bearable in the bed. I was able to continue talking through them until about 1:00 PM. At that point, the Pitocin had been turned up, and I needed to be up and moving through them. The doula set up the birthing ball by the bed for me and we worked on the ball to help me focus through each contraction.

The contractions that had a natural climb, peak, and decent were manageable. We vocalized and controlled my breathing through them. The Pitocin type contractions that started at the peak and just declined, giving me no ascent through which to focus really threw me for a loop and were much harder to endure.

Around 3:00, the Pitocin had been turned up some more, and something went wrong. My doula said that she counted seven contractions that all never ended before the next began. Yet we knew that it was too early for me to be in transition. I had just been checked, and I was hardly dilated to 2 centimeters.

Unable to focus and unable to tolerate the pain that had built for about 20 minutes, we had the nurse turn the pitocin back down and allow me to recuperate. We hoped that my own body would kick in and continue the labor process. Instead, it stopped once again. My water had been broken for 22 hours at this point.

At 4:00, we started the Pitocin over again. I labored on the birthing ball and standing up. Our nurse was going off duty at 7:00, and I really wanted to have made it to transition by then. She had been completely supportive of our decision to keep the labor and delivery as natural as possible. The monitoring was continuous, but she made it so that I could still move freely, and she didn’t panic when there was a drop in the baby’s heartbeat due to me swaying on the ball and moving the monitor.

Turns out, I wasn’t in transition by 7:00. I was about 3 centimeters dilated. My lovely day nurse was replaced by a nurse who very much wanted for me to go ahead and have a baby already. The night nurse did not like the records that she was left with for me. The monitoring, although continuous, was not completely accurate as it slid around my belly during my swaying and rocking. The night nurse was on a mission to get this baby out as soon as possible because my water had broken over 24 hours ago by then. Upon reflection, I can’t say that I blame her one bit.

The doctor on call for my delivery was the one doctor in the practice that Guy and I didn’t like. He was on call all weekend long, so there was no chance of seeing anyone else. The thing is though, I think he really did his best to let us continue to try for the natural birth that we wanted to have even though he would have rather us just fit into his typical day. He actually did let me
labor with only the pitocin and the intermittent monitoring until I hit that 24 hour mark past where my water broke. We knew that he didn’t agree with all of our decisions and couldn’t appreciate why I just wouldn’t get the epidural, let them turn up the pitocin and move on with things. While he didn’t agree, he did show us respect in our decision. That surprised me, and I appreciated it.

I don’t remember much from about 7:00 forward. My focus had to be 100% getting through the pain. Breathing, relaxing, preparing for the next contraction. Getting back in the bed was the worst. I asked the doctor to do my cervix check while I was on the birthing ball, but he told me he would probably hurt his back which I thought was funny since I seemed to be the one in agonizing pain. So into the bed I went. I had one contraction in the bed, and realized that I couldn’t take another. He did a quick check and reported that I was still about 3 centimeters.

Needless to say, we were becoming increasingly discouraged. What I didn’t realize at the time was that everyone else was becoming increasingly concerned. The doctor turned up the pitocin again and we persevered back on the ball.

For some reason, I had picked 10:00 for my goal time. That if I could make it to 10:00, then I could make it all the way through. When 10:00 came and went, I let myself start coming to grips with how incredibly tired I was. Another cervix check was coming up and I was dreading having to get back in the bed for it.

Once there, the contractions were coming faster, and after two of them, I knew I was done. I couldn’t lay still, sit still, or breathe at all through them. Our doula was doing her best to reach any sliver of me that she could. She later described it as though I was a cat who had been thrown into a pool of water. And I was.

I stared at Guy in between contractions hoping that he would say the word so that I didn’t have to. He did. I heard him ask how long it would take to get me an epidural. Twenty minutes. He told them to do it. It had become not just about pain relief, but about getting me out of the way so that the pitocin could be turned up and allow my body to do what it needed to do. Besides, I was scared of each oncoming contraction and had lost any ability to focus and relax. I knew this wasn’t good for the baby. And I knew that we had to help him get here soon.

By about 11:30 PM, I had my epidural. I had progressed to almost 5 centimeters. And then I slept. I remember telling some strange stories to the doula and the nurse. But mostly, I slept. Before I knew it, they were waking me up, telling me that I needed to be alert enough to push. I heard Guy tell the doula that she could go home if she wanted to, and thankfully, she declined. He didn’t know that she would also coach me through pushing. But she and I both noted that the experience was eerily turning into the strange dream I had the week before.

I remember struggling to wake up and feel like myself. I wanted to be completely present for the birth. I wanted to remember every moment of it. Experience it. That was the most frustrating part of the day. Whether it was the drugs or the exhaustion, I just couldn’t be as present as I wanted to be.

At 1:30 AM (now the 26th, the day past his due date), I began pushing. My doula was right by my side ready to coach me, when all of the sudden, the nurse broke in with a “pushpushpushpushpushpushpushpushpush.” Looking back, it was by far the funniest moment of the day. All three of us just looked at her as though she had lost her mind. I asked the doula to coach me, the nurse got the hint, and we were all square.

I requested the mirror. If I couldn’t really feel anything, I at least wanted to be able to see it. Aside from the view of my butt, it was incredibly cool. I could see his little head crowning. I could see it all up until the point when the OB joined us again. He came in, told me I was pushing all wrong (because I was inhaling and then exhaling in a measured way throughout the push and he wanted me to hold my breath through the push), and then rolled his eyes and shook his head when I didn’t change my method. I swear if I could have felt my legs I would have kicked him upside his head.

He told me he was going to do a “small episiotomy” and I asked him not to. I had seen how close we were. Christopher was almost there, and I just wanted to finish up and take the chance to tear a little. He put down the scalpel.

I didn’t look at the clock the whole time I was pushing. I just pushed and visualized everything opening up and letting him through. The doula continued to coach me, and Guy watched with a scientific fascination, walking back and forth to shmoop my head and tell me I was doing a good job and then check out what was going on down there.

At 3:56 AM, after 2 ½ hours of pushing, 33 ½ hours of labor, 4 ½ hours after my epidural, and at least 8 years of yearning, Christopher was born. He was a little wiggly purple dude who screamed his way into the world, but as soon as he landed on my chest, he was quiet. He struggled to open his eyes, and when he did, my eyes were the first thing he saw.

The goal was a healthy baby. That’s what we got. I couldn’t be happier.

Friday, February 01, 2008

February Perfect Post

Not too long ago, when I could still type with both hands at once, I came across a relatively new blogger. This is a woman who you read and wish you could just meet her for a drink somewhere. She's one of those bloggers who is able to remain personable right through the dehumanization of a computer screen.

Her post, Icebreaker, is an amazing piece of writing, leaving you breathless by the end.

I would pontificate more on it, but there's a baby that needs changing, and you really should just go read her words anyway.

See all the perfect posts for January here and here.

This is the reason why

I didn't know contentment until I picked up my crying child, only to find that being held was the only thing he needed. As he put his head to my chest and sighed out his last whimper, I melted into the complete fulfillment of life as it should be.

There are a million posts in my head and unfortunately 80 million gallons of milk in my boobs. I'll be back soon I hope. After the girls get under control.