Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I won't show you my favorite photos! Neener neener neeeeeeeener!

 One of the very few nursing photos I will probably ever share in such a public way
Photo Credit:  Venus Leah Photography

I have some of the most beautiful sibling photos I've ever seen.  And I won't show them to you.

You might have noticed that I have not shared any of my own nursing photos before now.  I have debated and debated, as I have lots of breastfeeding photos that are beautiful, funny, and/or mundane.  Especially in the early days, nursing is so frequent that every photo taken is just before, during, or just after a feeding.  I always chuckle at photos as I notice my shirt is not quite all the way down, or that I can tell the access flap on my bra isn't actually clasped, or some other tell-tale sign of probably the most commonplace happening of new motherhood:  feeding the baby.

I don't keep these photos off the internet because I'm ashamed.  Obviously I'm not. 

But I am very uneasy about sharing photos of my children that could be used as fodder for teasing.  For certain photos, I feel I need their consent to share them in such a public way as Facebook or this public blog.  I've decided to share photos of my newborn nursing because that is becoming a more commonplace occurrence in this country, with 70.9% of newborns nursing in the hospital in 2003, and the CDC's goal for 2010 being 75%.  I don't expect, when he's 5 or 6, that anyone is going to tease Squeak for nursing when he was one week old.

But I'm not so sure what the attitudes about photos of nursing toddlers will be toward the toddlers when they are school-aged.

It's really unfortunate because the photos that Venus took of Bean and Squeak nursing together are the most tender toddler/newborn sibling photos I think I have ever seen.  Bean is gazing at Squeak and holding his hand, or Bean is nursing while Squeak sleeps on him.  In another, Bean is nursing and gently stroking Squeak's head.

The photos are so sweet and genuine, and they capture how I feel about my life as a mother-of-two so far - and especially how I see Bean as a big brother.  The past four weeks have been chaotic, and even cumbersome (I haven't grown a third arm, but I have ended up carrying things with my mouth a few times so far...), but full of love and appreciation and sooooo much snuggling!

...and a little yelling.  It would be disingenuous if I didn't state for the record that the last few nights have been rough - each for a different reason - and I've been a bit short-tempered!  I'm very much still on a high of postpartum hormones (and I imagine the fact that I'm nursing and snuggling two is keeping my oxytocin level at near-euphoric), but there is no substitute for a good night's sleep.  Or three.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October has me seeing red because of all the pink.

I feel like I might be stoned to death for posting this.  Or, at the very least, declared insensitive.

It's a Sunday night.  I've spent much of the day cursing under my breath about "pink crap" as I've caught glimpses of various football players, coaches, and referees sporting bright. pink. crap.  Arm bands, shoes, accents on uniforms and outerwear...

First off, how exactly does the purchase of all this athletic garb reduce breast cancer rates or improve survival or quality of life for women with breast cancer?  Who is benefiting from all of these men wearing hideous stuff?  Stuff that will be used one day a week for one month, probably requires multiple iterations per player to account for wear and tear and to keep the players looking clean throughout each game, and almost certainly won't even be used again during future Pink Crap Months.  The cost and wastefulness alone boggle my mind.

October makes me angry.  This week, I couldn't even buy mushrooms without my awareness of breast cancer being raised!  

That is the goal this month, right?  Or is it to make corporations look good by standing for a cause?  And, corporations, is that even accomplished at this point?  Or perhaps every one of you feels the need to jump on the bandwagon simply to level the playing field?

And if awareness of breast cancer is raised...

Well, have we yet reached a point of diminishing returns wherein money spent on pink shoes for athletes may not pay off in producing better outcomes through early detection of breast cancer?

Here is where I really think I could be hated...

Might the continuous and, frankly, aggressive raising of awareness of a cancer that is not even women's leading cancer killer and not even close to the number one killer of women actually be a disservice?  (Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women and heart disease kills nearly twice as many women every year as all forms of cancer combined.)

There is already a strong misconception of the likelihood of breast cancer's threat to a woman's life.

Women and their healthcare providers are often unaware of the risk of heart disease, as well as the differing symptoms of heart attack in women versus men.  Women are less likely than men to survive their first heart attacks.  According to the American Heart Association, "recent research suggests that the coronary heart disease death rate for women ages 35 to 44 actually increased annually between 1997 and 2002."

Because of misconceptions about women's risks of heart disease, my mother was misdiagnosed in 1994 and died after an almost 16-hour-long heart attack.  She thought it was a panic attack until perhaps an hour before she lost consciousness on our kitchen floor.  She was only 45.

Walking in to stores and being confronted with pink blenders, bubble wrap, and mushroom-packaging is a slap in my face.  Are women really benefiting from sales of pink appliances?  From linebackers dressed in pink?

If the barrage of pink is contributing to better outcomes for women with breast cancer - or if it is reducing the rate of breast cancer - please point me to the statistics and I will gladly bite my tongue and shut my trap.

Commence with the stoning.  I feel better now.

**I have loads of citations I feel I should make in this post but, at the moment, only one hand and only about 4 hours of sleep ahead of me.  I will provide citations later for anything requested in the comments here or on Facebook!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Comments on old posts are just going to be messed up...

I went to fix the comments and re-read the email from help at disqus, and it's just not worth it to fix them!

If you want to see your comments and any response I made, and you don't see/can't find your comments, I'll try to help you find them.  This shouldn't be an issue going forward - they made a fix that should supposedly fix the issue on future posts.

I swear your comments are all there, out in the ether!  The only reason I know about the problem is that a very good friend thought she had offended me and I had removed her comments.  In fact, I'd made a fairly lengthy response to her.  I haven't removed a thing (yet?  I'm positive there are things I would remove...just nothing that has come up yet!).

In any case, sorry.  I'm too tired/distracted to figure out which comments are sorta/kinda missing, and then migrate them.  I'm up at 1:30AM just because this is the only uninterrupted time I have, and I'm not going to waste it moving comments that people probably aren't going to read anyway.

So carry on with your blog reading, and let me know if you want to find your comment(s)!

Friday, October 22, 2010

We boycott Nestlé. I'm not even sure my husband knows why.

With two young kids who currently require lots of attention (hey, it won't be long before we're asked not to be seen in public within 200 yards of them, right?), my husband and I have limited amounts of time alone together or time to discuss anything very complicated.  Thus, I'm fairly certain my husband knows that we boycott Nestlé...but I'm also pretty certain he doesn't entirely know why or exactly what products that means I don't buy.

So, Love of My Life, this post's for you!

There are so many reasons to boycott Nestlé, and the only reason I've found to continue buying their products is convenience.

The biggest issue with Nestlé is their marketing tactics.  Nothing they make is, by any means, good for us.  And they make or are  associated with a LOT of products (not just things with the Nestlé brand on them - Nestlé owns or has part ownership of many MANY brands!).   Of course, there are a lot of companies that make unhealthy foods that I gladly buy.  I eat chocolate chips, cookies,  and ice cream with some regularity...and very occasionally even eat microwavable chimichangas and the like (which, by the way, are never as good as I think they're going to be...).  But the companies that sell me these foods have in no way made an effort to convince me that they are good for me!

Nestlé, however, has gone to great lengths to present their foods - especially those for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers - as a healthy choice.

When I first read the Nestlé boycott information that comes up with a simple Google search (namely here, and here), I have to admit that I had a completely myopic reaction.  I really am ashamed to say it, but I initially reacted with "I have too many other things to worry about - this company doesn't really impact me that much."  Plus, I have never used formula (the marketing of which is the number one reason for boycott that comes up with initial research), and I eat so little packaged food that cutting out Nestlé products wasn't an issue.  I thought "ah well, I'm boycotting without even trying!"

It is not true that Nestlé doesn't impact my life, nor is it true that I was already boycotting before I put in a little more effort...

How Nestlé negatively impacts my life:

There is an obesity epidemic in the U.S.  And blood pressure and heart disease are personal concerns of mine (and should be a concern of every family's).  All of these things are linked to processed food and sodium.  This impacts the health of my loved ones, it impacts my healthcare costs, and it impacts my taxes.  The marketing of these foods as healthy also impacts what other parents and schools feel it is appropriate to feed my children on a regular basis.  (Please note that I don't worry about my kids eating "bad" food occasionally, but I do dread the day I send them to school and they want to buy school lunch, or they want to trade with other kids.)

I learned not too long ago that Nestlé owns Gerber.

Over the summer, a lot of "Gerber Generation" ads started popping up on Hulu (which is the only way I see commercials anymore).  The first time I saw this commercial, my jaw hit the floor:

Say "hello" to the Gerber Generation.  They have some big news to share.  The nutrition children get in the first five years can effect their health forever.  Think about that.  Together, we can create a healthier generation.  And it all starts with you.  Welcome to the Gerber Generation.

Nothing in this commercial is actually false.  But it's clearly implying that Gerber's products can play a key role in "creating a healthier generation."  NOT SO.  The best single example of Gerber's disregard for the health of our children is the sodium content in their toddler meals, which are explicitly marketed as nutritious.
After repeatedly seeing the implied growth of an infant/toddler/preschooler on Gerber products - one packaged food to another, and then on to another (and then what?  On to Stouffer's brand frozen meals, which Nestlé also owns?) - I grew to hate the baby giggle at the end of the "Gerber Generation" commercials.  How sad is it that a baby giggle made me cringe???

What my family now avoids (are you reading this, babe?):

Finding out that Gerber was owned by Nestlé, and knowing about Nestlé's abhorrent formula marketing strategies in developing countries, and being fueled by too many hearings of the Gerber Generation theme song and that squealing baby giggle, I double-checked the list of Nestlé brands and found a few we did occasionally buy.

Those included:

-Haagen Dazs (Oh drat!  We have to buy Ben and Jerry's or the FANTASTIC local stuff available to us...) - and note that Edy's, Dreyer's, and Skinny Cow are also owned by Nestlé!
-Garnier Fructis (I just stopped using shampoo and hair products altogether, and I'm looking to make or just stop using any other skin and beauty items)
-Cheerios (this was such a rare purchase anyway)
-Carnation Instant Breakfast (I hadn't bought these in years, but now never will again!)
-Power Bars (again, hadn't bought them in years anyway)
-Butterfingers (Sorry, honey, you may not have realized you were forbidden from buying Butterfingers!)
-Wonka candies (another rare purchase)

We have one last product we have to cut out...
-Alcon contact solution!  (Poor Beast.  He had a hideous reaction to generic contact solution and, henceforth, we have stuck to a single brand.  It happens to be a Nestlé brand, though!)

If you want to boycott:

If you are bothered by the unethical business practices of Nestlé (there are more I haven't even discussed, but you can find out more by following my links), check out the list of brands (this is the most comprehensive I have found) and consider alternatives.  The alternatives are plentiful, and are similar or better in quality in almost every case!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When in doubt, get naked

 It has been a rough evening, night, and morning around here...

Yesterday evening, Squeak freaked out.  He's usually a peaceful baby - he grunts when he needs to be upright to burp, he makes feeding cues and little fusses when he is hungry, and he SCREEEEEAMS when we change his diaper.  Other than that, he's not usually fussy.

So, last night, he just started screaming.  I offered him the breast, I tried burping him, I walked around shushing him, I tried various carrying positions...

And then I stripped him naked, peeled off my shirt, and settled him on my chest.  Instant quiet.  He pressed his little ear against my chest, right over my heart, and just looked up at me in total calm.

I hopped in the bath with him, where floating (with his head supported out of the water) is usually a relaxing treat for him...but he just wanted to stay on my chest - he flinched every time I poured water over his back or replaced a cooled-off wash cloth with a nice warm one.  He seemed to just want to be left alone - even if that meant he was getting cold (which, of course, I couldn't allow to happen, so I kept him warm even though it made him flinch).

I still don't know what was (and still is) bothering the tiny dude, but he's currently mostly naked and snuggled up against me once again.  In the night, I hardly got any sleep because he just wanted to be upright and naked on my chest!

I think his stomach might be bothering him, or it might be a diaper rash.  Or both. 

I think he might have a sensitivity to something in our detergent.  I am having detergent issues.  I tried going hippy and making my own, and *I* had a sensitivity to it.  So I'm using a major brand right now, and think Squeak might have a sensitivity to it.  UGH!

Poor little dude :(

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Comments are messed up...

Just FYI, I need to get some comments sorted out.  I haven't deleted or otherwise hidden any comments - they're just at the wrong URL!  I will try to sort it out in the next few days!

In the meantime, cuteness :)

Bean picked out his outfit...

 Squeak enjoyed a bath

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Popcorn on the Stove

This is SO EASY, and it's much healthier than any microwave version you're going to find.

You should choose an oil with a high smoke point.  I've successfully used safflower oil and lard* and the batch pictured was made with coconut oil (and, hence, it looks solid before it heats up).  I don't think I'll use coconut oil again - I think it has too high a moisture content, because it was splattering like crazy. 

We buy popcorn kernels in bulk at our co-op.

You'll need
-oil (some)
-popcorn kernels (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
-a saucepan with a lid
-a large bowl

So, easy-peasy stovetop popcorn:
1.  Pour some oil and 2 or 3 popcorn kernels in a saucepan. The amount of oil doesn't really matter - you just need enough to easily cover the bottom of the pan.

2.  Put the lid on the pan and heat on medium-high until the couple of kernels pop.  Then you know your oil is hot enough.

3.  Pour in enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the saucepan in a single layer (this will depend on the size of your saucepan).  Cover and pick it up off the heat.

4.  Count to 30 while you shake the kernels around a bit in the pan (keeping the pan flat).  Bean counts to 30 with me, so it's kind of the most fun step for him.  This step covers the kernels in the hot oil and gets them all about the same temperature so they'll pop at about the same time and leave very few duds!

5.  Return the pan to the heat, but keep it moving so the kernels don't burn.

6.  Wait with anticipation for the popcorn to start popping!  Keep the kernels moving, and when the popping slows to 3 seconds between pops, your done.

NOTE:  The pan may get so full that you need to open the lid and pour out some of the popped corn before you're done.  That's fine.  Just do it carefully and return the pan to the heat.  I set the big bowl next to me on the stove so I can easily do this.

Obviously, we don't do salt as a topping, but I do melt and add unsalted butter.  I've also seen suggestions of melting butter into the oil, but I once stupidly used butter instead of oil and ended up with caramelized-buttered I'm nervous to try melting the butter into the oil.  (Though the caramelized butter was pretty tasty...just not what I was going for!)

I've also used a little grated parmesan cheese to top my popcorn, cayenne pepper makes a good topping as well.
*If you're going to share your popcorn, I recommend mentioning if you cooked it with lard.  I once sent some to work with The Beast to share at a meeting and nobody knew about the lard until I mentioned it at a get-together several days later.  I think some folks were a little weirded out by the use of animal fat.  I hope they weren't vegetarians...(I felt pretty bad about the whole thing!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tandem Nursing (11 days in)

Photo credit:

I'm nursing two.  Sometimes I nurse them simultaneously, and sometimes apart.  I've been lucky, I think, that my older nursling is not jealous about nursing and he's quite patient as we get everyone situated.  He has even been problem-solving various positions in which I've found myself nursing both.  He's told me sadly, "I can't reach," and then suggested I roll one way or another, or that he needs a pillow (which he will go retrieve and start positioning).  We're working that part out and he's totally willing. 

The biggest challenge with positions for nursing both has been finding one that works for me to lay down.  Squeak requires I help him on with both hands, and then that I hold him close.  Otherwise he's slipping on and off or getting a really painful latch.  So, I can't nurse both while I really rest because the baby will slip off.  Alternatively, if the baby is in a good position for me to lay down in (side-lying), then the toddler can't get comfortable without worrying he's going to crush the baby (yes, he expresses concern that he "can't watch out for Squeak").  I don't know if I just need more pillows, or if the baby just needs to be bigger and have nursing figured out a little better.  I think both.

They are very, very sweet when I nurse them together, though.  The best position is actually having Bean sit in my lap and having Squeak sort of in his lap.  So they're both effectively in cradle hold.  They look at each other, and Bean insists on stroking Squeak's head, putting an arm around him, or holding his hand.  I have both my boys snuggled with me, relaxed.  It's really lovely and peaceful.


The problem Bean is having (with everything - not just with nursing) is pushing the boundaries.  Now that I have milk (and lots of it!), I haven't found the limit of how long he will nurse.  He's not necessarily nursing more frequently than when I was pregnant, but he has definitely increased each session's duration!

So, we get to the end of it being nice.  I want to get a drink, eat breakfast (he comes in first thing in the morning), or I am just over it for now.  I give him warning and let him decide the metric for when we'll be done (setting a timer, counting, singing a song, reciting a rhyme).  And then he screams for more.  No matter whether we've nursed for 5 minutes or 25 minutes.

If this were unique to nursing, I'd probably wean him.  It's really maddening.  But this is an issue with everything these days.  He ate all the pasta on his plate and there's no more?  "I do want more pasta!  I do!"  ::cue epic tantrum::  He has been playing a game and it's time for dinner, and we've reached the end of an agreed-upon metric (just like with nursing)?  Oh man...Tantrumville.

He always wants to read one more book, sing one more song, play longer, eat more of what we don't have, or nurse longer than I can stand.  And don't get me started on naps and bedtime.  Holy expletives.  You'd think we were sending the kid to the gallows.

As much as sometimes I dread the fight of ending a nursing, I know that if I weren't nursing him there would just be some other fight in its place - and it wouldn't be preceded by a good snuggle (he doesn't really snuggle other than nursing or in bed for sleep).  And I wouldn't be able to invite him into my lap and make eye contact with him and often work out a solution in the midst of an epic tantrum.  And if I were trying to wean him...I do not want to think about the screaming tantrums and the jealousy.  I can only imagine he'd be pissed every time his brother nursed.  And rightly so, in my mind.

For anyone who is perplexed by this whole tandem nursing thing (I've been asked a few times whether I worry that the baby is getting enough) - Squeak is obviously getting plenty of milk.  He's gulping, he's having plenty of wet diapers (this is really the sign of whether they're getting enough), and he was back to his birth weight at 4 days (they don't look for that until 2 weeks!).

 Photo of actress Julie Bowen tandem nursing her twins that is currently circulating.

Women are able to exclusively nurse twins.  I even have heard of a mom who gave triplets her milk exclusively.  We have two breasts (so the triplet thing boggles me, logistically).  Our breasts operate on a sort of supply and demand principle - the more demand there is for milk, the greater a mom's supply of milk will be.  So I was never concerned that I wouldn't have enough milk - my toddler doesn't nurse as much as a Twin Squeak would nurse.

If anything, since Squeak's suck was so disorganized in the very beginning, his brother's continued nursing ensured that I had a plentiful milk supply.  And, since I have a REALLY plentiful milk supply, Squeak doesn't have to work very hard.

Also, Bean's nursing has benefited me as we've worked on Squeak's latch.  I had major engorgement when my milk came in with Bean, and I also later ended up with two back-to-back bouts of mastitis (the second landed me in the hospital with concerns I had an abscess), and then I had months of clogs and threatened mastitis was tough.  

So it's important I keep my breasts drained and I'm kind of paranoid about any feeling of fullness.  The morning my milk was completely in with Squeak, I had a little extra fullness that a) was uncomfortable and b) made it more difficult for Squeak to latch.  So I invited Bean in for his first long nurse.  He drained my breasts more thoroughly than Squeak or a pump could, and I haven't had a problem with engorgement since.

For whatever reason (I really haven't figured it out yet), Squeak has a lot more trouble (and, hence, causes me a lot more pain) nursing on my left side.  Bean helps me save my more sore side without having to pump.  I just offer my less sore side to Squeak more often (again, supply and demand - if I keep offering that side, he will increase its supply actually separately from the other breast), and then I have Bean nurse more often on the more sore side (since his latch is fine and doesn't cause more pain/damage).  So Bean is keeping that side empty and is also helping to keep my supply even on both sides (so I'm not visibly lopsided!). 

So, I could do without the fights.  The fights are killing me right now, to be honest.  It's so hard to have these struggles with a person I love so dearly.  I feel spent trying to pour on love, patience, attention, and a healthy dose of limits, and fighting no matter what.  We're trying various things to cope and to manage the tantrums, but I think it all just has to pass with time.  And, really, nursing isn't the problem.  Bean is two-and-a-half years old and he just got a new brother, and his routine is totally messed up with my being on restricted activity and then having the baby. 

On the one hand, I can't blame him.  On the other, I'm about ready to list him on Craig's List.  He's awfully cute.  And he's polite and tends to be easy as can be for people other than his parents... 

So, all-in-all, tandem nursing is lovely.  Toddlerhood is difficult!

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Second Birth Story

Short version:  Had some contractions (for awhile).  Went to the hospital.  After a spectacular water break, I had a baby verrrrry quickly.  And it was awesome.  Super duper awesome.  Times a zillion.

Fresh baby.  About 7 minutes old.  And still screaming...

I keep a journal for my kids to read when they get older, and to record the crazy stuff they say and do (and how I feel along the way).  It's really fun to go back and read these little anecdotes!

I actually journalled during labor.  I would say that my labor and delivery was really fairly easy with Squeak - a very far cry from a long, difficult, and terrifying labor and delivery the first time around.

So, here is what I journalled during and after labor.  It's slightly edited and commentary will be in purple (red looks too angry!).  It's a birth story so, ya know, I suppose there's a little bit of a "graphic" nature to it. 

Grandma and Grandpa C. have been here since the 25th and Bean has had a fabulous time!
Today was his 1/2 birthday, and I started having contractions.  Unfortunately, it's now 11PM and I'm still in early labor.  

Contractions started around 4 or 5.  I taught a 4:30-5 lesson and had a few.  

Timed them starting at 5:15 and they've been 50 seconds long and 5 minutes apart ever since.  6 hrs!

They've gotten more intense (by a lot), but they're not longer or closer together.

G, our [very beloved] doula, thinks it's probably taking awhile because I had my membranes stripped yesterday - I've been worrying about my blood pressure, and have an induction scheduled for Monday (10/4), so we decided to see if we could encourage you to come out, Thing :)

So, if you come tonight or tomorrow morning, that'd be awesome.  Otherwise, we're stripping membranes in the morning.  But, by G-d, if I'm' still laboring tomorrow morning???  [Reading this now is cracking me up.  I was probably not in early labor...]
So, it's now 11:15.  Dad went to bed at about 10:45.  I'm watching videos and waiting until I feel like I want G here or Dad back with me.

Starting to wonder how I did this for 20 hrs w/ Bean!
And on Pitocin!

I'm mean, I'm fine between contractions, but the contractions are currently INTENSE!

Also, how did I do this in a bed?!?  I keep flinging myself onto all fours during contractions.  Really - HOW did I do all this???
[That's the end of what I wrote before Squeak's birth.  It's humorous to point out that before I started writing this in the journal, I was chatting with a friend on Facebook and was saying things like "I'm still thinking this is going to peter out..."  And I was posting on Facebook between contractions until after G arrived.  I was convinced for awhile that I was going to have the longest, slowest labor ever recorded.  Or that it was soon going to just stop!]
I called G around midnight on 9/30.  We were just in the living room, laughing because every time I had a contraction (& flung myself down and moaned), Pepper [our wonderfully neurotic dachshund] would run to G and require comforting.  [G remarked that she'd never seen a labor ritual that involved a dog!]
At some point I needed a little pressure on my hips [or maybe a lot of pressure?], and G applied that.

At 12:45PM I woke up Dad, wanting him to videotape a little. [I'd really wanted to videotape Squeak's birth, but...uh...that didn't end up working out!Then a little later I stopped wanting to be on all fours and was sort of hanging on Dad's neck.

Still was fine between contractions.  Chipper, even.

At probably 1:30, I told G that warm water sounded good, but I didn't want to sit in the bath.  I wondered if she thought we could get me comfortable.  [This, I think, was the beginning of a pretty serious aversion to being anything but upright for the rest of my labor.]

She said she thought so, but was concerned we wouldn't be able to get me out.

So we decided to go to the hospital.  [As the hippy I am, I would love to have a homebirth, but with my underlying condition and my wonky blood pressure during pregnancy it would be downright irresponsible...]  We called Grandma and Grandpa C. to come over from their hotel, & called Dr. L. to let him know we were on our way.  Contractions were probably 3 minutes apart?  Maybe?

When Grandma and Grandpa got here, we were ready to head to the hospital.  I wanted to wait until right after a contraction so I might minimize the seated contractions in the car.

I had a contraction in the driveway - moaning loudly, & I'm sure neighbors could hear!

We got in the car with G following.  I had one contraction & afterward I was chatting w/ Dad again.  I told him I couldn't believe how manageable it felt - that I hoped I wasn't only at a 3 or 5 because I could only handle another notch or two in intensity, but WOW!  I couldn't believe I was just chatty & fine between contractions!

As we pulled into the hospital parking lot, I had a contraction that I could not handle sitting down.  It was BRUTAL.  I arched my back & tried to get my hips more in line.  Dad let me out and parked (I needed OUT - he parked very nearby).

He & G came over to me, & G looked at me w/ bemusement.  I was clearly not as with it as I had been.

I had a contraction in the ER parking garage - my moans echoing all over the place.

We headed up the elevator to Labor and Delivery and I had a contraction in there - we almost rode back down!

We got checked in.  I think, somehow, I didn't have any more contractions until I was in the room.

Then the nurse - the poor nurse - had to figure out how to get a trace on the baby's heartbeat.  I refused to get in the bed.  I just couldn't!  Between the intensity of contractions and the memory of being stuck in bed for Bean's birth...I couldn't!

They got me on the bed to check my cervix - I insisted we wait until after a contraction so I might avoid contracting while laying down.

I was at a 7!

Oh - and it was sometime after 2AM.  We arrived at the hospital at about 2:15AM.

After the check began the attempts to trace The Thing's heartbeat.  I was hanging off Dad's neck during contractions while our 2nd doula, K (who had met us at the hospital), held the fetal monitor on my belly.  They lost the heartrate (well, found MINE) every contraction.  Finally, Dr. L said they could stop.  (He also suggested breaking my water, but I wasn't up for increased intensity...)  I asked again for the bathtub and they said they had to check me - if I was at 8, maybe I could go get in the shower.  (During this, I had a couple contractions that had me POUNDING on Dad with my fist.  G was impressed that Dad didn't flinch :))

The nurse checked me and I was at 9!  I had a contraction then and said I thought I might push.  She came to check again and said she couldn't be SURE I was at 10 because my bag of waters was so bulging and she would pop it if she tried to check me too much!

G just said to listen to my body.  Nurse put down another cloth at the end of my bed and suggested everyone not be there because my bag was going to break in a river.

Next contraction I had an urge to push - and my water exploded and shot about 5 feet. [That's The Beast's estimate - it did look pretty impressive from my perspective on my back, though!]

Dr. L came in just then and noted meconium [on the floor].  They started to call for the pediatrician from Special Care.  No time, though.

I was rolled on my side and had a contraction - I truly thought [felt] I needed to poop before I could push the baby out, so I guess that's why I clamped my legs together and pushed.

G was saying "B, listen to me, this isn't going to work.  You need to relax and open your legs."  I yelled "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"  [This still cracks me up!]  Obviously I could, but I meant I couldn't listen or comply.  [Also going through my head at this point was, "this is the stupidest possible position for me to be in.  My legs are clamped closed...what am I DOING???"  But I just couldn't release my legs!]

Then she said, "Never mind...your baby's coming."  [G has since said, chuckling, that she hadn't thought a baby could be born that way - mom's legs closed and straight out.  It does sound pretty ridiculous!]

Baby was crowning!  Burrrrrrrn...I pushed again and most of the head was out.  The burning and the pressure were unbearable.  I screamed "GET IT OUT!" and G told me I could just push and the baby would be out.  I pushed and Dad says I "rocketed" the whole baby out.  Not even head, then shoulders....whole baby :)

So, 3 real pushes (plus the one that broke my water) and Dad thinks it was about 3 minutes.

Baby was born screaming, which was a relief - Bean only coughed at birth and didn't cry for a bit.

I asked whether it was a boy or girl - BOY!

Squeak was born 9/30/10 at 3:06AM
7lbs, 2oz and 20 inches long

Squeak, you screamed for 40 minutes straight!  ...and spit up in there somewhere.

Oh, and you startled to a noise very soon after birth.  Dr. L commented that your ears work :)

There is more to the journal entry, but it's all about breastfeeding.  And poop (poop is very exciting to a new mom and of paramount concern to pediatricians!).  

Breastfeeding is going better and better.  I mostly feel bad for Squeak, who needs so much help to latch and stay latched...and has a lot of trouble comfort nursing.  My nipples are sore, but his latch is improving little by little (after his first session of craniosacral therapy, it was improved by leaps and bounds!), so they seem to be getting a little less sore.  I'm at this point really hoping to avoid surgery (for posterior tongue-tie he would have to go under general anesthesia for a little while, unless we drive 4+ hours to see a doctor who can do it with an awake baby...).  Craniosacral therapy has been very effective - I just worry that the last little bit won't be resolved without surgery.  

I still can't believe I avoided any interventions.  I didn't have so much as an IV.  I was hardly on the contraction and fetal monitors.  I LEFT THE HOSPITAL AFTER JUST OVER 24 HOURS.  (I was kept in the OB ICU for longer than normal with Bean, and almost stayed an extra day in recovery.)

This is a pretty good representation of the interventions with Bean:
 Note that they taped the IV so that THREE ports ran through my palm.  I was like, "um...can we change this so I will be able to hold my baby???" 

This time, rather than feel like my husband and I have to overcome a trauma, every time I think about my baby's birth I am giddy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How my house got "nested"

Meet D, my adorable and wonderful mother-in-law.

My in-laws arrived a week before my due date and got to work cleaning, cooking, and caring for Bean.  Since I had been on restricted activity for several weeks due to elevated blood pressure, there were a bunch of cleaning projects that I hadn't been able to finish (though, knowing all-out bedrest was likely, I had nested like crazy earlier...mostly by baking in the middle of the night when I had my second trimester burst of energy and insomnia).  

I had wondered if grandparents might want to go buy some more familiar cleaners.  I was mentally preparing to cede control and just be thankful for the help - though I've been on such a mission to de-clutter over the last year that the thought of all those extra bottles hanging out under my my sink made me twitchy... 

So far, no need for me to stress!  D got way, way excited about my "green" cleaning techniques. I had to take a picture of her happy, smiling face as she finished cleaning our microwave. To do that,  she microwaved a bowl of water and vinegar for a few minutes.  The steam loosens all the muck and makes it pretty easy to wipe clean.  It had been awhile since I'd cleaned the microwave (and D and my father-in-law were really going all out nesting for me!), so D then used some baking soda as a scouring powder.  The microwave is spotless!

My favorite D Cleaning Moment was coming into the kitchen for lunch one day and finding that D was totally psyched by our tea kettle.  That thing sparkled after she used baking soda (again as a scouring powder) to buff the outside of it.  "And I'm not even done!" she exclaimed.  Scouring the tea pot wasn't even something I had thought of in my pregnant insanity - my in-laws are pretty awesome at this nesting business!

Then she and my father-in-law cleaned out our fridge, and used vinegar to get sticky goop (they think it was honey.  I'm not sure I want to know, because we don't put honey in the fridge...) off the bottom.  Pretty impressive!

So, despite my being slightly side-lined, my nesting got done and it was pretty much entirely done with baking soda, vinegar, and water.  I admit there was a small amount of bleach involved - there was mold on our window sills and I was too tired to research whether there might be a less-toxic but equally-effective alternative (though I briefly contemplated vinegar and peroxide, I just wasn't sure of its efficacy against mold).

I'm interested to see if our upcoming help (my stepmom, and then my father) are also as comfortable (or even excited!) using our nontraditional cleaning supplies!

I can't end without sharing some of the sweetness going on in and around our house right now!

Bean has learned to put on pajamas almost entirely by himself, so he is wearing them everywhere, including out to the garden (paired with rain boots!).  Squeak (the baby has a nickname!) looks like a cute little old man :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Home with my new baby

This won't be much of a hippy post, or particularly instructional.  In fact, I'm pretty certain my blog is about to be all baby, all the time - probably for a month or more.

I had a perfect baby boy on September 30th after a pretty amazing labor and birth.  I've written up his birth story in the journal I keep for my kids, and will at some point type it up and post it here for folks to read.  It was pretty incredible - everything we had hoped for and more!

For now, his only nickname is The Thing.  So that's how he'll continue to be referred to on the blog.

Like his brother, he is we're working our way through that.  His tongue-tie is posterior, so it is not as easy a fix and we won't be able to get it resolved as quickly.  So I'm nursing through pain, focusing on the fact that I know it will get better and that it will be worth it for our family in numerous ways.  Thankfully, The Thing is very obviously getting plenty to eat.  He is also obviously frustrated with his difficulty latching and staying latched.  He had craniosacral therapy today, and it really made a difference.

Bean is totally in love with his baby brother, though he's having a rough time with lack of sleep.  Hopefully we can get him back into a routine and he'll be in a better mood.

I've written this in so many different sittings and am finally off to sleep - hoping for a few two-hour stretches.  I have to fully wake up for every feeding and do various things to help The Thing latch and stay latched.  It will be a sweet relief when we can just lay down, nurse, and both fall asleep!

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