Wednesday, June 12, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - The Under the Weather Edition


We've been sick with a nasty cold all week.  All of us, including the baby, are sneezing and coughing.  It's hard enough when the big kids are sick, but when your five week old is sick, plus yourself...well let's just say we've been doing a lot of sitting around.

 Why yes, that is some parts to a nebulizer.  Fritter woke up the other night with a croupy cough and was having trouble breathing and I had to resort to giving him a breathing treatment.
 At least I folded it.  I'm not sure when I'll put it away though.  I guess I could be doing that instead of blogging, right?

I could show you my kitchen floor, but I think that might just be a little too real if you know what I mean.

I could also take a picture of the tv, since that is really what we've been doing a lot of this week.  (Hello Netflix!) But instead I'll show you what we've managed to do besides watch tv.
 Lots of scribbling making works of art.
 Lots of reading.
 Lots and lots of reading.

 So much reading, in fact that both girls have already completed their library summer reading program (they have to have books read to them), and Fritter finished the first quarter of his (he has to read books to me).
 I've been doing a lot of my own reading as well.  My current fiction read is David Copperfield and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  (Maybe I should update my sidebar with my current reads, huh?) Don't let the planner fool you.  Not a lot of planning going on over here.
I've also been doing a lot of holding and snuggling and cuddling this little guy.  It is just no fun that he's sick, but he mostly has managed to stay his happy little self.

Go visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more contentment!
round button chicken

Monday, June 10, 2013

Little Frog's Birth Story

Unlike both of my girls, in which I read and re-read all I could about birth and gearing myself up along the lines of the Bradley Method, this time I knew I needed to do something different.  I didn't want to freak out before hand like I did with Sunflower's birth, but I also carried a lot of fear because her birth was just so very hard.  The "all births are different" mantra did not help calm any of these fear.

After some research, I found Hypnobirthing, and after assuring myself that it was indeed ok to use it (with discretion) I borrowed the book from a friend.  She used it with great success on the birth of her third child, though she warned me there would be things I would likely want to just skim over.  I have to say, I appreciated the gentler tones the book used when describing birth.  On a daily basis, I listened to the CD that came with the book during nap time (which really helped me relax and sleep), and another friend later provided me with her CD that had different guided relaxations.  On a separate note, I think allowing myself this time to completely relax and unwind in the middle of the day helped me maintain a calmer, more relaxed attitude for the rest of the day.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was larger than I ever had been and my feet were so swollen, I couldn't recognize them as my own.  In short, I was hot and uncomfortable and ready to meet my little one that I had waited for for so long.  I also fully expected to have as much as a week of prodromal labor.  To keep my anxiety level low and not become obsessed about when, exactly baby would come, I booked up my days with activities all the way to our due date.  So instead of feeling like a watched pot, I just felt like a very large lumbering mama.

On the evening of Sunday May 5th Mr. Braxton (who had been an almost constant companion) decided to come for an extended visit.  This meant I received very little sleep that night and was completely exhausted on Monday morning.  My dear husband decided to stay home and use up one of his precious paternity leave days so he could take care of the children and I could rest.  Our worry was that this kind of thing could go on and on for days, as it did with Sunflower, and we didn't want to waste his time off.  But it turned out to be a very good decision.  I slept off and on most of the day and by Monday evening felt fairly well rested.

Around 7pm that evening we decided to put the kids to bed early as my contractions had gotten stronger and more regular, and I still felt that I needed to rest.  I did not want to exhaust myself over something that could go on for a really long time, when the real work was still ahead of me. 

I still wasn't convinced we would be having a baby anytime soon, but by 10pm things had really gotten more intense.  I put in a call to my doula who decided to come over and just see how we were doing.  She got here around 11pm and chatted with the two of us for awhile and answered my questions about when the best time would be to do a hibiclens (since I was positive for Group B Strep and did not want to go to the hospital too soon).  We decided to wait, which would prove to be a frustrating point for me later, but again, I still wasn't convinced "this was it".  She suggested both Dan and I go back to bed and she rested on the couch.  I turned on my hypnobirthing playlist on my iPod and managed to get a little sleep.

By 1am I could not stay in bed any longer.  I began to be fearful and needed some support, but I didn't want to wake Dan up in case we had another long day ahead of us.  I came out to the kitchen, and got a little snack.  The doula had her birthing mommy radar on, because she was at my side in a minute.  She guided me through each contraction, and soon I had found a rhythm.  I can't say they weren't painful as the book suggests they could be, but the relaxation really helped me to embrace the pain and work with it and then to let it go and rest when I could. 

At 2:30am the doula suggested we wake Dan and call our friends who would be taking the kids.  Even at this point, doubt still lingered.  I expected any time for the contractions to peter out.  But once I woke Dan, I think he could tell we were pretty close and he got into action.  The finishing touches were put on our packed bags, he loaded up the kids and took them to our friends house, and I was directed to get in the shower and prepare myself to go. 

Dan wasn't gone long, but by the time he came back, I knew it was time to go to the hospital.  We loaded up to go, but first had to drop off the kids' car seats at our friends house (they were forgotten in the earlier rush).  Thankfully their house was on the way to the hospital.  (A funny story, when Dan went to pick the kids up after the baby was born, he asked where their shoes were.  He was then told they hadn't come with any and so they had been playing all day, shoeless.)  While in the car, I focused on staying calm and relaxed.

As soon as we walked into the hospital to get checked in, I lost control of my emotions.  All the fear and anxiety I had managed to steer clear of up until this point washed over me.  As we walked into triage I was told that only one of my rocks could come in with me.  I argued and yelled at the nurses that they didn't understand that I needed BOTH my doula AND my husband.  I was told I could only have one, so my doula waited in the waiting room until I was placed in a labor and delivery room.  By this time it was maybe 3:30am.

The nurse worked on getting my hep-lock and IV antibiotics in place.  I was told I would only be hooked up to the IV for about 30 minutes and then again four hours later for my second dose.  Triage is never any fun anyway, but this time it was agony remaining on my back through contractions while the nurse got her 20 minute strip of monitoring.

Finally I was brought back to a room and told that as soon as the IV was done, I would be allowed to get into the labor tub.  I so wanted that tub, and was already super tired of being hooked up to things.  The room I was put in did not have the wireless monitoring machine, so I had to allow a 20 minute strip of monitoring every hour.  But for some reason, my doula was not all that aware of keeping the monitors where they needed to be on my stomach, so in the end, I was only allowed off the bed twice, because it took so long for the monitoring to be completed.  I was in labor la-la land of course, so all I understood was I had wires hooked up to me and an IV hooked up to me and all I wanted to do was stand and squat and walk and sway.

In spite of all of this, I still managed to stay on top of my contractions and remain calm and relaxed.  My memory becomes really hazy at this point.  I had the shakes for what seemed like forever.  At some point I remember being told I was "still at 9" and though it couldn't be true (could it?!) it feels like I was "stuck at 9" (gotta love these terms) for hours and hours.  One of the times I was allowed to be unplugged from the monitors, I was put in the shower.  The pain down my thighs was terrible and my back was aching., and the warm water felt amazing.

You may be wondering why I had yet to get into the tub, and I was wondering it myself.  And why, oh why was I still connected to the blasted IV?  I didn't find out until later, but the nurse who hooked up my antibiotics had them just dripping into a saline solution and then into my bloodstream.  So though I was there from start to finish just shy of four hours, I still hadn't received an entire dose of antibiotics, which meant I was connected to an IV the ENTIRE TIME.  They would not let me in the tub while I still had the IV on. 

This also comes into play later when Little Frog and I weren't allowed to be released from the hospital for a full 48 hours after his birth, because he hadn't gotten all of his medicine and he needed to be monitored to make sure he didn't get sick. Because I never did the hibiclens, I was so afraid I had made my baby sick.  I waited on pins and needles for his test results to come back at 48 hours.  When they did, we found he was fine, and I let out the breath I had been holding.

I overheard the doctor say the word "posterior" to Dan and our doula.  All of my fears came rushing back.  It was amazing.  The moment I allowed my fear to take over, the pain became overpowering and I could not stay on top of my contractions.  Eventually, I began to lose myself and proceeded to climb the bed in an attempt to get away from the pain.  I was so tired of being in labor and I just wanted to hold my baby that I begged for someone to just pull him out so we could be done.  Somewhere in here the nurse asked me to roll on my left side to change position.  As soon as I did, Little Frog's heart rate started to decel.  Out came the oxygen and I changed position yet again, and everything was back to normal.  You can imagine how frustrated I was with yet another thing attached to me, though it did help baby.

Eventually I felt a lot of pressure.  The time to push had come!  I did not feel the relief I felt while pushing Ladybug out, but I also was not in complete agony as I was with Sunflower.  It's amazing how you somehow find the strength when you think you have no more.  Little Frog bounded his way into the world at 7:42am on Tuesday May 7th.  All 8 lbs. 7 oz. of him.  (My next heaviest child was Fritter, at a whopping 7 lbs. 1 oz.).  Dan was the one who "caught" him, and so the first person (other than myself) to touch him after his birth.

He was placed on my belly while we waited to cut the cord and he immediately began to root around to nurse.  He wasn't whisked away from me to be cleaned up right away, in fact, it wasn't until after he had nursed for a good 45 minutes or so, and my food was ordered and dad got to hold him, that he was measured and bathed.  This was seriously the best part.  With none of my other children have I had this kind of time with my baby immediately after birth.

Actually the entire time post-birth in the hospital was truly ideal (besides having to remain for 48 hours).  The nurses had all been informed that I was to be allowed to rest, and they worked to coordinate their visits so they happened all at once.  They even put a sign on my door the first day to remind others to be quiet.  I brought in a white noise machine to block out the hospital sounds so I could truly get sleep.  And the food at this particular hospital is pretty good.  I got desert at each meal and enjoyed every bite.  48 hours is a long time to stay in a hospital when all you want to do is be with your family, although I probably got more rest there than I would have at home.

Looking back, I would have to say that this was my calmest birth and also my fastest.  And my Little Frog has already become part of the family, and we cannot imagine life without him.

Friday, June 7, 2013

What We've Been Up To

Life as a mother of four has been...quiet.  Not in the sense that, you know, my house is quiet, because it is most definitely not.  But in the sense that we have just been hanging out with each other, a few friends, and, because we like to push ourselves to our limits, a small road trip.
I've not managed to blog lately, partly because I'm a new mother of four, but also because of the said quiet above.  Hanging out with the family has pretty much taken priority over just about everything else.  And I'm loving it.
So below are a few pictures of our doings.  While I have not managed to blog, I have managed to take pictures.
My little artists:
 This picture looks fuzzy only because they are enjoying the misters my husband installed on the back porch.  Otherwise sitting outside this comfortably in 100+ weather would not be possible.
 My two wee ones.  I could just chew on them.
My little Froggy is scrumptious.  (J's new blog name.)
 I wasn't joking when I said we took a small road trip with our newborn.  We felt the need to get out of the city and out of the heat, so we packed up and headed north for the day.  75 degrees feels wonderful after a month of hotness.

 Because we are super responsible parents and totally prepared for a day in the woods (not!), this was lunch:

So that's what we've been up to.  Nothing much, but life has been so full.  :)