May 22, 2011

Birth Story - June Apple - Part 2

 {Katy and June on Derby weekend}

Without further adieu, here is the conclusion of Katy, Amos and June's story...

Now, Susan and I had just gone over my birth plan the day before, and my plan was to labor at home as long as possible. I had asked her, as a part of the plan, when she thought would be a good time to go to the hospital. She said when I was 6 or 7 centimeters dilated. She said she would now this by how I acted. Not knowing what she meant, I went with it. This is why we hired her. I wanted to be at home as long as possible, so I could avoid all the interventions and rules that come in to play as soon as you walk into the hospital. I wanted to be able to get up and move around and not be hooked up to anything and eat, drink, dance whenever I felt like it. For the record, I did not eat, drink, or dance, but I could have if I wanted to. But I didn't.

Susan got to the house around 9am and I was in the living room sitting on a yoga ball, with my grandmother's quilt wrapped around my shoulders and Rosco, the dog, standing guard. Susan sat on the floor next to me. Afterward, she would say that every time I had a contraction, my left hip would lift up off the ball, and she thought that maybe the baby was bearing down in an awkward position. She asked me if I thought I might be more comfortable if I moved to the couch. She thought this might change the position of the baby, but she didn't mention any of this to me, she just posed it to me as if it might make things more comfortable. I guess she didn't want to worry me unnecessarily. I moved to the couch and lay down. As soon as I did, shit got INTENSE. Whoa. Serious pain. I thought to myself, If I have 24 more hours of this, I will never be able to do it without an epidural. I had told both Amos and Susan, and had written it in my birth plan, that I did not want to be offered any sort of pain medication. We had all agreed that an epidural would only be discussed if I had been in labor for something crazy, like 43 hours, and I was really suffering. At this point I had only been in labor for 8 hours, and it was starting to really be painful. How was I going to do this? Susan would later tell me that as soon as I moved to couch, I transitioned into hard labor. I didn't know this. I thought I had a day to go. I had, of course, never done this before.

Susan asked if I was starting to feel any pressure. I said, "I guess so." Truthfully, it was kind of hard to tell, it was all so intense. Again, I had never done this before, what the hell do I know? Then Susan said,"'I think we should probably go to the hospital soon." Oh, good, that means I must only have 5 or 6 more hours of labor. I can do that.

Amos ate a big breakfast and offered me some food. No food for me, thanks. He finished packing the bag. I had this list in one of my pregnancy books of what to bring to the hospital. Amos was going off of that. He would look at the list as say, "Okay, shampoo." And then go and get the shampoo and put it in the bag. He'd then come back, pick up the book again, "Okay, deodorant." Then he would go back to the bathroom and find the deodorant. Not the most efficient packer under fire. But charming. The bag got packed. "Katy," Amos called, "Do you know where my black sweatshirt is?" "Sorry, sweetie. My uterine homing device is a little busy right now, you'll have to find it yourself." The sweatshirt (aptly printed with "Spawn Till You Die) was found. He told me he packed me several books and Scrabble. Susan told him she didn't think we would be playing any Scrabble.

Susan called the hospital to let them know we were coming and that we wanted a room with a big tub. Finally, I was going to get to take my first bath of my pregnancy! Yay! (Foreshadowing...I never got that bath) We got into our cars. We started toward the hospital and I thought I forgot my purse. Amos went back to the house. I hadn't forgotten my purse, it was in the bag. We started off again towards the hospital. At this point my contractions were so intense I was lifting off the seat and screaming like a Neanderthal (I actually don't know if Neanderthals screamed like this, but trust me, it was some primal shit.)

Thankfully, the hospital is only 8 minutes from our house, so we got there fairly quickly. Amos dropped me off at the emergency room entrance and parked the car. Susan took me up to Labor and Delivery while Amos registered me. When I got up to the L and D floor, I was wheeled into a room and I got up onto the bed. The nurse told me she was going to check to see how far along I was. When she did, she looked at me and said, "Okay, your baby's head is right here. The doctor is delivering another baby, so if you feel the need to push-don't." WHAT?! I thought I had 5 or 6 more hours! Where was Beth, my midwife? She was still at home, in her jammies- not going to get there in time. I had a contraction and felt the need to push, and just had to breathe through it.

Amos came in to the room and said, "Oh no, I forgot the birthing ball." Susan put her hand on his shoulder and said, "We aren't going to need the birthing ball. She's going to have this baby now." Amos' eyes got really big and he turned and walked to the opposite corner of the room. His back was to me and for a minute I thought he was using his cell phone, but then I realized his head was in his hands. He turned around and came right next to me. He was crying. For the record, not crying like he did at the wedding. No hysterical sobbing. Just tears. This was happening. Now.

Dr. Stell, a lovely doctor I had met when I was in the hospital in December came in the room. Amos asked her if he could catch the baby. She told him he could, if there was time. Another contraction. This time I pushed. As I was pushing, I thought, Oh God, I am not pushing the baby out, but I am about to poop on this table. I don't want to poop on the table! That would be too embarrassing! I thought about stopping. I tried to mentally rewire my pushing energy. Then I thought, Fuck it. I need to just push this baby out, poop or no poop. I pushed again and out she came in one fell swoop. No time for Amos to catch her. Dr. Stell put her on my chest. "Oh, Baby. Oh, Baby. Oh, Baby." I said over and over again. She was here! She didn't cry, she just kind of squeaked. 9 1/2 hours of labor, arriving at the hospital at 10:50am and giving birth at 11:11am. She was perfect and tiny and perfect. And she had so much hair! It was so dark! She was perfect. And AWESOME.

June Apple, born on January 15, 2011 at 11:11 am. She weighed 4 pounds, 12 1/2 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long. AWESOME.


Awesome, indeed. Thank you, Katy for sharing your beautiful story. Cheers to short labors!
May 21, 2011

Birth Story - June Apple - Part 1



Here is the second in the Baby Momma birth story series. June Apple! Her mom, Katy, 29, lives here in Louisville with her husband and June is their first child. Katy is a doctoral student and graduate assistant at U of L. 


This birth story was originally published on Katy's blog You're Being Awesome Right Now and you can read lots more about June's journey into the world and experiences since there. Take it away, Katy!


Okay, so here's the how it all went down:

Earlier in the week I went to see my midwife, Beth, to have a non-stress test to make sure the baby was doing well and check her growth. Everything looked good, and Beth told me to expect a tiny, but healthy baby. She said that she thought the baby would weigh between 5 and 6 pounds and that I should buy preemie clothes. I resisted this, because we have so many clothes already and the newborn clothes look so so tiny. Friends said their 5-6 pound babies fit in newborn sizes, which fueled my resistance. But, on my way to my friend, Angela's house, on Friday, January 14th, I stopped by Walmart (yuck) because I had a gift certificate and needed a changing pad for the nursery (and then it would be near complete!). While at the Hell on Earth that is Walmart, I saw a preemie sleeper and I bought it. What the hell, it was 5 bucks. I then showed up at Angela's and announced, " Well, I bought a changing pad and a preemie outfit. I can now officially have the baby!" Famous last words.

Around 1:30 am Saturday, January 15th, I was lying in bed with Amos and he was tickling me. He does that. I am VERY ticklish and it drives me crazy. Which is why he does it. Anyhoo, I had just gotten up to go to the bathroom and returned to bed when he started to tickle me. I told him, "Please stop, because I am going to have to pee again." He tickled me again. " Great. Now I have to pee." I got up and started to literally pee my pants. Or so I thought. I waddled to the bathroom, embarrassed by my total lack of bladder control. But then it felt different. I thought, could this be my water breaking? I had just met with Susan, our doula, that day, and asked her how often women's water breaks before they go into labor. She said not very often. So needless to say, I thought maybe I had just peed my pants and if so, that is gross. I went back to bed and told, a now falling asleep Amos, "Either my water just broke or I have completely lost all bladder control." He said, half-asleep, "Just don't get any placenta on the floor." And then he fell asleep.

And then I started to have contractions. Okay. Here we go. I laid down in bed and Juliette jumped up and curled up on top of my belly. She NEVER does this. I continued to have contractions every few minutes, not too strong, for about an hour and Juliette purred contently on my belly the whole time.

Finally, around 2:30, I decided to call Susan and let her know what was happening. By the way, I had yet to wake Amos up, as I thought, well, if I am in labor, he might as well get as much rest as possible because this is going to be a long haul. My midwife told me to expect a labor similar to my mom's, which was 36 hours long. So I prepared for the long stretch. I called Susan. "I think my water broke." "You probably just peed your pants." "Oh, okay, that's what I thought." "Go back to bed and try and get some sleep." Well, I'm having contractions." "Oh. Well, you should still try and get as much rest as possible. Call me in the morning, or if your contractions get longer, stronger and closer together."

So I tried to lie down for a little bit, but then decided I should probably start packing my bag for the hospital. I did that for a little while and then lay down on the couch. Contractions started to get stronger and I found myself obsessively reading the paper that Susan had given me titled, "When to call your doula. When not to call your doula, and go straight to the hospital." I took a shower. I lay down. I walked around. I lay down.




At around 4:30am, I started to get anxious because I didn't feel her moving. A decrease in fetal movement was one of the reasons listed under "When not to call your doula and go straight to the hospital." I called Susan. She told me that sometimes in labor, babies get really quiet, as they need to conserve their energy for birth. She told me to drink a soda and lie down and see if that got her moving. She told me to try and rest as much as possible, to conserve my energy. The only soda we had in the fridge was a strawberry Jarrittos, a Mexican soda leftover from our Dia De Los Meurtos party in October. I drank it and lay down. I didn't notice a change, but the contractions were getting more intense, so I decided that everything was okay and that I would just try and focus on relaxing, as much as possible. My contractions were every 2-3 minutes and my method of pain management was to moan though them. Miraculously, I did manage to rest, pretty deeply, in between them. At around 7 am, I decided that I wanted to be in our bed, instead of on the couch. I went into our room and gently woke Amos. "Amos, I am in labor. If you want to keep sleeping, I would suggest that you move to the couch, because I may make some noise when I have a contraction." Then I had a contraction. "Shhhhh, "Amos said, half asleep. "Stop being so dramatic."

Now, when I have told this story to others, they gasp at this point and make some remark about how I must have wanted to kill him. No. In fact, upon hearing this, in the middle of my contraction, I burst out laughing. Which was wonderful. I'm guessing he didn't realize fully what was happening, as it was 7 in the morning, he had been out honky tonking the night before and he was still half-asleep. By my next contraction, I think it started to sink in a bit more. His friend Chuck called around 7:30 to see if Amos was ready to go hunting. As I was moaning loudly in the background, Amos said to Chuck, "Uh, I think Katy is going to have the baby soon, and she would probably kill me if I went hunting." Good call.

Susan had told me to call her when the pain got to be more than I could manage by myself. At about 8 am, I told Amos to call her. He said, "Why don't you wait 15 more minutes?" Okay.....5 minutes went by. Amos called Susan and told her I thought it was time for her to come over. I told Amos to call our parents.
 

Stay tuned for the conclusion of June's birth tomorrow!
May 18, 2011

Parenting in The Ville - Louisville's Mama's Hip

{Image from Mama's Hip website}

I really can't believe I haven't written about Mama's Hip on Bardstown Rd. yet. The natural baby/parenting store is an excellent place to pick up kid and Earth friendly toys and supplies. They are experts on baby wearing and will hook you up with the perfect sling for you and your bambino. And they also know tons about cloth diapering, and even have a Cloth Diapering 101 class on the first Thursday of every month.

All these things are wonderful, but they are so much more than just baby retail. The provide a much needed community service. For one, they house the Louisville Breastfeeding Center where they offer lactation consulting, latch checks, baby weight checks and pump rental. They also have postpartum and birth doulas.

Mama's Hip also offers classes for you and your little one, including a Wee Rock! Music class, Mommy & Me yoga and play groups. Check their website for details.

Also, I highly recommend getting on their email list (which you can do by sending an email to shannonstone@mamas-hip.com). Not only will  you get news regarding their classes, but they always give you the heads up about other baby related, awesome local businesses.

So lucky to have such a great resource in town!

Birth Story - Evan Alejandro

 {A recent photo of Evan courtesy of Sandra}

When I did my post a few weeks ago on Beckett's birth story, I mentioned I would be introducing a group of ladies I'm calling The Baby Mommas by having each of them tell you their own birth stories. This is the first of the amazing and varied stories from these lovely ladies.

Sandra, 31, lives with her husband and 10 month old son, Evan in Northwest, IN. She's an HR manager for a large company in Chicago. I love her birth story, especially her creative idea for finding out the gender. So without further adieu, here is the story of how Evan came to grace his family with his adorable face. 


My husband and I had been trying to conceive for five months. We were racing the clock since my mother was terminally ill with cancer and I wanted more then ever for her to meet my child. In November of 2009 we finally had a positive test! We were ecstatic to say the least! My mother passed away in January but she knew my little boy was on his way into the world. Although  we did not know the sex of our baby at the time she passed, she always referred to “him”.  Aside from my mothers passing, my pregnancy was a breeze. No morning sickness, no stretch marks, no complications. So when others asked me if I was having my baby naturally I said, “yes, of course – no c-section over here."
At my 20 week ultrasound the tech asked us if we wanted to know our baby’s gender.  We asked that she write the sex on the back of the ultrasound photo and place it in an envelope. We took our envelope straight to the bakery. Two hours later, we went and picked up our white and yellow decorated cake. Driving home from the bakery and holding the cake in my lap, I couldn’t believe our fate laid in the interior icing of this cake. When we arrived at our home, our family was waiting for us. We cut into our cake and there it was – icing the color of a blue Smurf!! We were having a boy!!


At 38 weeks, my doctor suggested that I take my maternity leave early since I had an hour commute to work every day. The thought of taking one week away from my time with my newborn baby didn’t sit right with me. I told her I would think about it. She politely told me I had no other option. I worked things out to where I’d be working form home until my due date and I was pretty excited about not having to get ready for work in the morning! I envisioned my house neatly organized (since I was nesting like crazy) and living in my leggings and yoga pants until our little bundle of joy arrived!
It was the 4th of July and it was hot outside! I was exactly 16 days away from my due date. I remember literally rolling out of bed and getting ready to attend the cookouts that we were invited to. I had no desire to move, to be in the heat or to socialize – I did it for my husband who was looking forward to hanging out with friends. As I slipped on my silver flip flops, I recall looking down at my feet and thinking “can they get any bigger?”


At our first stop there was a in-ground pool and one of my friends asked if I was planning on getting in. Really? I passed. The day dragged on as I was a hot sweaty mother-to-be.  Finally, our last stop! We arrived at my husband’s aunt’s house who was hosting a huge Graduation/Fourth of July party. The entire family was there, all 85 of them! I quickly found a seat under the tent and relaxed. My husband, being the social butterfly that he is, started to enjoy himself. I spotted the cooler loaded with water across the yard and began to make my way. As I stood up, there it was – my water had broke! There was no mistake, my shorts were soaked and it could not be anything else. Ok, I had to think fast! If I announce this the entire family will escort me to the hospital and that is something I know I did not want!
“Honey, I think we should go” I told my husband. He looked at me puzzled and said “Let me just play a few songs form the iPod then we’ll leave.” Then Ricky chimed in, “Yeah, what the rush? It’s not like you're in labor!” A few minutes later I whispered in my husband’s ear, “When I say we have to go, it’s for a reason."  Once we made it to the car and I explained what happened I remembered my sister’s advice to take a shower before going to the hospital.  Straight home to the shower I went!  
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was checked in and set up in my birthing room and the waiting began. No pain, no contractions – nothing! We waited and waited for something and we got nothing. The nurses verified that my water had broken and started giving me Pitocin in my IV to start the contractions. Still we had nothing. We were going into our 24 hour wait and I was getting anxious and hungry! I wasn’t allowed to eat.





When my doctor arrived, we had been playing the waiting game for close to 36 hours. Then she dropped the bomb on me! “Looks like we are going to have to go the c-section route,” she said. What??? No!!! I am having this baby naturally (with and epidural of course)! Again, she politely told me I had no other option. Apparently if the baby is in the womb too long after the water breaks there is risk for infection.  She told me to be ready in about a half hour.  I had never been so physically scared in my entire life. I cried like the little baby I was about to have.

I was wheeled into the surgery room with my husband at my side and I was crying the entire time. The next thing I remember, I could not feel a thing from my waist down and I was super sleepy. Then I heard it – the sound of my newborn baby crying. Before even seeing him, I began crying some more. The doctor brought him to me and I asked if he was healthy. She said “a healthy baby boy." I took one look at him and feel in love.  Then I was asleep.
I stayed in the hospital for an entire week to recuperate. Honestly, the c-section was not bad at all. The recovery was slow and I was fragile but I felt no labor pain like I expected to.  Before I knew it, we were home with our baby boy Evan Alejandro. He was perfect and looking back so was my pregnancy. We are truly blessed to have such perfection added to our lives.
May 5, 2011

Beckett - 7 Months


I was remiss in posting Beckett's 7 month photos last week. We are in some serious need of data transfer to an external hard drive and the lovely photos from our camera won't download. So here are a few from my phone.


He sits up now. He says mama and nigh-nigh, but I'm rather sure doesn't know their meaning. H is working hard on getting him to say dada. da. da. dada. (over and over). He loves peas and carrots, sweet potatoes, apple sauce and just about anything else we put in front of him.

{Photo by Linz Dobson}

I think the sign language is starting to take hold. He pumps his hand while he's nursing, almost making the sign for milk, but hasn't jumped to using it to ask for it yet. Soon! He amazes me.

And seriously, could he be any cuter?
May 1, 2011

Coming Out of the Co-Sleeping Closet

IMG_2978

We co-sleep. Not with a crib in our room or a co-sleeper attached to our bed. Becks sleeps in our bed, in between me and a guardrail. There. Now it's out in the open. Think what you will.

People are very touchy on this subject. Even very pro-attachment parenting people are against co-sleeping. It gets a pretty bad rap in the news, I will admit. Tragedies have happened, precautions aren't taken and a child gets pinned and suffocated. It's horrible, but tragedies happen in cribs also.

Initially, my issues with it were simply - I like my space when sleeping and want to be free to toss about as much as I like. When planning for Beckett, we were going to put him in a bassinet next to our bed for the first few months and transition him to his crib when he was a bit older.

HA! Wait. I just need to compose myself. Okay. I'm better. Oh those naive days when we thought we'd be making the decisions. In the first month we quickly learned that Beckett slept very well as long as one of us was holding him, but as soon as we put him down, he'd wake. He was eating every 2 hours on the dot. I was severely sleep deprived. One day while nursing him in the afternoon, I was laying on my side and drifted off to sleep. Turns out, so did Beckett and we slept peacefully for over three hours. It was the longest stretch he'd slept since he was born. And the co-sleeping began.
 
I kept thinking I would start to transfer him to his crib once he got a bit bigger and didn't need to nurse as much. Winter came and our old, drafty apartment wouldn't even get up to 62 degrees some nights. He needed my body heat at that point. He was only 6 lbs at birth and is such a little mover that he hasn't gained that fast. He wouldn't be warm enough alone.

At first I didn't tell anyone. The first thing they said to me in the hospital, was DON'T SLEEP WITH YOUR BABY IN YOUR BED. I don't like to break rules and I certainly didn't want to put my child in danger. I would even travel with our Pack and Play as if I was going to actually put him in it. I wasn't trying to intentionally lie to our hosts. On some level I even thought maybe tonight will be the night he sleeps alone. Of course it never was. But in the mean time, he was sleeping, I was sleeping. Why was this bad again?

I started to do some research and not only is it the preferred sleeping option of attachment parenting advocates, but the Dr. Sears's books highly recommend it. I love the Dr. Sears's library of books and it boosted my confidence.  It turns out there are many benefits for both mom and baby, such as increased bonding and even breathing and heart beat regulation.  

He's getting bigger now and is sleeping a lot more during the night. Also weather dictates our actions again - this place stays about as cool in the summer as it does warm in the winter, so having our own space will probably be more comfortable. I have mixed feelings on transitioning him, because while I do want more of my own space, I love snuggling with my little guy. But I feel like it might be time to at least begin for all of our sakes.

My plan is to put him down in his crib at night and bring him into bed with us when he wakes up to feed. Eventually he'll sleep through the night. It might take a while, but that's okay with me. I doubt when I'm at the end of my life, I will look back and wish I had spent less time with my darling boy.