Baby Ida-A Third Birth Story

Last Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 10:06am, our little daughter Ida was born.

If you’re not into reading about less than glamorous body stuff then skip this. I write about natural birthing so that women considering it will have a resource. It’s hard to find many natural birthing stories, at least in this country and I wished I had been able to find more before my first natural birth. I’ll leave out a lot that isn’t relevant to natural birthing but still, read at your own risk:)

It all started in the evening of Saturday the 11th. I started having some early labor sort of contractions that were more the Braxton Hicks but definitely not the real deal. The contractions kept me up all night and dissipated around 5:30am leaving me a bit exhausted. However, I figured it’d still be a good idea to go ahead and go to church in the morning.

Church went fine and during Sunday afternoon I started feeling more contractions. They were painful in my back and I began to realize back labor was in the cards again for me. Eli’s labor was all back as well and it wasn’t pleasant. The difference between regular labor contractions and back labor is that instead of the pressure/pain being in the belly and pushing straight down towards the birth canal, it’s a sharper pain and pressure in the tail bone. Normal contraction pain doesn’t have a sharp pain, it’s more of a dull pain with lots of uncomfortable pressure. Back labor keeps you on your feet since sitting or laying down with a throbbing tail bone is just ludicrous. Working through back labor contractions means standing, leaning or hanging off something and moving your body to help open the pelvis.

SAMSUNG CSC

As the evening progressed I had irregular, real labor, contractions. I decided not to stay up and see if they turned into anything and instead I went to bed. I don’t know what time it was but Avery came running into our room and jumped in next to me. He said ‘Mommy, I just want to snuggle with you, with a blanket on.’ It was the sweetest thing and I held on tight to him knowing it’d be the last time he’d be able to snuggle before baby came.

By 3:30 my contractions were intense enough that I couldn’t handle laying next to Avery anymore so I had Shane put him back to bed and I got up to move around and work through contractions. I let Shane know I was in labor and he didn’t believe me. His first response was ‘Are you sure?’ Uh yeah, I’m pretty sure. It’s understandable considering this was Ida’s actual due date and both the boys were about a week past their’s.

We called grandma to come hang with the boys and I called the midwife to let her know I’d be coming in to the birth center soon. She listened to me go through some contractions and told me when to come in.

I chose to birth at a free standing birthing center this time so that I don’t have to deal with hospital procedures or fight interventions like we did with my last two natural births. The birthing center is capable of handling all issues except surgery and with a 1% transfer rate, I felt comfortable that they could handle whatever happened during my labor. I went through all my prenatal care with them and love their mentality and natural methods. My one issue with the way this particular center runs is that there is a pool of five midwives that work on a rotation so whoever is on call when you go into labor, is your midwife for the birth and though I meshed amazingly with most all of them I happened to get one for my labor that I didn’t click with personally. It made labor harder for me since I felt like I was fighting the urge to yell at her constantly….or not really fighting the urge.

When we arrived at the center they checked me and I was dilated 3cm. Normally, that would be discouraging, but we had purposefully gone into the center early in my labor because I tested positive for Group B Strep and needed a dose of antibiotics. I wanted to get that out of the way so I could be free of the IV. She also felt the position of the baby and then wanted to do a quick ultrasound to confirm that Ida was in the ‘sunny side up’ position….ergo the back labor. A baby normally comes down the birth canal with their face to the mother’s spine. This baby position works for optimum ease of navigating out of the mother’s body. Face up position means the back of the baby’s head will press along the spine as it descends to the birth canal and that causes a lot of discomfort.

SAMSUNG CSC

I was really feeling the contractions at this point but also felt so much more freedom of movement this labor because of the back labor experience I had with Eli. Before we even got into the room I asked them to fill the tub (every room has a nice Jacuzzi tub) I moved through each contraction and they slowly moved around me, filling the tub, putting in the IV, hooking me up to the antibiotics, etc.

SAMSUNG CSC

I tried a few laying positions to get her to spin around but none of them worked. After soaking for a while in the tub and coming back out I started to feel the urge to push. I definitely felt most comfortable on my hands and knees like with Eli’s labor but I wasn’t fully dilated yet so my midwife wanted to try a few different positions to get me there.

SAMSUNG CSC

I continued to want to push and felt VERY uncomfortable in every other position. My cervix was in the wrong position because of her head being face up and the midwife continually tried to pull it out of the way while I pushed in different positions but I hated that sooooooo much and I think I may or may not have been a bit vocal. She also kept wanting to put me in a sitting position so it’d be easier for her to do this. I found that to be incredibly painful and yet she was so insistent that I kept trying it. Other positions that felt better were side laying (I was able to fall asleep between contractions due to the super comfy bed, score!) and of course hands and knees. They put a peanut shaped birthing ball on the bed for me to use in different positions and finally, against the midwife’s advice, I rolled myself over the ball to do hands and knees. Her constant attempts to mess with me (monitor baby heartbeat, stick her hand up to push aside the cervix, etc) made me super angry and I kept yelling at her not to touch me while Shane was trying hard not to freak out. I’d been pushing and changing positions for two and a half hours at this point. Shane had been my saving grace through all the position changes. Encouraging, assisting and listening to me cry every time I gave up (probably like six times when each position failed to work for me). Finally when I moved over the peanut shaped birthing ball I knew things were working. I didn’t want the midwife to mess with me so I kept quiet on the progress I felt in me and she basically started freaking out about baby, about me and I just kept plugging along. I hated her for freaking out though because it made Shane really scared. I could feel Ida’s head in the birth canal and was surprised when she couldn’t tell that I was so close. In fact, she kept insisting I change position so she could check baby and saying things like ‘I’m worried about baby! We can’t hear her!’ and in my mind I was thinking  ‘Idiot! You can’t feel her because she’s not where you think she is!’ I think I yelled unintelligent things like ‘How can you not see her about to come out?!!?!?’ really loudly but she didn’t get it. After a few more pushes though, Ida was out….on the bed. The nurse and midwife were so surprised they didn’t even catch her. It should be noted this was the youngest, most novice midwife on staff which is one reason why I didn’t want her to deliver my baby but she also has a personality that I am not compatible with and I think that’s the real reason we didn’t communicate well during labor.

All said and done it took me three hours to push Ida out. The labor itself was only six and a half hours. It felt like an eternity. It hurt like a bitch. It was by far my hardest delivery. Both my other labors were worse but I only pushed for fifteen minutes or so with them and that made them less intense. The three hours before pushing during this labor, even with it being in my back, was easier. Pushing is exhausting.

Ida was perfect though. She rang in at 8lbs 14oz! My biggest baby and she came out face up despite all our attempts at flipping her around. Ten fingers, ten toes, a beautiful face, strong body and tiny baby cry. I was in love at first sight.

SAMSUNG CSC

The first delivery that I cried and I think it was because I had to work so freaking hard to get her out.

SAMSUNG CSC

She looks so little, but let me tell you, pushing that out was NOT easy at all.

The birthing center was an awesome place to deliver though. The cozy bed, the tub, the view.

IMG_20141013_120054

Yes, that’s the view from my room.

They also baked me a chocolate cake and the whole staff came and sang happy birthday. Which was amazing.

After I was sewn up (sunny side up definitely causes worse tearing) and cleaned up, we were ready to go. I felt this way after my last birth but at the hospital they made us stay for days. It was hard. However, the birthing center is different and we went through the check list of things that have to happen before we could be discharged and once finished, we were on our way home just four hours after birth. This is one of the biggest joys of natural birthing. Without any drugs or interventions your body is on a high of oxytocin, you have no meds in your system (or side affects of meds) and you have full control of your body. Recovery is easier.

SAMSUNG CSC

This doesn’t mean that rest isn’t completely necessary but only that you’re not debilitated by birth. We went home, saw the boys, who had the most adorable welcome reactions, I handed Ida off to my mother in law and went straight to my bed for a nap. It was incredible. I have had a great recovery after this birth and I honestly think it’s because I was in my own home, with my own help and bed. No strangers checking me, no nurses taking my blood in the middle of the night, no being woken up a million times at night and sitting in a hospital bed for days. I could take baths in my own bathroom, nurse in a comfortable chair, have my husband help, have family help, have friends bring food and it has been incredible.

IMG_20141013_125143

The birth center sent post partum nurses to our home 24hr and 48hrs after the birth to check on us and we went in for a check up after five days. I’ll be going back after two weeks to get checked again, specifically make sure I’m not struggling with post partum depression which tends to set in during the massive hormone change two weeks after birth. Finally, I’ll go in for my six week check. This amount of care has been really amazing. I’ve always thought it was so harsh that with normal post partum care in this country you have your baby and they basically say ‘see you in six weeks! Hope you can handle it.’

SAMSUNG CSC

I’m a week post partum now and it’s been by far my best and easiest recovery. Partially because of my prenatal care and partially because of my post partum care. The natural approach to birthing that the center uses applies to prenatal care and a few things I implemented per their advice during pregnancy helped me so much after giving birth.  I plan on doing a dedicated post about what I did differently with prenatal and post partum care this pregnancy.

The main thing though is just allowing myself to rest, in my own home, with people I love.

IMG_20141015_183843

For now, I’m going to enjoy my larger family, feel blessed by all the friends bringing us food, and snuggle my new baby. It’s been an incredible transition.

 

All the Feelings

It’s been a while since I posted on here. I think part of it is because I’m exhausted. This pregnancy has been hard and uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean a lot of really wonderful things aren’t constantly happening with my little family and life in general. My garden is lovely and still producing things like herbs and greens. The fall crops are full grown and I’m excited for what they’ll contribute to my soil. Even though I’m physically slowing down a lot I’m still trying to dry a lot of herbs. This photo is a reminder for me to use basil…..I keep forgetting about this plant! I’ve harvested out my sweet basil but still have a few other varieties just dying to be taken care of.

SAMSUNG CSC

 

I made a green smoothie today with parsley and kale but the kale will last til probably the end of December so I’m not doing any preserving yet.

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

We spend a lot of mornings outside. It’s getting less comfortable for me to do garden work or even sit out there but I always send the boys out after breakfast.

SAMSUNG CSC

Little boy pajamas are my favorite. My view of him for the past few months is getting to be more extreme versions of this.

SAMSUNG CSC

If I lean back though, I find he’s usually absorbed in a toy.

SAMSUNG CSC

He and Avery are incredibly obsessed with Spiderman lately. It’s one of Eli’s few words and now that he’s in speech therapy one of my first assignments is to encourage practice of that word so that he can say it more and more clearly and confidently. It’s not hard to do since he pretty much wants to do Spiderman things all day every day.

IMG_20140921_150928

Even if it’s tackling big brother wearing his jacket (with built in mask hehe).

IMG_20140921_150927

The reveal!

One of the best things about this summer is the development of the brother relationship. It’s been so much fun to watch them play more together and get physical.

IMG_20140924_101013

2014-09-23

IMG_20140920_094037

It’s fun to be a mom of cuties like this.

IMG_20140920_094008

Even if my belly is big, my pelvis hurts, my head aches and my cramps get going, these guys cheer me up. I have bad moments a lot when I’m nauseous or super tired but I have this incredible little family that keeps my spirits high.

IMG_20140920_182647

I’m just more than ready for little Ida to be on the OUTSIDE of my body so I can do things a little bit easier. Now that I’m coming to the end of this pregnancy I can see the finish line and I’m not quite as despairing over all the symptoms. I can be excited about the labor and delivery and bringing our little girl home. I apologize for lack of pregnancy updates but again, not much pleasantness to report.

The fact of the matter is, I keep getting bigger and the baby is doing well. That’s the important stuff.

 

 

Summer Garden Wrap Up

Warning….this post is pretty long and all about gardening stuff. Skip if that bores you. I’m a nerd and love it.

Today I pulled my tomato and pepper plants. The fruits that were trying to ripen were just rotting so I took all that was left and will utilize it as best as I can.

IMG_20140915_100441

It marks the end of my first summer garden at this house. I want to remember everything that happened so I can take all the lessons learned into next year’s garden with confidence.

I’ll start with the bad stuff so that we can end on a good note. Nothing horrible, but definitely a lot of take away.

1. Soil is the number one most important thing about gardening and prior to early summer this year I did not take this fact nearly as seriously as I should have.

IMG_20140707_075300

My tomato plants suffered most with compacted soil issues but thanks to some help and advice from my dad a few good ones survived and I still was able to get tomatoes. The herbs were practically dwarfed (my dad called them atrophied, so that’s how bad they were) in certain parts of my garden where the soil was most compact and filled with clay.

When I first started turning over the soil in early spring I had no clue on how to recognize that sort of soil problem and because of that I didn’t amend it enough or correctly, before planting. I’ve worked hard ever since to improve the soil and will be starting out next year in a very different place. More on the amendments in my ‘good’ notes:)

2. My garden was designed to have a LOT of unused space. I changed that just before planting fall crops but as you can see above, the pathways are quite large. I want to be much more efficient with the small space I have and I just didn’t do that.

3. Not knowing the forces against me. I knew we had squirrels but I didn’t know they had a tendency to dig up loose soil. I knew we had chipmunks but I didn’t know they burrowed in dirt. I didn’t even notice the large hare like bunnies running around until AFTER they ate my sugar snap pea plants. I had no clue what cucumber beetles were but guess what? Now I totally do. Learning to deal with all of these pests is quite the curve for me but I’m getting the hang of it. The most important lesson is that apparently everything likes beet seedlings and I’m not sure I’ll ever get a crop of them at this rate.

You may remember the massive tomato loss I had in a matter of two days before putting up my bird netting.

SAMSUNG CSC

So sad.

4. Don’t plant all the different seasons of plants in the same beds. It makes it extremely difficult to plant fall crops when summer plants are still in full swing….but if I’d put spring plants and summer plants in different beds I would have had an easier transition. Spring/fall plants go in the same beds and summer plants get their own.

SAMSUNG CSC

5. Impatience is my enemy. Like most novice gardeners I craved that lush, overgrown and heavy producing garden……in May. Patience in gardening is really key to your sanity. You won’t harvest tomatoes til probably August, you won’t get orange bell peppers in June. Those plants you put your entire being into caring for might die along the way whether from pests, disease or weather. You can’t win them all. But you can be patient and give everything compost tea, learn about companion planting and set up barriers while you wait. Mourn your losses and move on because successes are all over the place.

All the Goods

There are so many positives about my garden this year. Happy accidents, hard worked for harvests, growth and growth and growth.

1. Reading all the books. Throughout spring and early summer I read books. Garden books, homestead books, soil books, mushroom books, permaculture books, and companion planting books. I learned a lot.

IMG_20140608_170534

Every week or two I’d bring home a haul from the library.

1401314111277

I pulled whatever information was relevant to my small, urban garden in zone 5b and soaked it up like a sponge. There was a lot of other fascinating information that I stored away should I ever be in a different situation as well. Mostly I was just inspired by the diversity possible on a small lot like mine that has so many shaded areas. I love knowing that I can use more of my space than I ever imagined and learning how to do that was empowering. This year, being pregnant all of the garden seasons definitely limited the projects I was going to be able to take on but I’ll be doing what I can each year to utilize all my property.

2. Herbs herbs herbs herbs. I worked for my parent’s business this spring doing social media. Every time I’d do research on an herb I photographed at their greenhouse I’d be completely floored by the incredible uses, beyond culinary, that were unknown to me. Because of this I tried a lot of new to me herbs like borage, comfrey, and nasturtiums.

SAMSUNG CSC

Comfrey is my favorite of all of those because it’s a triple threat. Not only is it a nitrogen fixer (pulling a key nutrients for fruiting plants like tomatoes from deep in the soil up to the surface) but it has medicinal qualities and attracts pollinators! The few plants I put in were all ‘unsellables’ from my parents (meaning they were ugly and going to be thrown out so I rescued them) and they grew at an incredible rate to look like large, jungle plants. Their leaves are great for mulching around fruiting plants due to the high nutrients, and because they produce so many leaves you can really pack them around.  But Anyway, enough about comfrey….

3. Companion planting. I read enough before planting to find some really awesome companion combinations that I used and loved. My favorite is basil with tomatoes. I mean, we all already know that’s a culinary match made in heaven, but what does it do for the plants? Well, they attract/repel complimentary bugs, they intensify eachother’s flavor and share beneficial soil nutrients. I’ve never had such glorious basil! Also, the few tomatoes plants that did survive made lots and lots of tomatoes. Another thing I tried was planting my comfrey strategically to support fruiting plants  I learned too late that beet seeds interspersed amongst radish seeds keeps the bunnies away, an accidental method I’ll be using on purpose next time.

SAMSUNG CSC

See the red stems and veins on those leaves?

Yeah, the rest of my beet crop looked like this.

SAMSUNG CSC

Uncool.

4. Fall crops. Oh my goodness the joy of fall crops. Any of you gardeners out there that don’t do this, start. You plant most of your seeds in August or so (wait till a cool or rainy week to get the seeds out), and magic happens. Look at one of my fall beds now!

SAMSUNG CSC

These are cover/soil building crops of diakon radishes and regular radishes as well as fava beans for nutrient amendments. Basically that means I’m growing these to leave in all winter and turn under in the spring to the benefit of my soil. However, if I was going to eat them, I’d be eating them now…..already.

SAMSUNG CSC

Actually I did plant these to eat but they are unbelievably spicy for some reason (must research why) so outside of some sort of pickling I don’t see myself eating very many. There’d be plenty for eating as well as leaving in for the soil though.

SAMSUNG CSC

Avery thinks they’re cool but waaaaay too spicy.

SAMSUNG CSC

I also planted the beets and spinach. The spinach never germinated (I planted some in another bed and so far I have four plants….out of like a billion), and you saw what happened to the beets. Not good. In another bed I planted much later, because of pregnancy in general, I put lettuce, spinach and more radishes.

SAMSUNG CSC

They’re still babies but will have a good start before the cold sets in and then I’ll cover them and for the winter and harvest them early spring when they start growing again. Nothing better than late starting lettuce for an early spring crop. It’s awesome.

5. Greens. I always have loved growing greens. Kale is my favorite…obviously.SAMSUNG CSC

 

However, with the shadier part of my garden I was able to get a great crop of lettuce for the first time in my gardening career.

SAMSUNG CSC

I plan on doing a lot more lettuce next season and will keep trying on the darned spinach. I have always had bad luck with germination.

Next year I hope I can build on a lot of the knowledge and experience I acquired this year and have an even more productive garden. I’m not complaining about my success this year as I had a large spaghetti squash harvest, plenty of tomatoes and peppers as well as basically unlimited greens and herbs for my family with some to share. I’m blessed to have the backyard I do an so excited to optimize it.

SAMSUNG CSC

 

 

Brothers

Having kids super close together is really really hard at the beginning. The first three or four weeks of having two kids freaked me out. It was a hard transition because Eli was so high needs and Avery was only twenty months old so we were in the throws of potty training, bed training and getting less attention from parents. I hadn’t anticipated a high needs baby and I certainly hadn’t thought having two kids would be so intense. Slipping into parenthood the first time had been like second nature but adding another kid was really rough. It’s been a struggle ever since because Eli isn’t a good sleeper, doesn’t talk and has food issues as well. Obviously I don’t have two babies anymore though so even with Eli being harder than Avery, he picks out his own outfits, obeys small commands (ie, get your shoes, pick up the toys, etc) and even though I have hard days, I am grateful for the way my boys interact with eachother. It couldn’t be better timing to have their relationship develop because adding a third will likely come with its own set of challenges.

SAMSUNG CSC

There was quite a long time where Eli was just annoyed by Avery’s attempts to play with him. At some point this year that all changed and now they chase eachother around constantly, play games, laugh and draw.

SAMSUNG CSC

Avery knows full well that Eli can’t talk and he makes up for it by chattering nonstop to him and trying to get him to say words…like ‘A-VER-Y.’ hehehe.

Even though Eli continues to be needy I know that he and Avery will do a lot to occupy eachother when little Ida gets here and that comforts me.

IMG_20140915_113847

I also will rely on Disney, the great outdoors and babywearing to survive.

IMG_20140829_113414

And I will have Shane for a full week when she gets here which will be fantastic:)

IMG_20140813_164725

I love seeing them enjoy eachother and surprise eachother. With opposite personalities I am sure it’ll only get better as they grow up. They have their fair of fights, tussles and annoyances as brothers do but their bond has grown stronger and stronger and I hope they’ll be life long friends.

Don’t worry about Eli, he’s the best. He starts speech therapy tomorrow and we’ve been trying different things to improve his sleeping as well as eating. I love every snuggle, kiss and caress he gives me and the way he makes me feel so loved. He’s hard a lot but he makes up for it by being cute and awesome.

 

 

Becoming a Homesteader

I’ve never considered myself a homesteader. I’ve never considered myself a legit gardener. I’ve never considered myself competent in being fully resourceful.

Last year I got a little bit more into food preservation and this year I got more into gardening. I read every book my library had on soil, permaculture, homesteading, urban gardening and crop optimization. I bought seeds, I started researching individual plants, I worked for my dad and learned from him. I got a rain barrel and began looking at my yard differently. I saw corners to house pollinating flowers, edges to cultivate mushrooms and all the nooks and crannies to squeeze productive plants.

I saw the benefit of gardening on my son who now points out gardens around the city, helps me harvest and eats garden produce like candy.

IMG_20140812_102835

Then, lastly, I began to look at more processes in my life that my land could fulfill. Composting is a passion, I have a clothesline (!), I have a cool basement that’s perfect for food storage and brewing beer (Shane’s thing, obviously:). Who knows what else I can do that I haven’t even thought of!?

IMG_20140807_091752

Slowly but surely I am beginning to relate to myself as a homesteader. Yes, I am in an urban setting but that is still no excuse not to take advantage of our resources. My resources don’t just include my small plot of land (under a quarter acre). They include my vocation as a stay at home mom which provides me with time to invest in gardening and preserving food. I also have a good location near a farmers market, my parent’s live nearish by and have given me lots of resources ranging from my Dad helping me build my actual garden and installing my rain barrel as well dumping countless pounds of produce from their own garden into my lap that I have preserved and eaten fresh. The point is, I try to look around and see what I CAN do, instead of what I can’t. I have sun limitations, I have space limitations and I have equipment limitations but guess what, I have more projects than I can get done and that should be my focus, not what is out of reach.

IMG_20140902_080811

Even after feeling like I had no idea what I was doing midway through this year, my garden looks like this. Lush, growing and producing. If I can screw up on so many things in one year and still get something out of it, think of how much better each year will go as I learn and adapt?

I am a mom, I’m about to have my third kid. My life is busy and full but the thing is, homesteading is a lifestyle, it’s not just extra work for a better product. It’s something I include my kids in even if they can’t do much yet. Avery helps me weed, he helps me pack up my dehydrated herbs/fruits/tomatoes, water the garden and harvest. Eli can’t wield a hose yet or determine which tomato plant will ripen in what color but he hangs out in the garden just the same.

IMG_20140713_180229

My goals for next year are basically just building on what I have been working on since we moved last summer. I should probably write a project list so I can check things off.

IMG_20140818_102118

For now though, My focus is winding down my garden throughout the fall, having a baby, and enjoying the rest that winter brings. I’m already giddy about next spring with all the things I’ve learned this year but I know having an infant will certainly bring a new perspective as well. So I enter it with that relaxed feeling of doing something I love with low expectations and high hopes.

 

« Older Entries