Saturday, November 27, 2010

The birth day of Paine Kanjin- 11/11/2010

First and foremost I would like to make a little disclaimer:  There are some photos following that not all of you may want to see... nothing too gruesome, but it is a birth so there is some nakedness and you have been warned. :)  Without further ado, here is the story...

The final steps towards my baby boy making his appearance started as the day of 11/11 began and 11/10 ended around midnight.  I was sleeping restfully on my right side.  He had been lying curled, head down with his spine towards my right side most of the final weeks of pregnancy.  I reluctantly rolled over to my left side and in almost an instant I felt a gentle, warm "whoosh."  He rolled with me and came into the full anterior position: his spine directly facing outward and his face facing my pelvis.  This made for an immediate change in how I was carrying the tiny being within.  I stood up to go to the bathroom and a drop in my uterus was immediately noticeable.  I asked my husband if I should call my midwife.  His reply made us both laugh, "You can't call her at 12:00 midnight over a 'whoosh!'"  With that, we both went back to bed.

(I will make comparisons along the way between my 2 prior hospital births of my daughters and this home birth experience.  In regard to the above paragraph, I never really experienced this connection or awareness with a baby in the later weeks before.  I wasn't given the opportunity.  With my daughters I was told one day, for no reason in particular that this is the time to induce.  My baby girls were never allowed the chance to signal and prepare for coming into this world at their own time.)  

In the morning I awoke and proceeded with the day as normal: prepared breakfast for the girls and readied my oldest for school.  While she was in school I swept, vacuumed and mopped all my floors thinking nothing of the chores.  I also took this picture to document being 39 weeks 4 days.  Little did I know this would be the final picture of my burgeoning belly.   

At 11:00am I picked up my daughter from school and we headed off to get her hair cut.  She had long, long beautiful red hair which was becoming very unmanageable.  I kept thinking how am I going to get her hair done let alone brushed with a newborn?  Eight inches was cut off and a new adorable (and easy) hairdo was left in the long locks stead.

We then headed off to Wal-Mart (we don't have many choices in this town) to pick up some heaters for the back rooms and heavier, supposed energy saving curtains for the guest room (the weather was turning cold).  I also called my midwife in the parking lot of Wal-Mart to just check in and tell her about the "whoosh," but other than that no other noticeable changes.  I suppose subconsciously I knew he was coming and soon.
We came home and a friend brought over a lasagna to freeze for an easy meal at a later time after the baby came.  For some reason I did not freeze the lasagna but instead left it on the counter while I went in to the bedroom to rest.  I had not been lying down for more than 10 minutes when all of the sudden a painful and low contraction came over me.  I didn't think too much of the initial contraction until two more came: one at 3:59pm and the next at 4:17pm.  I called my midwife and she said she thought she better start heading up (she had two hours driving time to make it to our home).  I called my husband and he promptly came home.  I put the lasagna in the oven for the girls, just in case and finished putting all the protective covers on the bed making sure all was in place and ready.  I then called my friend, and Grandmother to let the women know the time had come and to light their candles from the Blessingway.  There were candles lit all over town in thought of this moment and the impending arrival of my baby. 

Once my husband came home I had him hanging curtains as I distractingly directed him through contractions.  He had me leave because I was being way to fussy and demanding about the whole process.  I went to the bedroom and tried to slow the contractions by laying down.

My girls were wonderful distractions. :)
My doula arrived at about 6:00pm, and let me just tell you all- her presence immediately reassured and calmed me.  Her service to me was indispensable and incredible!  I would never go through childbirth thinking I could merely read to prepare myself for the pains and intensity while relying just on my husband in such an experience (because although he was great, :) he is not specialized in knowing what will help a woman through a contraction).  After the fact, it became clear to me how so many women are convinced the pain is too much and must be deadened.  I too, would be screaming for an epidural without the support of a sympathetic, highly trained woman present to tell me I could do it, calm my breathing and exert the right amount of pressure in the exact perfect place on my back getting me through another contraction.  Nothing can truly prepare or guarantee how you will react or get through in childbirth even after having children before.  It is an experience where you lose yourself and find your strength all in the same moment.

(Just as an additional comment:  I want to make it clear I am not against epidurals or any other assistance provided by the hospital.  It all can be wonderful when a woman and baby really need the help.  However, if you desire a "natural" birth in whatever setting, especially a home birth (because there is no epidural available) a supportive doula and midwife can help immensely in achieving that goal.)

My midwife arrived at about 6:20pm (all the while my girls were in and out and were just a few rooms away when I had him, watching Cinderella :)).  With her arrival I gave her a big hug and relief rushed my body.  I could now have this baby.  Even though I have had two babies prior, the pain does not become easier, but without pitocin racing through my veins shoving the baby out on its terms , the pain became something different.  Each contraction was welcomed as the natural movement necessary to meet the baby I had carried for nine long months.

Shortly before the work of pushing arrived, my midwife came into the bathroom where I was laboring, almost as if she just knew the time was drawing near... and said, "Now you can give birth in the bathroom if you want, but when you start pushing you are not going to want to move."  I replied, "Okay, after this contraction, let's move!"

Once in the bedroom rolling on the birthing ball, I said through gritted teeth, "I feel like I need to push.  I don't know if I should or not, should I?" (In the hospital I was always told when to start pushing even though I didn't have an epidural either.)  My midwife said, "Caitlin, just listen to your body.  Your body knows what to do."  She never once checked me to tell me a certain number of cervix dilation. (Which was so amazing and empowering, because it seemed my doctor was always checking me in the hospital to tell me what my body already knew.)  I did not push for long... 

At exactly 7:00pm, and in just 3 short hours of labor I gave birth to our third child in the comfort of our bedroom at the foot of our bed.  I had been on my knees with my arms draped and gripping my husbands hands over a birthing ball (so much better than my past experiences of lying on my back being held down).

My midwife passed my baby up to me while commenting on the incredibly long and thick umbilical cord.  He was absolutely beautiful!  I kept saying, "Oh, my baby!  Oh, my baby!"  I sat back against my husband as my midwife started rubbing his feet to get him to cry and cough clearing mucus and other fluids.  (It was incredible to have this done rather than immediately severing my baby from me and whisking him away under bright lights with unfamiliar hands suctioning and swabbing at him.)  He remained attached by his healthy umbilical chord to his placenta for an hour after birth, receiving all the blood from the temporary life giving organ.

I held him for a long time in my own bed on my chest while my midwife checked everything.  I unfortunately tore at my old prior episiotomy cuts (made without my awareness with the birth of my daughters in the hospital).  My midwife had said I probably would not even had a tear if not for the weakness created by the episiotomy cut during my prior births.

Anyway, during this time lying peacefully together he lifted his head and found my breast.  I was so excited!  Everyone celebrated the moment, because I had such struggle trying to breastfeed my girls, which eventually ended with devastating defeat.  I thought this was it!  My midwife said, "That is what you get for having a drug free and calm birth."  You can read about my nursing story here, if interested:  What I wouldn't give  My nursing story is short and sweet, and although it did not end as hoped I couldn't have asked for more.

My daughters meeting their brand new brother for the first time.  They were so excited and reading children stories depicting home birth such as Welcome With Love, really deepened their anticipation for such an event.  

Now back to the story, after quite awhile I left Paine with my midwife, husband and daughter and retreated to a warm, healing herbal bath.  I remember sitting there in the warm water thinking for the first time in the midst of becoming a mother did I not feel disdain or extreme displeasure.  I was in the moment, purely happy and strong.  My baby was here and safe.  I felt a great sense of accomplishment and connection.  My thoughts were briefly interrupted...  My midwife's assistant came in and asked how much I thought he weighed.  I had completely forgotten about this little statistic.  I thought a moment and said, "I don't know maybe 8 lbs 3 ounces?"  She said excitedly, "Nope!  8 lbs 11 ounces!!!"

I couldn't believe it!  My daughters were 7 lbs 5 ounces, and 8 lbs 1 ounce respectively, and I thought they seemed way bigger and more difficult to birth (undoubtedly because of the pitocin and stressful setting).

Cutting the umbilical cord while I was soaking.

My birthing entourage finally decided it was time to leave at around 9:45 pm.  They quietly and warmly left us cuddled up together, Paine soundly sleeping by my side.  I will never forget wanting to show these women how much they meant to me as they departed, but all I could muster at that time was a weary but wholeheartedly happy, "Thank you, thank you so very much."       

What was purely theoretical for a few months of researching and reading in preparation for an entirely different birth process came to fruition on November 11, 2010.  At 25 weeks pregnant events occurred that provoked a complete turnaround in the birth I thought I would once again just have and the birth I would choose.  I am thankful for those seemingly shocking initial happenings, because ultimately it led me to take the opportunity and gave me the courage to seek out something different.  It is probably something that will become a life defining moment for me.  I did it.  I did something that changed me and my outlook on life and giving life.  I realized from this experience I came to love and appreciate pregnancy and labor for the first time really.  I had nothing to fear.  I was a capable mama, and through such a different process I could embrace this fact more clearly and lovingly.  

For the most part, birth should not be feared, hurried or manipulated.  And, while still there will be hospitals and professionals to help in making high risk situations as safe as possible, there someday will be more midwives and doulas and more mothers willing to take back their birth.        

Here are some additional pictures I would like to share:

I think this is the most favorite picture I have of myself and I am most definitely not even close to a size 4. :)  This was taken by my wonderful doula minutes after I had Paine.  

He is in my arms.  I am upright, oh so happy and strong.  And I can even say I feel like I look beautiful.  There is no rushing around or sense of concern or panic.  He is not lying all alone on a table out of my reach with strangers all around like minute old pictures of my daughters.  He is safe, warm and close to the mama who carried and grew him all those past months. 

Welcome, Paine... welcome. 

Our little man- 4 days old.   I adore this picture! 

He is now a little over 2 weeks old and we all are completely in love with him.  The girls have been wonderful to him and are adjusting well to the inevitable changes that come with a new addition to the family.  

Edited to add:  See nursing story linked above.  I am proud to announce for the first week I was able to nurse Paine exclusively (with the girls I always gave in on day three and gave them a bottle due to pressure and lack of support).  I am now breastfeeding and bottle feeding because of a deficient milk supply on my part.  With my girls there were other factors that made it difficult to know what more I could have done or what I should have done differently.  He is a great nurser and I am so happy to be able to give him what ever I can.

He is such a smiley baby and greets us with a little smile most always when he hears our voices or sees our faces.  He loves to be held close (I ordered a Moby Wrap which will be here soon), talked to, laid where he can look at lights or out a window and sang to (Amelia, my oldest has this one covered- she is a little songbird and has a continuous song in her heart :)).  Oh, and he sleeps through all the noise and continuous commotion of having two young ones in the house, too!  That is a wonderful thing. :)   

I am so very fortunate to have these three little lives in my life. 

On a final note, thank you for listening to this story and for following this blog through all the ups, downs and shifts in thought.  Soon enough we will be back to HCG, VLCD, Round whatever, Day 1, Day 2.... etc... :)  All in good time.  Goodnight to you all.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

He is here! Paine (haven't decided on a middle name) arrived November 11, 2010 at 7:00pm- 8lbs. 11 oz. We all are doing really well. It was simply amazing and I can't wait to tell the story... keep posted! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Now something to make you laugh...

Just in case you haven't said, "Screw it, this girl is nuts..." and jumped off my crazy emotional roller coaster ride... here is a most hilarious post I couldn't help to LOL about! sKidmarks: Sweaty old man balls

Many of her posts are just so incredibly funny, especially if you are knee high in baby poop yourself. :) (She is a mom of two girls under the age of two, I believe and she just got the okay to start working out after the birth of her second.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Renewed sense of the brilliance and fragility of life

Right now, I am sitting here crying, because I just read this blog post: Sew Liberated

Tears just keep coming. The woman who writes the blog is pregnant and is dealing with the fact that her unborn son has been diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

I feel so ashamed over fretting over my body and what it is meant to do at this time. I have so much wonderfulness in my life and here I am whining and wishing some things were different, or certain people would act differently, and I could just escape. And, the comments you all left in the past post made me feel so connected and loved... and yet ashamed too. I am not alone in my feelings nor is my body image the crisis of the world. I know we all can't help our feelings and the trivial things that can send us over the edge, but if the stories that can break our hearts don't make us stand in our tracks and make us pull our heads out of rear ends and quit wallowing in self pity then we aren't truly human. Why is it, some immensely fortunate people are blind to their wonderful life and the incredible people surrounding them taking for granted that the people in their life will just and always be there? I am guilty. And, although you all are right that I don't necessarily need to feel badly for my feelings... it somehow makes me feel more whole again knowing I am not so self absorbed that a renewed sense and respect for the brilliance and fragility of life can enter my heart.

My heart and thoughts go out to the family and the mother, who I don't even know (I follow her blog because she is a Montessori teacher, talented seamstress, and lovely mom) who are going through a period of pregnancy that will have a most dramatic and nerve wrecking ending. Losing baby weight and stretch marks are really of no consequence.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nearing the end...

I have been pregnant for almost a full 39 weeks now. How is that possible, you may well ask? I have no idea how time can go so quickly! :) We are still waiting and anticipating the big day. In the meantime, I have had a weird and complicated couple of days and I suppose for me it is a requirement to have these feelings as I near the end. I am so uncomfortable, I can't wait for the baby to come. I have also just been feeling lousy, which doesn't help.

...Soon I will be an empty, flabby-deflated tired momma adjusting to caring for a third little life. Don't get me wrong it is going to be wonderful in so many aspects and I can't wait to meet the little man (can't wait to write about these incredible moments with my newborn), but this post is more about those periodic dismal moments leading up to the moment when you are basically instantly stripped of pregnancy and fully aware in the intensity of such a life occurrence.

In the context of this blog (ie. weight) I am honestly terrified of not being able to look and feel the way I did a year ago. I know that this is not true, but when you view a reflection of yourself in the mirror so morphed and ginormous, one starts to wonder?

One morning I had an inclination to throw together an outfit outside my comfort level and it ended in uncontrollable sobbing. I decided on one of my maternity dresses, some cute (and what I thought would be big enough) knit leggings, jacket and boots. After unbelievably and with an embarrassingly amount of great difficulty I managed to cram my lower half into the leggings, I went to the mirror. I stood there in horror. That is when the dam broke holding back all these overwhelming feelings of unattractiveness and feelings that soon I won't have an excuse- I won't be pregnant, I will just be fat... again. This may seem completely superficial and ridiculous, which ultimately it is... however, I went so far with my self-image and actual body last year that the impending re-struggle can be at times unbearable to think about.

Now, I don't really "look" so badly this time around, but how I feel and other factors that I can't really talk about on this blog trumps any silver lining of this pregnancy in the realm of appearance. Pregnant is still pregnant, and although I have tried to celebrate my body in its current state to the best of my ability- pregnancy still manages to mess with my head. I do want to mention though, when I have still felt good and posted pictures of my pregnant self (which NEVER ever would have been revealed for my past pregnancies) the kind comments you all have generously given were wonderful! I am just to that point of "enough is enough," my body can't take anymore! :)

So here is to getting past this phase, because thankfully I know that is all it is.

On a lighter note- it is so close to ending and something else beginning. Sometimes I have waves of thoughts reminding me the hard work is still ahead and I am actually going to be doing this thing called: Homebirth, natural childbirth. All this transition work and mindset shift and change has been incredible and it is all going to culminate with the birth of my son.