March 17 th 2016
I awake from my regular potty-time alarm and tight tummy from practice labor/braxton hicks. I wonder slightly if they mean anything. I wasn’t too sure but noticed they felt like they did the day Emerson was born. I ignore them and go back to sleep, drifting in and out as they come and go every so often.
Emerson awakes at his regular time, greets me with, “Mr Sun is up! Wake up mommy!”
I read a text from my friend Karen and respond telling her I’ve been feeling some practice labor. We plan to get our boys together after Phil and I do a grocery-basics run. I’ll let her know if anything changes.
We eat breakfast, I have irregular and short intervals of what feel like my usual practice labor tightening. I put makeup on, straighten my hair, get Emerson dressed. I tell Phil about these gentle and irregular braxton hicks I have. He says to tell my midwife Richelle. I tell him, I’m not sure it’s the real thing, I mean it couldn’t be, I’m not due for another week and I’ve been positive that I’ll go AFTER my due date like I did with Emerson. I’ll wait until I’m more sure and these tightenings get more regular.
We go to Costco and Sprouts for the basics; TP, bread, bananas etc. We grab our goods at Costco and check out. Emerson requests ice cream and to sit down at the cafeteria. We sit and I tell Phil how I’ve been taking every chance I can to do these small things that Emerson requests, to spend these little moments just him and I. We sit by an older couple who we find out are from Tonga and live in Hawaii. Emerson immediately makes them his new friends. The man kindly gives Emerson the kakui nut necklace with turtles on it that he is wearing. He says cutely to Emerson to, “give this to your mommy to wear.” We thank him for his kindness and Emerson is bashful, but beaming.
We get home, I text Karen with my update, I’m in denial about being in labor and go forward with the plans to take Emerson down to Karens house. When I arrive she’s in the front yard with Glenn and Maggie and we let the kids play outside while I help Karen plant some herbs. I have a couple more light inconsistent surges. Karen’s Mom is there and says, “It looks like you’re ready to have that baby!” I respond, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ll go into labor soon, I might even be in labor now, but I’m not sure.”
We decide to take the boys on a walk down the street and might as well get my wedding ring cleaned at Custom Ring Design since it’s so close and gives us something to do. Emerson rides Glenn’s motorized airplane and has a meltdown on the way while I talk to my midwife (upon Karen’s encouragement) giving her an update on what I’ve been feeling. She informs me she’s planning on going to the temple, I tell her “no problem, I’ve got time!” I don’t plan to be home for another two hours anyway and I’m doubtful if I even have her today that I’d probably not have her before midnight since the surges are so inconsistent. Emerson’s lack of cooperation is making me irritable but we survive and make it to the ring shop.
Karen makes food to feed the boys and a delicious smoothie for us. I resist eating tempting doughnuts. The surges get a bit more regular in interval, but not any longer in time. Bearable, breathable. I finally admit that I’ll have her, but still think it’ll take a while but have hope it’ll be before midnight simply because how fun would it be to have a St. Patrick’s Day baby. I’m doubtful because, I mean, for some women this kind of irregular labor goes on for days!I update Phil, make a plan with him and inform and invite my sister Amy to be at the birth and ask if she could watch Emerson when the time comes. I ask Phil to vacuum and pick up an Acai juice at Costco since the one I bought earlier in the month was in the freezer and may not have time to thaw. I may need my favorite smoothie blend for labor and to use with my placenta after birth.Emerson starts getting grumpy and needs a nap. I feel ready to go home and get things ready. I make a plan with Karen and she offers to take Emerson while I go home. I drive home and Karen follows behind me (just in case), I have 3 surges at 3 different stop lights/sign. Karen takes Emerson and drops off Glenn at his grandma’s then drives until Emerson falls asleep.
I get home to an empty house and start setting up the room; getting towels, unload my birth supply box. Phil gets back and sets up the birth pool. We order Thai food and Karen goes to pick it up while Emerson remains asleep in her car. Phil and I have some alone/intimate time (to help things along). Together we say a prayer and talk to baby-sister and tell her we’d be happy if she came today and that we are excited to have her in our lives. I talk to Richelle, she’s back from the temple, and tell her I’m sure it’s real and I’ll let her know when I feel ready for her to come.
Karen gets back, Emerson wakes up and Phil and I go downstairs to eat. Phil starts Big Hero 6 for Emerson. Karen sets up the cameras, takes some photos of me eating while she eats as well. I sit down to rest from being on my feet so much as a surge comes and it’s not comfortable to sit through it so I stand, take a bite of food and my water breaks. Uh, what?! I guess it really IS happening, and I guess it could be happening sooner than I thought. Phil texts Richelle from my phone telling her my water just broke. She responds with, “I should come.”
I finish eating and start to head upstairs as the midwife’s assistant Amy shows up and we all head upstairs together to prepare the room. Labor is still irregular but requires some light-touch massage by Phil to help give me relief and help me relax. Honestly, his touch is magic, each time a surge comes on and he caresses my back any tension subsides and the surge passes with ease. Phil and Amy start filling the tub and Emerson wants to hold the hose but gets frustrated. Phil takes him downstairs. I get some stronger surges and bend over on a birth ball to relax while everyone gets things situated around me. I call my sister and tell her that my water broke and the midwife is on her way. “Really?!” She asks excitedly. I rest upon the birth ball, searching for some hypnobirthing relaxation tracks, more amniotic fluid releases and starts to get itchy on my legs. I desire to get in the tub even though it’s hardly filled, but the water is way too hot. I instruct Phil to turn the water temp down and I moan through a stronger surge on the birth ball.
Richelle observes baby-girl’s APGAR immediately after her birth and again later, all while I hold her in the tub. She places her hand on my tummy to feel my uterus and await the detachment of my placenta. It wasn’t ready but my bleeding was fine.
A few minutes had passed and I hear my sister Amy in the entryway and Phil’s dad telling her that the baby was already here. “Already?” She questions in disbelief, “she’s here?!” She come up the stairs to our room and walks in saying, “I can’t believe I missed it, I’m SO MAD!” Then a change of tone, “Oh, she’s beautiful!” “When did it happen?!” “Have you delivered the placenta yet?”
I hadn’t yet, but I soon did and it was all intact! Hooray, another victory from my previous birth experience, no Retained Placenta, no hemorrhaging! Guess I didn’t need Barely Grass and Yellow Dock after-all. Everything is peaceful as I bask in the amazement of what had just happend, holding my calm, very-present, newly-born, baby-girl.
I start to feel overheated in the water and am ready to get out. Richelle and Amy (the assistant) get a bag for the placenta, that is still attached to baby, to make carrying the baby and keeping her attached to it easier to manage. Phil removes his shirt to utilize skin-to-skin to keep her warm and to stimulate oxytocin as I get out of the tub and empty my bladder to allow for continual contraction of my uterus.
I get situated in bed and Phil passes baby-girl to me as she’s already indicating she’s looking nurse. She latches immediately and those lovely post-birth surges join the festivities shortly after joined by the adrenaline rush and shakes by body didn’t get a chance to have while I was in labor. A wave a nausea follows, “I’m going to throw up,” I indicate as someone searches for the bowl the placenta was in. Holding my head over the bowl, “peppermint!” I demand, as someone grabs it quickly from the window sill. I breath it in and the wave of nausea passes and I avoid throwing up. That was close! All returns to a peaceful state.
Emerson returns to the room and is able to re-greet his sister as I nurse her, this time more aware of her reality. He willingly removes his absolutely favorite comfort item, a baseball helmet that he wears all-day every-day, to kiss her head and snuggle up close to her. (That helmet, it’s a big deal people!) We get our first snuggles as a family of four and the joy is overwhelming.
Once she finished her first nursing session Richelle begins the baby check and has Phil cuts the cord while I hold her on my lap. Richelle checks the baby’s breathing, temperature, lungs and bowels, the plates of her head, range of motion in her neck, alignment of her hips, reflexes, lip/tongue tie, etc and all is great and normal aside from the creases in her legs being slightly off. She suggests a visit with viceral massage therapist Victoria to help baby with her hip alignment. She then weighs and measures her finding her to be exactly 8lbs in weight and 20inches in length.
Once baby was taken care of Richelle indicates she wants to examine me to see if I had any tearing but before hand I call my parents to let them know that Eleanor had been born. All the while Amy (the assistant) drains the water from the birth pool with a pump and Richelle goes downstairs to cut the placenta and seep some herbal tea for my perineum, and my sister Amy gets a chance to hold baby-girl.
Then comes the damage report as Richelle checks my perineum to see if any suturing needs to be done and unfortunately I didn’t walk away from birth #2 unscathed. In reality I did not have a one bit of a chance to stretch during transition with only three surges before she was out, so no duh. High hopes, but I wasn’t even disappointed… well until it came time to suture. Richelle injected the numbing agent and all stitching was bearable until the last few deep and surface stitches, at which point I was shaking again from the pain and adrenaline and begging for the epidural (which doesn’t exist in home birth btw). Heck, I’d gladly take labor and birth again over suturing ANYDAY! That part, hands-down, the-worst. I could not even cry, but only plead for it to be over. Buuut once it was over, it was over and I got up and walked around with very little pain down-under since.
Midnight to Morning
Everything is clean and calm and Emerson, Phil, Eleanor, and I are ready for bed. After a few tips and reminders from Richelle about newborns in the first few days, breastfeeding timing, what to expect with little girls getting white discharge due to hormones, Richelle and Amy, Karen and my sister Amy leave and we were left to sleep the night in our own bed. Of course the first night after giving birth it is difficult to sleep as I try to wrap my head around the whole day, going through each detail while I breath in this gorgeous baby I hold to my skin. I lightly sleep in an aura of wonderment of how amazing it is to now be a mom of two.
April 13th 2016
Reflection of the past 4 weeks postpartum
I’m in love with my 2nd birth experience. I can’t even describe the calm I have felt during this birth and postpartum time. In comparison to my first, which was amazing and beautiful in it’s own way, this has only been that much more enjoyable because this time I’ve done it before, I had no complications, and there is so much less that is unknown. I feel as though my mother’s intuition with baby 1 was clouded by worry and fear. This time around, I’m at ease and I now have more of a sense of what my baby’s needs are. My body is healing up quickly, swelling in the first week was minimal, pain was minimal and I’ve already gone on many walks, to the park several times, a hike with the family, and go to the full 3 hours of church this past Sunday. I was even able to attend and photograph my friend Karen’s birth and accompany her on a 3 mile hike while she was in labor with her babe just 3 weeks after Eleanor’s birth.
Emerson is adjusting well. We had a week or so of hell, not just from him adjusting but from a weird bout of flu that he and I got PLUS a strange new appearance of acid-reflux that started (possibly from the stress and anxiety) and he was throwing up at least every other night the week of Easter. That was awful for us all, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve washed sheets and blankets during that time!
Eleanor has been amazing! She’s “slept through” the night since night one. AKA she sleeps in bed, right next to me with access to milk all night, all I have to do is wake to help her latch and she dream-feeds then we both fall back to sleep. Emerson didn’t do that until at least 6 months old. Plus she naps so easily! No 30 minute naps like Emerson. She has such a calm temperament and loves being snuggled. My moby wrap has been a MUST and baby-wearing is the best! I love having her close to me while also being able to tend to Emerson’s needs as well. I was even able to discreetly breastfeed her while Emerson and I enjoyed an ice cream cone from Maceys last week, I felt like a rockstar, at least that day.
I honestly feel like I’m finally getting into the whole mom-groove now, 3 years after becoming a mom… haha! Funny how it takes 2 kids to find out what works best for me and let go of guilt for doing things differently. Bed-sharing has become one of my most favorite things! I love going to bed and waking up with my kiddos snuggled up next to me. I don’t stress over “bad-habits” or the ridiculous idea of sleep training and cry-it-out shenanigans. I was SO WORRIED about that stuff with Emerson before I realized both he and I slept so much better when we slept together. It’s what works for us. When I had times of doubt, feeling like I was ruining my child, I always thought to myself, “the pioneers all slept in one room, why in our culture today is it so taboo?” So that’s exactly what we do and we can all sleep well at night.
I’m so grateful for my empowering and spiritual experiences with home birth’s and my midwifery care from Richelle Jolley. Both times have shown me just how personal and special it is to have someone so knowledgable, respectful, and birth-honoring to be the caretaker of my births. I consider her a good friend, along with her assistants, women I admire and respect greatly.