Tuesday, March 12, 2013

henry's birth story, part two. birthing time.

* i spent a lot of time after henry's birth beating myself up because it didn't happen exactly the way i wanted it to. in hypnobabies we are taught to create the kind of birth experience we want to have, and i believe that is possible--to a certain extent. but i put a lot of pressure on myself to do it perfectly and exactly the way i had planned and envisioned for so long. when that didn't happen, i'll admit, i thought i was a failure. i was bitterly disappointed. i think that's why it's taken me almost a full year to finish this birth story. i started writing it the day i got home from the hospital, so the day after henry was born. now, looking back a full year later, i'm proud of myself. i worked hard to bring my baby into the world, and in the end, i accomplished what i wanted to. i felt every feeling that i hadn't felt in my prior birth experiences. i knew when it was time to push, and i felt him arrive in this world (sorry if that's tmi.) i was calm and collected (almost) the entire time. i brought my baby into the world myself, with some wonderful assistance from a blessing of a doctor and some amazing nurses. my goal in attempting to give birth naturally was to prove to myself that my body, as out of shape and imperfect and messed up as it was (and is,) could do amazing things. that i could trust my body. that my body was a miracle. and i did prove that to myself, i did.*

march 12th ( a week after my due date) arrived and at 7am i went to the hospital to be induced. the nurse told me that my doctor had asked for no pitocin to be given at first (thank you doctor!!), that he was coming to break my water. so when he showed up at around 8:40 my water was broken (really uncomfortably, that might've been the worst part of the whole thing!)and at first it only came out in a trickle. but then more and more of it came out and when i went to the bathroom i noticed some blood. i had to be hooked up to the monitor for 20 minutes to make sure the baby was ok.
my contractions started to feel real, and hard, so after the monitoring was over i asked if i could get in the tub. i LOVED the tub. i spent most of my labor in there, with the lights off, listening to hypnobabies and keeping my "light switch" (light switch is a hypnobabies thing, if anyone's interested in hearing more about that, let me know in the comments) in either the off or center positions. one time i got out of the tub to go to the bathroom and i noticed my contractions felt a lot harder and closer together. then i got back in the tub and listened to hypnobabies and they felt manageable and more comfortable. with the lights off and the warm water all around me and the relaxing hypnobabies playing, i almost felt like i could fall asleep at times. 
i wish i could've stayed in that tub the whole time, but the nurse, tammy, who was awesome by the way, told me that i needed to get out of the tub so they could check how far i had progressed. i was hoping for a 9 but thinking it was probably more like 5 or 6 (i had been a 3 or 4 at the beginning of this process.) when they checked me they said i was a 7. but they also needed to do 20 more minutes of fetal monitoring, and when they did that they saw the baby's heart rate dip a lot during contractions. so they had to keep me in bed and on the monitors. this made listening to hypnobabies more difficult but i put it on the headphones and had one more wire to untangle and move out of the way. the nurse kept checking me over and over. she said, "normally i can tell just by looking at someone's face how far along they are but i can't tell at all with you!" hypnobabies was keeping me really calm. pretty soon i was to a 9 and everyone kept telling me how good i was doing. 
but it was getting harder and harder to stay focused. they had put an oxygen mask on me that kept slipping down my face, and i wasn't staying in hypnosis because of that and all the wires were bothering me and every time i had a contraction, instead of listening to my hypnobabies i started listening to the fetal monitor, trying to hear the baby's heart beat. which i couldn't, because the oxygen was so loud. and the hypnobabies had to play louder because of that. i started to lose focus, and i started feeling a lot of pain with the contractions. they checked me a couple more times and i kept being a 9. i started to get frustrated. every time a contraction came i felt panicked, like i was losing it. i felt such a strong urge to get up and move around, like every fiber of my being was telling me to get up, but i couldn't. now i know i was in transition, but then i just thought i was going to be stuck at a 9 forever. i stopped listening to the hypnobabies because i couldn't hear it and i wasn't staying in hypnosis because of all the distractions. 
at this point the contractions were coming very quickly and even when they weren't coming i felt like i was losing my cool. so i asked for an epidural.
as soon as the epidural guy got there (the same guy that had given me an epidural with charlie,)they got me on my side and he started to work. but i could feel the baby coming! i thought he was going to have to stop giving me the epidural because i could really feel that pressure that everyone says means it's time to push. i was saying, "he's coming right now! he's coming!" and the doctor and the nurse were like, it's o.k, honey, it's o.k., but i was sure that he was just going to slip right out while they were in the process of giving me the epidural. as soon as the epi guy was done i started pushing. pushed through 3 contractions and he was out. he was out and he was on my chest. he was here and he was perfect. his first act in this world was to pee on the nurse and start screaming. but they had to take him away very quickly to clean out his lungs and make sure he was breathing ok because there had been meconium in my amniotic fluid. (which basically means that he might've inhaled some of that nasty stuff.)
anyway, long story incredibly long, his lungs turned out ok after some great work from the nurses and some time on oxygen in the nursery.and looking back, i could've done without the epidural if i had known he would've been born about 10 minutes after they gave it to me! :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

henry's birth story, part one: plans and expectations

37 weeks along.
i've always been interested in natural childbirth. with my first pregnancy i considered it a very real option until i arrived at the hospital, panicked and nervous, and the nurse said, "you're already dilated to a 5, do you want an epidural?" and i thought about the pain i was in, and how it was going to get so much worse, and i said, "YES! give it to me now!"
i had an awful experience with that epidural and with that whole birth. so when i was pregnant the second time, i thought, "this time i'm going to do it naturally! la-de-dah! no way it could be worse than last time!" but then i was induced. and i had my water broken and then pitocin, and the contractions were like a wall of pain that i kept hitting relentlessly and intensely, without relief. they were so much worse than i remembered. i tried to listen to music. i tried to think of a happy place. and then i asked for an epidural again.
my second baby's birth was so much better. it went faster, it was easier, and the epidural actually worked. but i still felt like something was missing. i wanted to  give birth naturally.
let me pause here to say that i don't know why i felt so strongly about this. i didn't know if i would ever get pregnant again, but i knew that if i did i wanted to really give a solid effort to natural childbirth. i didn't think and have never thought for one second that giving birth naturally is "better" or that women who do it are stronger than those who choose the epidural route. i just knew that, for me, i wanted to have that experience. i wanted to feel ALL the feelings of childbirth. i wanted to feel like i was somewhat in control of the situation, instead of just having things happen TO me. previously i had felt like the doctors and nurses had told me what to do, moved me into position, and kind of pulled the baby out of me. 
this time i wanted to do it on my own as much as possible. i wanted to prove to myself that i was capable of something miraculous and difficult. i wanted to let my body dictate what happened instead of having the medical professionals (as wonderful as they are) tell me what to do and when to do it.
i found a great doctor, i talked to him about natural childbirth, he was supportive, and then i set to work researching natural childbirth methods. i knew that if i just went in like i had before, thinking, "i'm just not going to ask for an epidural" that i would give in way too easily. i knew i had to be really prepared this time. and then i found hypnobabies

**part two coming soon!**

Sunday, September 25, 2011

merry Christmas in September

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, June 27, 2011

down by the river

some "practice" pictures i took while we were at the greenbelt today. i hope you'll bear with me while i'm trying to improve and i'm inundating this blog with photos. now, if we could just get charlie to smile without scrunching up his entire face!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

priceless conversations

On Friday J. was having a hard time treating his sister nicely. He decided to pray and ask for the Holy Ghost to help him be nice. After he prayed he went to talk to his sister.

J: S! Guess what! I got the Holy Ghost!
S: Where?
J: In my heart!

Friday, June 10, 2011

wabi sabi photography

wabi sabi, originally uploaded by jowrites365.

i've been thinking a lot about photography lately, and why i'm drawn to it, and what kind of pictures i want to take.
at millie's ballet dress rehearsal i worked really hard to get some decent pictures of her dancing on stage. i turned off the flash and cranked up the iso (because the pop-up flash on cameras can be so icky.) after her part of the rehearsal was over, she and her classmates leaned against the wall of the orchestra pit, watching the older girls with a little bit of awe. i saw millie standing there with her legs crossed, and i saw her more petite classmate standing on her tippy toes, trying to see over the partition, and it looked so sweet, like one of those moments you can not plan but they mean so much when they come around, y'know? so i pulled my camera out and quickly took off the lens cap, and not wanting to miss the moment or mess it up, i switched the setting from manual to auto, and i pressed the shutter release, and the flash popped up, and this is the picture that resulted.
i can see why a lot of people wouldn't like this picture. there are no smiling faces in it, it isn't very well composed, i had to use a flash to take it, the list goes on and on. but i LOVE this picture because it says so much about the moment in which it was taken.
and now we come to wabi sabi photography. i was reading this post (i love that blog!), and when she mentioned "imperfect beauty" i thought, "THAT'S IT!" that's what i love but i never had a term for it. imperfect beauty. that's what wabi sabi is, the japanese concept of beauty that focuses on the imperfect, the unfinished, the asymmetrical. those are the kinds of photographs i like.
and i decided right then and there, if i ever start a photography business, it'll be called wabi sabi photography.
the end, thank you for reading my rant.

p.s. this concept goes along so well with the lyrics from one of my favorite songs, by leonard cohen, that i've shared here and on facebook so many times before. but it bears repeating:

ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

Monday, June 06, 2011

the dance

millie on stage
(my pictures never look right on blogger. does anyone know how to fix this?)
sometimes, when i forget how lucky i am to be a mom, i feel like motherhood is a series of breaking up arguments, soothing away tears, diffusing tense situations, and disciplining when things have gotten out of hand. sometimes it seems as though there aren't a lot of heart-swelling-with-joy moments, even though i know there are. i got to have one of those moments on saturday.
millie has been taking ballet for the last year, and saturday was her first performance. when i first talked to her about performing, back when she started to take ballet, she said she didn't want to. she said she wanted to take classes but she didn't want to get up in front of people on stage. i signed her up for class anyway, thinking she would be fine with it as time went on and she became more confident.
for two weeks before the performance, millie was telling me how nervous she was and that it was giving her a stomachache. i was worried that she would put up a fight and that it might come down to me saying, "you have to do this." but she kept going to practice, and rehearsal, and dress rehearsal, and she kept telling me how nervous she was, but she kept going. on saturday we were at the auditorium for three hours before the performance even started. i took lots of pictures and video of the run-through and i talked to millie before she went backstage. she seemed excited and not nervous at all.
when her part of the performance started i had planned on taking a lot of pictures, but i decided to put my camera down. i just stared at her like i was witnessing a miracle. anyone who knows my millie knows that she is usually very quiet, even shy. but on stage her smile was bursting from her face and she performed like it was the most natural, easy thing on earth. i found myself getting all teary at the sight of her, soaring on that stage, doing something that she thought would be too hard for her to do.
is there any prouder moment for a parent than being witness to your child excelling at something they were afraid of? there might be, but right now i can't think of any. :)