May 31, 2010

Amazing Births

Today's birthdaypalooza post is a couple of my very favorite birth videos I watched in the last few months when I was getting ready to make my own. They are absolutely amazing, and I wish that along with the dated, stupid videos they showed in health class in high school they would show some videos like these.

The first is the birth of Malakai. He was born in a hospital, but this hospital is what I feel all hospitals should strive to be. The mother is allowed to give birth in the way she wants to, and after the baby is born she still has all the support of a medical staff and the comfort of knowing they are there for her and her baby.



It would be amazing if the majority of hospitals made this kind of birth available for women.

The second video is of a woman in Australia having her baby. It's not so out of the ordinary until the baby is born and her reaction moves me to tears every time.



The third video is something crazy and amazing. This is a video of a woman having an unplanned home birth. You can read the full story here about how this happened. In a nutshell her labor was only a couple of hours long and when she went to use the toilet before the half hour drive to the hospital, baby had other plans. The most amazing thing to me about this is the calm - it really shows that even in this unexpected situation the mom is FINE. The dad manages to delivery the baby VERY calmly (my husband said he would definitely not stay so cool), and it's beautiful.

Please be aware before watching that this is a GRAPHIC video that shows the baby crowning and being born.

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May 28, 2010

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up with Summer Birthdays

Today's birthday post comes from Jaci, who writes at Ravings of a Mad Housewife. Jaci is one of my very favorite bloggers! She makes me laugh, and 1/2 the time when I read her posts, I feel like I could have written them myself.

It's been especially fun reading Jaci's blog the last 10 months because she and I got pregnant at the same time! By the time you read this post, we'll both have little newborns - she's due just 3 days before me. It was so much fun having another blogger at the same stage as me to relate to and laugh (and whine) with!

***

If any moms-to-be are trying to plan the perfect time of year to totally blow out your girlie bits and squeeze a new life into this world, let me be the first to scream, "DON'T DO IT IN AUGUST!" I was born on 8-8-80, so I'm an expert on this. (Let me answer all the questions people normally ask when I rattle off my birth date: Yes, I'm serious. Yes, it's easy to remember. No, I'm not going to play all 8's and win the lottery.)

My parties were always outside, Mom could go all cheap and have bologna sandwiches on paper plates and no one thought less of her because holy-crap-it's-freaking-hot-who-wants-to-eat, and hello? Ice Cream Cake? The August birthday rocked for Mom and her minimal party planning.

But for little Jaci, my August B-day sucked hard. After going through an entire school year of being handed birthday invitations by Heathers, Jennifers, Jessicas, and Lindseys (surprise, no one else was named Jaci) and dragging gifts to parties stuffed full of at least 15 girls from my class, I should have the same type of party in August--right?

Um...no.

School ended in June, so I couldn't exactly hand out my invitations in class. And in the 80's, Mom's didn't set up "play dates" and keep a stash of their kid's friend's numbers by the phone. You went outside and played with the weird kids in the neighborhood--and DON'T SLAM THE SCREEN DOOR--IN OR OUT!

My birthdays were sad, pathetic little family affairs. If my best friend Joy wasn't on vacation she'd come over. (She was usually on vacation.) Sometimes Michael (the boy across the street who peed in his Dirt Place and ran around pretending to be HeMan screaming, "I have the POWER!") would show up uninvited and I had to hide from him. But to have a big, fun, all-about-ME! slumber party with the entire 5th grade class? Never.

Even worse? I spent all year shelling out gifts for school friends only to get jack crap in exchange! Where's my Barbie dolls?!? And my puzzles?!? AND MY FREAKING CARDS STUFFED FULL OF $10 BILLS?!?!

Do your unborn child a favor and just wait a month. Give birth in September, okay?
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May 26, 2010

Sams Birth Story

How could I have a month of birth and birthday posts and stories without sharing the birth story of my first baby?! Here is Sam's birth story- written the day he was born. I can't believe it's been 4 years, and that this is no longer the only birth story I have!

According to my dad, only 2% of babies actually arrive on their due dates. But are you really surprised that mine did? I guess he takes after his Mama and likes things to happen on time!

Samuel Denn Heiner came into the world at 3:11 pm on Tuesday, May 2, 2006. He weighed 7 lbs 6 oz and was about 20 inches long, and has a VERY full head of very blond hair.

I did not have any contractions whatsoever until Monday, and they were hours apart and not strong at all. Justin and I went to bed at 1:30 am, thinking about our doctor appointment today and whether we would start thinking about implementing labor if he didn't come in the next few days. 2 hours later at 3:30, I woke up in bed to my water breaking. I waited about 1/2 an hour and had a couple of contractions, so we called the hospital and headed over to labor & delivery. We got to the hospital a little before 5 am and I stayed on the monitor for a while. When we got to the hospital they didn't do an internal exam, and my contractions were about 6 minutes apart. Since my water broke before we came to the hospital, they told us that depending on progress, they would probably start pitocin to augment labor around 9:30 (6 hours after the labor started). I walked around and Kira and Mom got here a little while later.

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The contractions got harder and longer, and it was not too long before I was considering re-thinking my idea of not wanting an epidural. Around 7:30 am, the doctor came and checked me, and I was 6 centimeters already. Then, the contractions got further apart, but longer and more difficult. At 10:00 am, we decided we did want to use pitocin to speed things up, and I also decided that I wanted an epidural. It was great! I could even have pleasant conversations with the people around me during the once excruciating contractions.

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Around 12:00 pm, Laurie and Rob had arrived. Around 12:20, I was still 6 to 7 centimeters, and the nurses suggested I kick everyone out so I could get some rest. So just evacuated the room, and we rested while listening to Sarah McLachlan. Since I only got a couple hours of sleep last night, it was good to be able to rest for an hour or so.

At 1:15 pm, the doctor stopped by because the baby heart rate was sporadic. I was given some oxygen and was checked out and found out that I was already 10 centimeters, and it was time to push. Since we had been told that it would be at least an hour and a half before we would even be getting close, everyone was still far from the room. We rounded up Mom and Kira, put everybody else on alert, and around 1:30 pm, the pushing began. It sure was hard work. I still was not feeling any pain because of the epidural, but I could feel tremendous pressure and (especially near the end) a very strong urge to push during the contractions. When I saw the contractions spiking on the monitor, I was glad that I could not feel them as well.

About 2:00 pm, Justin's mom got to the hospital. She had just come from Puyallup, where Justin's cousin had given birth about an hour earlier. She was so happy that she was getting to witness two births in one day.

During the pushing, Kira, Edie, and Deanna were in the room encouraging me. For the most part, it was quiet and calm in the room, which helped me relax. The occasional joke about silent births was made as well.

When we were able to see the head, the doctor, Rob, and Laurie came into the room to cheer me on. The last 10 minutes was definitely the worst part, especially when Sam had half of his head popped out for upwards of two minutes. But then, after 1 hour and 40 minutes of pushing, it was over. A beautiful baby boy was placed on my chest and everyone in the room was driven to tears.

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I know that Laurie got some beautiful pictures, and we will send some out as soon as we get them.

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Although not a champion eater yet, he is definitely a world class pooper. Before being in the world for more than 2 minutes, he had already dropped his first load. And within a half hour, he had already gone twice more. It was then that they decided Justin should give him his first bath and they should put a diaper on him.

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May 25, 2010

Mother's Day: What We REALLY Want

Today's post comes from Maegan, who writes over at Mom to Bee. Meagan ALWAYS makes me laugh, and I look forward to reading about her adventures with her daughter. She's also a fellow Pacific Northwester, which gives her a special place in my bloggy world.

Maegan is one of my fellow pregnant bloggers. Following along with a couple of other moms to be while I've been pregnant has made this pregnancy a lot of fun in my little online world! She is also clever enough to name ALL of her posts with song titles, and let me tell you, she finds the weirdest and most perfect songs somehow! This one's pretty simple, but ladies - I think she's on to something here!

***

Mother's Day

On the second Sunday of May, every year, families all around the nation come together to celebrate Mother's Day. Flowers, chocolate, breakfast in bed. When you think about it, it's kind of the least that husbands and children can do for having to poop a kid out of your babyhole. And I'm not even talking about the day in/day out 24/7 joy that is being a mother.

Honestly, I think the moment you squirt that baby out in the hospital, your family should be bound in contract to provide you at least one day a year full of pampering and (of course) chocolate.

While most families will come together for mom, a cute little Hallmark commercial day filled with kids lovingly waking up mom with breakfast in bed, I'm not a fan. The kids waking me up early on MY day?! NO THANK YOU.

In fact, this year, I cautiously suggested to Mr. Bee that the best Mother's Day present of all might be, well, you know, not seeing the family for an entire day...

All I know is while you suckers were getting woken up at the crack of dawn by your little boogers darlings, I was sleeping in after an entire evening to myself in a hotel room.

Does that make me a horrible mom or an evil genius? I say a little of both maybe.

Song title: Mother's Day by 7 Seconds
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May 22, 2010

A Mom of Two?!

After almost two weeks, I'm finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. First off, here's something I wanted to share before - my 1st Mother's Day gift from Sam.

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He brought it home from school and I love the photo even though he's not smiling because the colors are brilliant.

In general, here is what we have been feeling like around here for the past couple of weeks:

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I guess having a new baby around is exhausting for Sam too because he passed out on the couch after school the other day AND slept for 8 hours that night. Crazy. Note the awesome new yellow (his favorite color) shoes my Mom bought him.

So, we have a new baby. I had to take a picture of his perfect baby nails before I cut them.

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So cute.

He is a really good baby so far. He likes to nurse (a lot) and sleep (a LOT). He has been having some trouble pooping, but that may have passed. Because today I changed a really grodie diaper and just as I was getting it under control he peed all over everything and I just started to laugh because it was like an out of control fire hose. Except, you know, small.

Sometimes, he wakes up and looks around.

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But, not that often.

Sometimes, he sneezes and then he makes this 'uah!' noise afterwards as if to say 'what was that?!'

He went to the doctor on the 15th because we noticed that he had a tongue tie. It was severe enough that it was interfering with feeding - when he would suck his gum ridge was basically chomping on my nipple. FUN. Not. So we took him to get it looked at and they clipped it. He didn't like the thing that held his tongue in place, but other than that he was all right. I could feel an immediate difference in nursing and he's able to take a pacifier now, which is a good thing because he really likes to suck and if it was up to him he would just have my boob in his mouth all the time.

Speaking of which, the breastfeeding? Is only going so/so. If you don't know about my history with the boobs and the milk, check out this post. So, this time? I had something right away. BUT, not a lot. He usually falls asleep while nursing. There has not been much of a size increase, just a bit. I definitely have milk, just not enough to actually feed him. My midwife prescribed me Domperidone, which I didn't try last time. It seems to have increased my supply a tiny bit, but not much. He likes to nurse, but it's not sustaining him.

I am not sure what I am going to do. We have been supplementing him with formula since the day after he was born, only an ounce at a time then. But now he should be eating 3 oz or so every 3 hours when he wants to eat. So I've been nursing him on both sides then feeding him a bottle. It's sort of a Catch 22 because the more we supplement, the less he NEEDS from me. The good news is that he LIKES to nurse, so he'll do it even if he's had a recent bottle. He's getting what I have, which isn't much, but it's something. I have a months supply of the Domperidone and I'll probably finish that out and see what happens. My gut feeling is that I will probably not continue to breastfeed for too long unless my supply increases.

I am happy that things are going so much better than they did with Sam. I'm happy that Danny is getting SOMETHING from me. But I think that maybe my body just wasn't meant to make much milk. My midwife is amazing, very supportive but not pushy or anything. She is like the perfect medium. As she said, keep trying but if the tissue isn't there, it's just not there. And if not, we'll be okay. Either way, Danny is a happy boy. What's important to me is that he is not hungry, and that he gains weight like he's supposed to, which he hasn't been. He went down from 8 lb 3 oz to 7 lb 11 oz 2 days after birth and was the same at 11 days old. We go back to the doctor on Wednesday to get him weighed again, and hopefully he'll be making some progress.

The first week of recovery was REALLY hard for me. I had all kinds of problems and it was a stressful week with some things going on around the house. My stomach muscles were REALLY sore afterwards and I think I was sick, which caused bad stomach cramps and made the seperated muscles in my stomach really sore. Wrapping my stomach with an elastic back brace I have for about 24 hours improved that immensly. Two weeks in, I am almost feeling back to normal. I get tired easily and there are little reminders of what my body's been through, but I am definitely on the road back to normal.

I ended up down about 20 lbs from where I was when I got pregnant. The other day I wanted to wear a real pair of pants for the first time in 9 months and realized now I need to go through my pile of like 25 pairs of pants/capris and figure out which ones actually fit me now. I have no idea! But, I'm not complaining! I will go back on Weight Watchers soon because I need to get back to healthy eating habits and I don't want to gain back the weight I've lost.

I can tell I'm feeling better because I've started making lists again and actually got some chores done around the house this weekend.

Justin was in Mexico last week from Tuesday night to Saturday night on the annual men's group mission trip for our church in Seattle. My Mom helped out Wednesday, then on Thursday Sam went to his other Grandma's house until Saturday night. It was really awesome to have two and a half days with just Danny and I for me to hang out with him and hold him and everything.

On Friday he had his 2 week checkup and it went well, then we went on our first outing to Target. I got tired out from walking around the store. Danny slept the whole time as long as the stroller was moving.

So, that's been life around here lately. Justin goes back to work full time starting Monday, and I'm a little nervous but I think I'll be okay. Luckily Sam has school Mon, Tue and Wed and maybe by Thursday I'll feel up to some kind of outing to a park or something.

So begins the day to day of life as a Mom of 2. Wish me luck!
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May 21, 2010

Celebrating with a Unique Gift

Our month of birthday posts continues with a super idea from Jill of Scary Mommy. Hers is one of the blogs I've been reading longest, and she always has great ideas and stories to make me laugh.

***
Happy Birthday to the Chef
Originally published May 2009

Since last year, every birthday boy or girl we’ve celebrated with received either an Arts & Crafts Bucket or Bath Time Bucket. I love making them, but they’ve now made the party circuit and I wanted to come up with a new staple gift that’s economical, unique and fun…

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I present you with my Little Chef Bucket. I still had left over buckets, but when I run out I’ll use a bright mixing bowl instead. I filled them with a mini rolling pin, measuring cups and spoons, a box of sprinkles ($1.99-2.99 from Michael’s) and dollar store cookie cutters (10 for a dollar.)

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I also made up a few recipe cards with kid-friendly recipes and a label that can easily be personalized. {If anyone wants to snag this idea, you can find them here, here, here and here.} I printed them on card stock and trimmed and mounted them to be more durable. Then I wrapped it up with shrink wrap, a bow and another cookie cutter.

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I really wanted to include a cotton chef’s hat, but was trying to keep it around $15. When I want to spend a little bit more, I’ll put a kid’s apron at the bottom. Ikea has some great kids cooking stuff too, so next time I’m there I’ll stock up. I’m dying to make this into a gingerbread version for the holidays. You think May too early to start those?
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May 19, 2010

The Journey of Birth

Today I'm excited to welcome another post written by Sheridan!

Sheridan Ripley is the author of the new book The Top Three Tips to Enjoy Your Birth. She is a proud VBAC mom of 3 busy boys, a Loving Lactivist, Hypnobabies Childbirth Educator, Hypno-Doula, Birth Video Editor, Positive Birth Story Collector and Birth Blogger.

Sheridan has too many (according to her kids) websites and blogs: Enjoy Birth (online and live classes), Pregnancy Birth and Babies (birth stories), Moms Deserve Medals, Birth Videos and Enjoy Birth Blog.


***

Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?
Originally published October 2009

I think the answer depends.

Think about 3 different women who want to come to America.

  1. One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  2. One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  3. One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.

If you simplify different birth experiences I think they could fall into these 3 categories.

  1. a traumatic journey

  2. a normal journey

  3. a magical journey

I think hopefully most mom get at least the normal journey experience. I would love it if all moms got a magical birth. It would be awesome if no one had to experience a traumatic birth. As a Childbirth Educator and Doula that is what I hope for my moms – a magical birth or at least a normal birth. I try to help them avoid a traumatic birth.

A few key points to keep in mind when thinking about birth.

  • Birth is unpredictable, no matter how much we prepare and plan, we can’t control it. There is an element of letting go and allowing that is part of the journey.

  • We should still take time to prepare and plan and make CHOICES to help us have the best birth possible. That is part of the journey.

  • We (birth workers, women, friends and family) need to respect the fact that birth can be life altering for some moms and babies.

  • It is the MOM and baby who determine what type of birth they had. I have seen births I would label as traumatic, but mom found it to be a normal journey. I let her have that reality. I know some moms have what some would label a normal journey but mom found it to be traumatic. We need to support mom in that. Let her grieve and hopefully that will help her heal.

I am lucky and have had all 3 types of births.


Lucky because it helps me see both sides of the coin.

Lucky because it helps me better support my moms who have challenging births.

Lucky because 2 of the births DID shape who I am as a person.

My first birth was traumatic and was certainly life changing and did set the tone of my mothering my oldest son. We both had a lot of emotions to deal with stemming from that birth. I can honestly say that almost 12 years later, I think we have both healed. My mothering Devon has been effected by so much more than his birth, but it really did color my mothering of him for many years.

Would we have a different relationship if Devon was born vaginally at full term, rather than by emergency cesarean and a preemie? I would think yes. If nothing else, I wouldn’t have spent our first 2 years together, going from Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. So yes it did shape my mothering, but I think the choices and experiences we have shared together since his birth have continued to shape me as a mother.

My second birth was just normal. Vaginal birth, epidural, hospital… a blissfully normal journey compared to that first birth. That birth didn’t really affect my mothering at all. However Post Partum Depression for 8 months after certainly set the tone of mothering Carson. It was a dark period of my life. I think the PPD did shape my mothering, but I think getting control of myself and pulling myself out changed me more. In the end it was a growing experience.

My third birth was magical. Vaginal, Hypnobabies, un-medicated, comfortable and enjoyable hospital birth. It changed who I AM certainly. Now I teach childbirth classes, I am a doula a lactation educator a birth activist. If I hadn’t had that birth experience I would certainly not be those things. (Well, probably still a birth activist in some form)

Did it change me as a mother? It definitely empowered me as a woman. From that experience I feel stronger and more powerful. That in itself has probably changed my mothering to some extent. I think my experience raising my older boys certainly have a much larger effect on me as a mother. I am more laid back, accepting, loving, enjoying the moments with my “baby” and my 2 older boys.

The Journey from Pregnancy to Motherhood certainly CAN affect both mother and child. Birth is just one part of this journey. Their experience could affect their relationship and her mothering. I think birth has the power to be life changing. Most moms experience birth as a normal journey, certainly with cause for celebration and seen as a miracle, but they don’t feel it is a life changing experience for them.

I think my job as a Childbirth Educator and Doula is to help moms have the best birth possible; sharing information, supporting them in the choices THEY make and then continue to help support them as they process the journey after their birth. I love supporting moms as they travel along their path.

Thanks to these blog posts for causing me to reflect on this topic.

Talk Birth

Stand and Deliver

Bellies and Babies

Sweet Salty

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May 14, 2010

Party Like a Fireman

Today's tale of birthday fun comes straight from The McMommy Chronicles. I think this was one of the first blogs I started reading way back when, and it still entertains me every day. She also has a great giveaway blog with lots of fun stuff, so remember to check it out when you're done here!

***
A Theme About Birthday Parties. (A++++++++++)
Originally published March 2010

matt asks:
My daughter's fifth birthday is coming up. How about cool party ideas? Not crepe paper and piƱatas...something unique.
I want you to write.........A THEME.


First of all, 1500 bonus points to whoever knows what movie Matt is quoting in his question and that I am paying homage to in my title.

Secondly….can we get the bartender to pour Matt a drink?

Because I’m going to need him to sit tight and settle in while I tell him a little story about a girl and her friend and what happens when you think “This is going to be the most ____(fun, creative, cool, etc.)___ birthday party EVER!”.

So this girl and her friend have two kids whose birthdays are 2 weeks apart.

And truth be told, these two girls are really not the biggest fans of kids birthday parties. HOWEVER, they heard that the local fire department will let you host a birthday party there for free.

FREE? REALLY?

Ok, then, why not?

Fire station birthday parties for everybodeeeeeeeeeee!!!

The kids are invited to explore the fire trucks, try on the gear, and thennnnn…hey! Why don’t we just head across the street to the park where…I have an idea! We can order a pizza, slice up some cake and….oh wow! It would be the easiest dual birthday that ever was!

So the girl and her friend let each birthday boy pick a friend from their class to attend, invited the grandparents and extended family to attend, and wow, this is going to be so easy and low key, what could go wrong???

Fast forward to the morning of the party.

It is 50 degrees and hurricane force winds out. (which I realize means swimming weather for many of you, but to Floridians, we are crying and screaming uncle.)

Party was going to start in 15 minutes. The girl and her friend are sitting bundled in the car with the heat on, the trunk is packed with coolers and party decor, and these two have no clue where their party was going to be held.

Because the park was like Antarctica and the fire fighters were no where to be found.

(Turns out they were practicing some sort of drill up 100 feet in the air on their ladder truck…which under normal circumstances would have been totally cool…ok, even under ABNORMAL circumstances this was pretty cool…but keep in mind these girls were stressed out and could have used a bottle of wine right about then.)

OMG. Who’s stupid idea was it to have a birthday party again?

With 7 minutes to party time, the girl and her friend made the executive decision to overtake the empty bay of the fire station and just start setting up the party there.

Would the firemen get angry at them?

It was a risk they had to take.

Would the firemen even be back in time to show the kids the fire truck?

Who knows.

BUT LOOK! OH WOW!

Here’s the firemen’s washing machine, kids!!! Isn’t that AWESOME?!

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In the end, it all worked out. Firemen suddenly started appearing and not only did they not care that the girls commandeered their bay, they were helpful, and accommodating, and some of them even gave you that crazy melty feeling in your stomach when they smiled and posed for pics with the kids.

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Not that this story happened to me, of course.

So the moral of this story, Matt?

You should totally have the birthday party at a fire station. Firefighters are awesome and kids love them and their washing machines.

And Matt’s wife?

Enjoy and don’t forget your camera. {wink wink}

[Continue reading...]

May 13, 2010

Ephemeral Gifts

Scott is another one of my real life blogger friends. I met him working at Borders Books, he was my manager for a long time and one of a few people I've somehow managed to stay in touch with. In addition to being a participant in our local Renaissance Faire (which I love), Scott is a writer. He blogs at Pages to Type Before I Sleep, and I know that someday in the not too distant future I'll finally get to see something of his in my local bookstore. This is one of my very favorites of the guest posts I managed to snag for this month, I hope you enjoy it.

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Ephemeral Gifts

I've received many gifts for my birthday. Teddy bears gave way to GI Joes gave way to electronics and a 16th birthday car which eventually led to kitchen implements and gardening equipment. And I still have a lot of them. They are either the cherished possessions of childhood or the favorite items in an overflowing house. But as is so often the case the birthday present I cherish most is one I no longer possess.

Two years ago, my telephone rang one evening while I was not at home and my answering machine picked up the call. It was my mom and dad, calling to wish me a happy 35th birthday. Together, the two of them sang that great old son into the recorder for me to find and listen to later.

I'd never heard my dad sing before. Not that he hadn't, but it was always either in church or otherwise among the voices of others so that it was lost in the tumult. He sounded strong, vibrant, and a little embarrassed. It was weird and wonderful all at the same time.

For a few months, that song remained on my answering machine and I would periodically hear the strains of Happy Birthday as either Kristin or I played the messages. I meant to take it and record it into a more permanent venue but I never found a tape recorder or other method of getting that song off of there.

One day the inevitable happened. I don't recall whether it was a power outage, or if the thing got knocked off the kitchen counter or what happened, but the message was lost. I tried everything, including contacting the company to find out if there was any way to retrieve it, but there was not. It was gone.

The simple solution would be to ask him to sing to me once more, but that's not possible. My dad died just before Christmas that year. His voice forever silenced except in my memories and in the few snippets of video tape where he appears (usually saying "What do you think you're doing?" or "Is that really necessary?")

In the end, though, the memory of the song is the more precious for its absence. If it still remained it would live on a hard drive or an audio cassette and I might listen to it once in awhile, but it wouldn't be the same. I think it's the clearer for being a memory.

And never can I hear that song without in my mental recording studio, layering dad's voice track into the chorus. Strong and vibrant, and just a little bit embarrassed.
[Continue reading...]

May 12, 2010

Just Another Day

Today's birthday month post comes from the wonderful Nicole. Nicole blogs at one of the first birth related blogs I started reading, Bellies & Babies. She is a mother of 5 and wife to one. She fills her time as a childbirth educator, doula, and activist in her community striving for mother-friendly, woman-centered health care.

Nicole also contributes to the wonderful site
Inspiring Birth Stories, which is a great resource for positive and uplifting stories of awesome births!

***

Just Another Day

She wakes, joyful.
all the night long, softly rocking
gently embracing
her womb enticed her
bringing hope
like lilting butterflies
upon her spirit

breakfast baking
humming melodies
her partner waking
birds are chirping
and coffee warms him
smiling secretly
she beckons him
to return to bed
once more before leaving

alone at home
she sings lullabyes
swaying her hips
and baking cookies
for a friend
stopping to hold
her unborn babe
when her womb
brings her breathless
once more

Walking slowly
skirt swirling in the breeze
she throws her head back
and feels sunshine bless her
upturned face
she is power, amazing
beautiful, blossoming
her eyes hold
a secret, her secret, alone

"dearest friend
come join me"
she whispers her secret
to another womb
a gasp
delighted smiles
and a tender touch
long walks
shared smiles
gentle hands
and hard work

picnics and pictures
in a field filled with flowers
pasta, vegetables
fresh fruit
and last minute blessings
lifelong friends
soulmates
sisters

resting on a hill crest
toes dig into cool mud
hand find soft grass
and she bleets like a lamb
"please call my lover"
as her child stirs
her brow sweats
firm hands
bring her back
as her body melts
home-coming, again

Dark room
and softly filckering flames
gentle waves of
warm water crest over
her firm belly
lovers hands
caress her breasts
and lovers kisses
bless her lips
moans and gentle smiles
float about the room

Murmurs, hushed voices
filter from the kitchen
where busied women
hasten to bring
soft, fresh baked bread
and savory broth
an offering, an energy
wisened, wrinkled hands
tell it is almost
time to welcome her
home

Softly stretching
Moving fluidly
through the water
many sets of
gentle hands
attend to her body
caressing, loving, supporting
pressing outward
a small life flows
forth and into the loving
hands of a family

Nestling
between cool sheets
and warm downy blankets
a family embraces
exploring
experiencing
delighted
Satisfied sighs
and softened smiles
gifts remaining
friends departing

Latching doors
full bellies
warm teas steaming
settling in
the soft moon rises
over
A celebration
an annointing
a family
just
another day
[Continue reading...]

May 11, 2010

How I Had a Baby in my Bathroom OR "HeymomI'mcomingRIGHTNOW"

041

Daniel John Heiner
Born 5/10/10 at 10:55 pm
8 lb 3 oz
20 inches

[Note: Comments from me (Justin) are in Red]

Sunday was my due date with little Danny, and it came and went. I was hoping for a baby for Mother's Day and was disappointed when he didn't show and I didn't feel any signs that he was coming.

[Bummed me out. I was hoping he would be a Mother's Day baby like me]

That all changed on Monday. I started having regular but mild and very spaced out contractions before I even got out of bed in the morning - one or two an hour. This was the first time this had happened, all of my other contractions had happened at night, and come for an hour then stopped completely.

[I have to admit that I was feeding her spicy foods, which seemed to induce some of the nightly contractions]

I thought maybe it was a good sign, and felt like it might be my lucky day. I went out to lunch with Justin at his favorite Thai restaurant, then went shopping for his birthday. I met Sam at the school bus as usual at 4:00 and we came back up to the house and played outside for a while. Justin got home at about 7:00 after dealing with making a police report on the car break in. Since it hadn't been a great day, we decided to celebrate Justin's birthday and he opened his presents and had some yummy cake.

[The Thai food for lunch was on purpose, for a reason. I had a hidden agenda, and it wasn't because it was almost my birthday. As for the "cake", it was more than yummy, and more than cake. Fudge. Coconut. Crumble crust. Enough said]

Just before 8:00 I started having more regular contractions. They felt a little more intense than the usual and I started thinking maybe this was the beginning of labor. At 8:20 I started timing them with the contraction timer on my phone. Between 8:20 and 9:30 I was having contractions that were 40-60 seconds long between 7 and 12 minutes apart, back and forth. I was still not sure that this was it for sure, and I was wondering if my water would break like it did last time. There was a lot of doubt in my mind about how I would know when it was "real" and how I would know how long to wait before calling people or going to the birth center.

[I was getting nervous at this point. I think I came over at every contraction asking how far apart they were and if they were getting more painful. She didn't seem worried, so I didn't push it]

I had it in my head to go to the birth center whent he contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long for at least an hour. Of course if I had remembered and/or read the sheet from my midwife thouroughly, I would have called her when my contractions were 10 minutes apart since it was my 2nd child. BUT, I didn't do that. I'm not sure it would have made any difference since I think she still would have had me wait to head in to the birth center, and since the contractions were so irregular we probably still wouldn't have made it.

[It wouldn't have made a difference]

Around 9:40 the contractions started getting closer together. For the next 30 minutes they were closer to 5-7 minutes apart, and were lasting around a minute. I was starting to wonder if I was a little crazy for deciding on a natural birth this time because they were pretty painful. Justin was asking if I was still able to talk through the contractions because that was another thing that is a good indicator that you should be on your way to your birthing place.

[For the record, I still believe that natural births are crazy and if I had the ability to give birth I would be 100% medicated, but I fully understood and supported her decision. After having needles jabbed in my spine several times during Prolotherapy treatment, both with and without painkillers... I preferred being knocked out for the needles and well-medicated for the extreme pain that followed]

I tried listening to my HypnoBirthing CD a little bit, but at that point I was in so much pain during the contractions that I realized it was not going to work for me. I couldn't relax. Maybe if my labor had been longer and I'd had more mild contractions for longer, it would have been great. If they'd been spaced out further it would have been nice to relax in between. I got up, and Justin was busy packing a bag for Sam so we could drop him off on the way to the birth center and packing a few things for himself. He was loading up the car and I got my phone to call my midwife to meet us at the birth center.

[The exact words as the CD shut off and she went into the other room was "This is NOT going to work". Since the contractions weren't that bad yet, they weren't regular, and they weren't getting closer, I was still going at a medium pace getting things ready. Considering that it took Rachael until the next day for things to progress from that with Sam, I figured there wasn't a rush to get to town]

That's when things REALLY picked up. Between 10:10 and 10:30 the contractions became VERY hard. They were coming every 2.5-3.5 minutes and I was not able to talk or walk through them. I was vocalizing through them, moaning and trying to keep my voice low and remember to move my hips and breathe deeply instead of panting and screaming. I found myself on my knees leaning against the couch in our TV room as I called my midwife. I told her that we were leaving and would be there in 20 minutes, and she said she'd meet us there. At this point I was sweating and my body was working hard.

[She had a contraction timer on her phone. We looked at it when the midwife came and it literally went from 10-12 minutes apart down to 3-5 minutes in less than 5 minutes. At that point, I was rushing the bags out to the car and moving Sam's car seat from my car (that had no driver's side window) to Rachael's car]

At 10:30 Justin called my Mom and told her to meet us at the birth center, and he was ready to put Sam in the car. Then it happened. My water broke. And let me tell you, when your water breaks during hard labor? It's a much different experience than it breaking at the beginning of labor! Justin heard it all the way from the kitchen and it was very forceful and actually startled me a little. At that point I started feeling A LOT of pressure. I managed to stand up and walk to the bathroom where I sat down on the toilet.

[I was going from Rachael's car to my car after getting the bags loaded, passing through the kitchen so I could check on Rachael and I heard a "Pop!" from about 30 feet away and the sound of gushing fluid. I started running to move the carseat and put a couple of towels that we had in the car on the seat. When I got back in, she was in the bathroom]

Justin came into the bathroom and wanted me to get up and go to the car, but at that point my body was bearing down. With every contraction, I could feel my body push and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I could feel that there was no way I could sit on the car seat and make it the 20 minute to the birth center. It would have been very uncomfortable, and I could tell that the pressure would just be too much. I suddenly knew there was no way we were going to make it anywhere. I was yelling during the contractions and when Justin said we had to get to the car, I told him I "couldn't make it."

[When she kept saying she "couldn't make it", I kept getting more and more frustrated because I was interpreting that as not being able to walk to the car because of the pain, so I asked again after the next couple contractions. She neglected to mention that the baby was on its way out. I was oblivious to this and kept wondering why she wasn't getting up between contractions]

I'm pretty sure I screeched that it hurt and soon after I reached down and felt the baby's head. I was only sitting on the toilet for about 7 contractions, and they were one on top of the other. I told Justin to put towels down on the floor and got down on all fours leaning on the bathtub. Justin was behind me and gathering more towels, and asking me what he should do. I told him the baby was coming now and that he had to catch him.

[Yep, I only found out that I was going to be delivering the baby about 2 minutes before it actually came out. I am oddly calm under pressure (more to be said about that in a minute), so I just threw down some towels and started encouraging her]

During this whole time, Sam had been asleep on the couch where he fell asleep for the night. During the maybe 8 minutes I was on the floor pushing I was very loud, and he woke up and cried a little, but went right back to sleep. I pushed about 4 times and the head was out, and with 2 or 3 more pushes Danny was born at 10:55 pm. Justin caught him and I sat down onto the floor and turned around to take the baby. Justin managed to sweep his mouth out and then we just waited and he whimpered a few times, but didn't cry much, just enough to let us know he was all right.

[It was less than 8 minutes. When she got on the floor I called the midwife. I got one call in to their house phone, and spoke with her husband, who immediately called her. I hung up with him and under 60 seconds later I was holding a baby.

Thank God he came didn't have any issues, because my entire knowledge of birth comes from TV and Sam's birth. The shows that I watch occasionally dealt with chidlbirth issues (90% of them being discarded as fictional), so I had a few things in mind to check for, none of which I could really do anything about had they come up. I didn't even have a stinkin' suction bulb if I needed one. This left me holding a newborn baby and going through my very, very short checklist.
Alive... check.
No noise coming out of him, and not really moving much...
Mouth sweep with pinky came up empty... check.
Still no noise yet...
Picked him up and patted him on the butt a couple times (winging it on that one).

Heard a tiny, barely audible whimper.
Breathing... oh crap! I need to breathe.
Baby breathing too... check.

Looked at Rachael's cell phone and noted the time. Nobody else was there to do it and it would drive me insane if there was an ESTIMATE on the birth record instead of the exact time.

At that point, Rachael wanted to hold him, so I wiped him off a tiny bit -- more out of necessity than anything else, as he was so slippery that I couldn't get a good grip on him]

I held him without cleaning him and put a towel over him as Justin made calls to our parents and the midwife to let her know to come to the house. She probably arrived about 15 minutes after he was born, and I had already birthed the placenta. I loved holding him right away for 30 minutes after he was born, even if I was getting sore from sitting on the hard bathroom tiles.

[Right after I handed Danny to Rachael the midwife called my phone, which was in other room, so I ran to answer it. She hadn't even gotten to the birth center yet, heard the crying in the background, and pretty much knew what was going on. I told her everything was copacetic, and she said she needed to grab a couple of things from the birth center and come over.

Regarding the "oddly calm under pressure" statement. In reality, I just have the neat ability to delay the inevitable shock that is to come. I am calm and collected during extreme stress, but immediately after that stress is over my brain unravels and the flood of shock sets in. I have complete recollection of the past events but I'm useless at performing any more tasks until my heart rate slows down a bit. I also lose the ability to make my mouth say what my mind is thinking. In effect, I become a mess afterwards.

I started making the necessary phone calls (ended up calling Rachael's mom twice), turning on the lights outside for the people coming, and coming to grips with what just happened]

I think we were both in a little bit of shock. I could not believe that I'd been in labor for only 3 hours, and that I'd been in hard labor for only an hour. The contractions jumped from being 5-10 minutes apart to 3 or less so fast, I didn't expect it at all. I thought it would probably be faster than Sam's birth but not that much faster!

[I chuckled when Rachael told me about the woman who gave birth on the toilet because it happened so quickly. I'm not laughing anymore. Mental note: remember Karma]

After Ann, our midwife, arrived she cut the cord and we headed upstairs to my bedroom. My Mom and her husband Paul came, then my stepdad Rob and my sister Kira. Danny got checked out and was given his vitamin K shot and weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz and 20 inches long, so almost the same length as Sam but nearly a full pound heavier. He still looks SO small to me!

[SHE cut the cord? Let's get the record straight. I have video evidence of ME cutting it. No way I'm missing out on that. And yes, I was shooting video with my Flip and cutting the cord at the same time. On a side note, I didn't notice how shaky my hands were until I watched the video later that night]

I was doing okay, but a couple of hours later I got up to go to the bathroom and sit so Justin could clean up the bed and get it ready for us to sleep in. Unfortunately there was a bit of a mess to clean up (one of the reasons I HADN'T planned on a home birth!), so it took a few minutes. I was feeling VERY dizzy and weak, and my Mom started to get concerned. After I sat for a few more minutes and had a couple of bowls of cereal we decided that it was just a combination of getting up from bed too soon, the adrenaline rush wearing off, and not having eaten since lunchtime. With all the commotion, my midwife forgot to remind me to eat something before trying to get up, and it didn't occur to me apparently.

[I'm not going to go into too much detail, but I will say that the bed resembled a scene from Law & Order. I'd also like to note that hydrogen peroxide is magic. This morning, Rachael and I were discussing this and found out that we both were thinking about what it would look like under a blacklight. That's what too much CSI will do to you]

I moved to the floor in the bathroom, and then when the bed was done I got up to walk across the hall back to bed. Justin helped me up, but when he turned around to get something from the bathroom I was in the hall and passed out. It was really weird, I have never passed out or fainted before and I just felt my body become SO heavy and fall to the floor, then I woke up and it just felt like it was morning and I'd woken up. I crawled over the bed and climbed up, and I felt okay. Luckily, I didn't hit anything on the way down!

[I had turned around for a second as she was walking out of the bathroom. When I turned back, I saw her collapse. It honestly looked like someone had suspended Buster (the crash test dummy on Mythbusters) and dropped him. I had the teeth clenching fun of watching her just miss hitting a handrail, the corner of a door, and land with a headache-inducing thump less than an inch away from a disassembled metal endpiece from a bed that was in Danny's room. And she just opens her eyes and looks around like she just woke up from a nap. Not what I was expecting after the force of the impact]

Danny slept like a champ, which was nice since I didn't fall asleep until after 3:30 and he slept for a good 5 hour chunk! He makes adorable little noises when he sleeps and he is not fussy. Before we went to sleep last night I was able to get him to latch on even though it took a few tries, and he's eaten since then. It's amazing. It's so different from with Sam, and he is SUCH a calm baby so far. His hair and skin are both darker than Sam's.

[They went to bed at 3:30. I needed to clear my head a bit or I would never be able to go to sleep, so I went for a drive to Walgreens to pick up more hydrogen peroxide grabbed a pepperoni stick and a Jack-In-The-Box burger on the way home. I hadn't eaten anything except for half of my birthday "cake", and that was like 9 hours prior]

044

The morning after, holding Danny.

037

With Aunt Kira & big brother this morning.

After all of that, I feel good about my birth experience. Since I was planning a natural birth anyhow, it was kind of nice to be at home and not go anywhere. Plus, hey, we saved some moolah by not utilizing the birth center! Ha. It seems like it would have been silly to be there since I wouldn't have had time to even utilize the tub or anything else. I think that the quickness of it all and the quiet and everything have contributed to him being more calm.

My recovery is going pretty well, though as my friend Brie and the midwife both warned me, the after pains/cramping is definitely worse the second time around. Especially since breastfeeding is going SO much better this time (as in he's actually nursing and there is something coming out!), that makes the cramps stronger. It seems a little unfair that after all the contractions I've already had, I have to KEEP having them, but such is life, eh? I had one small tear, and Ann said she could put in a couple of stitches, but we decided we didn't really need them and hopefully it will just heal on it's own.

Well, he's sucking on Justin's finger now so I think I will go try to feed him some more. We are all doing really well here, I am sore and my stomach and back muscles hurt when I stand, but other than that I am feeling quite well today! I got a little bit of a nap this afternoon and my Mom and sister have been here helping with Sam all day which is wonderful. I'll sign off for now, and tomorrow my birthdaypalooza guest posts will continue!

[Danny has some serious suction going on. After 30 minutes of him sucking on my pinky, it was sore. I can only image how Rachael is feeling]

I'll be posting at least once a week with updates and some more photos, and I always have more frequent small updates on my facebook page - if we're not friends, there's a link in the left sidebar to hook up there!
[Continue reading...]

30 Years is Just the Beginning

Today is a special day. 30 years ago, someone received a pretty awesome Mother's Day gift.

Justin001

My mother-in-law Deanna had her 2nd son, a little smiling baby she decided to name Justin.

He grew and grew. The bedroom he's sleeping in here is now our baby's room. The bed in the picture below is still in that room, instead of holding a sleeping little boy it will hold very tired parents, and serve as a place to change diapers and cuddle the next generation.

Justin002d

When I met him, he still had this dog. Her name was Angel. See that joy on his face right there? He still has it. More often now, I see it when he has a really good moment with our son. Is there anything better than watching a Dad and his kid?

Justin004d

He came into my life less than a month before I turned 19. We have something that most people don't - a photo of us on our first date.

JustinRachael005

I bet we felt so grown up. HA! Just look at us.

JustinRachael004

We got older, and had many adventures together. We moved away from home to Seattle together, me to go to college, him for a job. We traveled together, bought our first property together, sold it, got into debt, got out of debt, and back in. We faced divorces, medical emergencies, infertility, hard times. We enjoyed life together too, friends and travel and all the little things too, amazing times.

JustinRachael003

10 years later, we have celebrated dozens of times. Christmases, Valentines Days, Birthdays, Anniversaries. 10 years later, we are older and wiser, more experienced.

017

30 years ago, a baby was born. 6 months later, another mother received a precious gift. 20 years after that, we somehow found each other in this big, big world. 26 years after, we received our own precious gift, a baby that made us into a family. And almost exactly 30 years later, we'll complete our little family with another blonde little boy who will undoubtedly grow to look very much like his father.

After all the ups and downs of these last 10 years, I look at him sometimes and my heart overflows with love, with things I can't even describe.

After 10 years, I can still marvel in amazement at the fact that we found each other, the fact that our family is what I always wanted. I watch him with our son and I get choked up thinking about how lucky our children are that they'll have a father who loves them so much and isn't afraid to show it to them. He makes me laugh. He lifts me up.

After 10 years, I can still picture us growing old together, celebrating dozens more birthdays together, and I still can't wait.

Happy Birthday, Justin.
[Continue reading...]

May 10, 2010

"Worst burglar ever" or "What a way to start a birthday"

Justin here. I felt the need to vent a bit, so here goes.

My car got broken into today while I was at work. Smashed window, slightly broken side mirror, and a stolen radar detector. That in and of itself sucks. The window is going to be around $250, the radar detector was originally about $400 (had GPS and all sorts of nifty features), but was mostly just used as an accurate digital speedometer (it didn't go beep beep anymore). It still detected, but made no noise. That brings up the completely irrelevant question... If an officer shoots a radar gun in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Apparently not. So, it's probably only worth about $100 now at most.

I only have liability insurance on my car, so it's all on me to get it replaced, not that it went higher than my deductible would have been. I didn't appreciate having to spend two hours cleaning up the mess, filing a police report, calling the insurance company (not that there was anything they could do), and notifying campus security.

They started to rip out my stereo and rifle through my center console, but must have been interrupted. It could have been far worse. The best part about the whole thing is that there was a pair of nice Oakley's sitting right under the stereo in their Oakley soft case (hard to miss) that they completely left alone. What kind of thief breaks into a car and leaves an expensive pair of sunglasses alone?

Maybe it was the anti-burglar device I had installed in my car this week that drove them off.


Oh, and they took the USB flash drive that had my music on it. That one particularly annoyed me, as it was a promo flash drive that I'm probably not going to find a replacement for. It was dog-slow and didn't work in my wife's stereo, but it looked really cool.


I did appreciate that several people on campus came buy and told me how sorry they were and how crappy of a situation it must be. That helped.

It also helped that I had a great lunch with my wife at my favorite Thai restaurant and when I got home we celebrated my birthday early with a candle laden gluten free coconut chocolate gluten free decadent treat. She also gave me a great card from her and Sam, a couple of XBOX 360 games (Lego Indiana Jones & Space Chimps)... Sam LOVES the Lego series -- we've played them together for several hours over the last week. He mostly watches and tells us what to do.

Among the other items in the goodie bag were:
Punk Goes Classic Rock (the Punk Goes... series are the best cover CD's ever)
Sh*t My Dad Says (Great book based on a blog)
Chuck Norris Cannot be Stopped (400 facts about the man who knows neither fear nor mercy)
A subscription to The Week (I've been wanting that for a long while now).

So, all in all it was a pretty good day.
[Continue reading...]

Birthin' Babies the Old School Way

Audrey from Barking Mad is here to kick off our 2nd week of birthdaypalooza! I'm posting this in advance in hopes that I will have a newborn at home by the time you're reading this. Don't worry, I'll post something as soon as he gets here!

Audrey is one of my favorite people, and one of the wonderful women I've met online who I feel I can really call a friend. She is honest and bold, even when she doesn't think so, and she has been unafraid to put herself out there. She has been through a lot, and lately has been blooming in amazing ways. Sometimes, like today, she is hysterical! If you want another really great blog to add to your reader, full of crazy good photos, humor, honesty, and the cutest little girl in the whole world, click over to her place when you're done here!


***

Birthin' Babies the Old School Way

Just the mere act of writing the title to this post makes me feel…well, ancient! However, the fact remains that I gave birth to my first child a little more than twenty two years ago. Yes, I said TWENTY TWO YEARS!

In the span of more than two decades since that child made his way into the world, the things that used to be par for the course back then, during labor, are now just a blur in the annals of childbirth.

Reading Rachael’s posts makes me wince sometimes when I think about what an ignorant, uninformed, undereducated (when it came to my body and the process of giving birth), teenager I was.

I was 19 when I gave birth to my first child, Joshua. I was so very excited about this growing baby inside of me and becoming a mommy…until my water broke (“Ewwww! This is sooo, like totally GROSS! Like, I’m going to gag!” were the words I uttered when something that sounded like a balloon popped, between my legs.), and labor began. I was sitting in the car, perched on a pile of towels, as my former husband drove like a bat out of Hell to the hospital, when that first real contraction hit me. I grabbed the handle of the door with one hand, dug my nails into my ex’s arm and told him that I wanted to go back home and maybe think about doing the childbirth thing another day when it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Yeah, like I said, ignorant!

My ex and I had taken a series of Lamaze classes but I don’t think it really prepared me for what was about to happen. Not even remotely.

One thing no one ever prepares you for is the series of dents your pride is going to take when you have everyone on the labor and delivery floor looking between your legs at some point or other. That was one of the biggest knocks my teenage-pride took…along with several others that I’ll probably never forget as long as I live.

Back in the old days, when I gave birth to Joshua one of the first things they did was shave you from practically navel to knees. Yes, I’m completely serious. My first Labor and Delivery nurse for that particular journey through Hell was a rather large (I’m talking, probably 6’3” and 225lbs) Jamaican woman with long, ebony cornrows with multi-colored beads that clack-clacked every time she moved, bright red lips that looked like she’d slathered them with motor oil, and she smelled like Patchouli. She immediately both entranced me with her accent and terrified me with her sheer size and refusal to take any of my bullshit! From here on out I’ll simply refer to her as Bob Marley.

“Look mon, you gonna spread you legs for me like a good girl and we gonna get this dun, you understand me now!” It wasn’t a question. Then she proceeded to shave me from nearly navel to knee, with my mother standing to one side and my husband to another. Bob Marley didn’t seem to care who was in the room at the time. She had a job to do and she was intent on doing it.

Over the course of the 50 hours I was in labor, until it my blood pressure shot so high that I was rushed in for an emergency c-section, I had a series of encounters with Bob Marley that would stay with me all these years later.

About 36 hours in, after several rounds of Pitocin to try and speed up my labor and at the same time, Nubane to dull the pain, it was decided that I was due a really special treat. I was stupid enough to think they were going to let me eat. Nope. That wasn’t it. I wasn’t even given any ice chips or a lolly to suck on. In came my favorite nurse, back on shift after saying goodbye to me the night before. She didn’t come in empty handed though. She had a long tube in one hand and a bucket in the other and wore a sadistic smile on her slick red lips.

What fresh hell was this?

For all intents and purposes, up until that moment in time, I was pretty much out of it. I was so gorked out on Nubane and exhausted from fighting the contractions being brought on from the Pitocin that she could have come in with a sawed-off shot gun and I wouldn’t have bat an eyelash. However, there was something about that tube and the bucket that made my eyes grow wide and my stomach tighten. Just what was she going to do with that stuff?

Stupidly, I asked her exactly that. “Um, what’s that for?”

My mother, obviously conspiring with Bob Marley told me just to hush and turn over. Then she told my dad and my ex to leave the room. Bob Marley looked down at me and all I can remember are those glossy red lips telling me, “Now mon, you gonna turn over on you left side mon, and pull you legs up tight to you belly, just roll up like a wee bog bug mon, get on over on you side!”

In what was clearly a futile attempt on my part I pleaded with her to tell me what she was going to do; “OK well, can you just like, tell me, like what you’re doing with that thing, and that bucket thing, like, ‘cause I totally can’t see what you’re doing and ….WHAT THE HELL?????”

Right at the exact moment I asked what she intended on doing with that stuff was the moment I realized I was about to get my first enema. Up until that point I had no idea what an enema was! Talk about learning on the job!

Bob Marley squeezed a bag full of stuff and the next minute was…well, it was awful. If you’ve ever had a surprise enema, or if you are as old as dirt, like I am, then you remember what those pre-birth enemas were like. For a 19 year old who only knew an enema as something one of her childhood friend’s little brother got when he wouldn’t eat his dinner, this was not something I was expecting, nor did I remember anyone telling me I’d get a bag full of soapy water shoved up my bum that would probably end up scarring me for life!

OH.MY.GOD! The horror. The humiliation. And the sheer nerve of Bob Marley!

“You just gonna lay dere like dat, on your side and evacuate dem bowels so you not be pushin’ notink else out with the wee babe!”

In reality, I laid there and whimpered like a frightened puppy. Once the, um, effects of the enema had passed for the most part, Bob Marley decided it was time to come in and check me to see if my labor was progressing. She told me to, “Turn over and spread your legs like a good girl, we gonna see if dat babe is completely done cookin yet!”

I did exactly as she asked and then when she was bent over I let loose with a fart that I hadn’t exactly been trying to hold in.

And that, folks, that right there is how we did things back in the old days!

Even as humiliating as my entire labor ordeal with Joshua was, and despite the fact that I was given a general anesthesia for his birth – which meant I was knocked out cold, the moment they put that baby boy in my arms, all of those sucker-punches my pride had taken, were a thing of the past. I was fully alert. Not a single thing mattered except that beautiful cherub, his wonderfully soft skin, his heavenly smell and the simple wonderfulness of his being.
[Continue reading...]

May 9, 2010

40 Weeks

Baby Danny is due today.

I am not feelin' anything.

I am so tired of being pregnant.

I am so anxious to meet my baby.

Mothers Day isn't making me happy this year.

The day started out with an argument over who would get up with Sam. Though I suppose I "won," I ended up not being able to go back to sleep because I was so upset, then gnawing pregnant lady hunger set it and it was no use.

I haven't gotten a Happy Mothers Day from anyone in this house.

I know it's sort of a stupid holiday, but a card or some flowers at least would be nice.

Everything feels tense.

All I want for Mothers Day this year is to meet my baby.

And be able to wear different pants.

It's a beautiful day out but I don't feel like enjoying it.

Blah.
[Continue reading...]

May 7, 2010

Thank God, I'm Not the Only One...

To wrap up the first week of Birthdaypalooza Month here at SNOTW, we have a wonderful guest post from Janet! Janet usually makes her home over at From the Planet of Janet, but she was nice enough to agree to relive some birthday memories with us today.

Janet is an awesome mom to five kids, the youngest is her daughter Roo who is in high school now. I love Janet's blog partially because she writes a lot about the everyday things that make her laugh and cry, and the things you want to remember about being a parent. And sometimes, some you'd rather forget. But, c'est la vie, right? Also, it makes me feel better about my life that I am not the only one whose family dinner conversations inevitibly turn to poop, snot or other completely inappropriate topics!

***

Rachael is having a baby.

Um. Duh.

So I have traveled here from my usual digs at From the Planet of Janet to help her celebrate the month of May -- a month of births and birthdays.

Birthdays are a little bit of a weirdness in my house. With five kids (Drummer Man, 29; Drama King, 26; Z-man, 20; J-bear, 19; and the Roo-girl, 15), there seems to ALWAYS be someone blowing out a candle and getting another year older.

And since they are mostly adults (or maybe just adultish), our traditional celebratory birthday dinner conversations are a little *blink blink* interesting.

The topics can range from tentacle porn to butt babies (they never survive) to stories of -- well -- poo.

And you must never ever EVER talk to me about vagina dentata. And although I admit that was not a birthday dinner, it WAS Mother's Day. Which makes it all kinds of wrong.

So it seemed only fitting to recount for Rachael's readers the moment that Planet birthday dinner posts were born.

The corn story.

Observe:

My birthday dinner in December of 2007 was at a local barbecue place that I am particularly fond of. The food was delicious, and the kids were ... well, reasonably well-behaved.

Until ...

The Drama King had a full ear of corn. He took a foil-wrapped pat of butter, opened the foil ... and proceeded to rhythmically rub it on the cob.

His older brother promptly fell on the floor in hysterics. Then that same older brother carefully pulled back the remaining husk on HIS ear of corn and began to systematically gnaw on it.

"Oh, really," the Drama King snorted. "Don't you think you should buy it dinner first?"

I don't think I have ever ever ever been able to look at an ear of corn again.

Nor could I go back to that restaurant after spewing barbecue sauce out of my nose.

We're classy like that.

[Continue reading...]

May 6, 2010

I Got a Dr. Pepper For My Birthday. . . And It Probably Changed My Life

Todd is one of a few bloggers I read who I actually knew in "real life" before I ever read anything they'd written. I worked with Todd at my favorite job at Borders Books, actually he was my boss, and I think he is pretty fabulous.

He currently lives in San Francisco and blogs at Iced Tea and Sarcasm. I love reading his points of view and seeing the items he shares because they're often things I wouldn't have found otherwise. If Todd still lived in Washington, I would want to hang out with him and have him be Sam and Danny's honorary gay uncle, because that position in their lives is very sadly left unfilled.

He obviously has it in for me, or he would not have written a post about birthdays and loving your Mom just as I'm emotional, hormonal, and about to have a baby.

***

I Got a Dr. Pepper For My Birthday. . . And It Probably Changed My Life

It was a dark and stormy birthday. Haven't you always wanted to start a piece of writing with "It was a dark and stormy. . . "? Actually, it was stormy, but it wasn't dark. It was white. And cold. Snow was general all over Missouri.

The winter of 1977-78 was one of the worst on record for Missouri. It was the coldest ever (average temperature of 24.3 degrees) and it had the most snow in a season (54.9 inches). I remember the snow falling and falling and the drifts growing and growing. Snow days were a common occurrence. Even if school had been in session, the bus wouldn't have been able to reach us. The blizzard had caught us all by surprise. And, as I eventually discovered, my mom was completely unprepared.

I turned eight that winter (which makes me 29 now in case you need help with the math, ahem). As you can imagine, January birthdays are rarely very easy--although my most recent birthday was in Kona, and I highly recommend Hawai'i in January. Nevertheless, I was used to having a snowy and icy celebration. That year, however, was different. We were stranded.

As a kid, I didn't really notice. It was a vacation for me: no school, plenty of television and food, Xmas gifts to play with, and the anticipation of an upcoming birthday. For my mom, though, the blizzard was a nightmare. She has never really cared for the snow, and this was SNOW! To top it off, the roads had been closed for so long that she had been unable to make it to the city to buy my birthday gift. I'm sure, in her mind, she felt like she had failed.

It's nearly impossible now to remember what I would have wanted for my eighth birthday: something made of NERF or some new Hot Wheels cars or a remote-controlled something or other. A boy can dream, can't he? In fact, as I look back at my last ten 29th birthdays, I can barely remember any specific gifts or where I spent those birthdays or with whom or what kind of cake I had. Birthdays just tend to blend all together.

But, my eighth birthday still stands out. Despite the blizzard and the snowed-in roads, my mom was determined to make it a full-fledged celebration. She talked my brother into letting her give me his electronic blackjack game. Then she found a Dr. Pepper that she had stashed away and wrapped it up for me. Yes, we were really snowed in: we were out of soda! Finally, she had an angel food cake mix and whipped that together.

I'm sure I knew the pickings were slim, but I don't remember it that way. I loved the game. I thought it was new. I thought it was mine. The Dr. Pepper was great, too. Mom confessed to me later that she had found the Dr. Pepper, but that just made it all the more valuable to me. The game, however, began to nag at me. I had seen my brother's game. I eventually recognized its keys and display (and wear and tear) in my game--my brother's game. So, I asked, and my mom answered. She told me the whole story. The game wasn't really mine after all.

It didn't matter. We would share. The birthday wasn't ruined and I could still play blackjack. And that Dr. Pepper sure tasted good. Today, though, it matters. I've forgotten many, many birthdays; but, this birthday that my mother struggled to make normal despite the hardship, this birthday that could have been an absolute disaster had we all taken it too seriously, I remember it clearly. My family treats it as a touchstone for birthdays: All we need is one another.

The best gift I received that year was this knowledge--and the story, of course. We tell and re-tell it every year. It defines us more than any present we can buy. So, while I hope you get to have that birthday in Kona some day, I also wish you a more challenging, more exciting birthday: a birthday to remember and measure all the others against. And, I want to thank my mom for everything: the memories, the love, and that Dr. Pepper. I love you, Mom.

[Continue reading...]

May 5, 2010

Birth Junkies Unite!

Today I'm excited to welcome a post written by Sheridan!

Sheridan Ripley is the author of the new book The Top Three Tips to Enjoy Your Birth. She is a proud VBAC mom of 3 busy boys, a Loving Lactivist, Hypnobabies Childbirth Educator, Hypno-Doula, Birth Video Editor, Positive Birth Story Collector and Birth Blogger.

Sheridan has too many (according to her kids) websites and blogs: Enjoy Birth (online and live classes), Pregnancy Birth and Babies (birth stories), Moms Deserve Medals, Birth Videos and Enjoy Birth Blog.


I have been enjoying lots of birth blogs lately... so parts of this may start hitting a little close to home! :-)

***
Am I a Birth Junkie?
Originally published July 2009


Well, yes I am. According to a lovely post by my “friend” Kathy. You might be a birth junkie, if…

Go read the whole list. SO funny.

Here are the ones that I could say, YES I do this.

  • if you blog about birth (more than just your own birth for historical purposes) or if your birth story is at least two pages long Both of these are true for me!

  • if you can say “vagina” in a sentence without blushing OF COURSE!
  • if when you’re discussing something related to birth, you receive those polite but puzzled looks… right before your conversation partner moves away YES
  • if you have birth-related artwork somewhere in your house (includes placenta pictures and belly casts, etc.) Belly Cast in my Closet

  • if you currently have or ever did have a placenta in your freezer No, but I have a bag of breastmilk, that I will probably never let thaw.

  • if you have ever consumed placenta No, but if I have another, I will encapsulate mine.

  • if you have a model of a pelvis, uterus, or some other female organ I got a Pelvis Model for my 36th Birthday.

  • if you always keep honey sticks on hand In my doula bag at all times!

  • if you’ve ever gone to the bookstore and hidden “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” (or some other similar non birth-junkie book) and replaced it with some pro natural-birth book Yes, and left my cards in some books too!

  • if other women get tired of telling you their birth stories before you get tired of hearing them YES!

  • if you have a library (or would love to acquire one) of birth-related books and videos Of course, I love having a valid excuse to buy birth books.

  • if you have 10 or more birth-related videos saved to your account on YouTube YES

  • if you appear on any YouTube (any internet) video talking about birth, in labor, or giving birth (picture montages count) YES

  • if at least half of the blogs you regularly read are birth-related There are other kinds?

  • if someone tells you she “had to have” a particular intervention and you can come up with several alternatives that were never mentioned to her (bonus points if she doesn’t get mad or defensive) Yes

  • if you refuse to play the “my birth was worse than your birth” game YES, but I do like to say, your next birth can be better and this is how.

  • if you feel like you know your fellow online birth junkies (even though you’ve never actually met them) better than you know some of your flesh-and-blood friends This is so true! I know it would be so fun to hang out together.

  • if ten or more of your Facebook friends (or other equivalent) are people you’ve never actually met but know them through birth-related functions (blogs, email lists, etc.) There are SO many I don’t “know” but we are “friends”.

  • if you’ve ever gone to a birth conference I LOVED the Trust Birth Conference

  • if someone tells you her baby is breech and you give her names (bonus points if you know phone numbers) of chiropractors skilled in the Webster technique or people who can perform moxibustion AND where to get the Turn Your Breech Baby Hypnosis CD

  • if you know what counterpressure is and how to apply it (bonus points if you’ve done it) BONUS POINTS!

  • if you know what a rebozo is (bonus points if you’ve used one) I know what one is and it has been used on me.

  • if you encourage your children, especially young children, to watch birth videos OH YEAH, get them while they are young!

  • if you can get hoarse from watching TV birth shows (like A Baby Story), because you’re yelling through the screen at the woman or her care providers I DO yell a lot, they do the craziest things, it makes me SO mad.

I am SO a Birth Junkie!

[Continue reading...]

May 4, 2010

Her Own Three Amigos

To kick off our month of birth/day themed stories, please welcome Shana from Utterances! Shana is one of my favorite bloggers, and someone I consider a friend. She makes me laugh and I'm always finding out new things we have in common! Don't forget to head over and check out her blog after you're done here, it's SO worth it!

***

I don't remember the day of my birth. It was a long time ago and I was pretty young.

I don't remember when my first brother (Bug) was born either. I was pretty young then too.

Barely two.

I've seen a few pictures.

Not of the births! Eww. Have you seen a baby being born?! It's not pretty.

I've seen pictures of my parents holding the cute little people that were myself and Bug.

So young, so innocent...my parents. Knowing so little about what they were doing to themselves...Having a brother so close in age, we got up to a lot of the same mischief. And having birthdays in the same month, we had a lot of joint birthday parties. What a pain. Birthday parties for one kid suck to put together...

I do remember my second brother's (Skeeter) birth. I remember wanting a sister. Badly. But no! Another brother...and he decides to be born when Mom was supposed to come with our Girl Scout troop and be in a parade!! That kid was just full of inconveniences from day one! I won't go into how my little heart melted when I went to the hospital and held him for the first time...I still hold that parade against him. Yes, he was a little cutie and I changed my first diapers with that kid. Okay, maybe having two little brothers would be okay.

Barely four years later, another baby on the way! Oh yeah, this time for sure I'm getting that sister! I can see it clearly. Putting her in dresses, giving her the finer points of Barbie ownership. And finally having things gender equal in the house!

Mom's water breaks. Woohoo! Off to Gramma and Grampa's house to await the arrival of my baby sister! I'm playing with some toys, occasionally giving a contemptuous glance to the two brothers. That's right. Soon, I will no longer be out numbered. You will be surrounded on both sides. One big sister to smack you up top and a little sister to get your ankles! Gramma gets the phone call. Here it comes! "You have a new baby...brother."

...

Things get a bit hazy. I think I went into a rage coma.

I do remember not being happy. At. All. Gramma tried to console me. Nope. Not having it. Dad showed up later to take us to the hospital and tried to console me. Nope. Not having it. I knew they were not going to have any more kids. Number four would be their last. Save your pity. I am alone...in a sea of urine. Because boys are icky and don't know how to aim those things!

I nurse my indignation...until I see the baby. He is so round (hence the nickname Charlie Brown) and beautiful and I love him DARNIT! My mom tells me that he will grow up and love me more than just a sister; I'll be like a second mommy. And with three younger brothers, it's like I have my own Three Amigos! Hey, I like that movie. And she was right. CB has told me more than once that he always considered me his second mom. I just love that kid.

Growing up with three younger brothers has been an unexpected blessing. I love them all very much and wouldn't trade them for anyone, not even a younger sister. At least I didn't have to share my makeup.

Although there was that one time...

I had to help him apply that lipstick.

[Continue reading...]

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