Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Birth Story

Tomorrow I am going to be at a conference to get certified to teach the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth. (!yay!) I will be gone for 3 nights and 4 days and stay in a hotel. Clark is coming with me. Tom will be joining us on Friday night. Because I won't be posting anything during that time, I wanted to share our Birth Story. Here you go in all of its glory and detail. I hope you enjoy it. I did.
Love, V

When I was 12 and got my first period, I was really excited because it meant that one day, I could make a baby. I knew that I had to find the right man to be my husband and make a baby with, but one day, it would happen.

Well, I found that man, got married in January 2006 and was ready. He wasn't. So we waited and waited until June 2008, when we finally made our baby.

I was pregnant! The hormones in my body were making two germ cells meet to make a single cell divide into a ball into a little grain of rice grow into a bean into a baby. They were also making me totally insane.

Well, we were thrilled! Since the baby was a grain of rice during our first ultrasound, AND since we are pretty sure we conceived the baby after a crawfish boil, AND it was due on Mardi Gras day, AND I'm from Louisiana we started calling the baby, "Gumbo".

I wasn't morning sick, I didn't have trouble with my balance, I didn't have many of the problems I hear other preggos talking about, but I did have crazy hormones which always made me feel on the edge of crazy or falling off the crazy cliff. They settled down into the 4th month, but already, being pregnant sucked. I had always wanted to be pregnant, ever since I could get pregnant and it was disappointing to me that I hated it and it was ruining my life.

I would come home from work, get a bowl of ice cream, sit in the tub and cry. I longed for the day I could give my husband the woman he married, not the emotional nutjob who ate lots of dairy and took too many baths. BUT I knew I had to stick it out and one day I would have my very own baby.

I had seen my sister in law give birth with Birth Care in February 2008 (Regina as midwife and Lori as her birth assistant). She had bad back labor and did not sound happy the entire time. I decided I would be knocked unconscious whenever I got around to having a baby. Suddenly I'm pregnant and I actually need to make that decision. My sister in law gave me a book, “Baby Catcher” which planted seeds of a home birth. I cried 8 times while watching, “The Business of Being Born” and then knew I was terrified, but thought I could do it. I could have a natural childbirth. We signed up for Bradley classes. I have a degree in public health and we did tons of research. We found that having a midwife assisted birth was safer than a hospital birth, so our decision was made: a Midwife Assisted Home Birth!

I had crazy braxton hicks contractions starting around Thanksgiving. I would contract for 4 hours straight. I thought, hey its just practice and maybe the baby will come early. We practiced relaxation rarely, but knew it was important. I relaxed with music, in the tub and held my husband while pretending to go through labor. I practiced squatting. As often as possible, I didn't do Kegels, pelvic rocks and whatever else we were supposed to do as much as I should have. Midwife Alice told me not to eat so much protein (the recommended 80-100 grams daily) if I didn't want to gain 100 lbs. I did eat less protien, but still gained 50 pounds. It was probably the long baths with Ben and Jerry...

We were ready for our Bradley prepared, Birth Care midwife watched, Birth Partner associates assisted home birth at 36 weeks, as instructed. Nothing happened.....

38 weeks, contractions while hiking~!!!!!!!!!! nothing.... I made a 12 hour long labor playlist on my ipod.... nothing.... nothing..... Chinese food..... nothing.....

40 weeks and due, .... nothing....we pray for the perfect team to arrive when I do go into labor.... nothing... I up the spicy food intake.... nothing... nothing....

41 weeks and ultrasound... plenty of room for the baby to frolick in. great..... nothing... I'm tired of trying to get the baby to come.... nothing..... I play Dance Dance Revolution..... nothing.....

2 days before my Cervidil induction at the birth center, I took castor oil... contractions commenced..... 12 hours of labor on a birth ball in the living room while hubby slept... they died down... nothing but a clean colon to show for my efforts and a night of missed sleep...

We give up. We will be induced Sunday. I beg my husband to stay home from work. We nap all day. We go to the movies Friday night. Not hungry due to the castor oil pain, but wanting some salt, I eat only popcorn for dinner. While watching "Watchmen" the contractions start again. Hubby thinks the movie is good, I don't really remember because I wasn't really paying attention...

Walking back to the car, I need to lean on Tom for support. The contractions really start up at about 8-9:30 pm that night. We take a walk around the block and I lean on him. We decided we would try to sleep and see if this was the real thing. We sleep in the downstairs bedroom so I don't have to walk the stairs if it picks up. At midnight we called the Birth Center for the midwife on duty. Regina called back and told us to let her know if the contractions became closer and more regular. They did. We tried to sleep, Tom rubbed my back, but kept falling asleep. At 3am, I demanded, “Stop falling asleep, I need you!” we called Regina again and she came at about 4 am Saturday morning. I started my 12 hour labor playlist in the ihome.

I was standing in the kitchen when she got there, moaning through contractions. She encouraged me to sit, but all of my Bradley training said, “Stand!” “Walk!!” so I kept trying to have the baby. I really hated being pregnant and I wanted it to be over!!! If walking made the baby come faster, then I was going to walk. Contractions continued and I labored hard with Tom's support. Audrey was called by Regina at about 6:30 am and she came over within 2 hours. Audrey had just finished her shift at the hospital and I felt bad for having another birth to attend. We labored and labored. Walking helped. I could moan and wiggle through the contractions. Audrey tried to help me sit or kneel or do anything but stand too, but I kept standing and walking. I tried the tub, but kept falling asleep between contractions and knew it was slowing the labor down. So I did more walking. I drank Dr. Pepper and Orange Soda (with caffeine).. I wasn't hungry. Maybe I was hungry.... I was scared of throwing up and didn't want to poo in labor. I kept telling myself I'd eat later. I dreamed of Mexican food and not being pregnant.

I have to say, I was disappointed when I heard my 12 hour playlist restart. I couldn't believe it had already been 12 hours. I felt bad for Regina and Audrey because they had been there awhile already. I was anxious to get un-pregnant!!!

My contractions kept coming and they weren't as horrible as I thought they would be. I didn't have back labor, so the time between contractions was peaceful and gave me a chance to rest. I took the contractions one at a time. A wave washed over me. I held Tom's hand, or if standing, hung around his neck while he gently rubbed my neck and told me I was doing great. The worst contractions happened when he took a break one time. When he came back I told him never to leave me again. He asked, “I didn't think I wouldn't get a break,” and I told him, “I don't get a break” so he stayed by my side.

I was almost 2 weeks late, and my mother was scheduled to arrive that day. She said she was afraid to see me give birth, she didn't want to see me in pain or hurt and is generally an excitably nervous person, so I was trying to have the baby before she came. Well, she was dropped off by my sister in law at the regularly scheduled time. Suddenly it wasn't just Tom and me and Regina and Audrey anymore, my sister in law and mother were there too! When my mom arrived, Tom showed her how to help and then she took over for about an hour. He took a nap and got recharged.

Things slowed down and slackened, but picked back up again. By about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, we knew the baby was going to come that day, but we didn't know when. We walked around our backyard, for 20 strong contractions. I pinned Tom to the fence, the side of the house, a tree. He said encouraging things, he sang to me. I stopped moaning through contractions, it was making my throat dry. I breathed out slowly. I did nothing that required extra energy. I was in the zone. I started feeling CRAZY powerful. Each contraction was awesome in its power. I was shaking with adrenaline. I felt like I could throw a car down the street. I was the Incredible Hulk and going through an amazing transformation. It was transition. I was fully dilated and it was time.

We went back into the house, it was 24 hours since my labor began, I had stood up or walked the entire time. I hadn't eaten, I had taken Castor Oil the day before and all I had for dinner was popcorn. I was tired. Instead of squatting as planned, I lay on my back and rested between contractions. Audrey coached me for every push. Once she went to the rest room or something and wasn't there. I didn't push as well, so when she came back I asked her to coach me for every push. Regina put the warm compress on my perineum and told me where to focus the pushing. My mother put a cool wash cloth on my forehead and gave me sips of drink from the spoon. Tom held my hand and the mirror and supported me. My sister in law held my foot and said encouraging things. The perfect team was assembled just as we prayed for.

After a million pushes, each one stronger than the last, each one harder than the one before it, each one mighty, powerful and squeaking my baby's head forward in the birth canal, finally, my pregnancy ended!!!!!!!!!!!!! My son was born.

He cried right away and was placed on my chest. In the pictures I look very happy. I was happy, but mostly that it was all over and I wasn't pregnant anymore and I didn't have to be in labor anymore.

I had another push and the placenta was out. Tom cut the cord and Clark was free of my body, he was on his own. Then I remember they were cleaning my outer thigh and telling me I was getting a shot of pitocin. I remember thinking, “Oh, I must have a hemorrhage for them to do that.” They cleaned my other leg and I got a shot of something else. They said, “Get the baby on the breast.” So my sister in law, an expert breastfeeder herself, attached my baby to my breast and somebody put the breast pump on the other side. The midwife massaged my uterus, saying it was going to hurt, but I didn't feel anything.

I was very tired and suddenly it was just me, Regina and Audrey in the room. Everyone else had cleared out, gone to get the baby dressed or something. I asked if I could go to sleep now and they told me, “No, we need to make sure you won't pass out first.” So I waited. I was really tired. I was also really happy to think that my husband was spending so much precious time with our new baby. I stayed awake for Regina and Audrey. I was happy that I wasn't pregnant anymore and the labor was over. I was shocked to hear that it was 9:35 when I had the baby! It was still daylight when I was outside feeling like the Incredible Hulk!

After they were assured I wouldn't pass out and I was all stitched up, they weighed the baby. My son was 9lbs, 6oz and came out with a compound presentation. The little bugger came out with his hand near his face, which probably made it take longer than it should have otherwise.

I asked my sister in law if she could get us some Mexican food. She called her husband who brought us some Taco Bell (it was 11pm or later...) I ate a few tacos and finally got to sleep. They would bring the baby to me to feed him and I would sleep some more. I was so happy to know that he was being taken care of by my mom and Tom.

In English, we say “give birth”. Birth is a sanskrit word meaning, “coming to life” but the word birth really doesn't describe much otherwise. In Spanish, they say, “da la luz” which directly translates to English. means to “give the light”. Which describes EVERYTHING. Giving birth is amazing, bringing forth life and holding it in your arms is amazing.

After Clark was born, we were overwhelmed with happiness. The depths of love that we know now are growing and growing. It is so amazing to have a child. I can't believe that we didn't know this type of love before now. So many people would say, "your life will never be the same". They said it ominously, but we now know our lives will never be the same – because of Love, and it is such a good thing to know.

Laughter is the best medicine.

This boy LOVES laughing. Here are two videos of his noise. I'm sorry the video is always so bad, the digital camera doesn't do well unless ther eis lots of light, and there never is... We have a video camera, but I don't know how to connect it to the computer. and I also can't find the battery charger... =( Here is Clark's crazy laugh. The "I'm gonna throw up from laughing too hard" laugh.
Here is Clark's new laugh. The "little kid chuckle". He does this when he is playing by himself and highly amused too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who would have thought that apples were so sour?

Well, Clark does! He's been eating lately. He will actally open his mouth and take a spoon of food now! Before I felt like I was force feeding him just to get one bite in!
I'm very thankful that he will actually receive food now. It makes my job tons easier. One thing he really likes is Ezekial bread. I'm not sure yet about the applesause!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grrrr, I'm strong!

Amazing things have been happening around here in the past couple of weeks. Clark has grown so much. When Nana and Grampa were here, Clark was just taking his first crawling steps. Today, I left Clark in the middle of the floor and went into his closet to get some clothes for him. He crawled after me! A few weeks ago, Clark would pull up using our help. Today he can crawl over to a toy and pull up on it most of the time. Two days ago, Tom was saying "Say da da, Say da da" and Clark said "da" very clearly. Tom did it again, and we had another "da" from Clark. These are amazing days.

He got his fourth tooth last week. He can crawl, he can pull up, he said, "da".

We had Josh and Ashley and John Paul over for dinner last weekend and Clark watched John Paul (now 10 mos) crawl around, pull up and be walked around the room. Clark was inspired and can now do those things too (not as well, but he was inspired!)
Now Clark loves being walked around the room! We got a very dangerous walker for him to push around. He is wary of it, but can get it going and practice walking. Tom and I hover to catch him when he is doing it and as a result both of us have achy backs!

The other results of all of these advances are:
Dirt and grass stains!

And bumps and bruises like his first shiner here.

He falls alot and we aren't always there to catch him. He is a trooper though, and cries for a minute then tries again. It is nice to see him so determined. He is really inspiring to me. He has goals and sets out to do them. He doesn't give up.

Other things he can do now are: thumb-finger pincher grasp things, bang things together, he pants when excited (like Sophia used to do!)

Things he likes: blueberries mixed with rice cereal, being thrown into the air, being walked around the room, being surprised (extreme peak-a-boo).

Things he doesn't like: When the water turns on in the bathtub, this is terrifying. And vacuuming and the blow dryer terrify him sometimes, but not all of the time. If I watch him while doing these things then I think it makes him feel less afraid of them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Action man (kind of)

In addition to the baby steps in crawling, he got his 4th tooth last week. It is hard for us to capture him crawling, because any time he does it long enough for awesome video, we are too slow. anytime we hope he does it, he doesnt really. this little video shows kinda what he normally does, crawl - splat - reach - sit - crawl - splat - reach little crawl
He's just cute... =)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Clark's Baptism

We finally got some pictures from Clark's baptism! Here are the ones that Tom's Chiropractor took.
Here's the group shot of almost everyone who attended the baptism.

Here are the baptism boys! I say that because Clark had his scheduled baptism that morning, and dad had an impromptu one that evening at our house!

Clark's Godparents are Josh and Ashley, their son is John Paul. In this picture are also my parents, us, and the celbrant of the baptism, Deacon Frank Salatto.
This photo was taken in the area where they do baptisms without lots of guests, we had lots so we had the altar set up for us. You will see in later photos.

Here's Clark dying to himself in the water's of baptism.

And here he is, reborn into a life of Christ!

Ashley clothes him in his new white garmet.

Josh carries the light of Christ!

We sing, "Come to the water" to celebrate his new life!

One big, happy, Christian family!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween and other cuteness

Here's a whirlwind of cuteness.

Clark as a Skeleton and Bernadette as a Pumpkin. I babysit Bernadette sometimes during the week. Tom's parents were also visiting and those are their legs and faces in the background.

Now he is a fireman!

Now he is with Uncle Phil. He came to visit about a week after we were in Chicago and a few days before Tom's parents were here.

It's my kind of town, Chicago is!

In mid-October, Tom went to Chicago for the Neuroscience conference. I met him out there after a day and flew home a day before he did. Therefore, Tom got TWO NIGHTS of BABY FREE SLEEP! Good for him! We had a great time. This is the overview of what we did and who we saw!
The first night I was there, our family met up with Clark's Uncle James and Tom's Uncle Phil. We ate at a nice restaurant in the Hilton Hotel. Back in the hotel room we took a photo. Our legs were too big, and I don't really know how to photo-edit, so you get this framed photo of our hotel room and the attendees at dinner.

On Sunday, Tom joined us to go to the Shedd Aquarium. This is the view of the city from the aquarium.

I love aquariums, and am so happy that Clark loved it too! He couldn't keep his eyes off of the fish!

Readers who knew me from my San Diego days will know that I love sting rays. They had some really pretty ones there. Here's one!

On Monday, Clark and I went to the Chicago Historical Museum. It is definitely a good place to go if you like history and are looking for a good experience. It is a very fun and interesting museum.
Here Clark poses as a Chicago hot dog! Pickle, tomato, onions, relish, mustard and baby make a tasty treat!

Here Clark drools on one of the ancient, antique and original L trains built for the Columbia Exposition!

On Tuesday, Clark slept in the stroller and I walked a million miles over the city. On the magnificent mile, I encountered the Water tower.

The Hancock Building

After the mega morning walk, we went to the International Museum of Surgical Sciences. I took lots of pictures there, but none that I think you'll be interested in. I liked it though.

Later Tuesday afternoon, we went to the Adler Planetarium, because I just hadn't walked far enough that day! (All in all, I walked about 6 miles for each day I was in the city). Here is a picture of me. I got my hair cut on Sunday morning in Chicago and don't really like the result. But here is a photo of us in a chair.

The planetarium is interactive and would be fun when Clark cares about things. I don't. When I got there and realized it was all about planets and the Mars rover, I realized it was a mistake for me to go there thinking I would find something interesting to do. I was thinking we could watch a movie about how to find the stars. Unfortunately you have to pay extra for the movies, so instead we wandered about....
Clark in his sexy, planet model pose.

I guess the best part of going to the planetarium is the city view. So here it is for you to enjoy.

It wasn't all walking, touring, and museuming. We spent lots of time hanging out in the hotel room too. Clark kicked back and relaxed in his own baby way. Here he is looking naked, but definitely wearing a diaper!