Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mountaineering: A Pictorial Review

It seems as though I don't post any pictures any longer.  I've just been lazy.  This is a pictorial review of what are life looks like since we moved to the mountains in September.  These pictures truly illustrate the "why" behind our move.  Our boys' lives are full of ingenuity and newness everyday.  Boys need sticks and rocks and trees.
 T-Bird has become a master at catching critters.  It took him a few days to be able to catch lizards at will, but he has it down pat now.







 Professor X is illustrating how low the Air Force jet was when it flew over.  The Air Force uses these mountains and valleys for training.  One minute peaceful and the next there is a jet or plane so close overhead it seems you could touch it.  My boys love it.

 The kids come into my room every morning and we open the window to watch the sun rise.  I treasure these morning moments with them.
 Hoot giving an Air Force account.

Lots of hiking.





 Lady Bug's favorite meal...rocks...

 Mountain Baby.
It happens.

Lots of teepee making.



Hoot found a "skateboard".




It snew!  {past tense for snow.  use it.  enjoy it.  snew!}
 Despite seeing elk nearly always, we are still easily impressed by them.

 Snow baby with a fresh cut from jumping off the counter and landing into the table.  Gag.  That's a story for another time.




Building their first fire at our Red House for s'mores and hot dogs.  The snow had already melted on this side of the mountain.
Blurry picture, but they were making torches.
This is why I get little blogging done.  Lady Bug sits on my desk and types away with me.  I call her my little bird.
Shoveling snow ONTO the walk.  Seriousl, kid?
Our snow lasted for over a week!  Fun start to December!


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Alaina's Birth. A Home Birth. Our Story.

Well, after a year and 3 days I'm finally writing Alaina's birth story.  At first, I wanted to keep it to myself.  I would tell you our story, but I wasn't ready to write it.  Then it became a time thing. Then an I need to edit and enhance my photos thing.  Then an energy thing.  Then an Alaina won't stay off my hip or out of my lap thing.  So, here it is.  Perhaps not as refined as I would have liked and still no photo editing, but it is finally here.

Let's get to the warning:
**Warning:  This post is about the labor and birth of a baby.  After careful thought, I have decided to post all the details of our day.  All pictures should be okay by every one's standards but we did have a couple of pieces of conversation that may offend some and is not of the usual content here.  Read at your own risk and do not judge.****Next warning:  This is our story, please be kind.  Every woman's birth story is amazing whether birthed at home naturally, in the hospital or through your nose.  Just enjoy our journey as we did.**

Alaina's birth was to be our fourth delivery.  Previously, we had our babies in the hospital, however we were lead down another path with this baby.  A path that was unfamiliar to us but it was also somehow a welcome, comfortable path.  A home birth.  I had expected to be terrified to have my baby at home, but the moment came and fear never even entered into my being.  I attribute this to educating myself by devouring everything out there about birth and lots of prayer.  {Click HERE to read about why we chose home birth}

Around 3 a.m. that Thursday morning, I was awakened by a wet feeling.  I knew immediately that familiar sensation--I was loosing my mucous plug--the signal for me as in my two previous labors that baby was arriving that day.

I gave Brett a nudge to give him a heads up of what his day was going to look like.  As much as I wanted to rest, I could not.  I took my pillows and headed to the living room and watched a movie with my rump in the air and swaying my hips through the mild contractions.  I was hoping early labor would stretch out a bit.  I had some ducks to get in a row.

My mind was a little overwhelmed.  My friends who were taking the boys during labor said Thursday was a bad day for them.  I called my midwife at 8 a.m. and asked if she had anything special going on for the day and she said, "Uh, I do now" and we both laughed.  She had some massages scheduled and let me know to call her when I was ready and she would go forward with them unless notified.

Brett went on to work.  I reached my friends and we worked out a plan for the boys.  My contractions seemed to regulate a bit more.  I did laundry and vacuumed.  My midwife called to check in on me off and on.  Around 10 a.m. I called Brett to ask him to come home.  I didn't want to be alone.  He was slightly thrilled that I called him home.  I was laying down when he came in and said, "So, what?  You wanna have sex?"  And then we both laughed hysterically.  {Perhaps that's not funny to anyone else, but it was extremely funny to us}

He went on and gathered the boys.  They began putting up the birthing tub and filling it.  Boys, men--they need a project and this was a perfect way for them to be involved.  Tristan, Alex and Isaac finished helping and then we fed everyone lunch.  By this time my contractions were mostly gone.  Maybe one every 15 or 20 minutes and were just twinges.  I think this was my body, my mind preventing full labor.  I wasn't ready.  The boys were still there, my mom couldn't leave work yet and my midwife had massages {that she would have left, but that I wanted her to be able to finish}.  I was also reeeeaaallly excited.  I think all that helped slow things down.

My very loved friend and new midwife apprentice, Dana, offered to come by and sit with me if I wanted her to do so.  She came in just as my friends, Pete and Jill, came to get the boys for an afternoon of fun.  Okay, the boys were off, so let's have a baby!  Except, where did my contractions go?  I told Dana how they were tapering off then mentioned my husband's crude humor when he came home from work.  We laughed and then she said, "You know, that's not a bad idea."  After a bit of discussing the benefits, we decided to give it a try.  She said she had to run some errands and would be back later.  To call if we needed anything.  I went to Brett and told him I had decided to take him up on his previous offer.  He was shocked but willing.

I am telling you.  As soon as our time together was over, I went to the bathroom, sat down and began having contractions.  I said, "Um, Brett, call everyone, I've just had 3 contractions back to back.  And by contractions, I mean contractions."

This was around 3 p.m.  Brett was in the kitchen tooling around doing this and that to make life more comfortable for me.  I slipped into the birthing tub and was just enjoying this time alone with my husband.  He had Jack Johnson's Brushfire Fairytales on for me and had tied a pillow case with an ice pack to the handle on the pool to make it easy for me to grab if I needed it.  He had my water and a bowl in case I needed to throw up ready.  It was such a sweet time of us just hanging out being together.  Him and me and a baby on the way.  We had a time of prayer together, to pray in agreement.  Precious.
Yes, I gave birth in my kids "schoolroom".  
My midwife and her apprentice arrived around 3:30.  She checked me and I was at a 6!!  A 6!  I have never been at a 6 without an epidural!  Are you kidding me?  I was in a pool of water laughing and enjoying all that was going on, never dreaming I was at a 6!  I was having difficulty regulating my breathing through contractions and my midwife's apprentice helped me and then we were good again.  My mom arrived shortly after.  Okay, now we really can have a baby!

I stayed in a knee-lean over the side position while swaying my hips the whole time.  That was what was comfortable to me so that's what I did.  My focus stayed on keeping everything open down low and not tightening up.  {I'll go ahead and say it, I did awesome where this was concerned.  Much to my surprise.}  I kept my sounds low except for at one point I let out a little shriek and my midwife gently said, "Ah, keep it low."  And we were back on track again.

Here and there I would take a sip of water or a crunch of ice.  My midwife walked over to me, cut a slice of apple and gave it to me.  My midwife and her apprentice sat at my kitchen table, took notes ate some lasagna and chicken pot pie from my fridge, whispered occasionally.  Everyone was just kind of hanging out letting me do my thing.

Around 4:30 p.m. my contractions became intense.  I felt out of sorts, like I was not in control.  They were just so strong and difficult.  I let my midwife know that I thought I was loosing my grip on this, and she said I was fine to just go with it.  I let out a hearty "Argh" and the room erupted in laughter.  In my attempt not to curse, I ended up sounding like a pirate.  During this time, Brett is applying hot packs from the crock pot to my low back while pressing really hard.  {I had bruises the next day and he was so upset, but I asked him and needed him to press that hard}  Dana was running her hands over my shoulders and neck while I held my mom's hand.
This is my midwife and Brett serving me.

Dana and Mom.  Me with my head on my ice pack pillow case.

The Forehead Press

I started feeling really nauseated around 4:50 and my midwife gave my a homeopathic something to hold under my tongue and it helped greatly.  My labor intensified and my moans became louder.  It's at this point that the world around me disappeared.  In my mind it was just Brett and me.  I pressed my head into his and he was awesome.  It's like he knew I needed him to press back with equal measure.  I would bite his shirt and pull backwards through contractions.  I was hoping I was not biting him but also didn't have the extra resolve to care if I was or not.  He was just there for me, letting me use him.  Gosh, I love that guy.

I did not want to curse in my labor.  But, oh my goodness, how I wanted to.  I had my head down and looked up to see Dana's face.  "DANA, DANA"  I said in the most low and gutteral, horrible way.  And with each Dana, she said in such a sweet way, "Yes?"  "Yes."  Oh, nothing.  Just saying your name...and loosing it a bit.

Just when the contractions got so intense I thought that I would break, they would release me.  My midwife only checked me twice.  Once when I was a 6 and again at 8.  She said I would be pushing soon.  I know she was monitoring me, my sounds, my movements--it was just neat to have that kind of care and observance.

I said I felt like pushing.  My midwife said to give it a go.  "But what if I'm not fully dilated?"  She said, "Give a tiny push, if it hurts stop and don't do it again for a while."  I gave a push and it felt good.  I had prayed for my water to stay intact until the last.  I had been giving little pushes and then felt my water break.  I told the room it just happened.  My midwife's apprentice said, "Are you sure?  That's the cleanest water I've seen.  Oh, yep, it did break."  {somehow I have a sense of pride about having the cleanest water she'd ever seen--haha}  The lights were low and they had these little flashlights in the water.  Being late fall, the sun sets around 5:30.  We were just after 5 p.m.

I was so concerned about pausing and letting the baby be born slowly, I had even asked for them to remind me.  I gave a good push and Alaina's head began to peep and with one more push the baby's head and rest of the body was in the water!  What?  I had intended to flip over to catch my baby.  This kid just swam out. And truly, that's what it felt like.  One moment I was full and pushing, the next a sweet relief washed over me.  The baby was out.  Alaina Corrine was born at 5:23 p.m.
Sweet relief, yet a grimace from the after birth contractions

Laughing at my snorting baby girl.
I love this picture.  Because I know my husband and was there, I know he's teary {like all our baby births}, I'm explaining I'm happy but distracted by the annoying after birth contractions still, and Dana is laughing and enjoying it all.

The towels had just been put in to warm and now they were being taken out just seconds after being put in.  This girl wanted out.  I flipped over and held my baby.  She was so alert, raised her little head and starting snorting and sucking her hand.  I was trying to concentrate on her preciousness, but I was having difficult contractions leading up to the placenta being expelled.  We waited for around 30 minutes for that thing.  I was in a lot of pain.  These type of contractions are annoying.  They hurt and don't give a baby.  It's the placenta.  Important.  But annoying.  My midwife finally gave me another homeopathic something and moments later my placenta was out.  We delayed cord clamping of course.

Once all that was taken care of, we were off to bed to transition and then Alaina and I enjoyed a bath together.  Well, I enjoyed it.  She wanted to nurse and could care less about our herbal bath.




Baby inspection.

My best friend with my baby.

Dana did mention that when I said her name as I did that she knew I was really cussing.  Well, ya, I guess so.  But what are best friends for?

Shortly afterward, we called for the boys to come home.  They walked in knowing we had a girl and not liking it.  Then seeing her, they became hers forever.  My sweet family.  All together.






That's our Laina Baby Story.

The hardest and easiest thing I've ever done in my life.
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