Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Five Breastfeeding Journeys

After having five babies I have some experience under my belt in regard to breastfeeding. It has not been an easy road. Breastfeeding my babies (or trying to anyway) has been filled with many, many tears and much guilt. The guilt came when I chose formula and essentially gave up trying to breastfeed Elaina and then Abigail (my two oldest daughters, who are perfectly healthy 8 and 6 year-olds, respectfully). This is long but summarizes each breastfeeding relationship with my children.

When I had Elaina, my first baby, I had her the typical Westernized way. In a hospital, with a whole team of strangers staring at my goods as she was forced into the world since I couldn't feel to push with my epidural. The first hands and arms to hold her were not mine and they were not her daddy's arms either. There was meconium in the water when the OB broke my water just a few hours earlier so they got her out, immediately clamped and cut the cord and took her across the room to deep-suction her and do who-knows-what-else to her as I lay helplessly in the glaring light of the delivery room, legs spread wide and feeling vulnerable, emotional and exposed and fighting to see over everyone's heads to get a glimpse of my daughter. My husband had been shoved out of the way by nurses who bustled about and were emotionless about the most amazing thing that had just happened to my life. (There was no emergency, btw.)

When they finally brought Elaina to me I held her so gently. I remember she was not swaddled or dressed yet as I distinctly remember feeling the squishy, cold, still-soft umbilical cord against my own flesh. She calmed immediately against my chest and blew bubbles, her little eyes swollen and red-rimmed.

I timidly tried to breastfeed her. I had no idea what I was doing, it felt so foreign and I was so nervous. I forgot everything from my breastfeeding class, there was no lactation consultant available on the weekend and the nurses were not trained to help new mothers with breastfeeding (this is a very sad and common thing but I know many places are trying to change that!). I ended up with open, bleeding sores. I was in so much pain and all the nurses would do is shove my baby at my breast and hold her there as she screamed into my bosom, then shrug and say "Keep trying!" before walking out. Thinking my new baby was starving I asked for those little premade formula bottles. By the time Monday rolled around and the lactation consultant visited me I needed wound dressings on my n*pples.

Turns out it was a very, very poor latch. She was suckling on just the n*pple. I had no idea that was wrong. And in retrospect I wonder if she may have had a tongue-tie because even with bottles it took her an hour to drink them for many months.

I tried to breastfeed Elaina for two weeks before I got a cheap, manual breastpump that I couldn't really afford. I was so desperate to breastfeed her. I stopped trying to put her at the breast and I pumped for the next two weeks. By the time she was a month old she was exclusively formula fed (I got on WIC).

I won't lie and say it was a completely terrible and bad thing. I felt tremendous guilt BUT those first bottles were the calmest moments with her. We finally both stopped crying and I just gazed at her. She had been so miserable and just screamed and screamed at the breast. I'd give her a bottle and all would be calm and I could actually just take in my new baby and I could see she was fed and full. Despite that I still felt guilt. I had nothing against formula or bottles. I just really, really had a personal desire to breastfeed my baby and felt like a failure when I didn't find the support nor get the proper education.

When my second baby girl came around I felt a little more prepared and a lot more determined. I didn't nurse her right away and I held her very, very briefly right after she was born. She would not stop screaming and screaming. It sounded so different from a typical newborn cry and I kind of freaked out, not sure what was going on. On top of that I was so nauseous from the Pitocin, epidural, having had no food for hours, etc. that I passed my baby off to a nurse for fear of dropping her or vomiting on her. So after an initial "Hello" to my new baby a nurse whisked Abigail off to the sink to wash her up. Abigail spent some time on the warming bed after that as I still fought the terrible nausea.

After the nurse finally gave me an anti-nausea medication I was ready to hold my new baby. We were rolled out to another ward of the hospital for postpartum recovery, rather than staying in the same room the entire time, as I had done with Elaina. Alone in my recovery room Abigail latched on immediately, even on my one side that is flat, much to my surprise. I thought, "Hey, wow, I got this!" But then it started to hurt. It had been hammered into my brain, "If it hurts the baby has an improper latch". I cannot even begin to tell you how untrue that statement is for some mommas. Abigail was born at the same exact hospital and on the same exact day of the week as Elaina (Saturday) so there was no LC until Monday. I fretted and freaked that I was doing something wrong. There were no wounds or sores, just extreme tenderness.

Then, the day after she was born, I found out my Abigail's collarbone was broken (from birth). I held her like she was spun glass. My poor angel was hurting and I felt like I was holding her all wrong. There is nothing that they do for broken clavicles. You just let it heal, no bandages. It explains why she cried as she did after she was born. I still cannot think about her birth without feeling such sadness for her pain and extreme anger for the one responsible for unnecessarily harming her (she was not stuck - the OB was impatient and I know this from witness accounts and from the medical notes from Abbie's birth).

I bawled my eyes out that night, alone in that room, as Daniel had gone home to be with Elaina. I remember how I felt that night and I just hate that feeling. I don't like recalling that.

Someone finally brought me a n*ipple shield since I was so concerned and upset about the tenderness when Abigail latched on. That thing became my nemesis. While it did allow Abigail to nurse (for two months, yay!) I also knew it was meant to be a temporary device and so I ditched it and started getting formula. I held out for as long as I could with that shield, tried weaning Abigail off of it to no avail, before finally giving up. The guilt I felt this time was worse because my baby had had a birth injury and I wanted to give her as much breastmilk as I could, even if it hurt me or inconvenienced me.

I have to mention here that it never once occurred to me with these two first babies that I could PUMP and bottle-feed if I had wanted to! I thought it was breast OR formula. Oh how naive and uninformed I was!

There is much I regret about Abigail's birth and our breastfeeding start. I shouldn't have asked the OB to come in that wasn't on-call. Turns out the actual doc on-call, even though his bedside manner stinks, is very supportive and gentle during delivery. And of course I kicked myself over and over again that Abigail DID, in fact, have a good latch and could have been a perfect little breastfeeder if I had stuck with it rather than freaking out at the first twinge of tenderness that first day.

By the time I was pregnant with Zoe I was beyond determined to do everything absolutely and totally differently than with my two oldest. I was bulldogged and determined to skip the epidural, to not be treated like a piece of meat on a cold slab at MY baby's birth and to breastfeed as long as I wanted.

This time I set mini-goals (make it to two weeks postpartum, then four weeks, then six weeks, then three months, etc.). This time I read breastfeeding books. This time I had Internet and a whole wealth of information and knowledge right at my fingertips. This time I had ZERO bottles or cans of formula in my house to tempt me to give up and go the easier route.

I had my third baby girl in a different hospital, with a midwife who supported my choice of least intervention. Zoe was birthed by my own pushing rather than someone pulling her out, brought right up to my chest and stayed there for a good, long while. She let us know she was not the least bit happy about being disturbed from her little nest in my womb, showing off her spunk early on.

The hospital was hopping with pregnant women so we were very, very quickly whisked away to the postpartum ward so another laboring mother could have the delivery room. I set out to breastfeed my baby once settled into the new room.

The tenderness that I anticipated was there. Her latch could use serious improvement. And for the next 17-months of her life I gritted my teeth and bore through a terrible latch that I could never help her correct, tried as I might at every single solitary feeding. I was determined my baby would be exclusively breastfed. And she was, despite my discomfort. The tenderness that I endured was not the same as when my eldest gave me open, bleeding sores. Instead it almost felt like burning, like a permanent sunburn. No wounds or bleeding, just tenderness for months on end. (It wasn't thrush either. It was most definitely her latch!)

I was still breastfeeding Zoe when I got pregnant with Judah. Pregnancy can dry you up and change what little milk is left pretty quick. Being dry when someone is breastfeeding hurts in a different way. It's like nails on a chalkboard. So at 17-months-old we mutually weaned. And I had a little respite from breastfeeding before Judah was born.

Judah was my birth center baby. The days of having babies in hospitals is behind me (unless serious need should arise). My baby boy was birthed into his daddy's hands. He stayed on my chest, skin-to-skin for a good, long while. He was pretty calm but the midwife rubbed him up good to get him to cry. But he was so uninterested in breastfeeding. I figured he was exhausted from birth. He'd kind of just sit there at the breast and not do anything that first night.

Judah was what I would call a "lazy nurser". I don't mean that in a mean way. It's just the term used to describe a baby who just doesn't really want to work all that hard at breastfeeding. He'd latch on, pull off, fuss, latch back on, pull off, fuss more... over... and over... and over again. Then give up and decide he wasn't going to wake up and take the breast for anything. Eventually he grew out of that and only did it on some occasions. Drove me batty! When you are full of milk you need baby to get it out!!!

I also had the same tenderness as before in the first days of nursing, as expected. And the uterine cramps that accompanied nursing those first postpartum days were so severe that I'd have to unlatch him, set him down and curl up in a tearful ball before resuming.

His latch and nursing improved over time, unlike Miss Zoe. That was great but it did take much effort! I breastfed Judah for about 14 months before I, again, became pregnant and it got to the point where nothing was coming out so we weaned.

Almost 3 weeks ago my fifth baby was born at home, into my own hands, in the water. His labor was my hardest but his entry and thereafter the calmest. Silas was so calm and serene in the birth tub those first moments. He didn't cry. He just kept trying to blink open his vernix-covered eyes to look around and rested against me as I gently poured water over the towel that was now covering him to help keep him warm. After the placenta was birthed, the cord was cut long after it stopped pulsing and I was in bed with Silas, chest-to-chest. I brought him to the breast, wondering what to expect. Would I have to fumble around trying to get him to latch as I tried with Judah those first hours? Would his mouth be so tiny and his latch so painful?

I put Silas to the breast, he latched on like it was all he knew to do and never looked back. Easiest, breeziest start to breastfeeding. I won't sugarcoat it and say it didn't hurt. There was a lot of tenderness the first week and it slowly diminished. There is this myth that says "If it hurts you're doing it all wrong!" That's simply not always true. Tenderness can be expected, especially in fair-skinned women, the first days of breastfeeding. There are signs to look for when pain does mean poor latch.


I hope this post helps other mothers out there to know that each breastfeeding relationship is unique. That if you've had a hard time with one infant it doesn't mean you (or they) are broken or that subsequent babies will struggle the same way.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where I annoy you all with photos galore...

Silas was born 17 days ago. Time is rushing by all too fast. I am trying to absorb it all, trying to memorize the fuzzy lanugo covering his cheeks and back, his funny little newborn toes that fan out, how his body is still curled up most of the time and how his short hair sticks straight up in places...

Silas' eyes look like they might turn blue (and either stay blue or turn green like mine?). Elaina had green-hazel eyes as a baby but they turned brown, Abigail's were dark from the start, Zoe has blue eyes and Judah's eyes were this camo-green-brown color and eventually turned brown. So it could be that my littlest girl and my littlest boy are the light-eyed babies?!

This looks like a Judah-face! He was scowling at the flash from my phone. You can see all the fuzzy, light lanugo all over his precious face.

Daddy has been soaking up Silas-love a ton. This is the most involved I've ever seen him with our newborns. Considering Silas may be the last one we have it's hard to not feel bittersweet about it and want to take it all in. If Daddy isn't busy cleaning or doing something else and I'm not breastfeeding Silas then Daddy is holding him. It's so precious!

One of our many middle-of-the-night photo sessions with my phone, LOL! He wakes around 2, 4-5 and 6-7.

Judah calls him "Buddy" and tries to rip him from my arms constantly. He's starting to get used to the fact Silas is here for good so he isn't so adamantly crazy about holding him and being in his face as much. Judah will play and stomp around the house, stop all of a sudden and run to Silas to give him kisses and then go back to stomping and playing. He does this over and over again throughout the day! It's like he has to touch base with his baby brother.

I waited for the umbilical cord stump to fall off before putting on cloth since cloth is so much bigger and tends to rub that stump and irritate it whereas I can fold the disposables down and out of the way. I think Silas looks pretty stoked to have on a bright green diaper! Big oops on my part; I don't have enough cloth for him. If he had been a girl I would have had a huge box of Zoe's old cloth diapers but alas he is not a girl AND Judah still wears his so I need to get Silas more for when the dirties are in the wash.

Some regression in the house! Judah has been pitching a fit about naps and bedtime. Just the other night he still was not asleep at 1AM! Finally all was silent around 1:30 so I went to peek in at him and Judah had fallen asleep STANDING in the crib, his head resting on the rail. No pic, though, because he woke up when he heard me peek in at him and I finally gave up and put him in our bed. We have a queen. We need a king. I don't care about bed-sharing but Daniel and I sleep terrible when we're hanging on to the edge of the bed.

I don't know now - I keep telling people he's blond but I think I do see some strawberry/red in there. What do you think?!

This is Silas today, after our 2-week checkup with the midwife. He's a whopping 10-lbs (at birth he was 8lb 4oz!) so I would say he's getting enough milk. He's an amazing nurser. I am still so blessed by that (and that is a whole other blog post to come!).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Recovery after Birth

I was going to write this post about some things we did to make recovering from birth easier this time around. Things like: taking alfalfa in the third trimester, purposefully staying in bed for  the first 72-hours (bedrest) after the birth, taking a product called After Ease to help ease uterine cramps, etc. I was going to write this post since the first three days of postpartum recovery were the easiest I have had thus far when, for the majority of women, postpartum pains are worse the more children you have.

And then day four happened.

I had fallen asleep, sitting straight up, in the glider. When I woke up on that day four I wrenched my back so badly getting out of the glider that I bawled my eyes out for an hour before I realized I felt really hot. I took my temp and it was 101F. My heart began to beat wildly. "Oh no, I have a uterine infection or something!" I texted my midwives and crawled into bed with Silas, still in tears from the excruciating pain.

They asked me several questions, trying to narrow down what could be going on. As soon as they had time between appointments I got a call and was given instructions. Lots of temp-taking and Advil-popping was in order.

 Day Two: feeling great and just showered, ahhh!
My temp got up to 103F at one point. I was shivering so bad my insides hurrrrrt! And the coughing started... I didn't have a uterine infection. I had the start of an upper respiratory infection. After two days my temp went down and I had to get my body up! I was so weak. I had zero appetite so I hardly ate anything during those days. I couldn't sit because of all the pressure it put on my spine so I had to lay in bed. I was in bed, only able to lay on one of my sides, during that time so my body became sore in other ways. My hips and pelvis hurt so badly I could barely walk.

So today, day 8, is the first day I have been able to get up, feel good and walk without limping and actually BE part of the rest of the family. And I can sit. I don't know when in all that my back decided to stop spazzing but I will not question it. The fact is my back feels better.

The cough, however, is worse and I'm starting to get hoarse. We're using our oils like crazy. Breastfeeding my newest little man like crazy so he doesn't catch it.

 Today, with my Silas boy. Rest of the family was at church so we nursed and rested until it was time to be picked up for family Father's Day lunch. Everyone seems to have the same gunk and I asked if it was okay to come even though I had a cough but no one cared.

Daddy moved seats and installed the infant seat this morning, on Father's Day. He wanted to be sure we could all fit and get out of the house. That's how much he rocks as Daddy! This was Silas' first outing. He did FANTASTIC at his aunt and uncles' house!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Meeting Baby and One Week Old

It was very early morning when I went into labor and had baby Silas. Things seemed to happen quick and we played things by ear regarding childcare. Before I knew it Silas was in my arms and we realized - the kids are still here and they're still fast asleep, even through my moaning, groaning and yelling. I had Silas in our room so Zoe and Judah were right across our tiny hall and didn't stir.

It actually worked out perfectly because they awoke one-by-one, after I had my first potty break after the birth, when I was snuggled and clean in bed. Judah was the first riser and his face was so absolutely priceless. He just lit up like a Christmas tree. I caught it on Daniel's phone and am copying from Instagram (one of the midwives was doing Silas' measurements so she brought him over to meet Judah):

At some point in labor Daniel had texted his mom that I was in labor or my water broke or something. We got a text, while I was holding the baby, that said "How far apart are the contractions?" I laughed and told Daniel to call his mom!!! Imagine her surprise when he called and said, "The baby is here!" She couldn't believe it and wanted to know the gender. We told her she had to come see for herself! Nonna didn't waste any time and came over quick (it helps that Daniel's parents live five blocks away!) with Daniel's sister.

Elaina came down next and Daniel told her he had a surprise for her. She saw the bathroom (the hose we used for the birth tub, there was blood and all sorts of other birth stuff in there) so she turned, ran up the stairs and woke Abigail up. Daniel overheard her, "Abbie, Abbie, wake up! I think Mom had the baby, there's blood in the bathroom and Dad said there's a surprise! I bet Mom had the baby!" That girl is so smart to piece all the evidence together, ha ha!

Judah was "beeping" his nose here!

They came pounding down the stairs. The midwives being there made them both super bashful so they just stood there and smiled at me and the baby. Silas and I were still unclothed but wrapped up in blankets, for skin-to-skin, so I peeled back enough blanket and showed them his little toes and fingers. And of course we told them, "YOU HAVE A BROTHER!"

Zoe was the last one to rise and acted in typical 3-year-old behavior. She pouted and tried to act uninterested until everyone else had left the room. The other kids were getting ready to go with Nonna for a few hours and the midwives were busy cleaning up. Zoe climbed up next to me and finally put down her defenses. Over the next two days she'd be my bed-buddy, coming up to stare at her brother and kiss him. I told her they had the same hair color and were the same weight at birth. Her eyes lit up and she said, "We awe twins!"

Silas is exactly one week old now. Here are some pictures over the week (in no particular order since uploading to Blogger is super weird):

Puffy newborn eyes. We didn't do the eye drops. They just get swollen from pressure in the birth canal.

Right after birth, doing skin-to-skin. So soft and squishy and sticky with vernix. They never washed him and his skin absorbed the vernix really fast (I'm sure the blanket absorbed some of it, too) but he was COVERED. Wish I had gotten a picture of it all over his back and it was even in his ears and making it hard for him to open his eyes.

Trying to squint his eyes open. They look bluish, rather than murky brownish. Zoe is my only blue-eyed baby unless Silas' end up turning blue as well! 

 About to get dressed in his first outfit. Had to get a full-body photo!

Father and son!

The little details...

Zoe wanted to pose with Silas while I was breastfeeding him. Cuties!

The most recent picture from today! He loves his binky when he's not nursing or sleeping. Though he was sleeping here. Look at his little puppy feet!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Birth of Silas

The Home, Water Birth of Silas Daniel
June 8, 2013
39 Weeks 1 Day Pregnant

Friday, June 7th, 8pm

I felt really weird Friday night and went to bed when the kids did around 8pm. I kept having contractions but thought they were Braxton Hicks and would go away with some water and sleep. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. In retrospect my body was shutting down to give me rest before the "party" began. I just didn't know it yet...

Saturday, June 8th, 1am
I woke up at 1am to find Daniel still awake.

The dinner dishes weren't done and the floors needed a serious vacuuming as our cattledog is shedding so I started cleaning and told Daniel to clean the litterbox. I had this sense that the time was coming but at the same time I was thinking, "This can't be it!" I was 39 weeks 1 day pregnant. Denial should be a first warning sign, ha ha!

We went upstairs after tidying up and I asked Daniel to change the bed and put the plastic on it. It was already around 2am and he asked, surprised,  if we were having a baby tonight. I corrected him that it was already morning and that I thought we might have a baby today! I wasn't completely optimistic about it but I wanted the sheet on in case my water broke. So we put down a clean sheet, then the plastic, then another sheet over that.

Daniel fell asleep almost instantly. I tried to sleep but kept having contractions. They were intense and required breathing so I began to time them with an IPhone app. They were about 5-6 minutes apart for a few contractions and then quickly came closer together at 2-3 minutes apart and would not relent no matter what I did. I hesitated about calling my midwives so I texted my midwives when they were 2-3 minutes apart and woke Daniel to fill the tub.

Saturday, June 8th, 3:35am
Daniel was dumbfounded (and still half asleep) and stood there for 20 minutes before it registered. He inflated the big birth pool and started filling it with water and put dogs out while I called the head midwife and told her it was time to come over. 
I was still in denial that anything was happening and was going to feel so stupid when the midwives got there at 4am and said, "You're not in labor, girl!"

After speaking with me on the phone for a few minutes I don't think she was convinced birth was imminent by my tone so she asked to speak with Daniel. She asked him, "If you were not having this baby at home would you be putting your wife in the car to go to the hospital right now?" Daniel said YES and so the midwives were on their way.

We texted and called Daniel's sister next as she was going to be taking pictures. We didn't get in touch with her so there's only a few labor pictures and then a few of sweet Silas post-birth. (See below!) I felt bad that it was the middle of the night and she did come over as soon as she could and took some post-partum pictures I haven't seen yet so I will show those later!

I stood there watching the tub fill up, sometimes doubling over with a contraction. I was having a hard time of it and started whining for the water to hurry up. I wanted to get in the tub so badly. Daniel was still running around getting things ready. Before I got in I felt this weird pop and trickle sensation and thought my water broke. I went to the bathroom and found blood and the mucous plug. I think it was just the plug as there was no other trickling or leaking as would typically happen with the amniotic sac breaking.

We turned off our bedroom light and I got in the tub before it was completely full. I let it fill up around me as I tried to breathe through more contractions. I honestly didn't think it felt any different from being out of the water in regard to pain management but I was having serious back labor.

Saturday, June 8th, a little after 4am
I was leaning over the tub, vomiting into a bowl when the midwives came in. They quickly got to work getting their gear set out. I started having to vocalize during contractions. The nurse that came along kept putting counter pressure on my back during contractions but even that, which usually helps, did not.

After 90 minutes of laboring in the birth tub I got out for a potty break and my water broke. Blood poured down my leg and I remember standing there just staring at it and then kept apologizing for leaving a trail of blood to the bathroom. I went pee, had a few contractions on the toilet while they listened to baby's heart because I was bleeding a little more than most women. Baby's heart rate was fantastic so no placental tear was indicated.

Saturday, June 8th, around 5-5:30am
The midwives told me I could get back in the water or they could check me (I hadn't had any cervical checks at all), which I wouldn't have minded, but the thought of climbing into my bed was too daunting so I got back in the water. I was struggling so badly and had lost all control. I kept talking to myself, telling myself to breathe, to relax my muscles. We tried different positions in the birth pool, like a runner's lunge and squatting, laying back, etc. but there was no respite from the pain. I don't recall ever finding that "transition la la land". I was so aware of everyone and everything around me and could not doze or rest between contractions as in previous births.

At one point Daniel said I was doing great. I opened one eye and said "That's easy for you to say..." Trying to lighten the mood, for everyone's sake, including my own!

I could feel the baby move lower and lower. I could feel baby move in the birth canal between contractions. I had never felt that sensation before and it hurt but was so amazing at the same time because I was just so aware of it. I kept telling everyone what I was feeling between contractions and when I mentioned feeling the baby moving down and twisting about they assured me baby was getting into position. I just kept crying out, "Baby!" over and over again. It was a double meaning. I was calling out to Daniel, calling him Baby but also kind of begging baby to hurry up and vacate their current premises, ha ha.

The midwives kept telling me to check and see if I could feel baby. I couldn't feel the baby near crowning at all. But I felt baby moving down, for sure!

I'd grab Daniel's arm and/or hand while leaning over the tub in a kneeling or squatting position like it was my lifeline! It was so good to have him there. There wasn't anything he could do except be present.

I was encouraged to push if I felt the urge to do so. I did a few practice ones and the nurse did something to my back that, I think, helped baby finally get in the right position. The *real* pushing began. And by that I mean that it was uncontrollable and my body was taking over. I was roaring and pushing and screaming while clinging onto my husband. They had to tell me to slow down so I started panting and saying, "Okay, okay, okay" over and over. But it didn't last long! I pushed again...

Saturday, June 8th, 6:06amI felt my baby's head emerge into my hand as I wanted to catch my own baby. Wow, what a feeling. I was in shock and just rubbed their little head while the rest of their body was still nestled in the birth canal. It felt very slimy (mucous) and I could feel a little hair. It felt so tiny and yet so huge at the same time, for where it was coming out of! Another roaring push and our son slid completely out into the water. I brought him up and just started beaming (see the pic below; momma was all smiles as soon as he was out!).

Daniel is so funny. He yelled something like "Oh my God! The baby!!!" He had no idea that the baby was crowning and out until I pulled him up out of the water! In fact he was about to ask the midwives if they thought baby was close to being born (they had a mirror at the bottom of the pool so they could see what was going on).

I saw that baby was a boy as I lifted him up. But Daddy didn't know yet so I showed him and everyone was so excited! He was SO peaceful. He didn't cry. He just kept trying to open his eyes and look around and was so quiet in the water. While we waited for the placenta we oohed and aahed over him. He was covered in vernix to the point his eyes almost wouldn't open. He had a thick, fat umbilical cord that one midwife kept exclaiming over. His Apgar was 9 at 1-minute and 10 at 5-minutes. He wasn't even purple; he was perfectly pinked up!
I will admit this wasn't the peaceful, controlled labor that I imagined it would be where I easily breathed my way through each contraction nor was I anything like the women in the videos who smiled and breathed their babies down like it actually felt good. And you know what? That's OKAY! I'm not everyone. Did it hurt like nothing I've ever felt before? Yes! But I would not exchange it for anything. Every contraction and painful twinge was worth having such a peaceful entry into the world for my baby. That is the one major difference I noticed right away between Silas' birth and his siblings' births. His was the most peaceful, just resting in the warm water with me, no one rubbing him with rough towels or suctioning him or trying to make him scream.

My midwife cried after he was born and kept praising Jesus for a safe birth. She said it was a hard labor and she just wanted to jump in and take over for me. So sweet! She also said it wasn't fair I looked so beautiful laboring which was sweet. I felt anything but, lol!

We cut the cord after the placenta was birthed into the water.  Once the cord was cut Silas was handed off to Daddy and I got out and into bed. Daddy handed the baby back and Silas started nursing. Little dude is a rock star and latched on without hesitancy, like a pro! Easiest start to breastfeeding that I've had. And easiest recovery (more on that later). What a blessing after a "fast and furious" labor!
Silas Daniel
8lbs 4oz

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The baby is here!

 Please welcome.............

Silas Daniel
8lbs 4oz, 20.25-inches long

Birth story to come! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Baby's Nursery Project

The other week, when I hit 37-weeks, I felt so much pressure and started having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. I was throwing back water and freaking out that I was going into labor. Then I realized I had nothing done. I obviously ended up not having the baby... so off to the store we went to get paint. I was determined to get things ready. I think I've put it off in my brain that birth IS imminent and a new human being will be attached to me, quite literally, for the next several months. I also knew this meant big projects like this would be months off from being done and completed so best to get 'er done now.

Enjoy the transformation of our little master suite sitting room (AKA the baby's nursery). It's a little room in our master bedroom.

STEP ONE: Make a big mess in order to paint and clean another mess. Hello! That is my room. It became an obstacle course for several days.

STEP TWO: Lay down a tarp, or an old sheet in this case, to protect your hardwood floors. Please note that sheet will get in the way so much you end up wadding it up and chucking it aside. Paint comes off hardwood... right?! Also get out all your paint supplies.

STEP THREE: Put your kids to work! Give them washcloths and tell them to scrub the walls and trim to remove all the built-up dust that can accumulate in about 2.34 seconds in such an old house. They don't even know they're WORKING because it's so much fun. Look at how ghastly that red paint is with the brown trim. *shudder*

STEP FOUR: No primer needed. Bought the primer & paint combo and start rolling it onto the walls. This is the EASY part. Rolling is easy. It goes very fast. However I will never buy the paint + primer again. I prefer to have them separate. The paint seems thicker when there is no primer in it.

STEP FIVE: Start painting the trim (note there's no painter's tape - that's how I rock it when I paint!) and notice that the paint is SO THIN it is like painting with water. This was after a few coats of the trim paint. I had to drive about 25 minutes back to the store to exchange it. Paint guy messes up the next two cans he mixes and finally we get something that is not quite as thin but still thinner than paint should be.

STEP SIX: Break out the ladder! It's time to paint up high. I will admit I did two coats of the trim up there (I did about 4 coats on ground level) because I figured no one would look too closely at how thin the stupid paint was and I WAS TIRED. Love that this pic is sideways, too.
NOTE: These windows do not open but fans were going and other windows behind me WERE open. I listen to my body and take frequent breaks.

STEP SEVEN: Rejoice that you're finally, finally done painting and the fun part of decorating can begin! Get a big bowl of hot, soapy water and scrub all that paint off the floor (since you, ya know, wadded up the old sheet somewhere in the midst of sweating your buns off and got paint all over the hardwood floors!).
ANOTHER NOTE: The windows will be replaced... someday. They were painted by previous owners and because I want to get new windows I didn't focus too much on the windows themselves. So you can see the paint isn't as great IN the window.

The finished room (view taken from the end of my bed).
Curtains and Glider from Target, co-sleeper from, hot air balloon plaques and dresser from thrift stores.Paint colors are Bumblebee Yellow and Chandelier Sparkle by Glidden. Area rug (not shown) from Old Time Pottery.

We went from drab to fab. Took me four days. Other than the older two girls helping to roll and paint for a few minutes that initial first day I worked alone. Daniel did not get his momma's painting and DIY skills. There may or may not have been moments of such intense frustration that I yelled or cried. I do NOT know why I waited until the end of week 37 and beginning of week 38 to start this project. I wanted to paint this room for months but could never decide on a color.

Did I mention I also bought paint for the upstairs bathroom?! That is our project this week.

Oh and did I mention that we're almost done renovating our first floor bathroom?! That should be done by the time I give birth or shortly after baby comes. We hired our brother-in-law to do the work but he can only work on Saturdays for a bit. He's doing a phenomenal job and I think they will paint this weekend. Then they will install the floor, toilet, sink and lights. Note I say "they" because this lady is staying out of this project other than decorating and picking all the fun stuff!

In fact I got a toilet plunger and a little bathmat to put in front of the sink (since kids will probably make lots of lovely messes when they wash their hands) as well as the lightswitch and outlet covers. I also found some CUTE Ikea curtains on Amazon and a lovely mirror from Hobby Lobby. Daniel and I went to the home improvement store to pick out lights and the sink. Fun!!! Cannot wait to show those transformation pictures as well.

First Floor Bathroom Colors: Pale blue, black and white (very crisp and clean)
Second Floor Bathroom Colors: Light grey, dark grey and deep plum purple.

Pics of those transformations to come. Which will come first? More DIY project photos... or birth photos?! EEK! We are down to the wire!