Saturday, September 29, 2007

Where Does the Time Go??

Both of the girls had check ups at the pediatrician yesterday. Sierra is almost 3 years old and Sedona is just over 2 months old. Sierra was 37.5 inches and 31 pounds (tall and skinny). Sedona was 22 inches and 12.5 pounds (short and chunky). I looked back at Sierra's measurements from her 2 month appointment---she was 24 inches long and only 10.5 pounds. No wonder Sedona looks so much bigger to me, she's got extra weight on a shorter frame! Sedona got her first vaccines, Sierra lucked out for now (she'll go back for a flu shot when they get delivered). Everyone checked out fine on the development questions.

Sierra is officially starting to read :-o I've been working with her on phonics stuff at home, but her teacher has been saying for a couple of weeks that she's ready to start reading and I hear the teacher helped her through a book yesterday. She's frighteningly precocious. She is the youngest child in the school and has buddied up with the oldest child. I picked her up one day this week and when I got out of the car, I heard her yelling something, but couldn't understand her. 5 or 6 little girls are all coming towards me with Sierra in the front. Then I finally make out what she's saying...."march! march! march!" At least she's a leader, not a follower, but man am I gonna have my hands full!!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Susie Homemaker



Soon after I got married (when I took a much needed break from working for several months and didn't yet have kids), I learned to cook and one day realized I was becoming quite domestic, which was really scary at the time. I have since embraced it and can admit that a day of cooking or sewing is really just as fun as a night of drinks with the girls. And on the list of things that are good about life, homemade, hand kneaded bread dough has to be near the top of the list. Closely followed (of course) by homemade bread straight from the oven. Yeast and sticky doughs used to scare me, but now I love both. I recognize now that the dough that sticks to everything makes the most perfect, light dinner roll or cinnamon roll. Ahhhh.....bread.

Josh got some sides up on the shed today, I think roof goes on tomorrow??

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lead, Breasts and BPA, oh my!

I'm really annoyed at all the stinkin' toy recalls. Now there's been a recall on a replacement toy they gave out for a recall! I've about decided the girls don't need anymore toys unless they're good ol' plain, old fashioned wood. I have to admit though that the breastfeeding counselor in me is also annoyed at all the attention that is going to lead paint on toys and possible lead poisoning. There are studies that show (especially in preemies) that formula feeding lowers a child's IQ even more than lead poisoning does--why doesn't that get any media attention? And of course, we're coming up on breast cancer awareness month, but no one will mention the HUGE decrease in breast cancer risk if a woman breastfeeds for 2 years over her lifetime (plus she lowers her child's risk as well). I'm all about freedom of choice, but it needs to be INFORMED choice. This whole notion of informed consent with all things birth related is a big joke, at least it was in my case. I can't name a single medical professional who offered up the information of the side effects of various birth interventions when I had Sierra and there is no informed consent whatsoever before formula is given (nevermind the fact that it *IS* an intervention). I have plenty of friends who choose epidurals, c-sections, formula feeding, etc...and I back them up 100% in that choice, but I think the medical community needs to do a WAY better job at informed consent.

And in other things poisoning our families. I recently became aware of the Bisphenol-A controversy. Basically, hard, clear plastic containers leach BPA. This happens more readily if the container is scratched and/or heated. Humans are accumulating BPA in their systems. BPA causes hormonal disturbances. The question is how much is "okay" and when is it more dangerous? I've decided we need to trade in our Nalgenes (6 years old, very scratched, repeatedly put on the bottom rack of the dishwasher) for safer, non-polycarbonate models. The Avent bottles are going to have to go too (not that Sedona's even had a bottle yet) since they had numerous trips through the microwave sterilizer when Sierra was little. **SIGH!!** There are way too many environmental toxins these days.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Pictures!

Went to the soccer fields tonight. Sierra took this picture of her friend, Holly. Momma's resting after chasing the girls around!

I really thought jealousy would've set in by now, and I'm really glad it hasn't. Pretty sure the girls are on the road to being best buds---Sierra is still fascinated with Sedona and wants to rock her, help take care of her, get things for her, etc...:

Kinda caught a smile from Sedona:

Mid-sneeze :-)

Who's who? The kids are twins I tell you! I've had two people tell me they look totally different, everyone else thinks they're pretty much carbon copies of each other. Sierra's a little older here than Sedona (Sedona's 9 weeks, Sierra's about 4 months in that pic)



Was looking a pictures of the girls at the same ages and it really hits home that Sierra was a preemie---once she caught up developmentally, she ended up ahead of schedule on gross motor skills, but she definitely had a slower start...Sedona is doing things at 9 weeks that Sierra didn't do until around 12 weeks. Then there's the size difference. Sierra chunked up pretty good, but she started out smaller and she slowed down A LOT after 6 months. Sedona's already up to 12.5 pounds--with Sierra only being 30, I'm thinking Sedona might end up being the "big" little sister LOL

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why?

I (foolishly) thought we had perhaps avoided the dreaded "why" stage. While Sierra's friends were starting to ask why about everything, Sierra moved right into "because". She didn't ask us, she told us. Well, 5pm Sunday, the why stage started. No joke, we were in the car and got three or four "whys" in a row and it hasn't stopped since. Actually, she's combined the two--everything is "because why?" Luckily, if you make an effort to really answer her, she stops after two or three.

We have many talks about when the sun is asleep (the child wakes up ridiculously early, we're trying to teach her not to wake us up until the sun wakes up). In the car tonight, we had the following conversation:
Sierra: "bedtime now?"
Me: "yes, when we get home, it's bedtime"
S: "because why?"
M: "because the sun's asleep"
S: "because why?"
M: "because the Earth is round and it rotates"
S: "okay"
Why in the world was that an okay explanation???? I'm pretty sure she has no idea with "Earth" is and I know she has no clue about orbits and rotation, etc.... whatever!

The other child continues to be a big ol' chunk. She's about 12.5 pounds now and all sorts of roly poly---gotta love those extra baby creases!!!! She is smiling lots, but I can't catch a picture of it b/c everytime I get her to smile, Sierra gets in her face to smile back and say, "she smiling at me!", so all the pictures are of the back of Sierra's head.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ouch!

My poor legs! We did our first post-pregnancy 5k this morning. It was a fundraiser for a local woman who developed a flesh eating bacteria infection following a c-section. We walked a lot of it, with a little running here and there. You definitely push yourself harder when there are other people around though...my quads and achilles tendons are SORE!!

A few pics:

It's time for Sierra to give up her toddler bed so we can have a mattress in the crib again (Sedona actually prefers laying down to nap rather than being held or in the swing). So, she upgraded to a twin sized mattress today!

Had to do a closer shot to show what she fell asleep doing...yes, those are phonics flash cards. The kid is begging me to teach her to read ALL the time.

Progress on the shed! Josh is building this all by himself--he got most of the framing done while I was out of town this week.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Geckos, Spiders and Meatballs

I believe Milton has moved on to greener pastures. I assume they're greener, anyway. Surely anyplace is greener (metaphorically, at least) than a shower. We're gonna miss him, oddly enough.

Josh's mom was here for a visit last weekend and bought us a pressure washer....wheeeeeeeee!!! I got a chance to hook it up today and am happy to say it works great, but spider webs are tenacious little buggers. Oh, and never get in the way of a pressure washer--they're not great at distinguishing between dirt and skin.

A few pictures from last weekend:

Grammy and Sierra making meatballs together




Sedona wearing the diamond ring Josh's mom was given at her christening:


One of the new garden beds (the soil will be between the two rings, the center will be for melons/squashes to trail into and will hold a sprinkler so the whole garden can be watered easily. There are now two of these built):

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Home again, home again...

You'd think our lives would slow down when we have a baby, but no, we seem to be missing that bit of common sense. Let's see, in the 8 weeks since Sedona was born, we have completely ripped out and rebuilt the kitchen (still no paint on the walls or trim up where needed, but the rest is now done), Josh was gone 3 days to ref the Austin Labor Day Cup, he was gone 4 days to attend the ASR conference, we've built the new garden, the floor and framing for a shed, I've returned to full time work, we've started running and biking again, and I just returned from 3 days in Austin for a training.

The instructor of the course I went to was happy to have a newborn in the class, so just Sedona and I went (in the past, Josh has come along to do "daddy daycare" in between nursings). It was mentally relaxing because I didn't have a three year old around and therefore didn't have to say, "no"; "get off that"; "smaller bites" or "walk please!" 50 times a day. Physically though, it was rough not having anyone to pass Sedona off to for all that time. Since I was driving, I had to actually pull over anytime she wanted to nurse (when normally, I'd just lean over the carseat so she could nurse without us stopping---that's a big safety no, no and I'm setting a bad example, don't do it). Whenever I went to eat, I had to juggle getting my food and her since I didn't have anyone to sit at the table and watch her, etc, etc, etc... It was a neat trip though. I made a stop at the milk bank where I participated in a study (that will ideally lead to the flame retardant chemicals that are currently used in matresses, pj's, etc.. being banned), dropped off my first 100oz of milk, picked up more containers to collect milk in, and got a cute milk bank t-shirt for Sedona. The training I went to didn't have too terribly much info I didn't already know, but was a fan-tabulous networking opportunity and of course the few new things you do learn always make it worth it.

Sierra had a little trouble with us being gone (pretty much she only missed Sedona, not me), but overall she did fine being home with daddy. In a week and a half we're all loadin' up and truckin' it to Amarillo for a conference. I don't think I'd recognize a free moment if it was staring me in the face....

Friday, September 14, 2007

Certified, Qualified and Authorized

Got a call from the lovely Ms. Kim at the Mother's Milk Bank of Austin. I passed my infectious disease testing with flying colors (woohoo for no HIV, Hep B, Hep C, HTLV, or syphillus ;-) and am officially a milk donor! Good thing since I currently have 52 ounces of milk sitting in my freezer for them. A full milk supply is around 25-30 ounces per day. I'm exclusively nursing Sedona (she's yet to have a bottle, it just hasn't come up) and pumping about 13 ounces a day (I set aside 7 ounces for the milk bank and whatever's left over gets put in our own stock pile for Sedona). Pretty soon I'll have enough milk for twins---yikes! This also means I'm burning approximately another 250 calories a day. A steady diet of Kolaches and ice cream has managed to balance out my weight loss and I'm now averaging the normal, healthy, one pound a week loss. I'm pretty good where I am (people keep commenting that I'm already down to pre-preggo size), but I'm still 18 pounds over pre-pregnancy weight.

1000 words

At work, we have a program called WIC Wellness Works that basically gives us tips and motivation for healthier living (you know, that whole "practice what you preach thing"). We are supposed to be having a screen free weekend and I am already failing miserably. We no longer have TV and I don't play computer games, how are you gonna take away my internet too?!? I decided I'm gonna try to not log on tomorrow...

Random pictures from the last few days...

Josh was out of town until Tuesday night this week. On Tuesday morning I was tired of doing all the parenting by myself and convinced (I really had to twist her arm) Sierra that we needed to go out to eat breakfast for our last "all girls" morning together. McDonald's was close by and Sierra ate an entire order of hot cakes by herself and wanted some of mine. The world war II vets that were sharing their coffee and war stories thought she was the cutest thing ever.


Just can't say it enough--we make the cutest babies!! My two gorgeous girls :-)

Pictures from the school field trip to the animal collection:

Emperor Penguin


Rattlesnake


How horribly sad is this?!?


Sierra setting the bad example for the rest of the class. I suppose "good" parents would've made her get down, but we figured it was helping her develop coordination (or climbing skills....)


The Gecko that lives in our shower. I think perhaps he should be called Milton. His tail's growing back now :-)


EXTREME CLOSE-UP!!!!! Sierra's planning a future in photography


It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a....
I dare ya to name that animal. This was one of those days where Sierra was SOO proud to show me what she made at school and all I could do was say, "that's good! tell me about it!" To which she replied, "there's the wiskers". Hmmm....turns out it's a walrus. The pipe cleaners are supposed to be the big tusks and those smaller things are wiskers. And here I was thinking martian catepillar.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First one's free

You know you eat at Kolache Rolf's too much when you walk in and the lady (owner??) says, "you're running late today!" (I wasn't, by the way, the boss knew I'd be in later than normal). After I had Sierra, we had my mom pick up Kolaches for breakfast b/c Kolache Rolf's was close to the hospital. Our new house is close to one of the other locations, so after I had Sedona I told Josh I had to have Kolaches again and he went up there at 6am and bought one of everything and told them the whole home birth story. Then he and Sierra went in so often over the next few weeks that the lady got to know them. My first day back at work I stopped in and they asked to see "the baby" and I said, "my other daughter and husband are in here all the time" and they got all excited---"you're the home birth lady!!" So, yeah....pastries filled with cream cheese on a near daily basis probably isn't exactly the health food a WIC employee should be eating, huh?

Sierra's teacher set up a tour for the kids with the wildlife and fisheries department this afternoon. It was really cool--we got to tour an animal collection. I'm talking a warehouse FULL of animals that people have sent there over the last 150 years. So, lots and lots of dead, stuffed animals, but cool things like an emperor penguin and a jaguar and a vampire bat and the biggest snapping turtle I've ever seen in my life. Cool factoid of the day (you'd think I'd know this, but I didn't)--horned toads can shoot blood from their eyes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Look what I found!

Hmmm.....wonder if there's a way to put a picture in the header...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Blast from the Past

Okay, the quality stinks because I had to take a picture of the pictures (no scanner at home), but you get the idea anyway.
Josh being 80's cool
The picture that convinced me to convince Josh to grow his hair out again (isn't he the cutest thing ever?!?)

I also came across all our wedding pictures (we hired a photographer that was just starting out and gave us a CD with all 657 pictures and permission to copy/print at will :-D

The recessional
Awwww.....so happy :-D

Round 2

Round 2 of temporary single parenthood is going quite well. Yes, we've had plenty of "don't mess with your sister"; "Stop trying to cut a hole in your pants"; "No you can't have cinnamon rolls for dinner"; "Where did you find a smartie?!? oh who cares" and of course, the infamous artichoke heart jar incident of 2007. Note to marinated artichoke heart addicts--if the lid of the jar has a diameter bigger than the length of your hand, you won't be able to get it open. Furthermore, hitting the lid with a knife, holding the jar with your legs to enable the use of two hands, and banging the jar on the counter won't work. Neither will calling your mom to whine that you've been alone with two kids under 3 for two whole days and all you want are some artichoke hearts on your pizza, damnit. Ahhh....but the internet has endless (good and bad) knowledge. For instance, if you push a butter knife up under the rim of a lid, it will break the seal and the jar will open with zero effort. But back to the point at hand...I am much more sane than I was at this point last weekend. And bonus for you....Sierra and I had a small battle because I was trying to take pictures of Sedona and Sierra insisted in being in every single shot. I finally got out her baby pictures to prove to her that yes, I took pictures of her too (and much more often). While pulling out her photo album, I found an album full of random pictures Josh and I each had before we got married. Who wants to see Josh as the ultra-cool, ferris bueller-esk 80's dude? LOL Gonna try to get some OLD OLD pics up later on ;-)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Babies Don't Keep

There's a little poem that circulates between mothers that goes (more or less):
Dusting and cleaning can wait til tomorrow
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So cobwebs be quiet and dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my babies and babies don't keep.

I'm a full-time working mom. Yes, I get to take my baby with me and yes, it's a blessing. Since I took Sierra to work with me for 2 years, I've had more than enough "you're so lucky" comments. Yes, I am lucky and I don't envy the moms who have to take their babies to daycare because I wouldn't be strong enough to do it. But I really wish people would realize this is actually closer to THREE full time jobs--I work at my "for pay" job. I simultaneously carry, nurse and change my baby. I get off at 2:30 (which means I get up ridiculously early after nighttime parenting duties) and go straight to school to pick up Sierra, then come home to care for BOTH kiddos, get dinner ready, do the dishes and run a load or two of laundry. So I'm the stay at home mom and the work outside the home mom all rolled into one and manage to do both at the same time. My multi-tasking gene is a work of art, I tell you. And that's where this post comes in:
Things you can do while cuddling (or nursing) your baby:
Expand your mind--read a book (non-fiction is my favorite)
Dance--we finally got rid of TV again (hallelujah!) so the radio is always on. Dancing relaxes mom and teaches baby rhythm and movement
Sing--Mary Poppin's "stay awake" is the staple these days...again calms mom and baby and teaches baby
Jump Online--I learned quickly that a new mommy needs mommy friends like she needs air. At least, I do. A crying baby may preclude me from calling up Veronica, but I can always do a quick "I'm losing it!" one-handed typing post and keep clicking refresh to read all the "hang in there!" "btdt, it gets better!" posts
Eat a power bar--I've tried several times to eat a real meal while nursing. More often than not, the poor child ends up covered in marinara sauce or itallian dressing. Power bars give me some calories and protein without having to sit down or change the baby's clothes.
Things you cannot do while cuddling (or nursing) your baby:
Vacuum
Wash Dishes
Take out the trash
Scrub the bathroom
Pick up the toddler's room

Hmm....seems to me the universe has this set up a certain way--cleaning just isn't super important ;-) Seriously though, baby wearing is a life saver and all the necessary things (except for cooking, mowing the lawn or other potentially dangerous things) are quite possible if baby is securely attached to mom. It usually means getting things done without leaving baby to cry or feeling frazzled myself. I LOVE my "moby wrap". I made my own--just buy 5-6 yards of knit t-shirt type fabric and cut it in half length-wise and you get two wraps. I found the fabric for $1/yd and split it with a friend, so my imitation wrap only cost me three bucks. I've been using it with Sedona since she was about 3 weeks old and it's the first truly hands free (for a newborn) baby wearing I've found. Sierra will still go in the maya wrap, but it didn't feel secure when she was super little. Both are also great for discreet nursing.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sedona's Birth Story

Yes, this is incredibly long, but given my line of work, there are an awful lot of people interested, so I'm just gonna post it:

Repeat after me…fetal malpositioning is not your friend. To be more specific, asynclitic presentation is not your friend. What is asynclitic presentation, you ask? According to one website, it’s when “baby is head-down and probably anterior but the head is slightly tilted to one side or 'off' in some way so that the head does not move down into the pelvis smoothly. Usually the side of the head or 'parietal' bones present first instead of the crown of the head, making the diameter much larger.” In short, it’s a big pain in the…well, you know.
Of course, Sedona’s birth story starts a whole 3 weeks before that point. Or maybe three years to be more accurate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve counseled moms that “every pregnancy is different and every baby is different”. Funny how much harder that is to believe when it’s your own pregnancy and your own baby. Since Sierra was born a month early and Sedona’s pregnancy had gone much the same way as Sierra’s, I was sure I’d be having a baby the first week of July. Sure enough, I started having weak, but very regular contractions the night of July 1. Since I already had an appointment scheduled with my midwife for the morning of July 2, I decided to sleep when I could and wait for her to come instead of calling her. When she showed up, she checked me and let me know I was 100% effaced and 4cm dilated. Unfortunately, I also had a UTI, which is what was causing the contractions. By July 6, I was 5cm and 100% effaced and there I stayed. I had a short episode of incredibly strong contractions nearly every day, but they never went anywhere. My appointment on July 18 showed that everything was the same and I was becoming convinced I was destined to have an August baby.
On July 19, Josh and I went to bed around 9:30 or 10. At 10:20, I got up for one last potty break. Identical to what I experienced with Sierra (ironically, it was even 10:30 at night for her), I felt a strange, small pop. I had gotten my hopes up too many times about those little pops, so I just thought to myself that it was weird my back popped when I hadn’t moved. Then there was a louder pop (the “carrot breaking” as Josh and I say, because it really does sound like a raw carrot snapping in half and other people can hear it) and a big gush of amniotic fluid. Finally, I was having a baby!!!!
Josh called Toni (the midwife) and I started calling family and friends. Toni lives in Brenham, so she had a 45 minute drive to get to us. The first person to arrive was Veronica, who was our baby-sitter for Sierra. Sierra was already in bed, but we wanted Veronica there just in case she woke up. Close behind her was my co-worker Karen. She has two grown kids and a grandchild of her own and had been SUPER excited and positive about my pregnancy and birth choices, so we invited her to observe the birth. I paced the living room for a bit and the contractions hit at 10:40. A little more pacing and talking to Karen and Veronica and then I got out the birth ball. I kept talking to them through the contractions, figuring it was as good a distraction as any. Toni showed up around 11 or so and Josh helped her and her assistant (her grown daughter since the apprentice midwife was out of town) set up all the birthing supplies in our bedroom while I continued chatting. Finally Toni came in and listened for fetal heart tones. They were a tad lower than they had been, but baby wasn’t kicking much and it was her usual sleep time. Toni asked if I wanted an internal exam and I said no—I didn’t really want to hear I was STILL 5 cm like I had been for three weeks. So Toni settled herself on the living room floor and did some paperwork (we quickly went over my choices such as whether to take cord blood after delivery, what hospital to use in case of transfer, etc…).
At 11:30, Toni reminded me that laboring women should try to empty their bladder every hour and I had been in labor for a little over an hour. I walked to the master bathroom, peed, and had a contraction with an awful lot of pressure behind it. I told Josh I just wanted to lay on the bed and that he should get Toni. I only lasted another 2 or 3 contractions before telling Toni I really felt like I should push. She said she should check me and I consented and found I was at 9cm! I went through another contraction or two with Josh applying hard counter pressure to my back to relieve the pain. Toni gave him a rice sock she had microwaved to wrap around my back and that was heavenly, but I still felt like I needed to push. Toni checked me again and said I had a small anterior lip of cervix left. She explained that she was going to keep her fingers there until the next contraction and if the lip pulled back with the contraction, I could go ahead and start pushing. It did, and I did! I was laying on my side in bed and very un-inclined to move anywhere. I tried a few pushes in a semi-reclining position, but I was very uncomfortable and Toni suggested I move to the birthing stool (she brings one with her).
I have no idea how long I was on that birthing stool. I do know that we tried 2 or 3 different positions on it, Josh supported most of my weight most of the time, and Toni was right there for every contraction. For each and every push, Toni applied warm compresses (when your midwife requests you to have a crock pot and two dozen washcloths available for the birth—listen to her!) and some sort of pressure to muscles around my pelvic floor (I found out from talking to her later that I apparently have more extensive damage from Sierra’s birth than I was ever told by my OB at the time). Her assistant regularly applied olive oil to help everything stretch. Despite this and pushing and pushing and pushing, I didn’t have a baby! I only had to push 30 minutes with Sierra. They were a hard 30 minutes with back to back contractions. This was totally different. I was pushing as hard as humanly possible, getting really spaced out contractions and some weak contractions, and seemingly making no progress. Toni explained that baby was having a really hard time “rounding the corner” to fit between my tail bone and pubic bone (this is where we tried a few other positions). I had a feeling things were really getting serious when somewhere through the labor haze, I heard Toni (who’s very religious) mutter, “Lord, please give her the strength to push this baby out”. All I could say was, “I just want to lay down and sleep”. Someone (Josh later told me the assistant and Karen) kept wiping my face with a cool washcloth because I was dripping sweat---note to self, having a baby in July in Texas isn’t the best of ideas. At some point my mom came in, but I’m not sure when. I also noticed I was suddenly hearing my friend Erin (who had driven from San Antonio) in the room—she had been invited to observe the birth too, but we didn’t really think she’d make it in time. For some reason it didn’t occur to me at the time that the fact that she made it meant this was taking longer than we’d expected.
Throughout pushing Toni monitored fetal heart tones, finally measuring them with every contraction and deciding to put the oxygen mask on me. Then she told me we really needed to make some progress and it was time to try another position. She wanted me to get on the bed again, which I was pretty sure was just about impossible. Josh just about picked me up and put me on the bed. I was slightly propped up, but mostly flat on my back and Toni had Josh and my mom each hold one of my feet for me. Never in a million years would I have predicted it, but that’s what finally convinced Sedona to join us. Maybe two good pushes and she was crowning. Toni told me repeatedly her head was out and I could rest, but from my end it felt like I was having the never-ending contraction and I couldn’t have stopped pushing if my life depended on it. When Toni put her on my stomach, I grabbed her up and she looked at me like, “what the **** was that?!?” and all I could say was, “me too, baby girl, me too!” Unlike her sister, Sedona immediately latched on and nursed well for about an hour. It was a very peaceful birth, I don’t remember Sedona even crying, but I was never worried about her because she was in my arms and I could see she was doing well and pinking up. We all realized right away why pushing was so hard—poor baby had really significant moulding all towards the right side of her head: asynclition! In the days following her birth, the moulding went away, but she was left with a significant bruise and finally a sizable blister that eventually scabbed over.
I loved having a home birth. Toni’s skill at midwifery saved me from any tearing. This annoys me a little every time I go to the bathroom or take a shower—the recovery for this birth was INCREDIBLY easy, due in large part to the lack of stitches, despite the fact that Sedona’s head was 1.25 inches bigger than Sierra’s, Sedona’s chest was bigger than Sierra’s head, and it took three times as long to push Sedona out. Somehow Sierra’s birth left me with two pretty bad second degree tears and Toni got me through with no damage whatsoever. Makes me tempted to make a little visit to my old OB. In the days after the birth, Toni and I talked about the experience and agreed that there was a good chance I would have had at least a vacuum extraction if not a c-section had I delivered in the hospital. Simply the fact that I was 5cm dilated so long would have gotten me labeled “failure to progress” and pushed to induce even though my water had not broken and Sedona was doing fine. One of my biggest “guilts” is the time Sierra spent in the newborn nursery—I keep imagining her there alone in a cold room with bright lights laying in a plastic box. Sedona was given straight to me, only taken because I decided I didn’t want to take her into the shower with me, and hasn’t left me since. She was not given vitamin k or any vaccines and her newborn screen was delayed until day 5. Toni did a complete exam on her at birth, 24 hours, 5 days, and 12 days, so there was no need to go to the pediatrician until 2 weeks. If I were to have another baby, I would definitely go the homebirth route again, assuming there was a midwife nearby that I was comfortable with. Following Sierra’s birth, the only thing I could think was “at least I never have to do that again”, but this time around the experience has left me thinking, “that certainly wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t so bad”.
Back to that asynclitic thing...just for kicks, let’s review the signs of fetal malpositioning:
• Days of tiring pre-labor or 'false' labor before ‘true’ labor; mother may begin labor exhausted
• A tendency towards post-mature (long) pregnancies and ‘overdue’ babies
• A baby that does not engage before or even well into labor
• Feeling lots of hands and feet in front by the mother's belly
• PROM - Premature Rupture of Membranes, or the bag of waters breaking before labor starts
• Difficulty finding the baby's heart tones where you usually would find them
• 'Stalled labor' - labor that stops between 4-7 cm and does not progress
• Prolonged labor, especially in the pushing stage
• 'Back labor' - painful contractions felt mostly in the back; common with posterior labors because the baby's back is pressing against the sacrum (low back); also found with the arm across the baby's face because the arm is pressing on the mother's sacrum
• High need for pain medication, since the pains are abnormally difficult
• 'Early transition' - showing the signs of transition (nausea, chills, high pain levels, shakiness, etc.) between 4-7 cm instead of between 7-10 cm
• 'Fetal distress' - baby's heart rate has problems because baby is stuck and gets stressed; this may also increase incidence of fetal meconium in labor
• 'Early pushing' - feeling the urge to push before being fully dilated
• 'Anterior lip' - dilating to about 9.5 cm but a small 'lip' of the cervix is stubbornly left
• 'Stuck baby' - a baby that gets stuck before passing the ischial spines (0 station) and does not descend even after hours of pushing
• Great pain with pushing, especially on one side or another
With Sedona I experienced 11 out of 16 of these signs. With Sierra I also experienced 11 of them—I feel baby and I both came out of the situation happier and healthier the second time around. After the fact, Toni told me she suspected malpositioning when I was pushing so hard with no progress, but she really thought it was going to turn out that Sedona had a hand by her face.
In the end, I had a perfect, 7lb 9oz 20in long baby girl and a birth experience that was much easier and more satisfying for me than what I experienced in a hospital birth.


Update: I’ve come to a realization that Sedona has never had her “days and nights mixed up”. This is so prevalent among newborns that I work with that I’ve come to assume it’s a normal side effect of pregnancy. We tell moms all the time that because they are up and walking around all day, they rock the baby to sleep, then when they lay down at night, the baby wakes up. We explain that babies stick to this pattern for a bit after they’re born. Even though I spent 3 months on strict bedrest with Sierra, I still accepted this bit of information as fact. But Sedona sleeps at night. She always has. It’s occurred to me that she was born at 2am and we went to bed at 4am that night. We got up around 6:30 (when Sierra woke up) and therefore turned all the lights on. The next night, we turned the lights off and went to sleep. Sedona has always been in bed with us, so she’s been exposed to the same cycle we follow. I feel like this natural light/dark cycle is responsible for her good nighttime sleep habits. I’m beginning to think those nursery lights that are on 24/7 for the convenience of the nurses are what really get the babies mixed up. In our town, babies can’t even stay with mom at night unless someone is awake in the room (which usually means a light is on). Just a thought…

On the road again...

I got to ride my bike again for the first time since November :-D I just did a quick one mile loop just to do something, but it was oh so fun. Unfortunately bike riding is a little harder to plan out than jogging. Since Sedona can't go for bike rides for another 10 months or so, we can't go riding as a family. Jogging's a little easier b/c we can take both girls so Josh and I can run at the same time. I'm loving the Chariot--very smooth ride for the kiddos and Sedona is comfy in the infant sling. The only problem has been Sierra messing with Sedona, but it's easy enough to keep an eye on them. I'm not, however, liking the Strollometer. We haven't been able to get it to give us anywhere near an accurate reading. Either it says we've gone way farther than we have (like, twice as far), or it doesn't read at all. I'm gonna futz with it a little more tomorrow and if I can't get it working it's going back to the store or manufacturer or whoever will give me my money back.

Tomorrow begins temporary single parenthood part deux :-( Josh will be leaving WAY early in the morning to go to Colorado for a conference. He won't be back until late Tuesday night. I feel we'll survive the weekend, but I have no idea how I'm gonna get Sierra to school and Sedona and I to work on time Monday and Tuesday!!

Yay!

My friend's baby was released from the hospital today and they are back home. She reports that her little girl looks serious and is not yet smiling again and can't be around other people for 2 weeks, but she is home with her family and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sick Baby Update

My friend's baby is expected to be in the PICU for 3-4 more days and it's been kinda touch and go (she has a central line, they've planned on intubating, then backed off b/c she did better, keeping her sedated, etc...), but she is doing better. She is still really sick, but able to cough now and get some of that junk out. Poor baby :-( :-(

In happier news, another friend had a big box of fabric that she decided she wasn't going to use, so she gave it to me to go through and take out what I want then pass onto to other sewing mommas. There was some really great stuff in there! I got lots of things I liked (cool prints, quilt blocks, fleece) and there's still lots and lots for other people. Free fabric makes me happy :-)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Scary day for a friend

A friend of mine has been in the hospital all day with her 8 month old baby. According to the updates other people have been posting on the local mom's board, she was on the phone with the on call pediatrician all night because baby was having trouble breathing, very snotty, etc...Went to the pedi this morning and was immediately sent to the hospital. Hospital diagnosed croup and did four breathing treatments, but nothing was helping, so they flew the baby to a bigger hospital (in Temple). Mom went with her, dad had to drive. Apparently it is a very bad case of croup, but baby is fighting the breathing treatments and they aren't working as well as they should. They even talked about tracheotomy at some point :-( :-( :-( Please pray, light a candle, send healing thoughts or whatever it is you do. It breaks my heart to think of this sweet baby struggling to breathe and the worry her parents must be feeling.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Naps are Good!!

My great sleeper won't nap!! Sedona has been up for over 6 hours now. For the childless--newborns wake often, but they don't stay up for six hours at a stretch! I'm very very thankful she's not screaming (Like Sierra so often did in this situation), but she looks SOOOOOOOOO sleepy and wants to be held...for 6 hours. I'm hungry. Thankfully I have a 3 year old refusing to do what I ask to remind me how sweet babies are and that it's not the end of the world to cuddle with one for 6 hours.

5 more hours!

Only five more hours until Josh comes home! The girls miss their daddy--well, Sierra does, I'm pretty sure Sedona would be happy with anyone who makes milk. He called today and Sierra immediately reached out for the phone and said, "I wanna talk to my daddy" awwwwwwww. I miss their daddy too (see the two parent system post below) but also miss my hubby! The queen-sized bed that's so tiny normally is awfully big when it's just Sedona and I there.

In other news...who else think's it's weird to hear Garth Brooks sing "More Than a Memory"? I mean, here's a guy who's been divorced and remarried (to Trisha Yearwood, no less) and he's singing a song all about still being in love with his ex. Umm...creepy! I think he even co-wrote the song (along with Lee Brice), but even if he didn't write any of it, it's still weird. And then there's Tim McGraw's song "I'm Already Home". I don't even have a hubby in the military and it makes me cry (mostly the part about not being there to see his little girl born). Stupid war. I know a few families who have delivered children while dad was in Iraq and I know motherhood is all about not knowing what you're capable of until you have to do it, but lord those women are strong to do the child rearing while dad is halfway around the world for months at a time and sometimes for multiple tours. I admit I've never supported the war with Iraq (and remember some heated debates back in 2002 when we were living in Utah), I'm much more of the "Support our Troops, Bring them Home" conviction. I've never understood why we are always talking about and sending troops to Iraq while bin laden (who started this whole thing) is still hiding out in Afghanistan. But then, that's just one of a whole slew of things that make us "idiot hippie liberals" in the middle of this very conversative town.

Toxin Free Bug Killer

I started diaper laundry as soon as I got up this morning. After I got the diapers in the washer, I went to the kitchen sink to wash my hands. There was a roach in the sink--ewww!!! Now, Josh's job description reads, "kills bugs and lift heavy sh!t", but he's not here, so I after my initial screach, I had to get brave. Lucky for me, the stupid thing crawled toward the drain. I turned on the water full blast at the same time I flipped the garbage disposal switch. VOILA! eco friendly bug killer.

I decided to go ahead and do dishes just in case it managed to hang out and miss the disposal somehow.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Time to Hesitate is Through

My midwife has cleared me to start exercising again (finally...I've been asking since week 2, she's been essentially telling me she's the midwife and mother of ten and she knows it takes more than 2 weeks to recuperate from childbirth). More importantly, I picked up the Chariot we had ordered today. It's a cougar 2 and oh so pretty. Take a look:


This stroller is insanely expensive ($500 for the stroller, plus you have to buy accessory kits), but converts for jogging, biking, skiing, hiking, or just a regular stroller. Even just wheeling it out of the store with no kits on it (so no front wheels), it was super smooth and nice. The best part is that when I got to REI to pick it up (we had ordered online and had it shipped to the store), I saw a big sign that said all the Chariot stuff was 20% off!! So I asked about it and the clerk did a price adjustment for me, so the stroller was $400, and the jogging kit we had ordered was $48. They had the biking kit in the store, so I went ahead and got that ($40) and got a new jogging shirt for me ($4.50!!), fleece vest for Sierra ($6) and new Tevas for Sierra ($10...and she's up to a size 10 if you can believe that!!!!!!). I made it out of REI with a $58 CREDIT on my credit card. And here I was dreading picking it up, b/c I knew I was gonna go in the store and spent more money. For their labor day sale all the clearance stuff (price ending in .83) was an extra 50% off--there were some really good deals. Gonna check for what's online if I ever get both kiddos to sleep. Would like a long sleeve jogging shirt and another biking jersey and pair of biking shorts.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ummm....

I'll be the first to admit I don't have great social skills--I never think to introduce people, never offer drinks when people come over, etc... Counseling skills has by far been the hardest thing for me to learn since I started down the lactation consultant pathway. Tonight though, I came across a really akward situation. I was checking out at a store and had Sedona (in the moby wrap) and Sierra with me. The clerk made a comment that I had a really cool baby carrier and then asked if Sedona was a boy or a girl (she had a pink shirt, but a blue pacifier and only her head was sticking out). I said she was a girl and Sierra chimed in with, "that my baby sister!" The clerk says something about what a pretty baby sister and that he used to carry his baby like that when she was little too. Then he starts crying. Pretty significantly. What do you do in that situation?!?!? I can think of lots of very appropriate reasons for someone to break down into tears in that conversation....maybe his daughter died, maybe her mom has custody and he never gets to see her, maybe he's just a really loving and sentimental dad and she got married recently or something, maybe he and his partner are fighting infertility (he had gray hair, but didn't look old--hard to judge the age), who knows, but it's not completely out there for someone to start crying. But, living in the society we do, I was shocked to have a man suddenly start crying and even if it had been a woman....what on earth do you say to a complete stranger in that situation?!?

In happier news, my box from the milk bank arrived this afternoon :-D It had my packet of info; forms to fill out saying I don't shoot up heroin after the kids go to bed, etc...; a release for them to request test results from my midwife; my pre-paid order for blood test for infectious diseases; my donor ID labels and all my collection bottles. Wheeeee!!!!! I still feel incredibly lucky that we didn't face any life-threatening problems with Sierra even though she was a month early, but was barely getting my milk supply to match her needs through our whole nursing relationship. I'm so very excited that I have a chance to give back and help preemies. I'm looking forward to taking pics of all the filled bottles and putting up a bulletin board at work too. I'm always giving moms info about the milk bank, but I'm hoping a highly visible bulletin board and a "practice what you preach" example will increase interest both for those able to donate and those interested in requesting milk from the bank for their NICU babies.

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