Monday, April 30, 2012

Growing...

Our little guy is getting so much bigger, especially in the length direction. Today I noticed that the newborn size sleeper he has been wearing is too short for him. Look at those knobby knees!
Also regardez this amazing quilt that Heiko is enjoying. Made with love by Grammy! I need to take some better pictures with nicer light, which I'll do later.
Finally, in non-baby related news, today we received a cease and desist order from the choose your own adventure folks. Oops. In fact, they were really nice about everything, and seemed basically unbothered by our book, given the scale of its distribution. Still, it is funny that they found out about our little project. Thanks, Steinberg.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

No more tears

We have achieved a significant milestone over here: no more crying! No, not of Heiko... but me! Two days free of tears (interestingly, when H cries, he has no tears). These postpartum hormones are some powerful things, people.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday morning

Let's be serious: weekends are meaningless these days. But mornings are featuring more alert time.


Monday, April 23, 2012

40 weeks

Hey! It is April 23, my due date.
It is hard for me to even think about being pregnant right now, even though it was only 11 days ago!

Indeed these last 11 days have been a blur, in both a good and bad way. It has been amazing getting to know this little man. But it is also hard work, and not without quite a few emotional ups and downs for everyone involved.


It astonishes me to see how much Heiko has changed over these days. He is noticeably bigger, definitely louder, and starting to have more periods of quiet alertness.

OK, and he is starting to have longer periods of not-quiet alertness too. His appetite is increasing, and so is his double chin! Patrick tells me that babies just get fatter and fatter until they start crawling. Oh, and he is also so much stronger, his little grip and his strong legs. He is even starting to be able to hold his head up sometimes.


All this change is incredible, but I just can't believe how fast it goes. Add to it some sleep-deprivation and a husband who is still on the mend from a bad cold and there is the blur in a bad way.  All the more reason to try to record some of these moments here, I suppose. 

As for me, I'm feeling much better physically than I was. I'm starting to itch to go for a run and get back to a more active yoga practice, but in fact even walking tires me out these days. Still, I'm looking forward to lacing up the old runners when I'm feeling a little less squishy on the inside. But everything just needs to happen one day and one moment at a time around here. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Heiko's birth story


First a disclaimer/warning. You don’t need to read this!!! I loved reading birth stories throughout my pregnancy (for example The Baby Catcher or Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth), but I recognize that not everyone shares this passion. For you folks, here is a picture of Heiko at 5 days old.


It seems like a lot of birth stories begin by saying that the birth was nothing like what the parents expected. Heiko’s story begins exactly this way:  I would not have guessed in a million years that his beginning would be like this. One type of birth story that I never read with too much interest was the stories of very fast labours. Usually those stories are actually kind of nice, but I wanted to prepare myself mentally for a long labour, not a short labour. After all, first time mums are usually in labour for 12 - 24 hours, while second time mums may experience faster births. I also wanted to mentally prepare myself for unexpected circumstances.  Although Patrick and I were planning a home birth, I had heard enough stories from friends and acquaintances who said that they needed to transfer into the hospital for pain relief, or for other reasons. Our hospital bag was well packed just in case. As it turned out, it wouldn’t have mattered.

I started having mild contractions at around 3:30am on April 11. They were like menstrual cramps, and didn't bother me too much. I think they were probably every ten minutes or so. I took some Tylenol and slept in. The contractions continued throughout the day, and I basically went about with things as usual. We went for a walk in the park, and got our house nice and tidy just in case. I had a few other signs of early labour as well. Nevertheless, I was mentally preparing myself for days of this, or for a false start (for the contractions to disappear and resume days later). Still, I gave my midwife, Edan, a heads up. She told me to take a hot bath, two gravol and try to sleep.

We went to bed around 11pm. I don't know if I actually fell asleep, but pretty soon I was awake with the contractions, which were becoming more uncomfortable. I couldn't stay lying down through them, and found that being on hands and knees was better. I decided to start timing them, but I didn't wake Patrick. I wanted him to rest well for the event to come. Much to my surprise, after about 40 minutes of timing, I discovered that the contractions were about a minute long, but only 2 or 3 minutes apart. To be clear, that is 2 or 3 minutes from the beginning of a contraction to the beginning of the next. So in fact, there was only a minute or two between contractions.  This is when everything started to get pretty wacky. The contractions required the fullness of my attention. I couldn't focus enough to use the iPhone contraction timer, so I woke Patrick up. It was 1:30am. We timed a few more, but the intensity was ramping up so quickly, I hardly had time to think. I got him to page Edan. He was pretty groggy, having woken up to his wife in pretty rough shape. I probably should have woken him earlier.

Edan called back right away and "talked" to me through a few contractions. Of course I couldn't talk. I was making sounds I didn’t know I could make. It was intense, and I felt like it was all contraction all the time.  I wasn’t thinking at all. I was only experiencing the overpowering sensations in my body. I’m not sure I was able to communicate this to Edan on the phone. In any case, Edan said that she would make her way over. She talked to Patrick and told him to get me into the bathtub. This was at 1:45am.

Patrick ran me a bath (and also somehow made up the bed for the birth, cleared away the items on my dressing table to make way for the midwives equipment, and did a million other things too, plus he ran to me to rub my back through the intensity of the contractions -- total superhero mode), and I got in. Sort of. All I could do was kneel in the tub. The contractions were starting to change, and all I can say is that I remember feeling very.... open.

I tried to ease myself more into the water, and that’s when for some reason I reached down with my hand. My first thought was "how will Edan check my cervix with this thing in the way?" Yep. This "thing" was the baby's head, and it was on the way out. At that point there was some swearing and confusion as I tried to tell P what was going on. He got me to lift my chin and start panting, but it didn't do much. Through a few contractions I was even pushing back on the baby's head! I remember feeling relief that the labour was coming to an end. I think if my body were giving me any chance to rest I would have been scared, but as it was, there was no time to be frightened. There was no fighting it, and soon I flipped over in the tub and the baby’s head was out. Patrick called 911. I watched the baby’s head turn sideways (underwater) to allow the shoulders room to pass through the pelvis, this was truly surreal to see, and just phenomenally amazing in retrospect. In another contraction the rest of the baby was out, and I caught him and brought him to my chest. Suddenly I was holding a very purple, very quiet tiny human. It was nuts, and I was in total shock. I didn’t have time to think about what to do. The baby shortly started crying however, and he pinked right up... that's when we discovered he was a little boy! The 911 dispatcher got us to rub him down with towels, which made him even more active.

Edan arrived only three minutes later. I was still crouched in the tub, and definitely in shock, but holding a seemingly healthy baby in my arms. Patrick was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, and Edan took the phone and was able to assure them that everything was fine. And everything was fine! From there, Edan took charge, leading me to the bedroom to examine me and the baby, and to deliver the placenta. What is sort of interesting is that I had some trouble delivering the placenta. Edan could tell that I was still having contractions, but I didn’t know how or where to push. In no way had I pushed this little baby out of me. He just came out. But eventually I managed a good strong push and the placenta was out. Not pushing our baby out also meant that I didn’t tear at all, which has made the recovery a little more straightforward.

I’d also like to emphasize Patrick’s role in the adventure. From his perspective, he was woken up from a deep slumber at 1:30 am, and less than an hour later he became a father. He did so much, remembering to check the colour of the amniotic fluid (we thought my water may have broken before getting into the tub), reminding me to focus, giving me things to focus on, making eye contact with me and just being right there when I needed him. He stayed so calm throughout the whole thing. Probably some credit is also due to Penny Simkin’s The Birth Partner, which Patrick read.

After all the examinations, the vitamin K shot, a breastfeeding lesson, and the most delicious cup of tea ever, Edan and the student midwife Kama gave us all hugs, and tucked us into bed. So began our life as a family.

And that is the story of my precipitous birth, the unattended accidental water-birth. It was beautiful and joyous, but also terrifying, primal, and pure instinct. I think I was honestly in shock for four or five days after the birth, but writing down some of the details has helped process it somewhat. And life with Heiko is amazing. Amazing! But that’s a whole other story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Introducing Heiko Cedar!!!

Our son, Heiko Cedar was born on April 12, at 2:22 am. There is so much to say, but for now, I'll let the little man speak for himself. 

Wassup world? I'm one day old!


 And now I'm two. Days old!


Day 4. Check out my GIANT pants! 

Much more to come of course......

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last pregnancy picture

Happy in early labour, at 38 weeks and two days:
Lots of updates to come....

Monday, April 9, 2012

38 weeks

I was thinking back recently to the time in my early pregnancy (around Halloween) when I walked home from downtown Fort Collins carrying a pumpkin. I remember thinking that perhaps that is what it would feel like when I was more fully pregnant, and thinking that it was heavy and round. When I got home I weighed the pumpkin, and realized that it was only about ten pounds, which is probably roughly half of what I've got going on at the moment.
It is pretty amazing really then that I'm still feeling pretty good, although as is clear from the above, baby is sitting verrrry low. There is a lot of anticipation and expectation these days, but happily all the important details are in place (hurray for the return of the husband!). From now on all of the cleaning and redecorating and freezing food and finishing crafts is just bonus. 

Oh, and by the way, it was a greeny-white pumpkin with a big smile.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Looking back and looking forward

With all the sorting and organizing I have been doing lately, I have been looking toward the past quite a bit. Packing up all my office stuff has been an interesting process (slash existential crisis!), possibly worthy of its own post. Thinking about selling the house is also a highly emotional idea. But today I'd just to share this little piece of the future (via the past, obviously). Looking forward to more vistas like these:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Too much loveliness, or maybe just too much

Today I met with a real estate agent to talk about selling our house. She toured around and we talked about the whole process. At first her suggestions seemed good (get the whole house painted, have an inspection done etc.), but then things started to make me uncomfortable.

I understand that this is what some people do when they sell their houses, they "stage" them. But in our case, it sounded like she was suggesting moving all of our furniture out of the house, and renting "more modern" furniture. Even this I could possibly handle, but when she started telling me that it would be a good idea to get rid of the bookshelves and books, I started to feel a little unwell. Really? Books lower the sale price of a home? Yeah, I get it: real estate agents are selling a lifestyle, and she wants to pitch this place as a minimalist condo alternative, and our hand-me-down furniture isn't up to the aesthetic (or apparently the price tag).

Anyway, her comments were only suggestions, and we'll have to see what we end up doing. A large part of me doesn't want to pretend to be or live in a way that isn't essentially the way we are. Nevertheless, after she left I spent yet more time sorting and cleaning. And here is the problem: I just love a lot of different things. For example, look at this thing:


This thing is just a crappy paint set that cost 89 cents, and that I'll never use, but I love it. I love the colours and the irregularity of the paint cakes and the graphics on the front. Anyway, this is only an example, and it is a pretty easy one. I'll get rid of it and never miss it. But what about all those things that are linked with memories? Like all the things I've collected from the sea, from all the different times and places I've been at the ocean? Or old letters and photos? Or even just strange old things from my grandparents house?

Part of me thinks that like the paint set, I'll get rid of these more sentimental things, and never look back for them. But another part of me finds that notion difficult, or like I'm "sterilizing the past," in the words of a friend (who might be a pack-rat?).  The problem is that whenever I sort through these collections I remember things that might be forgotten without that physical residue.

The answer as usual is probably in striking a balance, and finding a slightly more minimal curatorial framework for my life. I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, April 2, 2012

37 weeks

Full term! Yes, apparently baby is fully cooked with probably functional lungs. In fact, the midwives are so confident of this fact that we are now able to have a home birth.

One pose, two ways. That's a big belleh.
 

And that is the plan, so one of the tasks on the agenda today was to gather the necessary items, and put them in one place. There were only a very small number of specialty items, the rest of the things were regular around-the-house things, that just needed to be gathered together.

I'm feeling pretty good as I head into these final weeks of pregnancy. I'm starting to wonder how many more swims I'll get in, and how many more prenatal yoga classes. Plus there is the mile-long list of things I want to do, sort,  make or clean. But as one of the midwives put it, it is like I'm going to be running a marathon sometime very soon, but without being able to choose when. That is, rest has to be the priority in the next weeks. I can't say I think this will be too hard to accomplish, as I can feel my body naturally slowing down. And yes, perhaps that sashay is developing into more of a waddle....