Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby and Mama Update

We are all doing quite well here. My kids have started school, choir, sports, and I am totally immersing myself in baby-land; his soft skin, delicious scent, downy face and delicate little body. I have some "hired" help this time post-partum, and it has really made it possible for my home to continue in order, for me to rest, and for Theo to be the recipient of most of my time and attention as he deserves. I am so grateful to my husband for making this possible, and to my family for pulling together and chipping in, and to our friend who is working with us now to help me do all I need to do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Birth Story, Theo Edition, and First Homebirth Experience

The week prior to delivering our little Theo, I had been really terrified of giving birth. Strangely, I thought that since I had done this eight times prior, I wouldn't be so afraid. The last time I gave birth, I never really went through the terror phase. So this time caught me by surprise. As the days drug on, I became less terrified, and more incredulous. I probably would never give birth, anyway. Nothing to be afraid of. Supreme denial.

So, on August 13th, a day past my due date (the first time I had ever entered my 40th week pregnant, by the way. There are firsts even in ninths), I spent the morning looking at our busy school calendar, thinking we were going to have a heap of trouble here if I didn't have the baby pretty soon. The calendar was too full put it off much longer.

As if by magic, on hour later, I began steady contractions. They were light, but fairly close together. Seven minutes, mostly. This went on for an hour, so I called the midwife to let her know things were percolating. Instructed to call her back when the contractions got 5 minutes apart, I rested and ate a good protein meal, and drank the fresh green juice I had made the day before.

Less than an hour later, the contractions were still fairly mild, but had dropped to 4-5 minutes apart. I called the midwife back, and she decided to send the nurse out, which would take about an hour to get to my house.

As it turned out, the midwife decided to come, too, and she got here in about 30 minutes. Good thing, because by the time she got here, the contractions were much stronger and giving me very little time between to rest. Two contractions after the midwife arrived, my water broke, and then labor became like a freight train. One massive contraction after another, with no time for me to collect myself. My husband filled my tub, and I gratefully crawled in, but didn't feel very hopeful for relief, because I hadn't ever had such a rough labor before. But, the water did the trick, and I could manage the contractions better. There still was very little break between them, though, so I still felt like I was being thrashed around. I struggled with all my might to relax, let the contractions work, get out of my own way, so to speak. I felt myself descend into "labor land", where I was unaware of anyone or anything else, except my body and the contractions. I imagined a lake of calm water, with rings emanating from a tossed stone. About 3 contractions later, I felt the baby's head on the inside of my tail bone. Progress! One more contraction, and although I felt like I had turned inside out, I also felt the baby being born. Wow! One tiny push later, and I was looking at my new little son in my arms, flabergasted. My brain was still in labor land, and was trying with all its might to catch up to the reality that our Baby was here! I just couldn't believe it was all over in about 20 minutes!

Little Theodore Frederick Maximos was born at 5:13 pm, after one hour of what I call "real" labor, and 4 hours start to finish of any contractions at all. A record! He was 8lbs 11oz, and 21", very common size for my babies. He pinked up immediately, screamed heartily, and looked just as confused as I did!

After the cord stopped pulsing, my husband cut the cord, and took the baby to show his older siblings, who had stayed home during the birth (the younger ones went to Grammy's house, a few days prior). I finished with the placenta in my bed, had no extra bleeding at all. My uterus, for as old as it is, worked perfectly!!

Items of note, that I remember, but can't figure out how to weave into this story:

I remember the nurse leaving the room, and when she returned she said she had told the older three kids the baby would be born soon. Upon hearing that news, my eldest son shut his laptop, and high-tailed it out the door to head to Grammy's. He got called back by his sister a mere 5 minutes later, telling him to come back home and see his new baby brother.

I remember looking at the baby right after he was born, and looking around for my husband, and realizing he wasn't in the room. He had stepped out for a minute, and missed the birth. He heard a baby cry, and ran back in within seconds of Theo's arrival. The pace of the birth surprised everyone!

I remember the heavenly feeling of the cool cloth on my forehead and chest. My entire being was focused upon how good those cool clothes felt. They were my all, my universe for a few moments. Then the baby was born, and my focus shifted to him, miraculous newborn eyes, and his exquisite smallness.

Here we are now, settling in nicely. It is such a joy to get to know this little one!

The homebirth aspect of this experience was amazingly awesome. It did cause me some stress beforehand, both because I was afraid I wouldn't get "perfectly" ready here, and trying to keep everything ready for a few weeks. But the experience of not having to leave during a freight train labor, and then going straight to my own bed afterward, and spending our first night together here in peace and quiet and uninterrupted was so priceless!

It was strange having something "new" to do during my ninth birth, but the birth itself was picture perfect, and getting to do it at home just magnified its goodness. I am so glad I decided to do a home birth!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Theo at One Week

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quick Takes, Baby Edition!!

I'll do Quick Takes a day late. As a mom of a week old baby, I feel I shall be excused.

1. What a week. Such anticipation, followed by excitement, followed by pain, exhilaration, euphoria, fatigue, fear, sweetness, disbelief, lots of gazing and more disbelief. The abundance of it all makes it challenging to wrap my mind around, really.

2. So my mom took my youngest 5 children for the week. The quiet around here was eerie. Then it was pleasant and peaceful, then it was sad. But they are all home now, and things are hopping once again.

3. I still can't believe how perfect the birth was. I will write the entire thing down as its own post, but really, picture perfect.

4. So I am really getting used to the baby's name. Lots of times after a baby is born it takes me a while to associate the name with the baby. But Theo is perfect for this baby, fits, and is easy to use. Some of the other kids call him Teddy, which is fine. We'll see what sticks, and maybe both will do.

5. I can't believe I haven't gotten photos up yet. Sorry. I have one, it isn't his best, but I will follow with more shortly.

6. Nursing is going great better than with Melanie. I am crossing my fingers that it keeps going that way!

7. I got to sleep in bed, laying down, for the first time last night since he's been born. The rest of the week I was in the recliner. It felt amazing to lay on my stomach. Oh. My. Goodness. So good.

More baby stuff to come, including more photos. It is difficult to do these things one handed.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

He's Here!

Theodore Frederick Maximos arrived this afternoon after a quick labor, at home, in the tub. It was perfect. He is 8lbs, 11oz, 21", and cute as anything. I'll get photos up asap. Thank you all so much for the prayers!!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Quick Takes

I'll give the good old quick takes a go today.

1. I am 39 weeks pregnant now.

2. I am 39 weeks pregnant now.

3. I am 39 weeks pregnant now.

4. Just a little glimpse of the inner workings of my brain at this point. I am trying to let other thoughts in every so often, but I am not very successful.

5. I bought the DVD of Princess Bride. I watched it while I couldn't sleep last night and didn't have the "39 weeks pregnant" tape running through my head for an entire 90+ minutes. Sweet. Watching that movie is like putting on comfy jammies and drinking hot cocoa, under a warm blankie with a fluffy pillow. And I simply love Mandy Patinkin. You ever heard him sing???? Amazing.

6. My kids start school in two weeks. And then we are in full fledged sports, choir, school and crazy mode. Did I mention I was 39 weeks pregnant?

7. Got a pedicure and hair cut. Looking good from my head to my toes! With this in the middle:

And there we are. 7 Quick Takes. Check out more at Conversion Diary.

Monday, August 01, 2011

What is going to get me through...

So here I am, at that distressing part of pregnancy when everything seems tentative and fuzzy. The schedule, the duties, the day, the night. Urg. I am ready and not ready to do this birth. But the reality is it doesn't matter how I feel about it, it is coming, ready or not. He is coming, our new wee lad, whom I can not imagine yet, but yearn to make real in my mind. I feel him, I know he's there. I just can not picture him yet. I am trying to make room, knowing full well room will be made with no effort on my part if I just wait. I am trying to plan my birth, knowing full well there is no planning such a thing, there is only accepting and relinquishing. Yet I feel this very strong desire to control these last weeks, knowing full well this is a time that will not be controlled.

I want to retreat, disappear for a while, reappearing when my future is known, settled, and I am recovered and used to my "new normal". Alas, my life doesn't allow such a luxury. No, I must engage, persevere, and embrace.

In this process, one I find very disconcerting and uncomfortable, even still, after doing it eight times previously, I am making a music play list to listen to while bringing our new man into the world. I came across "The Glories of Byzantium" CD I have, and one of the best tracks on it is Psalm 103 (102) sung in Slavonic in a beautiful female voice, with comforting male background voices, underlying humming, like an organ, except only voices.

I was listening and looking it up in my bible so I could read along in English. I came across Psalm 102(101) first and read that. Wow. Just how I feel today:

Psalm 102

1Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.

2Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.

3For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.

4My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

5By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.

6I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

7I lie awake, and am like a lonely bird upon the house top.

8Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.

9For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.

10Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.

11My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.

12But thou, O LORD, shall endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.

13Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.

14For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.

15So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

16When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.

17He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

18This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.

19For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;

20To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;

21To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;

22When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

23He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.

24I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.

25Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.

26They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:

27But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

28The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.

Then, and only then, did my original quest take on it's full splendor. Psalm 103 is so much more after Psalm 102.

Psalm 103

1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

7He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.

14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

16For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

18To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

19The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

20Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

21Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

22Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

I found them to be very, very relevant, and can see how the two of these together are perfectly placed. So now I am reading Psalm 102, followed by 103, and the world is pulled more fully into focus. Feel free to join me in these lovely, ancient petitions and praises.