Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Woman Of My Dreams

Women always have this picture in their minds of what the perfect man would be like. There is a sort of check list. Different people have different ideals. For me, it was important to have a strong guy (Check!).

In the same way, I have a picture in my mind of what the perfect *me* is like. I have been dreaming of this version of me for quite some time now. It all started with Bunny's birth. I had this vision of her birth worked out in my head. How it would be so sweet, and loving, and yes, hard. But a good kind of hard. The kind that you struggle through and come out on the other side feeling like you could do anything. Needless to say if you have read my birth story, that dream did not come true. It was instead replaced by a nightmare of a birth. Only three good things came out of it. The first was Bunny herself. The second were the words my husband said as I held my daughter for the first time. The third was the woman of my dreams. My dream me. I realized that the reason I didn't get what I wanted in Bunny's birth, was because I wasn't who I needed to be. I was shy and weak. I was ignorant, and scared because of my ignorance.

As the days went by, my body slowly healed from the damage that had been done. I began to grow stronger than I had ever been. One night, I caught a glimpse of her. My dream me. It was only for a moment. I felt her welling up inside of me, and had to let her out. She knew... *I* knew what I believed in and I stood up for it. I believed in me. For the first time ever, I believed in myself and my body. I spoke like I had never spoken before. I don't think that I changed any one's mind about birth that night, but I didn't set out to. I did however, set out to change myself. To become who I need to be.

I have become more and more like my dream me over the past couple of years. I have done things that I was much too shy to ever do before. And now I have finally had the birth I was meant to have. This time around, things were much different. Though I still struggle with shyness, it is something I almost always find the strength to overcome. I am very educated in birth and many things that go along with it. I was not afraid because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that having a homebirth was what was right for me. I feel like I have been waiting so long, just to get to where I should have been from the start. Now I am finally free to move on from here.

I have a picture in my head of what my dream me looks like. A list of things she does and can do. Here are a few of the things on the list:

  • She wears her hair down a lot more than I do. It might be braided or clipped back, but it is very rarely in a messy bun, like mine is almost everyday.
  • She weighs about 30lbs less than I currently do. That is what I weighed when I got married. That is what I weigh when I feel good about what I weigh.
  • She hula hoops. How sad is it that I never learned how to hoop as a kid? I am going to learn.
  • She is up for trying new things and going new places. I have gotten better about this. I tried tacos for the first time recently and it turns out, I love them. Makes me wonder what other things I would love if I hadn't already written them off. Time to take a few chances.
  • She drives. When I was a teen, I never had the desire to drive. I learned how, and was actually pretty good, but I never got my licence. I have gotten my permit and let it expire so many times that I am pretty sure I know all the test questions. Not driving is now an inconvenience. I need to drive.

This list changes from time to time. There are so many more things that I hope to do at some point in my life. But I have to start somewhere.

Monday, July 30, 2012

An Enchanted Childhood Playschool ~ Summer Break

These little ones are busy, busy little ones!

Dried Tiger Lily stalks become great swords...

and fishing poles!

The baby chicks grew so much during our two week break!

The garden has sooo many yummy veggies.
We nibble while we are there and take home lots for lunch and snacks!
Carrots, kale, broccoli, beets, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, green beans.. oh my!

With a few good rains, the creek is back to its lovely, refreshing self!

The children climbed hills....

And rescued friends...

whether they needed it or not...

They made new friends... little ones...

and big ones!

And FYI--When a one year old little girlie yells "Chickens. Chickens", be sure to take a look.
You just might see some gorgeous turkeys right in your very own backyard!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Homebirth Story

To better understand our choice to birth at home, you can read Bunny's Birth Story.

A word of caution: While I have edited all photos to remove any nudity, there are some that contain blood.

Let me first start off by saying that this written account of my birth does not do it justice. I have been searching for the right words to express what I felt. Such words do not exist. If you have experienced a birth like this, you know exactly how I feel. If you have not, you cannot possibly imagine.

July 7th 2012
41 weeks

The night of July 9th, 2012, I went to bed having the same light contractions that I had been having almost every night for the past week and a half. They always stopped once I went to bed, and I expected that night to be no different. I left The Hubs to finish watching a movie and snuggled up to our two year old, Bunny, who was already sleeping sweetly in our family bed. I dozed and woke with each contraction. I rolled over and tried to ease the back pain that came with them. I saw the minutes go by. The Hubs came to bed at almost midnight, and I was still just barely dozing. At around 12:30 I finally got up. I went to the bathroom. I walked around the house, cleaning up the few things that were untidy.

Around 1:00am, now Tuesday, July 10th, I was still having contractions and decided to call my mama/doula. I told her I thought this might actually be the real thing this time, but I would call her again when I was sure. After that I got online and checked facebook. Mama (not being able to go back to sleep if I was in labor) was on, too. We chatted back and forth for a bit. At some point, we both realized that I would stop typing during contractions and decided to time a few. I really hate timing contractions. It makes me feel like I am running late for something. They were about 3 minutes apart. Mama decided that she would go ahead and come over. I thought about turning on the CD of songs that The Hubs had made me for labor, but I really didn't want the extra noise to wake Bunny. I walked through my kitchen and looked over the birth affirmation banner from my blessingway. I was getting excited. There was my birthing pool, all blown up and ready to fill if I wanted it. On the table was the bag of supplies my midwife had left, along with candles and massage oils and a necklace I had planned to wear. I felt another contraction coming and retreated to the living room to lean over the pull out couch and lightly moan through it.

A little before 2:00, Mama appeared and rubbed my back through a few contractions. They were still fairly mild, but pressure on my back felt good. We decided to wake The Hubs who was a little groggy from staying up late, but he quickly figured out what I was saying. I took a quick bath, just to feel clean, and put on the birthing dress that mama had bought for me. I pulled my long wavy hair back into a bun. Then went back into the living room where The Hubs rubbed my back through a few more, now stronger, contractions. We all decided it was time to call the midwife. It felt weird calling. Like I was finally announcing "this is it" after so many times of thinking it was when it wasn't. I still kept thinking that it all might stop at any moment.

The midwives, (Ruth and her apprentice, Leila) arrived around 3:00am. They just watched and listened through a few contractions. They checked my BP and heart rate, Ruth used the doppler to check Baby Squirrley's, then they were going to check and see how dilated I was. Bunny woke up during this time and I held her though a few contractions. It felt good to have her there. When I was ready to be checked, I leaned back on the pull out couch, but had to sit up quick because a contraction hit. Leila pushed against my aching back with the hot rice pack Mama had warmed for me. This contraction was a bit harder than the others had been. I mentally guessed that I was at 7 or 8. When it was over, Ruth checked me and said I was a stretchy 5, but the baby wasn't engaged and I should do some pelvic rocks to try to move her down. I was kinda bummed. I felt like I had made a big deal out of nothing. She asked if I wanted her to stay and I said I didn't really need her to since I was not too far along yet. The midwives and Mama made a plan for them to sleep at Mama's house since she lives next door. I had a much harder contraction. Leila ask me if it felt different, and I said there a lot more downward pressure. She told me she didn't think it would be too long.

Around 4:00, The Hubs took Bunny and showed the midwives to Mama's house, next door. Mama stayed with me as I labored on my knees leaning over the bed of the pull out couch and rocked. Back and forth and up and down. A few contractions later, I felt like I needed to use the bathroom. While I was on the toilet, I had a couple of very hard contractions. When I got up, there was a lot of bloody show. I went back to the living room to continue rocking, but couldn't stay there long. There was so much pressure and back pain. I dashed back to the bathroom. The Hubs and Bunny came back from Mama's. I know my sister, Katie, came to keep Bunny entertained, but I never saw her. I know Ruth came back to check out the bloody show, but I didn't see her either.

By this time I was moaning loudly through contractions. The back pain was horrendous. Mama kept trying to get me on top of it. At one point I told her "I can't be quiet!" I kept thinking about how it compared to labor with Bunny. It was way harder. I felt like if I was only at 5 or 6 then my back might break before I hit 10. The only thing that I could think of that helped was remembering that towards the end of labor with Bunny, right before I was fully dilated, I had a time when the contractions slowed and eased and I could rest a bit. I felt like if I could make it until then, I would have a chance to regain some composure and be able to make it though. My legs were shaking as I sat on toilet. I remember thinking that they hadn't started shaking until I was in transition with Bunny. In between some contractions, I looked up at Mama and said, "I am so glad I am at home!" As hard as it was, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.

At some point, I started looking for a way to retreat. I knew that Katie and Bunny were watching a DVD in the living room, so in between contractions, I made a mad dash for my bedroom. I laid on my left side in the middle of the bed. This was the last place I expected to be during labor. I kept waiting for that rest period. I thought that maybe then I would get up and move somewhere else to have the baby. I remember that every little sound seemed so loud. I told Mama to stop talking, and I moaned louder than ever. Ruth (who was listening to me from another room) told me to moan deeper. I did, and it helped some. In my mind, I  kept replaying the song Something Heavenly from my birth play list. "There's a wave that's crashing over me. And all I can do is surrender."

I hadn't been on the bed very long when I felt every bit of my body start to push downwards. At first, I thought it was me, tensing up from the back pain. The next contraction, I made a point to relax every muscle. But the pushing feeling got even stronger. As soon as the contraction was over I told Mama that I needed to be checked because I felt pushy. Ruth came in and after another very pushy contraction, she checked me and told me that I was complete. Thank God!

Greater words had never been uttered. At 4:30, a mere 45 minutes after I had been checked at 5cm, and my body was ready and pushing my baby out. They called for Leila, who was still at Mama's waiting. Mama called my sister, Meagan, who was supposed to come take pictures. From that point on I feel like I handled the pain much better. Though I still needed pressure on my back though each contraction, there was an end in sight. Still laying on my side, I felt my baby move down with each contraction. Two steps forward and one step back. I took my mind off the pain and began to really soak up everything about what would soon be the birth of my baby. Ruth reminded me not to do any additional pushing, just to let my body slowly stretch. Down down down POP! My water broke at 4:50 and I remember laughing in the midst of it all. With the next contractions, I felt her head in the birth canal. I reached down and felt the very top of her head. Wrinkly and wet and amazing.

With each contraction, she would come down a little bit further. I could feel more and more of her. If it hadn't been for the back pain, the whole thing would have been rather enjoyable. Meagan appeared and started snapping pictures. I was so glad that she had made it. At some point The Hubs tried to slip away to go to the bathroom, but I called after him. There was no way I was going to let him miss this. It was so close, I could feel it. He stationed himself at my feet, and on one contraction, told me that he could see her hair. I was giddy and smiling in between moaning with back pain. With another contraction I finally felt the "ring of fire". It was tight and burny, but not as bad as I had expected. Her head stayed there even after the contraction had ended. With the next contraction, her head was out. She came out sideways, almost posterior (thus the back pain). I reached down and felt her tiny, scrunchy face. I felt no pain, or even discomfort, from this point on. I was so high on oxytocin and endorphins. Such an amazing feeling.  It felt like Squirrely was only there a few seconds when Ruth told me to flip to hands and knees. I first said that I couldn't, but then Mama told me I had to, and I jumped to do it. At that point I felt like it was important to get her out, so I gave one push. That, plus Ruth's guiding, and out she came into her papa's strong, loving hands at 5:25am. Born with the rising sun.

The Hubs handed her up, between my legs to me. I untied my wrap dress and held her to me. The cord was on the shorter side, so she would only reach the top of my belly. I ask for Bunny (who had been in and out of the room the whole time) and The Hubs brought her in to see her new baby sister. Her eyes lit up and she smiled from ear to ear and asked to hold her. I laid down and Bunny came and petted her baby.

After a bit, Ruth wanted to get the placenta out, so after trying to push it out a few times, we decided to go ahead and cut the cord. It had already stopped pulsing and was quite white. The Hubs held Squirrely while I delivered the placenta. Bunny took a turn holding her baby. I felt like there was a fog surrounding the bed. People were bustling about doing things, but I have no idea what. I was too love drunk to care. My baby smelled so amazing. Raw and sweet and mine. I felt like we had conquered the world together. Like I was capable of anything now. I felt free. As I write this now, I still feel that way.

After a while, the midwives checked me. I had what looked like a small tear, that could use a couple of stitches. I never even felt it. Ruth doesn't stitch (because she so rarely would have to, that she does not have enough experience to feel confident about it), so we made plans for another midwife, Angie, to come later to do the stitching. Then they checked the baby. They measured and weighed and listened and counted and checked all of her reflexes. Just as I had suspected, she was perfect. She weighed 8lbs even and was 21 1/2 inches long. Almost a whole pound bigger than Bunny had been at birth. This only reaffirmed my feeling of pride and accomplishment.

Squirrley nursed excellently, right from the start. I think the fact that Bunny still nurses made it easier. After the midwives left, I nursed them both to sleep, and The Hubs and I fell asleep as well. Though my soul could have run a marathon, my body needed rest.

We spent the rest of the day in our own little world of bliss. Late that night, Ruth, Leila, and Angie came back so Angie could stitch me. I think it ended up being about 10 sitches. I will be forever grateful that she came and did that for me. Afterward, I went to bed with my little family. Dreaming of what an amazing day it had been. My heart so incredibly full that I still feel that is might burst at any moment.

I shared my birth story at: