Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are you kidding me?

Some things that you take for granted when giving birth in a hospital have to be given greater concern when having a home birth. For example, we had to take a special trip down to the Johnson County Health Department this afternoon to apply for Maggie Lu's birth certificate. My midwife said we needed to get some paperwork from the county to get this process rolling. I gave the department a call and was told to bring the baby, the daddy, and proof of residency. Since the main utility bills are in Stephen's parents' names, we were told to bring one of them along to confirm we lived in Johnson County.
So Stephen, Dianne, Maggie, and I went down to the county building to fill out a pretty lengthy form to make her legal. At some point, the clerk comes over to tell Stephen that if he wants his name on the birth certificate then we'll have to pay $50 to have a notarized document of paternity created. Of course, we had assumed that his name would be on the birth certificate. He IS the father.
Then the clerk went on to say that getting this document of paternity taken care of would assist with the process of applying for joint custody. She said this as if applying for joint custody was an obvious future step.
We asked if parents who deliver in hospitals also had to pay for this form. We didn't remember having to do this when we applied for D'arcy's birth certificate which took place in an Indiana hospital. She shrugged.
Long story short, we decided to pay the $50 bucks to have Stephen's name on the certificate. We assumed that the hospital must roll this fee into what they already charge. We finished filling out the original six page form, and she brought the paternity form for us to fill out. We began to fill it out, and then the clerk steps back to our table and asks us with surprise, "Are you two married?"
Uhhhhhh....yeah. What could have given it away? The diamond ring? The matching last names on our driver's license? She laughs and says that changes things. As long as we're married, nothing more needs to be done to put his name on the certificate. Are you kidding me?
Or wait. Maybe I'm kidding myself. Just because I'm approaching 30, have four kids, a mortgage, and an IRA doesn't mean that I can waltz into the health department with a baby, a lanky guy wearing a CAKE t-shirt and his mother and expect them to see anything more than a teenage mother, her baby, her boyfriend, and the mother they are all living with.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Maggie's Birth Story

Thursday, August 26th: I went to my regular appointment with the midwife. This was an appointment we had made when I first moved to Indiana. A "just in case" appointment. An appointment I never intended to keep, and, yet, here we were. I was 41 weeks and 6 days into my fourth pregnancy. Before I even sat down, I was in tears. I informed her that we needed to find a way to get this baby out even if it meant having a C-section. I was done. I felt fine physically, but emotionally, I was a wreak. I expected to be overdue, but not this overdue. After my checkup, she told me I was a good 4cm dilated and 85% effaced. For the third time, she "stripped my membranes" which with my previous two pregnancies, put me into labor within 12 hours. I, however, was not convinced that it would work this time.

Friday, August 27th: I woke up still pregnant, but determined to do anything I could to get labor going including taking castor oil. Yeah, people have warned me that it's awful, but I always think it's funny how people won't use castor oil but they'll sign up for pitocin. So, I began the regiment of castor oil that my midwife recommended. Two ounces with food and orange juice for breakfast. The taste wasn't so bad. By lunch time, I still hadn't used the bathroom. So, although the thought made me cringe, I sat down to a lunch of another 2 ounces with food and orange juice. By dinner, my system was well cleaned out, but I wasn't in labor. We spent the evening with friends which helped take my mind off the fact that I was soon to be two full weeks overdue.

Saturday, August 28th:
2:45am Woke up to use the bathroom. It occurred to me that I hadn't felt baby move in a while. Decided I would wake her up with some pushing, prodding, and orange juice. She pushed back a few times which satisfied me that she was still alive in there. I went back to sleep.

Approximately 5:00am Woke up to a quick 30 second contraction that I felt deep down in my cervix. I had felt hundreds of contractions in the last several months, but this one was different and I knew it. I layed in bed through five or so of these.

Approximately 5:15am Felt the baby pop and drop. I wondered if my water broke but felt no gush. I did feel a stronger, longer contraction. I pushed Stephen. Unlike the day Schroeder was born when Stephen literally popped out of bed the first time I called his name, I had to tap Stephen a couple of times. When he opened his eyes, I said, "I'm in labor." Hmmm, really was the jist of his reply. He said something about giving me thirty minutes, but I said we needed to get up now.
At this point, we got up and timed two contractions on the Contraction Master. They were lasting 50 seconds and were three minutes apart.

5:30am We called the midwife and when she asked if we were ready for her to come we said Yes. At this point, I got into the shower, handled a handful of manageable contractions, washed my hair, gave Stephen instructions on who to call, etc. The 8 or 10 contractions I had in the shower were about one minute long and two minutes apart.

5:55am I felt the urge to push. I didn't think I could trust the feeling since the contractions I was having couldn't have been transition! Then I remembered that I've done this before. When Schreoder was born, I was in labor for forty minutes and didn't trust my instinct when I felt the urge to push. I layed in my bed writhing in pain for ten minutes or more because I didn't want to push until the midwife confirmed I was 10cm. I had told myself several times during this pregnancy, that I would trust my instinct and push when my body told me.
So, I began to push. I used the bar in the shower to support me as I squatted and pushed. By this point, Stephen had joined me in the bathroom. He tried to get me to move to the birthing tub, but I refused. The contractions were coming quick and I needed to get this baby out. Every time I squatted to push, I would start to get a cramp in my leg and butt so I was screaming for Stephen to massage the muscle. He kept suggesting that I stop squatting, but, again, I didn't listen.
After a few strong pushes, I reached down to see if I could feel her head. I could.

6:05am Gave a push, then paused as I guided her head into the world (I'm pleased to say no stitches were necessary). I screamed for my mother in law to come help us. Stephen was behind me to catch her, and Dianne helped Stephen remove the cord from around Maggie's neck. Stephen said "oh, no" which I thought was in regards to the cord, but I immediately said that it was ok. She looked good, pinked up quick, and began to cry. We coordinated in order for me to lay down in the bottom of the shower with her on my chest. I was so relieved it was over.

6:10am Woke D'arcy up to come see her newly delivered baby sister.

6:15am My mother and sister streamed in to find me still in the shower.

6:20am My midwife came in to find me still in the shower. We knew it was a possibility that my labor would go quickly so Stephen and I had prepared ourselves for the possibility that we might have to catch this baby on our own. However, we needed our professional midwife to help with all the other stuff which she got busy doing right away. I found out at this point that Stephen said "oh, no" because he thought he saw the cord spurting blood when Maggie was first delivered. He was watching to see how much I was bleeding and was relieved when the midwife came to confirm everything was fine.
Midwife asked if Stephen wanted to cut the cord. His response was, "I caught,I'm good." We invited D'arcy back into the room to cut her sister's cord with the midwife's direction and Stephen's help.

We are thrilled to have had another home birth and to have Maggie in our arms even though she kept us waiting and wondering for so long.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The tub is here...

Our bed has been moved to the side of the room.
There is a cover over our mattress to prevent water permeation.
The birth tub is sitting right beside the bathroom door.
We now have a hose that attaches to our faucet in order to fill up the tub.
There is cheese, crackers, gatorade, and eggs in the kitchen.
My birthing outfit is purchased.
There is plenty of peroxide, towels, and gloves in the closet.

Now we are just waiting for this baby to get here. I say that as if she will be flying in on the next jet plane. What I should really say is that we are just waiting for the two inches of skin that separates us (or should I say, attaches us) to become less of an issue.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kids say the darndest things...

I asked D'arcy yesterday if she would prefer to have a female or a male teacher. Last year she had a male. She told me she would prefer a female. I asked why and she said, "Women are just more confident."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Gabe

My nephew, Gabe, turned six on Tuesday. This is what I remember from the day he was born. I went to the hospital while my sister was laboring. A nurse came down the hall, stopped in front of me and asked if I was the patient waiting to be checked in. It took me a second to figure out why she was asking me this question, and then I remembered that I was 38 weeks pregnant and looked very much like a candidate for being checked into the maternity wing.
I remember Gabe rolling down the hallway after his birth and my mom pulling his little hat off to see what color hair he had. I remember seeing the baby and then abandoning my sister to go eat dinner. I'm not sure if she was pleased with some time alone or not.
I remember staying all night at the hospital on his second or third day of living and holding him most of the night so my sister could get some sleep. That boy still doesn't need as much sleep as the rest of us.
This is what I remember about his sixth birthday. Gabe happily received a lot of Legos. We ate some Legos, too. Gabe picked McDonald's for lunch because he was excited about the toy in the happy meal. Most importantly, my kids, for the first time, got the opportunity to be with their cousin as he celebrated.

Schroeder's attempt to entertain himself

We recently went to a indoor playground on my nephew's birthday. Schroeder was too little to participate so he did his best to entertain himself. He spent some time dreaming about what it would be like to be a big kid.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Great Expectations

I told Stephen the other day that I need to syke myself up to meet our new little one. I need to spend lots of time in thought about what color her hair and eyes will be, how much she will look like her sister and brothers, how tiny or not so tiny she will be on the day of her birth. I need to remind myself what it is to cuddle such a little life. All these thoughts are really the best way to prepare for the intensity of a birth because, all of a sudden, the pain I will experience seems trivial.
We have been working on my photography website, trying to freshen it up. I've been spending time on some of my favorite photographer's websites trying to get some ideas. This morning I went to the blog of a photographer is southern california, http://tarawhitney.com/justbeblogged/. I noticed she had posted some pictures that I hadn't seen yet. As I browsed, I saw this series and began to tear up.

This photo did for me exactly what I was explaining to Stephen that I needed. It made me look forward to the approaching day when Maggie Lu would move from my belly to my arms. All of a sudden, I'm looking forward to contractions. That, my friends, is the definition of a powerful photo.
I decided I needed to document this transition in my own series. So here is the first picture. It's raw. The kids are wearing exactly what they woke up in. My belly is not photoshoped, and yes, it's huge. To some, this might be scarier than that placenta picture I posted last week. But, hopefully, in many years, this picture will help me remember this moment of excited expectation.