Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sophie's Birth story

I have decided that my births are not going to go according to plan, which I guess is typical. Margie came too quickly for me to make it to the birthing pool, and Sophie... well, I am getting ahead of myself.

June 2nd and 3rd I suddenly was hit with bursts of nesting energy. I had been really tired for awhile before, not able to do much extra, but between the two days, and with a lot of help from Mike and my sister-in-law Melissa, we got the house completely clean. So I hopeful that the energy meant something was happening. We went out to eat at Golden Corral the night of the third to keep the kitchen clean and because I wanted steak.

I started having some mildly painful contractions at the restaurant, but didn't think too much about it, because I had been having contractions for a couple weeks. Then in the car on the way home, I had a couple that made me go, "Ooooooow!" Mike said he hadn't heard me talk like that since Margie was born. I think I freaked him out, because that had been so fast, but I told him they weren't that bad yet.

We got home and got the kids cleaned up for church the next day and then to bed. The contractions kept up, and stayed pretty painful, so I called my midwife (Cheryl) to let her know things were happening. She seemed to think it was serious enough to tell us to blow up the birthing pool, which made me happy, I was afraid it was going to be a false alarm, that they would go away while I slept. We called my cousin who wanted to be there for the birth, and was going to be responsible for my eldest, Mason, who I wanted to be there, and she came over around 11 to spend the night. I knew I should go to bed, but I had trouble falling asleep.

I woke up at three in the morning and the contractions were too painful to sleep through, but not so bad that I felt I should wake up anyone. Around six, they got more intense, and I contacted my midwife again. The problem was, they were very irregular. They were pretty painful, but I was tracking them and they were 7 minutes apart or more. So I figured I still had a while.

It was Sunday, so when the kids got up, we gave them cereal, and we called my Aunt Liz and asked her to come get the two youngest and take them to church. The plan was always for them to go with her if the birth happened during the day. She came and got them around 7:30, and told me later that she thought from observing me that it would still be several hours before baby came.

Around that same time, I messaged my mom and some of my sisters about what was going on, and mentioned that I was wanting medication already, that it HURT. I probably should have said the same thing to my midwife, but I was so hung up on the irregular contractions. I took a shower for a little bit, but it didn't help much and I didn't want to use up all the hot water, so I stopped and just walked around the house. My sister-in-law had come by this point, so Mike, Mason, April, and Sara were all in the front room talking.

Sometime after 9 am, I called Cheryl again and we talked for a few minutes, she listened to me through a contraction and had me see if I could feel anything going on with my cervix. I had been laying on my side for a bit, so she suggested I go walk around for about half an hour and see if that got the contractions closer together.

As soon as I hug up the phone, I was hit with a SUPER intense contraction, I couldn't move, think or talk. I should have called her back then, but I was hung up on the timing thing still. I went in the front room and walked around the birthing pool, stopping for contractions and timing them, and they were still too random. They hurt like the dickens, they just weren't consistent. Cheryl texted me, asking if I wanted her to come out and check my progress, but I didn't want her to come out if it was too early. I was just thinking that maybe I should go ahead and ask her to come, when I was hit with a very strong PUSHING contraction.

Now, when I pushed with Margie, no one else knew I was pushing. I felt the pushing urge, but the contractions were no worse than the others, and I was so caught up in them that I didn't tell anyone I was pushing. These were different. My lower back and bottom hurt SO BAD that I screamed with every contraction. Mike was sitting on the couch, and I threw him the cell phone and told him to call Cheryl and tell her I was pushing.

She said she was coming as fast as she could, and told him to have me lie on my left side on the bed, I am assuming to prevent gravity from bringing baby before she got there. He immediately started trying to fill the birthing pool with water. At some point, in between the painful pushing, I yelled for him to come in our room and get the protective padding under me, in case my water broke or something. Other than that, I was alone in the room because everyone was trying to get the tub ready, which I resented, but I wasn't lucid enough to ask them to send someone in to help me.

The birthing assistant showed up first, and they got Cheryl on the phone, on speaker. She could hear me screaming, and yelling that the baby was coming. At some point, I told Mike to just turn off the water, I wasn't going to be making in the tub. But I also didn't want to have her on my bed, I had visions of blood all over my nice bed. Mike suggested moving to the bathroom, but it was too late, before I could get up, I had another contraction, and the head started coming, I couldn't really move after that. I yelled for Mason and Sara to come in or they were going to miss it, Cheryl came running in at this point, and two minutes later, Baby Sophie was born.

Of course, I didn't know she was a girl yet, they put her on my stomach, and I just held her and cooed over the hair and the cuteness. We didn't check the gender for about five minutes, actually.

I again didn't make it in for a water birth. I had minimal tearing this time, which was nice, the first time I haven't needed stitches. She was 8 pounds, 12 oz, 21 inches long, and I was in labor for over 12 hours, my longest natural labor. Probably my hardest too, as far as pain goes. The pushing REALLY hurt, Cheryl thinks she was facing the wrong direction, causing back labor. She is four weeks old today, and absolutely adorable and sweet. She was only about a week and a half past my due date, so not Aiden stubborn.

Pictures!

Brand new!


After first bath




One of my other kids with cousins, when my aunt came over.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Baby Margie's Birth

Baby Margie is finally here! And here is her birth story.

I had an appointment with my midwife the morning of the 3rd, and at the appointment she did an exam and pushed on my cervix in an attempt to help it thin. She warned me that it might cause things to move along because it could cause the release of prostaglandins, then told me to try using castor oil as well. I wasn't looking forward to it, because I tried it with Aiden and had trouble swallowing it, but she told me to mix it with orange juice and I was hoping it would be easier. She also told me to go for a walk that morning before trying.

I left and picked up some castor oil, then took Aiden to a mall and we went walking around the mall until it was time to pick up Mason from preschool. I was having contractions, but nothing very painful, I could barely feel them unless I was moving. I picked Mason up from school, we had lunch and then I started the castor oil. I was supposed to take a dose every hour for three hours. In between doses I used the breast pump my aunt lent me and took a bath. Aiden was napping and Mason was watching TV. The contractions were still going and increasing, but I still couldn't really feel them. I started tracking them, and they were close to five minutes apart, but I couldn't tell how long they were lasting because I couldn't feel them unless I was moving around, and even then, it wasn't super painful. I could tell when they started but I couldn't tell when they stopped. My midwife told me to keep monitoring them, and I called Mike (right as he got off work) and told him he should hurry home.

I felt that something was happening and warned my aunt that I may need her to take the boys that night if thing heated up, and Mike called and got someone to cover his scout group that night. I took another bath, and then lay on my bed, still trying to monitor my contractions. They were less than five minutes apart now, some two and a half minutes, but I still couldn't feel anything unless I was moving. So around 7:30, I talked to my midwife, and we decided I would try to go to bed and see what happened. At this point I was feeling guilty for getting Mike to skip scouts, I figured that by morning the contractions would be done. We got the kids to bed at 8:30 and I was in bed by 9:30. But I could feel the contractions a little bit by then and couldn't fall asleep, and by ten, I knew it wasn't happening. And a few minutes later, I knew that it was definitely no false alarm.

Waiting for the midwife
I got up, told Mike to start setting up the tub, and called my midwife at 10:18 pm. She told me later that she could tell by the sound of my voice that she'd better hurry. I also called my friend who would be acting as my doula and my aunt to see if she wanted to bring over my cousin who had wanted to be there. Then I concentrated on dealing with the contractions, which by this point were about two minutes apart and VERY painful. I walked around the front room, went and sat on the toilet for some of them, and asked Mike at one point why I had wanted to have another baby. I could tell from how the contractions felt that things were going quickly, and all I wanted was to get in the tub. Mike was working on getting the tub filled with air and hooking up the hose to the shower. My midwife, her assistant, and my doula all showed up at the same time, and jumped in helping Mike get the tub ready, but before too long, we could tell that it wasn't going fast enough. I could hear them talking softly about how I probably wasn't going to make it in.

About fifteen minutes before baby showed
 I kept dealing with the contractions as best I could, and suddenly felt that I was pushing. I felt the "ring of fire" starting, and as soon as that contraction was done, I went to the bathroom, figuring sitting on the toilet would help with the pain, and that it was the best place to be in case my water broke. Things moved pretty quickly after that.

Before I knew it, my body was actively, strongly pushing. I could feel her head coming, and my midwife had me feel her head. It felt weird to me, probably because my water hadn't broken yet, so I was feeling it through the membrane. Then bing bang boom, my water broke (I heard a little pop and a little fluid came out) another contraction started and my body pushed and continued pushing even after the contraction was over, and out popped the head. And then her body came out almost immediately, and the midwife and I caught her. The whole time I kept saying, "I don't believe it, I don't believe this!" It was just so fast, and I didn't get to go in the tub at all. I figured it would be fast, because Aiden was about three hours of labor that I was aware of, but I didn't expect it to be that fast. She was born at 11:14 pm.

I couldn't raise her up right away because the cord was draped across her neck and the midwife had to adjust it so I could pick her up properly, but then we fixed it and I was able to pull her up to my chest. They brought in a towel and cleaned her up as I held her, then put the towel over her to help keep her warm, and then helped me get out of my robe so I could hold her skin to skin. She squawked a little bit right after she was born, but didn't really cry at all. I stayed in the bathroom until the placenta came and Mike cut the cord. Then I handed her off to Mike and he held her while I made my way down the hall to my bedroom and he gave her back to me as soon as I lay on the bed. I got to hold her for the first two hours of her life. I started nursing her almost as soon as we lay down on the bed.

Margie on the bed with Mommy right after birth
It was so different than the hospital. When they did end up measuring her, they left her lying down with me because she was stretched out, and they didn't weigh her until right before they were ready to go. Not even that made her cry because they used a cloth sling to weigh her, and she'd been nursing for awhile. She was nursing when they stitched me up, in an attempt to distract me from what was going on. I had an almost third degree tear, not a huge surprise considering how quickly she came, but not much fun to fix.

By 1:30 am, Mike and I were alone in our room, everything cleaned up, on our own bed. It was kind of surreal. Mike later compared it to shopping at the store versus ordering something online. I half expected to wake up in the morning still pregnant, that it had all been a dream, except I knew that it couldn't have been since it had hurt so bad.

The boys had no idea what had happened, they slept through the whole thing. The next morning, Aiden woke up, and Mike ducked out of the room and closed the door and got the camera. He woke up Mason, then had them come in together. The boys were so excited! Mason said, "The baby came out of your tummy!"

We are recovering from the birth pretty well. Margie is a very mellow baby, she doesn't cry much and sleeps very well. She is beautiful! We can't get over the black hair she has. And I think that her eyes will be brown, they are already darker than the boys' were.

It was all an interesting experience. I wasn't sure I was in labor earlier, because I'd never experienced it before properly. I was induced with Mason and that was a long arduous process I didn't want to repeat, and with Aiden, I went to sleep and woke up and I was obviously in labor. Although at the same time, this went differently than it did with Aiden. When I woke up with Aiden, I was in the hospital because they were planning to induce me, and when I was checked by the nurse, I was only dilated to a three, so I don't know if much had been happening while I was sleeping anyway. With Margie, I have no idea how dilated I was when the midwife got there, because she didn't check at all (which I think is somewhat typical with home births, since dilation doesn't tell you much anyway) but I'm sure I went into transition pretty quickly, and the painful part of labor was much shorter with her than it was with Aiden. So I don't know if the contractions I had all day were really doing much of anything, or just a warm up of some kind. Either way, I'm glad I was able to be at home, it was nice not worrying about if I needed to go to the hospital, knowing that the midwife could get to me in less than half an hour if she was needed.

I didn't get the birth I was hoping for, which I think is usually the case, but it was a wonderful experience anyway. I'm glad we opted for a home birth. For one thing, I wouldn't have made it to the hospital in time, as quickly as things went. For another, it was so nice being in my own home. My midwife was wonderful (for anyone seeking a midwife in my area, her website is here) and I really think being at home actually made things easier for me, as intense and painful as it was. And I think it may have made a convert out of Mike; he wasn't really comfortable with the idea of a home birth despite everything we had discussed, but after what happened, I think he will be more so in the future.

Stats: 8 pounds 8 ounces, 20 and 3/4 inches long, and I was almost two weeks past my due date.

Here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment.

Mason holding baby sister
The Blake kids
Mommy taking a nap the next day
Aiden loves the baby!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cute little boy update


It's been a little while since I talked about the kids, so here is an update about them.

Mason is four now and back at preschool. He goes mornings this year. It's technically all day, but I think he is too young for that, and since the only reason I even send him is for the speech therapy, I pick him up before lunch. We bought a van at the end of July, so I have a vehicle now, which makes picking him up possible. It's so nice having the van, side note, appointments and things are so much easier now. He's not a huge fan of being picked up early, he complains he wants to eat lunch there, though I know he wouldn't enjoy the food, it's always sandwich meat on yucky bread right now, though I've seen signs they are preparing to have hot lunches.

Mason is talking so much better now, which means we get cute funny sentences and stories from him now. Last night he told Mike a story about a cat driving a blue truck who went and got a rainbow truck, and when Mike asked, "Who drives a rainbow truck?" he answered, "A cat!" in a "Duh dad" tone of voice. He also says, "Fine" a lot when he loses an argument and for awhile he was saying, "Mooooooom!" in a "you're clueless" tone of voice. Glad he dropped that one. He has also discovered the word "Why?" so I am getting a lot of those questions now.

He dresses himself for the most part these days, though every so often says he needs help with something like socks that he's been doing for a long time. He's getting more independent too. Half the time when I walk him to Primary, he makes me stop at the door rather than taking him to his seat, and today he wouldn't let me walk him all the way to the bus. He brings home all sorts of art projects from school that he likes to show me and explain. Like he had one yesterday where he traced numbers with glue and glitter and he was showing me all the places he put too much.

Aiden is two now, and a jabber mouth. He talks so much better than Mason did at that age, but he's picked up a lot of the same funny speech things that Mason did (like "na-na"for "all done"). He's very good at asking for things he wants using words, and he enjoys having Mason at school. He gets very cuddly with Mommy while Mason is gone.

He is usually the first to wake up, almost always by 7 am, and he isn't quiet about it. He gets up, comes out of their room, shuts their door (very loudly usually) and comes in our room, usually with some toy. Even when he climbs in bed with us, he is very loud, talking or playing with the toy, and demanding that Daddy get him cereal. He rebels against bedtime as well, playing possum until we leave and then playing in his bed, or sometimes in Mason's bed, which means Mason doesn't get to sleep on time either. Mason has been taking a lot more naps lately as a result.

He's in nursery now, which was a bit of a fiasco the first few months, but he loves it now, runs right in without prompting. It's been good for him, teaching him to be a bit more independent so he isn't under my feet as much.

One thing he does which is super cute is he cleans up after himself, or tries to. The other day, for example, we were trying to get him to come in for dinner, and when we went in the front room to see what was keeping him, he had a washcloth he had gotten from the hall closet. He had spilled my water all over the floor and was trying to clean it up. It was a bit too much for a washcloth to pick up, but it's the thought that counts right? This tendency does make for more laundry though, because he always goes for a clean washcloth or towel when he spills his cereal in the morning, and usually tries to put them back in the drawer when he is finished, which probably explains the occasional smelly crusty rag I've been finding in there.

And then child number 3!  We are having a baby girl in about three months! We are super excited about it, especially the boys. Aiden likes to pull up my shirt and blow raspberries on my tummy, while Mason puts his mouth up against it and talks to the baby. Mason also tells me all the time, "I want the baby to come out now!" We are doing a home birth in a tub this time, I'm looking forward to it. I really don't like hospitals, and don't feel they are especially helpful for the laboring process. It'll be nice to be at home where I can sleep in my own bed with my husband right there and my boys where I can see them. I felt terrible when Mason had to stay at Grandma's for two days when I had Aiden. I feel like the transition is scary enough without being separated from Mommy and Daddy. They will be going to my aunt's house during the actual labor and delivery (unless it happens in the middle of the night), but then they get to come home.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kitchen Remodel Part 3: Finishing up

We hired a contractor to help install the cabinets and countertop because Mike had never done anything like it, and we were glad we did. It was more complicated than we thought.


The countertop is Mike's pride and joy, so cutting into it was scary, especially because our sink didn't come with a template. We almost didn't get the counter we wanted because they discontinued the color,but fortunately I called the supplier and found they had some in stock and got the place we ordered it from to try again.


The sink fit perfect, fortunately. We still have the cut out piece, we need to make a desk or something with it.

The cabinets were new too, but budget new.

The pantry was fun. The finished cabinets didn't come in the size we wanted so we bought an unfinished one, ordered unfinished doors that matched the new cabinets better, and got the contractor to finish it. The finished cupboards were maple, the doors on the pantry are alder, the frame around the doors are oak, and the panel on the side is birch. Fun stuff! But it looks good. We used what was left of the birch panel to make the kickplates and a panel next to the dishwasher as well. The dishwasher we found on Craigslist for $25. Nice, especially because Mike was laid off.

The microwave was on Craigslist as well. LOVE having the over the stove microwave, it frees up so much space on the counter. The fridge was a gift from someone at church.


We do still plan to get a backsplash above the counters, but that's a long term thing. 

The good thing about writing this late is that I have a longer term opinion about the kitchen. The main part has been finished for 3 months, and I have gotten into it well. And I LOVE it! I have so much more space (triple the counterspace, more cupboards) I have a dishwasher, I don't have to put appliances on top of my cupboards, I can actually sweep and mop my floor, and the garbage and recycling fit perfectly under the sink! And the outlets! I never have to to search for a plug, we installed a bunch of new ones, and they are all easily accessible! Plus, we grounded them all. Much safer. I am so happy with my new kitchen!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kitchen Remodel Part 2: Painting and Flooring

Once the demolition was done and the new and damaged walls were mudded, it was time to paint. First with Kilz of course, to prime it.


The boys had a lot of fun with the ladder, and Auntie Missa helped out quite a bit.

We figured they should each have a turn painting.


Then we did the green walls and white ceiling. It was a bit more vibrant than expected, but now that we've got trim and curtains and stuff it's toned down. We've had differing reactions, but we like it.

We did the floor when the walls were finished. We hired someone because we installed ceramic tiles. Worth. Every. Penny. It is gorgeous, and nice, and much easier to clean. The color is a bit off in this pic but it shows how nice it looks.

Next time: Part 3, finishing up

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kitchen Remodel Part 1: Before pics and demolition

I'm finally getting around to doing blog entries of our kitchen remodel, now that we finished the little touches. First, here are a few before pics.




Yucky. You can't see the floor either, it was a nasty asbestos thing where most of the tiles were crumbling, and it was basically impossible to keep clean. So we started tearing things apart.

The first thing to go was the closet/ pantry next to the fridge. It was too big and not useful. Ripping it out really opened up our space.


Then we took the door of the bathroom entrance and sealed it off (there is one from the master bedroom too, so we can still get in).


Then we tore up the floor. I really enjoyed that, did most of the tearing up myself.


While we were working on the kitchen, we set up a temporary kitchen in the front room so we could have breakfast and lunch at home. We setup a cooking rota with my mother-in-law across the street so that we could have real meals for dinner. Ended up removing the rug too, so it wouldn't get covered in food. The floor in the front room took some real cleaning when we were done.


At this stage, we also had the contractor we hired to do the cupboards come and redo the plumbing for the new sink, rewire all the electrical and add more outlets, and move the stove plug to the new location. Mike also spent a lot of time mudding the walls where we tore things out and the ceiling where there was some water damage that we repaired. It was all starting to come together.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Painting and flooring!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Home Decorating Tips from a 2 year old

Ever feel your parents have no sense of aesthetics? Fear not! With these handy tips, you can easily redecorate your home to show them your sense of style and have fun while you are at it! No pics, unfortunately, Mommy is too fast at cleaning up.

Kitchen

No kitchen decor is complete without a few milk splatters. An easy way to get them all over your area of the kitchen is to wait until your parents are distracted at breakfast time and stick your fingers in your cereal bowl. Coat them well with milk and then flick the milk all around. Repeat until desired effect is created or until you are caught by Mommy or Daddy.

Bathroom

Does your bathroom have a dull vanity? Mine is plain old ordinary black,and brandnew. It obviosuly needs some work.

For this change, all that is needed is a nice bar of soap. I picked white, it goes well with black. Get your fingers nice and dirty when Mommy is busy with something important like Facebook, then get her to let you in to the bathroom so you can wash your dirty hands. Immediately grab the soap, preferably a nice wet piece, and rub it all over the front of the vanity. You'll have a nice new gloss to add to the original boring color. And if your vanity has creases, so much the better; Mommy won't be able to clean it all off easily!

Hall

Our hall is boring hardwood that Mommy is often sweeping. It needs a rug, which I obviously can't afford, so I found a nice alternative.

I waited until Mommy was throwing up in the bathroom like she does every morning (did I tell you I'm getting a baby sister?) and Daddy had left, then I went straight for the toilet paper in the hall closet and grabbed two rolls. Before Mommy made it out, I had thrown most of one and part of another all over the hall. Such an improvement! Mommy didn't seem to think so though, she cleaned it all up.

We also have an air intake vent in the floor of our hall,and it is super boring looking. So I've livened it up by finding random pieces of toys and tissues and things all over the house and shoving them into the vent. It looks great, and it isn't an easy cleanup for Mommy. Also, Cheerios and tissues fit well in floor registers.

Miscellaneous

Used cat litter looks great on the front room rug! Fingerprints always look great on windows, and there isn't a wall that can't use a little ink, if you can find a pen and a busy caretaker. The weekly ads make great floor decorations once they are shredded, as does the daily calendar on the piano. And I'm sure spaghetti sauce would be a nice touch on the new white curtains in the kitchen, but I haven't managed that one yet. Still trying though! One of these days, Mommy or Daddy will get careless, and I'll be able to make a masterpiece!

Any decorating ideas to share? Comment below!