Almost there! …4 weeks to go until full-term!

I had to stop what I was doing and write a new blog entry. Jesse reminded me this morning I was overdue for one. Only 4 weeks to go– at 36 weeks now… so better now than never!

I just finished making some yummy low-sugar granola. My midwife recommended I cut out the refined sugar for these last weeks in order not to have a 9 or 10 lb baby… like myself and Jesse were!

Reasons I’m excited for pregnancy to come to an end:

1. To meet the baby!!!! Friends from our Bradley class just had their baby (due exactly a month before our little Wren) and we’ll get to meet her this week. When I heard via the ole’ Facebook that S & J (just realized they have the same initials as Jesse and I!) had their baby, I felt this overjoyed excitement! While we are not super close pals with this couple, just spending 3 hours together for 12 weeks of our pregnancy turned out to leave a lasting impression. It is very magical watching another woman go through pregnancy at the same time as you. It is even more magical hearing of her birth (she has the same midwife team as I do) and observing her transition into motherhood. These past 8 months have been the longest most life altering of my life! Pregnancy has given me new insight into my body, mind and spirit…and connected me with my partner Jesse, my girlfriends, our families, and other mothers and moms-to-be in very deep and profound ways! Overall, it’s been such a spiritual, healing and mind/heart-bending journey…a part of me doesn’t want it to end! …

OH, BUT I DO!!!… The anticipation to meet this little one growing inside of me is getting so strong… it’s…almost…ready to bust out… but not quite yet of course! Give it a few weeks!

2. To eat again! The pregnancy food journey is one like no other. It’s weird that all of the female “elders” in my life always told me things like, “Oh, food just tastes soooooo gooooooddddd when you’re pregnant!” and “Enjoy eating whatever you want now, cause you’ll never be able to again!” And now I say: LIES, all LIES!!!

The most important thing I’ve learned on this journey is that each of us as unique in our pregnancy as we are as a human being. There are sooooo many wives tales about “pregnancy should and should nots” that it can become a mind-warp, especially, if, like  a good pregnant woman you are trying to read all the literature and acclimate yourself to all the right resources, etc. After 1st trimester, I gave up trying to read all the books and just listened to myself. It was the best thing I could have done. In that listening (and once all my nausea stopped at 13 weeks) I realized how little I actually could eat without feeling ill. For me, pregnancy has been more about listening to my gut moment to moment and not being too rigid about planning meals. I know Jesse wasted a lot of grocery trips early on trying to stock up on my cravings, only to find that the very next day my body was averse to yesterday’s favorite food! Now we keep a kitchen with basic staples (fruit and nuts have been my saving grace!) and go shopping for protein and veggie sources bi-weekly to add diversity to my seemingly minimalistic diet. Despite feeling restricted with my food choices, I’ve gained 40 lbs… so this baby is definitely getting fed!!! Also, including iron supplements and iron-rich foods and nettle tea have helped. It’s amazing what your body can do in this process!

The short of it it: I am definitely a lover of good food but pregnancy has made eating a chore! I’ve always gotta have a snack with me or be thinking about the next mini-meal I can have ready, etc.  I REALLY CAN’T WAIT TO BE A NORMAL EATER AGAIN!!! I guess it will help when my stomach expands back to it’s original size. This full but still so hungry feeling I have most of the time after eating is so strange!!!

3. Reasons I have yet to discover! The magic of motherhood/parenthood is soon to be upon me/us! I’ve heard oh so many wonderful and difficult things about these new roles Jesse and I will be stepping into in our lives– and, just like pregnancy, we won’t know it completely until we get there. And once we “get there”…we have a LOT of inner listening to do!!! I do believe we are all natural nurturers. Once that role is upon us, if we let go and trust, we know what to do! That is my intention with parenting. Elders (meaning parents of adult children) tell us to “let go of the idea of perfection”. I guess the crux of it is: all we have to do is LOVE this little one… and…how hard can that be?!…–Maybe that will be the title of my next blog on parenting =).

Right now, I feel very rooted in this nesting space. Washing all the baby clothes and cloth diapers we received from the shower, putting together baby gear and getting our homebirth supplies–along with tidying up areas of the house to make it more baby-friendly– are all quite satisfying to my mom-to-be self.

Oh, and cooking granola! Nothing better than eating a treat I don’t get sick of, made by me! =)

My goal is to try and do a weekly post until I go into labor… but we’ll see where road takes me!

Love and Pregnancy Power!

sarah ;)

Wren’s Birth Story…

-Life as a cycle-

I have undergone many intense events in my life– the sudden loss of my younger sister, Rebecca; the slow but painful loss of both of my grandparents;  the ending of an engagement to who I thought was to be my fairytale husband. However, none of these compares to childbirth. In fact, I don’t know if anything in this world does.

You may be wondering why I have compared 4 significant losses to the birth of a child– and it all boils down to that same intensity of emotion– the fact that your mind, body and spirit are suddenly hurled into this vast place that feels scary, unknown and totally out of your control. They say that birth and death are similar– with the DMT released in the brain making them “peak” experiences. And so, I guess, experiencing the loss of a loved one and the birth of a baby are too! For me, as the loved one of the people that passed away suddenly (and I include the loss of relationship in this passing) and the mother giving birth, the experiences are undeniably the “peaks” in terms of my own mind, body, spirit and soul experiencing what it is to be human, fully and wholeheartedly.

-Primordial Surrender-

Okay, as a yoga teacher I kept getting comments throughout my pregnancy like: “You’re so lucky you do so much yoga! You’re going to have SUCH an easy birth!” And mind you,  I took each of these comments with a quarter of a grain of salt! …Id never given birth, let alone witnessed one firsthand. To be honest– every time Jesse and I saw birth videos in our Bradley Method classes, I cringed inside. I also cried. Seeing babies born made me SO emotional– in a joyful and celebratory way!

Yes, Jesse and I decided to take Bradley Method classes (also known as Partner Coached Childbirth) early on in the pregnancy, as a way to delve deeper into the pregnancy as a couple, and offer him some tools for how to help me through my labor and the childbirth process. All I can say about these classes is: Thank God we took them!!! I owe a BIG thanks to our awesome teacher, Tara Rice for offering so much insight into the process and being open to having so many discussions about natural childbirth. It was also wonderful to be with Sophie and Justin, the only other couple in the class, who also happened to be having a homebirth with our original midwife (more on this to come). Thus, we got to skip over a lot of the “hospital” talk and engage in natural homebirth dialogue in a more in depth way. Without these classes, I don’t know if I would have had the amazing birth that I did!

All along I knew that Jesse would be awesome at the birth. He is an amazing partner, full of patience and compassion (a total fairy tale mate!!! :)). Also, his training in massage therapy and knowledge of the physical body was an added bonus, as there is was not much that made him cringe when it came to the birth.

-Other Bellies didn’t compare to mine!!!-

A week before the birth!

But, enough about my wonderful man– the truth was, he seemed more ready than I was! In our Bradley classes, I found myself  (as preggos do) comparing the size of my belly to Sophie’s each week. Sophie was a month ahead of me but we always seemed to be about the same size. Hmmm…curious. She is more petite than I am, so I thought that maybe my height and longer torso may be the reason for my bigger belly. We kept close tabs on Sophie and Justin on Facebook after our classes ended to see when they would deliver. Sophie ended up delivering 5 or so days before her due date, which confirmed what I felt all along: that I would deliver Wren early. Ha! My little baby played a BIG joke on her mommy!!! (and daddy).

We went over to S & J’s house for dinner 2 weeks after their little Beatrice was born to hear their birth story. I remember hearing of her back labor and thinking, “God, I’m going to do polar bear 3 times a day for 20 minutes until I deliver so my baby doesn’t go posterior!!!” And, I nearly did!!!

-Labor is starting!…or is it???-

I think it’s always best to go with your first instinct on things. My original due date was February 12th…the second, February 13th. When I first heard this I thought instantly of my sister Rebecca, whose birthday was February 24th. “This baby is going to be born on or near Rebecca’s birthday” was what my 1st intuition told me. Well, that little bird of a voice was long forgotten by the time February 1st arrived. I remember posting on Facebook about my baby coming SOON… and beginning the VERY long wait.

Waiting isn’t much fun for anything, but especially not for a birth!!! All women who’ve given birth know that after 9 months of carrying the little critter, you’re ready for the departure and arrival PRONTO!!!

Well, my little bird was not going to come early, that was for sure.

-Midwife gives hope-

When I first got pregnant I wasn’t totally sold on having a homebirth. I was living a block away from a very nice hospital that is known to have wonderful waterpools for laboring–which was what I wanted most in my birth plan. I had my first ultrasound at this hospital and Jesse and I liked how small, quiet and bright it was. I signed up with the Highland Midwives and had a few visits with 2 of the 13 midwives (when you go into labor you get the one on call) only to realize that this wasn’t the way I wanted to deliver.

Meg meets Wren

So I made an appointment with Meg Grindrod, a well established midwife in our area…whose been at it for over 30 years and attended over 1000 births!!! I was immediately turned off by her very to the point/medical manner. To me she seemed impersonal. I was very anxious and was seeking someone that would approach me from an emotional standpoint instead of a solely medical one. Jesse, however, liked her. We both worked with her husband at  the co-op years back and her son’s friends are mutual friends of ours. Looking back, I think she felt like we were already familiar with each other, so why engage in all the “let’s get to know you” small talk? …However, I still wanted to go midwife shopping.

Next, we went to Brigitte Rhody, a newer midwife (and the only other option in Rochester). Brigitte immediately made me feel at home by asking how I was feeling…answering all of our questions, etc. After we left, I told Jesse I wanted to go with her and he said okay but admitted he liked was partial to  Meg because of her experience and our mutual connections in the community.

Okay, so the short version of this is that early on in my pregnancy Brigitte was exactly what I needed. My anxiety seemed to match hers. She is known to be very cautious at births and because she has less experience, transfers more often. Early on, this appealed to me– as I’d heard lots of “stories” of Meg not making it to births because she lives so far away, etc. Brigitte lived only a town away from us–less than 10 miles versus the hour’s drive that Meg did (and Wren was due in the dead of winter!).

However, as time went on, I needed a calm person to prepare me for impending labor. Luckily, I did find this in my doula, Kathleen Mugnolo, also known as the “Peaceful Doula”I highly recommend having a doula or second loved one attend your birth. As you will find out, when Jesse was petered out, Kathleen was able to step in! She also helped me in the months preparing for the birth– with herbal teas and remedies. The frozen maxi pads soaked in the herbal tea recommended for sits baths saved me the first few days when the recovery “down there” was pretty intense if ya know what I mean!

Bum- Bum- Bum  (imagine 3 sharp chords striking here). I began to feel edgy every time I had to go visit the midwife. I would sit in her office and feel all choked up…not knowing what to ask. My iron kept coming back very low. I was having constant headaches from iron deficiency and was told I had to increase it or I was at risk for not having a homebirth. So for weeks I made myself eat all sorts of meat protein I didn’t really want– and take the liquid iron supplement (my psyche has blocked out the name b/c it was gross!) and wait for the headaches to go away (it can take 2 weeks for the supplements to work!!!).

-3rd trimester blues…-

Man, I don’t like remembering this part of my pregnancy. I felt like I was in a race to get to the “homebirth” finish line and had to train by taking in all this iron, getting lots of rest and exercise when my anemic self would let me. I had to cut back drastically  on teaching and giving Reiki sessions! My belly was ballooning so big it was getting very challenging to teach yoga…because getting up and down became very taxing and my bladder was so small I had to leave class to pee several times! Thus, I stopped doing Reiki (mostly b/c all the energy I had was needed for the baby and to sustain myself) and cut back to one class a week until 6 weeks or more before I delivered.

My competitive/perfectionist self wished I’d been able to continue the good working momentum I had in 2nd trimester. But my realistic self said: “What? Are you kidding me?! You did awesome for someone growing a giant baby in their belly (and not knowing it, of course)!”

All I can say is that the last 6 to 8 weeks of my pregnancy were a form of hell. And this is me not being too dramatic. Poor Jesse can attest to this by experiencing me firsthand. There were light-filled moments and sometimes days — like when I had energy to go to my dear friend Emily’s Soulsweat classes!!! To be able to dance with a big big belly made me feel like a warrior goddess (and was probably good prep for my warrior birth).

Okay, so enough of this setting the stage stuff…let’s get onto the birth!

-Something is happening here…-

My belly the day I went into labor

Amidst the muck of my big bellied, low iron, over-emotional, out of work self… there was a night of hope! We had just gone to the midwife together and she told us the weather could be a predictor of when Wren would come. A storm was due to come the next day and is was common for babies to come when there is a sudden change in the weather. Brigitte had another woman who was overdue– so it would either be her or me–I thought.

The night of the storm arrived and I decided to get on my yoga mat and do some cat-cow and polar bear, which are good for turning the baby …or just keeping it in the right position. I believe I had my 1st non Braxton-Hicks contractions during this yoga session.  I remember being on my yoga mat breathing through several of these wave-like, intense sensations, doing yoga poses: polar bear, cat-cow, down-dog and childs pose in between.  Jesse was in the room with me, making sure I was okay. He called his dad, whom we’re renting from, to let him know he better not stop by the house at this point, as labor may have begun.

However, after the yoga things calmed down a bit and all feeling subsided. The next day I found out the other woman went into labor that very night and delivered her baby that morning. I remember Brigitte saying that there’s a “timing” thing…that two mommas never go into labor at the same time. I felt deep down that if that woman hadn’t gone into labor that would have been the night Wren was born! …I remembered feeling slightly anxious that this was not the right time to do it after my contractions started.

Hence, another 2 weeks plus to wait.

In her book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin talks about how important it is for a woman to be relaxed before birth and during labor. There is one story about a woman who, while in labor, gets tense when a certain doctor enters the room. This tension makes her so uncomfortable her contractions stop altogether and labor doesn’t resume for another 2 weeks! I danced with the edge of going into and out of labor for over 2 weeks and know how delicate it is! I felt like a part of the waiting for Wren was due to my own tension/anxiety over the birth process. During this “waiting” period, Jesse and I were in crazy nesting mode… organizing “stuff” we hadn’t yet unpacked from our July move. The nesting started as a distraction from my birth anxiety and then turned into a coping mechanism and form of escape from it all. I remember having vivid and quite odd dreams during this time. In fact, just in writing this I have vague memories of them all…impressions of this inner tension that feel uncomfortably comfortable to recall.

All this time, little Wren was still kicking and hiccuping at her usual times in my belly.

-Past the Due Date…-

Okay, so a few days before my due date my midwife and her assistant(still Brigitte at this time)  call me and recommend I take an herbal concoction to induce labor. I remember thinking “That’s bizarre, I’m not even due yet”…but also feeling SO damn ready to get this show on the road– so why not give it the old college try?

I’d been having little contractions on and off a few times a day for the past week. So when Brigitte came to the house for the home visit to check our birth supplies, etc., she offered to give me a vaginal exam. I was open to the exam because I felt like I was dilated already…and I was! I was 2, nearly 3 cm at that point. Whoa! And no baby yet? Apparently, Wren, like her mom and dad, likes to do this slow and steady. Brigitte said that was great–that everything was moving along well. My iron was up to safe levels at this point and all was a go for the homebirth–yay!

2 days later, Jesse was over at the midwife’s house doing measurements for some shelves he was building for her son’s room as a barter to pay off a portion of the birth the insurance wouldn’t cover. Brigitte told him that she really thought I would go early, based on my belly-size and signs I’d shown throughout my pregnancy– so she booked a family vacation in the Gulf of Mexico a few days from then. She was handing me over to Sarah Cayer, Meg’s assistant and now full-fledged midwife partner, whom she’d thought I’d resonate with.

Jesse came home and told me the news.

WHAT?!

Okay, so sometimes life has these unexpected turns in the road. Even though things got a little funky with our original midwife, I’d mentally prepared to deliver with her. With homebirth, one of the joys is developing a close relationship with your birth team, which for us was our midwife, her assistant, and our doula. It was a shocker that the midwife and assistant were changing last minute…really totally and completely and unexpected surprise. At least Kathleen was still with us and she’d worked with Meg and Sarah numerous times. …It seemed like all was happening as it should.

-Things always work out for the best-

Auntie Mar Mar showing her love and postive support to baby Wren in utero!

Before the midwife switch happened, I was given a piece of wisdom that stuck with me–but I didn’t know why at the time. Mary, the girlfriend of Jesse’s father, had us over for dinner one night. We sat and chatted for a long time about birth and babies after dinner. I remember Mary emphasizing that “things always work out for the best”. I don’t remember the story she told, only that it involved sudden change and the outcome being wonderful. All of it relates to birth. Here I was, waiting with a belly that was literally ready to pop (it measured 14″ on the day I went into real labor!!!), totally surrendered to this little babies desired time of arrival! Eep! This is why pregnancy is such a spiritual practice! It literally rocks your world and turns it inside out and upside down. And we’re not even at the birth yet!

Okay, so I’m waiting and waiting….lots of Groundhog Day revisited here.

During this waiting time I met Sarah Cayer, the midwife who was to attend my birth with Meg, and fell in love with her calm, relaxed, nurturing disposition...exactly what I needed and had been waiting for!!! Hence, proving that if you ask,  you will receive…however the timing is not in your control.

Would I have liked to have met Sarah earlier on in my pregnancy? Hell yeah…. but for some odd reason it was not meant to happen until the VERY last second.

EEP!

Cosmic jokester, did you play a big on one me?

Hey, we live these lessons, and do we always understand them? Not quite. Sometimes I think the man/woman upstairs is just having a field day watching us lose hairs over stuff like this. Cosmic joke it did appear to be.

Nonetheless, I was to have an awesome team deliver my baby…and it would happen soon, I was sure of it.

So a week after meeting Sarah (we’re talking 7 days after my due date here)…she called me up and said she wanted me to go in for this post-40 week health screen that could mean I get another ultrasound, which could mean they would want to induce me…aka give me a hard time b/c I have a huge baby in my belly and that scares western physicians. “Don’t worry about what they say” she said “Meg and I are not scared of big babies, we just delivered a 10 and a half  pound baby without a problem– we’ve delivered big babies”.

And this “big baby” issue was what our original midwife was concerned about– so my heart was put at ease.

Mind you, I’m having contractions every time I walk more than 20 steps, so I’m clearly just dilating more and more at this point. So, I go home, try to relax, eat some more iron-rich foods (boy am I sick of those by this point) and distract myself with making jewelry.

The next 2 evenings I began to have more regular contractions, but they subsided when I went to bed. On the morning of the 3rd day, I’m at my wits end. I’ve talked to my doula and the midwives about these come and go contractions and they keep telling me to monitor the time and ride the wave. Finally, I call a psychic healer friend and tell her of the plight of this baby that feels stuck inside of me. She tells me she will talk to the baby’s spirit. After a minute or so of silence she says, “Your baby needs dialogue. She is uncomfortable  with the sudden change of midwives. You need to talk to her and tell her it will all be okay and get her comfortable with the new birth team.” Really?! … Of course I start crying and feeling guilty for not talking to little Wren these past few weeks because I myself felt too anxious to do such a thing. I ended the call with her and talked to Wren while on the toilet peeing for the 19th time that morning. Telling her how wonderful and supportive our birth team was helped me to calm down and relax. I felt a huge emotional weight lift off of my body and free my spirit for this process.

I’ve read that a baby meditates on their mother, waiting for the right time for their birth… that moment between heartbeats when mama is so silent and so sure that nothing will rock her off of her center. Well, finally that moment came–when Wren said: “Okay, mom, I’m ready. I think you’ve waited and gone crazy long enough!”  Haha…I can laugh now, but then I was not laughing!

-Birth, baby!!!– Baby gonna be birthed!!!-

That night around 930pm..12 hours after that phone call, real labor began. Contractions started like they had the past few nights and Jesse was expecting the same old thing…but then they kept getting stronger, longer and closer. The rushes of sensation were intense. It was here that my yoga practice came in handy. With breath I was able to ride each wave of sensation with acceptance and joy. My heart leaped in my chest. Wren was finally being born!

Jesse didn’t even ask before he dialed our doula. She said she would head right over and spend the night if we wanted.

15 minutes later he was on the phone to the midwives, telling them I was ready. They were on their way!

To me it seemed like time stopped. It was just one contraction after the other. Somewhere in between…and it seemed not long at all– like 5 minutes (even though Sarah lived 40 minutes away)– Sarah came into our room and gave me an exam. I was 8 cm dilated!!!

Our doula and Jesse filled up the water tub and again, what seemed like 5 or 10 minutes later, I was downstairs in the tub breathing through contractions. Jesse got in with me at some point. It was the middle of the night at this point. Somewhere around here Meg showed up. I remember thinking how quickly she got there, despite living over an hour away and it being so snowy out. Meg and Sarah checked the baby’s heart rate, as they would every half hour. All was going well but contractions seemed to be slowing a bit.

I got out of the water and labored in the living room for a bit and then felt the urge to push. It was maybe 5 am at this point and they did another exam. I was 10 cm! It was time to let this baby out!

Surprisingly, I felt quite cognizant and was having dialogue with everyone the whole time. I remember Sarah saying some people are very aware and present throughout their birth. It was really very different from what I’d expected, read and heard about– that  so many women begin speaking gibberish or can’t  speak at all. I was aware, having clear dialogue with everyone and feeling very relaxed and at peace. Odd.

I really couldn’t believe how easy it all was. I got back into the tub and began to push…or felt like the baby was ramming her head into my pelvis. They told me to consciously push…but from what I’ve read and understood after the fact, won’t do this the next time. I now know Wren was trying to move her very large head down my pelvis and finding it difficult to get the right position to do so.

Thus, labor slowed here.

I was given another exam and they said my water hadn’t broken yet. They offered to break my water and said it may speed up the process, so I acquiesced. I remember looking at Jesse, like “Should I do it?” and not being able to read his face.  I kind of regret letting them break my water…and wished Jesse would have told me that he was thinking it was not a good idea. Anyhoo, they broke it and Wren’s head went UP instead of down!!! Big Boo! …Good ole’ cervix went from 10 to 7 cm dilated =(.

It was now daylight…like 9am. This was not good. My momentum was broken when I found out I had to dilate 3 more cm to get lil’ Wren out. THIS is where it got difficult. THIS is where my warrior self had to come in and my will power had to take over and my awareness went into primitive laboring mode.

I remember walking up and down the stairs A LOT to stimulate and speed up contractions. I remember getting into and out of the tub to calm a nerve that Wren was pressing on in my left leg/buttock area that literally made me cry and scream out for help. At one point, Kathleen and Sarah, who are both Reiki practitioners, were giving my left leg Reiki and it really helped to quell the intense nerve pain to a dull ache…as well as calm me and allow me to replenish my energy a bit.

However, resting was nearly impossible as the contractions got stronger. Jesse was with me every step of the way, except for maybe 5 minutes when he went to eat something. I remember every time we came into the bedroom and were alone I would make the most progress, as I felt comfortable and safe. It is really amazing how much your comfort level influences the progress of your labor/birth.

Okay so after like 7 or more hours of contractions ALL OVER the house…. ( I mean there were chucks pads EVERYWHERE)… I had pushing urges that felt like electric surges in my body. The sensation was like thunder…and painful thunder at that.

…So, fast forward to 5 HOURS later! Yes, 5 hours of pushing, folks!!! Thank God I was not aware of the actual time at this point, though I did feel like time was standing still at one point and it would never end!

-I can’t do this anymore!!!, aka– Transition!-

I must have given a cue that the baby was coming soon, because Jesse and I were alone in the bedroom when the whole team came up. The midwives brought their supplies, turned on the space heater so the room was above 70. Our doula brought up orange juice and chocolate chips, which I was gulping between pushes. My transition came quick. I remember saying, “Can someone just pull it out of me?!?!” a couple pushes before she was born.

Wren literally felt “stuck”. I felt stuck. I began to lose steam.

Kathleen was sitting on the bed with chocolate chips that I slurped out of her hand for another burst of energy. I remember wanting to rest but not being able to. The thunder inside was strong. The surges were powerful.

At this point, Jesse was pretty beat and lying down. I was dripping with sweat and Kathleen was putting cold washcloths on my face and neck when I asked her to.

I remember leaning on my doula and feeling her grounding energetic support. I was so glad she was there. Jesse had been so good for so long but he needed to rest.

Then, in what seemed like minutes later, there was a thunderbolt inside that shook me. The position that my body chose was on my side with one leg in the air. I pushed. I remember someone saying they could see the head coming down further.

“Get on your hands and knees!” someone said forcefully.

I got to hands and knees…Jesse right at the opening, holding a mirror up for me to see.

I couldn’t look at this point. It was too painful. My labia were totally swollen from so much exertion.

Meg and Sarah were talking quietly to themselves and then one of them said, “You will need an episiotomy if you don’t get the head out on the next push.”

I felt a sense of relief come over me. If it would help, I was fine with an episiotomy at this point.

Then Jesse said, “You have it, Sarah! One more push and the head is out. You’re really close!!!”

I gave it all I had. Pushed until my eyeballs seemed to pop out. I held my breath for as long as I could and,–by some miracle, that was the push that got her head out…and one more push that I can’t even remember doing made her body slide out!

I was on all fours and Jesse was behind me. He caught our baby and put her under me, with the umbilical cord hanging between us.

I looked at her, blue eyes meeting blue eyes, and I felt awe.

My first thought: “Good God, this baby is f*#@ing HUGE!”

And then my eyes went to the genitals, which, were slightly swollen so my mind had to look thrice to confirm it was a girl after all. Our little, I mean, big, Wren!

And then I wanted to sleep. =)

Yes, that big adrenalin rush lasted less than 60 seconds until my body told my eyes to close so sleep could come once and for all.

Or not at all.

A great welcome to motherhood!

I did end up passing out for an hour on the bed on my back while they stitched me up, which felt so damn good– as it had been 9 months since I’d had a good rest on the ole’ back! Jesse took Wren downstairs and took the picture below while he was getting to know our little bean!

I remember nursing her when he brought her up to me, lying on my side in bed– watching with loving awe as my daughter– and it felt weird to say that word until just recently!– had her first bit of colostrum.

We fell asleep that way. I, starved was given some granola and a pb&j sandwich, which, I fell asleep eating. I awoke the next morning, a half eaten sandwich lying between me and Wren on the bed. “Oh God!” I thought, “I almost suffocated my daughter with a sandwich!” I immediately felt like a bad mom. That guilt that motherhood can bring already coming over me with its big overcoat. Alas, she survived. The sandwich did not harm her in anyway. =)

I nursed her again, and Jesse changed her diapers. I was so weak I could not pick her up for 3 days! So Jesse got to change all the meconium diapers. Oh it’s too bad I missed all that fun! ;)

Wren's 1st hour of life. Jesse took her downstairs while they sewed me up!

-Good news and bad news-

So the good news was: we had a healthy 11lb  7 ounces, 21.5 inch baby girl named Wren Rebecca Hughson, born on February 23rd, the day before my sister Rebecca was born!

The bad news: well, let’s forget about that! …After a few weeks I was able to sit comfortably, pee comfortably and poop with greater and greater ease. So, the abridged version is: birth hurts, no doubt about that…but the afterbirth healing is not without hurt either! No one told me about the healing process after birth…so I got to learn the good ole’ hard way. I did get two 2nd degree tears, but all healed well over time.

-Mommyhood-

I write this with a beautiful, healthy angel baby sleeping soundly by my side. What is to come is more of what has been so far: joyous moments of watching her grow, learn to express herself and a sharing of constant love and affection for us, with us, for her/with her. And so it goes.

Life never felt so complete! I can see why we do this over again.

I’m glad I waited even longer to write this story, as my heart has grown deeper in love with mommyhood over time and my mind more forgetful of those emotions that made me say “I will never do this again!” after Wren’s birth.

Wren and mommy hold hands on Wren's 1st day of life.

Wren, your birth story is exactly as it should be: perfect in every way just like you!

Love,

Your Mommy

p.s. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness! And if you give birth to a baby someday, may you remember that it won’t last forever and the end result far outweighs the pains you endure in the birthing process. Trust me! I’m your mother =)

{And I can’t believe I just said that! I really must be a mom!} ;p

Still waiting….

Hi Folks!

If you’re checking this blog to see if I’ve had the baby… Alas! I have not! =(

He/She was due on the 12/13th and the weekend passed without much action.

I will admit, that because over a week and half ago my belly measured full-term, my midwife suggested I try some natural induction methods. I did…and this baby just ain’t ready!

On Saturday night, I took cottonroot (6 doses over 3 hours), motherwort (to ease labor anxiety) and 2 TBS of castor oil (ICK!) mixed in OJ with baking soda just before bed (this one was hard to get down!).  What happened? Definitely felt the baby shift or go lower in the middle of the night and had what felt like one contraction. The next morning I awoke with diarrhea. The end.

Yesterday (Monday the 14th) I had acupuncture for induction. Again, I felt movement while in treatment, then… nothing.

Lesson: TRUST in this little ones’ timing. This baby has a plan. ;)

Thus, I wait!

Can’t Sleep!

I know I’ve heard the “can’t sleep” jitters happen just before baby is born. Thought I would avoid them, as I’ve slept like a log throughout these 39 weeks of my pregnancy! The past couple nights, though, sleep has been fitful and unsatisfying. Tonight, while trying to make my usual 10pm or so bedtime, I got all jittery, like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa.
I am certainly waiting for someone … and it ain’t Santa!

These near 9 months are about to amount to something…or a someone, that is… who I am SOOOOO excited (and also a bit intimidated) to meet! Both Jesse and I are up prepping. He’s making some curtains for the last of our windows that need to be covered so the neighbors can’t peep in and see the tiniest bit of our home-birth– though I wonder if they’ll be able to hear it…as they are both literally less than 10 feet away?!  Oh, city living! We shall find out!

DREAM, dream, dream!…

Last night I dreamt I met our baby…it was a girl. I remember being curious about her eyes…whether they were blue like mine, or brown/green like Jesse’s. At first, they were like mine…but I realized it was all my own misperception and genetic dominance denial. Alas, they were Jesse’s eyes…which I totally love (duh!).

In the dream, I was still working out some fears around the birth…

Here are my fears:

1. Will I ever go into labor? …Slightly paranoid this baby will just consume me instead of entering the world as it’s supposed to. Totally serious! ;)

2. Will the midwife and doula get here in time? (It is Rochester winter, you know!)

3. Will we know when we are actually in labor (meaning…Jesse also being able to pick up on it?!).  I’ve already had 2: “I think this is labor!” alarms… which, again, I also heard so much about that I was SURE I would avoid. (Sadly, I have been victim to false labor!!! ;(

4. What will we name the baby? In my dream, it was Sophia… a name we hadn’t even considered. But to be honest, we haven’t considered many names for the baby thus far. I think we’ve done more nesting than anything…and the baby clothes are STILL not in the dresser. Well, I guess we still have time!

5. Is this pregnancy going to END? Some say it goes by quick. Ha! I disagree! Belly still growing by the day…and don’t know if mine can grow much more! At my 38.5 week visit to midwife, my belly was measuring “full term”. What does that mean?…Early labor?…

6. Okay, so my actual due date according to when we think we conceived, was February 13th, which was then moved to February 12th at the second ultrasound. The latest ultrasound, but a week and a half ago, meant to check the baby’s position (which is totally perfect for birth!–head down, rump facing forward), indicated it should be this week. This fits with my mommy suspicions. According to my calculations of conception, based on my shorter menstrual cycle, the baby should be due around February 8th…. which is TOMORROW!!!

7. Will the SUN come out tomorrow? And I mean this both literally and figuratively! In Jesse’s and my ideal birth story, the baby is born on a sunny day in our well-lit dining room within or near a filled water-tub, surrounded by all of our plants, gemstones I have placed accordingly, and of course the loving birth team assisting the delivery– which is quick and easy! ;) Will it happen?… Stay tuned!

Here’s to Laboring with LOVE!

<3 sarah ;) …aka, Mom! <3

Baby coming soon!

All I want to do right now is eat, sleep and use the toilet. Sounds like prep for the newborn about to pop out of my body…literally any hour/day/week!

When my belly dropped– the sensation was like a mini contraction–30 seconds of “Oh my, what was that!?”– I felt a sense of relief! Just as we walked out of our midwife’s office,  I went up the stairs and sat on a step to put on my winter boots. As soon as I got up, that sensation hit– and I literally felt some weight release from my lower back, which is odd, because the baby is sitting lower now.

Our recent “pre-homebirth” tests, including an ultrasound to check the baby’s position (it’s head down and lying on my right side); a blood test to check my iron levels (they went up– woohoo!); and the GBS test for strep in the vaginal area (negative!—thank you very much!)– all turned out to have the right–meaning the best results for an easier birth!

So, with the baby “drop” and good test results, all is ready, set…go!

Well, aside from the fact that mommy and daddy have a LOT of nesting going on. I have been nesting since the beginning of 3rd trimester, and now Jesse’s nesting instinct is kicking in! Daddy feels like he has to get his work areas in the basement and garage set– and finish some projects around the house– like installing the frame for a new window in the kitchen. As of now, our back kitchen wall has frame supports on it which have prevented our powder room door from closing fully. After months of peeing with a slightly ajar door and seeing tools and these supports up, I’ve gotten used to the idea of this project maybe not getting completed by the time baby arrives. But with Jesse’s new fire for household productivity– all seems to flowing nicely as far as “completing” half done projects goes!

However, as this is quite the unpredictable time, we are okay with things being as they are as well. Baby will come when baby wants to come :). Thus, I’ve had to end my Monday night class and let the sub take over. So sad, but as soon as the drop happened, I felt I had to do it!

The “drop” in my belly led to peak in my anxiety. It hit me that this being that has been growing inside of me for almost 38 weeks is just about ready to come out. This little bean is almost fully cooked! Eep! Hence, some pre-labor anxiety cropped up, but is being nurtured with lots of deep breathing, yoga,  contemplation, reading birth books and peoples’ birth stories, watching birthing videos and  chatting about it with Jesse, our mothers and other women who’ve gone through childbirth.

I continue to feel these pangs of excitement mixed with fear of the unknown. I continue to unfold in this process like the thousand petaled lotus that my soul is– each layer rich with so much depth of feeling, thought and sensation. I know I am about to go on a journey that will be a thousand petaled lotus of feeling, sensation– and depth that I can’t even partially imagine right now.

Deep breath.

Sigh.

“When you’re ready, I’ll be ready, little one!”

“We so look forward to meeting you: but take your time– we still got a lot of cleaning to do!” ;)

Love,

Mom

The Grandparents!

I anticipated anxiety about being a mother for the 1st time… going through the pregnancy with total relaxation– and working through labor nervousness.  BUT, I did not anticipate grandparent anxiety!!!

Frankly, both mine and Jesse’s parents are scaring me! Mine more so, because I have a deeper attachment to them and my relationship as a single adult has totally taken a 180!  I’m going to be a mother…and they all remind me every time I see them that they are all 4 going to be grandparents! It’s most pronounced with the grandmothers, as both of our mothers have very strong personalities and a deep passion for their new roles as grandmas.

I really don’t know what to do about this “quandary”, as it feels to me at this point. I love all the grandparents, but need my space to embrace the role of mother in this journey! Jesse is more easygoing about the whole thing…mostly because the little being is not kicking and prodding inside of him. Having the job of carrying this child is HUGE… let alone preparing to mother it!

I know from my past history of dealing with my own boundaries being trampled on, that space is the best way for me to gain insight and re-connect to my core self— that center that is balanced, calm, still, peaceful.

One brief story that made me realize my need to establish boundaries and “just say NO” when I need to was the the last ultrasound. Both of our mom’s came, along with the surprise visit of my dad. The first ultrasound was just Jesse and I …and it was so special– we really felt like we got to connect with baby Wren and of course both shed some tears of joy and excitement. My cousin, Lauren– the sonographer, led us into a very small room that the 4 visitors had to cram into, adding an extra chair. This time, the tears I shed were tears of feeling confined and losing my own sense of enjoying the experience of connecting with Jesse–whose mother was holding his hand–and the baby together. I felt alone and disconnected from baby, who, taking my cues–was not moving in this visit–instead, choosing to take a nice long snooze. Grandma’s were the only voices in the room, making comments at everything.  It was one of those if I could erase this experience and get to do it over I would choose differently lessons. After the fact I realized that not only do I not want to cause myself anxiety, because the baby will feel it, but I also want to be a strong advocate for enjoying the experience of motherhood and all that it entails.

I know baby Wren is blessed to have all the grandparents living locally, including another surrogate grandmother, Jesse’s dad’s girlfriend Mary. In all honesty, I’ve been worried since the getgo about the “time-sharing” aspect of grandparenthood. But again, it’s another opportunity to practice the spirituality of it all: taking a deep breath and trusting in my heart and not my head on the matter. That day in the waiting room, my heart was wanting them all to stay there, and just Jesse and I to go in to the ultrasound together…but my fear of hurting their feelings overrode this desire. I am learning that when we do act from a place of trust and do what’s best for ourselves as mothers, we are doing what’s best for our children…as they pick up on everything that we are experiencing…and in turn, the family at large. I know I can’t please everyone– and this is something I’ve always tried to do. In retrospect, the people pleasing has only made my life more difficult and my own internal self less happy. It leaves me to exploring relationship foremost  by establishing a sense of family with Jesse, Wren and I …and acting from a place of honoring that first…and allowing grandparent and other family relations to follow suit.

What a journey!!!

3rd Trimester, Here I Am!

I’m now starting to feel like I’m wobbling around as I walk.  I spent the several hours at shops trying to find reasonably priced, fashionable clothing for the holiday season yesterday– and by the end of my journey my feet were aching like they’ve never ached before. I really am pregnant! I have those aching feet women talk about getting at the end of pregnancy! This is not pleasant!–were all thoughts ringing through my head as I made my slow sojourn back to my car after bathroom trip numero tres.

It’s funny that I didn’t blog much 2nd trimester. I was feeling SO spectacular, I increased my workshop and class load… literally trying to cram as much Inner Bloom Yoga stuff in as I could before baby was born. Then I noticed as soon as I hit week 27 my momentum began to dwindle and I began to say no to private clients and the offers to do future workshops. “No” has not been hard to say this week. I am “doing” as little as possible when it comes to work– teaching my 2 classes a week at CNY and finishing up 2 yoga at work classes before the holidays. The rest of my energy is being dedicated to “nesting” and rest.

Can’t help but listen to my body– especially my growing belly– at this special time of preparation for our baby Wren!

It’s also a time when everyone I meet has to give me their two cents on the gender of my baby. More “boy” than “girl” guesses at this time. Funny thing is: I didn’t ask for your gender opinions folks! Jesse and I are not finding our gender for a reason: the surprise! I guess some folks:

A. Don’t like surprises

B. Like to pretend they’re soothsayers

C. Can’t keep their yappers shut

Also getting the “you look ripe and ready” comment. Thanks. I still have 3 months. Wanna let me finish my pregnancy? How about you keep your “You’ve got a nice round belly” comments to yourselves!

Humans have a lot of thoughts, opinions and judgements pass through their minds throughout the day that most of the time go unshared or expressed. However, with pregnant women, most of this “filtering” goes out the window and the comments come out, if not verbally, then with the “wide eyes” that are so common as the “ripe” belly saunters through the room.

The stare: A common phenomenon as pregnant mama walks down the street. The stare entails eye contact with belly only. As mom-to-be passes and makes an attempt to smile at this passerby, the stranger averts their eyes and keeps on walking on.  My 1st time experiencing the stare found me shouting, “How rude!” in my head.  Tis a bit “rude”… but maybe I did it to women before– hard to say how I reacted to seeing a woman in 3rd trimester before my pregnancy days.

Overall, I feel our culture needs a bit of a primer on dealing with the pregnant mama. It’s been a bit disheartening experiencing other peoples’ pregnancy projections, etc. It just seems that as a culture we’re not exposed to pregnancy enough to be comfortable with it (until it happens to us, of course!).

I’ll leave you with a rather bizarre incident that happened to me a week ago in none other than Pittsford Wegmans. An acupuncturist co-worker suggested I try and get a time-release iron capsule with vitamin B in it (haven’t found that this exists, however,  after 2 different shopping trips). I went to the big Wegmans thinking they would have it and found myself in the baby aisle where I spotted an employee to ask about the product. Before asking, a man asked me flat out what I was having (1st time this has happened). A bit taken aback, I looked at him and saw a baby stroller in front of him being wheeled by a woman (his partner, I’m guessing). “We’re not finding out” I said bluntly, wanting to get back to my task, knowing I had minimal time to shop before my chiropractic appointment. “Oh, it’s a surprise? Well, the doctor told me what I was having” he said. I thought it odd that he said “me”– there was definitely something funny about this man. I decided to be polite and take a look in their baby carriage before I walked away. I took a quick peek, mumbling, “Oh, what is your…” only to discover a very plastic baby doll with big painted white and blue eyes lying in the what I now saw to be very dirty stroller with McDonalds cups in the cup holders where the mom was holding the handle. My eyes bulged and I had no words to share. I looked up, shocked. The Wegmans employee came to give me some information on the iron, to which the gentleman was listening to intently. I saw the woman grab a jar of baby food, to which the man replied, “Get the cheap ones”– and I shook my head in disbelief.
I quickly left the aisle with that image of the fake baby in my head. I felt the only thing missing was some kind of eerie music.  Maybe it’s just my overactive hormones– but fake babies, dirty strollers and people prying into my pregnancy all make me feel a bit freaked out!

3rd trimester goal: To keep myself calm and relaxed. Maybe I’ll avoid Pittsford Wegmans and continue to say no to folks wanting to touch my belly (unless, of course I ask them to).

…Getting down to the wire!…

 

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