Back alive...

I'm supposed to be searching for a new car online, but since there is nothing I hate more than car shopping, I'm blogging instead:). We had to make an impromptu trip up to Boston last week for Eric's grandfather's funeral. I decided that being left alone with a two-week-old was worse than traveling 13 hours each way (and in reality, it was much, much longer) in a two-door Honda Civic with three kids, so that's what we did. The highlights:

1. Honoring Eric's amazing grandfather, who lived a very full, 97-year-long life and helped a lot of people along the way, including us.
2. Brigham feeding a Mexican jumping bean to our hosts' dog.
3. Watching the fifteen minute process of Eric squeezing all three kids and their car seats into the back of his little car 6 or 7 times a day ("watching" being the operative word here).
4. Stopping in Baltimore to see my grandmother on the way home.
6. Breastfeeding in: a Japanese restaurant, a catholic church, during a funeral procession (we were going slow and had a police escort!), stuck in traffic on the George Washington bridge, and at what must have been every rest stop on the East coast.
7. Seeing Eric's Uncle Sandy who has named the boys "turtle man" (Brig) and "the bear" (Eric), but has yet to divine Marley's animal (these things take time to emerge, I'm told).
8. Observing little Eric's excitement as we entered the state of New Jersey (turns out his school friend is from there and talks about it a lot).

I have to say, I'm so glad we went, but I never, ever want to do that again. Ever.


Born and reborn...

One week ago today I was staring at my computer screen and wondering how much longer this pregnancy was going to go on. Turns out it was just a few more hours, and thank goodness for that- I was starting to unravel. Now that we're though the first week, with it's incessant eating (Marley's) and quite a bit of crying (mine), over the wear that the incessant eating was creating on certain of my body parts, I thought I'd share some of the story of Marley's birth:

I had a prenatal appointment last Wednesday afternoon with Sarah, my favorite of our midwives (though they are all amazing). When I asked her to strip my membranes, since I was officially four days overdue, she said "I don't have anyone else in labor right now, so sure." As I left the office and drove to the kids' school to pick them up, I starting having some more intense contractions, but they were 10-15 minutes apart, and I'd had entire days of that over the past few weeks that had led to nothing, so I didn't get my hopes up. By the time we got to their friend Lauren's house to drop her off, though, I had to wait in the car through a contraction before I could get her out. So when we got home I called Eric and told him to come home.

I started packing my bag and trying to relax through the contractions. By the time Eric got home and got the kids packed up to go to their friend Harrison's house, they were 4 minutes apart and getting stronger, but still totally manageable. While he dropped the boys off I laid on the couch and listened to my "birthing day affirmations" CD, which is part of our Hypnobabies program. Eric got home and loaded the car with the bag, pillows and carseat (!). I listened to my "fear release" CD on the ipod (so as not to hypnotize Eric while driving!) on the way to the birthing center. I was so relaxed in the car that Eric told me later he thought I'd fallen asleep. It was interesting to me that at each transition- getting in the car, getting out and getting settled in our room, the contractions slowed and lessened in intensity, like my body knew I needed to focus on something else for a moment.

I was worried about "checking in" at the birthing center, since my experience at the hospital was that you have to fill out paper work, get checked and be on the monitor for a while to make sure you're really in labor before you can get your room and get on with things. But when we arrived, at about 7:30 P.M., Sarah met us at the door and led us straight into our room, which was dimly lit and had a rocking chair, cradle and tub in it. She asked how I was doing and started to fill up the tub, since we were thinking of doing a water birth. Since our birth plan said that we wanted to be left alone as much as possible, she left us for a while to get settled and then came back to check me. I was 5-6 cm. I decided to get in the tub, and after a few minutes, I had a really intense contraction and felt something pop in my stomach, which was my water breaking. Eric wanted to go to Whole Foods before it closed to get me something for after the birth (you have to eat a high-protein meal before you go home). I told him to RUN!

While he was gone, I listened to my "easy first stage" CD and laid on my side on the bed, still relaxed and limp through all my contractions, but they were definitely getting more intense. When Eric got back, I got back in the tub, and he got in with me to try to help me stay relaxed and focused. After about 30 minutes, I got really hot and uncomfortable, and was starting to feel a little scared at the intensity of the contractions, so I got out. This entire time, even through the pushing stage, I could feel the baby kicking like crazy inside me, trying to get out. Pretty soon I told Eric to go get Sarah or Erin, our wonderful nurse, because I was having a hard time staying comfortable and was feeling a lot of pressure at the end of each contraction. When they came in, Sarah asked if I was feeling the need to push at all, and I said maybe a little, but I couldn't really tell. She said, with no sarcasm, "there will come a time when you're sure, so just let me know when that is," and then she sat by the bed and waited with me. About two contractions later, I knew without a doubt, and I let out the loudest yell of my life as I started to push. Right away I could feel the baby's head, and with the next push, a LOT of burning. Eric told me that I could change positions if I wanted (I was still lying on my side, and had envisioned being in the tub, or at least more upright). I told him I was scared to move. So I stayed on my side and pushed for about 10 minutes before I finally felt her head come out. Sarah handed her up to us and I just can't describe the feelings I felt in that moment. Amazement that I had done what I'd just done, relief that it was over, intense love for Eric, who was next to me on the bed the whole time encouraging and reassuring me, and an unbelievable sense of gratitude for the little person I was holding. From that moment, she stayed in our arms, except for about 10 seconds while they weighed her (hours later). As soon as I was cleaned up, Sarah and Erin left us to be alone together and get to know our baby. The atmosphere was so peaceful. I fed the baby and showered off and we rested for a while. At about 5 A.M., only 7 hours after Marley was born, we went home. I felt amazing- a little sore and like there was a lot of extra space inside me all the sudden, but otherwise healthy and strong.

I know a lot of women who have delivered their babies in hospitals and were perfectly happy with the experience, and to them I say more power to ya. But for anyone who has felt like their birth experience in the hospital wasn't what it should have been (which is how I felt, x1000), I SO highly recommend a birthing center and Hypnobabies. From the beginning, I felt respected and nurtured. It was assumed that my body knew what it was doing, and their job was not to manage and intervene, but to stand by, guard and protect as my body did what thousands of women's bodies have done naturally since the beginning of time. I never once felt pressured in any decision. The assumption was that they would give us all the information we needed, and Eric and I would make the decisions that were right for us and our baby- because who else on this earth would be more sincerely motivated? Looking at the videos of Marley just hours after her birth, and comparing them of the ones we have of Brigham at the same point, I am struck by how much stronger the sense of peace and sacredness was at Marley's birth. I can't say that it was a pain-free labor, or that I never felt scared, because I felt both pain and fear, pretty intensely at times. But Hypnobabies had taught me not to fight my body. I had to trust it, and I did. Major life lesson learned. Right after she was born, Erin and Sarah told me what a beautiful job I'd done, how well I'd controlled my pushing so I wouldn't tear, that I was a rockstar. I smiled and agreed with them to the depths of my soul. I AM a rockstar. I hope I remember that feeling for the rest of my life.

She's got her father and brothers all wrapped around her little finger. Brigham draws her pictures, builds lego ships and picks berries and dandelions for her. Little Eric asks to hold her at every opportunity and has strong opinions about her wardrobe. Her dad looks into her deep blue newborn eyes and has 30 minute conversations with her.

The other day we went in to the birthing center for a breastfeeding consultation. Eric was holding her in his lap, naked, while waiting for the nurse to weigh her. She peed all over the crotch of his pants- so it looked exactly like he'd wet himself when he stood up:). I think she got his sense of humor. Other funny moments were when I attempted to drive the kids to school and ended up at the church- probably should not have been driving on that little sleep! And the fact that there is currently a loaf of bread wrapped in tin foil in my bed. I think it has something to do with Brigham coming into our room this morning and asking for breakfast, but I'm not too sure...guess I'm still a little foggy. But it's a happy fog.


Marley Bella

She's finally here
Born October 8th, at 10:01 P.M.
7 lbs. 12 ou.

There is so much more to say, but I'm going to try and sleep now:). If you want to see video, you can go to Eric's website.


Why am I so sad today?

1. The boys went back to school on Monday.
2. My cousin, Laura went back to California.
3. I woke up this morning to the sound of the dog vomiting a giant glob of grass on the carpet beside my bed.
4. I took a bath earlier in the boys' tub, because it's bigger than mine, and now my hair smells a little like pee.
5. I have just eaten a king-sized Snickers bar.
6. Oh yes- and I'm STILL pregnant.

Send me some cheerful thoughts...


Morning conversation:

B: Look at my crown Mama.
Me: (giggle) Cute Briggie! Let me take a picture.
B: Is it funny?
Me: Yes.....(thinking).....did you want it to be funny?
B: No. I wanted to be a king.

And then we put soccer balls under our shirts and paraded around the living room....