Friday, February 13, 2009

Birth Story

**This is reprinted from Facebook for a particular lurker who isn't on that program. You know who you are!**

We were ready. The birth team was prepped, the birth tub was inflated in the garage, we had the bag of birth supplies packed, the baby girl clothes were in the dresser. Now all that was left was the waiting for our third daughter to arrive.

Thursday night, 1/22, Kevin had a little chat with "Baby Andra" in my tummy letting her know that it was time for her to come. Of course, I was only 39 weeks but that was the longest I'd been pregnant (Cadence came at 37 and Elyse at 38 1/2). He explained that he wanted to meet her so she could come the next day, as far as he was concerned.

I slept well that night and got up at about 5:30 to use the bathroom. As I sat down, I felt what could only be my water breaking. This was the day! I grabbed a towel and went back to bed. I woke Kevin up and told him apparently his baby could take direction because we were go for labor. I wasn't having any contractions so I called my friend and apprentice midwife Joanna to let her know and texted the rest of my birth team then went back to bed.

About 7:30 I started having some mild contractions every 10-15 minutes. I got up with Elyse and snuggled her on the sofa. Cadence got up soon after and I got to tell them that we'd meet their sister that day. They were jazzed!

The contractions had picked up a little and I was cold so I got in the shower while Kevin putzed around with the kids. I used up all the hot water then crawled into bed (I love my flannel sheets!). By this time it was about 9 and Kevin was getting a little stressed out doing house stuff with the kids so hyper (they kept wanting to jump on the bed, among other things). We decided to call my mom and ask her to take them to the park for an hour. We had a doula planned to be with the girls but it seemed too early to call her since I was still having contractions 10 minutes apart and able to talk through them.

By this time the endorphins had kicked in and I was dozing between contractions (I love that space between contractions, it seems like my birthday every time the hurting stops). I talked with Joanna again and she laughed that I was yawning.

My mom came at around 10. I was having contractions about 7 minutes apart, breathing through them. We told her we'd call in about an hour to bring the girls home. Kevin came and hung out with me on the bed while I dozed/contracted.

I got my first "toe curler" sometime after that. When the next came 5-7 minutes I told Kevin it was time to call Joanna and Wendi (midwife) and fill the tub. Kevin reported that Joanna would be there in about 30 minutes, which was fine. It was probably 11:15.

The next contraction was a doozy and I started dry heaving (my lovely personal gift--I always barf in labor). I had a bowl but really wanted to get to the bathroom because I thought I was going to have diarrhea too. I hollered for Kevin and he helped me stand up--and everything changed.

The next few minutes are really blurry. I got to the toilet. I was still heaving but now I was pushing too. I reached down and realized my perineum was bulging--this was baby coming! I asked Kevin to look and he said he saw head. He grabbed a towel. I reached down and felt ears. He told me to stand up to make room and we both reached down and delivered our baby. He wrapped the baby in the towel and we rubbed until we got a good cry. Kevin went to call Joanna to tell her and to grab more towels and a bowl to catch the placenta (neither of us wanted to dig it out of the toilet or drop it on the floor). It was about 11:35.

As Kevin stepped out, I looked at the little wet bundle in my arms and decided to do the finger/toe count. So I opened the towel to get a look at her and got my second surprise in a very short time. Our little girl, Andra Faith, WAS A BOY! I once again bellowed for Kevin (poor guy). When he came around the corner, all I could do was open the towel. My dear husband, who had just help deliver his own baby unassisted while maintaining calm, nearly fainted. I wish I could have gotten his expression on video.

I moved to the bed, Joanna and Wendi arrived. My mom came back (she didn't believe Kevin at first when he called). Cadence and Elyse met their brother. Cadence's response was, "A brother? That's what I prayed for!" Eventually I nursed, ate, then slept.

It took us two days to name Alexander Eugene. It took a few days after that to stop calling him "Andra".

I am amazed that I delivered an 8 lb 14.5 oz baby with contractions never closer than 5 minutes apart. I am tickled with our son. I think next baby we'll skip the ultrasound gender check and I'm making the midwife come when my water breaks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Andra

I'm a little emotional today. It probably has a lot to do with low sleep and the two week hormone drop. But, regardless of the reason, I'm feeling sad.

Our son was born 13 days ago. His arrival came as a complete surprise because we had been told we were having a girl. For the last 16 weeks of my pregnancy, I had been having conversations with Andra Faith. I pulled out our little girl clothes and put them in the dresser, remembering the other two girls wearing most of them. I thought about three girls going through teenage years, wondered who would make alliances with whom, dreamed about what kind of woman she would grow into. We had a birth blessing and prayed for her by name. I bonded with the little "girl" growing inside of me. Except, she wasn't a girl, he was a boy.

Today I packed away the pink baby clothes and I feel sad. It is a weird feeling to grieve over the loss of a child that never really existed except in my imagination. The whole time I thought I was talking to Andra, I was really talking to Alexander. He heard my voice, felt my touch, kicked my ribs and had the hiccups at 10 p.m. every night. He is a real, healthy and cute little boy. He will play with trucks, fight with his sisters and, I hope, grow into a man who loves Jesus. I've always hoped for both daughters and sons. I'm so glad and grateful for my boy. And I miss the girl I imagined.

So today I am sad for Andra. I know I could talk myself out of it but I'm not going to. I want to embrace Alexander for the God-image person that he is, see him and know him as he grows. To do that, I have to release who he isn't. He isn't a daughter, he isn't the third sister, he isn't Andra Faith. Releasing her will open the door for me to embrace him as his own person with his own future. My son, Alexander Eugene.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Am I Being too Sensitive?

So, a lot has happened that I haven't blogged about...namely the birth of our son.

But instead of doing that, I'm going to rant about the vacuum.

I have a pretty nice vacuum. A year ago, Christmas, my in-laws bought me a Kenmore Progressive dust suckin' machine. (Yes, I asked for a vacuum for Christmas.) It slices, it dices, it has more bells and whistles on it than I would have ever bought for myself.

But there is one "perk" on it I hate...the nag lights aka "dirt sensors". These lights are on the top of the body of the machine. There are three of them and they turn yellow with the amount of dirt I am vacuuming. Here is the official interpretation:

No lights: NOW it is clean, you may proceed to the next area guilt free
One light: Oops, you missed a spot
Two lights: Have we been a bit neglectful of our carpets lately?
Three lights: Holy sandboxes! You know this isn't for outdoor use, right?

I just vacuumed. Guess who's carpet is three light yellow? Everywhere. Even after letting the vacuum run on the spot for 10 seconds.

I found myself having a conversation with the vacuum. "Look," I said, "I just had a baby 9 days ago, I'm not even supposed to be vacuuming yet except that Kevin cleaned up the toys so I figured I'd finish the job. [waiting for lights to go off] I mean, c'mon, we have 6--count them 6--indoor cats and two preschoolers who like to play in the dirt. [Still waiting]. How about just moving from three to two so I feel like I've accomplished something? [Nada] Fine. I'm moving to the next area and assuming the lights are malfunctioning. Take that."

And I did. The carpet looks better but I know that it is still three-light dirty. Kind of like how everyone has at least one pair of underwear right now but there is a pile of dirty laundry. Or how we've been eating off paper plates but we have to wash glasses as we use them. Or how my children (all three) are safe and fed but perhaps all a bit neglected at the moment.

Kevin quoted the Hobbit this morning about feeling like too little butter spread across too much bread. Yeah, I get that. Hopefully, add a week postpartum and the butter will feel a bit more and the bread a bit less.