Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ben's birth story

The night before I went into labor was my due date.  I made jerk chicken for dinner and had pineapple for dessert, secretly hoping that the spicy and acidic foods would coax our little boy to come!  I was mentally ready to go on the journey of birth - I was not afraid; I knew I was taken care of and that every step had been taken to ensure our safety and well-being.

I woke up on the morning of Saturday, March 14th around 3:00am with mild contractions. We'd already had a few episodes of what my midwife calls "positional contractions" which turned out not to be "real" labor, so I had learned to wait and see where they went. Previously, they would come for a few hours, not increase in intensity, and then go away suddenly. I got up and rushed to the bathroom after several contractions in a row, which made me wonder if we were finally ready to meet our baby. I couldn't help but lie there in bed, unable to go back to sleep due to the intensity of the contractions, thinking about how cool it would be for the baby to have his birthday on Pi Day - 3.14. Pi Day on the year 2015 is even more special because it is accurate to more digits - 3.1415. After about half an hour, the contractions were strong enough to make me decide to start timing them - I hadn't yet let myself believe that they we were in labor "for real" because I wanted to wait and see if they increased more in intensity and frequency - that "false" labor that was plaguing me wasn't going to fool me again! However, soon after that I decided that I had to treat them as if they were "real," because they were real to me in that moment and were intense enough to require my full attention. So I went on timing them until about 6:00am, when I decided to wake up Mike and see what he thought. It took us another few hours to see a pattern in the contractions - they would get closer together, then space out, but every time they cycled through that pattern, they would get closer together. I mostly labored in the living room, kneeling on my yoga mat. 
Mike was right there with me, amazing husband that he is.

We FaceTimed with my brother and sister-in-law, who live out of state.  My brother led us in prayer - a very special moment.

 The animals would come up and check thing out once in awhile.  Mollie was the most interested and concerned with what was going on.  

 One of my favorite pictures from the whole day!  This was when labor was starting to intensify, and Mollie jumped up on the couch to be with me.  For some reason, burying my head in the couch cushions helped.  

 My mom arrived around 9:00, and my dad came to get Eli and spend the day with him. By about 1:30 I was ready to have the midwife and our doula head out way. Mike started to inflate the birth pool in our bedroom, running out to the living room to be with me for every contraction. 

Mom caught me in between contractions.

They quickly went from pretty intense to really intense, and I instinctively knew that I was transitioning to active labor. As soon as the birth pool was ready I got in, and I instantly felt more in control. Being in the water was very soothing. Maggie (our midwife) arrived just after I got in the pool, and Erin (our doula) arrived soon after that. Mike, my mom, and Erin busied themselves making sure I was comfortable and talking me through contractions, while Maggie was checking vitals on me and the baby (using a Doppler that can go in the water - no fetal heart rate monitor to tie me down!)

 At one point my doula said to me, "Not every mom belongs at her daughter's birth, but your mom does."  It's true!

At this point the timing gets a little fuzzy for me. I know I got in the pool around 2:00-ish and that I didn't get out until after the baby was born, but when I remember that time it's only in bits and pieces. I remember Maggie regularly checking our vitals and reminding me to take long, deep breaths (at one point I started to hyperventilate after a particularly strong contraction). I remember getting a glorious head massage from Erin. I remember my mom heating up water to keep the pool warm. I remember some wicked hot flashes. Right before I felt the need to push, a song by Rend Collective Experiment came on  my playlist.  I focused on the words to the song: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard what is coming...you are coming."  Typically those words mean something different to me, but right then they were about my baby boy - up until that point, nobody but God knew what my little boy looked like, but that was about to change.  I knew that I was about to bring my boy into this world!

Then all the sudden I needed to push. And when I say needed, mean I NEEDED to push. I didn't voice this need, but everyone knew! I was kneeling in the birth pool with my arms over the side at this point, and the baby started the descend rather quickly. I'm told I only pushed for about 10 minutes.  At some point during this time I felt the need to tell everyone (or rather scream at everyone) that it hurt (not that they didn't know that, but I still felt the need to say it!) I could feel him descending with each push because of the position I was in, which was very encouraging because I could see the progress I was making. Then I thought to myself, "one more push and he'll be out!"  I gave it my all, and his head popped out, but I had to give it one more push to get his shoulders out (I guess he's got his daddy's broad shoulders!)  I scooped him up and turned to sit down in the birth pool in one motion, and there he was!

Mike cut the cord with the help of the midwife and took the baby for some skin-to-skin time so I could move to the bed and get cleaned up.

Getting weighed and checked over by the midwife.

He weighed 8lbs 8oz - the same as his big brother! 

Getting an adjustment from our doula (who is also a chiropractor and has been treating me since my pregnancy with Eli).

My dad brought Eli up so they could meet Ben.

Eli brought me flowers, wasn't that nice of him?  :)

My dad meeting his new grandson - they are up to five grandchildren between my brother and I, all under the age of 5!

"I'm a big brother!"

And that's the story of how our little boy came Earthside - about 11 hours from start to finish!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Eli is THREE!

Shirt came from here

Three?  THREE?!?  How can my baby boy be THREE years old?  It seems like just yesterday I was 32 weeks pregnant with him, crying to Mike that I was sure I wouldn't be able to be pregnant for one more single solitary minute. Elijah Michael is our sweet, headstrong boy with a great sense of humor and enough energy for three little boys. He loves his new little brother and is learning how to be gentle with him.

Here are some updates on our big boy:

Height: 41 inches
Weight: 35 lbs
Shoe size: 8
Clothes size: 3T; rapidly getting closet to 4T!
Potty training: wears training pants and has mastered going pee on the potty - now we need to work on the next step!

Favorite foods: fruit; French fries, juice
Favorite movies/TV shows: Turbo, Curious George, Little Einsteins
Skills: can count to ten and identify most letters; knows some of the letter sounds. Can identify an impressive array of vehicles (all emergency vehicles, backhoes, Cherry Picker trucks...)
Can report on events that happened to him with reasonable accuracy.
Knows many different songs. Favorites include Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, ABC song, Car Wash, Tractor Tractor
Can help around the house - helps load dishes in the dishwasher and load the detergent in the dispenser, closes the door and presses the button to start it.  Also helps with the laundry.
He's also been known to "help" with the lawn mowing!

Other fun notes:
Will "whistle" by sticking two fingers in his mouth and shrieking loudly.
Loves playing lightsabers with daddy.
Favorite Eli-isms: "I bunked my head" (bumped)
"Hairbrows" (eyebrows)
"That's so cool!"
"That's my favorite!"
"I'm freaking out!"

One of my all-time favorites of our silly boy.  Taken Easter 2014.

May 2014.

Baby got back.

In August 2014 we took a trip to Sea World and Eli got to pick out an oyster with a pearl inside.  We are saving the pearl to give to the future love of his life.....far, far in the future!

First selfie.....September 2014.

Cutest pumpkin in the patch!

He loves a good wrestle session!  We have found that he needs at least a few minutes of very energetic play every day to drain off all that energy...

Finding the perfect Christmas tree to cut.

Sleepy little angel!

For Christmas we got passes to Disney instead in lieu of presents.  We've been having lots of fun there!

We went through a phase where he was always wearing his sunglasses.

Checking out baby brother.

Getting a decent picture of all of us is quite a feat!