Out with the old...

In just a few hours we will all say farewell to 2011. Some of us are out all dolled up, sipping on drinks, some of us are staying home or going to a friends house. Derrick and I just went out for an early dinner and left the kids with Grandmama and Papa. Now we are home, sweatpants are on, and the celebration with the kids is about to commence. Right now D has the kids and I am sparing a few moments to reflect on 2011.

2011 was an amazing year for our family. We had so much fun and had so many blessings. Some of my top highlights include:

Of course the number one highlight is the birth of Max just 11 days ago. And in a close second place would be April 15th. The day the word PREGNANT stared up at me. We could not be happier to have spent the majority of 2011 growing and then having Max. What a perfect addition he is!

Of course this year also brought in an abundance of weddings and celebrations. A new nephew was welcomed! A fantastic BFCO, mini road trips and LOTS OF RUNNING! I am so proud of myself for accomplishing my original goal of running eight 5ks and then adding in two 10ks as well. We celebrated a 10 year reunion, reconnected with old friends, made some new ones and learned that some will be there through the thick and thin. I flew down to FL to meet a bunch of amazing women for the first time. D completed the Tough Mudder and Ella started school.

Things sure were kept busy but fun. It truly was a fantastic year. I can not wait to see what 2012 holds for us but I do know that whatever it brings my perfect little family will embrace it all together!

Happy New Year to you all. May 2012 find you in good spirits and bring lots of love and laughter.

Birth Journey

Since the loves of my life are curled up together on the couch, while Princess Pie reads stories to "our baby", and I have some time between nursing sessions I thought now would be a good time to get the story of Max's birth journey down.

It truly was an absolutely beautiful birth. It wasn't exactly like I pictured it happening but when all was said and done it was PERFECT for me, for D and for Max.

Saturday the 17th I came home from the Brown Family Christmas Party having some pretty intense contractions. I really thought this was it. Nope, it wasn't the contractions kept me up all night but died out around 4am. So, no sleep and no baby. Sunday was quiet the only thing going on was that our Princess Pie was sick. Pretty sick. Her and D made a big bed under the Christmas tree and sent me up stairs to keep from getting whatever she had that was making her throw up. I went to bed nervous that Ella was so sick and not paying attention to the baby at all. I woke Monday to D still home to take care of Ella and I realized it had been a VERY long time since I last felt Sprout move. Off to the see the midwife and be hooked up to yet another NST. While I was at the office the midwife offered to swipe my membranes. I used to be completely against any sort of jump start like this but I consented and it was done. I left ran some errands and came home to nap (under orders to do so!).

Monday night at about 5:30 I had my first contraction. A stop in my tracks and breath contraction. I took notice but didn't think anything of it. At 9 I realized that this was perhaps probably really it and called my parents to come get Ella for a sleep over. At 9:45 I made a call to the midwife to let her know they had been 5 minutes apart and lasting a minute for the last hour or so. She advised us to come in since it was baby number two. We packed up the car and headed out. Now, anyone who has ever driven to the hospital during intense contractions will tell you car rides and labor = NO FUN!!! That 20 minute ride was the longest ride ever.

We got to the hospital got hooked up and checked and want to know what? They sent me home. Yep, 3 cm wasn't enough to deem me in labor and I was sent home with early/false labor discharge papers. I believe that being sent home was what put me in a mentality that held me back in the vision I had for my birth. I was discouraged and mad and went through another 20 minute car ride, that was super uncomfortable. We got home at 11:45 or so and I went upstairs to try to sleep. But couldn't since contractions were now coming every 3 or so minutes and I could not get my head into the game. I just kept telling D that it hurt it hurt it hurt. I threw all of my hypnobirthing lessons out the window and could not get focused. I was focusing on the wrong things and not breathing. In my head I was already "failing" since I was only at 3 cm. At 12:30 am D packed me and my delirious self back into the car. Oh gosh was THAT ride something else. I tried to remember what to do but I couldn't I was begging, BEGGING for him to help and insisting I wanted an epi.

When we got back to the hospital, I was admitted and put directly into the water birth room. At least, this part of my plan was going the way I had envisioned! I was checked, yep still 3 cm, no change. At 4:40 I was checked and you guessed it 3 cm, still no change. At this point the nurses, D and myself all thought, ok MOST women's second babies are different but this was not looking to be my case. So they asked if I wanted therapeutic sleep, a shot of morphine to force my body to rest in between the every 2 minute contractions, in order to gear up for another long labor. I surrendered. I didn't know what else to do. This was NOT what I thought I had wanted but at that moment thinking I had only been at it for really about 7 hours and at that point with Ella I still had 49 more hours to go, I took the shot.

The shot did NOT help me sleep. But the shot gave my brain the turn around switch that I needed. I was able to refocus myself and get back into the game. As Derrick layed behind me pressing on my back (back labor and I are long time friends) I was able to start visualizing what I had practiced. I used my breathing and counting to focus on breaths that opened during each contraction and in between I visualized having made it one more level up the mountain. My baby was waiting at the top but I just had to take it one step at a time to meet them. At 6:00 I was checked again and holy moly I was at 8cm! My water had broke and I was progressing quickly. At this point the morphine had worn off. I could tell by the difference in the way each contraction was feeling on my body. At 7:am the midwife came in to check me. I was at a 10 and ready to push. I asked for the tub to be filled first. She said no. I insisted, she said no. I demanded and at this time I had a parade of about 6 nurses in to ask me questions. What I didn't realize was that they all had thought I was still looped out on morphine. D tried to explain to them that I was hypnobirthing and was in the zone. I was breathing and not making a noise. Finally, after me telling one nurse to leave for breaking my concentration, they realized ok maybe it is ok for her to be in the tub. The tub was filled (half way only since the midwife was not fully on board with this) and I got in at 7:15ish. The water was seriously HEAVEN. It felt so so so good!!! The pain was gone, the back labor vanished and I just swayed side to side breathing. The midwife looked at me and said your baby is right there you can meet it if you want. At 7:21 am I gave one test push, at 7:30 I pushed two more times. He came out at 7:32 am and just looked up at me. He was layed on my chest and I fell in love with the second man of my life.

The last few hours of my birth were fast and intense but full of so much calm and peace. Yes, I had some sort of drug but the hypnobirthing worked too! It was amazing to actually birth the baby in this process at the end. I wish I had been able to get my brain to click into the pattern sooner but I didn't and it is ok. I had the PERFECT birth for me at this time. This is what I did to get my son here and I loved every second of it.

Maxwell was born at 7:32 am on December 20th. The entire labor from very first contraction to very first breath was 14 hours, only about 5 of those hours were spent in active labor. He weighed almost 8 pounds (my HUGE baby!!!) and was just over 20 inches long. He came out calm, inquisitive and a pro at nursing. We stayed in the hospital for 2 nights, making it a first family sleepover when Ella joined us on night number 2. His first weekend home was full of Christmas celebrations and lots of traveling back and forth from one event to the next. He took it all in stride.

His sister adores him and is so sweet. She watches out for him to be awake and will alert me that he is and ask to kiss him. She reads to him, sings to him and loves on him in the most gentle and adorable way.

His dad is amazing. The diaper changing, the awe in his eyes at having a son and the way he takes care of us all just floors me. I knew D was an awesome dad and has been for the last 3 years but I think I am in for learning just how awesome he can be.

And me? Yes, I followed the advice of never marrying a man unless I wanted to raise a son just like him. And I can't wait. With D as a role model Max is going to grow into the most dear little boy ever. He definitely has stolen my heart just like his Daddy has.

My family is complete and I am loving every second of these precious first moments.

Christmas came early!

Good morning Blog World! As the world slowly awakes for the day, I find myself completely in love with another man. A little guy who we decided to name Maxwell Derrick. My hubby is across the room snoring and Max is snuggled up on my chest and I am content. Max was born yesterday after an absolutely beautiful birth and labor. Once home and I have the time I will fill you all in and tell my gorgeous birth story.

But for now as I prepare to nurse my little guy I will leave you all with the quick facts :0)

Maxwell Derrick was born at 7:32 am on December 20th. Labor was super quick, well compared to Ella's 56 hour marathon. He was born after 14 hours from the start ofthe very first contraction to his very first breath. It was only 5.5 of those hours I spent in active labor and of that 11 minutes were spent pushing. Max is my big baby tipping the scales at a pound and a half more than his sister did. He weighed in at 7 pounds 13 ounces and is 20.5 inches long. He's a big boy all right! I am in love and in awe over my little man.

Once Princess Pie gets here this afternoon I will be complete :0)


By the way I wanted to add that there is NOTHING nothing wrong with using medications or having a c-section or any of the likes. Babies need to get here healthy and be delivered to mom's who are happy and content and no matter how you get your baby here it doesn't matter. All I was trying to say was that we should be careful with our word choices and not put fear into the process. Each women is different, each baby is different, each birth journey is going to be different. None is better than the other. After all the end hope is a happy and a healthy baby and that means mom needs to get it here with whatever makes HER feel the most comfortable :0)

Word Choice

So obviously as the days tick by I am becoming increasingly aware that the process of labor and birth is almost upon me. So of course the thoughts of the event are taking front and center stage in my thought process. It is hard to forget for even a second that it is about to happen. I mean the shear size of my belly that I am sporting is enough to jog the thoughts, add in all the texts, emails, calls, facebook posts and concerned "How are you feeling" comments and its BAM right there in my face.

So here is what I am thinking:

Being an American women I have grown up hearing stories of the horrendous pain, intolerable pain, the just plain horribleness of this journey into the world. The first time around I would sit in the teachers room eating lunch while the unsolicited comments rolled in or even just standing in the line at the grocery store women found the need to tell me about the most horrible thing that ever happened to them. Once I let it be known I planned to have Ella with no drugs whatsoever the comments of how I would be begging BEGGING for an epi followed at the end of each horrendous birth story. Even MEN would say NO WAY YOU ARE GOING TO GET AN EPI, THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN DO IT!

Well, guess what folks? I did it, I labored with no meds and I brought my baby girl into the world without feeling the ring of fire or being scared for life. Was it uncomfortable, well it wasn't a vacation. But it was something more. During each contraction I knew it was bringing me closer to her, that my body was working the way it should be. After 18 months of TTC and thinking my body was so flawed it was nice to know that it was working just fine, thank you very much.

And this time? This time I learned something new. I learned during our Hypnobirthing classes that it was ME that caused the 56 hour labor marathon for Ella. Why you ask? Well here in the states women LOVE to outdo one another with the gruesome details of labor and delivery. They love to tell each women just how much of a traumatic event unfolded for them. What do these stories do? They put a stigma on birth. They condition each one of us to FEAR birth. It is something that is a medical procedure that requires medication to get through. We have turned birth into a procedure and not a natural journey.

Each birth story told that focuses on the pain of the event and not the natural beauty emphasizes the fear women carry. Think about it. Women in other countries literally stop working, go to the side of a field and have a baby and then return to work with no one knowing. Other mammals lay quietly in their dens and let nature take its course. So why do we choose to use words such as pain, fear, hurt to accompany what is a natural process? I mean I admit there are times when a birth isn't going right and yes it gets complicated and things need medical attention. But if we were just careful with our stories, with our word choices, women wouldn't fear this blessed event as much and be able to bring their babies into the world without the doubt and fear leading them. I labored for 56 hours because I listened to those birth stories. I was AFRAID to push, I was AFRAID the ring of fire as it is called would be too much. I was AFRAID that I would need to drugs to get through it all. I stopped my body with that fear. Because of it my body held back. It took FOREVER for it to get the job done because I was too afraid to let it do what it naturally does.

This time around, am I nervous? Um yes but not about the pain or discomfort. I am nervous because of anxiety that I have about things going badly. But I am wiping these thoughts from my brain. I have let them go, I have burned them in the fire. They have been replaced with the thoughts of having this baby in a calm, peaceful environment. Where we will work together and labor together because yes it is work to meet each other on the other side of it all. I am going to surrender my body to its own devices and try to keep, NO I WILL KEEP, my head clear. So my drug of choice? Positive affirmations and breathing. It's all I am going to need to get my baby here. And if you want to tell me your birth story, I would love to hear it but let's make it after I have this baby so I can keep my head clear of the American birth story :0)

Now, all that has to happen is baby needs to decide it wants out....like now! or now? How about now? I don't know but I am off to consume more pineapple :0)

privacy?! What's that?

So it is no secret, none at all if you happen to catch a glimpse of me, that I am about to pop. Yes literally pop. I am 38 weeks pregnant and have grown to be the size of a small beer drinking giant. And as the size increases so does my desire to meet Thing 2. I am ready, the bags are packed, the car seat is in, the house stays pretty much, kind of, well sort of clean, and above all the Christmas shopping AND wrapping are done, yes D.O.N.E done! Since Thanksgiving day I have been fighting off contractions and now that I want them they are there but are not getting any more frequent!

So today, before my doctor's appointment I went to the gym. I did lots of walking and lunges and monster walks and squats and well let's just say everything possible there to make baby uncomfortable enough to come out. Then tonight I made D take me out for spicy Thai again and well contractions picked up some but not enough to say I am in labor. Yay!!! Except I forgot how uncomfortable they made you and my back my poor back. So I thought hmmm D is home I can take a bubble bath and enjoy a cup of raspberry leaf tea for 20 mins ALONE!!!!

Yeah RIGHT! The moment I had all my clothes off and was about to step in the tub I hear "Mom can I come in? I can sit in here with you?" Yeah sure, why not. You see its been a long time a LONG time since I have been in a bathroom by myself. In fact, the only time I can use the bathroom by myself is in the dead of the night when even the dog has decided he is too exhausted to follow me.

But you know what? Tonight, my non privacy bubble bath turned into the best part of my day. My back got minimal relief but I just had the best 20 minute conversation with my sweet little girl. She came in to ask how I was feeling and then asked me about my day. She told me about how "it was so so freezing cold on the playground today that it hurt her brain" and that "those boys are still crying at school and I tried to tell them to stop cause school is fun". Then she asked about how my trip to FL was and what I ate and how fast my plane was. By this time I was having so much fun that I was a tad disappointed when D came in and told her it was time to play Pop the Pig before bed. She stood up placed her hand on my head and said "Ok Mom you think you are going to be ok without me? Are you sure? I can stay if you need me too" No baby girl that's ok you can go Mommy will be just fine. And now the little stinker has sneaked back down the stairs and just crawled into my lap and is kissing my cheek and telling me she loves me to the moon and back. I am so in LOVE with her :0)


Birthday Celebrations!

Yesterday my baby girl turned THREE! Yikes where did those three years go? It seems like just yesterday we were at the hospital giving birth to her and now she is a grown up three year old.

Last night the pitter patter of little feet came down the hallway, pausing outside my door. I heard "Mom I just can't sleep can I come in?" I asked her why she was having trouble sleeping, and her answer brought a smile to my face. "Well I just don't have anyone to talk to in my room. No one to tell about my birthday celebrations except my books and bears and they don't talk back." So of course I let that cute little bum crawl up in bed with me. D was down stairs being the awesome, amazing hubby that he is cleaning up and vacuuming for me, since well I just can't do it anymore. And Ella and I lay in bed and she just talked about her special day. "Mom you remember how you surprised me with decorations when I came home from school? Did you know Daddy got my the ballet clothes I have been wanting? Mom did you like how we got to eat ice cream treats and look at Christmas lights? Did you hear my special jingle bell?" It seriously was such a priceless moment. And to top it all off? My sweet baby girl, leaned over and said, thank you Mommy and Daddy, thank you so much for my special day I LOVED it" and gave me the biggest hug.

Yesterday, may have been Ella's birthday day but it was my "Birth" of her day and I couldn't be more blessed with the wonderful gift God blessed us with. I thank Him for her every day at least a dozen times. I love that little girl with every breath I take and I can't wait to add Thing 2 into the mix :0)