Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Baby talk strikes again

I come from a long line of proud baby-talkers.
Grandma Maroney: Hotseee-dis-tootsie!
Grandma Baldwin: He's a REAL NICE BOY!
And today, just after I got Canaan out of his bath I dried him off and as I dried his hair, leaned him back to have a good look at his fat, adorable little face and said/squealed: He's the coziest little baby! He's very cozy and so so SWEET!!
AND HE SMILED!! He's 3 weeks 2 days and he smiled right at me! Three gummy grins right in a row! And then one more just for good measure, as I put his diaper on and the other kids watched, then burst into absolute hysterics at seeing a real, non-sleeping SMILE from the baby!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

God provides

We had a good night last night: Canaan was down at 9 and didn't wake up until 1:30, then he ate again at 4 and 6. Not bad! This morning though, I woke up thinking that I just didn't want to do today. Just too much to do and no energy, and I thought - man, this week we are really, totally on our own. We have been SO incredibly blessed and dinner has been provided for us almost every night since I had Canaan. Unbelievable the generosity and kindness of our friends and family!! But - you know, it's been three weeks and so of course it makes perfect sense that most people we know have brought dinner and it's time to start cooking for ourselves again. LOL BUT, my friend Katie called this morning and said she'd like to bring dinner tomorrow night! That is so perfect! Somehow that one dinner for this week just totally took the pressure off me!

Also this morning I did some schoolwork with Graham and cleaned Caris' room (it needed it desperately!). Hopefully this week I can get back to my cleaning schedule and the whole house will have returned to a nice state by Saturday. It's really not bad, just a bit neglected, so it shouldn't be too hard to do.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Canaan, 3 weeks

My baby is 3 weeks already! Wow! Here's what he's been up to this week:

-still tries to latch indiscriminately (to my arm, a blanket etc.) but once he finds the nipple, he latches all by himself. No more waiting for him to open wide and then hurriedly pulling him on.
-is on his first antibiotic, already. :-P His congestion just wasn't going away and on Thursday when I took him to the doctor his ear was a little pink. The congestion is almost completely cleared up. Yay!
-had his first fussy/needy day on Wednesday, and I was *exhausted* because of it, but on Thursday he was back to his usual content self. PTL!
-went to house church for the first time on Wednesday

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Canaan, 2 weeks

-opens his eyes much more, and I think they may be turning brown!
-sleeps all night except for nursing 2-3 times. YAY!
-has had a stuffy nose all week, but his jaundice is all cleared up
-has outgrown most of his newborn diaper covers, but still fits 0-3 month clothing nicely
-sleeps about half the night in his pack n play and half between Mommy & Daddy
-lots more awake time during the day
-had his first "playtime" in the activity gym yesterday and stared for almost 30 minutes
-weighed 10 lbs 15 oz on Friday
-has peely skin on hands/wrists and feet/ankles

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Newborn Nights

Canaan has really no routine for his days or nights, so it's basically impossible to predict what sort of night we will have. Last night he fell asleep on the couch at 7 and woke up to nurse around 9:30 or so. I nursed him and headed to bed, wondering if we'd be up for several more hours or if I'd get some sleep. I GOT SLEEP!! He woke up to nurse at 12:30 and 3:30 and then we were up for the day at 7. Not bad at all! Of course he still sleeps most of the day too but that really restful night sleep is such a blessing for Mommy.

Speaking of routines, we're *slowly* getting back to ours. The TV isn't on all day like it was last week, and life is feeling a bit more normal. It'll be many more week before we're completely into a new routine, I'm sure, but it feels good to be on the way there.

Baby calling . . .

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stealing Megan's idea

Megan posted 5-week Christian facts, and I thought that was so cute! So here we go:

Canaan, 1 week old

-hardly opens his eyes, and stares blinkingly and very still when he does
-moves his arms in sweeping, jerky motions
-has little "aim" for nursing and will try to latch to my arm, his hand, a blanket, whatever's close by when he's hungry
-needs to burp at each feeding or he will spit up
-startles at loud noises, but sleeps through it all
-will sleep in just about any position but likes it on his tummy the best
-doesn't mind wet or dirty diapers
-umbilical cord fell off at 6 days old
-sleeps a couple of long stretches per day - if only they'd always be at night!
-has jaundice but his levels are on their way down

Friday, February 09, 2007

5 days old

I am grieving my baby growing up and he's only 5 days old! When he's resting on my shoulder, eyes closed, mouth open, quivering every so often the way newborns do, I wish I could freeze time. I wish I could memorize his face and know I'd never forget the way he feels, smells, moves. I think of all the times I have said I'm SO DONE having kids and think I must have been crazy to feel that way. Nine months of nausea? Scary first trimester due to bleeding? Painful labor and delivery? One look at that tiny little face makes every moment of it worthwhile. Of course my hormones are in overdrive and it's no time to be thinking about whether or not to have more babies, but every time I look at my newborn I want to cry (or I actually do), knowing how fast he's going to grow.

I've been blessed to have lots of company this week, and I dread next week already, when my Mom will be back at work and the initial excitement of seeing the baby is over for everyone else. It's this weird time between all of the excitement and newness, and getting back to normal life. The quietness of it makes me really lonely and I get weepy very easily. I'm looking forward to LaMonica's visit on Monday as though it's a huge social engagement. That's another thing. I don't want to let go of the pregnancy "stuff" - and yet I'm thrilled to have my baby here and to not be pregnant any more. Geez, I need to just realize that my hormones are off and not think so much about this stuff, but it's hard not to. I feel a little like a basketcase yesterday and today.

We went out this morning and had Canaan's second blood draw done. I honestly hardly put him in the bilibed, so I hope that his numbers have come down all on their own. I know he's nursing well and getting plenty of milk, and I'm just not really worried. I actually regret paying the $65 for a 2-day rental of the bilibed. :-P I was going to go by the church office to show off the baby but I heard him poop just before we got to where we'd turn, and also he was screaming at that minute, though only for a couple minutes. Maybe we will go to church on Sunday, we'll see. Either way I'd like someone to take the boys so that they can keep up on their memory verse program.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

He has a name!!

We finally decided last night on Canaan (KAY-nen). We haven't picked a middle name yet but just having a first name means the world to me.

So Canaan had his first appointment with the pediatrician today. He's up to 10 lbs 3 oz and doing great! We did his circumcision today and it was absolutely traumatic for me. I dreaded it, hated it while I knew it was being done, and cried when he was back in my arms and I knew he was forever altered from the way he came out of me. I'm crying again now just thinking about it. It didn't bother me in the slightest to circumcise Malachi and Graham, except the feeling a parent has when their child has a blood draw or some other thing that's a necessary pain. This time it really, really bothers me. But anyway, it's done. Immediately after that we took him to the hospital for a blood draw since he's jaundiced. His levels came back at 15.7 so home health care is coming out with a bili bed this afternoon.

I woke up in the night seriously engorged - my milk is definitely all the way in! My nipples are sore from a tongue habit he had, which my friend Amanda helped me to correct, so hopefully my nipples will heal quickly. He's great at nursing and it's adorable watching him adjust to the new milk supply.

The older kids are loving being big siblings!! They ask to hold him a lot and they're just all really sweet and helpful with him.

My family and friends are so amazing. My Mom has been so helpful this week, making sure the dishes and laundry and everything are taken care of so all there really is for me to do is feed Canaan (and myself). Alif's parents have stepped in big time with the big kids, having them over for an hour or two every morning until today. Several friends have brought dinner, so we've had dinners every night. That is a HUGE blessing!! It means that I don't have to cook but we still have healthy, home prepared foods to eat, and it also means that we don't have to go to the grocery store this week. My Mom went yesterday and got some fruits and snacks and milk and juice. It's just such a blessing having a baby, and when everyone's so supportive and loving and involved in celebrating him with us, it's all the more wonderful.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Baby has arrived!!

Each evening for about a week, I have had quite a few contractions, usually between about 7 and 10:30 at night. None of them were really painful, except for the pressure his head would put on my cervix, so I'd just go to bed and sure enough, they'd fizzle out and in the morning, a new day of being pregnant would start.

On February 4, 2:00 am, I was awaken by a particularly strong - even painful - contraction. Wow, I thought, I wonder if that will turn into anything! Another one came about 10 minutes later, so I started to get the feeling that things might be happening. At about 2:30 I didn't want to lie in bed so I came downstairs and IMed with Megan - what a huge blessing that she was online and I could voice what was happening!

At 3:00 am I went upstairs and took a shower. I figured that if these contractions were just more false labor, the hot water would soothe them and I could get some sleep. Alif said, "what are you doing?" I told him I was going to take a shower and he said, "what for?" I said, "I think things might be picking up." After the shower I got back in bed and did not sleep but got some good rest in between the contractions, which were coming really far apart, about every 10 - 20 minutes or so. They felt productive but I was really irritated that they weren't getting any closer together - or stopping, one of the two. I laid there wondering whether to call LaMonica and felt really stressed out about that. I didn't want her to come and watch me labor like this for hours and hours, with nothing happening, but I also worried that my water could break and then everything would suddenly happen very quickly. I really did not want to have the baby without my midwife!

Finally a little after 7 am I called LaMonica to tell her what was going on. She suggested that I take a bath and try to get really relaxed. She said that sometimes if you can get the contractions to stop, they'll return later in a better pattern. I got in the bath and it felt great, and the contractions did slow down a bit. After I got out of the bath I felt like, what do I do with myself? Alif suggested I just take it easy. LOL That seemed obvious but how? Do I lie around in bed? Try going to church? Go about the morning as usual? By this point I really was tired, so lying in bed seemed like the best option. I called Mom & Lynette to tell them what was going on too. Mom said she'd get showered and ready and Lynette said she would stay home from church just in case.

About 10:30 I decided to just get up and go about my day. I wondered if being up and around might get things going a bit. I washed some dishes and sure enough, the contractions started coming more regular. They were coming about every 5 minutes and I had to breathe through them. I called LaMonica about 11 something. She listened to me through a contraction and said she'd gather her kids (she was in church) and distribute them, and if I needed her to be very fast to call her, otherwise she'd be here as soon as she got everyone settled. She said that if I started to feel out of control, to go ahead and get back in the bath.

Pretty soon after that I did get back in the bath, around 11:30. The contractions were manageable but I was worried about things moving too quickly and having the baby without LaMonica there. Caris came in the bathroom with me and she was like a 3-year-old doula, pouring warm water over me, getting me cold water to drink, a pear and some grapes to eat (I hadn't eaten all day and couldn't tolerate more than a bite of pear at a time) and of course plenty of toys in the bath. Lynette arrived, then Mom, and it was very reassuring having them there. Alif was mostly tending to the kids but checking in to see if I needed anything every so often. I really felt pretty under control. The water felt amazing, and I knew I wouldn't want to get out anytime soon so I asked Lynette to bring me a bra so I wouldn't feel so self-conscious. That made all the difference for me - I was completely comfortable in the bath after that.

I was so happy when LaMonica got there, I think around 12:00 or so. By that time the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart, and definitely required my full concentration. The hot water was crucial by this point and I couldn't imagine coping with the contractions without it. LaMonica came in to see how things were going, then she stepped out and for a while it was just Caris, my Mom, Lynette and I in the bathroom. Things started getting more intense for me and I asked for LaMonica to come back. That was probably around 12:45 or so and from that point on she knelt next to the bath and never left. Soon after I needed Alif, so he took the kids across the street to be with Aztlan and Chamil, and by the time he settled in to the bathroom for good (about 1:45) I really needed his support. He rubbed my back, poured hot water over me and encouraged me nonstop. He's a wonderful labor coach!

Around 2:00 I started to feel a bit of pressure and when contractions came it began to feel pretty uncomfortable sitting in the tub, but I also needed that hot water. I wondered out loud if moving upstairs to my bed would relieve the pressure, but also made it clear that I did not want to move out of the water. Alif kept telling me after each contraction, "Let's get you up to the bed. I'll help you." I just could not and would not. Soon it was clear to me that something had to be done - the pressure was intense and I knew pushing could not be far off. I agreed to at least try and get up on my hands and knees, so after the next contraction, they helped me get up onto my knees. Wooah, major pressure increase!! Baby clearly moved down at that point and I knew I needed to push. I said (or moaned, as the case may be), "LaMonica, I think I'm gonna have to push" She looked at me like, well yeah, I knew you would. LOL At the next contraction I pushed as hard as I could, and LaMonica felt and assured me that his head was right there. I pushed again and his head was out! LaMonica said, "A face! He's looking right at me!" No wonder I'd had such back pain, he was posterior. There was a pause while I waited for another contraction, and it felt like a long, long time to me. Then the next contraction came, I made a loud animal sound, and pushed as hard as I could and he was out! LaMonica handed him right to me and he was . . . beautiful. Perfect. Sharon said, "Look at his dimple!" My Mom dabbed her eyes. I couldn't believe he was out!

I can't even begin to express how much this birth meant to me. We tried for so long to conceive this child, and then once I was pregnant I bled so much I was sure I was losing him. Then there was a little scare with his kidneys and heart, which turned out to be nothing, and all along the stress of feeling totally unhappy and unsettled with our care provider (first doctor, then midwife, then another doctor, then finally LaMonica). So much uncertainty about God's will for where to deliver this baby, and much, much prayer about it. In the end though, I got my heart's desire and my baby was born in the comfort of our own home!

Having a baby at home meant so much more than just the logistics of it, though those were important to me too (not having to worry about making it to the hospital in time, being away from my kids, having the kind of birth I wanted technically speaking, etc.). For me, a huge part of wanting a home birth was about the kind of care I wanted. I hated the steriity of seeing a doctor for 5 minutes a month to prepare for one of the biggest events of my life. I hated knowing that if I delivered in a hospital, one of the most intimate moments of my life would be shared with nurses (and likely a doctor) I'd never met before and would never see again. Instead, I developed a special friendship with LaMonica through hours of visiting at my prenatal appointments - not just about my pregnancy and the baby but about parenting and life in general. I felt connected to the person who would make sure my baby made a safe entrance into the world, felt cared for by her, and that was a difference I hoped for but wasn't sure I could really expect. I'm very relational and didn't want to put unrealistic expectations on a care provider, but she was everything I hoped for and more. I can't believe how much it meant to me that she cared for me from the start to the very, very end - she stayed by my side long after the baby was delivered, kneeling next to me when I felt like I might pass out when I got out of the bath and sat on the toilet waiting for the placenta. She helped me upstairs (I was leaning on Alif) and into the bed to go ahead and deliver the placenta there. She tended to the baby while I rested, then checked me out, then helped me get into and out of the shower. I just felt absolutely and completely cared for, and it means so much to me that I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Every woman deserves to have births that reflect what a monumental life experience it is, not to just be a cog in a machine. I have not had bad birth experiences in the hospital, but my needs were the same to the staff as every other mother's who delivers there. There's no room for specific desires in birth when you're in the routine of a hospital. I am so thankful to have had such a wonderful home birth!!

There are some things that we've laughed about a lot now that the labor is over. Alif and LaMonica were pouring water over me constantly at the end, using cups. I felt the pressure of Alif dipping the cup into the water and said, "You have GOT to get the water more gently." LaMonica said she had to try so hard not to laugh when she looked at his face, and she was like, how can he get it more gently? ROFL Or when I was nearly at the end of my ability to cope with labor and said so, and Alif said, "You can do this, Emily. You've got mad skills." And I said, "stop it!" Then LaMonica laughed and I said, "Stop laughing." LOLOL Oh man, I do get demanding in labor - but I'm very proud to say that I did not cuss this time, not even once!! YAAAAAAY!

Anyway, that's my birth story. We're all doing really well and I hope to report on a name for mister handsome baby very soon!

Friday, February 02, 2007

40 weeks, 2 days

I guess you could say I'm overdue. I'm sure the baby doesn't feel like he's overdue, he's just not finished growing yet. I feel overdue. I am snippy and moody and tired and ready to have him. But not today or tomorrow since it would be really, really inconvenient for my midwife. In fact, as long as we're overdue, I'd love him to hang in there until Monday. Sunday is our turn to work in the nursery, and that's one of my favorite things, so I'd like to be able to do that.

We finished two weeks of every-single-day schoolwork! I'm proud of myself for being so consistent and of the boys for working hard and learning so much in just two little weeks. Caris is adament that it's time for her to start some bookwork of her own, so I am going to see about one of those big preschool workbooks at Wal-Mart. This week we did phonics and math each day - next week we will add handwriting. Of course when the baby comes things will be a little strange but we'll try to stay on schedule as much as possible.

One of Caris' top teeth is turning gray. I took her today to the dentist who's our actual provider with our insurance. It was not promising. He said to just watch for any "pum" (bump? Pus?) on her gums and if I notice any to bring her in and then they would need to pull the tooth. Wonderful. Now do I see about paying hundreds out of pocket to a pediadontist that we actually trust, or do we just watch her tooth die and have it pulled and there's my beautiful girl with a tooth missing for the next 5 years? :*( I hate money issues and insurance issues and especially really bad dental insurance issues. Blah!

I am really grouchy today. Sorry!