Saturday, March 29, 2014

The first week of Transitions with some trials

The area that I felt I was going to miss out on with having a home birth was the extra recuperating time at the hospital.  The hospital has its downsides for sure (like drawing your blood at 3:30am just because that was when their shift was...what!) but overall that time had been a really special bonding time in the past with the girls.  It was especially hard this time around because I was still getting over a sinus infection that even affected the way I heard higher pitch tones (besides the whole getting over the birth process - body healing pains).  BUT the time at home was still AMAZING (overall). 
 Beach was really good to me (no surprise there) and my dad brought me some Alive that first morning (yes, we had previously gotten rid of all our meds) and that helped take the edge off.  
I had even more snuggle time with this little man and Beach enjoyed it as well....especially not having to sleep on a small hospital couch.

My dad had three daughters and always wanted a boy, too.  Ezra is his first grandson, so he is pretty excited!  Teary eyed in first meeting him!
Our amazing chiropractor, Dr. Sarah Losby, came and adjusted us the next afternoon.  Ezra's spine needed little adjustment though.  This is the way that they check newborns.....pretty crazy, huh?  Thankful for all that she does and how she is changing our city.  
In that Zoe had a high fever on the day Ezra was born, our midwife, Jamie, recommended keeping the girls away until she was fever free for 24 hours.  Although, I was excited for them to meet him, I knew this was best (and more resting for me!).
Zoe uses a sweet soothing comforting voice in speaking to Ezra (one that I have never heard from her).  She let him know that he could help her open her birthday presents in a few days and explained that Shiloh couldn't.  Zoe really wanted to stand and hold him and was very glad when she was able to do so (with help of course).
Shiloh I was a lot more nervous about.  She is just so intense with everything, including her love.  It's amazing how she, at just two, can seem to understand that Ezra is her brother and that I'm not pregnant anymore.  If he is around, she really wants to touch and kiss his head repeatedly!

When Shiloh saw me nursing for the first time, she exclaimed, "My nursing!" It was just a few months ago that I stopped nursing her, so I'm sure she remembers.  When it was suggested that she could nurse her own doll, she grabbed her chest and exclaimed that, "No, I don't have any milk."  My smarty pants kid!

We often find ourselves calling Ezra, "buddy".  I suppose there are not a lot of boy nicknames but it seems to just come out.  Shiloh was upset when she heard us calling him that and repeatedly shook her head and exclaimed, "No no, not buddy".  When asked what she meant she pointed to him and told us he was baby Ezra.  We have since explained to her about that and she now thinks it is more of a game.
Mom brought us dinner all week and helped out sooooo very much (all the while having to balance out work, too).  Man I'm so thankful for this lady.  I'm not sure what I would do without her; she is the best and I wish I could be as loving and patient as she is!
My sister, Danielle, and her family came to visit, and Ezra hid his hands over his face in meeting his cousin, Adalyn. She didn't seem to mind. 
Danielle has been an awesome support with all my littles!
There has been lots and lots of snuggles and naps with this little one.  Really trying to rest up my body so I can get back to "normal".  He is the best snuggler!
My college roommate and friend has such a talent for photography in her growing business.  She lives so close by and we went when Ezra was 5 days old and he had a little session with her.
She had it nice and toasty in there to keep Ezra warm and sleepy.  It worked for Beach as well.
She captures some great shots.  One of the many things I learned that day....newborn shoots are very messy and you have to be patient with the process.  Let's just say I left and was glad I was going straight home, as my clothes were wet from Ezra not having on a diaper!
Another home adjustment that night....this time with some extra friends.  Don't the Losby's have the cutest kid!
I love how Beach enjoys being a father and is excited to finally have a son!
When we were taking a nap one day, Beach was sleeping holding Ezra's hand.  I managed to capture this picture without him knowing.  May they always have a tight bond!
Of course, all things haven't been perfect.  There have been a couple of occasions where my hormones went completely crazy, which resulted in much crying and being upset at things I knew were not reasonable.  I was nervous about this but it hasn't been to bad, so far.  It is just that it can come on completely unexpected.  Beach is supportive, but it usually leads to some type of "discussion"which takes awhile for us to sort out!
However, I wouldn't change having this amazing precious time with little man and his skinny leg self!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sleep and look cute for the camera!

My college roommate and friend, Leigh Esseig, has such a talent for photography in her growing business, Esseig Photography.  She lives about a mile away from us in Irmo, and we went when Ezra was 5 days old and he had a little session with her.  Our first outing out of the house!
The girls were there briefly for a few sibling shoots.
The girls were not in the best of moods, so I'm thankful for what Leigh was able to capture!
This really is their personalities, Zoe so nurturing and loving.
And Shiloh, also, so loving and hands on intense!
We've never had a full on newborn shoot before so I sure did learn a lot.
I enjoyed watching Leigh at work and her patience and enjoyment of the process.
She had it nice and toasty in there to keep Ezra warm and sleepy.  It worked for Beach as well.
One of the many things I learned that day....newborn shoots are very messy and you have to be patient with the process.  Let's just say when I left, I was glad to be going straight home, as my clothes were wet from Ezra not having on a diaper!

There were a few times we had to stop, so I could nurse and get little Ezra back to sleep and Leigh understood that was the way of the game.
Somebody was done with all the pictures a little early!
I mean could we even pick a favorite picture!  
We sure are excited and blessed to have this joy package and a great friend to capture such a special age in our little Ezra!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our homebirth and meeting Ezra!

(Keep in mind that this is a birth story - so there are some birthing details - but not all!)
I had in my mind the best time for Ezra to make his appearance.  Although I had been trying to be prepared for him and his timing weeks before.  A weekend would be wonderful, finishing up a work week, Beach would be off, so would my mom to watch the girls, my sister would have a better chance to make it to take some Saturday, the 22nd, yes that sounds great!  I was over 40 weeks, so surely it would be soon!

I wanted to get through the morning, though, making a shop at Tot Trade for my picky soon to be 4-year-old.  I know I would be able to scoop up some great deals that she would be sure to love.  And I was excited that I was able to make it....and it didn't take forever.
Sadly, though, when I got home, I found Zoe had a fever and was so lethargic.  It's so hard to see her that way, as it is so out of character and I know she was not doing well!  I wondered if it was just the same junk that I had (and hoped it so), as it would NOT BE GOOD if Beach and I were to get it now.  She wanted to just be held and I had to feed her to get her to eat something, poor girl.  She wasn't even wanting to go to her "sleepover at her grammy's house" when Ezra was coming, as she had been talking about for days!

Luckily the girls took long naps....which meant rest for momma and daddy.  This was needed as I lost my mucus plug and had a feeling that it might be a long night!  The contractions started that afternoon.  Well, I should clarify (as they had been going on for months) but the "take your breath away....don't talk to me right now or expect me to talk to you" contractions started but they were pretty spread apart.  So I kept updating my midwife on the process and, after naps were done, my dad came and got the girls for his house.

Beach talked me into a pizza that night under the guise that I might not be able to have dairy for months (like I did with the girls).  So we ate and watched Netflix (we never eat in front of the TV), all the while the contractions were still making their presence...still intense but now 11 minutes apart. 
It was a beautiful sunset night, so we decided to squeeze in a walk.  I knew Ezra had been dropping.
It was a pretty slow "I have to stop and moan for theses contractions, please don't have to talk to neighbors we might run into along the way" kind of walk.  We did run into one...and it was luckily not in the middle of a contraction!  The contractions were then more like 8 minutes apart.  So I thought I had a little more time and we went into the house to get some laundry done.  
Well that didn't last long!  The contractions got closer together and I began to feel some pressure.  THAT made me nervous, as I did not have that feeling until towards the end of the birthing process with the girls.  I had been in contact with my midwife (who lives in Newberry) and let her know what was going on.  I took a shower and she told me she was going to take a nap...a nap (it was around 8pm then)?  Hummm....I didn't think there was time for that and I told her I was nervous!  So she decided to come and instructed me to take a bath to give her and her team time to come and to attempt to slow the contractions down.
It didn't work.  Beach got busy getting our room prepared by putting all the plastic down and blowing up the pool, and I was waiting in the bath that seemed to be getting colder and colder (I was somewhat scared to add hot water in case we wouldn't have enough for the pool).  
I was timing the contractions and attempting to distract myself with my phone and a shout out for prayer on facebook.  So thankful for so many prayer warriors out there!
My sister, Danielle, was able to have time to nurse her daughter and come on over (good thing she lives close!).  She came in all smiles and excited while I was in the bath, and it was nice to have someone there who loved and supported me!  She took all theses AMAZING pictures that I'm so thankful to have!  She is so talented and really captured the experience. 
Perhaps it was around 9:30 or so when the midwife team arrived, while I was having a contraction.  Okay that was pretty much all I was doing around then, as the contractions were a little over two minutes apart and lasting a long time.  The dula came in and instantly started rubbing my back.  I'm not sure she even said hello, which was fine as I'm sure she guessed how much pain I was in.  She was surprised when another contraction came on quickly.  I wanted to get out of the bath so she helped me move into the bedroom.  My legs soon began shaking, so even though I preferred to stand up, I ended up laying on my side on the bed.
 I was so relieved that they made it and they were busy getting everything set up!  However, we were missing an important supply item that I must have forgotten and my sister ran out to get it.  Meanwhile the contractions kept building.  Jamie, my midwife, did not have time to do my vitals (well I guess she could have done them when I was in a lot of pain but she is merciful that way).  They did check Ezra's heart with the Doppler during my contractions and he sounded well!  Jamie was amazing in allowing me to stay in the position that I needed to and just worked around me!  
It wasn't to long before I begged to start pushing!!!!  So Jamie checked me, I think this was for the first time, and I was at 9.5 centimeters dilated.....but my cervix was not completely open.  I didn't want to hear this, as it meant I would have to wait to push....which is so hard when your body seems to be telling you something different.  Jamie told me to make some grunting noise that sounded like a tiger to me, and I think I looked at her like she was crazy.  
A few more very miserable contractions and Jamie said I could slowly allow my body to push (it felt like forever) but not do any extra pushing.  I just kept reminding myself that when I was giving birth to Zoe my dula told me that pushing was so much better....and I remember that being I was very excited to move on to that phase and hopeful that it would be quick, as surely it must be if Shiloh came out after just 3 or 4 pushes (Zoe not so much - more like a couple hours).  Pushing feels like you're actually getting somewhere, like your doing something other than trying to survive the pain.  Yes, it's hard work, but I rather work than just feel pain.
And work I did, much longer than expected.  It took a lot of pushing to get him to come on down.  Later Jamie explained that it was because he was posterior ("sunny side up") which means back labor, more painful and longer.  The day before she thought he was good to go, but did sound very different.  This was the one time that I really fussed at anyone, when Beach told me to keep breathing.  "Stop saying that!" was all I could exclaim, as I felt like I couldn't breath while I was pushing (although I'm sure I was supposed to do so).  Beach was an amazing support, though, holding my hand and coaching me.  So loving! I know there were points where I was pushing hard on him, all the while they kept telling me to relax certain body parts.  I know that it is important, allowing the body to just do its thing, but it is so hard for me as I just want to power through it.  I have never pushed my water out that yeah that was interesting, but that meant nothing else was standing in the way.   
I had wanted to try a water birth originally, but was so in the middle of everything that that didn't seem to be happening.  I thought I had heard them talking about the pool not being ready (wasn't full yet), so I didn't even ask....I wanted to get the process done at that point!  
So I ended up delivering Ezra on my side in my bed at 11:08pm.  It was crazy how I could feel him coming down the birth canal and when he was at the end.  I knew, I remembered, this was really it.  Beach told me when his head was out, but I already knew.  It took a couple more pushes to get the rest of him out, which was different, as with the girls they just seemed to come out all at once.  
 Jamie laid Ezra on the bed next to me as they waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating.  I wasn't totally sure what was going on, as my body was so worn out.  
I can't even begin to describe the emotional response I had to seeing my son for the first time.  This was it.  He was really here, REALLY HERE. My heart swelled with love instantly.  Tears come to my eyes even thinking about it. 
Beach got to cut the cord.  I do love how he has always wanted to be so involved. Getting the placenta out and the last details just seemed to take forever.  My legs would not stop shaking!  I hate the feeling of being so out of control of my body.  
I just wanted to snuggle with Ezra and the process be completely done with.  Jamie was amazing and supportive in what needed to happen, though.  The afterbirth pains were not something I was expecting and were even worse when nursing.  It felt like more intense contractions.  Just not fair.  
 My beautiful sister got the advantage of being one of the first people to hold her new nephew! 
Ezra did well starting to nurse after we both had a little time to recoup.  I was continued to be supported/pampered through the afterbirth pains.  As well as getting hydrated and fed. 
  Then Jamie checked Ezra out completely.  And he was wonderful!  The strongest baby that she had ever seen, she explained.  The only small thing, that did not seem to be causing him a problem, was a lip tie.
He was 21.5 inches long.
Had an amazing back full of wrinkles when Ezra arched his back. So cute!
 And weighed 8lbs 2oz.  Check out that fun scale!
 Beach stated a few times, why would anyone not want to have a home birth!  (I do get our first couple children weren't and it's not an option for everyone.)  "No Drugs!" my dula exclaimed (oh yeah, there's that).  As painful as it is, though, there is just something powerful, spiritual and magical about the whole birthing new life process and being able to feel completely what is going on. 
Eventually they started cleaning up and emptying out the pool.  
Jamie gave me instructions that I was half awake to hear, a mixture of pain, exhaustion and pure joy to have my new little one.  
She gave assurance to call if I needed anything through the night, she would also call me the next day and see me on Monday.  Much hugs and love and then they were gone by 2am.
  Ezra started out in the bassinet that night....just to try to get some rest at first.
  As Beach and I laid in our bed, he asked, "Did that just happen?"  There we were in our room, with a new baby, so much went on and changed in such a short time.  World Rocked!
We were given much grace in that Ezra had an awesome night of sleeping!  He woke up a couple of times to some bad coughing.  We had some snuggle time and then I had to wake him up at 9am to nurse.  Latching doesn't even seem to be a problem....what a blessing!  Beach brought me a great breakfast in bed (I didn't even miss the ease of the hospital room service, as Beach is so good to me).  
A couple of days later, alone briefly in the house, I sobbed, standing in my room.  Totally overwhelmed by the process and how well it had gone.  Totally filled with gratitude to the Lord for this gift of life delivered in such a special manner.  Blessed beyond measure and what I deserve!