Thursday, January 28, 2010

namaali's chaos

so, everyone said it would happen.....

you have a baby, and the dog gets ignored.

it happened. namaali - my beautiful, loving, intelligent dog... she's been my baby for the last 10 years... now we have a new baby... and, i hate to admit it, there's no love for namaali. well, there is love - but not what she's been used to prior to luna. i think she gets it - but, i feel guilty, and yet....

just as the three of us have adjusted to this new life together, namaali has had to adjust to life in a household with a newborn. at first she was confused and lost..she didn't eat for days, and wandered aimlessly around the house eventually settling in places where she would be 'out of the way'. it took a good week or two for namaali to acclimate to living with a crying baby - her whole schedule being turned upside down as she undoubtedly wondered why we were up and about all night long. after she adjusted to the new schedule, she went through a period of curiosity and became quite protective of our little one. she stayed close to luna whenever there were visitors, and ran to the room to check on luna whenever she cried. it was very still is. only now, namaali just checks on luna when she makes strange noises - like the random cough-burps that she occasionally throws out there. like i said, namaali seems to 'get it' - and i think she's ok with it...but i'm feeling bad, and promising namaali lots of long walks and doggie treats ... well, once this rain lets up.

until then, namaali has returned to her old ways of watching the neighbors from the window, getting really excited when febri gets home from work, following me around the house, and thinking all visitors are here to see her (of course)...the rest of the time, she sleeps...she is 10 years old after all.

namaali - such an amazing soul..we love her...
it's sad, and it's unfair, but it is true what they say - somehow, amidst the chaos of life with baby, the dog gets ignored :(

on a positive note - luna has just started to take interest in wont be long before they're sharing kisses and crackers... brighter days ahead for this beautiful dog!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

sinking in

so, it's finally beginning to sink in... i'm a mama

luna is now six and a half weeks old..and growing each day. we're developing a routine...nights are easier with her waking only once (woohoo!)...but, it's sinking in that my days of sleeping as late as i'd like are behind me.

we're big baby wearers in this house. most times on any given day, luna can be found in a wrap on either febri or i. the organic sleepy wrap is our favorite....we like the moby too. after a wake-up time (which involves sitting in bed face to face with luna chattering away), a fresh diaper, and a feed, luna goes into the wrap so i can cook some breakfast. she usually falls asleep within 15 minutes. routine makes life so much easier with a newborn :). luna and i do everything with the wrap...aside from the obvious of taking nice strolls outside- luna watches me wash the dishes, vacuum, do the laundry...and it's sinking in that it will be a long time before i'm able to pee solo again.

luna is changing in so many ways. every day is exciting, as she discovers something new.

*she has now mastered the perfect know, the one that makes even the worst day bright again. and, much to our delight, she has begun to laugh at our silliness...and at other things that we can't see... she also converses with us on a regular basis - trying out new sounds all the time.

*luna has begun to use her hands. she likes to grasp hair, fingers, and fabric - and pulls on clothes and the wrap when nursing (or just being carried around). she also like to clasp her hands together, and put them in her mouth.

*finally those mobiles we've had sitting around the house are keeping her attention. she now actually enjoys sitting in her bouncy chair and fixing her eyes on the little bug mobile that we've attached....this is so nice for some baby free time when i'm the only one home (washing my face, brushing my teeth, eating...these are all hard to do with a baby on board).

*luna seems to enjoy tummy-time. she pushes on her arms and kicks her feet around. sometimes she rolls onto her side ~ hasn't rolled all the way to her back yet.

*loud sounds now startle her (if sleeping) and scare her (if awake). she used to sleep through anything - and didn't mind loud sounds while awake - but now.... the dog barking, the washing machine buzzing, the telephone ringing, even a loud voice - can wake her up or make her cry...sometimes both. we've taken to playing white noise at night to help her sleep more deeply - and we kind of like it too. febri woke the other night and asked if we had arrived yet...this puzzled me - until i remembered us joking about how we feel as though we're in an airplane with the white noise on... :)
airplane : womb ......... hmmm.....

here are some things luna hates:

car seats

part of me is proud of my natural baby refusing to take a bottle or a pacifier - not happy with anything but breast...just as nature intended...i can't blame her. but, another part of me is horrified at the thought of luna relying on only breast for food and comfort...especially as the time nears for me to resume seeing clients again. for now i'm not pushing it - hoping luna will be more accepting with age...i realize this is probably foolish, but....
as for the car seat: is there anything worse than hearing/watching your baby cry while on the road - knowing there is nothing you can do to calm her aside from pulling the car over and picking her up (we've done that)? and i'm not talking run of the mill fussiness - this is screaming, blood curdling, break your heart crying. she hates the car seat - thought she would get used to it...hasn't happened yet. maybe if we start using a car more for now, she's only been on a handful of car rides....

oh baby - if you could accept these 3 things into your life, life for mama and papa would be so much easier!

yes, it's sinking in...i am a mama.
so far, motherhood is a good fit.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the chaos and beauty of birth

the clues

the day it all began, things were pretty ordinary....or, at least what i had become accustomed to in the last weeks of pregnancy. braxton hicks contractions were frequent... i felt heavy..crampy.. my back legs hurt..... i was ready. it was one day past my due date (and one day before the due date my midwives had on record...long story there). i was waiting for my friend to come visit and give me an acupuncture induction - and wondering if that would move things along. about an hour later, i got a call from my friend - she had never been to our new house, and failed in her attempt to find it (portland neighborhoods can be tricky sometimes). she is a rad lady who doesn't rely on a cell phone - which is great...except in situations like these. she had to drive all the way home, and then call from there to tell me she couldn't find me - instead of her coming back that night, we decided to reschedule for the following afternoon.
when febri got home, i asked if he would apply pressure to the points on my back that erin would have needled. while he did that, i needled the points i could reach easily, and felt i had a pretty good treatment...all things considered. febri made dinner, and i caught up on email. it was during this time (around 7 pm) i realized my braxton hicks contractions were really frequent...coming anywhere from 5-8 minutes apart. i started recording them - more out of curiosity than anything else. febri made an amazing dinner, as usual, and i was bummed that i felt really full - and a little uncomfortable - and just couldn't eat more than a few bites. that was weird...
after dinner we decided to go for a walk to see if the contractions would pick up at was so cold outside!....we walked around the neighborhood, and things did get stronger..i even had to stop a couple times. still, i wasn't convinced things were happening...after coming home we layed in bed and put a movie on...i felt fine, and went to sleep around 11:30. at 1am a contraction woke me...a painful one....whoa. febri was enjoying his friday night with movie #2. i went to the bathroom, then got back into bed - wham! - another contraction - 5min from the first. i turned to febri and suggested he get some sleep - this could be the start of labor. he turned the computer off, and started to get comfortable. another contraction...again 5 min...ok, i told febri - you better get the birthpool ready, this is it!

the labor

contractions were coming every five minutes. between them, i was helping febri prepare for the birth....putting plastic over the bed, setting up the lights and music, lighting the labor candle that had been filled with blessings from those at our baby shower. it wasn't long though (about an hour) before i was unable to continue helping because the contractions were intense, and i needed to rest between them. they continued to come very 5 minutes, but were growing in strength...i found the best position to be in was on all fours - or supporting myself with the birth ball. febri rubbed my back during the rushes and i was surprised at how exhausted i was after each one.
around 3:30am we paged the midwife. she called back quickly, and i answered the phone. i told her what was happening, and i had to put the phone down through a contraction - she told us to call her back in about an hour to let her know how it was going. i continued to labor as febri continued filling the pool. i was feeling weak, so decided to have a spoonful of peanut butter and some orange juice. at some point through all of this, i went to the bathroom and noticed blood when wiping...i took this as proof that my cervix was dilating! after another 2 hours, we called linda (our midwife) again. she told us she was going to walk her dog and would be over shortly... febri got on the phone with her and this time told her what i had left out - that my contractions had actually started at 7pm the previous evening - (i had only deemed the *painful* contractions important information to relay) linda said she'd be right over.
i started to feel really nauseous after each contraction - febri brought me a bowl in case i needed to vomit, but i never had to use it. i was also getting really shaky...i took these signs to mean i was in transition... but it was all the same to me. contractions were still about 5 minutes apart, and continuing to grow in intensity. i was now moaning through each rush...and falling asleep between them. when linda arrived (around 6:30 or 7am), she checked my pulse and blood pressure, and the baby's heartbeat. she also gave me what would be my one and only internal exam my entire pregnancy and announced that i was 6cm dilated. woohoo...over half way! this is where things really begin to become a blur.
linda asked me for a urine test...i took the stick into the bathroom, but completely forgot to use it. what i did discover was a large bloody show and mucous plug...ok - here we go! i continued laboring on the floor in the living room. as i felt each contraction coming i called for febri for support. he was my rock through labor - i could not have done it without him....well, i would have done it - no choice, but febri was the only thing i was concerned about. i put all of my focus on him, and as labor proceeded i began to panic if he wasn't near when i felt the next contraction building. i was also keenly focused on the pain of each rush...i realize now that things may have been easier if my focus were less on the pain - but at the time, i was very much in it - consumed.. i experienced labor to its full extent. linda decided to leave febri and i alone, and went to the bedroom to rest a while. i felt the contractions becoming more difficult to get moans became louder...and i wanted to move to the pool. i was concerned my contractions, still at 5 min, might slow down if i got into the water, so i decided to hold out a little longer. as the contractions grew in intensity, i made it my goal to get through one at a time. when i thought i couldn't take the pain of another rush, i promised myself to make it through one more - then i would reward myself by moving to the birthing pool. i made this promise several times and continued to labor out of the water - every minute my mind building the birthing pool up as a warm water oasis that would diminish all pain...ahhh, what a reward for all of my hard work!
finally i decided it was time. i walked to the bedroom and asked linda if she thought it was too early for me to get in the water. she said to give it a go - if labor slowed, i could always get out. febri helped me into the pool - the water felt warm as i reclined and waited for the next contraction, which would be,undoubtedly, pain free. i was SO disappointed when the next contraction (and each thereafter) came with the same pain and intensity as those before. being in the water made NO! well, no matter, i had to continue laboring..and so, that's what i did. the water didn't slow the contractions ~ in fact, it seemed to speed them up a bit. i was progressing well when debbie, the assistant midwife arrived. debbie brought with her a breath of fresh air - and i felt a little bit rejuvenated ~ maybe it was the brief reconnection i had with the outside world.
the last two hours of labor i remember very little of... i know i was leaning over the side of the tub - still on all fours for each contraction - and drinking lots of water in between. the contractions got stronger and i could feel the heaviness of the baby descending........the midwives checked things out and decided it would be best for me to get out of the water so they could pull the anterior lip of my cervix over the baby's head to help things progress. i got out of the water and layed on the floor. linda proceeded to move the cervical lip - and POP! my water broke and gushed onto the floor. i then got back into the pool and awaited my next contraction. this, i think, is when things really started moving along. i felt a burning pressure - and though the intensity of each contraction came every couple minutes, the burning pressure was continuous. this part of labor was tough - but satisfying because i could feel the progress - the baby was coming! i pushed for a while (actually, all told, i pushed for just under an hour) and could feel the baby crowning. however, at the end of each contraction, i felt her head move back up the cervix. finally, linda and debbie suggested taking a new position by turning over on my back to labor. they were afraid the baby would go into distress if in the birth canal too long. i wasn't thrilled to take this new position, but i felt the midwives knew best - so over i went.

the birth

this new position didn't feel as uncomfortable as i had dreaded. once i was on my back, i heard febri yell out in surprise and excitement, and i looked down to see the crowning of my baby and her full head of hair. this moment caught my breath - it was awesome. debbie told me to reach down and feel my baby - i did.....amazing. but, i was still in a lot of pain - and i was ready to finish this! when linda suggested i feel my baby again, i promptly informed her i already had, and i was ready to push. i was instructed to push gently with the next contraction...i didn't know what that meant. when i felt the rush come on, i pushed - and pushed - until i felt her head come out. debbie told me to keep pushing - i asked if i could rest a minute (this was hard work!) - she said no, she's almost here - push! i pushed, and felt the great release and relief as my baby came out of my body and into the water. i pulled her to my chest and gazed at her as the world around me fell away completely. it was just me and my baby - and i was so proud, and so in love - immediately...what an incredible feeling! i couldn't believe how perfect she was - every last bit of her... perfect. gradually, the voices around me filtered through the haze, and i heard voices asking if it was a boy or girl. this hadn't even occurred to me, as we were expecting a boy. the low lights and murky water made it hard to see, so i reached down to feel, and thought..hmmm...., this doesn't feel like a boy. i said - i think it's a girl! someone got a flashlight and shined it on her - sure enough, a girl. i heard febri on the phone announcing luna's arrival to my parents - i could hear the joy in his voice...such a happy moment!

the afterbirth ----- story to come.....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

this little piggy

yet another night of being awakened by luna. not because she's crying, but because she's grunting... in her sleep. luna still sleeps next to me in bed. we're trying to establish a routine before moving her to her cradle... which, by the way is right next to the bed, therefore failing to mask the noises that come from that cute little baby. i don't mind them really... in fact, i think they're really sweet. my baby. and, i'd much rather wake to grunts and squeaks, and pull luna to my breast before she's worked up, than wake to her cries. this way, too, luna is in that slumber land... not fully awake, and able to fall right to sleep again after feeding. those noises though..... and why don't they wake febri? most of the time, i think she sounds like a little pig.. :) ... but sometimes, like a bird - or a squirrel. she also peeps and pops...but the grunts are what really get me - sometimes she grunts while she's stretching, and it's so cute! my baby. do all babies do this? maybe it runs in the family? my grandpa was a wilbur......

two days ago, luna was officially one month old. the day before that, she was lying on the floor looking around the room, and she smiled. i don't know what she smiled at - but she smiled. and this was a big deal, because up until this point, luna had only smiled in her sleep. i was so happy, and thought it wouldn't be long before she flashed that smile right at me.
yesterday - she did! it was early in the morning...luna was awake and full, and we were sitting in bed 'talking' to each other - and she smiled at me! my heart melted... then she smiled again - looking at me with those big brown eyes. how gratifying - that first smile! i called febri (who was getting ready for work) - he came to the room - guess what? he got a smile too! great way to start the day... thank you luna! today she's handing out more smiles, and each one goes straight to my heart. and i realize these moments are fleeting... she's already growing so fast, and yet she's still so new. so, i'm taking it all in...every minute of every day - and again, i feel so blessed.

also of big importance in our lives:
luna is establishing a nightly routine. for the last week or so now she wakes, like clockwork, at 1am, 3am, and 5am for feedings. this is great because now my body is used to it and able to handle the sleep breaks without trouble. we both fall right back to dreamland after luna eats and gets a fresh diaper. she has also shifted her lucid time during the daylight hours... preferring to stay awake after a morning nap until around 4pm. this is a long stretch for her... i've been trying to get her to take an afternoon nap, then stay awake later into the evening. last night = success!! she woke from an afternoon nap around 3:30 and was awake until 9:30pm. after a bath and a feeding, she slept until 2am. then until 4:30. then until 8am! woohoo! last night was wonderful. i know it's too early to get excited, but...
these last couple days have brought much in the way of optimism and magic (ahh those smiles!).

oh, the wonders of parenting....