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Our Birth Story

Update: edited for formatting and to add Baby2’s birth stats and some more details. Never too soon to chalk that up to mama brain, right?

First, thank you everyone for your comments on my last post! My heart swelled with your kind words and well wishes. Each one made our day that much more special. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts as we awaited the birth of our daughter!

And oh my, what a birth it was.

First, let’s go back to Tuesday’s midwife appointment (which I wrote about Tuesday night but had scheduled to post Wednesday morning, which just happened to be hours after our delivery!). She said that, based on Baby2’s positioning, my labor would likely start with my water breaking and then be intense and quick.

Oh my goodness she was so freaking right.

It started early on Wednesday, July 19th. I woke up to go to the bathroom a little after 4:30 AM, which is very normal for me lately. I went back to bed and tried to fall asleep, but I couldn’t (which had been normal for the last couple weeks).

Suddenly I heard The Pop. The Pop I had read about in other birth stories. The Pop of my water breaking. I thought, nah, that probably wasn’t it, but seconds later I felt a trickle of warm fluid. I ran to the bathroom to avoid soiling the sheets (and I totally made it down the hall and to the toilet without leaking! Score!). After I drained for a bit, I went back to bed to rest before things got going.

Mr. Handsome had just woken up a few minutes ago, but I didn’t tell him my water had broken until I had the first contraction. I quickly had three contractions in less than 10 minutes. Mr. Handsome could hear me breathing through them and asked if it was time to go. The clock said 5 AM and I realized things were happening fast. Time to pack up Kiddo1 and get going.

I got dressed and went to the bathroom a couple more times. The contractions were already super intense and I had to vocalize through them. I knew I needed some food in me, so I went to scramble some eggs (it seemed totally sane at the time!). Kiddo1 got ready with a quickness (luckily his bag was already packed and in the car!). He found me in the kitchen hunched over the counter, trying so hard not to scare him with my moaning, but probably failing.

I finished making my eggs and had to ask Mr. Handsome for a to-go container. I was already so out-of-it I couldn’t find the containers that I had reached for every morning to pack up my eggs for work. Yikes. I remember the next contraction dropped me to the floor and I pounded my fist and yelled out. Yelled. Loud. I felt the sensation of pushing. And I didn’t fight it, I pushed with each contraction from then on out.

Mr. Handsome moved with lighting speed after that! We piled in the car and took off for Kiddo1’s friend’s family’s house who, luckily, had answered the phone and agreed to take our child and lives about a minute down the street from us. We are forever in their debt for responding so quickly and keeping our son safe and occupied!

We dropped him off fast and headed toward the hospital. It was about 5:45. Mr. Handsome was so amazing. As I was somehow knelt on all fours in the third-row seat of our van (one leg on the bench seat, one leg on the floor, head toward the window grasping the seat belt and pulling on it with each contraction) he was driving us the six miles to the hospital. He asked if I wanted to stop at the hospital-affiliated clinic that is on the way. I told him to just keep going to the hospital (the clinic was probably closed anyway). The contractions still made me push, but they had slowed down. Because of that, I knew this was happening. Now.

We arrived at the hospital just before 6 – Mr. Handsome got us there in 10 flat minutes which was amazing! He later told me he ran three red lights to do it, but I was so grateful that he did! As we pulled up a contraction was starting. I finished it and we walked in together from the loading zone, where he left the car. I had a contraction in the lobby that I was able to stand through, as he explained to the front desk that I was indeed in labor and needed to get to labor & delivery, stat. They brought a wheelchair but there was no way I was sitting down! So they ushered us toward the elevator.

When we got to the L&D floor, I dropped to all fours again with another intense contraction while Mr. Handsome ran to find a nurse. I finished my contraction, got up and started wandering down the hall. I heard my name called behind me and saw Mr. Handsome and a nurse approaching with another wheelchair, which I refused again. The delivery room was right around the corner.

When we got in the delivery room I dropped my bag and literally crawled on to the bed. The nurse asked if she could check my cervix, but I told her she probably didn’t need to. I could feel the head crowning.

She and the staff had no idea what was coming.

I/she pulled off my underwear; my skirt and shirt were still on. My face was buried in the pillow and my butt was up in the air for all to see. Another contraction, another push. The nurse suddenly knew what was happening.

A fury of people entered the room. I heard a doctor introduce himself, who I believe I gave the thumbs up to. The midwife on call was rushing from another delivery. Another contraction, another push. More fury in the room. I heard Mr. Handsome say that we were interested in the waterbirth option (how freaking sweet is he?!) and a nurse (and I?) respond that there wasn’t time for that now!

Another contraction, and I knew this was it. I pushed hard and felt the ring of fire, so I backed off. How I was able to back off I don’t know, but I really didn’t want to tear!

Another contraction, and I pushed. I heard people tell me to push, but I didn’t need any direction. I felt her head emerge, I pushed again, I felt her shoulders. She was born at 6:13 am, less than 20 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. The midwife arrived 10 minutes later, so apologetic, but honestly, all I needed was someone to catch and I didn’t care who that was!

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I couldn’t see her! I wanted to see but I couldn’t figure out how to flip over from my all-fours position. A nurse said something about skin-to-skin and I quickly ripped off all my clothes (that stretchy Old Navy skirt came in handy! It went right over my head). Mr. Handsome and a nurse helped me turn over and my daughter was placed on my chest. I looked at her, she was amazing. Mr. Handsome and I both said that she looks exactly like her brother did when he was born. The spitting image – it’s completely amazing! I looked at the clock and realized all that happened in about an hour and a half and my mouth fell open. Oh my goodness, what just happened?!

The cord blood donation process happened quickly. The nurses were so amazing. The placenta came out quickly and a nurse asked if we wanted a placenta tour. I declined but Mr. Handsome was all over it! He finds this birth thing just fascinating.

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The next two hours in the delivery room were a blur. Our daughter was here and she looked amazing. She came out perfectly pink, she was alert, she was completely healthy. She started to nurse about an hour after she was born and she ate for a solid hour. When she was done the nurses took her stats and APGARs (6 pounds, 8.8 ounces, 19 inches and perfect scores) then we were packed up to recovery and met more incredible nurses.

In the end, my GBS positive status didn’t matter at all. Of course I didn’t get a drop of antibiotics, but Baby2 didn’t show any signs of infection whatsoever. She did so great on all her tests that we were released a mere 30 hours after we had arrived (GBS positive births require a stay of 48 hours).

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We’ve been home for 27 hours now and life could not be any more perfect. Mr. Handsome is my knight in shining armor, Kiddo1 is so excited and helpful, Max is slowly taking in her smell and getting used to having a new little one to watch. Our family feels so perfect. We’re all so very happy!

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One Nursery Project Down!

I’ve started to get a little antsy about starting to prepare the nursery for Baby2. I know we have another four months to go so I’m trying to curb my enthusiasm a bit, but I can get some preliminary sorts of things started right? I know I could just do it all now, there’s no harm, but I feel like I would be getting ahead of myself. Might as well stretch out the fun you know?

This past weekend I tackled a project that I’ve been wanting to do for YEARS. I have a whole bunch of art poster prints that I’ve been wanting to frame for so long. Mr. Handsome and my bedroom walls are covered in college-esque posters (still in their plastic wrap for ultimate preservation) of Picasso, Kandinsky and Munch. One of my favorites is Le Repos by Picasso. It hung over Baby1’s crib oh so many years ago. I wanted to use it for Baby2, too, but now that we’re a little older and wiser I thought I could make it look better.

I took the print to the local framer and they wanted to charge me almost $300 to frame it! Sure it’s fairly large at 24×36, but still. I eventually got them down to $150 for basically a “do-it-yourself” option where they cut the mats for you and dry mount your art and you put it together. A good savings but still out of budget.

My education is in Architecture so I spent four years of my life cutting mat board to build models. I figured, I got this. So I went to the art supply store and bought two mat boards and a mat cutter for $40. I also got a frame from that same shop for $20, and it’s a nice sturdy wood frame with glass so the price was really fantastic. I don’t think I should really count the mat cutter in the total price because I will use it again for other projects, but if I do count it the total investment tops out at $60 which is less than half of the frame shop’s even cheapest price.

After I bought the mat board I went back and forth with the color. Kiddo1 and I sat down and went over the colors we thought that would be best. He was really interested in helping with this project which was awesome! He had some good input too. Ultimately he decided that the mat color I had chosen was the best, so I felt better about that!

We also thought that the colors in the painting would be good for the whole nursery. Here’s what the finished product looked like (which I need to get hung ASAP):

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There’s so much glare from the glass… But I think this is pretty good for my first dabble in framing!

So the nursery colors will be a deep red, mustardy yellow, a deep turquoise and perhaps a splash of purple or maybe even hot pink (“because she is a girl,” says Kiddo1).

My next project is to start on the giant mobile piece. I have fallen in love with these – they’re so much more of a statement and focal point than your standard mobile. And I feel like baby can see the bright colors and big shapes better anyway. Here’s some of my inspiration from Pinterest:

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I like how the pink one mixes the paper lanterns and “poofs,” the latter of which there is a tutorial for here. I’m currently looking for the best place to buy some cheap paper lanterns (from the above pictures I’m thinking I’ll need about a dozen). I found this site and am searching for more.  Martha Stewart makes the accordion-style ones but I’m not sure if the blue set really fits the color scheme perfectly.

In the meantime, I have to find the perfect fabric to tie all these colors together. I’m swooning over the prints at Modified Tot on Etsy. Crib skirts (which is what I intend to make) are available but they are so expensive! So I will sharpen my DIY skills once again – too bad I sold my sewing machine four years ago when we moved.

And back to framing, hopefully I’ll get to one or two more posters before Baby2 arrives. I’ve got Von Gogh’s Starry Night and Kandinsky’s Composition No. 6 for candidates!

Kiddo1’s Birthday Party

This past weekend we had a birthday outing for Kiddo1’s ninth birthday. Usually we do a big party with all the kids in the class. Birthdays are a big deal to us! Up until last year we had everyone at our house and partied in the basement (concrete floors are easier to clean the cake off than carpet!). Then last year we finally broke down and invited everyone out to one of those inflatable bouncing centers. At eight, he was a getting a little old for that I guess, but his friends were all so high-energy that we needed a place where they could really go crazy.

While Kiddo1’s friends are high-energy, he really is not. He’ll run and play with them all day long if they’re doing it, but he’s not one to instigate. He’s been asking us to have a movie party for a few years now but we knew his friends couldn’t handle it.

Well now that his friends are a little older and are able to control themselves a little better (as long as you pick the right ones, that is!), we decided we’d give a movie party a go. Also, since we got the new car, we could take five extra kids with us and actually get them all to the theater.

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So we did it! We took six third graders to the movies, followed by pizza in the mall food court and ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s (we had a Groupon!). Kiddo1 had a great time and finally got the movie party he’d always wanted.

When compared to the $250+ that a “play place” party costs, this movie option was cheaper, even to see a 3D film (Journey 2 The Mysterious Island). We went to the first showing of the day so tickets were only $9.75 each (only is a relative term I guess). Then a pizza at Sbarro was less than $20 (including a salad for Mr. Handsome and me). The ice cream was only $15 for all including the price of the Groupon. All total it was about $115. If you count the ice cream cake we got on his actual birthday we still spent less than half of what last year cost us. Even hosting the party at home isn’t as cheap when you consider all the decorations, food, cake, beer (well the parents hang out and, you know, it might as well be a party for them too).

Plus, this option was super easy for us. No need to clean the house (twice), no cake to bake, games to plan, decorations to hang, etc. No waiting on anyone to arrive or leave because we picked up and dropped off everyone ourselves (which was great because we got a few minutes to touch-base with all the parents too). No stress! Yay!

Happy birthday Kiddo1! We’re glad you had fun with your friends!

I caved

There’s something that Mr. Handsome has wanted to do for a long time. He’s dreamed about it, talked about it, begged me for it. He tells me he’s wanted this since he was a teenager, even though I’ve always thought it to be much more of an adult desire. And this week, I finally caved to his wishes: we bought a minivan.

How could I let this happen? I’m not a soccer mom – I’m way too cool to be that right? (Probably not, I’m not that cool. And my son does play soccer.) I always figured I’d get a small SUV, maybe even a station wagon, but for the love of all that is good and holy, not a minivan!

Well, I’ll tell you how I let this happen: bad timing (although, from Mr. Handsome’s perspective you could call it great timing) and healthy compromise.

Before I get to those two events, though, I must confess that I’ve been caving to the minivan idea for awhile, probably since we started planning for Baby2. I know that with our 50+ pound dog, going anywhere with him, Mr. Handsome and two kids probably wouldn’t happen in our Accord. Camping would not happen (shoot we can barely fit everything in there now, and we don’t even take that much gear. The poor dog has to sit on a pile of sleeping bags for the whole trip out), the beach trips would be difficult, even trips to the big ol’ dog run out East would be most uncomfortable. Plus when out-of-towners (like our parents) visit we’d have to take two cars everywhere (not so easy in our metro area – the streets are narrow and parking is a pain and a half).

On to the “how I let this happen” reasons. The bad timing: our car needed work. Again. It seems like every oil change something new (old) would need to be replaced. For a Honda, we’ve done everything to this car: rebuilt the transmission, replaced the tires, brakes, CV boots, spark plugs, timing belt, etc. But the Photobucketcar did make it to 130k miles (easily has another 50, maybe 100k in her) and it never did leave us stranded by the side of the road, so I guess I really can’t complain much.

Our Accord was a great car, really. It got pretty good gas mileage and I could always fit it into the tiny parking spaces at work and the community center; granted some spots were made even smaller by inconsiderate people who don’t seem to know how to park (see the image at left – ours is the grey car). So far I’ve had to find the biggest spots in the lot when parking at work. It’s good preparation for the months to come though, as there’s no way I’ll be able to squeeze out of the car or hop over to the passenger’s side when I’ve got a big ol’ belly full of baby.

Then, the compromise. I would completely give in to the idea and get the minivan that very weekend if I had some creature comforts: I want no fewer amenities than what we had before (which wasn’t much but the “new standards” like power windows, power door locks, the remote thingy, etc), plus leather seats and butt warmers. Mama needs a warm bottom on her way to work. And I would do no worse than to go with the Mercedes of minivans (well, other than a Mercedes, of course): the Odyssey. I truly believe it is the only “cool” minivan on the street. Yes, I know minivan’s aren’t cool that’s why I put that word in quotes there.

PhotobucketNow we have a shinny “new to us” Odyssey sitting out front. Sure it’s six years old and has a few more miles than we wanted, but we’re paying less than we did for the Accord and we’re getting a lot more space and warm-buttness for the money. It handles like a dream, it gets pretty good gas mileage (really comparable to our Accord, surprisingly enough), its six cylinders have great pick-up (and this cool “eco” feature that only uses three cylinders when appropriate), there’s a ton of room (we can now take five kids on Kiddo1’s movie birthday party adventure instead of just two) and my butt is all toasty warm and happy during my commute.

Mr. Handsome is sat-is-fied.