Friday, March 30, 2012

Tallulah's birth, part II

I felt pretty dang good for most of the laboring, until things started to pick up a few hours later. I got checked sometime again... probably around 2 pm? I was then at an 8, and I felt a little discouraged. Cervical checks are great sometimes, but then they can be frustrating as well.

Atticus woke up from his nap and wanted to see the action. He wasn't impressed.

This is pretty much what I did through every contraction... leaned against the side of the tub and dropped my head down. It really helped me focus.
Around 2:30 pm (?), I started feeling a little nauseous and contractions started hurting a lot more. I was still getting breaks, but during them it was pretty intense and I couldn't concentrate on much else. Luckily, I had four marvelous women and a great husband surrounding me in the birthing tub, rubbing my back, squeezing my hips, and massaging my hands and head. I don't recall who was doing what at any given moment or how long they were around, but I do remember Charla's awesome back massages and Austin's reassuring words. Analiesa arrived sometime around this time, and I forgot to mention Melissa but she was there from the beginning! When Ani arrived, she immediately got down on my level and helped me keep my moaning low and deep, to help open my cervix and conserve my energy. Melissa helped in the tub for a while, then moved on and took amazing care of Atticus during the remainder of the birth. I remember her going over there and looking up and she was feeding him snacks and he started laughing at whatever show he was watching. It was a really tender moment and it helped me get through the next contraction knowing he was being well taken care of and he wasn't being traumatized by being there (something I only kind of was worried about).

Listening to "Birth Day Affirmations"

In addition to having my amazing female-powered doula-ing support group, Tim was (of course) a great birthing partner. He didn't hesitate to hop right in the tub when I asked him to. Being able to lean on him really steadied me as I moved into transition (or as Hypnobabies calls it.... transformation)

I felt really peaceful and calm during this time, though everything was getting super intense. I just remember diving into myself and letting each contraction roll over me like a wave. I had read something in "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" in the days before the birth that talked about a laboring woman going under the contractions, like how you go under a wave or it will push you over and you will flounder trying to get back up to the surface. That is how it felt, as long as I concentrated and dove deep, I was able to handle things without feeling overwhelmed.

Bathtime babies

We love bathtime around these parts. Atticus's new thing is laying on his back and plugging up his ears. Not sure why, but he seems to enjoy it. Tallulah finally took her first bath, at two weeks of age.


Life with two kids

The transition to two has been rather seamless. I highly recommend everyone with two children have a husband that only leaves for three hours a day. The one day he was gone from 9-5 I thought I would die a little inside by the end of the day. So, kudos to you full-time SAHMs, glad I'm not one of you. I'm going back to work next week already, I was getting antsy and they agreed to throw me on the schedule for April. We've already started pumping and feeding baby daughter a bottle every few days to prepare. Ok, I'm doing the pumping, Tim is doing the feeding, baby is doing the eating (and awesome at it, check out the fat rolls). I hated, hated, hated pumping with Theodore, but this time around I'm not minding it. I think being around pumps for the past year every day has me appreciating them a bit more. Breastfeeding at the breast is still way preferable, but at least I know now that I won't dread pumping as much as I thought I would. Plus, pumping in a clean room at WIC will be MUCH different than pumping in that nasty, nasty Provo Bakery bathroom (plus, working with all women who love breastfeeding almost as much as me versus telling my male co-workers I needed to go pump and watching them get a little awkward).

Theodore does this hilarious thing recently. He got into watching Blue's Clues on Netflix after baby sister was born, and now will sit in our read chair with a pen and notebook and "think." If we sing the thinking chair song, he puts his hands on his face like Steve. He does this almost daily.

Tim called this one: "[Theodore] Hanson"

We go outside for hours a day now that the weather has taken a turn for the best.

Multi-taking mother

First bath

First bottle, post first-bath

First family photo (thanks Charla!)

Ridiculous face, playing "Non-Violent, Politically Correct War" (from Katy and Becca).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The days before the Lu

I decided I didn't want baby's blog name to be Clementine, because I think that is our next daughter's name (don't tell Tim that, he's pretty sure we are done...)

So, to me, she is Lulu. And she will remain so on this blog for all intents and purposes.

I just didn't want our pre-new-baby life to be lost in the shuffle of all the baby-having posts. Mostly because we did a few fun things in the days leading up to her birth, and I want her to remember how cool her mom is, 38 weeks pregnant.

On Saturday, we went for a hike up Rock Canyon for a couple of hours, intending to get labor started. Well, we failed because contractions actually stopped, ironically enough. But it was an absolutely beautiful day and we had a glorious time. The funnest (and funniest) part was Theo's re-enactment of his Dora the Explorer book, with excerpts taken from various episodes as well. He occasionally would stop, point the ground and say "rocks, tree, mountain" as those were his three landmarks on his map. He also at one point shouted, "oh  no, a bear!" just like in his book. It was so, so hilarious.

Last pregnancy photo....

We also played at the parks in Rock Canyon, until Theodore couldn't keep himself up any longer:

Monday was boring, but Tuesday was filled with dentist appointments, vaccines, a midwife appointment ("any day now... really!") and then on to work and getting our car fixed (it needed a new oil pan). After work, we ate dinner with the Lees and then a sleepy guy and we went to the Democratic Caucus for part of Utah County. Our precinct had all of 5 people there, and picking the delegates and precinct chair was kind of like "do you want to do it? no... me neither... well someone has to do it".

Hello, 38-week 30-pound weight gain pregnant face!

Tallulah's birth, part I

The coming of Tallulah was much-anticipated, as I was practically in active labor for weeks. At my midwife appointment on March 6th, I was dilated to 4 cm and completely effaced, with baby sitting pretty low. The midwife said they expected to see me that weekend, and I was not instructed to not attend my brother-in-law's wedding up in Bountiful in case things progressed quickly. Well, we went anyways, and besides a few pre-birthing waves that didn't really hurt and lots of pressure, nothing happened. Saturday morning, we headed up to Rock Canyon to hike and see if that would help things along. I think it did the exact opposite... contractions all but ceased, but we enjoyed the day immensely, the weather was gorgeous, and Atticus had a great time. It was our last big outing as a family of 3. On Sunday, things seemed to be picking up and I was having a lot of back pain, so we headed to the hospital that evening after a stopover at Casey and Melissa's to drop off the guy. I was still only dilated to a 4, and things slowed down, so we went home to sleep it off.

Monday and Tuesday brought little change, lots of walking resulted in nothing major, and I went to work without incident. We went to the midwife on Tuesday and I was already dilated to a 5, and she said she thought baby would be coming soon. I was jaded by hearing that the past few weeks and decided to myself I was done getting checked every week and so I did not make another appointment. I slept great Tuesday night, fortunately, because I was awoken on Wednesday morning by a major OUCH contraction at about 8:30. I automatically knew this was it, as it felt much different from previous ones. I labored around the house for a while, ate breakfast, took a bath with Atticus, and almost sent Tim to class. Around 9:45, when he was planning on leaving, I called my friend Charla to come stay with me in case I needed anything. Well, five minutes later or so we were in the car heading to the hospital and they were coming every 3-4 minutes apart. The car ride was brutal, and I seriously thought I must already be in transition or something. However, we arrived at Labor and Delivery and I was still only at a 5 (I had told Tim that if I wasn't at least progressing/ "at least a 6", I wanted an epidural, but I didn't get one fortunately).

(photo credit: all photos taken by the very talented Charla Finnigan)

After 20 minutes on the birth ball getting a strip of the baby's heart rate (which was excellent), I was cleared to get into the tub and WHOA, what a feeling. Water is truly nature's epidural, it was amazing but it did slow down my contractions quite a bit. The midwife arrived (by this time, Charla and Austin were also there supporting me), and we talked about expectations and what we wanted the birth to be like, since I had never met with her this pregnancy. She was really open to everything, and she was so supportive of my wishes. I asked for chocolate pudding, she brought my Haagen-Daz chocolate ice cream. I told her my most important requirement was that I was not separated from the baby, and she was fully onboard with making sure we weren't, even if she was having trouble breathing at first, like the guy (she said: "they can't take her away if I don't cut the cord!"). Our nurse Ashlee was supportive too, though she often would walk by and say things like "don't let me see you eating..." and things like that. I had to be monitored for one contraction every hour, but other than that was left alone with my support team to do our thing. Jennifer (the midwife) hung out for a while, but I think could see that I had plenty of help with laboring and so left and came back periodically. She offered suggestions occasionally, like walking to pick things up, but I had no desire to rush and make it hurt more, so I stayed in the tub. I did get out to go to the bathroom a few times, as I was really afraid to poo in the tub, which is a really silly fear when you are in labor.

Ahhhhhhhh..... (still feeling pretty good)

Surrounded by love and peace and harmony
Things progressed swimmingly (no pun intended), and I had a good handle on contractions for the next few hours. I don't have an exact timeline, but sometime around 12:30, I was checked again and at 7 cm. After this time, I knew I was getting close to transition, but I still had nice, long breaks in between contractions where I could talk and joke and I couldn't feel anything. It was marvelous. We skyped with my mom and sister for a while, we meant to be doing that during the actual birth but things started happening quickly after this time.... 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Home again

We got home on Friday afternoon, and things are going really well since. The days are FLYING by. Why does that happen?! We are all in love with this darling girl, especially her big brother. He wants to hold her all the time, and when he goes to bed at night he just asks for the baby over and over again, and is sad he can't sleep with her. She is as easy-going as Theo was as a baby, though we are having some gas issues. She slept all night without nursing, but is so grunty in her sleep, I could barely sleep. She cluster feeds all day, only taking the occasional nap in the afternoon. She is super alert and pleasant the rest of the time, except when we change her or put her down.

She is an awesome nurser, I was a little worried because she has a really tight frenulum on her upper lip and was tucking it in a lot, but it's not hurting me at all. We're doing lots of laidback breastfeeding due to an extreme oversupply of milk. My milk came in after about 10 hours with a vengeance. Wow. Fortunately, I have a Medela Symphony breast pump from work that is doing wonders. And having a toddler who still nurses doesn't hurt either... Charla and Austin had the insight to bring me cabbage leaves, and so I'm using those after almost every nursing session to help bring down the inflammation and reduce the supply. So far, they aren't hurting as bad as with Theo even though they are like 4 times as huge. I'm glad I know so much about breastfeeding, it's making this time around so much smoother.

And I have to put in a plug for natural birth -- women, seriously, it's amazing how quickly you recover. I thought I had an easy recovery last time around. We're at day 4 now, I'm not taking pain medication, and I don't hurt at all. Even though I only pushed three times and she flew out of me, I did not tear one bit (thanks to a combination of good genetics, evening primrose oil applied daily during the last three weeks, laboring in water, and an upright pushing position). Not only did I not tear, I'm not swollen at all like I was the last time. It's pretty remarkable. My bleeding is super light, but that's mostly due to a pretty nasty postpartum hemorrhage that required pitocin and cytotec, causing my uterus to clamp down super fast. But lots of breastfeeding doesn't hurt with the uterus clamping downness either.

I just love the baby stage so much. I wish it could last forever. Sigh...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The New Baby

Here are photos and a picture of the new baby, hesitantly named Tallulah Fern Carroll-Browning. You can see all the stats in this picture. (All the picture qualities will be a little low, since we have a clunky old iPad 2, but we'll get high quality photos as soon as they are available).

The birth went really well, but I think I'll let Cait tell the whole birth story. Here's pictures from the birthing time. Our good friends Charla, Austin, Melissa and Analiesa came to help Cait in her moment of epic struggle.


Atticus was really good, even while feeling a little ill from a round of shots he had the day before in preparation for the baby coming over. He fell asleep for a while, but mainly he watched shows and ate snacks.


Like I said the birth went just as planned and resulted in a happy meeting between mom and baby.

Baby got checked and then there was some quality skin to skin time.

Atticus spent the night with some friends and Cait and I (mainly Cait) worked on getting a fairly fussy Tallulah through the night. She was fussy and it was probably just a little too much milk on her first day. We're using a pacifier now a little bit and that seems to be helping.

Today we've just spent a pleasant day with just the three of us as we still haven't picked up Atticus, but I will do that soon. So here are the last few pictures and a video.


What I like about this one (I'm not sure if it will come through clear) is her name, of course, but also the "universal precautions mandatory" sign, which probably has something to do with all the standard procedures we opted out of right after birth. It also says "cutie" on the little tag, which makes me wonder if there is a tag that says "not-so-cute" or "kind of ugly." Probably not.