Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Planting Time

It's that time of year again.  In fact, I'm probably a little late--as usual.  It's time to get our garden started indoors so that we can put plants out this spring.

I really like to garden.  Notice I didn't say, "I'm really good at gardening." The last two consecutive years I have not eaten a single tomato out of my own garden... it's a bit pathetic, I know.  I can grow cucumbers, and other things that don't require a green thumb (or time and attention, which I sorely lack for my garden).  And then, there's the small issue of my garden helper, who loves to pick tiny green tomatoes... Do you think that's affecting my success?

My parents are really successful gardeners, and I keep thinking that I must have inherited--or at least absorbed--some of their talent.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps I should've paid more attention growing up to what I thought was a totally antiquated practice.  Anyway, now it's my turn to teach my children.

Ellis was most helpful planting the seeds.
Taking a little snack break from planting.

 I'd really like to pick a nice, red, juicy tomato from my garden someday, but regardless of the outcome I enjoy gardening with my family.  I like teaching Ellis about how seeds grow and where our food comes from.  I want the boys to be able to grow their own food someday, if they're so inclined.  So for the third year, I'm starting our garden from seed in February.  Cross your fingers that our garden can withstand my neglect and Ellis' overzealous picking tendencies!

All right, now grow!

And you, too, mister!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The boys had their first bath together last night--the first of many to come!

Oliver has just recently started enjoying bath time. Whereas he seemed to tolerate it before, now he laughs and splashes around.

I had just given Oliver a bath Sunday, but last night when I put Ellis in the tub, he practically threw himself out of my arms and into the tub! The message was loud and clear--he wanted in too!

Monday, February 27, 2012


With increased mobility...

...comes bumps and bruises.

Sorry, buddy. I wish I could protect you from everything.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


We had some time to kill between church and lunch, so we visited the airport. We visited our plane, then happened to see Eric's Uncle Darrell, so we visited his plane too. Ellis was positively giddy.

I figure I have about 20 years or so to get used to the idea of my baby flying an airplane, because right now it seems inevitable...

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Perspective

Oliver is seeing the world from a whole new perspective these days!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What a Mess!

We had quite a morning, from a mess standpoint. If you know Ellis, you know that's saying a lot! I'll just say that there's still a dirty diaper MIA in the house. Oh, and the aftermath of a baby powder bomb in the bathroom that I haven't brought myself to face yet.

But it's Thursday, which is playgroup day. I left my house in a worse-than-normal state of disarray and we went to playgroup. We had fun, saw friends, got some sunshine, and--most importantly--took our mess-making elsewhere!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ellis Got a New Haircut

Yep, that's hair. Ellis' hair, to be specific. Ellis' hair that he cut himself, before he proudly announced, "I cut my ha-air!"

This seems to be a milestone for almost all children--they either cut their own hair or someone else's. He wasn't hurt, the chunk of missing hair is inconspicuous...I'm just going to be grateful and hide the scissors better.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


We're always excited for a visit from Yia Yia and Papou, and sad when the weekend ends.

Ellis eats up the one-on-one attention he gets, their extra hands are always helpful, and Eric and I even got to go on a date (you know, the really romantic kind that involves taking a baby who won't be left behind?). I even read a book over the weekend.

Here are a few photos from our weekend:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Back to Cute Kid Pictures

[We now return to your regularly-scheduled programming.]

What a funny winter this has been. One day we're playing in the snow... and just a few days later we're outside without jackets.

We're not complaining, though, because we love to get outside and play!

Reflection on Oliver's Birth Story

As an editing note: I'm sorry if you read Oliver's birth story immediately after it was published and had to put up with funky spacing issues within the text.  It looked fine when I previewed the post, but had all kinds of issues when I published it.  It should be more readable now.

I want to take a moment to reflect on Oliver's birth story.  When I starting writing it 7 months ago, I didn't have any intention of sharing it this publicly; I wrote it for myself and Oliver.  I wanted to remember the little details, like which episode of "Friends" was on, what was said, and what was going through my mind in the process.  So if you're reading it and thinking, "Too much information...," keep in mind that it wasn't originally intended for public consumption.  I decided to share it on the blog after I had several people ask me about our experience of birthing at home.  I have made a conscious decision to keep the blog brief so that I can keep up with it, but it seemed like this was a worthy exception to the rule.  This is a bit more private than I will generally be on the blog, but with an average of 15 page views a day, I thought it would be okay (after all, ten of those page views could be my mom for all I know).

I think when one is writing a birth story with an audience in mind, it is tempting to share an abridged version, or a sugar-coated version.  For me, this was especially the case given the fact that it was a natural birth and a home birth.  We received a great deal of criticism for our decision (or more commonly, a lot of blank stares and cricket-chirping silence, which feels as critical as explicit criticism sometimes), so there is a temptation to make it seem as magical and ideal as possible.  Don't get me wrong--it was magical, as I think all births are, but it was also a lot of hard work.  I think it's important to show that a birth can look different from what is depicted on "A Baby Story" and still be very safe and normal.  That's the whole point--birth is very safe and normal, as a rule.

If it had not been for the 59-minute "detour" at the end, I think I would've relayed a much more warm-and-fuzzy birth experience.  In the tub, pushing the first time, I remember thinking, "That wasn't too bad!"  I even said at one point, "After this is over, I'll even say it wasn't too bad."  Famous last words.  Unfortunately, Fran was right--I hadn't worked very hard at all yet.  I would've been okay with an "easy" birth, but that wasn't in the cards.  It's hard work having a baby, no matter how relatively "easy" it is!

When I talk about suffering during Oliver's birth, I'm strictly talking about psychologically suffering.  It is physically demanding work to have a baby, but I have not experienced anything in a birth that I would deem physical suffering.  Rather, I entered into a frame of mind that was very negative, self-defeating, and self-pitying, which made it seem impossible to cope with the physical demands of the labor.  Nothing about the intensity contractions changed; the way I dealt with them changed entirely, though.  Ina May Gaskin says that you can't access the feel-good hormone oxytocin when you're whining and crying, and I can vouch for that.  Fran and Nadah said after the birth that I recovered remarkably quickly from the setback, but it certainly didn't feel like that (especially considering that the hour felt like 3 to me!).

My in-the-moment account of the birth does not do justice to Fran's clinical skills during the birth.  I enjoyed her care every moment of my pregnancy, and I cherish her skills even more since having her attend my birth.  She has a tremendous amount of experience that she draws from, has an excellent knowledge base, and trusts her intuition.  Most importantly, she passionately believes in the ability of a woman and a baby to work together to achieve a healthy outcome.  When I look at midwives like Fran and more famously, Ina May Gaskin, I can't help but come to that conclusion as well.  The proof is in the pudding: in a country where intervention rates are sky-high and we have one of the worst infant and maternal mortality rates of any industrialized nation (Ina May would point out that this is NOT because of the half a percent of women who give birth at home), these practitioners see 2% of women giving birth via c-section.  (An appendix in Ina May's book Birth Matters contains her statistics from all the births she's attended over the last 40 years.  It's really remarkable.)  The flip side of that is that over the last 30-40 years, they have seen thousands upon thousands of normal, healthy births.  They have seen many variations to "normal" labor and births and know when events are outside of that realm.  I can't imagine having a doctor I trusted any more than I trusted Fran.

As far as my annoyance with Fran during the labor, I see that as a non-issue in terms of her competence as my midwife.  I would chose her again for this birth a hundred times over, and if we have another baby, I would not have any hesitation about hiring her again.  It is important for a practitioner and the mother to connect on a personal level, I think, and we did.  I immensely enjoyed and treasured her care during my pregnancy, and in hindsight, I am very grateful for her care during my labor.  I think that I was probably going to be annoyed at someone during labor, and she was the lucky recipient.  Particularly at the point when she delivered the news that Oliver had backed up, it was inevitable that I was going to be disappointed.

For me, that disappointment looked like a super-pissed mama.  She said later that she quickly debated in her head if there was any way to not tell me what was going on, or to lie about it, and she decided that there was no way around the truth.  I'm glad that she was so straightforward with me, even though I was mad at the time.  One of the things she and I talked about as we prepared for the birth is that I did not want her to act paternalistic if she had information that I needed to know.  That is, I didn't want her to withhold information because she wanted to spare me discomfort.

In the end, I'm so thankful for her care.  No relationship is going to be perfect, and for me, I'd rather have someone with top-notch clinical and patient-care skills who might be annoying to me during labor than make a trade-off in favor of a more pleasant personality match.  If we had clashed throughout my pregnancy, during labor, and postpartum, it would be a different story.  But that wasn't the case and I'm happy with my choice.

I'm also happy with my choice to birth naturally.  One of the big mysteries for many people in our culture is why anyone would choose to "go through" a natural labor and birth if there is a way to opt out and have a healthy baby in the end.  For me, it has been a journey to trust my body and believe in its strength.  It's been healing and redeeming.  It's been empowering; I have come away from both my son's births feeling like, "If I can do that, I can do anything."  There have been many times in the last three years that I've had to access that power, too.  I think I will call upon that strength until the day I die.

Also, the more I educate myself and hear the stories of other women and babies, the more I am convinced that our decision was the safest for us.

Of course, I'm very fortunate that my health allowed for me to be a good candidate for a natural birth at home.  There are many women whose health or circumstances are not favorable for this kind of birth, and the births of their babies are equally magical, as is the fact that they created a human being in their body.  So even though I am proud of my accomplishment, I don't say that as a way to say that I'm superior to any other mother.

I could go on forever about pregnancy, birth, home birth, maternity care, babies...but I won't (you're welcome). I hope that this has shed a little light on some of the things that may have been unclear from the birth story itself. I'm pretty much an open book when it comes to these topics, and I welcome any questions or discussion. Thank you for reading, and for all the wonderful support I've received just since publishing the story last night.

I'll leave you with a few more photos from Oliver's birth day. (I can't change the order from my phone, so they're in reverse chronological order until I can get back to my computer.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Oliver's Birth Story

Seven months later, I have finished writing out Oliver's birth story (sorry, second baby--that's how it goes).  I had it mostly done immediately after he was born, and have just now come back to it to finish it.  Several people have asked to hear the story, and I wanted to get it in writing before the details became too fuzzy.  If birth stories aren't your thing, skip this one and come back again another time.  
I hope to write a reflective post about the birth, and like, sooner than 7 months from now.  For now, these will be the only exceptions to my short-and-sweet blog format.  Without further ado, here's the story of Oliver's entrance into the world:

I was due with my second child on July 8, 2011.  On the morning of July 4, I had an hour of increasingly stronger Braxton-Hicks contractions from 4 to 5 A.M. At the end of the hour, they were one on top of the other (but still mild).  If there was a break between contractions, I could feel the baby squirming and moving down.  The contractions stopped abruptly after the hour, but when I got up, I found that the baby had moved down significantly, which I had been measuring over the last several days by the space between my sternum and his bottom. By that morning, I had more than my hand’s span between my sternum and his bottom, which was right in the center of my abdomen (he was OA).

The contractions fizzled out, but it was enough of a wake-up call that Eric and I spent the better part of July 4th cleaning the house and finishing up laundry; I had him hang a shelf and some photos in the nursery.  I had been mentally preparing myself to have a postdate baby like Ellis, but it looked like I needed to get things in order.

On the morning of July 5, I had a chiropractic appointment at 10:15 A.M. Ellis had been out of sorts that whole morning—the kind of behavior that usually precedes an illness or finding that he’s gotten a bunch of teeth in at once.  After he flopped on the floor outside her office, Dr. A. invited us in and asked how I was doing.  I promptly burst into tears and said that I was just done being pregnant.  I understood the reason for Ellis’ behavior, but was just having a lot of difficulty managing him when I could barely bend over or carry him for any distance.  Dr. A. adjusted me and said everything looked good and that she thought I had “days, if that.”

I had been having mild contractions all morning, but nothing to get excited about, so Ellis and I went on with our morning.  I needed to get a few last-minute things from Whole Foods, so we went to the store and had lunch there. 

Ellis and I got home and he watched his usual after-lunch Caillou at noon.  I sat on the exercise ball and got increasingly interested in the contractions I was having.  I got on Facebook and vented to my AP [mothers'] group that I was done being pregnant after this morning.  I wrote to tell my cousin and cousin-in-law happy birthday, as their birthdays were later in the week and I suspected that I might be busy with a new baby by then. 

At 1 P.M., I began to try to put Ellis down for a nap.  He started out in our bed, and then asked to move to the bedroom down the hall.  I was somewhat frustrated, because he normally falls asleep very quickly at nap time, but I also wanted to treasure the last moments that were just he and I, like we have been for almost 2½ years.  I tried to just be present in that time and be as loving as I could be, considering my contractions were becoming even stronger.  At 2 P.M., he fell asleep and I got up from the bed.  I am so thankful for that precious time together.

A little after 2, Eric texted me and said, “I bet you’re fuming over the Casey Anthony verdict”. I texted back, "Actually, I'm not because I think I'm in labor," and asked him to remain on-call because I was having some interesting contractions. About 2:15, I called him and asked him to come work from home, “just in case”. 

At 2:30 I called Fran and Nadah to give them a heads-up that I thought I might be in early labor, but I didn’t want to call it “labor” yet.  I was having contractions that were 2-3 minutes apart, but only lasting about 45 seconds.  Fran said, “Good luck with that—that’s what I say.”  So I continued to just casually monitor them while I tried to do other things. I put a load of laundry in the dryer, I moved Ellis’ diaper pail out of the bathroom I intended to use for the birth, got my beads and affirmations from downstairs.  I found that I had to stop and really focus on the contractions before long, and would lean over the bed or the bathroom vanity, or sit on the birth ball. 

When Eric got home a little before 3, I cried and said, “I’m so glad to see you.”  I was getting a little nervous about how quickly things had been progressing (my reference point was my 33-hour labor with Ellis), and didn’t want to be home alone anymore.  Ellis woke up shortly after that, and so I was glad Eric was there.  Ellis came in and saw me while I was on the ball, but by that point I just hugged him and asked Eric to play with him somewhere else.  By 3:30, I called Fran and said, “I’m ready to call this labor,” but she said that based on the contractions I was having, she wouldn’t typically head out just yet.  That was fine, as I knew they were still fairly mild contractions and that we still had time.  But after I hung up with her, the contractions got more intense, and I asked Eric about 3:45 to call Nadah and have her come over.  At 4, I called Fran and asked her to come, saying, “I’m sorry if that means you’ll be here for a long time, but I’m just nervous about how quickly things are picking up.”  She said that she wasn’t sorry, and that she’d leave then.

While I waited for help to arrive, I continued to sit on the exercise ball through contractions.  I tried to lie down in bed and watch “Friends” (the episode where Monica and Chandler were waxing their legs?) for a while, but after two contractions I shot out of bed and said, “No more of that!”  It was too uncomfortable to lie down.  I got a little nervous at one point about how strong the contractions were getting, and so I reminded myself that it was all as it should be.  I started quietly singing the hymn, “On Holy Ground,” which says, “We are standing on holy ground / And I know that there are angels all around / Let us praise Jesus now / We are standing in his presence on holy ground.”  I had not planned to sing that song—it just came to me spontaneously as I thought about the sacredness of the space I was in.  I tried to look at the contractions as “holy ground.”

In the 5 o’clock hour, Eric’s mom, Sandy, arrived to help out with Ellis.  Around the same time, Nadah got here, followed shortly by Fran.  Each time someone came in the room, I would cry and say,“I’m so glad you’re here.”  I was so relieved to have their support. While I worked through contractions, Fran and Nadah quickly got out the supplies I had gathered for the birth (towels, sheets, waterproof tablecloths for the floors, Chux pads for the bed, etc.).  Eric texted my AP [mothers'] group, who had planned to light candles while I was in labor.  A few of them texted back with supportive messages, which Eric read to me.

Things went pretty quickly once everyone was here, and soon I moved into the bathroom attached to our bedroom.  I spent quite a bit of time leaning against the vanity counter.  It’s a good height to lean against in labor; at my height I can just bend over a little at the hip and lean onto my arms on the counter. Then someone could stand behind me and either squeeze my hips together or rub my back during contractions. I alternated between standing at the counter and sitting back on the exercise ball.  During this time, I did a couple different things for comfort.  I had a bowl of beads that were given to me by friends at my blessingway, which I had originally intended to put on a string to wear during labor.  Prior to labor I had decided that I probably wouldn’t want to wear any jewelry and opted to put them in a bowl with some affirmations instead. So I would touch the beads and think about each friend who had given me each bead.   I was particularly drawn to one that was shaped like an “O,” or, in hindsight, like an opening cervix.  As for the affirmations, I don’t think I even looked at them while actually in labor (one proved to be quite applicable in the first couple months postpartum, though). 

The other thing I did at that time to try to relax was talk to myself.  In between contractions, I would look into my eyes in the mirror and say things like, “I’m okay.” This proved to be a source of frustration during my labor, because those who were with me thought I was trying to communicate something to them, and would ask me to repeat what I had said. I was quite annoyed by this and would say, “I’m just talking to myself.”  Fran would then explain,“I thought you were trying to tell me you needed something and I couldn’t hear you.”  I wanted things as quiet as possible, and I remember being very annoyed at her explanation, thinking, “I know what you thought.  Now be quiet.”  Eventually, Nadah said,“If you’re talking to one of us, just be sure to speak loudly.”  I was glad she said that.  I wasn’t really in a problem-solving mode, so I appreciated her pointing out what was an otherwise-obvious solution.  (She said later that Fran and I had an “interesting” energy going between us.  I love Fran dearly, but I was quite annoyed with her at various times during labor.)

When contractions got more intense, I got anxious about how much more intense things would get. Fran suggested that I “breathe down into the contraction,” or something like that, but in that moment I didn’t know what she meant.  Ultimately, I ended up making these deep, guttural sounds through each contraction.  When Eric was in the room, he would make a low sound, and I would try to match it.  At times, it was quite humorous.  I think I said at one point that I sounded like a cow.  Regardless, it really helped move the baby down.

I got into the tub (I may have been in one other time by this point, but I can’t remember), which was so relaxing, yet scary.  I remember this from Ellis’ labor—I have to be mentally ready to get in the water because, while it’s very soothing, the relaxation brings stronger contractions.  I was in the tub long enough that Eric and Nadah had to warm up the water at least once.  I think I spent most of the time on my hands and knees in the tub; I had put a bath pillow in the back of the tub, so I leaned my head against that.  The only photo we have of my labor, though, is of me sitting up in the tub and Nadah outside the tub behind me.  When I felt acontraction coming I would say, “Squeeze, please” (meaning I wanted someone to squeeze my hips together), or I would ask for someone to push his or her fists into myback. 

I felt the urge to push in the tub, and Fran checked me.  (This was the first cervical check she ever did on me, which is one of the things I really loved about her care.   Incidentally, I was never weighed in front of anyone during my pregnancy, either.  The benefits of midwifery care…) I was complete (maybe with a “lip?”) and started pushing with the contractions.  After a couple pushes, Fran told me to stop. She checked me again and said something to the effect that the baby had gone back up and I needed to stop pushing. (Later she said that she knew this because 1) The sounds I made while I was pushing had changed, and 2) She could see my uterus changing shape, and it was not consistent with the shape of someone who is actively pushing.  How’s that for clinical skills?)  

I was devastated. I said, “but I’ve done all this hard work!” to which Fran said,“Really?  I don’t think you've worked hard at all yet.”  I was so furious.  How dare she say that?  She and Nadah kept trying to explain what was going on, but all I could hear is that I had gone backward in my progress.  Later they pointed out that their language was very baby-focused (“the baby needed to back up and try a different approach”), but all I could hear is that I was failing.  (Note: Fran later told me that she looked at the clock when she checked me and told me to stop pushing and it was 8:55 P.M. exactly.)

At Fran’s suggestion, I got out of the tub and lay down on the bed through some contractions. (The idea was to be as gravity-neutral as possible so that the baby could do whatever maneuvering he needed to do without gravity pressuring him to ascend further in the birth canal.) Those contractions were horrible. Incidentally, this position is called the “mean nurse” in the birth world, because it’s so uncomfortable and, I suppose, only a mean nurse would force someone to lie down during contractions.  I was really mad at Fran and cussing furiously, so she made herself scarce for a bit.  Nadah also disappeared for a while, and it was just Eric and I in the bedroom.  I was trying to lie on the bed, but it was so uncomfortable and I was so angry that I was not very compliant.  I felt “pushy” and was trying to push a little bit, which I had been instructed not to do.  Eric told me not to, and I got mad at him too.  I said something like, “Don’t get mad at me,” and he said, “I’m mad at you because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to!”  (Add him to my shit list.) 

I just couldn’t force myself to lie down, but I felt like I needed to get on my hands and knees (Fran later said that this is the next best thing to lying down, because it’s somewhat gravity-neutral.).  This was by far the worst part of my labor.  I was so disappointed in myself and I felt like my body was not doing what it was supposed to be doing.  I didn’t understand until later that my body was doing exactly what it needed to do to allow the baby to come out safely.  At any rate, Nadah came back into the room, and I was mad because I thought she and Fran were somehow colluding, and now Fran was nowhere to be found.  I felt very pushy, but Eric and Nadah kept telling me to wait for Fran.  I kept saying an explicit version of, “Well, then she’d better get in here!”  (I later learned that Fran took a walk to review in her own mind what was going on, and to give me a break because I was so angry with her.  Eric found her briskly walking up and down the alley behind our house, where she explained to him that the baby was tangled in the umbilical cord and had to get more slack before he could ascend, something that she sees quite often in births.)

Fran came back into the room and checked me and said, “Wow, she’s back to an 8 from a 5.” “What?!  A 5?!”  I had had no idea that I had gone all the way back to 5cm in the tub, and it was a good thing.  I think it was at this point that I entered into the only time in the labor that I would really call “suffering.”  I went in the bathroom and stood in our little toilet room over the toilet, trying in vain to pee.  Fran was in there with me, and I think Nadah was at other times. I stood facing the back wall, backward over the toilet, and I looked at a painting of a woman with calla lilies that hangs over the toilet.  I tried to tell myself that this was okay, that I needed to let my body do what it needed to do.  As much as I said that, though, I also said repeatedly, “I just want to be done!”  A few times, I would push against the walls at my side during a contraction, which let me kind of “escape” the contraction for a moment.  Fran told me not to fight against the contractions, but to surrender to them, and I told her that I just needed to do it a little bit to get a break.  At some point, Nadah suggested that I get back in the water, so they got the tub ready for me. 

It was dark by this time and I remember noting that it was quiet outside because all the kids had gone home.  I was relieved; I had been slightly worried that someone outside could hear me.  I got into the tub again on my hands and knees, with Eric sitting at the back of the tub to support my arms.  Before long, I felt strongly like I needed to push again.  Fran checked me and gave me the okay to push.  I was so thankful to be pushing again.  At this point, I heard Eric talking to someone in the bedroom and surmised that my friend, Elizabeth, had arrived.  She came into the bathroom and said hello to me.  Ithink I said something like, “Hi, I’m pushing out a baby here,” or something equally sarcastic.  I think Fran just had a flashlight at this point and was watching me push by flashlight through the water.  I was pushing really hard, and they told me to slow down and push more gently.  Nadah said, “Yeah, you don’t want to blow it out your ass,” to which Fran said, “Can we strike that from the record?”  (Obviously not.)  It made me laugh, anyway.  I was not trying push so hard, I just hadto, and I told them that.  

I think I pushed 3 times, and with one of the pushes I felt a huge gush.  I whipped my head around and said, “Was that the baby?” (Nadah said later that I turned around so quickly that I looked like an animal.)  Alas, it was not the baby; my water had broken.  I hadn’t realized before that point that my amniotic sac was still in tact.  This was at 9:44.  He crowned during the next push and Fran asked Elizabeth to turn on the light on.  She asked me to push slowly so that she could move the umbilical cord.  With the next push, he was out.  He was born at 9:54 P.M., an hour after I had “gone backward” in my dilation.  (Until Fran told me that a couple days later, I had told people that it was 3 hours, because it seemed like a really,really long time.) 

I was so relieved to be done, and so glad that he was healthy.  I looked to see his sex,and said, “You are a boy!”  Once the cord stopped pulsing and turned white, Fran asked Eric if he wanted to cut it.  Ellis was still awake and needed him, so I asked Elizabeth if she wanted to cut it.  They helped me out of the tub and into my bed, where Fran checked out the baby and checked me out.  I delivered the placenta on the bed and Fran checked it carefully to make sure that it was completely intact. 
Fran weighed the baby, whom we were fairly sure we’d name Oliver, and he was 8 pounds, 10 oz. We laughed because before she weighed him, we said that there was no way he was as big as Ellis was at birth (8 pounds, 8 ounces), and there he was, 2 ounces bigger.  It’s funny how you forget how tiny even a “big” baby is. Fran didn’t measure him that night because he was so scrunched up (she says only a mean nurse would stretch a new baby all the way out to get a good measurement).  The next day, he was 21.25 inches long, just like his brother.

As I did after I delivered Ellis, I bled on the heavy side of normal.  Fran gave me some sort of herbal or homeopathic something-or-other to slow the bleeding and had Elizabeth feed me a peanut butter sandwich, cantaloupe, and loads of juice.  After Fran was satisfied that the bleeding was under control (she repeatedly assured me that it was heavy, but not into the realm of hemorrhaging.), she started to go downstairs.  As she opened the door, I suddenly felt faint and told her to wait.  She had me look in her eyes and told me very firmly to stay conscious, and that I should tell myself to stay conscious.  She assessed the bleeding again and reiterated that it was still within the normal range, which made her think that it was my blood sugar dropping that made me feel faint.  I drank more juice, ate 2 protein bars, and felt better.  Then I tried to get up to go to the bathroom, which was a mistake, in hindsight.  I got lightheaded again, and had to get myself “together” once again. 

Ellis had not really gone to sleep and wanted to see me, so Eric brought him in about 10:30 or so (was this before or after I got lightheaded?  I don’t know).  He was tired and had been crying, and was really quite pitiful.  He said,“I want Mommy without the baby!”  After I cuddled him a bit, though, he calmed down quite a bit and went in the other room to go to sleep for the night. 

Everyone was gone by about 12:30 A.M., and it was just our new family of four in the house. Eric slept with Ellis down the hall, and Oliver and I snuggled up to nurse and sleep in our bedroom.  Unlike with Ellis, when I was so pumped up I could hardly sleep, I was exhausted and able to get some sleep. I slept on and off until about 3 A.M., and patiently waited until 6 call my brother and to see if my mom was on her way. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More V-Day

A few more photos from our Valentine's Day, and a funny story:

We have a heart-shaped pancake mold, which I almost never use, so I busted it out yesterday morning and made heart-shaped pancakes. Ellis seemed to be behind the idea and excited, until I put a heart-shaped pancake on his plate.

"Can you give me give me the ghost cookie cutter?"
"So I can make my pancake ghost-shaped."

Naturally. So, I had heart-shaped pancakes, and Ellis had ghost-shaped pancakes. Whatever.

Then we made Valentines...

...and loved on each other.

The end.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, Love, Love

Happy Valentine's Day!  
I'm spending the day with two of the great loves of my life.



 Brotherly love.

More brotherly love... 

 ...and more.

 Loves his mama.

Loves his cars.

(Let these photos show, for the record, that I do own a real camera)