Monday, March 29, 2010

Alice's Birth Story

We welcomed our daughter, Alice Claire, into the world on Saturday, March 27 at 2:46am.
I was 42 weeks, 1 day pregnant.
It was quite the experience.

Here's the story:
I woke up Friday at about 1am with contractions.
I tried to sleep through them, but it wasn't working.
I timed them for about an hour before waking up Ben.
It appeared as though this was the day we would finally get to meet our baby girl!

Ben took a shower, we packed up a few things, picked up the house a little bit and then headed to Ben's parent's house at 4am.

Tangent:
I know what you may be thinking.
"Wait. Ben's parent's house?! You had your baby at your in-law's house?"
Yes.
It's true.
The Boltons were so kind to offer their "birthing suite" for Alice's birth.
Ben's sister had already had her two kids there, so we knew it was a perfect setting.
Also, our house is significantly smaller.
One bathroom.
Tiny bathtub.
Staying at the Boltons was like staying at a vacation home.
Loved it!

Okay.
Back to the story.
I labored all day long.
Contractions were strong, but not yet consistent.
During the day, Ben and I played a game, napped, went to Jamba Juice, watched TV, went for a walk, etc.
Our midwife came over at about 6pm to check to see how things were progressing.
She said Alice would likely arrive sometime that night between 1-3am.
Asked us to give her a call when contractions were consistently under 5 minutes apart and lasting at least a minute.

That happened around 10:30pm.
She came back over, broke my waters (to speed things along just a little bit), and then we waited.

It was a rough (to say the least) few hours.
I hit transition at around 1am.
I don't remember much of what happened during that time.
I remember falling asleep/passing out between contractions.
I'd wake up having no idea how much time had passed...1 minute? 20?
I also remember not saying much and not wanting to be touched.
It took everything in me to try to stay relaxed.
At one point our midwife said, "You're doing great! You're in textbook transition."
I replied with, "If I were in a hospital, I'd have a textbook epidural."
I somehow thought that was important enough to muster up the energy to say. :)

At about 2am I got into the tub.
The warm water was a nice, welcome change.
After a few contractions I started to feel the need to push.
About 30-45 minutes later we finally got to meet our little girl!
It's wild how the intense, indescribable pain disappears immediately once the baby is born.
It was the most amazing experience ever!

Alice about 30 seconds old-

About a minute old-

She came out pink, fluffy, and perfect!
She scored a perfect 10 on the APGAR scale.
It was only the 2nd time our midwife scored a baby that high right out the chute.

Alice and I stayed in the tub for a nice long time after she was born.
We loved hearing her first cries and could not take our eyes off of her.
It's crazy how drastically our lives changed in that instant.
We are smitten!

I took a shower while Ben held Alice.
After the midwife checked to make sure I was a-okay, it was time to check the baby.

Ben cut the cord-

Our midwife performed the newborn check-

Alice weighed in at 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 21 inches long.

I love this picture.
Is there anything better than a chunky newborn?
She was all cozy because there was a heating pad underneath the blanket. :)

I've been asked a couple questions often enough that I thought I'd answer them here.

1. Why in the world would we want to have a baby at home?
We considered the options and decided this is what was best for us.
Having our baby at home was the best way we could plan for the birth we desired...
Un-medicated, minimal interventions, relaxed setting, etc.
We fully trust in the process of giving birth since women have been doing it for thousands of years.
We don't feel like it is a medical condition that needs to be "fixed" or "cured".
Our bodies know exactly what to do and so as long as Alice and I stayed healthy and low-risk, we knew a home birth was the route we wanted to go.

We also know that this option is not for everyone.
Many women have hospital births and love their experiences...and that is fantastic!
Many need the medical interventions that doctors and hospitals can provide.
Thank goodness we live in a country where we have access to those services!

We don't feel like we deserve a special ribbon or gold star for having a natural birth.
Really, I would love for every woman to get to experience what I got to experience in bringing Alice into the world.
Hardest thing EVER, EVER, EVER, but worth it a million times over.
But, becoming a mother, regardless of how it happens is the best thing in the world.

2. Would we do it again?
That's easy.
Absolutely.
If/when we have another child we hope to have the exact same experience.
Well...maybe a little shorter labor next time. :)

I'm happy to answer any questions.
I tried to keep this post free of too many gory details, but I like talking about them.
Sick, right?

Lastly, we were surrounded by prayers and support from our families and friends.
We don't know where to even start in thanking everyone for the encouraging emails, phone calls, Facebook messages, etc.
We are so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

41 weeks

Ben and I received a letter from our Compassion child, Gertrude, yesterday.
We almost died when we read this:


Even our Compassion kid is harassing us!
We thought it was funny.

Here's what HAS to be the last of the belly morphing pictures:


Monday, March 22, 2010

The wait.

It's been over a month since I posted the Project Evacuate Baby list.
Over a month!
That means my little girl has been considered full-term for OVER A MONTH.

I'm trying to stay optimistic knowing that Alice is healthy and I am healthy.
I continually tell myself, "There's no need to rush things" and "God's timing is perfect".

Ben also often reminds me that the typical first pregnancy is 41 weeks, 3 days, according to our Bradley class.
That's today, if we're going by her 2nd (and obviously more accurate) due date.
Maybe today's the day??

Ben and I are enjoying these last few days of our family of two.
Example: We slept until 9:30 on Saturday! (Truly a miracle for me.)
Then, leisurely got up and walked to our little neighborhood breakfast place.
It was such a nice day!

So, there you have it.
We are waiting.
Waiting to see our daughter for the first time.
Waiting for our lives to be forever changed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Dear Alice,
Remember how I made this for you?
Looks like this is as close as you're going to get to wearing it:
Why?
Because you're late.
That's okay though.
You're already teaching me to be more patient.
I know you'll arrive at the perfect time.
Until then, I'll continue to wait.

Here's what I did today to keep busy:
I worked in the backyard for almost 4 hours today...raking, picking up poo, pulling weeds, etc.
The garden is tilled and ready to be planted.
I'm looking forward to tending the garden with you.

I also made some bread!
Your Aunt Chrissy gave me the recipe.

Ta-da!

Your Daddy and I took a walk tonight.
You should really try to come out soon because the weather is beautiful.
The outside world is better than being all crammed inside of me.
Trust me.

Love,
Your Mommy

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What I loved about today:

1. After Ben left for work this morning I fell back to sleep and slept until 9!
This is huge considering how crappy my sleep has been lately...waking up every 2 hours to hoist my huge belly to the other side (AKA rolling over).

2. Went for a hike at The Garden of the Gods with my sister-in-law, Jennifer.
It was so nice to be out in the sun!
I was really hoping the hour-long hike would coax Alice out.
Nope.

3. On my way home I picked up a lime slushie from Sonic.
Then, I sat here:
I read some.
I let my enormous belly bask in the sunlight.
I think the baby girl liked it.
She danced around like crazy.
Then, I pretended I was on a Spring Break trip...drinking a margarita on some Caribbean island with my girlfriends.
Loved every second of my pretend vacation.

4. When Ben came home from work, he tested out the hammock.
Good news!
It still works!

5. We celebrated this beautiful day by firing up the grill for the first time this year.
Turkey burgers!
Yum!
Jack never strays too far from the grill.
You know...just in case.

It's been a really good day.
Maybe tomorrow will be Alice's birthday.
I think a St. Patrick's Day birthday would be fun.
We'll see!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I tried.


Here's what I've done within the last few days...from Project Evacuation.

3. Mac and Cheese.
Ben made it and I ate it.

He even measured the water needed to boil the pasta:

Didn't walk away from the stove even once.
He literally watched the water come to a boil. :)

It was actually pretty good with the worcestershire sauce in it. I was surprised!


4. Spicy food. 
I had spicy Thai curry today for lunch.

5. Exercise.
Despite the countless "oh my" looks from fellow gym patrons, I took a circuit class this morning.
The women in my class kept an eye on me.
I think they were expecting my water to break at any moment.

7. Be unprepared. 
Ben desperately needs a haircut.
I'm going to do it in the morning.
Promise!

8. Raspberry leaf tea.
Still drinking it.

9. Massage/Acupressure.
I had a massage/acupressure appointment yesterday afternoon.

The therapist says that it puts most women who are as pregnant as me into labor within 24-48 hours.
We'll see!


11. Eat pineapple.
I ate it.



12. Eggplant Parmesan.
Had it for dinner last night.

16. Bounce on an exercise ball. 
Didn't even pop it!!

And adding to the list:

21. Eat basil.
Dr. Davis, my chiropractor, suggested eating basil to get the ball rolling.
Ate it.

22. Chocolate fondue and wine with the sisters-in-law. 
Ben's sister went into labor after the 3 of us went to the Mona Lisa.
We thought it was worth a try. :)

There you go.
Although none of the old wives tales have worked (yet), 
I'm staying pretty busy checking them off the list!
She can't stay in there forever, right??

Jack

When we have the chairs pushed in our table it makes a perfect Jack-sized rectangle.
Sometimes he stands in it.
That's all.
Just stands there.
I think he's so weird.

Thankful.

Here I am.
40 weeks pregnant.
(41 if I go by the standard due date calculator.)
I'm very large.
Very uncomfortable.
Very ready to meet our daughter.
I've been up since 2:30.
Can't sleep.
So, I'll write.

I'm trying really hard not to complain these days.
I could easily start whining and moaning about being in this stage of pregnancy.
But, I won't.
I'll choose to be thankful.
Because I am.

Yesterday I was reminded of how great the last (almost) 10 months have been.
No morning sickness.
No crazy food cravings.
No stretch marks.
No hemorrhoids.
No swelling.
No fatigue.
No heartburn.
No extreme moodiness.
No spider or varicose veins.
Minimal back pains.

Really, this has been an easy pregnancy.
I am blessed.
Blessed to not only be spared from most of the pregnancy symptoms/side effects, but more important, blessed that the Lord chose me to be Alice's mommy.

And, the thing is, I have friends who would gladly take on that whole list and more to get to be a mom.
My heart breaks for them.
It doesn't seem fair.
It's not fair.
It's not fair how many babies are born to people who don't want them when there are so many women who desperately do.
I'm pretty sure I won't ever understand that.

But, I trust that God is in control.
He loves us.
He has a plan.

I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dear Alice,

I made this for you today:
Please come out in time to wear it.
You have 1 week.
Thanks!

Love,
Your Mommy

39

What I look like:

What I feel like:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ben!!

Yesterday was my husband's birthday.
Though I gave him presents on his special day, I couldn't help but be reminded of the gift he is to me.
I can't imagine a more perfect husband for me.


Here's the short list of why:

1. Ben loves big.
He loves Jesus, he loves me, he loves our families and our friends, he loves our dog, and he loves our unborn daughter.
My husband has an enormous heart for people...and Jack.


2. Ben balances me.
He is calm when I'm an emotional ticking time bomb, which isn't a rare occurrence these days.
He is patient when I am anxious.
He is forgiving when I want to hold a grudge.
He is diligent when I want to procrastinate.
He his strong when I am weak...or lazy.

3. The man makes me laugh all the time.
I remember laughing at one of his corny jokes when we were engaged.
His mom turned to me and said, "I'm so glad Ben found a girl who gets his sense of humor."
I get it. And I love it.
I also love how easy going Ben is.
I mean, not every guy will don some silly outfit his wife picked out for him.
Ben will.
Proof:

4. Ben is a hard worker.
He loves his job and he's good at it!
Ben is incredibly talented when it comes to computers, networks, servers, and all the outer techy words I can't think of.
Here's the coolest part: he's also has "people skills". (Cue the Office Space clip.)
I love my geeky husband!

5. I know I covered this in #1, but I love how Ben loves me.
He listens to me...even while I recap and review my day which is usually the list of errands I ran and how many things I got checked off my to-do list.
He eats what I cook and thanks me for making it.
(Except that time I accidentally used salt instead of sugar in the crepes I made. Whoops!)
He scratches my back almost every night as I drift off to sleep.
He sends me text messages and emails that remind me that he's thinking of me during the day.
He prays for me.
He is quick to lend me a hand whenever I ask for help.
He no longer leaves cabinet doors open after I told him how it bothers me.
He doesn't only tell me that he loves me.
He shows me he does.

So, for his birthday I made him cinnamon rolls for breakfast...
(His Grandma A.J.'s recipe)

cupcakes for him to share with his work peeps...

Shepherd's Pie for dinner...
and lastly, we made ice cream sundaes with our k-group.
(Clearly, I believe celebrations involve food. :) )

Ben, thank you for choosing me to be your wife!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nearing the end...

Sadly, I think it's going to be a couple more weeks before Alice makes her debut.
Who knows.
Maybe I'm wrong.
I HOPE I'm wrong!

She hasn't dropped, yet.
She must enjoy being up in my lungs and ribs.
She's the only one who enjoys it.
I'm looking forward to the day I can climb a flight of stairs without feeling like I just hiked the incline.

March 12th (Alice's due date) is next Friday.
Now when people ask when I'm due, I say, "Next Friday".
That's nuts!

This watermelon is smaller than the cantaloupe from last month.
I guess that's what happens when I buy cantaloupe from Costco. :)



4. Spicy food. 
I went to the Curry Leaf on Monday.
The owner was so sweet!
The food was amazing; so spicy I was sweating!
I ate it for lunch and the rest for dinner.
Outcome: no baby.
But, she was rockin' and rollin' in there after I ate it.



5. Exercise.
Still hitting the gym 3x a week.
I've also taken Jack on 2 walks so far this week.
That, combined with running errands all over the city makes for a tiring day.
Outcome: no baby. Tired mama.

7. Be unprepared. 
There's currently dirty dishes in the sink and dog hair on the rug.
Mike and Cathy will be stopping by to get Jack when I go in labor.
I HATE when people see my house a mess.
Does that count?
I think so.


19. Full Moon. 
Outcome: no baby.


That's all for now!

PS- Tomorrow is Ben's birthday! Yippee!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prime Meridian

The line pregnant women get on their bellies is called "linea nigra".

Ben, never remembering the name, calls it my Prime Meridian.


My husband makes me laugh a lot.
Actually, Prime Meridian makes more sense since I feel like a planet these days.

Here's a little treat for your viewing pleasure: