Week 2 // Downtown Findlay

We've almost survived three weeks and, let me tell you, it feels like an accomplishment. Only four days of that was on our own without nurses or Grandma, but we've kept this newborn alive (and growing!) for 20 days! At some point I may share some non-baby things on this blog again (promise), but for now my days are spent napping and my nights are spent feeding so the time I spend blogging is documenting the things I want our family to remember.

Last week my mom and I braved the cold with this little baby for an outing downtown (I was feeling a bit bad that I had my mom for two weeks and we hardly ever left the house or really spent time together - but not bad enough not to take naps whenever I got the chance). My goodness it felt good to just get dressed, let alone get out of the house. I took baby and Grandma to our favorite little cafe and Lincoln slept through the whole thing's a few pictures:

^Still wearing maternity jeans (and they're so comfortable I'm wondering if I'll ever want to switch back)

^Snow in the window to match the snow outside - if only it weren't so bitter cold here and we could do more outdoors with little Linc. I'm already so looking forward to spring and walks around the neighborhood.

^the cutest little cafe (The Baker's Cafe for anyone local -- they're only open for breakfast and lunch)
^we were thinking of our family back in NH who were enjoying the 24 inches of snow while we sipped our hot soup 
^an after lunch shot (it was incredibly bright outside and I'm a bit anti wearing sunglasses in the winter)
^I love how well this carseat cover a friend made for me matches the diaper bag I got for Christmas :) 

not pictured: the post lunch shopping attempt that reminded us Lincoln does in fact have a strong pair of lungs

P.S. Car seats with babies are heavy. Moms must all have killer arm muscles. Also, it was too cold for Linc to make an appearance in these pictures (we're both sad about it).

outfit details:
coat: c/o Sheinside (similar here)
diaper bag: Kate Spade (love this striped one too)
sweater: GAP
denim: c/o Pink Blush maternity
booties: Sam Edelmen c/o Zappos

A Birth Story: Pt 2

When the nurses came in and started talking about pain management options for the second time I didn't mention anything else about my natural birth plan. We briefly talked through options and when I found out an epidural might be another thirty minutes out, the despair set back in (it sounds dramatic, but pain like that is dramatic). But when Jeff showed up just minutes later, needle in hand, I could have kissed him (except that I couldn't talk and could barely move).

Jeff needed me sitting still on the bed, and in true ex-dancer form, I managed to get into a wide straddle, still working through long and frequent contractions. I remember there were questions about where I was from that I couldn't answer.

Since coming home people have asked if the epidural was painful, if the needle was big, or if I was scared. 

I didn't think twice about the needle and I don't remember any pain (I guess pain is relative). I do remember the hope and relief that set in long before the medication kicked in. The contractions still hurt, but there was an end in sight, a light at the end of the tunnel.

We were all giddy smiles and laughter for the next hour or so. I couldn't stop grinning. I was having a baby. I could do this. I thought I wanted a natural birth because it would be empowering (and for the next one, I think I still do), but in that moment, being able to make a decision to take away such a huge amount of pain, I felt pretty empowered.

side note: I had an amazing epidural. I could move my left leg on my own and could move both my feet. I could roll myself over and reposition myself with only a little assistance. There was a point where I upped my own dosage because I could feel the strength of the contractions in my left hip but I was grateful because by the time it got to pushing, I could feel just about everything, but without any of the intense pain (just a little discomfort). Like I said, I could have kissed that epidural man. 

It took two hours for me to dilate from a 5 to a 6 and by this time it was somewhere around 2:30 in the afternoon. I did the math - one centimeter in two hours - four centimeters to go - eight hours till this baby was going to start really coming. I decided to take a long afternoon nap. Ben pulled out a book and we settled in for the long haul. 

You can imagine my surprise when half an hour later the nurses declared I was a nine and wanted me to push. They called the midwife and the marathon truly began. It lasted a bit over an hour and a half and I'm told the vomiting did more for pushing the baby out than anything else (it'll be awhile before I drink green gatorade again). The fatigue, the effort, and the concentration were like nothing else. I couldn't understand why I couldn't take a break - but Ben could see the full head of hair and the baby was coming.

The pushing with an epidural was something I was completely unprepared for. While I'd take pushing over those pitocin contractions again any day, I have never had to work harder at anything and it seemed to last forever. 

The relief at that baby's cry was so welcomed. It meant I was done, it meant he was here, and it meant he was safe. And in that moment, contrary to what every birth story ever told me, all I wanted to do was close my eyes and go to sleep. 
But, they handed me a screaming, bloody, blue baby and the magnitude of the moment was lost on me. He looked something like an alien ... and I just wanted to sleep. I held him while I delivered the placenta, my midwife stitched the tear, Ben cut the umbilical cord (delayed cord clamping was one of the only parts of the birth plan that happened), and as I threw up another couple of times. 

They tell you the first moment you hold your baby is magical, but for me it was the second. Maybe it was because he was no longer bloody or because I was no longer being sick, but the love came easily that second time. When my skin and soft voice soothed his cries, it was easy to love him. When I realized this was the life I'd been carrying for the past nine months, it was easy.

It is something miraculous to look into a tiny face and think that quite literally, your love made this. Ben and I made this little baby, this perfect little baby. Birth was hard (although it was actually much easier than I'd spent the past twenty years building it up to be), but loving this little life, that is easy.


A few more pictures - I'm grateful Ben snapped some right after baby was born even though at that point the last thing on my mind was a picture. The one's with Lincoln dressed are from the day we left the hospital. 

^It was so hard to listen to this baby cry those first few hours whenever they took him to the other side of the room to weigh him or wash him or change his diaper. Often, I cried right along with him. 
^all of this hair and those perfect little ears 
^a note on hospital food: other than the first night after giving birth (when everything sounded gross and it was hard to keep even liquids down), I swear it was the best food I've ever eaten. 
^just to document where I lived for two days (oh so convenient to be able to push buttons and have your bed turn into a chair)
^right before we brought him home from the hospital 
^a favorite of mine - the "Mom - be DONE taking pictures and pick me up!"

A Birth Story

The induction was scheduled for Monday morning and we tried just about everything to get him here on his own. There had been plenty of false alarms over the past two weeks - lots of contractions and my fill of late nights timing them. That Friday I'd even worked through five hours of regular contractions, called the hospital, and had Ben pack up the last minute essentials.

But Monday morning came and little Lincoln (who still had no name at this point) was still snuggled up inside. My alarm went off at 4:50 and I enjoyed what might have been my last leisurely shower in a decade before hurrying through breakfast and leaving the house a little before six.

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur but, for the sake of posterity, here's how I think it went:

A few minutes late, we got to the hospital just after six and settled into our room for the next few days. Our nurses were young, friendly, and either newly married or newly engaged. I changed into a hospital gown and they started the IV drip while we waited for my midwife. We chatted about honeymoons and wedding plans before they broached the pain management options. They smiled and nodded as I outlined my birth plan and went out in search of the birthing ball.

By eight my midwife arrived, requested a rush on my pennicilin for my IV (I was strep B positive), and was back half an hour later to break my water (my last ditch effort at an unmedicated birth). We waited eagerly for the contractions to start, convinced it would be the jumpstart my body needed, we'd be able to unhook the IV, and skip the Pitocin altogether. But, by ten my contractions were still 8 minutes apart, I hadn't dilated another centimeter, and we started the Pitocin.

Another name for Pitocin is the drug of death. The first dose didn't do much and Ben and I played cards in the hospital room while enjoying an audio book. With little to no progress, they upped the dosage a few times and all of the sudden my contractions were one minute long and one minute apart with extreme cramping in between. It came on so quickly, so intense, that all my coping strategies were forgotten. I remember feeling so desperate, so hopeless. I wasn't going to have a baby because there was no way I'd make it through another seven hours of this, let alone another twenty minutes.

I sat on that birthing ball (I couldn't stand), and tried to remember what the plan was: relax into the pain, breathe, think "open," think "stretch," hold onto that positive image, your body was built for this. But I couldn't remember, I couldn't think. There was nothing but each building contraction and the realization that it could be hours and hours before this ended.


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