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The Birth of Hazel

22 May

Sunday morning my prodromal labor was pretty intense, so I didn’t go to church. Instead, I stayed home and puttered around the house. My friend Diana kept me company and we got everything ready, including freezer meals for those first few days with a new baby. During the afternoon, I became very irritated by everyone in the house and went outside to meditate through my contractions. Being outside, grounding myself with the breeze and the cool grass really helped my state of mind. When I came back inside, I was no longer irritated and angry. Instead, I was resigned and trying to find acceptance. By that evening, nothing had changed. Contractions were still only 8  minutes apart. I still had to breathe through them but felt I could go to bed. Around 11, I headed upstairs to sleep.

At 1:30 on Monday morning, I head back downstairs. Contractions had woke me up and were consistently every 5 minutes. Not only did I have to breathe through them, but I also had to focus and felt an intense need to have Aaron present. So he got up and held my space for me while I labored. I felt an odd… stress of not having the birth team there. I needed to know my doula, midwife, and other support people were there so I could relax and get on with it. So everyone was called and by the time they arrived, I was in the birth pool to ease my back labor.

Things progressed. Contractions became less than 3 minutes apart. The sun rose and my hopes did, too. I wanted to birth this baby in the sunlight. Then the worst possible thing happened. I developed a migraine.

It was one of the worst ones I experienced during my pregnancy. I had a migraine on an almost daily basis since week 8 of pregnancy and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would get a free pass during labor. That would be only fair, right? Obviously, my body thought differently and there I was, stalled out with a migraine littered with auras and nausea.

The birth team left and got some breakfast while I tried to recover. Diana drove to Starbucks to get me some heavy duty caffeine (which is ironic, since I can’t handle the smell of coffee while in labor). We applied peppermint oil and I laid on the couch to listen to more Hypnobabies tracks. Nothing helped, so a call is put in to my chiropractor in the hopes that an adjustment will clear the migraine and things will get started again.

Amie took me to my appointment. I was adjusted and it seemed to ease things up. I also had acupuncture done to encourage labor to restart. Halfway through the acupuncture session, I started to vocalizing through contractions. Amie drove me home and we sat in front of the house for a bit and had a heart to heart. We talk about her own birth a few months earlier and how her own labor had similar pattern of, for all intents and purposes, going into active labor and then it stopping. She had to wait days for labor to start again. I cried, hugged, and then went straight up to bed where I just sobbed from exhaustion and discouragement.

(As a side note, Amie shared the same story with Aaron after I had went upstairs and Aaron asked, “Should I go upstairs and hold her?” I love that he is such an amazing partner.)

A few hours later, things picked up significantly. I knew, in my heart, that it was going to result in a baby. No more stalling, no more false starts. It was happening.

The birth team was called back and the truly hard work began. Laboring in the water felt wonderful but after a while I would begin to feel confined and limited, so I would get out and labor elsewhere. I remember being very specific and verbal about my needs, like “I need THAT stool to lean over”. Looking back, I’m so glad I was able to verbalize what I needed.

Around 3pm, I started to feel like something had changed. I felt like pushing would help but I didn’t feel the urge to push. I finally gave in around 3:20 and gave a little push during a contraction. It didn’t ease my pain or discomfort but it didn’t feel wrong, either. I then pushed for the next four hours.

I think I pushed in every position known to a midwife. Nothing seemed to help the progress speed up. I was beginning to get really discouraged and so, so tired. Finally, I got into a position that seemed painfully familiar. It was what my midwife referred to as, “Dead Beatle Position”. Flat on my back, legs held up to my chest, and arching my back as I pushed. This was how my body needed me to be for my previous two babies to be born and it was the same this time.

At that point, I started to freak out in my head. This position HURT. Every contraction magnified my low back pain and it felt like my entire body was cramping up.  I then remembered the conversation I had with a friend the previous Wednesday about how I needed to express how I was feeling. My emotions and physical sensations had been stuffed down during my labor with Miles because I didn’t trust the nursing staff at the hospital not to undermine me if I expressed my pain. This time, I was surrounded by people I *knew* would not being but supportive.

So the first words that came out of my mouth was, “F this sh*t!”

It seemed like everyone actually stopped what they were doing, slow blinked, and then laughed.

Things really blurred together after that until I felt her crowning. When I got to that point, the ring of fire burned SO much and I was SO tired that I simply gave up. In my head, I said, “Okay, baby. You win. You can just stay there forever.”  In all honesty, that was probably the best thing that could have happened. It meant that it took me a number of pushes to ease her out, which meant no tearing despite her coming out face up and forehead first.

When her forehead emerged, I heard everyone gasp. I panicked a bit, thinking that something was terribly wrong with the baby. Everyone quickly assured me it was just the baby’s presentation that shocked them since it was so unusual. It was a bit surreal to feel the baby partially birthed. I could feel her turning to make room for the shoulders and then, during the last push, she actually kicked me inside as the last bit of her emerged. Obviously, I was taking too long for her tastes.

Hazel Etta was completely earthside by 7:39pm. 8 pounds, 2 ounces, 21 inches long on Monday, April 16th, 2012.

Ella was woken up and brought downstairs. The magic in seeing her touch her sister for the first time was overwhelming. Her tender kisses and awed face would have made me cry if I wasn’t so exhausted. Ella got cut the cord, help weigh her and listen to her heart.

My placenta had a bit of a hard time detaching but some herbal tincture and a shot of pitocin took care of that.

By 11pm, everyone had left. It was a really difficult experience but I was so glad to be at home. It allowed me to have the most successful birth possible on the emotional front. It also allowed my kids to experience a normal birth, too. Miles, my 2 year old, really didn’t care what was going on. He just did his own thing, built tent forts in the family room, and occasionally mimicked my sounds.  Ella, my 4.5 year old, really didn’t pay that much attention, either. Having some of her favorite grownups (aka kid doulas) give her one on one attention all day was very distracting. The only time she really talked about me birthing was as Amie was lying down with her in bed, helping her to go to sleep. Ella told Amie it sounded like I was fighting dragons.

I think Ella had the right of it. As I was snuggled in my own bed, with my precious star child, I felt like a conquering dragon slayer.

I did it.

This is a link to a slide show of birth pictures. There’s no nudity and even the nursing images are discreet.

WIP: Retro Waistcoat

26 Jun

Retro Waistcoat

This was more of a challenge than I anticipated! The pattern was obviously not tested, so I ran into a lot of difficulty. Because of that, I winged most of the design and so the front panels aren’t identical. Oh well. I don’t think it’s noticeable when Miles is wearing it, which is what’s important.

I just need to block, weave in the ends and locate the perfect chunky woven buttons!

More details on my Ravelry page.

Things I Love

25 Jun

Strawberry Surprise

Ella is so observant that she found this tiny wild strawberry in our backyard.

Date Night

Last minute sitters so Aaron and I can go out to eat dinner at the waterfront.

Snuggle Time

Family quiet time.

Berries Over Cinnamon Rolls

My smart children. They choose fresh berries over cinnamon rolls every time.

Tart Berry

Even the tart ones. 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: Dyeing The Day Away

11 May

Yarn Dye

Setting in the crockpot


Hanging to dry

Finished product!

Closer to 30 than 20

7 May

Closer to 30 than 20

And I’m okay with that!

I feel like this picture really represents where I am in my life — the bathroom is the only place I find a moment’s peace. 🙂

Always Interrupted

2 May

I am constantly interrupted. My thoughts, my emotions, my actions.

My children always chatter, shout, laugh and cry. It’s their nature and I recognize that, it’s just terribly frustrating. But I love them. Dearly. My heart aches with my emotions. My head is full of fragmented ideas, concepts, and thoughts that don’t ever connect because of the childhood that surrounds me.

I put off my own healing, my emotions, my journey because there is a never ending stream of needs that demand my attention. Laundry, food (never ending food), child rearing, listening to Aaron, being his friend and spouse. I have actually caught myself thinking, “That will have to wait.”

That’s not healthy.

At night, when I do have some quiet and solitude, I’m too exhausted from the day’s activities to focus on myself. Instead, I knit, drink tea and watch television via Netflix. Tonight, after a long and busy day, I hardly had the energy to knit. Facing me is brimming full week of basic home things, not even extra adventures. Tonight, I find that prospect daunting and even more exhausting.

I have ideas on how to change this but I don’t know if they will be effective. While I don’t believe this will last forever, I also feel like the stage of life versus life patterns is a fine, blurry line.

That being said, step one to a successful day is getting to bed on time. I’ve been trying to write this all evening, but Ella having bad dreams so I’ve been interrupted often.


Wordless Wednesday

27 Apr

Trail head

Water Watching



Tree hugger

Listening Point

Listening to the trees


Johnny Jump Ups

Creepy Crawlies

My Dude

Top of the "mountain"

Don’t Throw Out That Dye!

23 Apr

Super excited!

Are you dyeing eggs this weekend? Do you hate dyeing eggs but desperately need a novelty for your kids on day 9872947 of rain? (If you don’t dye eggs, wait until Monday and pick some up at 50% off clearance. I’m planning on stocking up.)

Just use the old Easter egg dye, dump in 1/2 cup of white rice and let sit for however long you want. Strain and dry in the oven on the lowest temperature it will maintain for a few hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

As cool as it looks all on one pan, I’d suggest putting each color in individual pie pans to prevent the colors from bleeding into each other.

I plan on pulling out our jar of rainbow rice on the next rainy day and setting it out on the table in a big tub with cups and spoons for the kids to play with. Or, if I’m being realistic, I’ll put it in 2 separate tubs with exactly the same amount of rice, same color cups, and equal number of spoons.

Rainbow Rice

Heels and Makeup

21 Apr

Family Date

Initially, I was so disappointed. Our kids and my friend’s kids were both on the tail end of different illnesses and we didn’t want to infect each other with a new round of the sicks. Aaron and I couldn’t go on the date we had been planning for weeks. I was grouching around the house when Aaron suggested we go on a family date. That didn’t appeal to me ONE BIT but since it got me out of cooking dinner, I agreed.

I stood in the bathroom, wearing heels, muttering about putting on makeup for running errands with the family. Ella came in and her little jaw dropped. “Mama,” she exclaimed. “This must be a real date! You’re wearing fancy shoes and putting on makeup!” Her grin threatened to split her face as she ran off to find her own shoes and coat.

That stopped my muttering.

It made Ella feel special to see me take the time and energy into our family adventure. It showed that I thought it was important enough to look my best. It showed I thought she was important.

So I quit muttering. I quit grumping. I put in earrings and we all had a wonderful evening on our family date.

Using My Listening Ears

11 Apr

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.
If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.

– Catherine M. Wallace

That quote has been swirling through my head recently, working towards the surface of my consciousness just when I need it the most.When I’m tempted to say, “Just let me finish this chapter, Ella, then we can talk” or “I need to write an email first”, I remember that now is the time to lay a foundation of communication. A foundation of belief that I always care about and respect what she wants to share with me. The opportunity won’t always be here and the email can wait. The chapter will still be there when I get back to it. Even if it’s the millionth conversation about maned wolves, I still need to appear engaged. I can, on occasion, multi task my mind by responding to her while formulating my grocery list. Even then, I have to be careful to remain present in our conversation. Her life revolves around maned wolves, but it won’t always be so simple.

Someday, her life will revolve around things outside of our home, the life we share. She will build her own relationships, her own interests, her own set of worries and stresses that I have no control over or direct influence. Our conversations and what she shares with me will be my only window into her life. If I don’t take her 3 year old size cares, worries and triumphs seriously, how can I expect her to share with me her teenage cares, worries and triumphs?

For now, I’m putting aside books, knitting and emails in favor of foundations. It can be hard to listen and take her seriously right now, but it will be even harder to try and build this foundation when she’s twelve. So here’s to maned wolves, for they are the forerunner to open and genuine relationships later on.

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