Pictures – Finally!

Life over the past 6 to 7 months has been crazy.  I took 9 hours of school in the summer, then I took 9 hours in the fall.  It’s been super busy and super stressful for me.  Oh, and then there was my wacky trip to Europe, with a long post in the works about that.

For now, I just wanted to get some pictures posted.  I owe you, my dear readers, a couple more pictures posts after this one, and I again hope to start blogging more as – let’s face it – as I get older, I will start forgetting stuff.

Oh yeah, I took a break over the holidays for basically my first time in years.  I mean, a real break, some real time off as it was nearly two weeks.  I need the rest and relaxation, and it was cool to spend a bunch of time with the kids.  Over that two weeks, Willow almost started walking and improved her vocabulary/communication at an incredible rate.  Owen continues to prove amazing in so many respects.  Between the two of them, I am in a lot of trouble when they are teens.  Otherwise, I spent a bunch of time just piddling around the house, working on little projects, cooking, and that sort of thing.  Oh, and watching football.  Oh, how I’ve missed it!

But, without further ado, pictures!

09/2007 – Willow’s Birthday

09/2007 – Willowbear and O-train

10/2007 – Halloween

10/2007 – Gettin’ Medieval 

12/2007 – Silly Willow Tricks

12/2007 – A Day at Mayfield

12/2007 – Layin’ Round the House

Picture Explosion

Coming soon…

I have been putting together a ton of pictorials to post, catching up all the way back to October.  And, especially since we got the new camera, there’s a lot on the way.  I hope to do this in the next few days, so stay stuned!

Willow Album

An album devoted to Willow and Owen. No captions necessary.  Taken when she was one month old.

Album: The Austin Zoo

A trip to the Austin Zoo and then some!

The Birth Story Plus

Below is the birth story that Monica wrote up. Also a new picture medley to check out. Enjoy!

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In the announcement that we sent out already, we said that labor was 5 hours, but please note that was only the ACTIVE labor part. I’d been having contractions on and off for a few days, but they started in earnest on Friday.

That Friday afternoon, Owen and I had plans to see a friend’s place for the first time. This friend lives at the Rhizome Collective (a very cool place, BTW, check out their website at www.rhizomecollective.org). While there, it became increasingly clear that the contractions I was having were indeed true labor ones, especially when I had to walk away during them from the crowd of folks who either lived there or were visiting. I must admit it felt strange to be in labor around people I was just meeting for the first time. After we’d taken a walk, had a snack, and visited the turkey and chickens enough (not to mention our friend!), it was time for us to leave for home. I thought Owen might fall asleep on the way back home, since it was close to 6:30 by then, but no such luck. He had been talking about getting hazelnut gelato after our visit, and I think this lured him on to keep sleep at bay. So, we stopped at the gelato place in 26 Doors on the way home. I didn’t have any really strong contractions there, thank goodness, but it took some convincing to get Owen home, since he wanted to stay and eat there. By now, contractions were still widely spaced, like 8-15 minutes apart. I was doing my best to not get too excited. I wanted to go about our lives as if nothing was happening, because I had no idea how long this kind of labor would last.

At home, we enjoyed our treat (kind of a rare one) and got ready for bed. I remembered what our midwife GB had said about having a glass of wine and going to bed during early labor in order to get extra rest, so I asked Geoff to open a bottle of wine, and I enjoyed my second treat of the evening. Afterwards, I went straight to bed, wondering what might be in store for us. During the night, I woke up my usual 3 – 4 times to use the bathroom, but I did notice rather strong contractions each time. Still, I was able to get plenty of rest that night.

The next morning, the same routine persisted. Contractions were about 8-15 minutes apart still, yet strong enough that I had to breathe through them. By mid-morning, they had picked up slightly, but then they petered out by lunchtime. I began to think we would have an October baby. We all had projects going on, so that helped keep us occupied. Geoff was working on a computer rebuild, I was cleaning and starting to work on a mobile, and Owen was listening to music, among other things. At around 2:00, a friend and his son stopped by to see if Owen could play at their house until 4:00, so he took off with them. I think my brain/body needed this mental break, because it seemed labor got stronger after this. I talked with my mom on the phone and asked her to be available for Owen after 4:00. I also called GB, who recommended another glass of wine and rest. I promptly took her advice and went to bed.

I woke up around 4:00 with three really strong contractions. Being on hands and knees helped me make it through these. I was about to lay back down when something made me double-check, and, sure enough, there was bloody show. There was just a little blood, so I immediately went to the bathroom, where the rest of the plug came out into the toilet. I called and called for Geoff, but as luck would have it, he was out of the house, helping transition Owen from our friend’s house to Grandma’s car. The contractions were a little far apart still, but I called GB anyway to let her know the status of things. She was excited about the progress, and told me to call back once the contractions got closer together; 4 – 5 minutes apart. I continued to labor on hands and knees until Geoff got back.

Once Geoff returned, around 4:30, we decided that he should start working on cleaning up the computer project in our living room and setting up the birth tub. I also decided to go ahead and run some regular bath water until the birthing tub could be ready. At this point, things get more hazy in that I can’t really remember specific thoughts, although at the time, they felt completely coherent and rational. I stayed in the water and found that laying on my left side was the best way to relax through the contractions, so I was like this for a good bit of the time. Moaning during contractions also felt really good.

At one point, I believe around 6:00, I felt that I needed to go to the bathroom, so I got out and headed for the toilet. No bowel movement, but my legs started shaking, and I thought, “Hmmmmm… Urge to poop, shaky legs, could this be transition?? Nah – too early still.” Contractions were still somewhat widely spaced – no closer than about seven minutes apart. Geoff called from the other room to say that the tub was ready whenever I wanted to use it. He helped me into the tub, and it was really one of the best feelings I’d ever had, getting into all that warm water. I relaxed there for a small while, leaning forward against the side of the tub. The tub had a small leak from the previous folks, who apparently used it in the backyard as a hot tub before their labor actually hit, so Geoff had to keep re-inflating the sides as the air leaked out. Then, the first contraction in the tub hit, and I realized my body was pushing!

I immediately said to Geoff, “I’m pushing, but I think it’s too soon!” Visions of a swollen cervix and transfer to the hospital appeared before me. I had Geoff call GB, who instructed me to get out of the tub and onto the bed with my bottom up in the air to prevent pushing before either she or Laurie, the other midwife, got there. Laurie was only 10 minutes away, but GB was still at her home in Dripping Springs. I was worried that we would have the baby before they got there, but I needn’t have, since it took another two hours of pushing before our little one arrived.

I’ve heard many women say that pushing was their favorite part of labor; that they’re happy to finally be doing something active. Not so with me! It was just plain hard and exhausting. GB and Laurie offered up several different positions to try, but I almost wish I’d gotten back in the tub as GB suggested at one point because my pushing contractions seemed really strong and effective in there. I guess I was a little worried about needing to transfer to the bed just before the baby was born, and we hadn’t discussed water births ahead of time.

As it was, we tried laying on my side, sitting on the birthing stool, and, finally, laying flat on my back. I was surprised that the last one was the most effective for me. Later, Laurie divulged that this is the position they pull out at the end if they can tell a mama is just plain ready to get the baby out. It tends to get the mama working really hard, mainly because it’s so uncomfortable – ha! I must say it was really helpful to be able to push against the two of them with my feet, raising my hips off the bed. It was also wonderful to have Geoff near my head, holding my hand. His physical presence gave me a feeling of constant emotional connection and support.

Our baby girl came into the world at 8:58 pm, and we snuggled right away. My mother had brought Owen home about 5 to 10 minutes beforehand, so they were able to come in as soon as they heard her cry. It worked out really well, I think. I had a second-degree tear, so after the placenta came out, GB and Laurie stitched me up. It had been very difficult to slow down pushing at the end, even as I knew that might mean a tear. There was something unusual about the placenta, but I’ll have to follow up with them to find out; I don’t remember the details now. GB also noticed how Willow had her legs after birth; all folded up with the feet pressed at an unusual angle against her body. This completely explains why I didn’t feel many leg movements up high, even after the midwives helped to turn her from a breech position at 36 weeks. Her APGAR scores were 9 at birth and 10 five minutes later. She developed just a small case of jaundice, which cleared up with a little sunlight.

It was nearly 2:00 am when Laurie left, and GB decided to stay the night with us to help with the nursing, since it took a bit for Willow to latch on. It appears that she has a very specific spot that she likes to have stimulated in order to nurse, so we are currently using nipple shields. She is gaining well, but I hope to wean from the shield at some point over the next few weeks. GB has remained an incredible source of support and wisdom for the nursing, including going on store trips to buy miscellaneous items and making multiple visits to our home.

I am so pleased to have had our baby at home; it has been intensely gratifying to simply be here in our own space. We are all smitten with our little one, Owen included. He loves to be near her, holding her hand, kissing her. I’m really looking forward to their relationship blossoming even more over time. Here we are at one month, which is hard to believe, and already she has changed. She is starting to really smile at us, and giving the occasional coo. She seems surprised at her own voice. Even as we celebrate her arrival and rejoice over her recent developments, I look forward to the little walking, talking person she will become; to see what thoughts are in her head and what dreams are in her heart.

Love, light, and happiness…

Monica

Pictures!

Yes yes, I know: I am one evil dude.  Fact is, I roomed with Saddam back in college, and we used to play Dungeons and Dragons with Kim Jong-il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and, of course, Barney the Purple Dinosaur.  Now do you see how deeply evil my evil runs deep?  And all because I haven’t posted any pics on the site lately.

So, with this post, I will try to make up for my horrible sins.  After much pondering, thinking, and thoughts, we have decided to password protect the pics on the site.  This is for security reasons, which is really kinda depressing.  Alas, I feel it a necessity so that our pictures do not meet an inappropriate means.  Also, I have watermarked our pics.  If you would like clean pictures, please email me.  And, of course, if you want the login information, you’ll need to write Monica or I.  If you don’t know our emails?  Well, you’ll just need to ask us then, eh?

Willow