Friday, July 25, 2008

one month

dear noah,
you are one month old today. you have been my constant companion since the minute you were born-- i haven’t left the house without you once. you spend most of your time in my arms, or one of my many baby-wearing carriers-- though you’ve also been held quite a bit by daddy, grammie, levi, mariah, and the many people who have come to visit you this month. you are very content-- except when you’re not, in which case you don’t hesitate to let us know. you can get really really mad, and loud, and make some awfully grumpy faces. but most of the time a little milk, a big burp, a clean diaper, or a good rest does the trick. mostly you love being on someone’s chest, with your ear near their heart. you also love laying on daddy’s chest while he hums, sings, and chants really low sounds. right now you’re curled up on my chest while i type. i’m propped up on the story pillow in the “big, big bed” and you’re still small enough to rest there with your legs tucked up underneath you (like a little “ball of noah”) and fit above my computer that’s resting on my legs. you are getting big really fast though. you’ve gained over two pounds already since you were born. i keep leaning down and kissing your head, running my cheek over your silky, balding head. listening to your soft breathing and rubbing your back. you are an awesome little cuddler and sleep every night in the crook of my arm. i’ve taken to calling you “bubbi”-- i hope you don’t mind.

you are an incredibly strong little guy. your clavicle got fractured during your birth, and i think it’s bothered you a bit, but it certainly hasn’t stopped you from moving your arms and neck around, or lifting your head. your neck control is amazing and started at only four days old. you’ve been busying healing and we’ve worked well together on that. i’ve been giving you treatments three or four times a week: massage, craniosacral, and chiropractic-- plus some herbs and homeopathic remedies to support your healing. these past few days you’ve seemed pretty darned comfortable, sleeping really soundly and contentedly for long stretches (up to 5 or 6 hours). you had a little rough patch there a couple of weeks ago. your body was covered in some sort of rash (prickly heat? reaction to the olive oil i was massaging you with?), i think your shoulder and your tummy were bothering you a bit, and you were growing really fast... so you had some extra fussy times. but you seem to have worked through a lot of that and you’re pretty easygoing these days.

all of us love you so deeply already. levi and mariah can’t seem to stop kissing you and holding you and squeezing you. “oh Noah, you’re such a good baby...” (cute baby, sweet baby, etc) they are constantly talking to you like this and singing to you and holding your hands. on our first road trip your carseat was in the middle and they couldn’t seem to keep their hands off your face. “stop messing with him,” i told them. “oh mama,” mariah said, “we’re just loving on him!”

you have been such an incredible gift to us in so many ways i don’t know how to explain. i feel like you are my buddha baby. our life has been pretty crazy and chaotic for a long time, and there were no signs that was going to change, slow down, or smooth out anytime soon. we were not expecting to have another baby, and learning that you were coming into our lives was quite a shock. i was scared, and couldn’t imagine how it would work, but i also knew that somehow we would find a way. your upcoming arrival got me to slow down, take time off of work, re-focus my energy on our home and our family, take care of my body and my spirit and re-center myself, and spend more time with L & M. then when you arrived it all suddenly made sense. of course you were meant to be here with us. on some level i knew it all along.

sleep tight, sweet bubbi. i love you more than you’ll ever know.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

baby love and accomplishments

it's been a lazy day... noah will be a month old tomorrow and i think that this is the first day i've been home all day with all three kiddos, no appointments or "agenda", and no visitors... we're just hangin' out. i know we should get out of the house-- but right now it simply sounds like too much effort. L & M are playing together nicely, at the moment, and N is asleep-- not in my arms or in a carrier, but alone on the bed, for the first time all day. there's been a lot of juggling-- making lunch one-handed and changing over laundry with a chunky baby in the homemade moby wrap-- i don't mind it a bit, but my back and neck are definitely feeling it. he's going on 12 pounds already for crying out loud. but i'm holding him and wearing him as much as possible because i simply can't resist-- and want to savor this time.

as i've aged, i've begun to suffer from a tendency i inherited from both of my parents-- i'm not sure what to call it-- but i can't seem to escape it. when asked about her day, my mom responds with a laundry list of all the things she's "accomplished". she'll say: well, it was a pretty good day... i got a lot done... i... and then go on to list every errand, every checkmark she could make on her to-do list. i did not, repeat, did not, used to be this way. at all. i could lounge around all day with the best of them. back in my gypsy days, hanging out on the beach, playing volleyball in the sand, "working" on my tan, or simply hangin' out with friends, giggling and partying and simply being. not so much anymore. i don't know when the shift happened-- maybe when i started back to school and suddenly had to "get serious". at any rate, it's hard for me to just "be" now without "getting something done". so today, i vascillated between enjoying the kids, and housework, and since a clean house wouldn't be "enough" (it's not clean, mind you, nowhere near clean in fact, but anyway...), i had to *do more. so, i finally got the freakin' bike and ugly curtains listed on craigslist (the curtains have been in the "sell" pile since, oh, 2003, and the bike since 2006...), and i re-organized my bookmarks (my recent blog addiction has made that rather complicated) and i took some photos... so despite my intermittant crabbiness, the referee-ing fights between the big kids, the feeling of leaking milk mixed with sweat on my unshowered body... it's been a "pretty good day". it will be even better if the bike and the curtains sell...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

noah's birth

Warning: This is a detailed account of the birth, and may contain ‘too much information” for many of you. Proceed only if you’re really that interested! :)

Noah’s birth was fast and furious and very surreal. I had been having contractions for a month and a half, so I had stopped thinking, This might be it, every time I felt them regularly. I was tired of waiting around, so I went into the office to get some stuff done. I worked on paperwork, and talked to Carolyn and Jen, glancing at my watch every 3 minutes or so as another contraction came on. They didn’t feel different than what I’d been having, so I didn’t think too much of it. Finally, I couldn’t really focus anymore, and said, “I think I’d better go home.” That was at 1:00. I considered running out to Target first, to return the chair slipcovers that didn’t fit and buy a new phone, but thought I’d better head home “just in case.” I came in and called Dan to come up. “I think, maybe, I could be in labor.” He started the process of checking out of work and filling the tub. At 1:15 I had a particularly crampy contraction and then went to the bathroom and had some bloody show. I called Jen, who was still hours away (returning from the beach) but thought she could be here by 9:00. Considering my previous labors, I thought that would probably be in plenty of time... ha!

I was walking around, bouncing on my feet, and “chi-gonging” my hands during contractions, then taking the time in between to get set up for hours of labor (getting the tub, the music ready, calling in my team, etc). People started to arrive: Julianne, Amanda, Amy, Tracy and Taryn. Levi and Mariah came running in with Ma, saw the tub, looked around with big eyes to be sure they hadn’t already missed baby’s arrival. Levi exclaimed breathlessly, “I’m so excited!” I talked to them a little in between contractions, reminded them about my “belly squeezes”, and warned them I wouldn’t be able to talk to them much when those happened. I tried to reassure them as best as I could that no matter what I sounded like, I’d be all right. Another contraction came and I had to stop talking, to wave my hands in front of me and walk away. There were a couple times I said to Dan, “they’re really close together... this is happening really fast...” but I still didn’t really believe I would have a fast labor. There was a series of problems with the tub. First, a leaky connector that was causing the precious hot water to drip too much-- but between duct tape and a bucket, Dan got that one solved and soon the tub was on its way to being filled with hot water. Then Tracy got here and noticed we had forgotten the liner. Mom got stressed, “Oh no! They’re already having problems with the water...” I held up my hands and snapped a bit. I didn’t want any mention of “problems”, any conflict. We need to drain it, it’s okay. That was my big mistake. We could have drained it into the bathtub so I could start out in there. Better yet, we could have just bought the tub and I could have climbed in it right then. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I still thought we had plenty of time.

I continued dancing around, sat on the toilet a bit, bounced on the birth ball-- then before I could even get the candles on the altar lit, I had to lay down on the bed. I desperately wanted to be in the tub. Tracy was in the bedroom with me, and we briefly talked about her checking me for dilation. We decided to do it between contractions, but there just wasn’t time. They were so close together and intensifying so quickly. and I called Dan in. He held my hand and put pressure on my sacrum. But he kept leaving the room, to go deal with the tub drama. I didn’t feel the intense connection we had during the other two births. We hadn’t gotten grounded yet. It was all happening too fast, and it was still too chaotic in the house. My contractions were quickly right on top of each other, and my low, calm, humming quickly got louder, higher, not-so-calm. There was so much pressure, so low, and oh-my-god that’s what everyone means by an “urge to push”-- I had never felt that before, and how on earth am I feeling it already? It was only about 3:30 at this point. I tried ignoring it, surpressing it-- I wasn’t ready yet, dammit. I wanted to be in the tub. It’s not supposed to be happening this way! I said to Tracy things like, “I’ve always wanted to speed it up, I never thought I’d want to slow it down,” and “I feel like I’m holding it back.” It felt like I was trying to squeeze my butt cheeks together, as if trying to hold back a huge dump when out in public and can’t get to the toilet fast enough. But there was no stopping it. “Is there any water in the tub?” I asked. They said there was about a foot, so I went to it, stripping off my clothes as I walked. I climbed in, expecting the comforting warmth, and instead was shocked because it was cold. Not lukewarm. Cold. But I got in anyway, and stayed. There was no turning back. I may as well get it over with. I pushed. I felt his head descend, and soon, with some screams and intense pain, it was out. It’s almost over. More contractions came. I continued to push. Baby still didn’t come. The mood turned serious. They started moving my leg, lifting it up, trying to keep his head out of the cold water. Then I felt Tracy’s entire hand inside me. I screamed “What are you doing to me???” My eyes were closed. I had no idea where anyone was. I couldn’t feel Dan. Julianne was at my head, holding my hand and telling me everything was okay (I know this only because she reminded me later). The pain was excruciating, unbearable, insane. I screamed and screamed and screamed some more and though the urge was gone and I wasn’t even feeling contractions, I knew I had to get the baby out. I took a deep breath and pushed with everything I had. Somehow, about 7 minutes after the head, the rest of the baby’s body finally emerged and someone behind me caught him. I couldn’t turn around, couldn’t move, couldn’t see. There was a tiny, sputtering cough and huge sighs of relief. I found a way to stand, so they could pass the baby between my legs in into my hands, and there was Dan next to me, and this slippery, not-exactly-pink, entire little person in my arms, covered in blood and meconium and I cried and shook and held him and kissed him and couldn’t believe he had come so quickly, and then so slowly. A boy. Noah. Just like I knew he would be.

I held him close in my left arm, and used my right hand to wash the blood and meconium away. He was pale, slippery, and so so soft. His tone wasn’t perfect, but he cried and nursed and got stronger and pinker by the second. Pretty soon, they said we couldn’t stay in the tub because it was too cold. I could barely stand up and couldn’t lift my leg over the side of the tub. Someone helped me brace myself and get my legs to work, and we made it into the bedroom. The kids were with us then and we all climbed in and started cuddling our new little lovebug. Our whole birth team came in and one of the midwives asked his name. I had to take a big breath to get past the huge lump in my throat (which was raw from screaming), and in a scratchy, slightly shaky voice I replied, “This is Noah Eric,” as I kissed him, and looked up to see the tears in Ma’s eyes.