Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Laboring with my child

I haven't been here in awhile. A very long while. September it seems. And funny enough, the title of my last blog post was "Silence is an interesting thing." Well, boy have I been silent. At least on the interwebs. I make no promises as to whether this will become a regular thing again--oh how I'd like for it to! But much gets in the way.

I decided to read Ann Voskamp's blog this morning before reading my Bible. I've read most of her book (darn those last few pages!), and I really enjoy her writing style as well as pretty much everything else I know of her. I'm sure she would find it funny if I told her I would really love to have her life. Anyway, all that to say, I'd like to be better about reading her blog and writing down my daily gifts. I find her words challenging. Ultimately, I'd like for my words to be challenging. But I think I have some things to walk through and hopefully overcome before that might happen.

I read these words in her post today, and I immediately thought of what happened this morning.

Why does no one tell you that once you start labor over a child, you'll never stop, and you always must remember to keep breathing?

Voskamp is what I would call a "seasoned mother," and while I'm sure this statement will ring true for the remainder of my child-raising years in more harrowing ways as Silas grows up and hopefully more children come along, it reminded me of last night/this morning with our little man who is only eight months into his life.

Normally we put Silas down around 6:30 p.m., and he wakes up around 6 a.m. Every so often we have a week where he decides 5 a.m. or thereabouts is better for him. Then we play the exhausting game of making him wait until 6. Exhausting because mommy can't go back to sleep while he determines if he can.

Once your child sleeps through the night you just sort of expect he'll continue to do so, and you feel terribly inconvenienced when he doesn't.

Last night he woke up at 10 and wouldn't be consoled by either parent or his monkey that plays soft music. I finally fed him in the hopes he would fall back asleep.

Since he can go 12 hours without eating, one would think he would be completely fine until at least 6 a.m. if not later. Apparently not. The cries began at 5 a.m. and didn't stop until close to 6. He finally went back to sleep just before I was going to rescue him, and he slept until after 7.

I'll admit I was terribly upset.

"Just make him go back to sleep, Lord!" I kept crying in my head. Mainly because I wanted to go back to sleep.

I definitely felt inconvenienced, but Voskamp's words reminded me this morning that things like this will continue to happen as long as I am around to be a mom. I will continue to labor over Silas--whether that be in his sleep schedule or something more major I don't want to ponder--for many more seasons.

I can't be inconvenienced because he is my child, given to me by God to care for as long as I am around to do so. I'll try to remember this and keep breathing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Silence is an interesting thing...

Quick humor/weird parenting thought for your day:

My very sweet cousin sent us a crib toy that lights up, plays music and makes rainforest sounds. We were really hoping it would help us with naps because Silas goes down fine at night, he just needs a little help earlier in the day.

Anywho, the first night it was hanging in his crib, he shimmied himself sideways and accidentally kicked it on at 3 a.m. I freaked, ran in and turned it off, instead of allowing it to soothe him back to sleep. Of course, he screamed and wouldn't go back to sleep without nursing. Fail.

From then on, we have tried to make sure the toy is in the off position when we put him down at night, or at least when we do the breathing check/admiration of his sleeping cuteness when we go to bed. Well, we failed again last night.

At 5 a.m. it went off. I stiffened in the bed listening for baby noises. It played for six minutes and turned off. He then kicked it on again! He did it once more, but then got very quiet. I was awake for all 18 minutes of this and then some. Andrew woke at the beginning and then slept through the rest.

The silence tends to make me crazy at times, like this morning. I kept thinking, "hmmm....maybe it lulled him back to sleep. Or maybe he got his head stuck in the rails and is quiet because he can't breathe!" See how parenting can drive you to insanity?! Of course the gaps aren't big enough for his head. And of course he would cry if he were hurt. But those thoughts are too rational for this momma!

However, did I ever go check on him to really see if anything bad had happened?

Nope. Because as much as I can drive myself crazy about irrational things happening to my child, the silence is generally attributed to sleeping or thinking about sleeping, and I NEVER want to wake my sleeping child or interrupt the process.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, August 24, 2012

"You were not called to that..."

Facebook is quite the double-edged sword, isn't it? On the one hand, you can catch up with old friends, keep up with the cuteness of nephews you haven't met yet and, as one of my FB friends recently told me in a message, intrude on others' lives (politely, of course!). But on the other hand, you can compare yourself to others (be it jobs, living situations, relationships, family life, etc.). I'm sure there are other negatives, but that's the big one I face.

While on Facebook earlier this week, I saw where a friend of a friend had a baby. The precious child was born with a condition that could be fatal, and after just over a week, that sweet girl did pass away. I proceeded to grab Silas, hold him and bawl over this situation. What's more, this friend had posted words the mother said--"She is where we all long to be." What faith this woman has!

Two thoughts immediately popped into my head. I thought, "How much would I love to have the faith and trust this mother has! God has done incredible things in her life." Then I thought, "I could never enter that situation and say those words." The second thought made me very sad, especially looking back on how long I've followed Jesus and the ups and downs He's walked me through.

Later that evening I was able to talk with my long distance best friend who knew more about passing of this baby. I shared with her my thoughts, and as always, she spoke truth and said, "But you're not in that situation." Very true. But what if I were to be one day? Could I do that?

The next morning I sat down to start an old Bible study over again. Before diving in I sat and prayed for several things going on in my family right now--job transitions, sick relatives, etc. I also prayed for this sweet family I've never met and only know through FB status updates. As I prayed about my reactions I distinctly felt God gently reminding me, "You were not called to that."

It's pretty much what my friend had said the night before. But this time I understood better.

At this point in my life I haven't been called to bury an infant. If I had, God would have equipped me with what I needed to walk through that. However, I was called to bury my mother just as I was exiting my teenage years. If I had known that would happen years before, I might have had the same reaction--I could never...

But I did. It still hurts, but God walked me through it and is still walking me through it. I have to trust that whatever the situation, no matter how hard and how gut-wrenching it could be, He'll be there with what I need.

Monday, July 30, 2012

(Nearly) three months and no tongue tie later...

When I thought about writing this post, the title was going to be "Two months and a tongue tie later." As you can see, I failed in my timing. We also got a diagnosis contrary to what I was somewhat expecting.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post detailing all that we've been through with breastfeeding. Toward the end I mentioned that a lactation consultant thought Little Man might have a tongue tie, but one that no surgeon might touch. The very next week our pediatrician agreed and told us to go see a specialist to find out if anything could be done.

If you haven't heard of a tongue tie, you aren't alone, though I bet you've heard the phrase "tongue-tied." If you want to know more or see pictures, google it, but it basically means there's a piece of tissue or something that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Unless clipped, it won't let the tongue move as freely, thus causing nursing problems as well as speech impediments.

Some babies have a posterior tongue tie that is harder to operate on, and since I had been told Silas's was not as pronounced I thought maybe this was the case. I knew he had a high palette (sign of a tongue tie) and he tends to lose suction, but his tongue does move out over his teeth, something that doesn't happen with most tongue tie cases.

I went into our appointment with the pediatric surgeon secretly hoping for a true tongue tie just because it would "solve" my nursing problems. (Me, looking for another solution, trying to control...story of my life!) The pain is pretty much gone now, but Little Man is still an inefficient feeder. He just takes so stinkin' long!

Well, that didn't happen. The surgeon said he doesn't see one at all, that Silas is perfectly fine. I know this is great--who wants their child to go through the agony of having something clipped in his mouth?--but it basically means that until Silas gets big enough to figure it out (or maybe never) he will just take his time.

And that has to be okay. I'm trying to remind myself that one day he won't let me hold him for 30 minutes several times a day. I also just have to organize things so that when he takes a long time to eat, I don't get stressed that we can't go here or do this, etc. And besides, he only eats five times a day now, so things are improving!

Now, funny/could have been not so fun story about our pediatric surgeon appointment. After waiting for 20-30 minutes, we were called back. Little Man was weighed, and we were put in a room. Just as the nurse was walking out of the door, the fire alarm goes off. This was not a normal fire alarm. It was SCREECHING, and for people with epilepsy, seizures would have ensued with the flashing lights.

No one moved at first, but finally the nurse tells me we have to evacuate. I get Silas in one arm, his car seat and bag in the other, and we walk down the stairs outside. We trekked across the parking lot because if this was a real fire I wasn't going to be standing just outside the front door with all the other inconvenienced people.

After several minutes, the fire department arrived. I could tell by the length of time nothing bad was actually happening. At least I hope if there had been a fire they would've responded more quickly. The building was checked, and we were allowed back in.

The entire time we were in the building with the insane screeching, Silas didn't make a peep. He was awake, and I did my best to shove one of his ears into my side while trying to put my arm (that was holding him) over the other ear. Apparently that was unnecessary because my son just looked around, frowning, knowing very well that this was taking more time out of our day than anticipated. Thankful for that, and I really hope his hearing wasn't harmed!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A few more thoughts...

Regardless of what I write--a blog post, a newspaper article, even a to do list--I almost always think of something I forgot soon after finishing. So these are a few extra thoughts on what I posted yesterday about breastfeeding.

I mentioned that I'm fighting to breastfeed. There are a couple areas in my life right now where I feel like I'm fighting for things actually, but this is the one related to Little Man (that's our most used nickname for Silas. We also use Crazy Arms and occasionally Grunty McGrunterson or Grunt, for short.)

Back in the midst of the worst part of my postpartum period, my pastor sent me a couple of links to blogs on the Desiring God site. They were related to the so-called Mommy Wars that are rampant in our culture, i.e. constant comparisons and tearing down of one another. Think breastfeeding vs. formula, working mom vs. stay at home mom. They gave me a lot to think about, and I ended up downloading the DG app so I could keep up with more of the blog posts. Turns out, these two posts were part of a series, the final installment more for pregnant women.

In the post, the author wrote about how, in a very small way, there is a connection between a pregnant woman and Christ. Christ gave His body, His life, for us. Pregnant women give up their body for nine-ish months to allow another tiny human to invade and grow. While I am in no way saying the two are equal in magnitude, both are sacrifices. Christ made the Ultimate Sacrifice, and when you're pregnant you are making the big sacrifice of giving up your body. There are also several smaller sacrifices related to diet, lifestyle, etc.

That got me thinking about breastfeeding. I realized that I was still sacrificing my body in order to feed my child. Again, not on the same scale as Christ in any way, but it encouraged me to keep going. It felt good to realize I was making a sacrifice for my child at a time when I desperately wanted a sense of normalcy that just can't be established with a newborn.

So as nursing became even more difficult with setback after setback, I realized this whole thing was going to be a battle. And I decided I would fight that battle, one to two weeks at a time. Yes, ultimately I have a goal of how long I'd like to breastfeed, but it's too far in the future. To stay sane, I just look ahead one or two weeks.

Now, I definitely realize that formula is not the devil and a very good option for babies. I was formula-fed for crying out loud, and I think I turned out pretty well :) But I'm also pretty stubborn and want to give this my all before trying something else. The other night I was talking with Andrew about this whole thing and about how hard it is to keep fighting to feed Silas in this manner. I know I'm not the only mom who feels like her child's nutrition is dependent on her.

Andrew then lovingly reminded me that Little Man's survival is not dependent on me, that if I stop breastfeeding tomorrow, he won't starve to death. And deep down I do know this, I really do. But I think one reason I want to keep trying is because of the connection that has been created between us. I'm not talking about the lovey-dovey bond that some moms gush about when they think about how much they love breastfeeding their child. I didn't start out breastfeeding for the bond; I started because it's cheap. That's the honest truth.

The connection I'm thinking of has more to do with establishing a love for my child through the sacrifice. Contrary to what I thought would happen, I did not immediately fall in love with my child from the moment I saw him. And I know I'm not the only one. I loved him, yes, but I wasn't head over heels. I was probably too panicked to really get there early on. As many of my friends kept telling me, I was in survival mode those first few weeks.

I say contrary to what I thought, because if you know me well, you know that I love children and have spent a pretty good part of my life hanging out with them. I started babysitting at 12, changing diapers well before that, so on and so forth. Last year I even picked up a crying baby out of a buggy at Walmart because his mom and grandmom were dividing up the groceries and couldn't get to him. It just seemed natural that I would fall in love with my newborn baby and love being a mom.

That wasn't the case.

Two months in, I can now say that I am falling in love with my child, more so every day. And through so many things not related to nursing. But in working to overcome so many obstacles, I did create a connection with my baby that I think helped me in those days where I thought, "What the heck did I do? I had a baby?!"

One final thought: when I go play a tennis match in my head over whether I'm producing enough and if I don't pump now will that kill my supply, etc. etc., I try to remind myself that ultimately, God is in control. When someone tells me to try this pill or that method and stress seeps in, I have to remember that if I'm supposed to keep doing this, God will provide the supply...regardless of what I'm taking or if I remembered to do such and such.

And here ends my random thoughts I forgot to include yesterday. Congrats if you stuck with them to the end!

Monday, July 2, 2012

My battle (thus far) to breastfeed

News flash: Delivering a baby is NOT the hardest thing about having a baby...even if you do it sans drugs. And neither is breastfeeding, though the purpose of this post is to complain talk about the troubles Silas and I have had so far. (What is the hardest thing about having a baby? I'm gonna go with the actual parenting part, but more on that and my panic attacks regarding it in future posts.)

While I didn't think nursing would be an easy thing--I knew it would be painful in the beginning--I didn't realize how much stress and frustration it could cause a person. Sure, I've had friends and relatives who've had the occasional case of mastitis, and I've had friends who've made every effort to pump/supplement/nurse to overcome production issues and nourish slow-gaining babies. Because of that knowledge I always said I would try to breastfeed, acknowledging it might not work out for whatever reason.

However, I never imagined my first opportunity to try and feed my child the "natural" way would go the way it has.

From the very beginning the information I received was confusing.

"Your baby hasn't eaten in 24 hours? That's wrong!" -- hospital pediatricians

"Don't worry that your baby hasn't eaten since after the delivery. Not eating in the first 24 hours is just fine; he was nourished by the placenta up until he came out." -- the lactation specialists in the hospital

Like many babies, Silas was a sleepy eater. And like many babies, Silas lost weight in the first days of his life. But he lost more than the pediatricians wanted, so that meant it was time to supplement. The culprit? Possibly slow milk production.

Silas was born on a Thursday night, and we left the hospital Sunday morning. That week we had three visits to the pediatrician and one visit to the free lactation support time at our pediatrician's office. On Monday, Silas was still losing. On Tuesday, he held steady. I was told to pump and use this tube feeder apparatus to supplement after every feeding. On Wednesday, I was given a list of things to try to increase my milk production, including an herbal supplement that would increase prolactin (milk-producing hormone) as well as mammary tissue. On Thursday, we rested. On Friday, we were back at the pediatrician.

At our third visit to the doc, Silas still wasn't on track with his weight. The plan we were given was to continue pumping and supplementing, do a weight check at lactation the following Wednesday and come back the following Friday. (By this time we had replaced the tube feeder with one we could tape to our finger. The tube had a sharp end, and the supplemental nursing system (SNS) worked so much better. It did take forever though...) We were told to supplement after every other feeding.

Maybe it was my panic over the fact that I was now responsible for a human, or maybe it was the stress of pumping, nursing and supplementing--okay all of the above--but I couldn't bear to continue that for another week. I broke down crying and asked about formula.

The new plan: stop pumping and supplement with formula in a bottle. No more stressful pumping sessions, no more worrying over not getting anything while pumping and no more slow supplement gadgets. Before I could even think about "nipple confusion" the doctor said he didn't believe in it. Thankfully things worked out, and Silas never had trouble switching back and forth.

Over the next couple of weeks things got better (still painful, but better). The herbal supplement really seemed to do the trick because I was producing well enough to not need to supplement most of the time. We really only used formula when I needed to get out of the house, we had a sitter and not enough pumped milk or during some "growth spurt feedings" that lasted 45 minutes to an hour and caused me lots and lots of pain. (As of today, Silas hasn't had formula in over two weeks.)

Then BAM. Mastitis. Fever, chills, flu-like aches. And a clogged milk duct. Yippee. I went to the midwife and started on an antibiotic. Three days later I was in the same place. New antibiotic. Finally, relief and things were looking up...or were they? The clogged duct never went away, and I was sent for a breast ultrasound and a visit to a breast surgeon. Instead of draining it, we waited, and it started to dry up on its own.

While at the surgeon's office I asked about another spot I was worried about. It didn't feel like a plugged duct, and due to my family's ridiculous history with breast and ovarian cancer, I wanted an expert opinion. And apparently another ultrasound. At least it came back as "nothing suspicious."

During the next couple of weeks I started taking another herb to try and prevent clogged ducts, along with a probiotic. I haven't done the math, but all of the herbs and prescriptions kept me digging into my wallet quite often.

This brings us up to June 16. I'll spare the details, but I was hit (and rather quickly, I might add) with another case of mastitis. I got on antibiotics again and was better in two or three days. The end, right?

Unfortunately not.

Last Tuesday I was doing some reading about breastfeeding and pain. Apparently, by now I shouldn't be experiencing any pain. So why was I? I headed back to the lactation support time the next morning. It seemed that Silas might have a tongue tie, meaning his tongue was anchored by tissue and couldn't function in a way to nurse efficiently. This would explain the pain I was having and why he still took at least 30 minutes to feed every time. However, it could also be something entirely different.

Not wanting to wait another week for his two-month appointment, last Thursday I went to see a lactation specialist at the hospital where I gave birth. I learned Silas probably does have a tongue tie, but not one that a surgeon would be willing to take on more than likely. (The tissue is clipped, allowing the tongue to move more freely.) Another dead end...with a possible dirt path to the side.

Apparently, the specialist felt like I might have yeast (yes, it seems you can have a yeast infection in the nursing area, too.) So, Silas and I are both being treated for yeast since we can pass it back and forth. More than just pills, creams and droppers of medicine, I have to boil anything that goes in his mouth and wash anything that touches my chest in hot water. And hang it in the sun to dry (sun=natural yeast killer). Yes, I am that girl who is hanging my bras on a clothesline. I'd also like to hang a sign that says "Mom killing bad stuff in order to continue breastfeeding. Please look the other way for a couple of weeks."

And that's where we are. Whew.

I'm giving the yeast treatment two weeks, and on Thursday I'll have Silas's pediatrician check out this probable tongue tie that possibly no surgeon will touch even if we want to. Oh, and I was told to stop pumping and building my freezer supply. And that if it turns out to be yeast, I will need to throw out all of the milk pumped while I was in pain. Oh the agony!

I'm well aware that we can switch to formula at any time. But if you stuck with this insanely long post, you may realize we've spent a lot of time and money to try to continue to breastfeed. For that reason alone I've decided to keep fighting for this.

...though if something else strikes, I may reevaluate.

So for my pregnant friends and those who aren't, breastfeeding is tough. Tougher than society lets on. And tougher than your mom remembers. It's definitely been a battle for this new mommy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The long-awaited birth story

Silas Finn Holloway was born at 9:56 p.m. on May 3. He weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. Here, finally, are the details of his birth. (p.s. I really wanted to post this weeks ago, however, subsequent posts may provide reasons for why this has taken so long! p.p.s. "gross" things may be discussed...it is a birth story after all. I warned you.)

It all began around 3 a.m. on Thursday, May 3. I woke up to some cramping that lasted until around 4:30 a.m., but I dismissed it as pretty normal. I'd been having some cramps off and on throughout the pregnancy, and while I noticed them more so the week before, I knew they could be an early sign of labor but not an imminent sign.

[Side note: I also had some nausea, another early sign of labor, the last week in April. And three days before Silas' arrival I started using evening primrose oil as suggested by my midwife to "ripen the cervix." Not sure if that's why Silas came soon after, but I'll definitely keep it in mind for any future children!] 

Back to May 3. I got up to start my day around 5:30 because I was going to watch my friend Erica's daughter, Adeline, for the day. It was at that time I noticed blood, which generally means the mucus plug has broken or is beginning to break up. I yelled for Andrew...though I'm not sure why. As he stumbled to the door, I spilled out what had happened and asked if I should call the midwife, basically knowing I would anyway. He agreed and went right back to bed.

While continuing to get ready to babysit, I spoke with one of my midwives who said to just watch things for the day, look for patterns and call if my water broke. Because I tested positive for strep B, I needed to come in pretty soon after my water broke, even if labor hadn't started, to get antibiotics.

I then headed out to Erica's. Once there I told her I was putting her on notice that I might go into labor while at her house so she might need to come home early. She left at 6:30, and I took to the couch. Around that time I started noticing more cramping, and they did seem to be patterned. I had already texted both of my doulas to let them know things might be happening, but sometime after 8 I decided to call Lisa. I told her that I was having low abdominal cramps every 4.5 minutes or so that lasted for about 40 seconds each. I really wanted to know if she thought I should go home in the event things began progressing quickly. We decided it might be a good idea.

Probably around 9 I called Erica to come home, which she did soon after. I actually never saw her daughter because Adeline slept late that morning. I got home around 10 and took to my couch. Andrew came home from work around 11:30 and headed back out to get us lunch. I didn't know it at that point, but Panera would be the last thing I would eat before our son was born.

We both hung out for the afternoon while I watched episode after episode of Gilmore Girls. Around 2 I started timing things again...still truly believing I was having cramps, not contractions. The pain was still really low, and I knew most contractions are felt all over. I was warned, however, that anything patterned could mean labor is happening. Around 3, after talking to Lisa again, I decided to call the midwifery office before they left for the day. My "cramps" were coming every 3-5 minutes and lasting for at least 60 seconds. I talked to Annie the midwife (I also had a doula named Annie) who told me to come in for a check since I was strep B positive. I think if I had been negative I would've been told to stay put because I wasn't terribly uncomfortable.

We got to the hospital at 4, and apparently Annie the midwife saw us in the parking lot and was coming to meet us. On her way, she was pulled into a delivery. Annie the doula had also come to meet us to find out if we would be admitted or sent home. So Annie the doula, Andrew and I were put in a room where I was strapped to a fetal monitor and another monitor and told to sit tight, Annie the midwife would be in soon.

Two hours later Annie the midwife showed up. During that two hours, I got really uncomfortable with things strapped to me. We were able to get me unstrapped so I could sit in a rocking chair. Still somewhat unknown to me (again, thinking I'm having cramps) I was beginning active labor. By the time Annie the midwife got to my room I was dilated 4 centimeters, and my water had broken. Not really sure when that happened, but I'm guessing it was a slow leak.

She decided to keep me and start the antibiotics. This was around 6 p.m. The birthing room with the tub was available, so we all moved there and called Lisa to come. Everything that happened between 6 and 9 is somewhat of a blur. This is a summary of what I recall: rocking in a rocking chair until the tub was full, sitting in the tub which relieved my back labor, being taken out of the tub to labor again in the rocking chair. Oh, and I threw up six times during that period.

The room was pretty silent during that three hours. Apparently Andrew left the room to eat dinner, and I never even knew he was gone. The room was dimly lit, and I had my eyes closed most of the time. It took all of my mental focus to stay on top of each contraction, breathing deeply and occasionally repeating, "You can do this. You can do this."

I do remember Annie the doula breathed through nearly every contraction with me, and I alternated squeezing her hand, Lisa's hand and Andrew's hand. Andrew said he noticed my squeezing was much stronger as the night went on...eventually even a little painful! Besides repeating my mantra, the only words I recall being spoken were "water" and "ice."

Around 9 p.m. I remember looking at Lisa and asking what was going to happen next. She told me later that was the moment she knew I was ready to deliver because it was the first negative thing I had said all night. I got back in the tub and told Annie the midwife I thought I might be ready to push. The time had come, and what I had heard would happen in a natural birth did--my body knew it was time!

Annie the midwife checked to see if I was indeed dilated far enough, and she said something to the effect of, "When you're ready, give it a shot!" It took me a few contractions to get the hang of pushing--I initially tried to keep breathing through the contraction and push at the same time. That is a terrible idea, and one that my midwife corrected pretty quickly. Once I figured it out things went pretty smoothly. I got 3-4 pushes in per contraction, and soon after I began pushing I felt burning. From my reading I knew that meant the head had come down.

They told me to reach down and feel it, which scared the heck out of me. I finally did it, and rather than feeling a round circle, I only felt a sliver. That disappointed me because I thought I would feel more than I did. I kept going though, and eventually Annie the midwife told me to take a break. Shortly after that I started pushing again, and Silas came out!

We, of course, didn't know he was a he at that point. I held this gray, squirmy little thing to my chest and kept looking at Andrew. I couldn't decide if I wanted to cry, laugh or catch my breath from all the pushing and guttural-type noises I had been making. (My throat was sore for a day from throwing up and the noises made while pushing.) I then remembered we had no idea what our baby was.

I asked Andrew if he knew--nope. I asked Annie the midwife what we'd had, and she didn't know either! She hadn't looked. Andrew told me weeks before that he didn't want to be the one to tell me in case he messed up, so I asked Annie to check. Yep, we'd had a boy! Andrew and I were a little in shock since we really felt like we were having a girl. So in shock that Andrew had to take a minute to remember the name we'd chosen, and he had forgotten the middle name completely.

The hard part was over, but we weren't done yet. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, Annie the midwife helped Andrew cut it. She and Lisa then helped me out of the tub and onto a hospital bed so I could deliver the placenta and have my tear repaired.

The rest of the night consisted of playing with the placenta (Andrew), nursing (Silas) and talking a whole bunch (me). Apparently all the adrenaline from getting through the birth woke me up, and I talked until at least midnight. By then we were in our room for the weekend, complete with double bed!

I'm extremely thankful everything went well and we had a drug-free, intervention-free (minus the antibiotics for strep B) delivery. Things moved so quickly that night that we had to stay an extra day for  Silas to be monitored because he came just shy of four hours after I was given penicillin. The hospital pediatricians like moms to get at least two doses, but Silas came too soon for that.

Our doulas commented that they never even got into their "doula bags." I had every intention of trying several different ways to labor--hands and knees (using Lisa's newly-purchased garden pads), the rebozo, the birth ball, music, on and on. But active labor came on so fast, and I could barely move. Getting up to go to the bathroom or to the birthing tub took everything I had, so I preferred to sit very still, leaning back, to get through each contraction.

One final thing I'll say about that night, and then we'll call it quits for this lengthy post. I'm so glad we hired a doula (and ended up with two!) and went with a midwife. Lisa and Annie the doula prepared us so well and were great that night, and Annie the midwife was fantastic. She never even left the room during the entire laboring process! Again, so grateful for the ways things went...all by the grace of God.

I'll post more pictures from that night (well, the G-rated ones, which are mainly of Silas...I did give birth in a tub after all), but here are a few of baby Silas in those first days at the hospital:

Soon after being born

 after Friday night's bath

 my dad with Silas
yay for scratch mittens!

leaving the hospital Sunday

me with Lisa and Annie after Silas was born