Olive’s Birth Story

On Sunday, October 9th, I was 40 weeks + 2, and I had been experiencing what I thought were strong Braxton Hicks contractions for most of the day.  I was also a little extra tired, so David thought it best that I try to get some rest in the afternoon, just incase we were in for a long night (needless to say his intuition was bang on!). He spent most of the day with River so that I could relax and take it easy.

Around 5:00pm, I realized we needed some groceries, especially if I was to make dinner, and so I asked David if I might be able to go to the store on my own (I thought it would be a little tough with River, especially if the contractions got stronger). At the store I had some more that I had to breathe through, but nothing I couldn’t easily handle. I came home and got to making dinner.

I had to get down on my hands and knees to breathe a few times during dinner making. I was curious if the pain meant anything, since they were fairly sporadic and not yet too long or strong. As soon as dinner was finished I told David I needed to take a bath to see if it would get things going or slow them down.

It was just after 7:00pm when I got into the bath, and I started having anxiety because I realized I hadn’t felt the baby move all day (at least to my memory). I only had one contraction while in the water, and only one strong movement from baby, maybe in a 15 minute span. For whatever reason this didn’t sit well with me, so I got out of the bath and decided to lay down on the bed, after telling David that things weren’t picking up so I didn’t think I was in labour.

By the time I laid down, it was just after 8:00pm, and I decided to start timing my contractions (which still weren’t at all unbearable) to see if there was any kind of pattern. David had brought River up to bed (same room I was in) and he was jumping all over me. I texted my mom to give her a heads up, that I didn’t think I was in labour yet, but it could potentially be a midnight call. She would be driving 45 minutes to come and stay with River when labour started.

The contractions seemed to be a minute long each (much to my surprise, they felt more like 30 seconds each!), but anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes apart. So nothing alarming.

Come 9:00pm — I had the strongest contraction yet, and I felt a little ‘pop’. I told David that I thought my water might have broken, so I stood up and made my way to the washroom. There was a little bit of leaking but no dramatic gush of any kind. I sat on the toilet just incase, and called my doula to let her know what was going on. When I stood up there was fresh blood in the toilet, which surprised me (I didn’t know that was normal when your water breaks, they broke my waters in the hospital when I was labouring with River!). I quickly called my midwife as well and updated her. Thankfully I was GBS negative so there was no need for me to go into the hospital quickly for antibiotics.  She and I agreed I would call her back if things picked up and/or when my mom arrived to care for my son.

Well from that point on things progressed very quickly. I had my doula Lyndsey on the phone with me the whole time, she was timing my contractions for me and also helping me to completely relax between contractions, so that my body could be better ready for the next one. They weren’t horrible yet, but they were coming quickly enough that I couldn’t get much done between them. I wanted to do my hair and put on a little makeup, but alas, a completely disheveled mom bun was all I could muster!

David had to text my mom to see where she was, because I wasn’t sure at this point if we were going to be able to stay home much longer. I was feeling some lower pressure and knew I needed to get to the hospital asap. We had called my midwife again and she was on route to meet us there.

As soon as my mom walked in, we were ready to leave. River hadn’t fallen asleep yet, and he was not pleased that we were leaving so abruptly. This is one reason why I wish we could’ve delivered at home! I wanted him to be with us. David quickly brought him downstairs and he held onto me through a couple contractions, with tears in his eyes. I told him that it was time for me to push the baby out at the hospital (we had talked about this ahead of time). I gave him one last kiss and we were out the door. It was nearing 10:00pm.

Our hospital was only 3 minutes away, so we arrived quickly. We had to park and walk through a walkway to get to L&D, not without a few strong contractions of course. Thankfully I was still able to laugh between them, because the amount of yelling I was doing was humorous!

The nurses heard us coming and brought me a wheelchair. Doula Lyndsey was there to greet us, and we soon were in the delivery room with my midwife Katie. That low pressure arrived again with a contraction and we thought I may be ready to push! Katie checked for dilation and didn’t tell me how far along I was, but just that I was actually not ready yet. After a minute I halfheartedly asked her how far along I was, knowing I could be disappointed. I was only 5cm, which definitely wasn’t as far as I’d hoped! She reminded me that I could go from a 5 to a 10 in no time at all, so not to be discouraged. She suggested we make our way to the tub to continue my labour in.

The tub was big and warm, incredibly soothing. Things were still manageable, and the low pressure had subsided for now. Lyndsey was so helpful and encouraging, constantly reminding me to relax every muscle in my body between contractions so that I could have more energy for the pain. She would take a cloth and touch points on my face that I needed to relax. David was of course just as supportive with his calm presence.

I went from labouring on my hands and knees, to on my back, then hands and knees again, because I was beginning to have back labour. My midwife offered me some sterile water injections, to which I strongly refused (I may have even used the F word in my response, in jest of course!) — the memory of having them with River was strong enough to remind me to never have them again! So Lyndsey went to work on compressing my hips during the pain which really helped.

Things were becoming quite strong and painful, and I was extremely vocal. Being loud was necessary, it helped my body cope.

Katie checked me again when I said I really felt like I need to go #2, and she said we were very close and helped me get out of the tub and into a wheelchair, so we could fly back to the delivery room. I think this was around midnight.

David and Lyndsey quickly assisted me to the bathroom, I had a contraction, and was able to empty my bowels :) I crawled from the washroom to the delivery bed, I was in a considerable  amount of pain and everything was hazy. It had been maybe 5 minutes since we left the tub at this point. I turned onto my back, Katie checked me one last time, and with the next contractions I was screaming loud and dramatically in pain. Katie assertively told me my baby was coming, and told me to bring my hands down and push into my hands. I was shocked to feel my babies head already partially out! Katie said, “One more push for the face!”, and after another push her head was fully out. One more contraction and the rest of her body was delivered. Katie helped me bring my sweet baby to my chest, covered in vernix, and crying a tiny baby cry. We rubbed her to pink her up a bit and within seconds she gave us a strong cry. I ecstatically cried out (still in shock), “I did it! I did it!”, and asked David what it was — we were shocked to learn we had a baby girl!

Everything afterwards was almost as painful as labour. I needed two stitches, which I got some freezing for. The afterpains were horrible, to the point I nearly vomited. I think delivering the placenta has to be one of the worst parts, since you just pushed a baby out and you can’t fathom anything else coming through there!

She nursed well almost instantly, and was latched on for nearly an hour. It wasn’t until and hour and a half after birth that my midwife suggested we do the newborn assessment (weight etc). We all guessed she’d be around 7.5 lbs, considering my first was 8lbs 4oz — another shock to learn she weighed in at 6lbs 15oz!

We left the hospital three hours after her birth. I was anxious to get home, knowing we’d be much more comfortable there, and so that we could be there when River woke up. 

I was so so thankful to have achieved my goal of a drug free birth. I was determined to go drug free this time, so that I could remain mobile during labour and have my pelvis & baby in the optimum birth position, to avoid a shoulder dystocia like I had with River. I prepared my pregnant body with prenatal chiropractic, spinning babies exercises, and hiring a doula. I absolutely credit these things in helping me have a much quicker, and smoother labour than I did with my first. I had hoped for a quick labour, but didn’t expect it to be THIS quick!

A three hour labour, with only 3 minutes of pushing, and our little Olive Catarina was born on Thanksgiving Monday. We are all enamoured with her, and so thankful for her safe arrival!

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Taken at 5pm, 4 hours before my water broke.
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Relaxing in between contractions in the tub at the hospital

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Olive’s beautiful life source
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Our first latch!

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Olives birth record, proof of my three minute pushing phase!
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Ready to go home!
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River sharing his cars with her.

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Olive’s Birth Story

Hola.

Well, its been exactly 1 year and 7 months since I have posted on this blog!  Needless to say, life has gotten quite busy since River came along. I also returned to work last May (I can’t believe it has almost been a year already!), which of course takes up that much more of my free time!

However, we were fortunate enough to escape to the Mayan Riviera this past December as a family of 3. We took a lot of photos, and as I’m cleaning out an old computer, I thought I should make use of the images and finally post them somewhere!

Mexico with a 19 month old was interesting to say the least. Not yet too confident in waist deep water, yet utterly intrigued with it, we had to stay a safe distance from the pool — so we claimed the same spot at the beach each day after breakfast. It was great to be all together and in a warm environment (we didn’t get much family time this past summer due to two busy/opposite scheduled parents!), but we do wish we would’ve had more family or friends to pass River off to now and again — so we could at the very least, have a break together :)

Without further adieu, please enjoy these images from our vacation!

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Hola.

Thankful.

One of my favourite things is when David takes pictures of us.  But especially in pretty sunlight.  But especially when babywearing!  I am so thankful to have this time in our lives documented.  I will be so happy to be able to look back on these photos with River when he’s older, and hopefully encourage him to snuggle his own babies just as close.

We took these photos at Webster’s Falls in Hamilton, on our 2 year anniversary.  It was beyond beautiful outside, in fact the weather reminded me of the day we got married — warm in the sun, cool in the shade, with a slight chill in the evening that made you want to snuggle.

This was such a special anniversary, now that we have River to share it with!

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Even River got a little hungry on our walk — so obviously I needed a picture of us breastfeeding in the great outdoors!!

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Thankful.

Last weekend we were blessed with some time at a friends cottage just outside of Huntsville. Fall is my absolute favourite season, and I was so excited to start it off in one of the most beautiful places!

It was a balmy 10c pretty much the whole weekend, with rain on Saturday, but it didn’t really matter because that meant comfy sweaters & cozying up by the fire. Not to mention our company was the best you could ask for!

There were 5 couples in total, all mamas & papas, with us being the last to the parent party. This was the third year we’ve spent time at one of their cottages, and each year I leave feeling so happy & thankful we’re friends with these people. It would be hard to find another group of mamas who are as fun, loving, accepting, genuine, generous & non-judgemental as these ones. Their husbands are pretty great too ;)

River isn’t doing too well with being held by anyone other than me or daddy, except for this weekend — he obviously loves them as much as I do!

The babes that were in attendance were all born within the same 10 month period, with River being the youngest (but not the smallest!). We can’t wait to watch them grow up together & see all the trouble they’ll get into!

In my last post I promised I’d post again after his 4 month check up. He weighed in at exactly 18lbs, which is appropriate for being 18 weeks! He has more than doubled his birth weight, and is in the 97th percentile for height. He’s currently wearing 6-12 month clothes, & is mostly too long for his sleepers. He has big feet too, wearing a size 4 (12-18m). He’s just a big guy! I can imagine our second baby will be super small and throw me for a complete loop, like babies are supposed to do!

He’s still not rolling over, well, he rolled 5 times at 15 weeks, then once last week, but has decided not to anymore.  He looooves to bounce though! His favourite thing is the excersaucer — he can hang out and bounce in it for an hour at a time (which helps when I need to make a meal!).  As long as he can see me, he has a pretty great time :)

Last night, we had our very first outing without him.  We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, and we thought it was an appropriate time to try.  He still doesn’t take a bottle, so obviously that was/is my main concern about leaving him.  I know he can go awhile before getting too hungry, but in the evening hours he can get pretty fussy when he’s not in mommy’s or daddy’s arms, sometimes to the point of crying really hard (if someone else is holding him).  I fed him right before we left, and put him into the stroller with a cuddly blanket.  Off they went, and so off we went too.  We had an amazing dinner at Ancaster Mill, and I only talked about River a couple of times :)  We were gone exactly 2 hours — he was crying when we arrived home, but my mom said he had just started probably 10 minutes beforehand.  I’ll admit it was pretty hard leaving him. I suppose it’ll get easier with time, or maybe when he finally starts taking a bottle!

Anyway, enough rambling, here are some of my favourite pictures from our cottage weekend!!

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I actually just forgot how many weeks exactly River is now! I had to look it up on a calendar… And he’ll be 18 weeks this Tuesday…

4 months old. 4 months?? Everyone of course always tells you how fast they grow, and you try your best to ignore it and deny the truth — but it’s too darn true :(. It’s because they change SO much, in SO little time. I often find myself looking back at his newborn photos and videos almost forgetting what it’s like to hold my precious newborn in my arms.

Remember in one of my last posts how I said River was sleeping through the night and I knew how quickly things could change? Well they did change, and for the past week or so he’s been up every 2 – 3 hrs at night to nurse. Interestingly enough, they call this the 4 month sleep regression — good timing on Rivers part I guess!

My Wonder Weeks book mostly predicted this (amazing book for learning about their neurological development and why certain behaviours, ie fussiness or sleep regression, may be more prevalent in this week vs that week) as well as the fact that he is interested in absolutely every little thing going on around him during the day, so he doesn’t nurse very well! I usually have to take him to a quiet room, but the other day at a birthday party I had to use their bed to nurse him laying down in order to get him to really be calm enough to get a good feed! This lack of feeding during the day makes sense that he’d be waking up hungry at night!

He is also starting to cry more (funny enough I don’t mind as it’s a sign of growth & development!), but it’s still only been a couple of times that he wasn’t easily calmed. I’m learning that when we go out, or visit family/friends, I need to keep him close for a little while so he can take in his surroundings and observe, before I pass him around. He loves people, and had the greatest time with his auntie Elisabeth at a party the other day, but last night he wailed after his Opa held him for a mere 2 minutes. He wasn’t calming well until I nursed him, and then he would start crying as soon as I walked back to the table where the family was sitting (lol!). I hadn’t let him observe his surroundings before passing him off for some family love, so hopefully this theory works well in the future! He is so so loved by his family and I want them to enjoy his snuggles too :)

Also we are starting our first mom & baby class this week! It’s just a simple singing & rhyming class for an hour each Tuesday, but I’m very much looking forward to having another reason for us to get out and also a chance to meet some local moms. In another few weeks we’ll be starting an infant massage class, and then hopefully swimming lessons! The thought of three classes a week actually makes me feel SUPER busy… When in reality I’m not :)

He has his 4 month well baby check up in a week, as well as a naturopath appointment — I can’t wait to see how much he weighs!! He hasn’t been weighed since 7 weeks, when he was 13.8 — my guess is 18-20lbs!! I swear he wakes up heavier every morning!

Oh have I said yet how excited I am for fall to be upon us?? Ahhh it is my FAVOURITE time of the year!! We had a pretty mild summer, but I am still so looking forward to the cooler weather, and warm coloured leaves!! It also means prime time baby wearing weather!! No more taking baby out of the carrier and having to figure out if the wet spot on my belly is either pee or sweat :) (**disclaimer, I always practise safe babywearing in hot temperatures — he’s usually only in a diaper, wearing a hat, and we walk in the shade!).

Well I should wrap things up… It’s 5am and my baby fell back asleep and I should be too!

I will check back after next weekend with Rivers official weigh in!! (Also we are trekking a few hours north to cottage country this weekend with our favourite group of people, so obviously lots of pictures will be taken & shared!!)

For now I will leave you with a screen shot from when River was a chunky little one month old… And mommy was a chunky one month postpartum :)

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Today it kind of hit me, how much I love my son, how much my heart literally overflows with love for him.

Not that it wasn’t love at first sight, or that I haven’t loved him every minute of his life, but for some reason today I felt my heart flutter, and an excitement came over me that I hadn’t noticed before.

Him and I have been spending a lot of time together lately, just ourselves.  David has been working out of country for the past week, and was only back for one night before taking off again for another 48 hours.  This means that River and I share our king size bed at night, and are attached at the hip all day.

Before River was born, I knew how I wanted to parent him, and I knew I’d want to keep him as close as possible.  I got three carriers to wear him in, and I’ve been doing so since he was 4 days old (I’ve got two more on top of the first three to add to my baby wearing collection!).  I am so thankful to have had this revelation before he arrived.  Wearing him is my absolute favourite thing to do, that is, after breastfeeding & napping with him.

His little personality is starting to shine through, and he is most definitely a silly little boy!  He inherits that from his daddy.  Giggling, cooing, gurgling, even joyful yelling is a common part of our day to day.  Often, after nursing, he’ll be cradled in my arms and will look up at me, smile, and we’ll have a conversation.  Mostly consisting of his “ah-goo” ‘s & my “I love you” ‘s.  My heart swoons.

Right now, he’s very much a mama’s boy.  He’s growing, and has learned that other people are not his mama, and within 30 seconds of being away from me he’ll start crying.  I’m pretty sure this is just during fussy hour though, and he’s still a big fan of daddy which helps when I need that extra hour of sleep in the morning :)

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for my husband.

Having a baby is a huge transition, and a pretty big learning curve too.  David and I have had our ups and downs, and I’m sure we will continue to do so.  I have to remember that our marriage is the foundation for our family, and should always come first.

The love I have for David seems to come from a different place than the love I have for River.  Though all my love comes from my heart, my love for David stems from my admiration and respect for him.  I’ve recently had the revelation of seeing him as our protector, & that thought also makes my heart swoon :)

Tonight I meant to make myself dinner after River had gone down for a nap, but by the time I got around to it, River woke up crying and from then on would not be happy not in my arms or nursing.  I had gotten very tired, and was starving, and selfishly I messaged David my problems (knowing that there probably wasn’t much he could do since he was away working).  He simply messaged me, “On it’, and about 20 minutes later, one of his friends showed up with my favourite pita from pita pit.  They stayed for a short visit, which was oh so needed after two days of zero adult time.  And that is why I see David as our protector.

He makes it easier for me to be able to parent & give love to River as is needed, keeps me healthy, keeps me sane.  His love for me helps our family grow.

 

 

 

 

12 weeks Post Partum.

I’ve had a few friends bring up the, ‘Why haven’t you blogged lately?’ question, so I thought I’d oblige them!

Here we are, 12 weeks into the life of my beautiful boy. Watching him grow, change & learn new skills has already been so rewarding!

His first smile, around 6 weeks or so, brought me the the affirmation that I was needing as a tired new mum. “My baby is happy, and he loves me!”.

No one tells you that for the first while, you can start to feel like a frumpy 24/7 feeding trough, who does nothing but laundry, diaper changes and wakes in the wee hours of the morning. Having the appreciation come from your baby in the simple form of a smile, is such a welcoming sight!

I have to admit, from what I’m learning/hearing from other moms, we were blessed with a pretty easy going babe. He gained a lot of weight very easily early on, we had breastfeeding down pat/pain free within a week, and he really only cried during a diaper change here & there. For the past week and a bit, he’s been sleeping minimum 6, maximum 9 hrs through the night. Needless to say, I’m taking full advantage of the sleep now, because I’m aware at how quickly things can change!!

My biggest struggle through all of this so far is my post-partum body. I gained upwards of 50lbs during my pregnancy, and most of it in my belly. That’s clearly evident now, as it seems a lot if that weight decided to stay in my belly :) I’m still 20lbs away from pre-pregnancy weight, and I’m sure it will take a lot more work/time to see any of it leave! & since I’m exclusively breastfeeding, dieting is not an option (& probably not a good idea anyway for a girl who used to have an eating disorder).

I actually had a lot more typed out regarding my ‘post-partum body problems’. I had to delete it, when I thought of how if that’s all I have to complain about, I’m doing pretty darn good. Especially when I remember other moms I know of, struggling much more than I am.

I often think of those other moms, who didn’t come home from the hospital with a healthy baby, or even a baby at all. My heart breaks for them, and it reminds me to never take any minute I have with River for granted.

For those of us living fairly normal lives, there can be so much to complain about, if you choose to. You can also choose to look at problems as blessings, making you more aware of areas in your life that need improvement, and thanking God for bringing it to light.

I can get pretty depressed thinking about the way I look now, or instead I can do 50 squats with my 15lb baby, or go outside for a walk while wearing him in one of our pretty wraps.

God is teaching me perspective through my husband, who helps me see things differently when I choose to complain.

Eventually, I’ll start to look like my old self again. Right now, I have a beautiful, happy & healthy baby, and I thank God for him every day.

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12 weeks Post Partum.