There is so much to be thankful for! Ben's family was here for Thanksgiving and we had a wonderful time - mostly cozied up indoors with it cold and snowy outside. There was lots of baby-holding, picture-taking, appetizer-snacking and napping in front of the fire. Highlights were working together to make a deeelicious Thanksgiving dinner, seeing everyone meet and love Eden, seeing Vera play with and look up to everyone as an ever bigger little girl [less baby-like, does that make sense?], an afternoon at the SPA with Rosie and Jessie and... having so many people to hold a baby who likes to be held! We really love to have family visit and are always so sad to see everyone leave.
When I was little, I remember always having to make place cards for everyone. Vera loved having her own job! They were so cute, especially the ones she wrote herself:
Daddy - she did this without any help at all!!
posing for pictures:Family photo - sorry, Edie, you're a little blurred:
I put Edie in the big crib the other day [she's in a bassinette in our room now] and wound the mobile for her for the first time. It was so cute to see her little look of wonder and curiosity. I love each new awareness in her and can't wait to see more :) Yesterday I blew little puffs of air on her face and she was sooo cute, surprised and happy - definitely the most exciting thing in her little life.
Anyway then Vera came in and wanted to show off her new hello kitty toothbrush. I love Edie's expression:
This first month has been ... difficult. It's hard for me to deal with this stage of a baby where there is no real predictability, their schedules are unorganized and they demand so much time. I'm slowly learning to let it go and just be in the moment, do whatever she or Vera needs and NOT WORRY about what I need/want to get done. I took this video a few days ago when I was having a rough day, wanting to get something accomplished and not being able to. I was sitting on the couch and Vera was playing in front of me and it was just so nice and fun to see her happily entertaining herself - and us. I let myself just watch her and let it go that I wanted to do whatever it was. I think it's really important during this time too to do just that for Vera - give her my attention! Anyway...
and this was from a couple weeks ago. I have SO many dancing videos that I never get around to uploading. Our friends were over for lunch and Vera put on a ballet show - she was so very serious and proud. She also took a break every other minute to carefully comb her hair. It was pretty darn cute.
These are over a week old now - a lot in the life of a 5 week old - but they're too cute [I think] to not share. I was trying to get a good photo for her birth announcement, but she reminded me too much of Vera in this outfit. She needs something of her own :)
Our pumpkin vines - from 3 different plants - spread all the way from one end of the yard to the other. I love how they turned out! They came from the seeds of a decorative pumpkin my sister brought to Thanksgiving last year. Some of the seeds I washed, dried and stored in the fridge. The other half of the original pumpkin I left in the garden bed over the winter and one seedling came up there. There were about 10 pumpkins total, though they didn't all ripen properly - next year I'll cut them earlier so they can sit in the full sun. Here they are just a wee sprout.
Edie was 4 weeks old yesterday! So far I'd say she is definitely different than Vera was as a newborn. For one, she sleeps all the time, usually taking a good 3 hour nap in the middle of the day, lots of little ones here and there and then goes to bed around 8-9 and sleeps till 1-2am. I have no idea how she knows it's "nighttime" and should sleep long then! I hesitate to write it here, thinking I'll ruin my luck [but I don't believe in luck right?!]. She is as fussy as any other baby, but definitely seems a little less feisty than Vera was and doesn't think it's the end of the world if I set her down for a moment. In fact, I can sometimes lay her down awake and she'll go to sleep! It is crazy. She's smiled 2 or 3 times in the last couple days at very random times - making me wonder what was so happy :) I was snapping these photos yesterday and happened to catch one! Little sweetie, we can't wait to see her little personality develop.
So the very night I posted about Vera and her horrible bedtime struggles she happened to have one of her good nights and went to bed easily. The next day I dug up a sticker activity I'd bought this summer and told her that since she was such a good girl going to bed peacefully, that she got to put a ballerina on the stage. If she went to bed peacefully [meaning no calling for us, no crying, no asking for snacks, no asking for more books and only one question along the lines of "what does ____ start with?" We review it all every night.], she'd get to put a sticker on in the morning and after 6 we'd go out for ice cream. This picture is from last week - we are now 9 for 10!! It's crazy how well these reward systems work for her. The one night she didn't go to bed peacefully wasn't even that bad, but I had to draw a hard line :)
Vera was star of the week at preschool and got to present a little poster about herself. She did even better than I thought she would, explaining what she was doing in every picture and not being shy at all! I chose pictures with all her grandparents and us doing things she loves: cooking, laughing + being silly, playing doctor, doing puzzles, dancing, coloring + drawing, loving. Also represented were Bunny, Cinderella, Tinkerbell and Hello Kitty.
Her preschool is creative/performance arts based and she really loves it. I already see her so different than how I was - a confident little leader.
"my name is Vera and I have a Strawberry Shortcake shirt"
So here's how it all happened... this will be a long post filled with details you might not be interested in. But here it is for me/us to remember :)
So I started having menstrual-like cramps in the wee hours of Sunday morning [about the time little Kate Freise was on her way!] that lasted all day. I hadn't felt anything like that during the pregnancy and they were pretty consistent, but I refused to get hopeful about it. In fact, I kept praying that God would take away my mental games of over-analyzing everything and thinking that my over-analysis would jinx it all into not being the real thing. I had been told so many times that I was going to be early, deliver by a certain date, etc. that I was going a little crazy and had decided to not expect a thing before my due date (the 16th).
Around dinner time, the cramps were a little sharper and I started writing down the times they peaked - about 2-5 minutes apart. I still thought it probably wasn't the real thing and went about the evening, helping my mom with dinner and putting Vera to bed. Around 9:00pm I called my midwife who said to take a bath and try to go to bed - if it was false labor it would fizzle away. I did what she said and it all just got stronger - I laid on the bed and listened to hypnobabies tracks on my ipod, having Ben rub my back through the contractions [oops hypnobabies calls it "pressure waves" ha. I will say the tracks were helpful and calming during this part at home and I don't doubt the program works for many people]. Around midnight I got up to go to the bathroom and the pressure was so painful, I could barely walk. So we decided to go to the hospital, thinking it's only going to get more difficult as we waited. The drive to the hospital was surreal of course - "this is it! is it?? are they going to send me back?" I was still thinking it was probably false labor as I texted a few people between contractions that I was on my way, hopefully not to be sent home.
We got there and my nurse checked me to be 4 cm and said she'd be back in an hour to see if I progressed - if not they wouldn't admit me. It was starting to hurt pretty badly and I freaked out a little thinking they could still send me home with pain that intense! Thankfully the hour passed pretty quickly with lots of contractions and Ben helping me through them by rubbing my back and telling me I could do it :) I had progressed to 5 and was so relieved to know the baby was really on her way! The pain was getting much more intense and I was feeling like I didn't know if I could do it - especially with this "hypnobabies B.S." - I think that's what I told the nurse :) I tried to get up and sit on a yoga ball, but the pressure was way too painful in my pelvis and I laid back down on my side immediately. The nurse talked to the midwife who "encouraged" me to wait until she got there if I could. By the time she got there it was INTENSE and I was feeling really unsure of myself, definitely not able to convince myself that it was "pressure waves" - rather - blaring-loud, body-encompassing pain :) Toni my nurse pushed on the right spot on my back while I had Ben squeeze my hand as hard as he could and I just concentrated on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, hearing someone in the background telling me not to hyperventilate :)
Right after a crazy intense contraction where I screamed THAT WAS THE WORST ONE!!, my midwife, who had barely arrived, checked me and immediately began running to get whatever she needed ready because the baby was coming. This was an hour after I was checked at 5cm and just 2 hours after arriving! They had me start pushing right away which was so crazy and intense [sorry can't think of another word]. I seriously didn't think I could do it and was frantically thinking how I could get someone to do this for me, especially remembering how I'd pushed for over 1.5 hours with Vera. Apparently I was also screaming OUCHIE as loud as I could which makes me feel mortified, so so embarrassing!! That's what Vera said when she got her shot - it makes me blush thinking of it now. Anyway thankfully it was really short and I only tried as hard as I could because Ben was telling me you can do it, she's almost here, there she is!!! It must have been like 5 minutes and there she was. Oh relief! You did it you did it! Ben kept telling me :) 2:14 am, Monday October 11.
They dried her off and put her on my chest - that was the most magical moment ever. A little brand new, warm, softly breathing little baby girl: it was beautiful. Little Eden - little Edie ♥
Then... the placenta wouldn't come out so Nancie had to literally pound on me while I attempted to push - ouchie! Seriously it hurt. 45 minutes later it still hadn't come out, so it had to be removed manually - which I definitely got some pain medication for. She had given me a small episiotomy and so I was bleeding during this whole ordeal. The next day they asked me how I felt, given my low blood count. I said I felt fine, thinking that it was normal to be dizzy and loopy and weak because that's how I felt after Vera too. Apparently some people feel great after giving birth! Anyway I got a blood transfusion Tuesday which made me feel like new - oh this is how I should feel :) Other than that, the recovery has been so much easier than after having Vera, like 100%.
So how do I feel about this birth experience? Words that come to mind are humbled, awestruck, thankful, good. The pain was more intense than I had imagined and I needed help more than I thought I would. Ben was so wonderful and I am so thankful we had such wonderful, calm, reassuring midwife and nurses - both in labor and after. It felt good to be able to move my own body both during and after, and to know the feeling of that seriously raw power of giving birth. Of course during it all and in the days after I thought I am never doing this again - someone chloroform me and take this baby out. But now... I think maybe? I could maybe do this again... I most likely will :)