The big yellow house.

Living in a 1200 square foot house with four children, patient one of them a newborn, a 78 pound dog and a husband-man may be tolerable for some, but this mama was losing hope of ever having a private moment in the bathroom again, let alone a quiet moment in any room. We could hear the children constantly, no matter what room we tucked them into.

But our effort to find a larger and affordable alternative seemed futile. Every one of our Zillow searches produced the same results. McMansion A or McMansion B. Same houses, different suburb and nothing at all appealing to us.

Seth and I both grew up in century-old houses with solid wood floors, creaky doors, quiet nooks and massive wooded yards. In our childhood homes, imaginations could run wild and we were constantly entertained. A newer house without history, solid floors and a private yard was out of the question.

So, refusing to settle, we waited.

When Foster arrived our online searches became more frequent. 1200 square feet now felt like 800 and we were literally tripping over each other. And then we found it.

The big, yellow house.

We were both shocked that it was actually available. It has to be sold, we thought. This listing can’t be accurate. We scoured through the listing, trying to figure out why no one had snagged her up. Yes, the rooms were old. Yes, it needed work – but “Hello, World!” would you look at her?

20131211-145630.jpg

When we walked in for a showing, the realtor didn’t have much of a sales pitch.  Read More…

Married child rearing. Turns out it’s way easier.

We have been too busy living to blog.

But here is a picture of my sweetest little Foster.

FosterSweetFaceEveryone has adjusted to his presence. All three of his brothers and sisters adore him.

And Archer is always near (this shot is from yesterday)

Foster and Archer

FosterandArcherStretch

Life is just flying by and there hasn’t been enough time to blog. That’s not okay… this is my forced journalling, this web really. If I don’t do it here, buy I don’t do it anywhere and then all is lost. The details that make up the memories will be harder to patch together later.

xoxo

Alaina

We have been too busy living to blog.

But here is a picture of my sweetest little Foster.

FosterSweetFaceEveryone has adjusted to his presence. All three of his brothers and sisters adore him.

And Archer is always near (this shot is from yesterday)

Foster and Archer

FosterandArcherStretch

Life is just flying by and there hasn’t been enough time to blog. That’s not okay… this is my forced journalling, viagra dosage really. If I don’t do it here, website I don’t do it anywhere and then all is lost. The details that make up the memories will be harder to patch together later.

xoxo

Alaina

Assuming, here of course, case you are married to a wonderful manperson.

I can now say with authority that having a baby with a man who supports and loves you both to the ends of the Earth is divinely easy compared to having one solo.

Raising Benjamin now feels like a lifetime ago… But sometimes she I am holding Foster I forget he isn’t Benjamin. “Oh, viagra dosage right, this is a different baby entirely.”

Benjamin, the seven year old seems frighteningly huge to me. His big, brown eyes watch me closely as I tend to baby Foster. He reaches out to touch Foster’s cheeks and between asking him if he has washed his hands in one second and reaching for a diaper in another, I drink in the view, hoping I can preserve this moment forever and open it whenever I need to feel pure joy but knowing it will be gone just as quickly. Benjamin is the evidence. Time has no mercy.

He is still adjusting to the idea that I am not solely his anymore. That he has to share me with Seth, Lily, Cohen and now Foster. When he says to me, “Mama, I wish sometimes it was just you and me again.” I say back, “me, too, my love. I miss those days as much as you do.”

“You do?” He asks, surprised.

“Yes! Of course – we had so much fun.” Then tell tales of our adventures and he soaks them up like a sponge, chiming in with his own.

“But,” I add, “Do you know what you wanted more than anything then?”

“What?” He asks.

“A dad.”

His eyes look off into the distance and then back at me. I continue, “and brothers and sisters.”

“Yeah,” he concedes.

“And you know what? When you are 10 you are going to tell me how much you miss being 7. It’s just the way life works. Things are always changing and we all always miss the times before the change.”

He is so strong and brave, my little Benjamin. I wonder how different Foster will be…. Having a mother he shares from the start.

Xoxo mamas, thinking of you out there…

Alaina

Flying

We have been too busy living to blog.

But here is a picture of my sweetest little Foster.

FosterSweetFaceEveryone has adjusted to his presence. All three of his brothers and sisters adore him.

And Archer is always near (this shot is from yesterday)

Foster and Archer

FosterandArcherStretch

Life is just flying by and there hasn’t been enough time to blog. That’s not okay… this is my forced journalling, store buy really. If I don’t do it here, I don’t do it anywhere and then all is lost. The details that make up the memories will be harder to patch together later.

xoxo

Alaina

Three months.

Living in a 1200 square foot house with four children, patient one of them a newborn, a 78 pound dog and a husband-man may be tolerable for some, but this mama was losing hope of ever having a private moment in the bathroom again, let alone a quiet moment in any room. We could hear the children constantly, no matter what room we tucked them into.

But our effort to find a larger and affordable alternative seemed futile. Every one of our Zillow searches produced the same results. McMansion A or McMansion B. Same houses, different suburb and nothing at all appealing to us.

Seth and I both grew up in century-old houses with solid wood floors, creaky doors, quiet nooks and massive wooded yards. In our childhood homes, imaginations could run wild and we were constantly entertained. A newer house without history, solid floors and a private yard was out of the question.

So, refusing to settle, we waited.

When Foster arrived our online searches became more frequent. 1200 square feet now felt like 800 and we were literally tripping over each other. And then we found it.

The big, yellow house.

We were both shocked that it was actually available. It has to be sold, we thought. This listing can’t be accurate. We scoured through the listing, trying to figure out why no one had snagged her up. Yes, the rooms were old. Yes, it needed work – but “Hello, World!” would you look at her?

20131211-145630.jpg

When we walked in for a showing, the realtor didn’t have much of a sales pitch.  Read More…

Lovely love, love, love.

I am behind on pictures (these are from his two week birthday) and things are busy because this little guy is an eating machine. To say he is remarkable is an understatement. Newborns are just so… perfect.

20131008-130157.jpg

He is as calm as a baby can be, health considering all of the growing he’s doing. I am convinced that’s the Seth in him.

20131008-130225.jpg

And all of that curiosity…

20131008-130441.jpg

20131008-130510.jpg

20131008-130532.jpg

20131008-130610.jpgMore later, I’m sure. Will keep posting pictures as often as I can.

xoxo,

Alaina

 

The nights are long

Seth and I decided, approved cost after our 20 week ultrasound with a doctor, to stop seeing a physician and exclusively see our midwives. The doctor gave us his blessing as I was completely healthy with zero complications anticipated in Foster’s birth. Now, we are torn on whether or not that was the right decision.

Every girl’s dream labor

With everyone telling us how awful labor is our entire lives, it’s hard to believe the experience can actually be awesome. But it can. I can now attest to that. I had been anxiously awaiting mine, scared I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain. After all, I had screamed “epidural” after about twenty minutes of labor with Benjamin, thanks in large part to the Pitocin. But still… could I handle it this time around? In my home? With no medication in sight? Our midwives assured me that my body would know exactly what to do. In fact, all I had to do was get out of the way, mentally speaking. Read More…

The Birth Story: Foster’s frank breech home birth

Here at the beginning of a life you see the funniest things.

We woke up this morning and both agreed Foster’s face had changed overnight. So, link I better post before time slips away from us… here are a few of his faces right now.

The cringe.

TheCringe

The almost smile– a reflex at this point, order but hey, isn’t it cute?

AlmostSmiling?

The gaze.

Gazing

The cross eye.

CrossEye

Justallaroundperfect

 

And the “Where’s Daddy?”

WithDad2

Foster is as happy as can be. Easy, easy, easy so far… he practically sleeps through the night, aside from waking up to eat – but then he’s right back out again.

xoxo,

Alaina
Here at the beginning of a life you see the funniest things.

We woke up this morning and both agreed Foster’s face had changed overnight. So, adiposity I better post before time slips away from us… here are a few of his faces right now.

The cringe.

TheCringe

The almost smile– a reflex at this point, approved but hey, isn’t it cute?

AlmostSmiling?

The gaze.

Gazing

The just all around perfect.

CrossEye

Foster is as happy as can be. Easy, easy, easy so far… he practically sleeps through the night, aside from waking up to eat – but then he’s right back out again.

xoxo,

Alaina
Here at the beginning of a life you see the funniest things.

We woke up this morning and both agreed Foster’s face had changed overnight. So, visit I better post before time slips away from us… here are a few of his faces right now.

The cringe.

TheCringe

The almost smile– a reflex at this point, approved but hey, isn’t it cute?

AlmostSmiling?

The gaze.

Gazing

The just all around perfect.

CrossEye

Foster is as happy as can be. Easy, easy, easy so far… he practically sleeps through the night, aside from waking up to eat – but then he’s right back out again.

xoxo,

Alaina
Seth and I decided, mind after our 20 week ultrasound with a doctor, look to stop seeing a physician and exclusively see our midwives. The doctor gave us his blessing as I was completely healthy with zero complications anticipated in Foster’s birth. Now, we are torn on whether or not that was the right decision.

Every girl’s dream labor

With everyone telling us how awful labor is our entire lives, it’s hard to believe the experience can actually be awesome. But it can. I can now attest to that. I had been anxiously awaiting mine, scared I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain. After all, I had screamed “epidural” after about twenty minutes of labor with Benjamin, thanks in large part to the Pitocin. But still… could I handle it this time around? In my home? With no medication in sight? Our midwives assured me that my body would know exactly what to do. In fact, all I had to do was get out of the way, mentally speaking. Read More…

Baby faces.

After a breezy 10 hour labor with zero complications, ambulance except for the fact that he managed to flip himself in the tub and was born breech (yeah), rx Foster Raymond Gray joined us at 6:02 pm on Monday, sildenafil September 16.

Full birth story in the works, along with some decent photographs. For now, you’ll have to settle for this view from my iPhone on Day 2.

blended family baby

We are madly, madly in love with our little Foster.

I am on a fast road to feeling back to myself again thanks to being completely pampered by Seth.
After a breezy 10 hour labor with zero complications, viagra except for the fact that he managed to flip himself in the tub and was born breech, information pills Foster Raymond Gray joined us at 6:02 pm on Monday, visit this September 16th. He is a little miracle and we can’t even believe how lucky we are that all turned out well considering his last minute acrobatics.

A full birth story is in the works, along with some decent photographs. For now, you’ll have to settle for this view from my iPhone on Day 2.

blended family baby

We are madly, madly in love with him and I am on a fast road to feeling back to myself again thanks to being completely pampered by Seth…

Your lucky, lucky and deeply grateful mama -

Alaina
I had a mix of emotions about the impending labor.

The first– an incredible fear of the pain. I had read and watched a mix of birth stories. Those in Ina May’s birth books described their non-hospital births as a more of a drug trip, advice or a high. They deliberately used positive language like “rushes” instead of “contractions”. And then there were the birth stories on documentaries like The Business of Being Born that described the pain as absolutely unbearable, something you just have to surrender yourself to because it’s so bad.

I think there is little doubt, that in this country especially, labor itself is painted as the most “painful experience of your life”. So, yeah, I had major anxiety as I mentally prepared for the labor. But, I calmed this by assuring myself with my midwife’s words of “your body will know exactly what to do.” And I also reminded myself that every human walking around represented a woman who had had a successful labor.

In preparation for our labor, Seth and I read books on the Bradley Method and attempted a few practice exercises. But at the end of the day, we didn’t take a single labor class. Again, we were really just trusting in my body and our love to guide us through the experience. I also knew that just having Seth there, like at all times, would make me feel completely and absolutely safe and calm. He just has that affect, being the cool, calm-headed super awesome man he is.

On Monday, September 16, we packed up the kids and sent them off to school and then I started cleaning. I had been home resting for two weeks and had cleaned the house so many times, but suddenly, the place looked filthy again so there I went. Starting in the kid’s art room, I worked my way through every room on the first floor. The contractions started soon after I started my cleaning spree. Every time I had one I would call out to Seth and he would time them. At first they were 20 minutes apart, then 14 and then by Noon they were 10 minutes apart. And by 2:30 when school let out they were five minutes apart. At this point, we called the midwives and they were there 20 minutes later.

I could feel each contraction slowly beginning and then would drop my broom or cleaning rag and find a spot to push my back against. I hadn’t read about this in any of the birthing books, but it felt so natural and worked like a charm. For example, when in the kitchen, I put my hands on the counter and then pushed my back into the refrigerator. This way, I could control the pressure. When I wasn’t near the fridge, I would lean onto a table and Seth would come behind and put pressure on my lower back with both of this hands. He would also tell me how much time I had left in the contraction, “You should be on the other side now, only 30 seconds left.” That helped tremendously.

The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The fall breeze blowing through the windows, my Be Good Tanyas Pandora radio playing, and Seth quietly setting up the birth tub while I just cleaned and cleaned. When the kids walked in from school I met them at the door, “He’s coming! Foster is coming today!” They couldn’t believe it was really happening and then, after a few minutes of questions, dove into the fresh cookies I had baked (did I mention I was baking and cleaning). Seth and I had planned on having the kids there during the birth, assuming it was a short birth and all was well. So, we bought a new Wii game for them ahead of time. We limit Wii heavily here so after cookies and snack we gave them MarioKart with a blank check on play time and off they were – occupied for hours – leaving us back to labor. My sister-in-law, Sarah, also came over to watch the kids.

When the midwives arrived they checked my dilation. I was at five centimeters at 2:00 p.m. After this I started dancing in the living room with Lily and Seth to keep my body nice and loose between contractions. We were having so much fun! Laughing and talking and holding each other. I did feel extremely, extremely high on life. The energy was incredible and I found myself choking back tears of sheer happiness. I just felt so excited for Foster, that he was about to arrive after all of this time. This was his big day and I was just his vessel. I felt honored and humbled by what was happening to both of us, together.

Around 3:30, I headed outside and started sweeping the patio (I had run out of things to clean inside). Here I would grab a patio chair and lean my back into the side of the house while pushing into the chair to dull the contraction pain. And during every one, I focused on breathing and keeping calm and focused. Still, though, the pain wasn’t that bad. When one of the midwives told me I could get into the tub, I passed, saying I would rather wait until I couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. At this point I must have been 7 or 8 centimeters. The midwives asked me if I wanted to be checked and I said, “Nope, why bother? I feel like knowing would just be pointless. He will come when he is ready.” They did, however, pop in and check Foster’s heart rate every 20 minutes. In the hospital, the heart rate monitor had been incredibly intrusive to my labor. I remember being unable to freely move because I was hooked up to so many “things”. But the midwives quietly approached and took baby’s heart rate without disturbing or disrupting the moment.

After a particularly intense contraction on the patio, I decided to get into the tub. We had decided to put the tub in our bedroom, the most peaceful and relaxing room in the house. Our upstairs is our sanctuary. Benjamin wanted to join me so he put on his swim trunks and in we went. Benjamin and I were talking and cuddling between contractions and at some point, one of my best girlfriends, Mia stopped by. Many of you may remember her from Ms. Single Mama. Having her there in that moment, Sarah, Seth and the kids – it was just incredible. So, between the contractions – which were getting more intense, even in the water – I was just sublimely happy.

The day before, Lily and I had gone shopping and after nine months of buying nothing for myself aside from a few nursing bras (boring) and maternity pants (ugh), I splurged and bought a pair of dynamite Frye boots. A post-baby present for myself. So, between a contraction I told Mia and Sarah to go check out the new boots in my closet. Maybe that’s why, with them so fresh in my memory, I chose to focus on the boots in my worst moments of pain. Sometime in the tub, around 5:30, the contractions were on top of each other. Seth says this is when I went through transition – but unlike everything I had read – I didn’t have a single moment when I felt I couldn’t do this. The pain was bad, the contractions were incredibly powerful and intense, but I did not doubt my body for a second and I just knew it would soon all be over.

During these contractions I started moaning. That deep, crazy amazon woman moaning I’d seen on birthing videos. And then at some point the midwives checked me and said I was fully dilated and that I could push whenever I was ready. So, I pushed. The pushing actually dialed down the pain a bit and gave me something to focus on. During the pushing contractions I mentally was screaming (and sometimes out loud), “Screw this pain. Screw it.” I decided to conquer it, to battle the pain and to expel it from my body and I knew every push would bring me closer to that. Between the contractions I would completely relax into Seth’s arms and listen to his sweet words and then I would day dream about wearing my new boots. I know, seems ridiculous, but after nine months of being pregnant and unable to wear a single cute thing, those boots were like the holy grail.

During one of these pushes, before I felt my water break, I felt a huge movement inside. I immediately told Seth, “Something happened with that one.” Later we would find out that little Foster had decided to flip into frank breech. After nine months of being head down the little goober flipped himself. Or, that is our theory. We can’t really be sure. But he had been in a head down position at my last visit with the midwives and I hadn’t felt any major movement until then. When baby flips during labor, something that can and does happen, it is called a surprise breech. 

I heard the midwives say they felt a hand instead of a head. I didn’t see the looks of concern on their faces or on Seth’s when they also reported Foster’s heart rate had dropped to 130, dangerously low. Immediately they said, “she’s got to get out of the tub.” And as Seth lifted me out they set up a birthing stool. Once sitting in the stool Kelly, one of the midwives, told me, “You’re baby is breech.”

Stunned, I said, “What are we going to do?”

She answered, “You’re going to have this baby, that’s what you’re going to do. Now I need you to push as hard as you can on the next one.”

And I did. And then, two pushes later, there he came. Balls and butt first (not a hand after all) and with one last giant push, his head. These were the most painful of the contractions. But, still, the pain was about 1/10th of what I had expected after hearing and reading and anticipating (my entire womanhood) the “most painful experience of my life.”

 

 

 
I had a mix of emotions about the impending labor.

The first– an incredible fear of the pain. I had read and watched a mix of birth stories. Those in Ina May’s birth books described their non-hospital births as a more of a drug trip, patient or a high. They deliberately used positive language like “rushes” instead of “contractions”. And then there were the birth stories on documentaries like The Business of Being Born that described the pain as absolutely unbearable, information pills something you just have to surrender yourself to because it’s so bad.

I think there is little doubt, illness that in this country especially, labor itself is painted as the most “painful experience of your life”. So, yeah, I had major anxiety as I mentally prepared for the labor. But, I calmed this by assuring myself with my midwife’s words of “your body will know exactly what to do.” And I also reminded myself that every human walking around represented a woman who had had a successful labor.

In preparation for our labor, Seth and I read books on the Bradley Method and attempted a few practice exercises. But at the end of the day, we didn’t take a single labor class. Again, we were really just trusting in my body and our love to guide us through the experience. I also knew that just having Seth there, like at all times, would make me feel completely and absolutely safe and calm. He just has that affect, being the cool, calm-headed super awesome man he is.

On Monday, September 16, we packed up the kids and sent them off to school and then I started cleaning. I had been home resting for two weeks and had cleaned the house so many times, but suddenly, the place looked filthy again so there I went. Starting in the kid’s art room, I worked my way through every room on the first floor. The contractions started soon after I started my cleaning spree. Every time I had one I would call out to Seth and he would time them. At first they were 20 minutes apart, then 14 and then by Noon they were 10 minutes apart. And by 2:30 when school let out they were five minutes apart. At this point, we called the midwives and they were there 20 minutes later.

I could feel each contraction slowly beginning and then would drop my broom or cleaning rag and find a spot to push my back against. I hadn’t read about this in any of the birthing books, but it felt so natural and worked like a charm. For example, when in the kitchen, I put my hands on the counter and then pushed my back into the refrigerator. This way, I could control the pressure. When I wasn’t near the fridge, I would lean onto a table and Seth would come behind and put pressure on my lower back with both of this hands. He would also tell me how much time I had left in the contraction, “You should be on the other side now, only 30 seconds left.” That helped tremendously.

The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The fall breeze blowing through the windows, my Be Good Tanyas Pandora radio playing, and Seth quietly setting up the birth tub while I just cleaned and cleaned. When the kids walked in from school I met them at the door, “He’s coming! Foster is coming today!” They couldn’t believe it was really happening and then, after a few minutes of questions, dove into the fresh cookies I had baked (did I mention I was baking and cleaning). Seth and I had planned on having the kids there during the birth, assuming it was a short birth and all was well. So, we bought a new Wii game for them ahead of time. We limit Wii heavily here so after cookies and snack we gave them MarioKart and off they were – occupied for hours – and

 

 
I had a mix of emotions about the impending labor.

The first– an incredible fear of the pain. I had read and watched a mix of birth stories. Those in Ina May’s birth books described their non-hospital births as a more of a drug trip, viagra or a high. They deliberately used positive language like “rushes” instead of “contractions”. And then there were the birth stories on documentaries like The Business of Being Born that described the pain as absolutely unbearable, viagra dosage something you just have to surrender yourself to because it’s so bad.

I think there is little doubt, that in this country especially, labor itself is painted as the most “painful experience of your life”. So, yeah, I had major anxiety as I mentally prepared for the labor. But, I calmed this by assuring myself with my midwife’s words of “your body will know exactly what to do.” And I also reminded myself that every human walking around represented a woman who had had a successful labor.

In preparation for our labor, Seth and I read books on the Bradley Method and attempted a few practice exercises. But at the end of the day, we didn’t take a single labor class. Again, we were really just trusting in my body and our love to guide us through the experience. I also knew that just having Seth there, like at all times, would make me feel completely and absolutely safe and calm. He just has that affect, being the cool, calm-headed super awesome man he is.

On Monday, September 16, we packed up the kids and sent them off to school and then I started cleaning. I had been home resting for two weeks and had cleaned the house so many times, but suddenly, the place looked filthy again so there I went. Starting in the kid’s art room, I worked my way through every room on the first floor. The contractions started soon after I started my cleaning spree. Every time I had one I would call out to Seth and he would time them. At first they were 20 minutes apart, then 14 and then by Noon they were 10 minutes apart. And by 2:30 when school let out they were five minutes apart. At this point, we called the midwives and they were there 20 minutes later.

I could feel each contraction slowly beginning and then would drop my broom or cleaning rag and find a spot to push my back against. I hadn’t read about this in any of the birthing books, but it felt so natural and worked like a charm. For example, when in the kitchen, I put my hands on the counter and then pushed my back into the refrigerator. This way, I could control the pressure. When I wasn’t near the fridge, I would lean onto a table and Seth would come behind and put pressure on my lower back with both of this hands. He would also tell me how much time I had left in the contraction, “You should be on the other side now, only 30 seconds left.” That helped tremendously.

The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The fall breeze blowing through the windows, my Be Good Tanyas Pandora radio playing, and Seth quietly setting up the birth tub while I just cleaned and cleaned. When the kids walked in from school I met them at the door, “He’s coming! Foster is coming today!” They couldn’t believe it was really happening and then, after a few minutes of questions, dove into the fresh cookies I had baked (did I mention I was baking and cleaning). Seth and I had planned on having the kids there during the birth, assuming it was a short birth and all was well. So, we bought a new Wii game for them ahead of time. We limit Wii heavily here so after cookies and snack we gave them MarioKart with a blank check on play time and off they were – occupied for hours – leaving us back to labor. My sister-in-law, Sarah, also came over to watch the kids.

When the midwives arrived they checked my dilation. I was at five centimeters at 2:00 p.m. After this I started dancing in the living room with Lily and Seth to keep my body nice and loose between contractions. We were having so much fun! Laughing and talking and holding each other. I did feel extremely, extremely high on life. The energy was incredible and I found myself choking back tears of sheer happiness. I just felt so excited for Foster, that he was about to arrive after all of this time. This was his big day and I was just his vessel. I felt honored and humbled by what was happening to both of us, together.

Around 3:30, I headed outside and started sweeping the patio (I had run out of things to clean inside). Here I would grab a patio chair and lean my back into the side of the house while pushing into the chair to dull the contraction pain. And during every one, I focused on breathing and keeping calm and focused. Still, though, the pain wasn’t that bad. When one of the midwives told me I could get into the tub, I passed, saying I would rather wait until I couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. At this point I must have been 7 or 8 centimeters. The midwives asked me if I wanted to be checked and I said, “Nope, why bother? I feel like knowing would just be pointless. He will come when he is ready.” They did, however, pop in and check Foster’s heart rate every 20 minutes. In the hospital, the heart rate monitor had been incredibly intrusive to my labor. I remember being unable to freely move because I was hooked up to so many “things”. But the midwives quietly approached and took baby’s heart rate without disturbing or disrupting the moment.

After a particularly intense contraction on the patio, I decided to get into the tub. We had decided to put the tub in our bedroom, the most peaceful and relaxing room in the house. Our upstairs is our sanctuary. Benjamin wanted to join me so he put on his swim trunks and in we went. Benjamin and I were talking and cuddling between contractions and at some point, one of my best girlfriends, Mia stopped by. Many of you may remember her from Ms. Single Mama. Having her there in that moment, Sarah, Seth and the kids – it was just incredible. So, between the contractions – which were getting more intense, even in the water – I was just sublimely happy.

The day before, Lily and I had gone shopping and after nine months of buying nothing for myself aside from a few nursing bras (boring) and maternity pants (ugh), I splurged and bought a pair of dynamite Frye boots. A post-baby present for myself. So, between a contraction I told Mia and Sarah to go check out the new boots in my closet. Maybe that’s why, with them so fresh in my memory, I chose to focus on the boots in my worst moments of pain. Sometime in the tub, around 5:30, the contractions were on top of each other. Seth says this is when I went through transition – but unlike everything I had read – I didn’t have a single moment when I felt I couldn’t do this. The pain was bad, the contractions were incredibly powerful and intense, but I did not doubt my body for a second and I just knew it would soon all be over.

During these contractions I started moaning. That deep, crazy amazon woman moaning I’d seen on birthing videos. And then at some point the midwives checked me and said I was fully dilated and that I could push whenever I was ready. So, I pushed. The pushing actually dialed down the pain a bit and gave me something to focus on. During the pushing contractions I mentally was screaming (and sometimes out loud), “Screw this pain. Screw it.” I decided to conquer it, to fight it and get rid of it and I knew every push would bring me closer to that. Between the contractions I would completely relax into Seth’s arms and listen to his sweet words and then I would day dream about wearing my new boots. I know, seems ridiculous, but after nine months of being pregnant and unable to wear a single cute thing, those boots were like the holy grail.

 

 
I had a mix of emotions about the impending labor.

The first– an incredible fear of the pain. I had read and watched a mix of birth stories. Those in Ina May’s birth books described their non-hospital births as a more of a drug trip, case or a high. They deliberately used positive language like “rushes” instead of “contractions”. And then there were the birth stories on documentaries like The Business of Being Born that described the pain as absolutely unbearable, ambulance something you just have to surrender yourself to because it’s so bad.

I think there is little doubt, visit this site that in this country especially, labor itself is painted as the most “painful experience of your life”. So, yeah, I had major anxiety as I mentally prepared for the labor. But, I calmed this by assuring myself with my midwife’s words of “your body will know exactly what to do.” And I also reminded myself that every human walking around represented a woman who had had a successful labor.

In preparation for our labor, Seth and I read books on the Bradley Method and attempted a few practice exercises. But at the end of the day, we didn’t take a single labor class. Again, we were really just trusting in my body and our love to guide us through the experience. I also knew that just having Seth there, like at all times, would make me feel completely and absolutely safe and calm. He just has that affect, being the cool, calm-headed super awesome man he is.

On Monday, September 16, we packed up the kids and sent them off to school and then I started cleaning. I had been home resting for two weeks and had cleaned the house so many times, but suddenly, the place looked filthy again so there I went. Starting in the kid’s art room, I worked my way through every room on the first floor. The contractions started soon after I started my cleaning spree. Every time I had one I would call out to Seth and he would time them. At first they were 20 minutes apart, then 14 and then by Noon they were 10 minutes apart. And by 2:30 when school let out they were five minutes apart. At this point, we called the midwives and they were there 20 minutes later.

I could feel each contraction slowly beginning and then would drop my broom or cleaning rag and find a spot to push my back against. I hadn’t read about this in any of the birthing books, but it felt so natural and worked like a charm. For example, when in the kitchen, I put my hands on the counter and then pushed my back into the refrigerator. This way, I could control the pressure. When I wasn’t near the fridge, I would lean onto a table and Seth would come behind and put pressure on my lower back with both of this hands. He would also tell me how much time I had left in the contraction, “You should be on the other side now, only 30 seconds left.” That helped tremendously.

The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The fall breeze blowing through the windows, my Be Good Tanyas Pandora radio playing, and Seth quietly setting up the birth tub while I just cleaned and cleaned. When the kids walked in from school I met them at the door, “He’s coming! Foster is coming today!” They couldn’t believe it was really happening and then, after a few minutes of questions, dove into the fresh cookies I had baked (did I mention I was baking and cleaning). Seth and I had planned on having the kids there during the birth, assuming it was a short birth and all was well. So, we bought a new Wii game for them ahead of time. We limit Wii heavily here so after cookies and snack we gave them MarioKart with a blank check on play time and off they were – occupied for hours – leaving us back to labor. My sister-in-law, Sarah, also came over to watch the kids.

When the midwives arrived they checked my dilation. I was at five centimeters at 2:00 p.m. After this I started dancing in the living room with Lily and Seth to keep my body nice and loose between contractions. We were having so much fun! Laughing and talking and holding each other. I did feel extremely, extremely high on life. The energy was incredible and I found myself choking back tears of sheer happiness. I just felt so excited for Foster, that he was about to arrive after all of this time. This was his big day and I was just his vessel. I felt honored and humbled by what was happening to both of us, together.

Around 3:30, I headed outside and started sweeping the patio (I had run out of things to clean inside). Here I would grab a patio chair and lean my back into the side of the house while pushing into the chair to dull the contraction pain. And during every one, I focused on breathing and keeping calm and focused. Still, though, the pain wasn’t that bad. When one of the midwives told me I could get into the tub, I passed, saying I would rather wait until I couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. At this point I must have been 7 or 8 centimeters. The midwives asked me if I wanted to be checked and I said, “Nope, why bother? I feel like knowing would just be pointless. He will come when he is ready.” They did, however, pop in and check Foster’s heart rate every 20 minutes. In the hospital, the heart rate monitor had been incredibly intrusive to my labor. I remember being unable to freely move because I was hooked up to so many “things”. But the midwives quietly approached and took baby’s heart rate without disturbing or disrupting the moment.

After a particularly intense contraction on the patio, I decided to get into the tub. We had decided to put the tub in our bedroom, the most peaceful and relaxing room in the house. Our upstairs is our sanctuary. Benjamin wanted to join me so he put on his swim trunks and in we went. Benjamin and I were talking and cuddling between contractions and at some point, one of my best girlfriends, Mia stopped by. Many of you may remember her from Ms. Single Mama. Having her there in that moment, Sarah, Seth and the kids – it was just incredible. So, between the contractions – which were getting more intense, even in the water – I was just sublimely happy.

The day before, Lily and I had gone shopping and after nine months of buying nothing for myself aside from a few nursing bras (boring) and maternity pants (ugh), I splurged and bought a pair of dynamite Frye boots. A post-baby present for myself. So, between a contraction I told Mia and Sarah to go check out the new boots in my closet. Maybe that’s why, with them so fresh in my memory, I chose to focus on the boots in my worst moments of pain. Sometime in the tub, around 5:30, the contractions were on top of each other. Seth says this is when I went through transition – but unlike everything I had read – I didn’t have a single moment when I felt I couldn’t do this. The pain was bad, the contractions were incredibly powerful and intense, but I did not doubt my body for a second and I just knew it would soon all be over.

During these contractions I started moaning. That deep, crazy amazon woman moaning I’d seen on birthing videos. And then at some point the midwives checked me and said I was fully dilated and that I could push whenever I was ready. So, I pushed. The pushing actually dialed down the pain a bit and gave me something to focus on. During the pushing contractions I mentally was screaming (and sometimes out loud), “Screw this pain. Screw it.” I decided to conquer it, to battle the pain and to expel it from my body and I knew every push would bring me closer to that. Between the contractions I would completely relax into Seth’s arms and listen to his sweet words and then I would day dream about wearing my new boots. I know, seems ridiculous, but after nine months of being pregnant and unable to wear a single cute thing, those boots were like the holy grail.

During one of these pushes, before I felt my water break, I felt a distinct movement inside. I immediately told Seth, “Something happened with that one.” Later we would find out that little Foster had decided to flip into frank breech. After nine months of being head down the little goober flipped himself. Or, that is our theory. We can’t really be sure. But he had been in a head down position at my last visit with the midwives and I hadn’t felt any major movement until then.

I heard the midwives say they felt a hand instead of a head. I didn’t see the looks of concern on their faces or on Seth’s when they also reported Foster’s heart rate had dropped to 130, dangerously low. Immediately they said, “she’s got to get out of the tub.” And as Seth lifted me out they set up a birthing stool. Once sitting in the stool Kelly, one of the midwives, told me, “You’re baby is breech.”

Stunned, I said, “What are we going to do?”

She answered, “You’re going to have this baby, that’s what you’re going to do. Now I need you to push as hard as you can on the next one.”

And I did. And then, two pushes later, there he came. Balls and butt first (not a hand after all) and with one last giant push, his head. These were the most painful of the contractions. But, still, the pain was about 1/10th of what I had expected after hearing and reading and anticipating (my entire womanhood) the “most painful experience of my life.”

 

 

 
Here at the beginning of a life you see the funniest things.

We woke up this morning and both agreed Foster’s face had changed overnight. So, check I better post before time slips away from us… here are a few of his faces right now.

The cringe.

TheCringe

The almost smile– a reflex at this point, approved but hey, isn’t it cute?

AlmostSmiling?

The gaze.

Gazing

The just all around perfect.

CrossEye

Foster is as happy as can be. Easy, easy, easy so far… he practically sleeps through the night, aside from waking up to eat – but then he’s right back out again.

xoxo,

Alaina

 

1 2 3 4 5 13  Scroll to top