This is what Daddy saw when he walked into the birthing room:
Mommy's on a matt on the floor with a cheesy baby. He was pretty cute:
We got home after the girls went to bed so they came in in the morning expecting to see their new brother. We videotaped the whole thing. Littler was very cautious, walking by the door several times before waiting for Little to be brave. Little had been so incredibly, animatedly out of her mind with excitement for Littlest to come that we weren't sure how she'd act when he finally came. Pretty much the same thing: she was so excited! Both were utterly fascinated for several hours by the new thing and we were very impressed by how much of the whole thing they understood. They knew he was here to stay, they were totally unphased by his penis since they knew he'd be a boy. They were ultra sweet with him all morning this morning:
Little was completely intrigued by such a little person in her arms.
Littler loves to give kisses, and showered Littlest with them all day.
Little spent much of the day making up impromtu dances and songs for Littlest. Littler dances her crazy monster-pirate dead-leg dance and repeats whatever Little sings. Littlest sleeps, mostly.
You need to understand that Little is not at all cuddly. Her idea of cuddles is lying down next to us and pummeling our bodies with spastic limbs. Not so with Littlest, it seems:
As I type this, Littlest seems to have [cross fingers, knock on wood, kill a five-legged frog, etc] figured out the whole nursing thing. He's also spent all day listening to Thom Yorke and currently Steve Reich, so he's automatically pretty cool.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The day started off normal with a nice workout at the gym and then a busy shopping trip/library visit that lasted about 3 hrs. When I got home I was famished and gulped down a HUGE protein drink and some fruit and then put Littler down for her nap around 2:30 or 2:45. Then I sat down to read Little some stories and this whole time I pretty much felt like the baby was dropping down as low as he could go, though there were no contractions with this (maybe one or two normal feeling BH-ish sort if anything?).
At 3:45pm yesterday (April 27), I felt my first contraction. I didn't think anything of it until a similar one came along less than 10 minutes later. Within half an hour, I had contractions coming less than 5 minutes apart on average. We started cleaning up the house and getting our final things together even though at this point I wasn't positive it was "real" labor. At 4:30 I told my friend I was having contractions and I'd let her know if they went anywhere (since she'd be watching the kids). I told her the contractions had "an element of pain to them". At 4:45 I told her I'd eat my big toe if it wasn't labor. At about 5:20, we dropped the kids off to her, and by 5:30 we were off on our way to the birth center. (My intuition was telling me at this point that I might not make it, but I brushed it aside as silly thinking and told myself I was probably much further than 45-60min from delivery.) This whole time the contractions were getting stronger. We charted them in Excel from about 4:30 to 5:15 and they averaged about 3 minutes apart during this time period. While I was running around cleaning up and packing things up from my list of things to prepare when labor started, I stopped for each contraction to lean on the closest thing that was at about waist height. I found that the weight and pressure with each contraction was more bearable when I kind of scooped my hips or dipped them until it was over. I also tried to concentrate on making sure I was relaxing my belly and my shoulders, which I think I've been pretty tense with in past labors, and I exhaled a bit loudly, kind of like pilates breathing or something.
Once we were in the car, it took me a couple contractions to really get the hang of the best way to relax and cope with each contraction, but it turned out to work best to concentrate on relaxing my whole bottom side, along with my shoulders and arms still, and I eventually stopped the breathing thing naturally because it didn't matter in this stage anymore. Partway through the drive to the birth center I was starting to have those "I don't know how much longer I can do this" transition thoughts, and again, I brushed them aside as silly because I was probably no more than 5 cm or something really depressingly unprogressed for how intense the contractions were. To my surprise (and not), at 6:08 I had a contraction with the urge to push and my water broke and I had to try not to push, but my body was just grunting and trying anyway. All the pressure of the contractions was in my bum now and it was less painful (as pushing contractions always are for me). Peter called our midwife to clarify some directions (she'd given us a rush hour shortcut) and told her my water had broken and I was having the urge to push. She called us right back after that to let me know to blow through the contractions so I wouldn't push. I was only partially successful, but I tried my best. I had no interest in giving birth in the car, as nice a story as it might make.
A few minutes later, after lots of maddening red lights, we arrived at the doors of the birth center. I had a contraction right then that I had to blow through and as soon as it was over I got out of the car and walked into the birth center. I walked straight back into my birthing room where the tub was filling for me and walked over right to the steps of the tub. I stooped over to pull off my pants so I could get in the water and got the urge right then to see where the baby was and push him out. I reached in and felt him not crowning but just inside the birth canal and then squeezed him out from a standing position in one push into my and the midwife's hands. My first thought after that was "I wonder if I can get in the water now?" Then Peter walked into the room with a shocked expression on his face, as he had just taken less than 2 minutes to park the car and grab a couple bags from the trunk. Apparently he heard a baby cry as he hopped out of the car and figured it was his mind playing tricks on him. Nope--that was the birth of your son that you just missed! But it was okay. Even if he'd been in the room he might have missed it. I almost feel like I did, it happened so fast. Littlest Lewis was born Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:21pm weighing 6lbs 15.6oz and measuring 20.5in, after 2hrs 36min of labor. (13 3/4 head circumference)
It turns out he was tongue tied, so the midwife clipped his frenulum, but he's still not the greatest nurser. He really doesn't like to open his mouth, or suck. This is nothing new to us (3 for 3), but it's still disappointing and difficult. This time we have a nipple shield already, so we did manage to get one good feeding in with that last night, but that's all we've managed so far, 20hrs after his birth.
All in all, a fast labor, an untraumatic birth (for me), a pretty good postpartum bottom-side (not as good as last time but much better than the first time), and another tricky nurser. Wish us luck that the nursing is figured out even faster this time!
This is my very first official "Birth Story" so I hope you like it, it took like 20 minutes to write:
Yesterday I worked from home, writing a paper. I was pretty much tired of that by four-ish. Manda asked me to make a spreadsheet of contraction times, so I recorded the hour, minute and exact second of each one, which was kind of boring. I got some photo gear together, always fun in a menshteklieber way. Then we drove off in the car. I hate driving. I chatted about random things, but Manda had to occasionally pause in the middle of a sentence to breathe hard. I was pretty patient with that. Eventually Manda said that her water had broken, but it didn't look like it got on the seat which is cool. We got to the birth center and after Manda walked out of the car I took the initiative to drive the car into the garage. I was grabbing stuff out of the trunk--more stuff than I should have been expected to grab in one trip, really--when I thought I heard a baby cry. Naw, I thought, that's just your mind playing tricks on you. So I grabbed all the stuff--enough to fill four arms I tell you--and walked all the stinkin' way back to the back of the birth center and saw Manda sitting on the floor, surrounded by midwife-types and with Littlest in her arms. She didn't even bother waiting until I was there! I stretched out on the bed next to Manda and Littlest and ate granola bars for a while--they were totally gross, Manda didn't even think of packing food for me, can you believe it? I had to go to the bathroom which was kind of gross because women, like, give birth in there. I took a bunch of pictures [of the baby, not the bathrooming] which allowed me to practice in changing-color-temperature situations, because the natural light coming in the frosted glass windows was waning. I got really hungry so volunteered to go down the street and grab some food. A meth-addict woman asked me for some fries and I said sure, and I even bought her a dollar-menu-McDouble without her having to ask for it. That's the type of person I am, you know? I ate one whole McChicken before even getting back to the birth center. Driving in SF stinks. They put way too much mayo on my sandwich. Manda was a little disappointed that I only got her one sandwich, but c'mon, I only got the meth woman one sandwich too, and she was probably starving to death. When I got back, they were still poking Littlest with things, helping him breastfeed, yadda yadda. So I stretched out on the bed for a while until we came home, a little late for my tastes since I had woken up at 6:20 in the morning to play basketball and was totally exhausted. Manda was doing breast-related stuff so she needed a light on but I managed to fall asleep soon enough. Not too bad, all told. People generally are way too dramatic about how hard it is to have a baby. Take away the crappy food and all the driving and it was pretty much a normal errand.