Saturday, March 27, 2010

My FIRST birth story

so i wrote this 3 years ago for my local parenting message board...khary was about to turn 2.

tonight he's about to turn 5. FIVE years old. and he's such a little man. oh, how i heart that kid!

here's been 2 years, so i might have to come back and edit about a billion times as i remember other stuff...

at the beginning of my 3rd trimester, my kc doc (a friend of mine prior to that) and i decided our philosophies were too divergent, and we went our separate ways. that meant i went to the freestanding birth center in columbia, mo. yes, it was 2 hours away, but i knew a woman who drove almost as far from blue springs to olathe med ctr, and surely 2 hrs in early labor wouldn't be such a big deal because first labors are supposed to last like 12 hrs, anyway, right? the doctor who founded the clinic is devoted to midwifery AND she was on our preferred provider list for our insurance. we didn't even write a birth plan because their protocol was everything we wanted (or didn't want Wink) anyway, such as dh catching baby.

my edd was march 27, 2005. that was easter sunday. since my mom had 10-month pregnancies w/ my brother and me, i wasn't going to hold my breath for anything before mid-april. i was put on bedrest 5 weeks before my edd because of really intense braxton hicks contractions. so i lay in bed, eating my cashews and almonds and drinking my gallon upon gallon of water while reading all those pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding books i had bought/borrowed from the library. anyway, at my 38 week prenatal, i was upgraded to light house (ar)rest for the "last 2 weeks" of my pregnancy. i declined the pelvic exam, as i didn't see a point of it, so i have no idea how dilated/effaced i was at 38 weeks. that was a monday, the 14th.

next two weeks go by, without much ado. i took a bellydancing class at my church on march 21, though, and loved it. i could tell bean had dropped, but everything was uneventful. i was leaking colostrum at night, but that was the only other weird-ish thing i can remember.

dh and i are rabid sports fans, and the final four games were on the afternoon/evening of my edd, sunday, the 27th. we watched those, headed to the kitchen to get something to eat & decided to eat the chipotle burritos we had frozen to eat as early labor was our edd, after all, and we could just get some more the next day and freeze that for the big event. that was our thinking. i recall sitting down at the counter & feeling a cramp. i looked at the clock, and it said 8:15 exactly. didn't think much of it & didn't tell dh till the second one came 5 mins later. "hon, i just had a contraction. second one in 5 minutes." we were nonchalantly going about our business because we were told in our bradley class that we should only time them once every hour so we didn't. they seemed close together, but we figured they'd space out again. we even took a hot shower together, since it's supposed to relax you and can stop labor if it's not the real thing. instead, though, i had like 3 ctx in the shower, all very strong. so we called the doc.

doc said it sounded like we had lots of time still; after all, this was my first baby. we could take a nap & drive to the bc or drive there and nap. she had the mw we chose to assist go ahead and start getting the bc ready for us, either way. dh sleeps like the dead, so we opted to drive there first, and then he could nap. GOOD FREAKING THING!!

also a good freaking thing we had our volvo s60-r (r for racing specs; very important here). i think we left at 11pm for columbia. i called my mom and gave her the heads-up that she should leave for columbia first thing in the am (she wanted to get thru st louis before morning rush hour). i remember driving on 87th street with its incessant bumps and potholes and wondering if i could get all the way to columbia. dh and i agreed that he'd drive only 80mph; there was no reason to get a ticket or get into an accident; i had time, right? after all, it was my first baby. we pulled over at oak grove, i think, because my back felt like i had a pinched nerve & just needed to stretch. only there was no way to stretch it out. i was very grumpy about having to sit for another hour and a half w/ my back hurting like that.

i remember driving through the middle of nowhere that's east of concordia and asking dawud how far we were. "about halfway" "that's not good enough. go faster" "how fast do you want me to go?" "at least 100. it's dry, clear & straight. just GO" so we covered the last part of that trip at 110mph. (i felt safe cause we were in a volvo Wink) my contractions were getting stronger & i had to hold on to the "oh shit handle" and i really got to practice my bradley method breathing! i told dawud "if this is what early labor feels like, what the hell does hard labor feel like?! i totally understand why people would get epidurals now!" a few more really hard ctx later, and blissfully we passed boonville. i feel like i'm going to throw up, and even gag a few times. all of a sudden, just before the missouri river bridge, i have a MASSIVE ctx that lasts a loooong time, i'm trying to groan through it but end up screaming anyway, and i felt a trickle. yes, transition while driving 110mph on i-70 in the middle of the night. i do not recommend it.

it's probably worth mentioning here that we had a chux pad on the car seat and i had a depends on *just in case* my water broke in the car. we didn't want to clean that up, and especially not on the leather seats w/ seat heaters. "oh my god, dawud. i think my water just broke." "it's okay, we're going to get there. it's going to be fine." i think we went 120mph at that point. the contractions after transition were much harder to keep on top of; i was just trying NOT to push for the next 15-20 minutes. it was getting tough to do. as we exited for columbia, we called the bc and told them my water broke & we were in hard labor. apparently the doc still thought we had tons of time...she still wasn't at the bc. she called the mw there & relayed our situation.

as we got to the bc, i got out of the car & immediately had to sit on the toilet. as i did, i had another big ctx, a huge gush of amniotic fluid & had to push. mw checked me and said i was fine. i made her and dh take my pants off cause i couldn't possibly bend down. i asked her to please fill the tub up (we were planning a waterbirth). had another ctx about a minute later, had to push more. she checked again & said to get on the bed immediately. dawud was just standing watching & she told him he needed to wash his hands--now. as the water was running in the background, she applied a warm compress to my perineum, and i had another huge ctx. i was trying to stay low and moaning, but i was able only to utter a primal scream for the rest of my labor. for some reason the mw said i was going to have to get on all fours, and i must have looked at her like she had 3 heads or something. i said no & luckily had another pushing ctx at that moment. bean was crowning. i reached down to touch the head & started to cry from joy. another pushing ctx & then i had to puff to let her push the lip of cervix away & then i couldn't hold back anymore. the head was out at the next ctx, and then the body was born with the next push. dawud caught our baby & we were elated together. our baby was born at 1:15am monday, march 28, 2005. he put the baby on my tummy (baby couldn't nurse while still attached b/c the cord was pulling on me). i had to look to see, and we had a boy!!! the mw did his apgar w/ him in my arms & he was a 9. (10 at 5 mins later). after the cord stopped pulsing, she tied it w/ a piece of cotton string. then she made sure he was latched onto my breast, and she left the room to let us bond with him on our own.

maybe 30 mins later, the doc came in w/ her & checked me & gave the sweetest welcome to our beautiful, new baby boy. only then did she weigh and measure him. 7lbs, 7oz. she helped me get him latched onto my other (flat) nipple & we talked & she told me how to make sure he was nursing. i birthed the placenta about 15 mins later (45 min after baby). about that time, the tub was full enough & baby & mommy took our first bath together. i stayed in the tub while the mw swaddled him & doc listened to heart & lungs & then daddy held him.

i couldn't sleep at all that night. i just stared and stared at my beautiful boy lying next to me on the bed. my mom got there about 9am. my dad and stepmom even came up from springfield to see us after lunch. we left for home at 6pm monday, less than 18 hours after we arrived at the bc. (it was also the day i had scheduled my next prenatal appt and my free prenatal massage, ironically enough. )

we named him about a week later. khary buatte hasam.

his birth was perfect. he is perfect. i can't wait to do it again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

observations from the road, part 2

khary was made for beaches and the ocean. he was so at home in the keys, i feel bad bringing him back to landlocked kc.

khalil detests sand for the most part. he will play in it, but it is not welcome in his shoes or on his hands. it's hard to believe he and khary are brothers.

if one were to live in florida, nearly every other water feature in the world would be boring. mountains and such, sure. but there are so many different gorgeous areas and features here.

a working knowledge of spanish would be a very handy thing to possess.

alligators only life in fresh water, and only in the southeastern US.

american crocodiles are coming back from endangerment and live in saltwater.

florida may as well be a different country when it comes to wildlife--all of the species and habitat are so completely different, i couldn't begin to answer all of khary's questions about them.

khary knew as many bird species as i did (thanks, diego).

that boy is lucky to survive every day, given how many times he runs into random *stationary* objects.

we will be coming back to the keys at least every other year, possibly looking for a rental home/timeshare near big pine key. (know anyone? ;) )

digital cameras don't like saltwater.

the rice trick doesn't work for digital cameras (or at least it doesn't work within 24 hours).

micro-SD cards are awesome in a pinch.

so are camera phones.

i wish i had the palm pre and/or dawud had the samsung moment on this trip already. they have nicer cameras.

even on vacation, i'm incapable of reading any of my books.

i-75 is very dark despite passing by so many metro areas.

if one had unlimited time, a nice boat, and adequate seafaring abilities, one could spend considerable time hopping from island to island all around the florida peninsula.

it's not very far from florida to the bahamas. but you can't drive to the bahamas.

bahia honda is the most fantastic beach ever. or at least it's the most fantastic beach in my very limited experience.

canadians are everywhere in florida. and they are all as nice as reputed.

i'm either allergic to saltwater or some of my sunblock(s).

you would think that a population under direct threat of climate change and which is directly dependent upon eco tourism would be more environmentally savvy and aware than those living in the keys actually are.

lady gaga is on at least one radio station within range at any given moment.

i actually like lady gaga. (i'm just as surprised as anyone)

khary is fearless. he donned his diving mask and life jacket and swam out over a spanish shipwreck with dawud this afternoon to explore it. even *i* was too chicken to do that!

khalil's favorite beach pastime is napping. or crying. but i'm guessing if he had to choose, he'd pick napping.

khary can make friends with anyone in the blink of an eye.

he can hold his own playing pirates or aliens with kids twice his age and more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

observations from the road, part 1

southern illinois still stinks like fart.

we have been through 5 states so far and seen 3 confederate memorial signs (illinois and a brief pass through kentucky were the exceptions).

kentucky fans are irritating

grownup frat boys and sorority girls still act like college frat boys and sorority girls

any gathering of well to do college alumni smells the same

the nashville science discovery center is the bestest science museum EVAR

the battle of nashville was pretty darn integral to union victory in the civil war

there are more awesome classic rock stations in alabama than one would think

there are more christian radio stations in southwest missouri than in alabama

khary can explain gravity

khary knows that jupiter has the most moons of any planet in the solar system.

alabama bayous stink, too, but at least not like fart.

nashville is a surprisingly cool city.

more people in tennessee seem to smoke than in missouri.

watching the sun rise over western kentucky and the shawnee national forest is inspiring.

fort negley was constructed by runaway slaves and free blacks for the union.

the union didn't ASK said black laborers if they wanted to be laborers, but instead conscripted them from the surrounding area.

about 1,100 black laborers built the intricate stone fort over the course of 4 months.

the union didn't even bother to provide tents for the black laborers.

between 500 and 800 of those laborers died in that short 4 months; only 310 survived through the completion to receive their checks.

did you catch that the union didn't even pay most of the blacks who built the largest stone fort in north america at the time?

we haven't looked too deeply into it, but khary is concerned that we didn't see any graveyards for the men who built the fort, and we didn't find any information about that yet.

we have come a hell of a long way in only 146 years, but a visit to the south will cure you of any "postracial" notions about american society.

i'm not particularly fond of the deep south.

we spent a considerable amount of time out and about in nashville, including strolling around downtown, and yet dawud and i were the only interracial couple we saw.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

i hate february. and so far, march isn't any better.

i have a friend who, last year, nursed her household--but especially her then-wee toddler--through a miserable effing february. it included much much vomiting and diarrhea, and even a hospitalization with RSV. man, i remember thinking that i would go freaking batty if i had a whole month of utter CRAP to go through. and in the dead of winter, no less.

ah, how humbled i am.

you may have noticed that i *just now* published the blog post i intended to share on FEBRUARY 2nd. yes, that's right. more than a month late. why, you may ask, perhaps not knowing the utter laundry list of CRAP with which i will answer? i will tell you. don't take this as whining or complaints. just observations that my february 2010 sucked donkey balls. and so far, march ain't letting up. FML (okay, not really. i love my life. but the circumstances of the past 6 weeks have seriously effing sucked.)

thursday, february 4: i have severe abdominal pain. thinking my gall bladder may soon rupture, i go to the emergency room (after dawud gets home early from work, of course, as we are sharing a car at this point because his mom is borrowing our van). he literally drops me off, then takes the boys to costco, then a friend's house for babysitting. i don't see him again for hours. anyway, after a very quick palpation, doc says it's definitely not my gall bladder, but worst case scenario--i'll need my appendix removed. O_O i throw up PROFUSELY and get some more meds for that. so i get an abdominal ct scan to help with the diagnosis, and then i get rushed to surgery prep. by this time, dawud is finally back by my side. but i'm drugged to the gills, and remember protesting to my surgeon (while we waited for some poor woman to get cut open to get her baby) that i couldn't have the appendix to take home. "it's mine," i say. "we don't do that anymore," she replies. bummer.

i get back home the next day, totally doped up. because ABDOMINAL SURGERY HURTS LIKE A BITCH! i don't care if it's laproscopic. when your innards get scrambled, that shit hurts. i am doped to the gills, get insanely bored sitting on my drugged duff on the computer because i can't hold a thought in my head, and decide i'd rather sit, doped up, at a friend's house for their superbowl party. little did i know...

about 5 days later, khary comes down with a RAGING fever, sleeps nearly 2 days straight, gets taken to the doc by daddy to find out he has h1n1. yay, swine flu is in da hizzy. or something like that., poor guy. then khalil's turn about 5 days after that, somewhat overlapping with dawud's version of the flu, as well. i think i had it, but again, what with the doped up-ness and scrambled guts, i was feeling pretty crummy anyway.

ah, so i think there's light at the end of the tunnel during the last week of february. i even made it to a wine club meeting.

turns out that light at the end of the tunnel? the ever-so-cliche other train barreling towards me. khalil starts puking saturday. pukes sunday. practically all better today. which sucks. why would that suck? because khary woke up puking this morning. and then i get hit late this afternoon. only it's hitting me a zillion times worse for some reason. maybe i just took a freakishly long time to incubate h1n1 (okay, while that's in the realm of what is biologically possible, it ain't anywhere near likely). but i feel like i have the flu. my clothes hurt my skin, i have next to zero energy, and standing/walking is an herculean effort. the only reason i'm up right now is because i took a 3-hr nap after my first round of nausea this afternoon. well, that and i feel nauseous again & am afraid to lie down to sleep.

fun times.

did i mention we're supposed to leave for florida (DRIVING, no less) friday? dawud has been a taskmaster and we have a lot of things packed and planned, but i was supposed to do a little packing today and cook snacks and goodies for the trip over the next couple days. it'll work out, though. somehow.

and the beach? yeah, high of 64, then another beach--high of 72, then another--high of 81. not sure we'll be doing much swimming. but sand and camping and kennedy space center and alligators and coral reefs might soothe that pain. not as much as seeing a shuttle launch would, but since that was postponed until april, it'll have to do.

celebrating imbolc, the buatte hasam way

okay, i'm having a helluva time getting these photos to format right. i'm nearly giving up. so pardon the utter mess this has ended up resembling.

imbolc is february 2nd. yeah, groundhog day. but since it's a little silly to me to celebrate a completely idiotic superstition, mama decided that imbolc, being a time of transitioning out of winter and preparing for spring's arrival, would make an ideal time to transition the wintry bough from inside decoration back to its natural place--outside in nature.

(see a post from last year for an explanation about what the hell i'm talking about.)

the only pathetic image of this year's wintry bough. apparently the only thing hanging on it here is the packaging from the new crock pot we got, aka khary's "wreath." trust me, it looked better than this before we were finished.

last year's bough  was much  more pleasing to the eye, no?:

we gathered these pinecones on an unusually warm january day at franklin park in prairie village. then we had to take them home and dry them in the over for an our or two to get them to open up. (the smell was HEAVENLY!)

khary preferred to use his hands to spread the shortening on the pine cones. to his credit, he got about 5 finished before being bored to tears and quitting. mama did the rest. you can see the big ole baking sheet full of birdseed, in which we rolled the shortening-covered cones.

khary was meticulous about pinecone placement, as well.

the boys decided to ride bikes and khalil apparently chose to start training for soccer. (this is the first time he's chosen to kick the ball around on his own & was enthralled for a full 10 minutes!)

and finally, the transformed wintry bough, now serving birdseed pinecones to the neighborhood birds (and squirrels). 

we've enjoyed watching the birds and squirrels get their fill over the past month. it was a heck of a month for cold weather, so i think it was greatly appreciated.

it was also fun as a ceremony. we take a nature hike and gather the bough, then take it inside and decorate it to warm our cold, stark winter. then we play outdoors and gather pinecones to make birdfeeders, then use them to adorn the bough when we give it back to nature. the remnants of the branch sit with other sticks and branches next to our compost pile, by the way. they will likely help me in labeling garden rows in a few weeks, or staking the plants later in the spring. or be made into impromptu swords.