Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lila's Birth Story

I'd been having contractions every night for about two weeks. Once I sat down to relax for the night, they started. They hadn't been painful, per say, but had felt like a little more than Braxton-Hicks. A few times I'd even started timing them, only to have them fizzle out within two hours or so.

On Sunday (1/20/13) I was experiencing the same thing--all day. I had contractions every 15-30 minutes for most of the day. They weren't painful, really, but felt different from my normal Braxton-Hicks--like the contractions I'd been experiencing for a few weeks. But every time I'd start to think the contractions might be leading to something, they'd slow down or start to feel like normal Braxton-Hicks. By the time Ryan was ready to drive to Vegas, the contractions had mostly stopped. And, since this had happened for a few weeks and led to nothing, we decided he should still go to Vegas.

I went to bed around 10:30 p.m. and woke up at 1:15 a.m. I'm not sure if it was Asher who woke me up--he was having a crazy coughing bout upstairs--or a contraction. But after I checked on Asher and returned to bed, I had another contraction. I decided to try to go back to sleep to see if these contractions were real; if not, they'd go away when I fell asleep. Within half an hour and a few contractions, I was pretty sure sleeping wasn't really an option. I got into the tub to see if that would stop the contractions while thinking, "Am I really sure I can do this with an epidural? I've only been having contractions for half an hour and I'm already getting in the tub to help me through them? This could be a long labor?"

At about 2:45 a.m., I'd been in the tub for an hour and my contractions were still coming. Being in the tub was really helpful with dealing with the contractions--I was actually able to relax my body and let the contractions do their job. My contractions weren't anything near regular (one would come, then another would come 16 minutes later, then the next 2 minutes later, then 5 minutes later... and they varied in length from 30-60 seconds) but my midwife wanted me to call if contractions kept me up at night for an hour. I called Ryan, said, "Thunder cats are maybe go" and asked him to come home. Keep in mind that he'd only arrived in Las Vegas about three hours earlier. Then I called my midwife, Cyndi, gave her a few details, and planned to call her back in an hour.

I got out of the tub and finished packing our bag. While I packed, the contractions got much closer together, coming about every three minutes. Finally I was done and another hour had passed. I called Cyndi again and she suggested resting. The initial adrenaline had worn off and I was exhausted, so I climbed in to bed. Not too long after I got into bed, Ryan got home, thank goodness. Once he was home, I felt my body relax even more, which made me able to deal with the contractions more easily, to fully relax my body more easily. Ryan helped me time contractions and rubbed my back, which was starting to get sore. While we were resting, my contractions spaced out to about 12 minutes apart, lasting around 60 seconds each.

After about 2 hours, I decided to get back into the tub. My contractions were building in their intensity and I wasn't having the easiest time handling them lying down anymore. Once I was relaxed in the tub, my contractions started coming closer together again, about 4-5 minutes between each, lasting about 1 minute each. Reed woke up while I was in the tub and Ryan went to spend a little time with him. Ryan told Reed that Reed would get to meet his baby sister later that day, and Reed was pretty excited.

Eventually I tired of the tub and got out to call Cyndi. We agreed to meet at the birth center around 8:45ish to see how I was progressing. I spend the next hour and a half mostly in the bathroom, alternating between sitting on the toilet and bracing myself against the counter when contractions came, "getting ready" for the day intermittently when I had a break. Ryan loaded our stuff into the car, ate breakfast, and got the boys taken care of. Finally, we were ready to go. We told my mom we'd find out where I was, planning to have her meet us later in the day when we got closer to delivery.

We got to the birth center at 9:00 a.m. Cyndi greeted us, then told us she'd check me before we got settled to be sure we wanted to stay. Later, she told me she was pretty sure we'd either be there a long time or she'd be sending us home, judging by how I looked. Apparently, my smiles, ability to talk and walk, and lack of exhaustion showed her that I couldn't be that far along yet. Cyndi checked the baby's heartbeat, which sounded good, then checked me. While she was checking me, she said, "What the heck??" and kept feeling around. Then she told us she couldn't find my cervix. She kept feeling around because she thought it was tilted really far back. Then she realized she couldn't feel it because I was already at a 9.5! She said that once my water broke, we'd be having a baby!

We immediately called my mom and told her to come over, and Cyndi called Lisa, her birth assistant. Then we settled in. Ryan started our birth playlist (the best playlist, ever, by the way. I'd already been listening to it most of the night) and I found the perfect spot to lean against--the dresser. During contractions, I'd brace against the dresser and try to relax everywhere else. I stopped timing my contractions by this point, but they weren't coming super close together, just growing in intensity.

My perch at the birth center.

After about half an hour, my mom and Lisa were both there and we were just waiting for me to finish progressing. Lila was still super high (my babies never, ever "drop"), so Cyndi didn't want to break my water yet--that would essentially just take away my pain cushion while I waited for the baby to descend. My contractions continued to increase in intensity, and Ryan, my mom, and Lisa took turns applying counterpressure to my hips. I was pretty tired by this point and hadn't eaten since dinner the night before, so my legs started shaking while I was standing. Lisa suggested going on my knees and leaning over a birthing ball so I could rest a little more (I'd tried kneeling, sitting, and laying, but all were super uncomfortable). The ball/kneeling was amazing. Between contractions I was mostly asleep, leaning on that ball. In a way, it was very peaceful--the only sound really was the music, and we were all so focused and working together.

The contractions suddenly jumped in intensity and I had to stand again. Ryan was still applying counterpressure and getting really tired, too. After standing a little while, I had to go to my knees again because I was very, very tired. After a few contractions on my knees, I felt the baby descend and said, "The baby is coming." Honestly, that feeling was kind of surreal and very hard to describe--but I knew that it would be time to push soon. During the next contraction, I felt the need to push, so I did; then my water literally exploded. The sound and feel (and I'm assuming look--I couldn't see) were as if someone had just thrown a gigantic water balloon at me. Again, a little weird. But almost immediately I felt a little relief from the water being out of the way.

This is random, I know, but my feet have been icicles for every birth. This time I was smart and wore slippers.

The next contraction was an easy one, which was kind of surprising to me. In fact, when I didn't feel the urge to push and rather just rested on my ball, I was a little worried that I wouldn't know when it was time to really push. But a few minutes passed and another contraction came--and I knew. We were going to meet our baby soon. I started pushing, Ryan still doing the counterpressure, and Cyndi directing me. Cyndi was amazing--telling me to back off a little, or to push hard, or just to keep going--she was exactly what I needed. And I was amazed at my ability to respond to her directions. I was in control, completely. Soon Lila's head and hand were out, and we discovered that her cord was wrapped around her neck and she had her hand by her face. Cyndi quickly slipped the cord off Lila's neck, then told me I could keep going. A few more pushes and Lila was here! In total, I pushed for five minutes.  I was only in hard labor for about forty-five minutes and in labor at all for just under ten hours.

My first time seeing Lila.

Cyndi told me to sit back, then handed Lila to me. I was so shaky from exertion and Lila so slippery that I could barely hang on to her. Ryan came to see her and we both just bawled. After a few minutes, Cyndi and Lisa helped me on to the bed and I got to cuddle a little more comfortably with my baby girl. Lila was so calm after birth that I was a little nervous; she didn't really cry at all. They did hold a little oxygen stream by Lila's face while I fed her, but within a few minutes, Lila's oxygen levels were great. We got to go home just two hours after she was born and introduce little miss to her excited brothers.

Having a baby--all three times--is one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. I was so happy with the way Lila's birth went and so amazed at the capabilities of my body; I'm definitely glad we chose the birth center over the hospital this time. I'm so grateful for our new little one. Life will definitely be more crazy with her but we can't imagine not having her!

Daddy's first time holding his baby girl. 

 Grandma meeting Lila.

Reeder meeting Lila. When my mom got home he asked her why she didn't send more pictures (she'd sent several!). 

He was ready to hold her right away. 

 Asher stayed here for approximately five seconds before he decided he'd had enough bonding time.

Our little burrito.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

One week

Last week at 11:02 a.m.:

This week at 11:02 a.m.:

Honestly, it's been a hard week--but also a wonderful week. We love our baby girl!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Asher finally acknowledges Lila's existence

Reed has loved Lila from day one, much as he loved Asher right from the start. He always asks to hold her and will come talk to her if she's fussy--he tells her, "It's okay Baby Lila, Brother is here." If we're doing something unpleasant, like suctioning her nose, he comes and holds her hand and tells her not to worry. In general, he's ridiculously cute with her.

Asher, on the other hand, has pretty much ignored Lila from day one. It took him three full days to be willing to briefly touch her and five days before he even said anything to her. When he did finally talk to her, he was super cute, "Hi Baby Lila, hi baby girlfriend!" Then he told me, "I ready to hold her!" But he wasn't really--when I brought her to him he turned around and wouldn't even look at her.

Then yesterday, a miracle happened. Reed was holding Lila and Asher first came to check out the situation...

Then he decided to actually sit next to Lila (also a first)...

 (How out of control is their hair by the way? This three kids thing is a work in progress.)

And then...he held Lila. And smiled about it.

Then, while we were taking pictures (who knows if this will happen again!) he just kept staring at her--it was quite cute.

Perhaps he likes her after all!

The Monthly Asher: 27

On Lila's first day, she let out a "squawk" kind of cry and Asher yelled, "She said neigh!" He was pretty pumped about that.

Asher is pretty cuddly for as "busy" as he is. Whenever I ask him, "Do you have a kiss for me today?" he runs right over and plants a sloppy one right on my mouth. Out of the blue he'll run over and give me a hug. And he is the best squeezer, ever--he wraps his arms around you, then makes a noise of extreme exertion while actually applying no extra force. It's fantastic.

 Always the cheeser.

Asher gets so super excited about things--even small things. If you mention something that even sounds a little cool (like, "Hey, should we go play Legos?") He starts dancing and bouncing and yells, "YEAH! That be fun!!!"

Every day Asher seems older. I don't know what it is, exactly, but he just seems old! He's starting to make his own jokes--like at lunch yesterday, when he said, "They had the craziest bum bums I ever saw!" and to notice things by himself, he's making connections between things--it's crazy to watch him grow up.

Basket face.

Asher is a little rough. Maybe a lot rough. He is constantly tackling Reed and seriously taking him to the ground. Reed thinks it's hilarious and they end up rolling around on the ground, wrestling. Other times, though, Reed doesn't think it's so funny--like when Asher wants a toy Reed has so puts Reed into a headlock or tackles Reed, trying to get it.

Asher loves having a ton of stuff in bed with him when he sleeps. He's slowly been amassing an army of stuffed animals in his bed--he grabs a new one from grandma's stock every night. The other night, he fell out of bed because there were so many stuffed animals there was no room for him! We've been trying to convince him to pick out one or two stuffed animals each night to sleep with and so far have had mild success.

Ashie says most things pretty clearly (at least to me), but there are some words that he still says the original way he learned to. For example, he's capable of saying "balloon," but he calls ballons "doons." He can say "brother" but he calls Reed "Bubba."

Asher gets really hooked on certain songs. His current favorite is "Route 66"--he knows it from the Cars soundtrack. We put it on a loop for him at bedtime because it's seriously the only thing he wants to listen to--if the CD goes to the next song, he just yells for Route 66. He can sing most of the words to the song, too, which is pretty cute.

Asher likes to climb on top of Reed and yell, "Cowboy! I'm a yee-haw!" He also does this over the side of the bath or really to any object he can climb on and sit on.

Asher is doing so much better at sleeping in his bed and staying asleep. I'm so proud of him!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

First "bath"

I think I'm safe to say Lila loved her first sponge bath.


Or you could surmise that it scarred her for life.

Either way, there's nothing quite as cute a naked baby, screaming or not.

(And lest you think I scalded her, know that her skin was quite red/pink already)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Three Little Ducks

Two days old

Lila's two day stats:
7 lbs., 9 oz.
20 in.
37.5 cm. head

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sweet Baby Girl

Lila Jae Hambly
1/21/13, 11:03 a.m.
7 lbs. 15 oz., 20 in.

Welcome baby girl!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Asher Sleep Chronicles

I love my Ashie Bee. His funny little personality, crazy cute smile, and budding sense of humor bring me joy every day.

Lately, though, his sleep habits have not been providing the same joy. The issues started a few weeks ago. Asher got a cough, which really didn't bother him much during the day but struck with a vengeance at night. Each night, he would wake up at least once, coughing so much he would start crying--which led to more coughing, then more crying. A drink of water and some upright rock-a-bye time were usually all that was required to help Ashie get back to sleep.

I miss this--sleeping Asher.

These night-time cough sessions took their tole on Asher and on me. He was grumpy and tired the next day. And because Ryan was already in Vegas, I was the only one getting up with him all night and in the morning, so I was grumpy and tired the next day, too. I was sure that once the cough went away, so would the sleep issues.

I was wrong. Once the cough was mostly gone, Asher woke up a few times screaming his head off. When I went up to see what the problem was, he was underneath his bed. His bed has a very low clearance--he wouldn't be able to fall off the bed and roll under out, he would have to shimmy underneath it. When I asked him why he was down there, he'd respond, "I don't know!!"

One night I found him sleeping under his bed before he woke up screaming, thankfully. 

Then he started having long, long lists of requests at bedtime. "I have to go potty, Mommy." "I need Route 66, Mommy." (His favorite song on his bedtime CD.) "I'm thirsty, Mommy. I have bad bad cough and need a drink." "I can't find bee ball (his blanket), Mommy." I would literally be in and out of his room three or four times before he'd go to sleep. Yes, I know I shouldn't have granted every request. But being 9 months pregnant and essentially a single parent have not had the most positive effect on my willingness to fight over sleep. Asher is crazy stubborn--if I didn't respond to his request, he would yell what he wanted over and over and over for upwards of an hour. One day, no joke, he yelled, "I need to wear footie jammies!!!!" from 4:30-5:45 a.m. Super pleasant and totally ridiculous--but after that experience, I didn't feel it was worth it to fight. If I gave Asher what he wanted, he'd go back to sleep--for a few hours, at least.

Then he started with the ridiculous requests during the night. I'd be up at 12. Again at 2. Then 5. Then 6. Then Reed would wake up at 6:30. These nightly wakings have been going on for a little over a week and I am just so tired. Then I realized something: I am always so hesitant to jump in to sleep training because, frankly, it's miserable for everyone involved. I always feel so bad at the beginning--it's hard for me to listen to my child crying, especially when he can vocalize his requests. He already knows how to go for my weakness: "Tan we rock-bye, Mommy?" (Can we rock-a-bye, Mommy?) But sleep training has been worth the effort every time I've had to do it. (Side note: why can kids not just stay sleep trained? Must we have relapses?)

The result of one of our bedtime battles. Asher told me, "I don't like laying down!" We'd been fighting for a while, so after that, I didn't respond to his requests for anything. When I went to check on him, I found him sleeping--standing up. Who won this battle? I'm not sure.

One of my resolutions this year--or at least this month--is to get Asher to sleep through the night again. Before Lila is born. Because I certainly cannot handle two children waking up four times at night. Hopefully soon we will all be a little more well-rested and a little happier.

Update: Since I wrote this last week, we've been "sleep training" with Asher. He's done a little better each day, especially with going to sleep without one million requests. Last night (1/21/13), he didn't wake up at all!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pregnancy Log: 40 weeks

How far along?  40 weeks. My belly is measuring 41 cm.
Total weight gain/loss? +20 pounds
Maternity clothes?  Truly, the only clothes I like these days are maternity yoga pants, Ryan's basketball shorts, and t-shirts. We spend a lot of days in lounge clothes. I do still get dressed when we leave the house, so there is that.

Stretch marks? Nope! Not any new ones, at least.
Sleep? I couldn't tell you. Asher's sleep issues are STILL not resolved. Last night he was up FIVE times--including an hour from 5-6 where he yelled, "Let me out now!" If Asher weren't waking up so much, I might be able to sleep--it's hard to tell.
Best moment last week? Maybe this shouldn't qualify as a "best moment," but there were a few hours during the past week during which my sciatic didn't hurt. At all. The relief was blissful. 

Movement? Lila's movements are slowing down somewhat, mainly because she is running out of room! She is still at her most active at night, occasionally keeping me up because she moves to much!

Food cravings?  I'm seriously craving Black Cherry Shasta and can't find it ANYWHERE. 

Sickness? Nope.
Food aversions? Nope

Gender? Girl

Labor signs? Wishing there were more! I haven't gained weight since my 37 week appointment--I've actually lost a little. Weight stabilization/decrease is apparently a sign of labor. I've had crazy amounts of Braxton-Hicks today and I usually get what I think are false labor contractions at night, but they're super inconsistent. One day she'll come.
Belly button in/out? Out. Yikes.

What I miss: Playing with the boys the way I want to. I'm so tired all the time and it's just getting hard to move my body around. I don't like getting up and down off the floor. I have a hard time lifting Reed. And I'm just so worn out. I feel badly because I don't think they have much fun with me anymore.

What I am looking forward to: Cuddling my sweet baby.
Milestones: I'm due! I could literally have this girl at any minute.

There's just something...

...about a mustachioed man.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Balloon Bash

We were happy we got to see Nick and Lynnie for a little while on their way home from California. The little boys are pretty close in age--Cole is just 6 months older than Asher--so they were all pretty pumped to play together. Last time we saw Lynnie's family was on our family trip to Big Bear, which was quite a while ago. Asher and Cole were still little enough in Big Bear that they didn't really care about playing together--but this quick little stop was a different story. All three little boys had the best time playing with our leftover New Year decorations.

I had to run a quick errand and missed the balloon in the bath party the little boys had with Kayla. Luckily, Reed and Asher were more than willing to reenact it for me later.

After the balloon party, we decided to go to a paint your ceramic place before Lynnie and Nick had to make the long drive home. Reed and Ashie both chose skulls--they love pirates--and Cole chose a car. Kayla made a super cute ornament. I would have painted something, but then saw the prices. I decided to spare my wallet and found myself quite busy helping the boys, anyway.

Some day soon-ish we need to see Lynnie and Nick for a longer period of time!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ashie Bee's Big Boy Bed

I went in to Asher's room the other day (12/30/12) to get him out of his crib post-nap and was surprised to find him on top of the crib rails, balancing himself diagonally across the top of the crib. Neither of the boys has ever tried to climb out of the crib before, so seeing Asher perched on top of the crib came as quite a shock. We had originally planned on keeping him in a crib until we move to Vegas, but decided safety was a little more important: the crib had to go. Luckily, my mom's crib converts quite easily into a toddler bed, so Ryan was able to quickly remove the side in preparation for that night.

Do you love their outfits, by the way? They chose their own chillers. Asher thinks red and red match.

Asher was quite pumped to see the side come off his bed. He kept saying, "Daddy make me big boy bed like Bubba!" He loves, loves, loves to be like Bubba. After Ryan got the side off the crib, Asher and Reed climbed in and out of the bed approximately 1,000 times in five minutes. Par-tay. Then they brought my mom, dad, and sisters in to show off the bed.

I just love that happy smile.

Asher is doing surprisingly well in his big boy bed. I really expected him to climb out and play, especially during nap time--he's not really one for following rules--but he actually stays in and falls asleep. Sadly, the "force field" that kept Reed in his bed until we told him he could get out (seriously, that worked for almost a year) isn't in effect for Asher. When I go in to his room post-bed or -nap (Asher can't open the door by himself), he's usually standing right next to his bed. He is often touching his bed, like he doesn't want us to think he was playing, which is kind of funny. But at least he stays in the bed to sleep!

Doing tricks. Sorry for the blur, that's what happens when you try to take an action shot on an iphone.

We've only had a few small issues. At nap time one day, I heard Asher start playing with probably the loudest toy my mom owns and went in to tell him to stay in his bed. He was quite upset. Ironically, if he had chosen a quiet toy to play with, I likely wouldn't have known he was even out of bed. There was also one falling out of bed circumstance, as well as one occasion when I heard him crying and went upstairs to find him under the bed (it's not very high off the ground, so I was kind of impressed to find him underneath the bed in the middle of the night).

Reed wanted to take pictures of Ashie, too. Here he's showing them off.

Ashie does love his bed, but does not love me taking videos of him if he's not in the mood.

Three cheers for big boys beds! (P.S. Seeing Asher in his big bed reminded me so much of little Reed in his big boys are growing up [sniffle])