Saturday, July 30, 2016

Annika's birth story. The one in which I defy the nurse and say crazy stuff.

Annika Amelia was born on July 28th, 2016 at 7:46 P.M.  She weighed 7 lbs, 7 oz.  This is her story.

My due date was August 7th.   Three-fourths of my other children were born exactly 10 days before their expected due date.  Elsa was thirteen days early .  So, it's wasn't quite a shock when at 7:00 AM on the morning of July 28th (10 days early) that my water broke.

My husband had a job interview that morning.  So, all along, while I suspected the baby might be born that day, I was really, really, really hoping she would hold off until after the job interview.   In fact that night was pretty stressful.  I kept waking up and thinking "we need to make it 6 more hours."  "Only four more hours." 

And then my water broke, but contractions still hadn't started yet, so off he went.

July 28th also happens to be the birthday of my dear, departed grandmother.  The name we were originally thinking of was Annika Rose.  Except, my mother was pushing us to name her Annika Amelia if she happened to be born on July 28th since Amelia is my grandmother's name and the person for whom I was named.

So much of that day was spent arguing over if it was going to be Annika Rose, Annika Amelia or Annika Rose Amelia.  I know lots of Catholics do it, but I am personally not a fan of the whole three names thing.  Even when we left for the hospital, we still weren't sure.  It wasn't until she was born, that we were sure.

 I had barely any contractions most of the day.  We even went into the OB/midwife office to be checked and confirm if my water had indeed broke.  Their tests were inconclusive (2 were negative, 1 was positive), but I KNEW it had broken.  You don't get that many gushes for nothing.   Since I still wasn't in labor, we went home, with instructions to come in again the next morning if still no labor and to eat and rest that night.

I ended up not getting much rest that night.

Around, 4:30 PM, I started to feel contractions.  By 5:00 PM, I could no longer just sit through them and had to walk around.   I retreated to our dark bedroom with all kids banished away, and was more than happy to labor by myself and walk through all the contraction in the peace and quite.  It was super nice and made me really, really wish I had chosen homebirth again this time.  (Read about why not.)  In fact, I was kinda wondering if there were any midwives I could call at the last minute to come.  But, I didn't think that was too likely so instead I kept evaluating in my mind when we should head to the hospital. Did I mention that the hospital was 25 minutes away and I was having the kind of contractions where sitting down in the car for 25 minutes sounded like just about the most horrible thing ever.  I wanted to do nothing more than walk around (and around and around) through all of them.

Around 6:00 I decided we needed to leave soon, or I wasn't going to make it.  We left around 6:35 and got to the hospital around 7:00 PM  The car ride was pretty uncomfortable, although I still didn't think I was that close.   I don't think of myself as the kind of person who has quick births.....although my last birth was quick, the first three were NOT quick.   In fact, when I called the midwife on call, I even told her not to rush.

THAT was a mistake.

Going through all the intake stuff, and being checked and going through registration while having really strong contractions really close together was absolutely miserable.

I was really missing the peace of my last homebirth.

Around 7:15 we got into the labor and delivery room and the nurse checked me.  She said I was a 5.  I was all thinking "no way,  these contractions are way too strong for a 5.  I feel way past that."

For the next 30 minutes of labor, that little 5 haunted me. I thought I had hours and hours of excrutiating labor ahead of me.  It was terrifying.

At one point I had to go to the bathroom and came out and said.

"I think I want the epidural".   Crazy thing #1.   Not that having an epidural is crazy.  But, if she hadn't told me about that I was only a 5, I probably would have realized how close I was.   I was actually thinking about an epidural even before I went into labor.  I suspect this may be my last birth and I've only had natural births.  I sorta wanted to see how the other half births. I still don't know.

The nurse said that would take about 30 minutes because they have to give you IV fluids and put an IV in.  The thought of lying down on the bed for 30 minutes was incomprehensible to me, so I was all "oh forget it."

I HAD to be on my feet and walking around. It was REALLY painful.  I think because my water had already broken, it was more painful than previous labors.  My least painful birth was the one where my water broke right before pushing.

 Then I started to feel lots of pressure.  Lots of urges to push.  I couldn't tell if it was poop or baby.

Turns out it was both.

I squatted down next to the bed and started pushing.

Then I said "Dude, I'm like pooping on the floor."  Crazy thing #2.   Yes, I actually said "dude" and "like."

Ben was really good and actually helped clean me up, while the nurse was just all "Do you feel like pushing, you need to get into the bed, so I can check you."

No way was I getting into the bed.  I just ignored her and kept pushing.

After just a few pushes, I had that baby's head is right there feeling and just said.

"Baby's coming." 

The nurse was all "If baby is coming, you need to get into bed, and I'll get Lindsay (midwife).  Don't push."

Plus, I was kinda ticked off because "they" said I could birth in whatever position I wanted.   Apparently the nurse hadn't gotten the memo.

No way was getting into bed or not pushing.  NO WAY.   

Birth waits for neither man nor midwife. 

I've been through this rodeo enough times to know that the only way out is through, and once you get to the pushing part, it's almost over.   I was NOT about to prolong the agony any longer.

At that point, the nurse must have called some code, because the next thing I knew there were a ton of nurses in the room and they told me that the head was out, but they saw a cord, so I needed to lie down.

So, I just lied back on the floor, they slipped the cord off her neck and she was born the rest of the way.

Official time of birth was 7:46 PM .  Just 30 minutes after I was only a 5. 

THEN I got into bed and the midwife was there to help deliver the placenta and rather apologetic for missing the actual birth.  I didn't care.  She came out, just fine.

And here she is!

It was a hard pregnancy and hard birth, but she's worth it!

Even though the hospital was a major pain and the made us CARRY THE CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT UP TO THE ROOM AND CARRY THE BABY OUT IN THE CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT.   Ridiculous!!  At least we got to leave after 24 hours. Hospitals always feel a little like jail to me.  Except the food is probably better.  And you get to leave sooner. 

So that's her story!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Eloquent Elsa

This is Elsa.  She will be 4 in September.  She talks A LOT and says all sorts of crazy things.

Talking to Greta:

When you were younger and your name was Elsa, you liked that toy.

Talking to Greta:

Greta: Elsa, you should hate the color pink.                           
 Elsa: But, I'm not you yet.

After the UPS man delivers a package:

I love that man. 


She loves her pets.

George (dog) is my daddy and Zorro (cat) is my mommy.

When I grow up, I'm going to marry George.  (by the time she grows up, you will probably be able to do that...legally).

Whenever someone says something she doesn't like:

THANKS A LOT! (in a total sarcastic tone).

Random question:

When will my bones come out?

When leaving with Daddy to go someplace:

Bye George, Bye Zorro, Bye Mommy Amelia

After running a race with her siblings:

My hair is fast.

After coming in from playing in her kiddie pool: 


This is NOT our kiddie pool

After asking if she can have chocolate chips in her (plain, homemade yogurt):  

And I want TOO MUCH chocolate chips.

After John asked to stay up and read:

N-O spells NO.  You get what you get.

When talking about where various family members were born. 

I was born in Frozen.  (actually she was born in Florida, which is pretty much the opposite of Frozen, a  year before that dratted movie came out).  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Trying Something New - The Special Delivery Baby Hammock

I’ve tried baby swings.  I’ve tried bouncy chairs.  I’ve even tried cribs and bassinets.   I’ve never really found a good solution for helping a baby sleep alone for very long.

Sleep issues with babies seem to be almost ubiquitous.  Everyone just expects the newborn phase to be full of sleep deprivation.  Everyone eagerly awaits the time until a baby can sleep through the night.   

Everyone expects the first few months to be hard, until the parents train the baby to sleep through the night in the crib. I've never felt comfortable with cry-it-out methods, so that's just not I something I do.  No judgement on those who do, but I'm personally not comfortable with that.  

Granted, I’ve heard of babies that are just naturally good sleepers.  I’ve heard of babies who are happy to sleep in a crib.  I’ve heard of babies who sleep 20 hours a day, straight from birth and are still sleeping 14 hours a day at 3 years of age.  None of those babies every came out of my uterus.

By the 5th kid, I’ve given up hope of ever getting a naturally good sleeper that just loves the crib and will happily sleep in there alone for hours. 

Co-sleeping has saved my nighttime sanity.  Thanks to co-sleeping, I’ve never felt sleep-deprived or had to get up at night.  I’ve never really felt like I had nighttime sleep issues thanks to co-sleeping.   Usually by about 4 months of age or so, I’ll nurse my babies down to sleep in bed, and they will stay asleep in there for around 2 hours until I go to bed, and then they sleep next to me for the rest of the night.

That has always worked just fine for me, and I don’t anticipate changing anything.

Naps on the other hand are a totally different story.  I’ve always struggled with naps.  See, babies don’t like to sleep alone.  Babies don’t like to sleep on hard surfaces after being all nice and snuggly in the womb. Babies DO like to fall asleep nursing.  That means that basically every single nap involved my baby falling asleep nursing, and then me trying to lay them down to sleep someplace else, and it almost never working.  Not for very long anyway. Babies go through these sleep cycles, so baby would fall asleep nursing, I’d wait like 20 minutes until they were really in a DEEP sleep, lay them down, and they’d wake up 10 minutes later. 

Not fun.

With my first three, I was able to solve this problem by doing most of the home nursing while lying down in bed and then managing to sneak away.  It worked best with the first baby, not bad with the second and only so, so with the third.  By the fourth child, this didn’t work at all.  In fact Elsa was pretty much the WORST NAPPER EVER.  I mean, if they gave out awards for these things, she would definitely win.   

Different house set-ups make nursing in bed more complicated.  Having older kids that are homeschooling makes it WAY more complicated.  In our current house, it would be VERY difficult. 

The bedrooms are upstairs, we homeschool downstairs and I can’t retreat to the bedroom every time the baby wants to nurse. Not with homeschooling and working at home.  Not going to work.

The only way Elsa would get a good nap in, was if I sat there and held her for the entire time or put her in a baby carrier.  

Maybe that works for some people, but it didn’t work that well for me. I'm not a fan of being stuck on the couch for an hour or two at a time, and I while I love babywearing while shopping or walking or out in public, I'm never had great success doing cooking or laundry or cleaning while babywearing. 

Enter, the latest thing I’m super excited to try.  The Special Delivery Baby Hammock.

Actually, it’s not a new invention, it’s very old.  People have been sleeping babies in hammocks for a very long time.  You see ancient people seemed to know something that even the American Academy of Pediatrics can’t seem to grasp.  Babies don’t like to sleep alone, on hard, flat, immobile surfaces.  

For all their recommendations of babies sleeping alone, on their back, in a crib….they seem to forget that babies don’t like that.  Babies don’t sleep well that way.  Well maybe some do, but many don’t. Which is why so many parents end up "breaking" the rules....with tummy sleeping or co-sleeping or whatever.

I first heard about baby hammocks many years ago (probably at least 10) when someone, on some message board on the Internet, mentioned using the Amby bed.   I hadn’t really given it much thought as that time, co-sleeping and my nursing lying down method was still working with my 2nd.

Then when I got pregnant with the 5th, I started remembering how horrid naptime was with the 4th.  

I started thinking of different solutions.  I remembered someone mentioning the Amby so many years ago and off my fingers flew, googling like crazy.  Well, as it turns out the Amby bed was recalled in the US, back in 2010 and is no longer sold here in the states.  Plus, it’s expensive.

In fact, as it turns out, there are very few baby hammocks available for sale here in the good ole' USA.

In all my research, I only came across a few that actually available and sold here in the United States.  There may be some foreign countries that will ship to the USA, but they are all expensive.  

Even the ones sold in the USA are expensive.  

As it also turns out, in general, baby hammocks get VERY good reviews.  Parents swear by how much their baby loves them and how well the baby sleeps in them.  All different brands seem to have overwhelmingly positive reviews in terms of babies actually liking and sleeping in them.  So, I figured there had to be something to this whole baby hammock thing.

One of the biggest benefits, is they seem to help a lot with reflux and colic.  Between the soothing motion and the fact that a baby is lying at an incline, baby hammocks are said to be great for babies with colic or reflux.  

I spend QUITE a bit of time researching brands and types.

I was looking for a few different things, before settling on the Special Delivery Baby Hammock.  I contacted the company and they were kind enough to send me one to try out.  So, in the interest of full disclosure, this is a sponsored post.  But, all opinions contained within are 100% my own.

They sent me this super cute fabric with owls!  I love it!  But the website has lots of choices to choose from.  All hammocks are hand-made by mothers who use them with their own babies.  That's pretty cool.

These are the features that especially drew me to the Special Delivery Baby Hammock.

Price: Many of the baby hammocks I found were upwards of $250-$500.  This one is only be about $125, with shipping.  I like that.  I would never recommend something on my blog that I wouldn’t be willing to buy myself.  And I would NOT be willing to spend that much on a baby hammock, but I would be willing to spend $125.

True Hammock:  There seems to be two different models/styles of baby hammocks sold.  Those that are true hammocks, and those which include a mattress, where it is more like a suspended baby bed.  The ones with the mattress are less safe in my opinion and many recommendations involve not using it after the baby is able to roll around.  Well….that would make it VERY short lived.  And I do not want something that is only going to work for a few months.  The mattress ones seem to pose more of a safety risk (as evidenced by the Amby bed recall) in that a baby *could* roll over and get wedged against the mattress.  Although I’ve also read that those hammocks were used incorrectly.   Who knows?  The Special Delivery Baby Hammock is a true hammock, and it would be VERY difficult for baby to actually roll over in one, since there is no hard flat surface.  It's difficult for an adult to actually roll over in a true hammock.

Also, because it is a true hammock, it eliminates any risk of plagiocephaly, or flat-head syndrome.  The baby is cradled in the fabric, no hard surfaces to cause a flat-head.  And, I do see quite a bit of babies with flat heads around.

Breathable Fabric: The Special Delivery Baby hammock is made entirely of breathable fabric.  No cords or canvas or mattress, so even if a baby did turn their head against the fabric, they would be able to breathe right through it.

Safety: Safety is a big concern of mine.  Honestly, the Special Delivery Baby Hammock seems VERY safe, UNLESS it is use incorrectly.   Putting the baby in it, upside down (so the head is lower than the feet) would be huge no-no.  Hanging it incorrectly could also cause issues.  But, the biggest danger I can see would come from toddlers or other children who may decide to swing it or run into it.  Since it is just hanging down, a person toddler could swing it really hard, and hurt a baby.  So, obviously if you have a child that is likely to do something like that, close supervision would be necessary.  Of course, if you have a child that is likely to hurt a baby, close supervision is necessary anyway.  I feel like all my kids are old enough to learn not to do something like that. 

Adjustable Chain:  I like that you can adjust the height of the hammock, to make it higher up or lower to the ground.  If you were using it with a toddler that could climb out themselves or that would try to climb out, it would probably be best to keep it lower to the ground. 

Longevity:  This hammock says it lasts until baby is between 18 months - two years.   And they even sell a toddler one, which would last until age 4 or 5.  I'm a big fan of longevity.  Any product that only lasts a few months is a no-no in my book.

Actually...I fit Elsa in it (with her legs folded) and she is almost 4.  The instructions say to test with weight in excess of the baby. almost 4-year old fits that description.  So, we tested it with her.  She loved it and seemed quite safe and secure and comfortable in there, despite being too long for it.

Installation:  Some hammocks come with frames (which take up a lot of space) but the Special Delivery Baby Hammock comes with a screw to screw into the ceiling. However, the thought of screwing something into the ceiling strikes fear into my heart.  Handypeople we are not.  So, I ended up ordering a door clamp from New Zealand and it works wonderfully. We may still get around to screwing it into our ceiling, but this gave us another option.  You could probably also buy a frame to use with it (or even build one), if so inclined. 

I'm very excited to try it out!  Now, I just need a baby to put in it.

Thirty-five weeks today!! All my other babies were born sometime during the 38th week, so only a few weeks left I hope.   Since I wore this outfit on Sunday, I'm linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best!

I'm at that point where only a few clothes fit and my wardrobe is somewhat limited.  I'm not one of those people who gets a super cute belly that is all out of in front, so I generally hate pregnancy pictures.   I have a long torso and tend to go all out the side, rather than in front, so I'm super jealous of everyone who gets the super cute ball look. 

I'll keep you posted on how the Special Delivary Baby Hammock works with our new baby! I'm really hoping it provides for some restful naps out of arms!  Maybe I'll even decide to use it at night at times!


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