Keeping Positive

Today, Nova had her two week appt and is doing well.  She’s gained her weight back and was a healthy 9 lbs 1 oz, which I wasn’t surprised at.  I don’t think I’m going to bother with weight checks until her next appt at two months.  She’s somewhere in the 90th percentile for weight and high 70th percentile for length.

I am physically feeling so much better, although I still need to incorporate some daily exercise on a consistent basis.  And I got a visit from an old friend yesterday, Laura with her two daughters, so that was neat.  (And she brought food and cookies!)  So things on the child-rearing front are going well.

Which means for me I need to start working on the other aspects of my life.   I’m a big believer in “The unexamined life is not worth living,” perhaps too much so, because it is easy to sit and think (or brood) without accomplishing much of anything.  My life has been a series of fits and starts, make a little progress, stasis, then move again.   Being pregnant was a form of stasis, and now I’m not.  And I try to work from a viewpoint that I am 100% responsible for my own life.  That may seem to be an obvious truth, but it is both a hard burden and immense freedom if you truly believe it.

There are three big things I want in my life–a deep, real connection to my kids, a fulfilling career that makes a difference in the world, and an authentic, meaningful relationship with another person.   I have to say, I feel like I have that connection with Rowan, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep that.  But the other two. . . let’s just say, there’s work to be done.  I’ve been complacent a lot of my life, and didn’t even realize it.  It’s not hard to admit that things aren’t perfect, because, hey what is?  But it is hard to admit that the only true control I have over anything is myself, and life is built of little choices, the things I do and the things I don’t, and it adds up.  Am I building a wall or a castle?

So far, so good

So Nova is a week old, and things have been going fairly well.  Leif goes back to work tomorrow, after taking a week off.  I’m getting a decent amount of sleep, though it is not continuous and I haven’t been doing much in the day.

I fell in love faster this time.  When my first was born, it was just weird to have a child.  This strange creature, she was like a little pod person to me.  My parents came out two weeks after she was born, and it seemed pointless to me.  All she did was sleep, eat, and cry–why not wait until it gets interesting?  But with Nova, it’s strange to think that this is my last newborn.   I can see the appeal for my Mom now.  (My parents will be visiting in a couple of weeks)

And with Rowan, I felt afterwards like I had been inducted into the secret cult of parenthood–though my baby was good-natured and easygoing, my physical problems were such that I wondered if I would go through that again.  My body was a mess and I had constant pain–part of me wondered if I had known what it was going to be like afterward, would I have gotten pregnant?  My doctor gave me the best advice, “It took nine months for the pregnancy so give yourself nine months to get back to normal,” and I turned out okay.  With Nova, I knew far better what I was getting into.

I am less achy, so that is good, though I still need to be consistent with my workouts/yoga.  It definitely makes a difference when I do it.  But generally, things are going well.

New Bras

So after trying to reuse one of my old nursing bras that would not snap closed, I realized that I might be a bit bigger than last time.  I went to order some new bras (I do my shopping online when I can) and took some measurements.  I am now a “D” for the first time ever.  They’re a little unwieldy to me, to be honest.   Leif passed by while I was measuring myself and he looked at the tape measure and said, “I’m with a woman with a 40 inch chest?”  God knows what they’ll shrink to afterwards, but actually I don’t really care.  This time around, I want to be really good about working out, I just want a body that is fully functional and can do the things I want it to.  And in the meantime, I bought leopard print.  😉

Birth Story

Well, I had one person ask for the birth story of my second daughter, so here it is.  Be forewarned though, I don’t tend to censor much so read at your own risk.

Friday I worked and didn’t feel much different.  My due date was the 10th, but I had resigned myself to the fact that I might have to be induced and the only guarantee was that she would be born by the 24th (two weeks from the due date).  When I got home, our financial planner had kindly agreed to visit us at home and we ordered pizza and talked about the new year.  We’re scaling back our financial planning services as although Leif now has a job again, most of it will be eaten by daycare.

She left at 7:30 pm and almost immediately I had to go to the bathroom and the tightening of my belly felt a bit on the painful side.  I’ve had Braxton Hicks (false contractions) for ages, but my belly would just be tight not painful.   I told Leif I felt a little different, but I wasn’t convinced it was going to be that night.   By 8:30 pm they were irregular, but they were definitely uncomfortable.   But still, I wasn’t convinced it was going to be that night.  Leif was though–he said my face gave it away.  So we took Rowan to Grandma’s.

In the car, we had a choice.  I didn’t know how long I would have to wait before the hospital would admit me.  I call my midwife, and told her my contractions were 6-8 minutes apart.  “Well,” she said, “we still like to have them 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long.”  Crap.  We could have stayed at Leif’s mom’s house, but I wasn’t comfortable with that.  I knew how painful they could become and I hate having people see me like that.   So, we went home again.  It was about 10:00 pm.  I timed them again, and now they were 5 minutes apart, so my husband got 15 minutes of rest and then we were out again.

By now they were bad.  I could no longer stand or walk when they hit, but would squat only because it was marginally better.  By the time we got to the emergency room at 10:45 pm, I walked as fast as I could in my 4 minute window so I wouldn’t be squatting outside the hospital.  At soon as we got in, one of nurses took one look at my face and motioned us to the front.  “Do you feel a need to bear down?” she asked.  I told her I felt like I was going to poop, but I really couldn’t distinguish whether I just had to go, or I needed to push.  That was all it took for them to get me in wheelchair and straight to the emergency room.  Yep, they were a little afraid I was going to give birth in the hallway.

They checked me and I was 4 cm at that point, so we had enough time to get me up to Triage on the birthing floor.  However 5 floors and 15 minutes later, I was 9 cm.  Once again, I missed the window for pain meds.  So they got me to a room and basically told me I could push whenever I wanted to.   Leif and nurse midwife massaged my back as each contraction got worse.  I don’t know how women can lie down and give birth, I was either kneeling or squatting.  And though they gave me a couple of shots of a morphine derivative (the only thing safe at that point), I couldn’t tell it made any difference.

I had thought giving birth to my first daughter was the worst pain I had even been in, but the second one outdid her.  By the end, I was naked (too hot for clothes) and yes, screaming.  Not proud of that, but it is what it is.  Later, I told Leif that a video of me giving birth would dissuade people from having children.  I think I pushed 4 or 5 times, but I don’t really know.  All I know is that I could not push without a scream.

But, she was born a healthy 8 lbs 9 oz and with no complications shortly after midnight (12:11 am), an hour and a half from when we arrived.  They put her on my chest and she suckled right away.  Another champion nurser, although her aggressive latch left me bruised on my left side.  I got to cut the cord too.

Unlike Rowan, where immediately after the birth, the crazy levels of endorphins muted further pain, after this birth, everything seemed more sensitive.  The afterbirth, the midwife sewing me up, the uterine contractions as Nova nursed–during all of it I felt like saying, “Easy there, I’m still tender!”  Of course, I added to it because the very next day I had my tubes tied.  As the uterus is still close to the surface, it’s a pretty easy procedure, but I’ll leave that story for another day.

Well, despite the pain of her birth, Nova has been a pretty easy baby.  Due to the speed of the delivery, she doesn’t have a lot of head molding, so her head is pretty round and her eyes (so far) are a deep storm blue.   So I’ll take the short term discomfort for that.