Sunday, April 10, 2011

Life's Changes

And it changes so quickly.
My last post was my last as a first-time pregnant woman... and this post is my first as a first time mama. I don't even know where to begin in writing about this last week and a half. Amazing, overwhelming, blissful, sleepy, nervewracking, exciting...
I'll start with my abbreviated version of the story of the day Henry decided to meet us.
Wednesday 3/30/11 I went to an appointment in the morning hoping we could get things moving along. I was 5cm dilated and almost completely effaced but still nothing very different going on. No real signs of labor being near. (Or near enough at least) After the appointment we decided to head out for a bit so my mom and Den could see a bit of Alaska outside of Anchorage. We drove out to Beluga Point, which is just a turn off alongside the road about 15 minutes South of Anchorage. We stopped there and looked at the ocean and mountains for a bit, taking pictures, enjoying the drive, when Mom decided we had better not go any further in case I did go into labor. I was essentially like a ticking time bomb. We went downtown to stroll around some galleries, grab lunch, and all the while I was having mild contractions just like I had been for previous weeks. Some of them were fairly predictable, 6 or so minutes apart, but nothing that really caught my attention. I decided that I had been giving labor and contractions so much attention and nothing was happening, that from that point on I was not going to pay attention to them anymore until they made me pay attention to them. So I don't really remember the rest of that day, all I know is I was still having them before bed. About 5 minutes apart but nothing strong, nothing that seemed to be growing more intense... so I wrote them off like all the other nights where I went to bed with contractions and woke up without. I was in bed finding it hard to sleep though. Just feeling a little uneasy, taking a lot of trips to the bathroom but unable to feel really comfortable and settled. I eventually fell asleep around 1:30, and at 4:23 I flung from our bed and let out an "ow" while holding my hard belly. I walked around for a few, and got back in bed. As soon as I was horizontal again, another came and I bounced right back out of bed just unable to lie down during it. I woke Eric up and told him, though I was still convinced this wasn't the real thing. I got in the shower, and as I sat in there moaning with contractions 2 and a half minutes apart I tried convincing myself this still wasn't it. Eric called one of our midwives, Barb, and she told us to come in. She had a feeling things would go fairly quickly and I was due for a round of antibiotics.
We got to the birth center around 5:15 and I had contractions the whole way there. I was warning Eric not to go over bumps too quickly, so at that point I understood I was actually in labor. We got there, got my antibiotics and I was 8cm dilated. I was so surprised that I was already 8, and feeling encouraged. While I can remember a lot of details of the next few hours, things like the order of events/moments, and what people around me were doing are all a little fuzzy. But essentially, I labored in bed for a bit, tried the bath which felt amazing... Henry wasn't low enough or in the right position though so I got out of the bath in order to help things along. I was 8-9 at that point, and after trying the bed for a while longer decided to get in the shower. I was kneeling in the shower leaning over a large exercise ball while Eric sprayed the water on my low back. Again, the water was SO helpful. I was moaning through contractions and in the shower started to feel a tiny bit pushy. No one else but Eric could hear that I was involuntarily pushing a little bit, but I had to get out anyway because I had used up all of the hot water. It didn't feel like I was in there for nearly long enough to use all the water, but who really knows. I got back to the bed, and they decided to break my water so that Henry would move down with it. And sure enough, he did. He made all the right turns and I started to push. I think I started pushing before I was completely dilated, but it was working and I could feel him moving down so we went with it. I pushed for under an hour, and there he was.
And he was perfect.
The feelings were incredibly intense, but they felt natural. I never did anything that my body wasn't trying to do on it's own, it was all very instinctual. Eric was completely vital to the whole process, quietly encouraging me the entire time. I don't remember him leaving my side for a second. He was wonderful.
We left the birth center 3 hours after he was born and came home, and our little world was never/never will be the same again.
This little man is amazing. He's more than we could have ever imagined and we are in love with his every expression and sound. Of course some of these sounds and expressions send Mama into a temporary panic wondering if he's ok, but in love with them nonetheless.
It was great having family around, and my Mom stayed until yesterday morning pretty much handling everything at home for us which was such a wonderful help. Her leaving was met with tears on my end, but everyone is doing wonderfully.
Henry is a pretty relaxed baby, until he's hungry. Then it's another story but we are getting better at the whole process every day. We have spent every day since then cuddling with him, feeding him, changing him, changing him more, changing him again after his precise timing hits and he pees all over as we are changing him... and just enjoying our time together. It still feels a bit surreal.
My mom tried to teach me lessons in taking care of baby while getting things done as well, so I will be working on that. I have already learned how difficult it is to get ready, get out of the house, get anything done. My life now revolves around the schedule of this precious person, but I love it.
We've taken pictures of our little man, but I've realized I haven't taken enough. He's changing so fast and I want to capture it all, but I forget when I'm also trying to just soak it up and live in the moment with him.
My new goal is to take more pictures (never been a problem for me before) and I also want to start taking real photos again, not just the random snapshots. Both are great, but it's my goal to work on better photos. There is no better model for me than our little Henry. He's so handsome!
I'll leave this post with a "Things I Like"... you'll all be glad to know that my habit of chocolate chips sprinkled on all of my food, my extremely strong dessert addiction, is all resolving a little bit... Sometimes because I don't have time to eat it, but mostly because I'm not pregnant. So that's good.

1.) Henry. His faces, his warm little body, his squirmyness, his big yawns, the way he stretches, his sweet baby breath, the list goes on.
2.) The feeling after he is finished eating, and I have a well fed baby boy who's happy and sleepy.
3.) Eric as a Dad. He's amazing, a natural, and so commited. He's up when I'm up, helping with everything.
3.) Still loving the orange juice.
4.) Sleep, any little moment I can get.
Well that about sums things up currently.

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