Tuesday, January 31, 2012

So Here's How It All Went Down (aka: Lorelei's Birth Story)

First off, I promise there will be no pictures of the actual birth. That's awkward and weird. Brian was not allowed to take any pictures. I don't care what anyone says, while birth is beautiful, it is not photogenic.

How it Started:
As I talked about in one of my previous posts, I started feeling slightly weird on Monday--a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, more than I was used to. I joked with Bonnie when I was at her apartment that day that I *might* be in early labor. Well, it seems that I probably was. At about 2:30 am Tuesday morning, I felt something...shift. Which woke me up and made me have to go to the bathroom. As usual, I couldn't go back to sleep right away, so I hung out on the couch and messed around online. An hour later, I got up to go to bed and felt a gush of...something...soak my bathrobe (mercifully, a very thick one!) I walked into the bedroom and told Brian

"Thundercats are go!"

The Nitty Gritty:
We called our midwife, who told us to go back to bed. Right. Like I was going to sleep now! About an hour later, after soaking through two pj pant bottoms and a towel (when my water broke it was like a gush, then a trickle, then a gush and more trickling), we got up and started setting up the house for the birth. We covered the bed with plastic, wrapped the pillows in garbage bags, cleared off the dressers and Brian started setting up the birthing tub.

All the while, I really started feeling contractions. They didn't hurt, really, but they were uncomfortable. I labored through them on my birth ball until they seemed to be coming pretty quickly together--every 3 to 4 minutes. Then I started walking around. I don't think I stopped walking around for another two hours.

It's right around here that things start to get a little hazy for me. I know I labored in the shower until it ran cold. I labored in bed, napping between contractions. I labored in the shower again, when the contractions were getting a lot harder. I labored in the birth tub, where contractions got really hard, really serious, really REALLY fast. Then I transitioned to the bed to push. I pushed for 45 minutes, but my cervix, which had fully dilated, had closed a little, so I was told not to push, and just breathe through the contractions. Brian said I just passed out. Then I pushed for another 45 minutes. This, I remember, was the hardest part. It seemed to take forever to push her head out. Finally, with a super fun burning sensation, I pushed her head out. She started squawking before she was even all the way out!

It was 8:38 pm. It took almost exactly 18 hours from start to finish.

The Aftermath:
Once I pushed her out, they set her right on me. She was covered in white, Elmer's glue-looking vernix, with big blue eyes and a head full of light brown hair and was...well...dazzling. I know I pushed out the placenta, that they waited a good five to ten minutes before clamping and cutting the cord, that they gave me a shot of pitocin to help stop any bleeding, but none of it really registered. I had a baby. On me. She was mine and she was perfect from her teeny tiny fingers and toes, to her big eyes and her perfect little mouth with an upper lip that looked just like Brian's. She started nursing right away. When Rosanna told .me that I had torn my perineum while pushing, I was not surprised. It had hurt like nothing else when I pushed her head out! I was bummed though, when Rosanna told me I would have to go to the hospital to have a doctor give me a few stitches--the tear was deeper than she felt comfortable taking care of--because I would have to leave the baby. Fortunately, the hospital trip was pretty easy, we were in and out in under an hour. Meanwhile, Brian was able to bond with Lorelei while the midwife's assistant showed him how to change her diaper.

We did have one minor complication: the birthing tub. First, while we had turned the water heater way up, the water coming out of the water heater through a hose was cold! We realized that we were getting the water from the bottom of the heater, which was cold, while the hot water was rising to the top of the heater. After a call to my dad, we came up with the solution to attach the hose to the washing machine to get some nice, piping hot water out! It took a good 2 1/2 hours to fill that tub.

Unfortunately, it was all for naught, because it was then that we realized there was a funny haze on the bottom of the tub: rust from our super rusty pipes! We had to drain the tub, then fill it again which took several more hours! 

Wow, Really?
There were a few things that really surprised me throughout the birth:
#1 How much it hurt. Yes, I know it's called labor for a reason, but still. It really REALLY hurt. And the contractions were so exhausting. And 18 hours is a LONG time! I won't lie, there came a point when I told Brian it hurt too much, that I didn't want to do this anymore. But Brian was a rock star, told me how amazing I was and helped me breathe through it! After giving birth naturally, I can totally understand why someone would opt for a medicated birth!
#2 The sounds I made. Seriously. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to let myself go during the birth. This was not a problem. I got to a point when I just didn't care. I didn't care that I was walking around my house completely naked. And I didn't care what about the sounds coming out of my mouth. I just needed to vocalize. I breathed, I moaned, I growled, I ROARED. Anything to get through the contractions.
#3 The birthing tub. When I saw videos of water births, the laboring mothers looked so...well...peaceful. When I was in the tub, not so much. When I hit the water, my contractions hit hard and fast. So hard that I completely dilated within a 30 minute time span. This is when the growling and roaring happened! This is when Rosanna asked me how important it was for me to give birth in the tub. I was so far gone at that point that all I wanted was to GET THAT BABY OUT! I told her "I don't give a shit."
#4 The Bounce Back. The recovery time was amazing. I was pushing and exhausted then five minutes later, after Lorelei had been born, I was awake and energized! Talking and laughing and completely obsessed with my new baby. I talked completely through the drive to the hospital, through the procedure and through the ride home. I felt great! In fact, at the hospital, I started to say "It wasn't that bad." Then I stopped and said "What am I talking about? It really SUCKED!" Those endorphins are amazing!

Lorelei Anna Belle, just hours after being born!

The new mom, back from the hospital!

The new papa, enjoying some skin-to-skin baby bonding!
Our first family photo!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Introducing Miss Lorelei Anna Belle Orth!

That feeling I had all day Monday and at 2:30 in the morning on Tuesday? Yeah. Early labor.

This is not the labor story. That gets it's own post when I have a bit more time. But here are the main stats and some pictures of our first few hours:

Lorelei Anna Belle Orth
Born at 8:38 pm on Tuesday, January 24th (the same day as my paternal Grandma Ed, my mom and my cousin Kurt's youngest daughter Katie!) via a successful 18 hour labor home birth!
Weight: 7 pounds, 8 ounces
Length: 19 1/2 inches
Eyes: Blue (when she opens them!)
Hair: Dark blonde

Our first family photo, taken after I got back from the hospital for some stitches.

Papa and baby enjoying some skin to skin bonding

Cuddling the next morning

Holy Schneikies!

(Note: This was written at 2:30 AM Tuesday morning, when I couldn't sleep. Gee, I wonder why!)

Today I planned a trip up to San Francisco--one of the last times I will be going for a while, I think! I hung out with Bonnie, drove around, had tea at Samovar (yum yum!) and picked up my stroller and the amazing mobile Bonnie made us.

On the drive up, I started feeling some contractions and twinges in my girl bits. This is not too unusual for me, but it was enough that I noticed. Then we hung out all day. Nothing. On my drive home, more contractions and more twinges.  A lot more. Like, considerably a lot. More than I had ever experienced, in fact. I knew it wasn't dehydration, because I had drunk a whole pot of tea at lunch!

While I was making dinner, I started feeling them again. In a one hour period, I felt about 15 "contraction/twinges".

So...is this it? Holy crap. IS THIS IT????

I know I keep saying I'm ready, let's do this. And I am ready. And I do want to do this. But...holy schneikies! Am I really really ready? It's kind of terrifying that at the end of this, there's going to be an infant! A real live baby that we're going to have to take care of for the REST OF OUR LIVES!

I know I said I was ready, but...I have a sweater I want to finish and I still have to clean out the trunk of my car and I haven't catalogued the food in our freezer and I wanted to pick something up at work tomorrow...and I kind of had planned to relax on the couch for at least a few days!

How do you know when you're really ready?

Tea for Two...or Thirty!

So here is the long awaited post about the baby shower my fabulous and amazing bestest friend Bonnie through for me!

The shower was super fun and really cute. We had a tea party theme, because, well, we love tea so much! I can't wait to take Lorelei to tea for the first time at Lovejoy's--our favorite spot for high tea!

There were some super yummy sandwiches--all taken from some of my favorite Lovejoy tea sandwiches--stilton and pear, apple and cheddar, hummus, and chicken salad. We had a couple of salads, some of my step-mom Janet's amazing fruit salad Jell-O (I love me some Jell-O!) and lots and lots of cupcakes (lemon and chocolate)

Bonnie put together some fun games--try to guess how big around I was, putting pictures of me during my pregnancy in order and gift BINGO.

Overall, it was a fun and BUSY day!
Hanging out with Stacy and Liz--teacher friends from when I taught kindergarten!

Adorable dress from pen/tea wenches Gladys and Jaime!

Cousins Jenny and Beckie, and Aunt Pat

Adorable romper hand made by Brian's Aunt Susan

Quilted blanket made by my Aunt Pat. Destined to be our stroller blanket, I think!

Tea Cups!

Yummy and delicious food!

The lovely and amazing hostess: Bonnie!

Game #1: Guess How Far Along Meghan Is! (won by Step-Mom Janet)

The adorable shoes made by mother-in-law Barbara

Beautiful afghan from Tina (not finished yet!)


Many many gifts from generous friends and family!

My step-niece, Baby Jasmine (not a baby anymore!), who helped unwrap gifts!

Beautiful quilted and embroidered blanket made by my grandma Phyllis!

These clearly aren't all the pictures, but SOMEONE (ahem, Gladys) has not sent me the pics she took from the party yet!

38 Weeks!

How far along: 38 Weeks
Weight: 175.2
Baby size: 19 1/4 inches. And she weighs 7 pounds. About the size of a watermelon.
Movement: Yep. Lots of moving. Maybe she's ready to come join us?
Feeling: Tired. I'm definitely ready for maternity leave!
What I miss: Sleeping through the night. Sushi. Wine. Not having a sore back.
What I am looking forward to: Maternity leave. Definitely. Going to San Francisco on Monday to pick up my mobile and stroller from Bonnie and have lunch
Milestone: Well, we're full term and two weeks away from my due date!
To Do: A lot of "waiting" stuff. Reorganize the pantry and bedroom closet. Pick up the mobile and stroller. Go through and list all the food I've already made in the freezer.
Food Cravings: chocolate ice cream!
Bonus: The diaper bag I *really* wanted was on sale today for 50% off! I bought it and will be returning the bag I already got.

And here I am: 38 weeks, 5 days wearing one of my new nursing tops!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Let's Get This Show on the Road: Dinner Edition!

So, I originally had no plan to actually make this. I had planned on making Chinese Chicken Salad. Sadly, I thought I already had the crispy noodles for on top. No such luck and I can't serve Brian Chinese Chicken Salad without the crispy noodles. He would revolt. So I checked out my ingredient options: chicken tenders, check; snow peas, check; spicy red chile, check; cabbage, check; onion, garlic and fresh ginger, check check check; a variety of Asian-style sauces, check; rice noodles, check; mandarin oranges, check. So I basically made Chicken What I Got--Asian Style.

With the combo of Korean Style Garlic-Chili Sauce and the fresh red chile, the dish was a little spicier than planned. The result: a spicy, yet tasty chicken and rice noodle stir fry which I like to call

Let's Go Baby Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Rice Noodle Stir Fry

Canola Oil
4 Chicken Tenders cut into chunks
Rice Noodles (about 1/3 of a box, so I'll say about 4 ounces)
1 small onion, chipped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Snow peas (about 1/2 a bag, so 4 ounces)
1/4 cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red chile, seeded, veined and thinly sliced into rounds
1 can mandarin oranges, drained but juice saved
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic-chile sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
chopped cilantro

1. Follow directions for soaking rice noodles for stir fry. Mine said to soak for 30 minutes in hot tap water. So I did while chopping and cooking the rest of the ingredients.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet. When hot, but not smoking, add the onion, ginger and garlic. Stir fry for about 2 minutes or so, until the onion gets translucent, but before the garlic gets brown.
3. Add the chicken. Stir. Cook until lightly browned. Make sure you are stirring occasionally or the garlic will burn and be gross.
4. While the chicken cooks, mix about 1/4 cup of the mandarin orange juice, soy sauce, oyster sauce,  brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic-chile sauce and lime juice in a container for the sauce.
5. Check the noodles, they should be softened, but not too soft. Drain.
6. Once the chicken is no longer pink, and slightly browned (but not too browned or they will get dry), add the noodles, the sliced chile and the sauce. Stir fry until the noodles are mostly soft and have absorbed a lot of the sauce.
7. Add the snow peas and the cabbage. Cook until the peas are crisp-tender and the cabbage slightly wilted. Turn off the heat.
8. Add the mandarin oranges. Stir until slightly warmed.
9. Serve. Top with a little bit of cilantro. If you are pregnant or sensitive to spicy foods, eat with A LOT OF MILK. I drank 3 glasses with mine!

They say that spicy foods can induce labor. We'll see!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let's Get This Show on the Road!

Today marks the day we are "officially" 38 weeks. This means that:
  1. We have been full term for one whole week now.
  2. I *could* give birth this week.
  3. I have two more weeks until my official due date.
  4. This baby could theoretically go until 42 weeks, which means I would be pregnant for another 4 weeks.
At this point, I am so ready to get this show on the road. The nursery is done. I have washed all the linens. The car seat is in the car. The birthing tub is currently sitting in the nursery, waiting to be set up. My lesson plans are written, my envelopes with the bulletin board displays are complete, the new classroom aide has been hired.

Every night now, I have a new routine. First, I do my funny crawl-off-the-couch head-down maneuver to make sure baby is in position (recommended by my midwife). Then I take my vitamins. I jump in a hot shower for 20 minutes and think how ridiculous my cankles look and how terrible the grout is in the shower. Then I crawl into bed and tell the baby how awesome tomorrow would be for a birthday. And then I fantasize about waking up in the middle of the night, not because I am thirsty or have to pee or just have to change position, but because I have gone into labor.

I'm ready.

And if anyone says that the baby will come when she comes or that the baby has her own plan or that God has his own plan or that the baby will be here before we know it or enjoy the sleep and rest we are getting now, I WILL STAB YOU IN THE EYE WITH MY BREAKFAST FORK! Because I know this. It doesn't make the waiting any easier.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

37 Weeks!

How far along: 37 Weeks
Weight: 173.2
Baby size: 19 inches. And she weighs 6 1/3 pounds. About the size of a swiss chard or a watermelon.
Movement: Yep. Lots of rolling. You could actually see her moving around when we went to the movies on Sunday.
Feeling: Pretty good. Tired. Yesterday, I slept past 9, did some laundry, went to a midwife appointment, ran some errands, then came home and took another 2 hour nap!
What I miss: I don't know what it is about them, but of all the things that make me crazy about being pregnant, the worst for me is the cankles. It's pure vanity. I used to have these tiny little ankles that I would show off in ballet flats and Toms. And now, my ankles blend into my calves. My large swimmers calves that I THEY DON'T ACTUALLY MAKE BOOTS TO FIT! I miss my ankles :( What I am looking forward to: Maternity leave. I have 4 more days...
Milestone: We are officially full term, baby! We can give birth AT ANY TIME! I've been having a few Braxton Hicks contractions, and the midwife says her head is right at the canal of my hip bones, but not in there yet. Let's just say I am rooting for an early birth. I'm ready for baby (or as ready as I can be!)
To Do: Just a few last minute items: make an emergency phone/address/directions list for family, doctor and hospital; make an emergency hospital bag, do a good cleaning of the bathroom and bedroom (in case baby comes before my housecleaning appointment), make a nursery lullaby/playtime playlist to load onto my iPod.
Food Cravings: ice cream and popsicles. I went to the store this weekend and bought 3 DIFFERENT KINDS: chocolate mini cones, strawberry all-fruit pops and raspberry and cream pops.
Bonus #1: Installed the car seat in my car this weekend, then promptly uninstalled it, because I also picked up the birthing tub, which wouldn't fit in the trunk or just on one side of the car. I've also washed the linens and most of the baby clothes (although I do have to wash the potential "coming home" outfit.)
Bonus #2: I have a prenatal massage today at work! Looking forward to that!

37 Weeks, 5 Days!
Sporting one of my fancy new nursing tank tops, which I LOVE! Paired with my yoga pants, I'm pretty sure this has been the most comfortable outfit I have worn in the last week and a half!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Holy Nesting Instinct, Batman!

Yesterday, I had my first honest to goodness, yes I am super sure, Braxton Hicks contraction. I was walking from the preschool to my classroom and I had to actually stop for a moment. I had a few others during the day--maybe one or two--but nothing regular. Looks like the engines are getting warmed up for the big show!

With that being said, my nesting instinct seriously kicked in last night. Now, many of you may think "Well, Meghan, you've been nesting since the second trimester." And this is true. However, I came home yesterday with the determination that I WAS GOING TO FINISH THAT DARN GALLERY WALL TONIGHT! In fact, I'm pretty sure that one of the thoughts running through my head was "I'll be damned if I give birth with pieces of paper on the walls and picture frames littering the house!" So, when I got home, I didn't sit down. I didn't take a nap. I didn't even start dinner. But I did finish that gallery wall!

Here it is: the full monty!

On the left: craft paper hot air balloons I made. On the right: the lyrics to one of Brian and my favorite songs and one of the original sources for our naming the baby Lorelei. It's pretty dark, but a really lovely song.

Some of my favorite maternity pics

On the right: The L made of buttons from Brian's mom, Barbara. On the left: an embroidery of Noah's Ark that my grandmother made.

Top Left: a sketch of a Boston Terrier that looks uncannily like Bummer. Bottom Left: my old ballet slippers on a fabric background that matches the curtains. Right: It's a little hard to see, but it's a shadow box with Lorelei strung across the top with one of the ultrasound pictures in it. Eventually, it will have Lorelei's first baby photo in it.

Top Left: another maternity pic from Kurt. Top Middle: The wooden L I mod-podged. Top Right: the Owl that Brian's sister Stephanie painted for us. Bottom Left: the airplane that Stephanie painted for us (I love that it says L-Orth on the tail!) Bottom Right: pictures of Brian and I as babies.

The super awesome girl-power poster: I am a Maverick

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

36 Weeks!

How far along: 36 Weeks
Weight: 175.6
Baby size: 18 1/2 inches. And she weighs 6 pounds. About the size of a crenshaw melon.
Movement: Definitely. Not so much "kicking" per se, but lots of flexing, pushing and stretching!
Feeling: Ok. Sore. This week, I managed to pull a muscle in my rib cage while coughing, then a few days later, I twisted my torso and felt something pop. Then...UNIMAGINABLE PAIN!!! It hurt to move, to breathe, and to cough and sneeze (which I still have been doing). I've been massaging it and using hot and cold packs on it, so it has been feeling better these past few days.
What I miss: Sitting down/getting up easily. My ankles (they are officially cankles and I keep them covered with my new slouchy boots!)
What I am looking forward to: Setting up the art wall. That's on the agenda for this next week!
Milestone: This is officially the 9th month!
To Do: Set up the art wall, wash and fold the 0-3 month clothes. Finish putting everything from the baby shower away.
Food Cravings: Nothing really. Cheese.
Bonus #1: Baby shower was this weekend. It was SO MUCH FUN! Pictures and post to come, once I get pictures  back from Gladys (hint hint! I KNOW you are reading this!)
Bonus #2: Met with the pediatrician today. We definitely clicked. I'll be happy to be working with her this next month!
Bonus #3: We've been having some trouble with the dogs marking their territory...on the bed (ewww!) So I had the idea that maybe they are upset with all the changes going on and not having their own space in the nursery. This week, I picked up a special dog bed for them, put in a blanket and put it first in the living room, then in the nursery. They were very unsure of it at first, but now they seem to love it! I envision many late nights breastfeeding in the nursery with my puppies hanging out with us in their bed!
Bonus #4: This week, I also made a baby book. While I do have an adorable photo album with spots for journaling, I wanted to have something that documented the pregnancy and had places to write about milestones and such. I had one as a baby and I loved paging through it when I was a little girl. I downloaded the template from Young House Love (one of my favorite blogs) then altered it with what we needed. Here are a few pics:
The cover--which I just mod-podged the crap out of.

I started with monthly pictures for our "bump watch" plus some notes on how far along I was and how I was feeling.

There are also spots for cute journaling stuff--like this predictions page.

And of course, our weekly bump picture:
36 Weeks, 5 Days. I love how the bottom of the shirt is gapping. At this point, the maternity part of my maternity jeans are feeling a little tight these days!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

35 Weeks!

How far along: 35 Weeks
Weight: 173 
Baby size: 18 + inches. And she weighs 5.25 pounds. About the size of a honeydew melon.
Movement: Frequently. Especially at night. She's starting to run out of room in there!
Feeling: Really tired this week. And there's been a bit more coughing. Unfortunately, Brian is also under the weather with a cough/cold thing too.
What I miss: Sleeping comfortably. The past few nights have been EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE! Which means I'm getting very little sleep :(
What I am looking forward to: Baby shower on Saturday!
Milestone: We hit 35/35 this week! 35 weeks down, 35 days to go! And I started buying some nursing tops and tank tops for after the birth. Can't believe it's coming up so soon!
To Do: Well, after the baby shower, mom and I will probably go to Babies R Us and pick up anything else we still need!
Food Cravings: I learned how to make baked eggs this week: put in one small oven-safe custard bowl one egg + a little cream + seasonings and cheese. Stick in a hot water bath and cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Take out of oven, let sit in bath 5 more minutes to finish cooking. Eat. It makes the white nice and firm and mostly cooks the yolks. Very tasty. I'm also loving Greek yogurt with fruit and honey.
Bonus: Saw the midwife AND the OB this week. Everything looks pretty good. However, I do need to cut back on complex carbohydrates and sugar. No worry about gestational diabetes, but we don't want this baby to grow TOO big (she's right on track now)!

35 Weeks, 5 Days. Ignore my wonky hair. I don't know what's going on there...

New Year's Eve--Henna Style!

So, being that I'm all knocked up, we couldn't do the normal New Years Eve thing--party, drinks, champagne, etc. (Like we do that anyway!) Instead, this year, we had a snackie and henna party. We made a bunch of snacks--I made French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms which were TO DIE FOR!--drank tea and cocktails for those who were drinking and everyone got a bit of henna done (even Brian!)

My henna was clearly on the tummy. In many cultures, pregnant women get a henna design on their tummies in the last month as a sign of good luck. It was fun. It tickled a bit. And I may have made Bonnie feed me cake while it was getting done ;)

Bonnie is either feeding me cake or poking me with the fork...

Jessica Henna-ing me up!

Mmmm...chocolate mousse cake!

All done--now to have it taped up. It'll be ready in the morning!

Enjoying a post-henna chocolate milk with the artist!
And here is what it looks like two days later. You have to peel off the tape, scrape off the henna paste and the resulting design is "stained" into your skin. It's not too dark, but henna doesn't stick as well to some parts of the body as others.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quickie Post: Nifty Video

So, real quick: I watched this video this evening (recommended by my sister-in-law, Mel) about Ina May and Stephen Gaskin on home birth. They founded a community in the 1970's called "The Farm," during which Ina May became a midwife and wrote her most famous book "Spiritual Midwifery".

This video is a pretty awesome insight into their experience of midwifery. If you have some spare time, check it out:

Stayed tuned tomorrow for two new posts: The New Year's Eve Henna Party (with pictures) and my belated 35 Week update. We've been a little under the weather here, so things are moving slowly this week!