Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hans' Birth Story

I'm actually sitting here in bed with the laptop with two hands free. *gasp* Two hands free! Hans just finished eating some and fell promptly asleep, but I don't think he's nearly done with his meal, so I'm just holding onto him right now, letting him rest against my chest until he awakens for course #2. He's proven to be a very good eater and is already back above his birth weight. If only he'd take less than 5-10 minutes to latch on for the majority of feedings. . . but I digress ;-). While I'm sitting here waiting to serve the next course, I thought I'd start typing up Hans' birth story, per request.

As a refresher, for the past month Hans had been flipping between transverse and vertex positions whenever it fancied him to do so, much to the emotional exhaustion of his mother who did NOT want a c-section. 2 1/2 weeks before his due date I started going to a chiropractor who is certified in the Webster technique, and Hans flipped head-down after I did a pelvic tilt, and his position was confirmed by my midwife. But then he flipped transverse again a few days later, and continued to waffle back and forth for the next week. He'd always go head-down after a Webster adjustment and a pelvic tilt, though, so I kept going to the chiropractor every day, per suggestion. This mommy was VERY glad that he finally permanently settled in vertex position a few days before labor commenced.

On Tuesday morning (the 17th, 5 days before his due date) I woke up at 6:30 a.m. with my bag of waters leaking. I already had a midwife appointment that morning, so I just went in as scheduled and had the leaking confirmed. As per procedure, my midwife instructed me to check into the hospital 12 hours later, at 6:30 p.m., so they could monitor Hans' heartrate. Because of the slight risk of infection (since the amniotic sac had been leaking), they would also start me on antibiotics at 18 hours, or just after midnight.

All morning and afternoon I had slight cramping that I totally would have written off as indigestion if I hadn't been super-sensitive to any possible signs of labor. But they were really so mild. Only just before we left for the hospital did they start to even have a defined peak to them, and even then they were so mild. About 20 minutes after leaving, Adrian asked me if I'd been having any more mild contractions since we'd left, and I'd just had 4 sitting right next to him and not even flinched, they were so light.

We checked into labor and delivery at around 6:30 p.m., as we couldn't be admitted to The Birth Place (our choice for delivery) on the same floor until I was in active labor (5 cm). I'd been checked that morning and been almost 4 cm, which amused me since I didn't feel like I was in labor. My midwife and I both didn't think I was in active labor, and we both wanted to minimize internal exams, so we just decided to wait out labor starting and not keep obsessively checking for the magic number 5. I did not want an induction, so we'd been praying all day that I'd go into labor on my own. The only thing I'd done to help encourage labor was take a few walks throughout the day.

About 10:30 p.m. I finally started feeling like I was really in something resembling labor,and the nurse said that I couldn't possibly have been in active labor before then, as I was functioning too normally. The midwife had gone down the hall an hour before to lie down, as I wasn't having strong contractions at the time, but had told me to have the nurse get her when I wanted her. I still wasn't convinced I was really in active labor, and I wanted to wait to get her as long as possible, so I was really in labor and could be moved to The Birth Place. I was given antibiotics at 12:30 a.m. (ugh, rotten burning feeling in the arm) and was quite uncomfortable by that time. Finally at 1:30 a.m. I told Adrian to please get Jessica, the midwife, because surely I was in active labor with contractions so close together and so intense, and I really wanted the tub at The Birth Place. She came in and checked me, and I was at 8 cm! No wonder the contractions were one on top of another by then ;-).

So we finally got to move to The Birth Place, and I just got in that tub as quickly as possible. Calling a birth tub a "midwife's epidural" is a bit strong of a description, because it doesn't take away the pain, but wow, I felt so much better after getting in the tub, mainly because I wasn't so uncomfortable with every position, and wanting to change positions constantly. The water held me up and equalized the pressure quite nicely. Also, as soon as I got in the tub my urge to faint (which I'd been having with every contraction for an hour or more) was completely gone.

At one point my body was pushing with every contraction, without my aid. I told the midwife this, and she said that was fine and not to fight it. She asked me if I wanted to stay in the tub for delivery, and at that point there was no way I was going to voluntarily leave the relative "comfort" of the tub ;-); prior to labor, I'd been about 50-50 as to whether I wanted to deliver in the tub. Jessica very nicely didn't even suggest checking me again, as it was really obvious I was fully dilated, and she told me I could push when I was ready. Delivery really didn't take that long, though it was no picnic either ;-), and Hans was born at 2:57 a.m. I was never so glad to have something over with!

The main things I took away from the experience:
I totally see why women get epidurals. Duh. Especially when most labors (especially first-time labors) are so much longer than mine. I had a remarkably short and easy labor, and it was still plenty uncomfortable enough at times so that a c-section sounded like a good idea.

Water births are wonderful options. Period.

Practicing relaxation exercises for birth does help (yay for Bradley). During most of labor I felt like I was not able to relax with each contraction, but apparently I was, as the midwife said she could see me physically relax each time. If I hadn't practiced that a lot, it would NOT have happened.

I made it through *a* natural birth. I would like to make it through 11 more, but I'll take each one as it comes, and one natural birth does not a natural birther make.

And yes, I do still want 12 kids. Because I know half of you wanted to ask that.

The Bradley method was very helpful, but is not what got me through birth. The midwife and nurse tell me they were quite impressed with how well I handled labor and delivery, but in all honesty, I did NOT feel strong at all in the midst of it. The one thing that got me through was God's grace and strength, I'm quite convinced. I was telling Adrian later that a passage from The Hiding Place came to mind. It's a passage where Corrie's father explains to her that God gives us the strength to endure tough times, giving it to us right when we need it, not before, not after:

…that night as he stepped through the door I burst into tears..”I need you!” I sobbed. “You can’t die! You can’t!”…
Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam- when do I give you your ticket?”
I sniffed a few times, considering this. “Why, just before we get on the train.”
“Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run ahead of him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need- just in time.”

On the night of Hans' birth, with each contraction peak, I felt like God was handing me a ticket. Only one, just for that contraction. No more, no less.

It was worth it :-). *snuggles up to little Hans*

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Il vient d'arriver!!!!!!!

:-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

Pour vous annoncer la naissance de:

Hans Friedrich Keister
à 2:57 ce matin, le 18th juin
poids: 3005g

Tout le monde est en bonne santé; pour cela, on remercie Dieu de tout notre c

:-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

Hey, it's me announcing it, so I had to do something a little different! Here's some info in English if you didn't quite get all that... ;-)

Announcing the birth of:
Hans Friedrich Keister
born at 2:57 this morning, June 18th
weight: 6lb10oz.
I just talked to the proud parents and everyone is doing very well. We are so thankful! Labor was 'only' about 5 hours long. (I laughed when Susan told me that. "ONLY?" 1 hour or 10, it still sounds horribly, painfully long!)
I wish I had a picture, but alas! You'll have to wait for that, after Grandma gets there later today, camera poised and ready. I hear he has a lot of hair, is pretty long (21in), and is adorable. :-)
Thank you so, so much for all your prayers.
From the happy aunt on behalf of Susan and her growing family,
Aunt Hannah :-D

EDIT: *Active* labor was only 5 hours :-).

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I found them!

The other pictures reappeared. So many picture files, but I uncovered them.

I thought this was a fun one :-).

Monday night we went to a few stores to look for maternity shirts for Stephanie. Hannah decided she had to try on this peasant-style maternity shirt. She's trying to give herself a belly here, but it looks. . . odd.

A little more normal looking, but still bunchy there, Hannah ;-).

I thought this was such a cute one of Stephanie :-). Brother Dear informed me that comparatively, I look enormous. Thanks, Bro ;-). Hannah called me fat all week, and said she was awfully glad it didn't phase me, because that would have been very unfun. Hehe.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Vaccine Book Review, Pictures, Update

First of all, Adrian finished reading The Vaccine Book (mentioned here) and has posted a review on his almost-forgotten blog.

Hannah and Stephanie left on Wednesday. We were sad to see them go, because we really had a fun time having them here. I'll post some pictures at the end of the post. Stephanie and I let Hannah order us around in the kitchen, in accordance with her whims and experimental inspirations ;-). We had some mighty tasty dishes! We attempted to use our ice cream maker (wedding gift) for the first time, but unfortunately it was a dismal failure. Note: when the instructions say to freeze the bowl for 6-22 hours, the highest time is definitely recommended!

Today we had some very happy news at the midwife's office. The baby finally decided to turn head-down! Thank you all for your prayers :-). Although we can't be certain, I'm pretty sure that what allowed the baby to turn was the Webster technique - a chiropractic technique that focuses on correcting the tail bone, soas (sp?) muscle, round ligaments, and two neck vertebrae that all affect the proper shape of the uterus, and when not properly aligned, can make less room for the baby to turn. In my case, one of my round ligaments was really tight, and his head had been on that side of me for some time without dropping. I think (though not sure) that he rotated down Wednesday evening during a pelvic tilt. Wednesday was the first day I had the Webster technique done. Regardless, I'm just glad he decided to cooperate!

We're only about 2 weeks away from the due date now, though Adrian and I are both predicting I'll go into labor a few days late (Aren't we optimistic?). My mom, on the other hand, is really pulling for tomorrow, since she thinks 06-07-08 would be a nifty birthdate ;-). I'm not banking on that date, though ;-).

I made my first non-prefold today! I made a Rita's Rump Pocket diaper and I love the way it turns out. After I make some more types of diapers, if I haven't had a baby by then, I'll have to post some pictures. Meanwhile, here are some pictures from the past week:

Hannah had a little too much fun with photo ideas. Unfortunately I can't find the few pictures with here in them! We had some taken of her, Stephanie, and me, and I can't find them on our computer. Bummer.

Didn't the colors turn out purty in these ones?

Baby K, meet Baby G. :-)

Poke, poke!

Hannah thought we should duel with our giant chess pieces.

Hercules held them for us afterwards.

My favorite :-).