Friday, August 26, 2011

Birthing from Within Part I

With the 3rd trimester upon me I figured it's time for me to start documenting the process of JB's birth story.  Things are starting to move pretty fast now and I think I will forget a lot if I don't write it down.  And there are just so many neat memories about this pregnancy that I have enjoyed and would be good to have written down for posterity.

This time around I just came into the pregnancy thinking totally differently.  For one, JB wasn't planned. Obviously we understand the whole concept of the birds and the bees, but he just came along totally without a schedule, "trying," or actually even giving much thought to the idea of seriously working on Baby #2.  Really it was a gift from God. I have always had the tendancy to overplan (some call it worry) :) about things, so it was really awesome to just randomly have him placed in our lives.  I guess that sort of got the whole ball rolling in my mind towards finding an alternative to the hospital experience and all of that.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against hospitals (heck I gave birth in one!) and I have nothing against pain meds or epidurals (I had both). It's just that this time I decided to try something different.  I started exploring birthing centers early on and came upon Inanna through a series of different stories and testimonies from friends and strangers who had a wonderful experience there. So the more I learned about it, the more I wanted it to be part of our birth story for JB.  It has been totally different, but totally amazing.  Being with a midwife has been great because it seems like the care is very personal and much more conducive to having a "normal and uncomplicated" pregnancy with limited interventions.  I certainly believe there is a time and a place for more intervention, but I love their philosophy- which is basically that God created your body to be able to give birth, and in most cases, everything is developing and progressing as it should.  And not only is birth normal, but giving birth naturally is normal too.  Never once have they pressed that philosophy on me, it is just the way Inanna is set up is so conducive to helping ease any anxiety you might have about birth that it just feels right.

So now having come to the conclusion that not only would we using a birth center and midwife this time, but also a natural labor--- I really felt like I needed some tools.  Luckily, Inanna offers a wonderful child birth class.  I did the child birth class through the hospital with Emme, but other than "try to stay relaxed and breathe" I didn't come away with many tools I felt could be used.  I know there were are lot of factors involved in Emme's birth (induction... pitocin... internal monitors... lots of time in a bed... etc.) but still I felt totally unprepared for how to handle contractions and the pain that is involved in childbirth.

So we are taking a class based on Birthing From Within with the midwives at Inanna.  The class is at Jean's house, which is very laid back and just makes you feel like you are hanging out with friends.  I think Ben was pretty unsure about the whole thing and he was afraid it would be all hocus pocus and "out there."  I can honestly say, it has been so practical and so helpful!  Every week we have learned some different pain coping techniques and have discussed different psychological and physiological aspects of childbirth.  I'm learning that they need to become a habit, rather than just a technique- so I am trying my best to use them where I can so I will be more prepared when the time comes.  Some of the things I've most enjoyed learning about are how effective non-focused awareness, ignoring, and the power of distraction can be!  During one exercise, we had our hands holding freezing ice for 60 seconds, but I had no idea it was that long because I was so busy watching all of the distractions around me that the midwives were creating.  (I guess I just need to do most of my labor at home in the presence of my toddler) ;)

Some of the other things I have enjoyed learning about are the importance of nutrition, vitamins, water, and some organic teas and homeopathic remedies that can be very helpful both during and after pregnancy. It is isn't mystical at all- it is just really cool to see how some of these very natural things can truly help make your pregnancy more pleasant and energized so you can enjoy this stage of life! It also makes me want to be better about using some of the supplements when I'm not pregnant!Something else they have discussed in class that I would love to do in preparation for labor as well is to create an inspiration story board.  It is a creative way to put lots of encouraging phrases, pictures of your family, Scripture, and anything else that helps you use positive and forward thinking even in the midst of the pain all onto a poster that you can look at and focus on during labor.

One other beautiful thing I wanted to share was about the story of Inanna. Again just looking at the name you might think, "Wow that is really out there, or out of my comfort zone." (that would have been me not too long ago).  But I loved when the midwives explained how they came up with the name for the center.  Basically it comes from a mythological tale in which a Queen (named Inanna) is called to the Underworld to find her brother in law who has passed away.  But at each gate that she comes to, the guard requires her to give something up before she can enter the next level.  Originally she walks in a glamour girl, and by the end of the story she is standing naked and with nothing left.  At the the last gate she must give up her crown.  Eventually she even dies, but is brought back to life with the the help of others.  Anyway, all of this to say- they chose the name Inanna because of its deeper meaning for women who experience the journey of motherhood.  By becoming a mother, you are giving up your maiden form.  Motherhood is all about sacrifice, what you are willing to give.  How deep you are willing to go.  Not just in the birth experience- no that just scratches the surface.  But once you hold that baby in your arms, it is a whole new world of small and large sacrifices, and it is a lifelong journey... but so rewarding for those that are willing to embrace it.   

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I have a 2 year old!!

It seems so crazy, but Emme officially turned 2 on August 7th.  It is a really crazy fun week because there are LOTs of birthdays to celebrate, parties to go to, cake to eat, and people to relax and laugh with!  Between our sweet friend, Rachel's new addition, Kyrielyn Rae who arrived on the 3rd, Emme's birthday on the 7th, Ransom's birthday on the 8th, and my birthday on the 10th... we pretty much stay on a sugar rush for a solid week! It is great!

Emme had her 2 year check up on Monday and true to form she held tight with her stats that make us wonder if we had a 6 ft 5 in. mystery person floating somewhere in our gene pool. Either that or she'll max out at 5th grade like her mama and basically quit growing altogether at that point ;) :
WT: 31.4   93%
HT: 35 1/2  89%
HC: 48 1/2  77%
Dr. G asked if we had thought at all about potty training. I looked at the "signs of readiness" list and she had every single one of them except for "wants to learn." Haha. Anyway I am in no rush.
She is such a funny little kiddo. I have enjoyed this toddler stage so much already and she just seems to get more and more fun the older she gets! At this point I don't hold much to the "terrible two's" term... (check back in 6 months?) Anyway, she is seriously just a joy and I love that every day is a new discovery and full of lots of exciting adventures for her.  You can catch her saying "Was dat, mama?" at least 65 times a day. :) I love it.

We sort of threw the party stuff together last minute (it felt too early to me to try and organize a "theme" other than cake and presents), so the night before her party we were at Target just getting the basics.  I let her pick out the plates and napkins she wanted, and no surprise- she chose "princess." This all started when we found a My First Words book at the library that was princess themed and she was immediately hooked.  Feeding the addiction is the Yoplait "princess" yogurt that that we pretty much consume a pack of every few days.  I can only imagine when she is old enough to watch the movies, choose a favorite princess... obsession I tell you!

We had our friends over for lunch, cake, and presents and it was so fun to watch all the kids just run around and play.  The cupcakes were a hit, and presents took forever because each one that was opened needed to be played with by all of the babies first :).  I think Emme really does have a little bit of Cinderella in her because her favorite gifts were a cleaning caddy (courtesy of the dollar store... and saved since Christmas because she was too excited with other things to open it then), and a vaccuum cleaner that Aunt Elisabeth got her.  Seriously... you could not pry that thing from her hands.  She also insisted that it be stored in the closet with Mommy's vaccuum cleaner. Serious stuff.

Afterwards we all hit the waterpark for a bit where the kids showcased their amazing swimming and sliding skills.  It just amazes me that last year she was barely crawling around the freezing water, and this year she is walking up to the slides by herself and going down at lightning speed, laughing all the way and asking for MORE!

I wish I had a few good pictures to commemorate the day... but what I learned is that it is REALLY hard to get those kodak moments when there are toddlers involved.  It is just a whirlwind of activity!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet Emme Lou!!! Every minute with you reminds me of God's love and affection for us and I hope that you will come to know Jesus more with each passing day!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just for Fun

As much as this little girl would love to go outside.... She will just have to keep up her wishful thinking till the triple digit temps die down!!! :)