Tuesday, June 28, 2005

One Month Old

Pearl was born a month ago today. I can hardly believe it. All the feedings and diaper changes and minutes spent babygazing just make the time fly by.

She's doing great. I weighed her at my sister's house yesterday, and she is approximately 10.5 lb. - up about three from her birth weight! I knew she was getting quite hefty but to see it displayed quanitatively like that was somewhat of a shock. I measured her length (height?) today and she is about 22 inches (hard to get those newborn legs to straighten out properly!) so she's just grown an inch in that direction, but growing she is. Her eyes have lightened around the pupil recently and are really pretty. Her long fingers and toes and her rosy skin always get comments from strangers.

She is such a darling little baby. I love her so much, her chubby little arms and legs, her toes that are shaped just like mine, her little ears that stick out a bit at the top and have the most unique shape, the swirl of hair on the top of her head, how her hair sticks straight up after a bath, the eager and alert look on her face when she wakes up hungry and is looking for the breast, the laughs and sad, scared coos she makes as she dreams, the way her face scrunches up when she cries looking as she did just minutes after birth... I could go on and on and on and on.

She is spending more short periods of time awake, as well as a few longer stretches a day. The past few days it has been harder to get her to go to sleep when we get to bed, but once she's down she still sleeps through the night, waking a few times to eat. She is eating a whole lot these days! I don't know just how often but I have definitely noticed an increase in the past few days - which is good as I have had a clogged duct. Very painful, not fun. I had a fever and felt like crap over the weekend but I am doing better now. She goes through a ton of diapers a day - we generally do diaper laundry every other day at my mother-in-law's house, so Pearl is getting plenty of grandma and grandpa time. Her fussy time has changed. It used to start every day at around 8:15pm and last an hour or two; now it starts earlier, lasts longer, but is less intense. Bouncing in her bouncy seat and walking around outside are the two things that soothe her best at these times. I haven't yet tried bathing her at that time yet, but that is something she seems to enjoy - she'd graduated from getting a sponge bath on a towel to sitting in a little bath chair and me spraying her with the shower hose thing. She appears to like the water running over her. Which is good, as being a baby is a messy business.

Here you can see her freshly washed hair sticking straight up:

And here is the swirl of hair atop her head:

And one of her in the hospital, just an hour or so old - look at the outline of her ear. It reminds me of a butterfly wing:

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Pearl's Birth Story

Pearl is four weeks old today and in honor of that I'll post my birth story. It's quite long.

My labor started at 4pm Friday, May 27, with contractions about three minutes apart and a minute in length. When this pattern had continued for about three hours I accepted the fact that this was very likely it! I'd been having shorter periods of similar contractions for weeks, and was 4-5cm dilated with a bulging bag of waters at my appointment the day before.

I just hung around the house, bouncing on the birth ball, made a salad for supper... Me and Mr. Peach took a walk around our yard and the field behind our house. It was sunset, a lovely warm evening with nice clouds.. we saw a rainbow...

Sometime near 9:00pm the contractions began to get more serious and I needed Mr. Peach's help with them. He would rub my back as I had them and give encouragement. I took a shower and the hot water felt wonderful on my back.

I kept waiting for transition, which I thought would be fairly obvious, and was looking out for that self-doubt emotional signpost as described by the Bradley method, but I never really saw it... I certainly felt doubt but I couldn't confine it to a certain period of time during my labor!

At about ten we got in bed. Just before that I brushed my teeth and peed, and there was some blood, so I knew my cervix was dilating. Mr. Peach read through our baby names book while I tried to get some rest. After a while I decided I'd better time some contractions. They were still a minute in length, and now coming two and a half minutes apart. They were also much stronger than they had started out. We decided it was a good time to get in contact with our nurse midwife.

So I called the hospital and told her what was going on, and that we wanted to labor at home as long as possible but didn't know when the best time to leave would be as we live 30 minutes from the hospital. She said that it sounded like we had a bit more time, so to just leave whenever we were ready, and she'd let the hospital know we were on the way.

We leisurely got our last minute things together and packed into the car (by we I mean my husband, with me directing!) and oh, the contractions were getting painful at this point! So Mr. Peach suggests we go ahead and leave and I agree, as I wanted a non-hurried drive to the hospital on our curvy road. He took it easy but I still yelled at him once because being slung around a curve while you're having a contraction is not fun.

He was doing a good job of helping me, reminding me to breathe deeply and to try and relax. Both of those things were way harder to do during a contraction than I thought they'd be.

We arrived at the hospital and as it was near midnight we had to enter through the emergency entrance, which was FULL of all sorts of people, it being a Friday night. I did my best to ignore them as someone got me a wheelchair and we started on our way to labor and deliver. The wheelchair was losing parts as we went. Very reassuring. It needed some shocks or cushioning too.

Anyways, we got into a labor/delivery room and they had me change into a hospital gown, asked me some questions, had me get in bed and hooked me up to monitors for the contractions and baby's heartbeat. A nurse checked me for dilation and found me to be 6-7, probably 7cm. I had hoped to be further along than that so it was vaguely disappointing but at that point I was kind of not caring about anything but the contractions. Now I feel silly for even being a little disappointed because that's a lot dilated, but I was wanting to get the whole thing over with by that point.

My waters hadn't broken and the baby's head still wasn't engaged. They told me they didn't want me up and walking around because if my water broke while she was floating so high there was a risk of a prolapsed cord, which I knew, so was agreeable when they told me I'd have to stay in bed for a while... but not a long while, as it turned out!

I was lying on my side and the nurse was trying to get a heparin lock in my hand, first my right wrist, but that didn't work (and yeah, that was fun) so she tried my left hand and it went in fine. While she was doing that I thought my waters had broken. I didn't feel a pop but was definitely feeling gushes of liquid whenever I would have a contraction, so I told the nurse I thought it had happened and she checked, and sure enough that was it, or at least part of my waters. The nurse said she was going to go ahead and drain the rest of the water so that the baby's head would come down onto the cervix and we wouldn't have to worry about the cord slipping out. I'm not completely sure how she accomplished this but she did, and man, was it a lot of water! A lake of it. My CNM said we timed my arrival at the hospital perfectly!

After that I my contractions did indeed intensify. It's all kind of a blur. I was very thirsty, but they told me I could only have ice chips... so I got a cup of them and drank the water as the ice melted, ha. The gown was driving me crazy so I had Mr. Peach take it off at one point. I had no modesty whatsoever by then; had bigger things to worry about. I labored on the bed, mostly on my knees, leaning up on the raised head part of the bed. Now that I was free to move around as I wished, I wanted to take a shower, so me and Mr. Peach headed that way. The water again felt great, but I don't think I stayed in very long, my legs were very weak and shaky. I also felt pretty nauseous around that point. So Mr. Peach dried me off, then back to the bed I went. It was even harder to relax my body and let the contractions do their work after my water broke, because I automatically wanted to tense my muscles and not leak!

The nurse came in and asked if I was feeling an urge to push yet and I told her I didn't know, maybe. For the past few contractions I'd been feeling a sort of involuntary clamping down in the lower part of my uterus but didn't know what feeling I was supposed to be looking for and wasn't sure if that was it. She told me to let them know when I felt it to a point where I couldn't help but push and left, then later when she came in to check on me I told her I felt like pushing and she checked my cervix and said I was completely dilated. She said I could push with the contractions in whatever position I felt like. I think this was around two o clock am.

I stayed on my knees, leaning up over the bed. I would push with the contractions to a point, and kind of doze off in between them. I knew I wasn't fully pushing but kind of didn't care. The nurse said I needed to really push and not back off at the peak of the contractions, as she said she could tell I was doing. The baby's head was still pretty far up, and I could feel it slipping back when I would stop pushing.

I changed positions a few times, at my own wish and the suggestion of the nurse. Sitting on the lower part of the bed, with the foot below, that was ok but didn't seem really effective. I tried squatting once, with my feet on that lowest part of the bed and Mr. Peach holding my hands, but I don't think I even made it to the pushing part in that position because the pressure was just too intense. And amniotic fluid that was still gushing out was drenching the bed, it was cold and wet and not at all comfortable.

I was starting to get with it. I knew the baby needed to come out. I knew the hospital staff was watching the clock, and the baby's heart rate had started to dip after the contractions. So my nurse and nurse-midwife stayed in there with me and directed me. They had me lay back on the upraised bed, with my feet down on the bottommost portion of the bed, and had me raise my legs and grab onto the handholds when pushing. They said this would help get the baby underneath the pubic bone. The nurse would count to ten, then have me breathe, and go right back into pushing, which was hard. Ten seemed a little long and then having to stop, breathe, and resume pushing was tough.

Telling when I was having a contraction was sometimes hard, too... the thing I could feel better was the nurse and nurse midwife doing perineal massage, that was sort of painful as well but I'm glad they did it! I don't know how long I pushed, I guess I really pushed strongly for about an hour. My CNM was very encouraging and supportive and would tell me when a push was particularly effective so that I would know what it should feel like. They told me how to curl my body around my baby and keep my elbows flexed and chin tucked, and Mr. Peach said he could tell that the pushes were working much better when I was positioned like that. At some point during the pushing I could feel the head very close to being out, but I'd told the nurse I didn't want a mirror when she asked... I kind of would've liked to see the birth, but at the time I was just so focused on getting the baby out I didn't want to have any distractions, my eyes were closed most of the time and I was resting between pushes. So I do wish I could've seen more of it, but I certainly know what it felt like! Once she was in the birth canal I did reach down and feel her head, and that was cool. The nurse was supporting one of my legs, and Mr. Peach was supporting the other. He took over the counting somewhere along the way, too.

Oh, how it hurt when her head started coming out! At that point not pushing didn't ease the pain, so I just pushed as hard as I could, and then out came her head, a short while later the shoulders, and then the rest of her slipped out - at this point I had pushed myself up and was looking, wanting to see my baby and there she was! I was laughing and crying and very relieved that it was over and that my baby was here and safe.

She was a little blue at first, but pinked up quickly. Her body was still pretty covered in vernix. They suctioned her some and put a hat on her, dried her off some. My husband cut the cord after waiting a few minutes, then the CNM handed her to me. The nurses toweled her off while she was in my arms. She squeaked a little, but didn't cry. After I'd held her a while they took her to the warmer and dried her off and suctioned her again, and then she cried. My CNM checked me and told me I had two small labial tears, nothing serious enough to need stitches. Then she had to skidaddle, as her plane was leaving in two hours - I barely managed to have the baby with her attending my birth but I'm glad I did!

Then they returned her to me and left us to bond. I put her to my breast and she nursed for the first time. Mr. Peach finally called our family members. He'd wanted to earlier on, but I wanted to wait until we were at the hospital, then once we were at the hospital the thought of him being on the phone when I needed him to put counter pressure on my back if I had a contraction was unbearable!

After a while the nurses returned, and they took her to the nursery with Mr. Peach accompanying her to get all the tests done and everything. And then the most painful part of the labor - the nurse massaging my uterus. That hurt so badly at one point I cried and several times I had to tell her to stop. That nurse had another nurse look at how much blood I was loosing to see if I should get some pitocin and that nurse said yep. They told me it would cut down on the amount of mashing on my belly they'd have to do so I was ok with that, but she still did it several more times over the next few hours. She was nice and sympathetic and everything, but it was totally the most painful part of the whole thing.

They put me in their one double postpartum room - with my sister who had delivered her baby by c-section about three days before! So we shared that room for half a day which was pretty neat, everyone had been joking about us sharing that room for a while!

So overall my hospital birth was not bad at all. I didn't get drugs pushed on me. All the nurses said they were impressed that I was completely dilated for two hours and they couldn't hear a peep from me out at their station! I think I kind of whimpered/groaned with some contractions, and grunted with the effort of pushing, but didn't yell or anything. The worst thing.. and the thing that has cinched my desire for a homebirth next time, is them taking my baby away. I missed her so much at those times.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sooooooooo Cute

Pearl was looking so sweet after her last meal I just had to take some pictures. I just want to explode sometimes; she's that cute. Her little smiles are the best but I haven't yet managed to capture one of those with the camera.

She makes some very funny faces sometimes too, my husband and I just laugh and laugh. If she's this entertaining at a stage where she does little but eat and sleep, I can only imagine how fun she'll be as she grows.

Today I have gotten soooo much done, too! As opposed to all those days in the past three weeks when I've gotten hardly anything done. Laundry folded and put away, dishes done, meal plan and grocery list made, table wiped down, writing desk organized, diapers folded and put away, etc, etc. Part of this was done with Pearl in the sling (that thing is a godsend when I can get her in it properly... which at the moment is about 50% of the time. Those other times, I want to stomp the damn thing into the ground) and part of it was done while she took an extraordinarily long nap. Oh, and besides all that housework, I also got a SHOWER. It's amazing. What a great day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

8lb 9oz!

So, Pearl has these decidely fussy periods during the evening. Not fun.

Her cord stump finally came off, thank goodness. It was awfully scratchy and pokey to the both of us.

We took her out to a restaurant on Friday night, and she snoozed in the sling the whole time! It was great.

Yesterday she had a pediatrician weight-check appointment and she has gained a pound and two ounces since her last appointment - 8 lb 9 oz, up from her birth weight of 7 lb 14 oz! She's loving that breastmilk and growing like crazy! I love nursing her now that it's no longer painful. It's just amazing that I can nourish her so completely. I'm thrilled.

Now, while Pearl is sleeping, I am going to try and reclaim my kitchen from the ants. They recently forayed out from the sink area and discovered the food cabinet. Not good.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mmmm Fingers

Mmm fingers, originally uploaded by almostfey.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

R.I.P. Mr. Pig

My cat, Pixel, got ran over. I don't even know what to say about it. I'm sad of course, heartbroken actually. He was my sweet kittums, my first 'baby'. I'm kind of in disbelief but not really. Feeling guilty because I've been so absorbed with Pearl these past two weeks I didn't pay him hardly any attention at all. I cry anytime I think about him so I'm kind of trying not to. Maybe that's not a good idea but spending all day weeping, I just don't want to do that either. Mr. Peach buried him and said some nice things over his grave which I couldn't really add to because I was crying.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Today my husband cut off all of his gorgeous hair. His new haircut doesn't look horrible I don't suppose, but his long hair was just so beautiful. I remember the first time I saw him, how attractive I found it, how badly I wanted to touch it. It's all gone now. I miss it. Perhaps ridiculously so, considering it's just hair, right? But that's how it is. I loved his hair.

Anyways, on to some baby thoughts.

Pearl is decidedly more vocal these days regarding her dislike of diaper changes. She makes lots of protesting grunts and moans; rarely do they ever escalate to crying though.

When she's sleeping lightly her face displays a whole spectrum of expressions. My favorites of course are the sleep-smiles. Sometimes she laughs too, and that is just about the most delightful thing ever.

I'm really hungry now so I am going to take advantage of Pearl's sleepy state and go eat.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I want to take a shower, but this morning Pearl won't stop eating! Eeep.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

My Domesticity, It Is Now Complete

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Today I got my cloth diapers in the mail - after only ordering them two nights ago! They are from diaperco.com and I recommend them to anyone who wants to buy cloth diapers... they have a good selection, good prices, excellent customer service, and speedy shipping! Speedy FREE shipping, if you order over $50.

I bought mostly prefolds (which is what most people think of when you say 'cloth diaper'), 15 each of premie, standard infant, and infant sizes, two fuzzibunz, ten kissaluvs fitteds, two proraps covers, and two snappis.

I have to get them all washed before I can use them but after that we're good to go! We can't wait, the cloth will feel so much nicer than the disposable - especially the kissaluvs, they're sooooo cuddly.

First Doctor's Visit

Today we took Pearl into town today for her first pediatrician appointment. Her weight is doing fine, 7 lb 7 oz. It's normal for newborns to lose a bit of their birth weight and we go back to the doctor again in two weeks to make sure she's back up to where she started! The pediatrician said she is doing perfectly and is as healthy as can be - very reassuring words to a new mother who worries. I mentioned to the pediatrician that my nipples were sore and she had their lactation consultant come in and see me - we had to wait a bit as the LC wasn't really working, was just there getting her kids' shots taken care of, but it was worth the wait as she had some good pointers. We just need to tweak Baby's latching on a little, already I am hurting less.

Then we went on Pearl's first shopping trip - had to pick up some things at Target. One of those things was baby fingernail clippers. I bought a pair of those months ago! We took them to the hospital and I got about two fingernails cut when my mom called and then Baby started crying so I never finished the job, just had my husband pick up some mitts (from Target!) when he went to pick up pizza that night. I was going to cut them at home but couldn't find the stupid things. I got out a pair that came in a baby healthcare kit but they were pretty worthless, so I had Mr. Peach pick up another pair when he went into town (from Target again! I should get paid for all of this advertising!) but he unknowingly got the same pair from the kit... so today we got another pair, they didn't have the same kind as I originally bought but they had a style similar, just with longer handles, so I got them.

Anyways, this is going somewhere I promise, I'm not just aimlessly rambling on about baby nail clippers. (Or am I??)

When we got home I was changing Pearl's diaper and digging around in the diaper bag and guess what I found - the originally nail clippers! So we now have three different styles of baby nail clippers.

(Ok well maybe that wasn't the most exciting conclusion. Sorry.)

While we were in town we also shipped my hotsling off... I am exchanging it for the next size up, it was about impossible to squeeze Pearl into that one. Hopefully they will be snappy about sending the replacement so I can get to slinging! I still get tired pretty easily but am no longer in pain if I'm standing so I'm about ready to be up and about.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

These First Few Days...

...have been, for the most part, lovely. Pearl is still sleeping most of the time, but she seems to be spending more time awake and alert each day. Her first two nights were a bit rough, but the last two have been nice - we get in bed at around eleven, and I nurse her to sleep, then we wake at around two and I feed her again, then back to sleep until about daybreak, do the whole eat and change diaper thing, then back to sleep until nine or so.

Breastfeeding is going well in some respects - Pearl seems to be getting plenty to eat, and now that my milk has come in she makes the sweetest little sounds as she eats, muffled 'ahhhhh's. Very cute. However, I am very sore. Not sure if it is a latch problem or just beginner's tenderness.

I am spending most of my time on the couch resting, doing a lot of baby-gazing. I love watching her face and the expressions that flit across it as she sleeps, especially the little smiles. So sweet.