Thursday, April 30, 2009

I caught this face on my phone yesterday. Selah loves making silly faces and I usually miss them with my camera. I love that little face!

So, to be perfectly honest, I am officially past the "bliss" of the first two weeks. Selah will be four weeks old tomorrow, and the older she gets, the more challenging she gets. She pretty much did not cry at all for the first 2 weeks, but has gotten fussier and fussier as the weeks go by. Overall, she really is a great baby, but when she cries and I cannot figure out why, it is very frustrating and defeating. About half of the times that I feed her, she goes berserk a few minutes into the feeding. She screams and gets all red-faced, arches her back, and claws at me with her fingernails. I have been trying to figure out what is causing this and I have four ideas: 1. overactive letdown (I'm choking her with my fast flowing breast milk), 2. I am dehydrated and don't have enough milk, 3. she only wants to eat a snack and is feeling force-fed, 4. this is a phase and she is just being fussy at that time, or maybe it's always something different. It happens at random times of day and sometimes she will take milk that I pump and give her in a bottle. I know it's not due to running (sometimes she's fine after I run, sometimes not) and I am pretty sure it is not due to my diet. Any ideas??

The girl absolutely LOVES to be held and I am a sucker for her cry. I have a very hard time letting her cry at all and have been trying to break myself in and let her go for at least a couple of minutes before I pick her up. I end up carrying her around the house in a sling to get anything done. She also loves to sleep with us and, frankly, we want her to sleep with us. However, I really don't want a 2 year old sleeping in my bed, or even a 7 month old. The farthest away I have made her sleep is in her moses basket right next to our bed. It makes night time easier for me, too--I can breastfeed while lying in bed half asleep, and she goes right back to sleep after eating instead of crying alone in her room. While all of this is fine and good now, I can see these habits wearing me down if I continue them... Every book, every mother, every website has different advice on how to do things. For now, I think I'll just stick with Reese's words, "Ride the wave, Joy, ride the wave".

Most of the time, the girl is just so stinking cute that I can't help but smooch her and hug her and hold her in my arms. It's only very occasionally that I want to lock her in a dark sound proof closet :)

Running! Getting easier and easier! I am nearly at my pre-pregnancy mileage (mileage while not training for ultras) and, like always, I have to get out every day to keep myself happy and nice to be around. It also is slowly helping my prego pounds fall off--8 more to go. Yesterday, for the first time, I wore (squeezed myself into) a pair (the biggest) of my normal (stretchy) jeans! Yee Haw!! Tonight, Mike is giving me the afternoon to go for a long trail run while he watches the munchkin :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Picture Time! Selah's third week.

Selah is three weeks old today. Time has flown by! She has started smiling and can lift her head and turn it from side to side. She has much more awake time now than when she was first born, which is fun for us. She makes all kinds of sweet little baby noises that melt our hearts.


We think they're smiles, might just be gas pain.



Wide-eyed cutie.



I do sleep sometimes, just not very often these days.



Yesterday, Mike and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. We took Selah out climbing with ropes (not just bouldering) for the first time. I don't think she really noticed what we were doing, but she was happy to spend the time outside. Here we are on the hike to the crag.





Selah giving daddy beta while holding the draw. ("You hold it like this dad!")



How she spent the majority of the afternoon.



Mama back on the rock for the first time! It feels a little tough because my core muscles are so weak, but I had a blast! What a fun way to get my core back in shape. I am also excited to report that I have been running consistently--I did about 30 miles in the last week. It is getting easier but still feels like a slog.



Perfectly cute little nugget.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Selah's Home Birth Story

I have been meaning to write Selah's birth story from my perspective (read Mike's here) for the past couple of weeks, but, well, I have a newborn, and everything takes longer than it takes! So, here goes...in the future, I will really try to do the write up as soon as possible, because I already feel I am forgetting details. I know this is long, so only read it if you want to. I found a lot of inspiration in reading the birth stories of other women while I was pregnant.

Thursday morning, April 2nd, I woke up and felt a trickle of fluid that I thought might be amniotic fluid. I got a little silly, jumped up and down, did some deep squats, etc, trying to see if more came out. A teeny tiny bit did, so I didn't really worry about it, but thought it was possible my water had broken and that Selah's head was just blocking the passage of a gush of fluid. I called my midwife Jasmine later that morning and she told me just to pay attention, that we would meet at 6pm, and to call sooner with any changes. I went about my day, babysat Juniper for a while, visited El in the hospital, drove Sari around, etc, and nothing interesting happened. At our home visit that night, however, Jasmine checked the fluid and it was indeed amniotic fluid. She also told me that I was just a fingertip dilated and about 50% effaced. Mike and I were very excited, but we knew that now the clock was ticking for me to go into labor or risk going to the hospital. Jasmine gave me some herbs to stimulate labor, blue and black cohosh, to take every 30 minutes until I went to bed. Mike insisted on going out for sushi and I obliged, realizing this was our last night as a childless couple. I watched him enjoy his sushi, as I had no appetite at the meal, and began having regular but non painful contractions around 8. When we got home, I knew that this was labor and crawled into bed in an attempt to rest before the ultramarathon ahead. I never was able to sleep that night, but was at least able to shut my eyes and doze between contractions. By 2:30am, I was too uncomfortable to lay down anymore. Mike got up with me, but I sent him back to bed. I really wanted to be alone, without even Mike or Jasmine. Around 3, I timed several contractions and found that they were already 3 minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds.



Mike got out of bed around 5:30 to find the most serene scene we could have imagined. It was lightly snowing outside and still dark. I was quietly moaning through contractions, trying to follow Ina May's wisdom of using low toned moans to keep the mouth and jaw loose and keep the mind off of the pain. In retrospect, I realize that these contractions were not painful at all, but I thought they were at the time. Jasmine arrived at the house around 7:30, glad to find me in active labor. She checked my vital signs, listened to the baby, and quietly prepared the living room for birth. Throughout this time, I did not want any help or for anyone to touch me (hence the many blog posts from Mike).

Through the morning, the contractions remained 3 minutes apart but slowly increased in intensity. It was like climbing a set of stairs--they would be at a certain level of pain that initially, I thought was the maximum I could handle, then I would "get used to" that level of pain and they would climb to the next step of intensity to start the cycle over. By noon, the contractions were very intense and I started vomiting during them. During a very intense retching session, my water bag broke for real, with several huge gushes that made me think I was peeing my pants. In hindsight, it was somewhat funny--I was on hands and knees in the living room, violently puking into a trashcan while asking for a towel to protect the carpet from what I thought was pee. The pain was so intense by this point, I was convinced that I was going through transition, the most painful part of labor. Mike and Jasmine started to get the pool ready and Jasmine decided to check my cervix. I was absolutely crushed to find out that I was 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. 8 hours of active labor for that!! At that point, I was pretty sure that I would end up at the hospital with an epidural. I could not imagine going for another 24-30 hours with that kind of pain, and I knew the pain would only increase in intensity.


Sari came by just after the exam and gave me a big pep talk. She told me, "Joy, it hurts like hell. It is going to hurt like hell here or at the hospital. You can do this, I promise, you can do this." I didn't believe her. I kept saying that I couldn't do it, and Mike was incredibly supportive and encouraging, never once saying that we could go to the hospital if I wanted to. After noon, Mike could NOT leave my side, even for a second. Jasmine stopped filling the pool (I was not to get into the water until I was 5cm because the hot water often slows labor, just like an epidural would at the hospital) and had me get into the shower. The warm water of the shower felt great, but my contractions did not pause--I was the energizer bunny, they were 3 minutes apart and 45-60 seconds no matter what I did.

I constantly had to change positions to find the most comfort depending on where Selah was in relation to my body. I often found myself on my hands and knees, slumped over the ball. I was working so hard and was so tired, the I literally fell asleep between most of the contractions. Mike laughs about it now, telling me how he had some great inspirational words that he had really thought through, and that as soon as he started to tell them to me, my head would bob and I would be out.
Sometimes I stood up, sometimes I sat on the couch, sometimes I was on hands and knees, sometimes I squatted. The most painful position by far was laying in bed. For that reason alone, I cannot imagine ever doing a hospital birth and being "strapped" to the bed with the fetal monitor, IV, blood pressure cuff, etc.

Jasmine and Alicia were unbelievably supportive, calm, and necessary. I could not have done this without them.

As things progressed, I really started to lose faith in myself, not in my ability to give birth, but in my ability to do so without pain medication. I was also getting very dehydrated and could not keep even a drop of honey in my system. Jasmine reminded me that the vast majority of women around the world that were giving birth at the same time were doing so naturally. Mike squeezed my hips and rubbed my back to lessen the pain of contractions. At some point, I began laboring while sitting on the toilet backwards. It was the perfect height and the most comfortable place I could find. In between contractions, I would fall back against Mike and fall asleep. Then I would wake suddenly, yell for the puke bucket, and begin moaning through the contraction. Around 4:30 in the afternoon (4 1/2 hours after the news of being 1 cm), Jasmine asked if she could check me again and asked what I thought would be a reasonable amount of progress (enough to keep me from demanding pain medication). I told her 5 cm, but in the back of my head, I kept thinking that even if I was 5cm, I knew I still had to make it through transition (7-10 cm) and didn't think I could do it. She checked me and I was 6-7cm, which really perked me up and gave me a renewed sense of energy. I was able to get in the pool, which was relaxing but did not slow contractions at all. It also made me hot, so I got out pretty quickly and got back on the toilet backwards and continued to labor for another couple of hours. By 6:15 or so, I started to involuntarily grunt in the middle of contractions. Jasmine had told me about this and said it was just the body starting to push. She checked my cervix again and I was nearly complete, with a little cervical lip. I was so excited!



Jasmine gave me 3 or 4 doses of homeopathic arnica to reduce the lip and had me get back into the birthing tub. My body did the grunty thing through several more contractions until I was completely dilated, about 6:55. During those contractions, I could not get relief at all, even between contractions. I was in the pool spinning in circles, writhing in pain until my body started pushing. Pushing was the most overwhelming sensation of muscular contraction I have ever experienced. Every muscle in my body did what it was supposed to do, seemingly beyond my control. Even the muscles in my face were contracted, making for really silly looking faces. Jasmine kept trying to get me to slow down and not push so hard, which I tried to do. The pushing contractions were such a relief compared to before--even though my body was going through this very intense experience, it was not painful, just intense. I pushed the way my body wanted to, with very little coaching, for about 40 minutes until Selah was born at 7:35 pm. Mike started weeping the moment she came out while I just tried to get it together after all that work! She started crying and turned pink within a few seconds of delivery. We just looked at her face for a couple of minutes before we realized we hadn't looked at the goods to see if she was a boy or girl! What a wonderful surprise when we saw that she was a girl!


I soon got out of the tub and onto the birthing stool to deliver the placenta and for Mike to cut the umbilical cord.

Within 10 minutes of Selah's birth, our new family crawled into our bed to bond alone. This was a beautiful and heartwarming time, one absolutely unique to home birth. Selah latched on and started breastfeeding and we just looked at her perfect little face. While we bonded, Jasmine and Alicia cleaned the living room and made us a yummy plate of cheese, fresh bread (thanks, Sari!), eggs, and fruit.

An hour or so after delivery, the midwives came into our room to do Selah's newborn exam. She aced it! We then excitedly called our friends and family to give them our joyful news.

Selah was weighed on something like a fish scale with a loop of fabric attached to it. She was 7 pounds, 5 oz, and 19 inches long.

What an amazing story!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back in the saddle

Mike and I took Selah for her first bike ride in the Chariot yesterday. I was concerned that she would get a little jerked around (she didn't) and that it would be uncomfortable for me (it wasn't). We rode to Carbondale and back, about 20 miles, and enjoyed the beautiful Spring weather. It was nice for me to get back on the bike after a long hiatus.



Cozy little bug in her Chariot. She loves it!




Oh, and Mike has decided to start Selah on solids. Her first try was pizza. Yummers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Racing

Yesterday was a really fun day. My good friend Sari decided very last minute to compete in the Spring Desert Ultra, a 25 mile trail race in Fruita. It is a fantastic course, almost entirely on single track, and Mike and I have run it the past 3 years. I have been talking it up to everyone I know, thinking that maybe if a friend ran it I could enjoy the race a little vicariously. Sari pulled a typical Sari, coming in an impressive 6th place in women in her first ever marathon after being sick and not training at all for the past month. She had fun, ran for herself, and actually tried not to be competitive (and the stinker broke my course PR by 25 minutes). I decided I had to cheer her on--Mike was enjoying 10 inches of freshies at Aspen and Selah and I had cabin fever. So I set my alarm for 3:00 to get us out of the house, meet Sari, and arrive at the starting line by 5:45am. Selah of course woke up before 2:00 and never went back to sleep...life with a newborn. Sari and I served each other for the day. I was able to relish in the excitement of the race without running it, and she was able to calm her prerace jitters by conversing with me on the 1 1/2 hour drive to the start (if you don't know, when we get together, we do NOT stop talking). I tried to get to each aid station, but only made it to two of the four after dealing with a hungry baby that poops a lot. The weather was a perfect 65 and sunny, Selah and I got in a beautiful hike, and it was just fun (until I almost fell asleep at the wheel on the drive home). And now I cannot wait to run it next year!! My next race might be the Sage Burner 25K May 28th...we'll see if I can get in shape by then. If not, then the Breck Crest marathon in September. I have high hopes because I was able to do 6 miles without stopping two days ago!



Sari and Todd Kennedy at the finish line.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Update

First, I must apologize. In the past, I always kinda laughed at the people that posted a million pictures of their baby. Really, like any of the rest of us can see the minute change in expression from one to the next?! Obviously, I have become one of those people. Mike and I have posted far too many pictures of our little girl, so just scroll through if you get bored. The Grandmas keep asking for more.

The last two weeks have been the best, hardest, most emotional, and any other superlative you might think of, weeks of my life. Mike's and my transition into parenthood was eased by a very peaceful baby and the help of my parents. Mom and Dad showed up last Wednesday and stayed for a week. We were very sad to see them go, and the state of chaos my home has already descended into is a clear display of the help they provided! They cooked, cleaned, changed diapers, held their grand baby, and were just excellent company. We anticipate seeing them more often than in the past! They both wept as they left the house, surprising themselves in the attachment and love they felt for their new grand daughter.

Mike was able to take a week off of school to hang with the family. Sadly, he had to return to work this week and has since been learning how to juggle work, finishing his master's degree, being a brand new daddy, taking care of me, and trying to squeeze in a little personal time. He definitely has it harder than I do right now! Earlier this week, he had to go out onto the deck (it was lightly snowing and chilly!), close the door, and isolate himself just to get a little work done. Selah, my parents, and I were too distracting.

I have been healing up nicely after the birth. I started running a couple of days ago and plan on heading out for run #3 today. I did 4 1/2 miles for my first run, walked about 1 mile of it, and ran almost my entire 5 mile run yesterday. Running is definitely hard right now, but I feel great when I am done. I am officially out of shape (at least out of "shape" that I am used to) for the second time in my life. My first was when I broke my leg 10 years ago and I remember having the same thoughts then as I do now, "so THIS is why people have such a hard time getting in shape!". GETTING in shape is WAY more difficult than STAYING in shape. It hurts! My lungs burn! My legs burn! But I know it will be SO worth it and after a couple of weeks it won't hurt anymore. Selah seems to really enjoy the Chariot rides too. By the end of my pregnancy, I had gained over 40 pounds in spite of exercising daily and lots of nausea. It appears that most of it was water, as I have lost 28 lbs in 2 weeks. I would like to lose another 12 before the summer so I don't feel so heavy running and can wear my non maternity pants. I am excited to get my old body back.

Here are some photos from the time with my folks:



Wes and Stef were able to come for a day as well. Stef wasn't too sure about holding Selah, but Wes was into it! They both enjoyed meeting the little one. Stef crocheted an adorable little sweater/dress for Selah that should fit in 3 months or so.




Mama and puff head.




Her already puffy hair gets extra puffy after a bath.



So cozy.




Selah with Grandma.



Mom, Dad, and I took Selah down to the river near our house.



Elinor holding Selah while I hold Reed, aka the Rocket. They are only 4 days apart, but the Rocket is WAY bigger than Selah. He outweighed her in this photo by 2 pounds!



These daddies never knew they could feel such love and be so proud. Rob and Mike cheer the babes.



Mike's aunt Linda made us 2 gorgeous quilts. This one is Selah's and it was so beautiful, I had to hang it on the wall. Maybe some day I will take it down to use, but not before Selah stops having poop explosions.



She also made this one for me and Mike! We are so spoiled by our families!



Tuesday, April 7, 2009