28 April 2010

2 Months Old!

My little Tiger-Fish is 2 months old today! Wow the old cliche is true. He is growing up so fast! Yesterday we had a pediatrician visit and he is now 10 lbs and 1 oz. His weight is in the 25% but his head is in the 75%. Eric jokes that he has a 'fivehead' instead of a forehead, so I have a joke with Ando and say to him. "That is the chance we took.... you do have your father's fivehead."

We have another nickname from him which we modified from a Jonathan Richmond song: we call him 'Kukanogin' because of his big head. I also call him my little 'Nipple Urchin', 'Milk Breath' and 'Andito'. I'm sure the nicknames will keep coming. The other day I thought I should say his name more or he is going to think his name is Kukanogin.

He is a very alert baby and has been smiling from very young. Now his smiles are more connected to what and who he sees. He is also laughing and cooing. His demeanor is very sweet and playful. He always has his hands going moving and touching things. You can see from the middle photo above he is modeling his 'blast off' pose. (ha! ha!) He seems like he is a very good natured baby. The only thing that really gets him mad is not getting his food fast enough. And then he can really scream!

We are really enjoying our time with him, sleep deprived and all. He is getting into a schedule of sleeping; mid-night, 3am, 5:00am, 6:30-7am and somewhere around 8am we drag ourselves out of bed. I tell ya sometimes it is not easy getting up. I actually think I'm going to die. And then I see this cute little face that is all smiley and hungry. So I do it. Eric is very helpful and loves his bonding time with him and changes his diaper and hands him to me.

This week also I am going back to work part time. Just two half days and Saturdays at the gallery. I want to start back slowly, my gallery manager is pregnant with twins so this is pulling me back sooner than I would otherwise go back. But I'll ease in and still have lots of time with him.

Ando Mika is 2 months old today! I have to say I think he is going to be a little flirt. He already knows he is very charismatic. I think today is a big milestone. We go from counting his birth weeks to months! Happy 2 Month Birthday little guy!

22 April 2010

Our First Family Trip

We loaded up the car on Sunday April 18th and set out on our first family trip to a place Eric and I have always loved, Wilbur Hot Springs. It is just beautiful there, Japanese style long hot soaking tubs, an old style house with a group kitchen and trails for walks or hikes into Lake County.

Ando did really well. They allow a couple rooms for kids and we keep all his needs met so he was fairly quiet. Eric and I took turns in the tubs and made dinner and just enjoyed our new little family. Even though we still got up every 2-3 hours, I know I did get to relax because I started dreaming again.

It was my birthday, but I already felt like I had my birthday present this year.... Ando!

Ando is almost 9lbs but still too tiny for our beater hand me down BOB stroller we brought along. He was a good sport about rattling around in there and we did get to take a few walks.

And now a few more photos of this very special place....

10 April 2010

My Birth Story of Ando

I will preface the story by saying that I wish that I’d had a longer labor. I’m not even sure I'm telling the truth by saying that in retrospect, but here is our story...

I had been having regular braxton-hicks contractions for 3 weeks prior my due date with some early signs that I might be going into labor. I was pretty convinced he was going to come early so when I hit my due date I was more than ready for his birth. His due date passed and I went to my acupuncturist to be induced. I was determined to go into labor naturally and did not want the doctors coming after me with pitocin to start my labor. She did a strong treatment with electricity. I was ready and I hoped he was too!

Two days after my due date, I woke up and went to breakfast with Eric. I had been loving carbs during my pregnancy, pancakes especially, and this morning I ordered the biggest stack of buttermilk pancakes I had ever eaten. I could tell I was having braxton-hicks contractions again and told Eric. “I think he is coming soon.” We normally take morning walks at the Berkeley Marina. The sky was rainy. I wanted to drive down there and sit in the car even if we couldn’t walk. When we arrived the sky opened up and the sun was out. It felt like spring was here. We got out and walked. My walking the last week had slowed down to a very slow casual stroll. We made it around the marina and visited the owls. When we ran into a friend, Eric told her that the labor was coming in the next few days. I said, “I think hours.” She put her hand on my belly, like she knew it would be today. On the way back to the car I stopped to pee I noticed some mucus and a little blood. As we returned to the car the rain started again lightly. Eric was gracious and present with me as we walked. The walk and the morning seemed like everything was going in slow motion.

Returning home, I waited a few moments downstairs for the cleaning ladies to finish upstairs. How polite this boy was to wait until the house was cleaned, I was feed and we got our morning walk in. I called my naturopath Carol and told her I thought his birth was near. She told me she’d come over. I sent one last work email and headed upstairs to my bed. My naturopath did a light acupuncture treatment and had her hand on my belly, timing and feeling the contractions. They were very light but regular. She left and told me she be back at 6pm to check on me.

I thought I’d take a bath and wash my hair. I made it through two more light contractions and then went into full active labor. Needless to say I never washed my hair. The contractions started really strong and fast. I tried to stay in the bath but I was bleeding so much I went to the toilet. I had Eric call our doula Felicia. She said to check back in a ½ hour. A few more contractions and they were rapidly increasing in strength. I told Eric to call her back and tell her to come now. Eric was trying to time the contractions but they were coming so fast. So we never timed even one. We barely sent out an email to our friends that had asked them to think of us for a quick and easy labor and asked them to light a candle for us. I typed in one last comment at the end of the email, NO CALLS. I knew this was only going to get harder and I need them there in spirit only.

I was starting to panic, the pain increased and I started feeling like I wasn’t going to make it through this without drugs. I wanted to go to the hospital now! Eric went down to let Felicia in. The blood was still streaming out of me. As I stood up and tried another position another contraction started. I could literally feel his head descending down my birth canal. I couldn’t tell maybe I was just being dramatic? By the time Felicia started up the stairs she could hear me hyperventilating and ran up. She got me focused and told me that she wanted to sit with me through two contractions. The three of us were in the bathroom and I was on the toilet. I felt like I had to sit with my legs spread as far as possible probably because his head was there. The toilet paper holder was in the way of my knee. I asked Eric if he could remove it and he quickly ripped if off the wall. After two contractions Felicia agreed we should go to the hospital. I could barely walk but she got me dressed. Eric was madly packing the remainder of our stuff.

I made it down one flight of stairs. I was sitting in a chair, Felicia was encouraging me that I could do this and I was ok. I was kind of panicky thinking I might have to go through seventeen hours of this. I sat in a chair, my eye’s locked on Felicia’s big brown eyes. She had her finger with her black painted fingernail on my forehead and we were breathing and chanting “ HE, WHO, HE, WHO”. She could tell when I got to the top of the contraction and she would tell me, “Ok now the contraction is descending”. Then I had this urge to push, my body just started this low groan and it started pushing with the next contraction. She told Eric, “ We need to go NOW!” The breathing helped me not to push but at the end of the contraction my body would just push a bit anyway. How I made it down the next long flight of stairs I’ll never know. I just remember falling on the floor on my hands and knees for the next contraction. Our office assistant was there and I was wondering what is Taylor thinking of this. I was screaming and Felicia got me breathing again.

Felicia helped me up and got me to the car. I didn’t have any shoes on. Felicia asked me if she should follow us. I looked at her and said “PLEASE come with us!” The contractions just kept coming and she wedged her self in between the seats and helped me breathe all the way to the hospital. It was the longest ride I’ve ever taken. By now my breathing with Felicia was the only thing that was keeping me from pushing him out. Eric was driving and the three of us were now yelling all the way, “ HE, WHO, HE, WHO”. Eric called my friend Angelina and told her to come to Alta Bates. We made it to the hospital and Felicia asked should I get a wheel chair. I nodded yes. I was sure that there was a big pool of blood on the passenger seat from the ride. In retrospect maybe that is when my water broke? She wheeled me into the hospital and I had no shoes on. We stopped at the entrance, in the elevator and in front of the reception desk doing the breathing exercises to help me from pushing and to get through the contractions. It was something I would have expected in a movie. I had no idea or cared if anyone was looking at me, but I’m sure they were.

At the check in desk they asked me general questions, like “what is your birth date, when did your water break?” I could barely answer. Felicia turned up the volume and said “we need to get her into a birthing room, she is pushing.” They wheeled me down the hall. I heard them say room #21. I asked Felicia if we could stop on so we could do the breathing. She was my saving grace. The nurse walking with us heard me bearing down and grabbed the wheel chair out of Felicia’s hands. She said, “we can’t have her pushing in the hall.” I almost think that she had the wheel chair up on the two back wheels as she pushed me into room #21. From there as out of control as I had already felt I have to say it got worse.

I don’t know how many people emerged into the room. Eric says he counted 9-10 people not including me. They threw me up on the birthing table, put an oxygen mask on me, and positioned me on my back and tried to find the baby’s heart rate. She asked me if I had been checked for dilatation and I had told her not since yesterday and I was 1cm. She never told me how far I was dilated but if I could have asked, I was at 10.3cm. I never knew one could be more than 10. When they couldn’t find the baby’s heart rate, they immediately stuck a fetal monitor into his head. I heard someone say, “oh he has brown hair.” His heart rate was low. It was at 70. Which increased the speed at which they wanted me to get him out. I couldn’t process all this at the time but they seemed kind of mad I had come into the hospital so late. No one ever said this was an emergency but I could feel the urgency in the air and in my body. The doctor was there and she quickly pulled a vacuum out of the box. She told me she was putting the vacuum on the table to "motivate me." I kid you not. I couldn’t talk but the words rang through my head. A threat to motivate me? Felicia and Eric asked the doctor if I could try another position. She did this hand motion, like she was brushing crumbs off her lap and said, “Well hurry up.”

My contractions were still coming quickly and I felt like I could barely move. The IV person put an IV in my wrist. I didn’t know was my baby ok, was I doing a good or bad job, would they wheel me into surgery and just cut him out of me. It seemed totally out of control. All I knew is that, THIS WAS HAPPENING. I wanted to do as good a job for his sake and mine.

The IV was poking into my wrist with any move I made. I turned on my side. His heart rate shot up to 120. I pushed on my side for a while. The doctor was yelling at me, directing me how to push. I was confused by her direction and couldn’t place my body or my breathing with this. Wasn’t this something I should know how to do? I tried another position. This time I was squatting on the birth table with my arms over the back of the table. This position felt much more natural but after a few pushes my legs started to shake violently and I had to return to my side. The doctor kept directing my pushes. My vision was blurred and I only focused on Felicia to my right and Eric on my left. At one point I put my hand up towards the doctor and said. “That is enough.” She then said something that finally made sense. “I want you to push at the top of the contraction.” Well why didn’t you say so and why the hell are YOU telling me when to push I thought. I can feel my contractions, not you. Felicia later commented that she was directing me like some one who had an epidural. I stopped listening to her mostly at this point. I knew what to do. Felicia and Eric pushed my legs up when I would tell them the contractions were coming so that it would provide a bigger opening for the baby’s head. The doctor would tell me to relax in between. Basically my legs were shaking so much that it would take me the time in between the contractions to get my legs straight and try to take some deep breaths and then another would start. I started for the first time in my labor feeling some confidence that I could do this and he was coming out soon.

My dear friend Angelina got there for what was probably the last two or three pushes. When I pushed I would let out a moaning scream. The doctor told me not to waste my energy and use it for the pushing. Well I can tell you this was helping me push so I continued to scream. There was a mirror and I did watch him crown. The doctor wanted me to watch so it would motivate me. I felt like more that watching his head come back and forth I needed to focus. So I stopped watching and pushed with all my might and screamed again. Out he came. Eric says his head was there and they sucked out the fluids and merconium from his mouth and nose. Another push and he slipped right out. Eric helped with the catch and the umbilical cord was wrapped around his chest so the doctor quickly unwrapped him and told Eric they must quickly cut the cord. They did so and his slippery little body was up on my chest.

I DID IT. I DID IT! I felt so proud of myself. This is my boy. As he lay on my chest he was quiet and when I talked to him he burst out crying. He sounded like a little cat. I delivered the placenta, easy! And then the doctor told me I needed a few stitches. My legs were shaking so badly they got out some stirrups so my legs could rest. They continued to shake and I didn’t even care that I was being stitched up. My boy was here, crying like a little cat on my chest. He had his own trauma of a quick birth being shot down the birth canal. He had taken a couple knocks on the top of each side of his head. He had two big bumps they call Cephalohematoma, which is blood under the skin. He was still beautiful, crying and puffy.

They tried to get him to breastfeed but as Felicia said, he was working something out. He cried for a while and did eventually attach himself to my breast. He was here. I can only say that this birth took me days to process and quite honestly I think I was in a state of shock after he was born. I knew that I loved this little guy, I knew Eric had been there with me and I knew that Felicia grounded me in this birth and I was extremely happy to have her support in this journey. But in retrospect I wish I had had more personal care from the doctor and medical staff. I do think I got caught up in the medical establishment and that natural birthing is starting to be lost in America, but that is another story I’ll post at some point. I will say that I wish there was more support to empower women in their birthing. We need it!

I am happy that he was healthy 6 lbs 11ounces and 20" long with elegant hands and big feet, that he came down in the right position, that he waited until my house was cleaned and he allowed me a short labor. I was also proud of myself for not taking any drugs, not that I really had a choice, but I did it. My son was here and I felt in the next hours once in my own room away from the chaos that love flow in and we bonded as he slept on my chest. I couldn’t really sleep because I kept looking at him. He was here. My boy was here. I did it. He did it. We did it together.

In short, the schedule of Ando’s birthing seemed rather civil, under four hours; I had a nice breakfast and my morning walk with Eric. My naturopath came and gave me a treatment and my labor started sometime around 2:15pm, after the cleaning ladies left, and he was out by dinnertime 5:49pm. What a polite little tiger-fish.

When I left the hospital I could hardly believe that I got to take him home. That 03.03.10 at 5:49pm we got to start out life with him. I could tell Eric was ecstatic to be part of the birth because he was right there with me and need I say he described it as “fun.” I know what he meant. He was totally into it. I never knew what women went through in birthing but I can say it was the most intense thing I have ever done in my life and my heart opened even more meeting my son. I feel so lucky I get to be his mom.

My little Ando Mika is here and WE DID IT!