After much debate and soul searching we come to peace in our decision to be done having children. We never planned to have more than two, but after W’s birth we reconsidered, I was more wanting it than A. It’s been a torturous process for me wrapped up in how long we’d store our leftover vials.

In my heart, I want a third child. But I know that two is all we can handle. The bottom line is that we can not afford a third – financially nor emotionally.  Two takes just about all we’ve got and some days more. A and I have so little time as a couple. We’re excited to move forward and gain more of ourselves and our couplehood back.

This blog is coming to an end too. I have spent years here. It was the most valuable outlet during the dark days of trying to create our family. I’ve made friendships here, and have so many wonderful people in my life because of this blog. But I don’t maintain it, and it has no focus.

I am embarking on new adventures, which I will no doubt write about. I am excited to focus more on my crafty side. To create things. And I am also working on a long term project having to do with food allergies. My path is moving and this is not the place where I want to write. If I do create new spaces, I may link them here.

If you’re so inclined to remain in touch over FaceBook, and we’re not already friends, leave a comment and I will search you by your email.

So long. It’s been really fucking amazing to share this journey. Not a day goes by where I am not completely aware of how blessed I am to have two beautiful healthy children. I am not sure I would have made it here with out all the internet support.

xoxoxo

W popped her first tooth last week and a couple of days later another one! We had no signs that she was teething. Mr. E was much the same. I used to think that I had gotten lucky with him, and now I am a believer in Amber teething necklaces, since both of my kids have worn them and teething seems to be a piece of cake.

More when there’s time but for now…for those of you who are not facebook friends, below is the scene from this morning; I snuck off to shower while Mr. E snuck in with his sister!

This post has been a long time in the making and may explain the radio silence around here.

Our little W is almost five months and it’s only been in the last month or so that I’ve really connected with her, liked her, wanted to be with her.

Postpartum this time was h.a.r.d. After her most amazing birth, I was shocked that I could not connect with her. That her cries made me so angry that I often fed her and then passed her off to A, who thankfully was home for three months with us. I am certain I would not have made it here, without having her home in my dark postpartum days.

So many times I wondered what we’d done, why we had her?  And even wished we didn’t. I wondered why Mr. E’s infancy seemed to joyous when I was so miserable this round? All the while I was coping – getting out of bed, taking care of my kids. I had incidents of crying, well beyond the “baby blues.” I’d cry and cry and I knew it was the damn hormones. And that made me even angrier. I was enraged that hormones could cloud this time precious time with my new baby. Moments I would never get back.

A was patient. She let me sleep in every single day over the summer – getting up by 6am everyday with one or both of the kids. She’d take her turns at night when my efforts only reduced me to tears.

By almost three months W’s sleep was amazing and she and I were connecting. This was about the time A went back to work (I am not sure if I ever followed up from the laid off post, but she was rehired). I am not sure if it was life forcing me to finally be the full-time provider of two children or if her return to work coincided with my hormonal shift but ever since we resumed our fall routine, things have just gotten better. I am no longer overwhelmed by the thought of spending my days with two, instead of one. The crying fits have passed, and most days are really great.

I wanted so much to write in the dark days after W’s birth and I think I even did but nothing I wrote was fit for publishing. I hope that now that I am on the other side, and that “it’s” out there, that I will want to resume more regular posting here.

Now every day is such a joy with W. She is the happiest baby I’ve ever known and most people tell me so. She loves her family, is thrilled with her big brother, and so easily goes with the flow. Make me want a third…but I worry I could be pressing my luck!

4 months, and we're in love

Never once did I have troubles breastfeeding Mr. E – for 21 months.

So far I’ve had one hell of a time with W. We had bad latch leading to the most horrific pain, a nursing strike at eleven weeks old, and now thrush. It is so awfully painful and I am just fed up with it all.

My doula has suggested I:

  1. apply probiotics to my nipples and to W’s gums
  2. sun my breasts
  3. cut/reduce my sugar intake (sugar feeds yeast)
  4. switch to disposable breast pads (boo!)

All of which I am doing, but I’d love to hear from the internets, what have you done to successfully kick it?

I was certain we were done.

I abhor pregnancy.

I need to go back to work sometime this decade.

But it seems as though the third time may be a charm? We’ve got three vials of our donor and I am game for one more…if all the stars align (and there are many to get in alignment) then this time next year we’ll start project baby #3.

W rolled over today. She’s 12w1d.It feels like the first “first” but of course before this she’s smiled and laughed, which are really much cooler than rolling, but rolling is a big deal.

Yesterday sucked.

We were busily planning for A’s family to visit so the plan was I’d take the kids to the playground while A  cleaned the house and went grocery shopping.

A couple of minutes after I left the mail arrived. Our letter carrier parked her mail truck and knocked on our door. Amy signed for a certified letter.

The letter informed us that she’d been laid off. LAID FUCKING OFF. TWO WEEKS  before school was to start. Awesome.

When I found out, I felt sick. I felt robbed, I felt helpless, I felt responsible for two children. And most of all I felt fucking pissed off that we’re going to lose our health insurance. It took me several hours to calm down.

Once calm, I started to put it all into perspective. Recently a good friend tragically lost her sister. Two weeks ago another friend lost her newborn to SIDS. Another friend is facing the mortality of her six week old son. All we’ve lost is a job, income, and health insurance.  That’s all. And really it isn’t much when I think about what other friends are losing.

For several weeks now I have been donating breast milk to a friend who’s baby is a month younger than W. The mama and baby live over an hour away but due to some extenuating circumstances they’ve been around here a bit more than usual in the last week.

I kept this on the down low from family members because they really just wouldn’t get why I, or the mama would go out of our way to provide breast milk rather than use formula. (Not meant to start a feeding war- I have excess milk and this mama who wants her baby to have breast milk has supply issues.) Earlier in the week we were both attending the memorial service of our mutual friend’s sister and the mama asked if I’d nurse her baby. She had frozen milk, but it was much easier for me to nurse her. And so I did. This was the second time I’ve nursed a baby other than my own (the first time being last summer when I nursed my best friend’s baby at her request). I am perfectly comfortable doing so, but I must admit nursing another woman’s baby in public can draw some unusual stares when they know it’s not your baby.

Today we attended a benefit for the young children of the recently deceased sister of our friend. I nursed the baby for the second time while making plans for the mama to pick up my frozen milk. Long time readers will remember we live with my parents. Today being Sunday, we were all home when they stopped by to pick up my milk, and we were minutes from sitting down to dinner. The conversation went something like this:

My dad (D): There’s someone here.

Me: Yes they are friends…

D: stopping by for a visit now.

Me: No they are just picking up milk.

D: I just bought milk today!

[Does he really think I’m giving away his cows milk?]

My Mom (M): I think she means breast milk. Is that even safe?

[safe?!]

Me: there are somethings we try to spare you from knowing…

Meanwhile I open the freezer and grab all my frozen milk.

M- to my father: Times are different now.

My friend came in with her four week old baby girl, three and a half year old son and husband. The baby needed to nurse, so she sat down to nurse her (she produces some milk but not nearly enough to fully feed her daughter). We all chatted as my father walked in and out tending to the dinner on the grill.

Now, my parents are, well, my parents-  they know to expect the unexpected. As I sat there with our friend nursing her baby I thought, please don’t ask me to nurse her. Thinking that may be just a little too much for my parents as they are just learning about the donating. She noted we were getting ready to eat dinner and said something about getting going. I asked her if her baby was all set. I am not sure what I meant, but she looked at me with that look in her eyes, and I knew she wanted me to nurse her. She raised her slightly and said “can you?” And so I moved next to her on the couch, took her baby from her arms, and latched her on. In front of my family.

It was fine. No one dropped their jaw to the floor and the baby had a full belly. Later on my mother told me she thinks it’s wonderful, what I am doing, and that she’s heard of people doing this. In some ways, I think the way it came into the open  was the best way it could. It’s less abstract when you’re seeing the baby who needs the milk and the parents who so appreciate it.

My estimated due date was May 30th. The pregnancy was hard but as the end approached I experienced a reprieve, began feeling great- almost not even pregnant and was moving about with an ease last felt in the first trimester. I focused on enjoying the last days of E as an only child and soaking up our time together.

The early evening of May 24th we thought things were starting. I was having contractions but they were not painful. We ate dinner and carried on our nightly routine with E. We took a walk outside and chatted with some neighbors, put E to bed and continued to wait for the contractions to kick up; they were about eight minutes apart. Eventually we went to bed knowing things were far from starting. I had a rough night’s sleep and woke exhausted. A stayed home from work, as we believed things were happening. But the contractions fizzled out and I was officially experiencing prodromal labor.

Two nights later the contractions returned. This time they felt more intense and regular- coming three minutes apart. With the increased intensity, I was certain this was it. I called our doula, R to let her know. After about five hours of contractions, I also called our midwife, L. I had learned from the previous night of false labor that it would be best to rest instead of waiting for labor to kick up. So I went to bed, and when I lay down they stopped! I was so frustrated!

The next day, May 28th A, E, and I headed to the beach and spent the afternoon playing in the sand and soaking up the sun. I felt off that day, my body ached everywhere – I guess I was finally feeling like I should at full term! Earlier in the day I noticed I was starting to lose my mucus plug.

A & I were really tired and went to bed early that night. I woke at midnight feeling achy and hot. I moved to the couch to try to get some sleep; I spent the next several hours trying to sleep and when I couldn’t I’d play around on the computer. Somewhere in there I went to the bathroom and noticed I was losing more of my mucus plug and now there was also a bit of blood. The progress excited me, but I also knew this could go on for weeks. I decided to go back to our bed and try to sleep. A asked me what was going on and I told her I was achy and crampy and she rubbed my back for several minutes. Within ten minutes of crawling back into bed my water broke! It was about 3:30am.

With the gush of water I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, leaving a trail of water behind. It’s hard to describe the this is it feeling. There’s no questioning the start when the amniotic fluid ruptures. I took a shower to clean myself up and then got comfortable to call L. A was scurrying around, showering, changing the sheets, and preparing to leave. Around 4:30 E woke up (as he often does in the night). When he saw A all dressed he asked “why are you all ready, Mama?” She assured him the clothes she was wearing were her pajamas and got him back to sleep. I ended the call told her “L said we should get some rest”, to which she laughed.

Contractions had started but they were mild to say the least. Around 5:30 I decided I needed some rest so I lay down in bed. But my waters kept gushing so it was hard to get comfortable and sleep was impossible. I lay there and rested for a little while. Before too long I got back up and bounced on the birth ball for a while. Again, my leaking fluids prevented me from being too mobile, which was frustrating.

As the morning waned on, A went about our daily routine, feeding and dressing E, playing with him. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I watched them play in the back yard from my window. I was still very much excited and happy my contractions were starting.

There seemed to have been a misunderstanding about my parent’s role when I went into labor and they thought they were not needed until we left for the hospital.  I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible; in my mind this meant they would take E as soon as I went into labor so that A was with me.  There came a point where I needed A to be with me and she was just not able to do that while watching E, so even though I was not in serious labor we decided to head to the hospital so that we could labor together in peace. We left around Noon.

The drive to the hospital was challenging. It took 50 minutes and my contraction kicked up. I decided to call our doula and request she also head to the hospital. Upon arrival I was checked in and had the initial battery of questions and paperwork to complete. L checked me and I was two centimeters. Not too bad, given that I never dilated on my own with E. But we knew there was still a long way to go. A and I decided to take a walk outside; it was a beautiful day and we spent some time walking through the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown.

In the back of my head I could hear the clock ticking. The “you have to get the baby out within 24 hours of rupture” clock. I did my best to ignore it. We ate dinner, chatted with R, and I tried to rest. Sometime around 6:00pm R said she was going to prepare a hot bath with lavender so that when I was ready for it, I could just get in. Minutes later L came in and suggested I get in the tub and use the water for nipple stimulation to try to ramp up my contractions. A and I spent at least a half hour doing this, to no avail. L returned to check on us. She checked me again. Still two centimeters.  Frustration set in.

I knew the clock-talk was coming and it did. L told me the pediatricians like to start antibiotics 18 hours post rupture but she’d hold it off till 24 hours. She talked about my options, which in addition to medications, included doing nothing and waiting it out. I knew one thing, I did not want an IV. Antibiotics are given intravenously. I also knew from E’s birth that my body isn’t all that handy at dilating. Cervadil was my option; a vaginal suppository that softens the cervix. It was the lowest level of intervention available to me in a hospital setting. The down side was that once inserted I would have to have fetal heart monitoring for two hours, which meant I had to lay in bed for two hours. And already laying on my back was the least comfortable position with my mild contractions.

The Cervadil was inserted at 7:21pm. A, R, & I chit chatted while music played in the background. I did my best to submit to each contraction, to remain focused and lose, and to breathe. By 8:45pm the contraction were full on, intense, and this is when I consider labor starting. Having to remain hooked up to monitors and in bed was brutal. I asked R, what if I have to use the bathroom? And this became my focus. My way out.

It was clear to all of us that I was in hard labor, and all had been fine with the baby, so I wanted to be unhooked and to labor as I wished. I called for a nurse and expressed my need to use the bathroom. She said she had to talk to L. She returned about 9pm and said she couldn’t talk to L, but it would probably be okay to take me off the monitors 20 minutes early, and she did.

I used the toilet and had one contraction and then I got back into the tub. Instead of the relief I’d felt in the water just a few hours early, it now felt horribly constricting. I tried laying back and it hurt. I think I stayed that way for three or so contractions. Then I got into a frog position. One contraction like that and I knew I had to get out of the water. When it was over I maneuvered my body out and had one more contraction on the toilet. While there I felt a little nauseous. Meanwhile, R and L were preparing the bed in a raised position for me to lean on to. I tried it, and that didn’t work for me either. But while I was there I felt the urge to vomit. Someone brought me a bucket and I emptied my stomach; I was still standing up leaning on the raised bed and the force of my vomiting pushed the Cervadil out of me, and I was so thankful that it remained out. I remember thinking, I am in transition? I am in transition?! FUCK! How can I already be in transition? It was probably 9:45pm.

R suggested I may like to get on my hands and knees. I did this on the floor while they lowered the bed. Once lowered, I kneeled on the bed and held on to the headboard.  My contractions were seriously intense at this point. I was in full on labor. L checked me. “Five” she announced, “no, moving to six.” Holy crap.

A and R were to my right, L was on my left and there were two nurses. Mark Erelli was playing on the iPod.. L began rubbing my back as I rode each contraction like a wave. I did my best to keep my vocalizations low. L attended to our birthplan and lowered the lights. I remember hearing A ask R to change the music, and suggested something a little mellower, Norah Jones, Come Away With Me.

“You sound like you’re feeling the urge to push” L said; I confirmed that I was. She checked me and I was nine.  L suggested I lay on my left side, crunch up my knees, and hold my right knee open to push. She gently massaged me with some sort of liquid as I began to push. The baby’s head was coming out and I heard someone say she had a lot of hair. I was out of control, the pain was overcoming me, I was pushing with no method, I just wanted the baby out and I finally understood what women mean when they say they felt like they were splitting in two. I was sure I’d be broken when it was over. I yelled out “this is way more intense than last time.”

I knew that this was going to happen really fast, that I would not push for two hours like I had with E. I centered myself, and got in the moment. I wanted her entry to be something I remembered. I could feel she was close and that she’d be here soon. I’d been pushing with contractions, and then L instructed me that I could push in their absences and I did. Not ten minutes passed before sweet Willow entered the world at 10:29pm on May 29, 2010.

As soon as she was born she was placed on my lower abdomen while we waited for her cord to stop pulsing. I held onto her in amazement. It didn’t take long for me to feel the urge to push her placenta. R later told me that the cord stopped pulsing and I immediately said I needed to push. The placenta came out easily, the cord was cut, and W was moved to my breasts, where she immediately latched on and began sucking. R said she’d never seen anything like it. She was still covered in a good amount of vernix and I loved feeling it- so think and protective. I’d incurred a very slight tear and had one stitch.

W remained on my breasts for a while. My vitals were taken, and A and I shared a PB&J sandwich that I’d ordered earlier and saved. R and L said their goodbyes, and we were left with the nurse to have W weighed, measured, and cleaned up. She weighed six pounds 14 ounces and was 19 ½ inches long. She was born with a massive amount of wavy blond hair and blue eyes.

W turned eight weeks this past weekend and it’s hard to remember a time she wasn’t with us. The transition to family of four has gone ever so smoothly; E loves her and has been amazing with her. He’s shown a little jealousy, mostly when A has W, but over all he’s stepped into his role of big brother with grace. We feel ever so blessed with our family of four. It’s been quite a journey to this place. And not a day goes by that I don’t reflect and recognize just how blessed we are.

Love at first sight

First day at home

I love her and I think we'll keep her!

Our daughter enter the world on May 29th at 10:29pm. She weighed in at 6lbs, 14 oz and was 19 1/2 inches long. She has a full head of blond (!) hair and is absolutely amazing.

I am too tired and without the time to write her birth story now, but will when I can. In the mean time I will say that it was such a different experience than Mr. E’s- far faster and hugely intense. But amazing all the same. Until there’s more time, here she is:

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