My name is Iris, and I have a little two and a half month old daughter. I'm going to start with our birth story, and do an introduction tomorrow. We had a planned homebirth, with just my DBF, a midwife, and her assistant attending. It went beautifully, and I'm completely thrilled with the experience that we had.
I had been feeling like the baby was going to come at any time. My due date had passed, and I was ready for labor! Then, I came down with a nasty, nasty, cold. I was miserable. The labor that I had envisioned, the one where I was strong, happy, and focused, seemed like an impossibility. I had actually started to wake up in the morning, thankful that I hadn’t gone into labor in my state. On January 26th, after four days of being yucky sick, I gave in and took some extra strength Tylenol. My fever finally came down. DBF had an important awards ceremony to go to that night, and I decided to stay home to rest up and get well. Plus, there was no way I’d have been able to dress my gigantic belly appropriately for the black tie event!
I was 41 weeks and one day pregnant, and feeling better than I had in days! I had been having strong BH contractions for about a month, but now, they started to get stronger. DBF came home at around eleven. I told him I was having stronger contractions than I had ever had, and got into the shower. I spent a long time sitting in the tub, with the removable shower head on my back and tummy. We went to bed, but I had a hard time sleeping, because of the contractions that were coming every ten minutes or so. I was able to doze a little in between, but had a hard time getting comfortable, so I got out of bed. DBF found me a few hours later, sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket. He lied on the couch, watching me. He told me later, that at that point, he KNEW that I was going into labor. I tried to have him go back to bed, to get as much sleep as he could, but he wanted to be with me.
Once DBF dozed off at about 7 in the morning, I sat on the rocking chair in the baby’s room, and called my mom. I told her I was having a lot of contractions, but that they weren’t painful, just distracting. She said, “Oh, they may not ever get painful. My second labor was just like that, until the very last few contractions, where they got strong, and I pushed her out.” She suggested I call my midwife, to give her a heads up. (It must be said here that my mom’s second birth was UC. She had planned on having her husband and a midwife attend, but they didn’t get there in time. She gave birth alone on her bathroom floor! Go Mom!)
I called the MW, and she said it should be a while, yet, and to give her a call when I noticed a “marked difference” in the strength of my contractions. I convinced DBF (who of course wasn’t sleeping—he was too scared to leave me needing him) to go for a walk with me. He thought I was crazy, but he agreed. He dressed me in one of his coats, and we took a nice, quiet, morning walk through the neighborhood.
I took another shower, and DBF went to bed. I tried to sit on my birthing ball, but hated the way it felt to have all of that pressure on my bottom. I found a semi-comfortable position on the floor in front of the couch, with my head on the seat. I managed to sleep between contractions, which were getting stronger and stronger, for the next few hours.
I noticed that there was a little bit of blood on the towel under me, (I was still undressed from taking a shower.) and got very excited. Now I had PROOF that something was happening. I realized that I hadn’t eaten since the evening before. I drank some orange juice, and as much chicken broth as I could, though I didn’t feel hungry at all. I also downloaded the new Iron and Wine album, because I realized at this time that I HAD TO have it.
My memory gets quite hazy at this point. I know that I spent the next few hours moving around our apartment, when I was feeling like I needed to labor in a different position. I know that whenever DBF broke eye-contact with me when I was having a contraction, I felt like I was going to lose control.
I spent some time on the toilet, with DBF on my birth ball in front of me. I didn’t have a lot of words in me. Whenever DBF would move away from me, I would bat his hands, and tell him, “Shut up. Shut up,” making him look into my eyes. He was so calm, and it made me feel so good. At one point, I realized that my eyes were getting googlie, and rolling around a little, but I held onto his eyes, and was able to stable them.
DBF sat on a chair in front of the sink while I sat on the floor next to him. We were listening to our new album, and I was telling him every time I had a contraction, so he could time them. They started to come on top of each other, starting over again right after the one before had peaked. We were still in denial about my being in labor!
At one o’clock, I couldn’t sit on the floor any longer, so I moved to the floor in front of the fireplace. I laid down with a few pillows to prop up my belly. I got a REALLY strong contraction at that point, and started moaning, and saying DBF’s name. I said “Oh God, oh God…..!” as I felt a gush of water. I was scared I’d stain the carpet! I ran as fast as I could to the bathroom, but halfway there, I yelled, “I’m gonna throw up!” DBF tried to assure me that I wasn’t—He knows how much it scares me. I threw the bathroom rug out of my way, so I could crouch in front of the toilet without making a mess on it. I slammed the door shut for privacy, and in between retches, told him to call our midwife. He’s telling her my water broke, and I’m yelling, “And she’s throwing up! Tell her I’m throwing up!” As soon as I finished emptying my stomach, I had to go #2! As I’m going to the bathroom, DBF is asking me through the door, “She wants to know if you feel any pressure on your bottom!” I had to have a laugh at that, and said something pretty crude in response.
Here's a pic of me just a few seconds before my water broke. Notice the crease on my forehead? That's from leaning against that chair for so long.
I came out of the bathroom, and got onto the phone. I realized that I was having a very nice break from contractions. As we talked, I started pacing very quickly, and my midwife asked me, “Are you having a contraction right now? I’ll wait.” I realized at that point that I was, so I put the phone down, and got onto my hands and knees on the floor. I said, “Oh ****. Nothing is making this better.”
At that point, I realized that I actually was going to have a baby that day.
Our midwife came over, and found us in the bathroom. She had me go into my bedroom so she could do a VE. I got onto my side, and made her wait for a few minutes, before I said, “You know what? It’s (the pain, that is) not going to get any better. Just do it.” She checked, and she said I was dilated to four centimeters. A mother ****ing four!! She saw the face I made at that, and laughed.
I labored on the bed for a few minutes, but I didn’t like that, so we got up to go back to the bathroom. As I got up, I caught the eyes of my midwife, who was sitting on my floor. I realized that I must look like a wild animal, naked and panting, with my hair loose and in my face and crazy. I marveled for a little bit about how little I cared about that.
I was laboring on the toilet when the MW came in, and told me she was going to go home (she lives about five minutes away from us). She must have seen on my face what I was feeling when she said that. She took DBF’s spot on the birth ball and had a little talk with me. She told me that all I had to do was open up. I was doing it fine so far; I just had to open up more. “Listen. It’s not ever going to get unbearable.” In my head, I thought. “That is total bull****!! It’s almost unbearable right now. And I’m going to open up MORE??” Her leaving meant, to me, that I was going to be in labor FOREVER.
In hindsight, I realize that I was in transition as she was talking to me on the birthing ball in my bathroom.
I couldn’t stay where I was any longer, so we went back into the bedroom. I was in the fetal position on the bed for a bit, before I started to lose control. I was grunting, and tensing my body! After a few contractions like that, I decided that I NEEDED to stay relaxed, so I got into the bath. It took a lot of readjusting on DBF’s part before the water was comfortable enough for me. I lay curled up in the bath for about twenty minutes, contracting and holding back pushes before I realized- DUH!, I WAS PUSHING!!
The midwife came right over. She checked me, though I really didn’t want her to. I just didn’t have the voice to say no. I almost kicked her off of me as she was doing the exam. She announced very calmly that she felt the baby’s head. Her head?? She showed me on her knuckles how far in the baby was. Not far at all! Yes!
We moved to the bedroom, but not before grabbing a towel for my hair! I hate having wet hair all over the place when I’m in bed. On the way to my bedroom, I was saying, “Tell me where to go!” I didn’t want to have to move once I got there. She tried to explain that I should do whatever feels best for me, but I didn’t know. I tried to get on my hands and knees, but my belly got in the way. She suggested I get on my side, and hold a leg up. The midwife’s assistant got there as I started to push, and rushed to get things in order. Between pushes I was telling her where she could get a hat for the baby, where she could find olive oil, etc.
What really surprised me was that I had to learn how to push. I was trying to push from the front only, and close off the back. Nope. It really is just like you’re pooping, and I was very strongly reminded of that by my midwife. I was getting a little scared, and I said so. I felt like if I really gave all of my force, like she was telling me to, that I would tear right open, or my intestines would come out. So for the next twenty minutes or so, I pushed with all of my force, but was only concentrating about half of it into my bottom. The rest was coming out of my mouth, and into my upper body.
The assistant finally got everything together, and sat down in front of my legs at the edge of the bed. She saw what I was doing, and she reprimanded me! She sternly said my name, and told me to STOP using my voice. I laughed- She made me feel like a naughty child!
After that, I was able to push more efficiently. I was breathing and pushing whenever the urge came to me, probably two or three times per contraction- None of that count to ten, breaking blood vessels in your face pushing that you see in movies. At one point, she had me reach and feel the baby’s head, and I shrieked and laughed. It was so squishy! Not what I had expected at all! A few times, I got her head almost out, but then it would pop back in. The feeling of her little body popping through my pelvis was quite a bizarre feeling, and it made me laugh and scream every time.
At one point, I was getting very tired, and I saw, in my head, all of the liquid that I had let go of earlier, and I thought. “I don’t have any fuel! I can’t do this!!” And to be honest, I really wanted to give up. If I was doing anything other than giving life to my child, I WOULD HAVE given up.
Some warm olive oil and one quick ring of fire later, her head was out! I remember the midwife’s assistant saying “Just push through the pain!” as she was crowning, which, to me, weren’t the most encouraging words. “Push through”?? More like “push into”!
Then, her little body turned, and then I pushed out her shoulders! Oh sweet relief!, As her body slipped out with a big gush of water. I lay there for a moment before the midwife said, “Reach down and pick up your baby!” And I picked up her warm, wet, squiggly body and held her close. She smelled just like her father. I looked up at him, and I saw his face, so clearly that I will never ever forget it. He had tears shining down the sides of his nose, and he kissed me.
Baby had little fists, and was waving them around as she looked me in the eyes and said “Ha ha. Ha ha.” Little laughing noises! I held her as the cord stopped pulsating, and DBF made the cut. She made a little gasp, and I watched as her skin immediately started to pink up. She fed as the placenta was birthed. It actually felt good coming out after the baby—no bones!
As the baby was getting dressed, “Oh, do you two have a name for her?”
DBF and I looked at each other.
DBF took the baby, and the midwife’s assistant and I made our way to the bathroom. She tried to have me urinate, but I had somehow forgotten how to. I got into the shower, and held my belly close for a while. It was so wiggly and empty! The assistant dried me off, and put me into those sexy mesh panties, and tucked me into bed.
We all ate falafel together around our bed, as we watched the sun go down over the neighborhood through our window.
Little Paisley was born on January 27th, at 4:50 pm, after less than four hours of active labor, and fifty minutes of pushing. She was 7lb 4oz, and 20 ¼” long.
DBF and I met a little more than a year ago. I know, we moved very quickly. I would say, "when you know you know," but with us, that wasn't exactly the case.
Well, HE knew, I didn't. I took a little longer. We had been dating for about two months when we got pregnant. He was ready for it, but I was a little reserved, still. I was 24, and livin it up! He was 37, and really wanting to settle and have a family.
Obviously, I came around. Now, I am happier than I ever have been. DBF is wonderful, just an amazing person. He wants nothing more than to take care of us. I had a bit of a struggle with that in the beginning, to be honest. I've always been independent, and I have to admit, I was pretty untrusting of the male species. I've just never seen, in real-life, a couple that has actually lasted, and stayed happy.
Well, there was a little peak into my disfunction, eh?
DBF was born in Tehran, Iran. His family split up, and he was bounced around between family members from the time he was three years old. His cousin, who was ten years old, fell in love with him. He was almost like a son to her, and she wanted to keep him. She and her mother were moving back to the states soon, and she asked if she could take DBF with. It ended up being decided by the family that he would go live in Los Angeles with his Ame (Aunt) and his cousin. Though, his Ame only brought him so that her daughter would be happy. Eventually, he was adopted by Ame, and his cousin became his sister. We love his cousin, and I'll probably be talking about her a lot. So, when I say SIL, that's who I mean. Is that confusing? :/
He came here when he was eight, not speaking a word of English. He was put in school, and found Judo, a Japanese martial art. Judo became the consuming activity in his life. He trained and trained, and competed and competed, and traveled around the world, all through college. He made it to the Olympic trials in 2000, but didn't make it, by a hair. At that point, he was thirty, and he decided that that would be the end of the road for his Judo career. He still practices and coaches, but he doesn't compete.
He moved back to LA, and started shooting television shows. He got his master's degree in Cinematography, and now he, well, he shoots more television. Ultimately, he would like to do more narrative projects. For now, he's doing what he knows he can do to make money easily to take care of his family. So, he's got some frustration with his work right now, but I think he'll get where he wants to be soon.
I was born in Seattle, on our family's living room couch! My mother gave birth to her first in a hospital, and since then, swore them off. She had her next at home, accidentally unassisted. She had me, unassisted, at home. By the time my younger brother came along, we were (legal) migrant workers, living in a truck. So, that's where he came out! Unassisted, again, if you hadn't guessed.
After about five days of not napping at all during the day, my little one has finally gotten into the groove of sleeping again. I was getting a little worried, because I could see that she was sleepy, and it was making her cranky. But right now she's sleeping with her hands above her head, and one leg kicked out, like she's dancing, Persian style.
We went out to do some errands today, and she was so content, just sitting in her stroller, looking at me, and smiling when I talked to her. I find that I do that a lot; talk to her like she's a grown person. I'll tell her where we're going, what we're doing, what I see. Sometimes strangers look at me like I'm crazy. They're silly.
I'm on a search for jeans that don't fall off my newly scrawny ***. I had (have?) an obsession with denim, and have a closet full of really expensive jeans that I cannot wear. I'm not sure if I'm going to go back up to my prepreg weight when I'm finished BFing, but I hope so, for my jeans' sake.
But I'll keep the big boobies, please.
Tomorrow is DBF's "Anything I Want" day. I think it's great that we've turned our birthdays into that. So much less stressful. Basically I just have to do whatever he wants for the whole day.
For my "Anything I Want" day a few weeks ago, I forced him to change his voicemail message, saying that he wouldn't return any calls until the next day. He changed all the diapers (he'll do that anyhow, though ), he watched the baby in the waiting area while I got a pedicure, we walked around, window shopping, and he was not allowed to say anything negative, the whole day. We had sushi on an outdoor patio. Then we bought a little cake and some champagne, and got dressed up and had cake in our apartment. Our neighbors stopped by and shared with us, and took some pictures. Then we fell asleep on the floor in front of Dances With Wolves, ha ha. No DTD for me. Maybe next year.
We're just hanging out today. DBF has been having a lot of time off lately, so we are just playing with the babe, and doing a few errands. One downside to having a home birth, is that we have to prove to the government that we actually have a child. Getting her birth certificate and a social security number have proven to be one big pain in the ***.
A funny thing happened, though, at the office where we got her birth certificate. We put on our forms that we were not married. The woman that filed our paperwork was from Egypt. She saw DBF's name on the certificate, and actually came out to talk to us. She said she would put that we were married on our forms, because she was looking out for us. "You're middle eastern, you need to be married. You're getting married, right? I'll just say that you are, if you promise me that you will get married."
DBF promised her that we would get married. What a way to propose, eh?
A woman asked me last night if the feeling of surrealness (is that actually a word....?) has worn off yet. I had to think a moment, and told her no. The more I thought, the more I realized that the whole experience of having this child, has been so surreal. Intense, and moving, and wonderful. Calming. I had a postpartum euphoria that lasted for days after giving birth. It still hasn't completely faded. I do get tired, and irritable once in a while when I'm hungry, but all in all, I feel wonderful. How could I not? I get to watch my little child grow and learn every day!
PK is starting to make so much noise! She's squawking all the time now! And she makes these sighs when she smiles-- adorable. She's laughing a lot, too. Well, not a full out laugh; more like a smile, with force behind it.
I talked about Paisley's birth with DBF last night as we were eating dinner. He was telling me about when I went into the shower after I gave birth. He wandered around the house with her in his arms, whispering to her. She was looking at him the whole time, not breaking eye contact, not even blinking. As he told me about this, his chocolatey eyes got teary, and I couldn't help but get watery myself. He said he would never ever forget being alone with her for that thirty minutes.
I begged for him to let me watch her birth video. He had been avoiding it for a long time. It was hard for him, during the labor,to see me working so hard, and not being able to do anything about it. He likes to fix things for me, and when he can't, it's very frustrating for him.
I was thinking that fifty minutes was quite a long time to be pushing. But, after looking at the video, I see that I was only actually pushing for about a fifth of that time. The rest of that was me resting, and talking a little with the others in the room. DBF was awesome, rubbing my hair, and feeding me sips of water. We even kissed a few times, which I don't remember at all. I think it was him giving me reassurance, and reminding me that he was there. I wimpered once, before a push, "I have one coming, but I'm scared I'm not strong enough!"
The whole thing was so fascinating for me to watch. Not only because it helped me to fill in the blanks in my memory. It was just incredible, seeing the power that my body has. Giving birth was so healing for me.
To watch it happen all over again, just really pounds into my head how truly amazing women are.
DBF has this cute nickname for the little pooper. He calls her goozoo. He speaks to her in Farsi all the time, so I had no idea what it meant. I just thought it was a cute nonsense word. But the other day, they were playing together on the floor. She kept on farting! I still am not a grown up yet, obviously, cause I think her little poots are hilarious!
Everytime she would push out a little baby fart, DBF would say. "Gooz!"
(baby fart) "Gooz!!"
(giggles, baby smiles)
(baby fart) "Gooz!"
I say, "Wait, you call her Goozoo, and you're saying, 'gooz'...."
Goozoo means little fart?
"Yeah, you know, little farter. It's cute. Farts are cute."
"You don't think MY farts are cute."
"........Sure I do." (quickly breaking eye contact)
I suppose I can't be mad. I call her Little Pooper, or sometimes for short, The Pooper.
But, really, my farts aren't cute? I'm not pregnant anymore. They can't be so bad, right?
Whew. I had a rough time gettign little PK down tonight. She was so cranky tired, I tried to nurse her to sleep. As soon as she fell asleep and I'd get the boobie out of her mouth, she'd flail her arms and wake up. This happened about three times before I decided to try the "daddy move" aka, walking aroun with her over the shoulder, burping style. No go. I strapped her to me, and paced for an hour. No go. I tried to leave her in her bed, looking at the stars (we have one of those glowing lady bugs) but she was only content for ten minutes or so before she started fussing. Man, she was fighting it. I finally got her down by lying with her and nursing. Three hours after her normal bedtime.
Then I realize that I didn't even eat anything today. Well, hardly anything. Cereal with strawberries, then a blended coffee and chocolate muffin. Ugh! Caffeine. That was probably it. I never drink anything with caffiene in it. It makes me so I'm not hungry for food. And since I'm BFing, I really need to have more calories. And I'm sure that's why The Pooper had such a hard time going down tonight.
If there's any hope for me fitting into my old jeans again, I gotta stay away from the caffiene.
I'm quite lucky, though. For the past month, she has STTN. This past week, she'll even sleep for ten hours in a row! So, she'll go to bed at nine or so, then wake up for an early morning feed. I pull her into bed with us, and she'll sleep another three hours or so with us.
My little girl is getting so vocal. I love it! She's just constantly cooing and squawking, and making faces and laughing noises. Sometimes I'll catch her making noises at something, and I'll say hi to her. She'll look at me and smile so big, and her little limbs will get into it, and she just looks so happy she can barely contain herself! Awwwww......
I never thought I would find someone who sneezes like me, but I did! PK sneezes over and over again, rapid fire! Ha! Ha! She sneezes so much that her little legs kick out, and her hands ball into little fists. So funny!
Yikes! I have four friends coming in from out of town tonight. Our apartment is a mess, and I've gotta get to that, but not before I catch up on preg.org!
And tomorrow, DBF has decied that we should entertain, so....... we have thirteen people coming over. Thirteen people! And we have to feed them! Most of them will be Persian, and he thinks we should serve them Persian food. Me, the American, trying to impress some Iranians with my Persian cooking. Yeah..... I guess we'll have to see how that goes.
And we live in an apartment. It's not too tiny, but, come on, it's not the sprawling mansion that I would love to entertain in. We don't even have thirteen places for people to sit in.
I really hate entertaining. DBF says it's good for me to do things that I'm uncomfortable with. That's so him, to say something like that. I told him that that is the reason why I'm so much of a calmer person than he is. I don't put myself into situations that stress me out. He feels like we NEED to put ourselves where we're uncomfortable, to overcome it.
You can really tell that he was a professional athlete sometimes. Ha! Ha!
So, here we are, spending the weekend, "bettering myself."
My friends were stopping by on a road trip, which ultimately ended up with them coming over at about ten thirty on saturday, and not leaving till pretty late. It was good to see them, even though they barely got to see the pooper.
DBF and I ended up having a really big fight that night. We NEVER fight. It was exhausting, and I think we both felt really bad about it.
And, despite my complaining, I had lot of fun on Sunday. We cooked a ton of food, and we ate all afternoon and evening. DBF's cousins came, and were sooooo cute with the baby.
I loved watching his cousin Sara, especially. There she was, this beautiful foreign woman in a nice dress, rolling on the floor, kissing the baby, and pretending to eat "Paisley Kabob!" She had everyone laughing so hard, as she was loving our baby into big fits of giggles.
Poor girl- every moment I wasn't feeding her, she was gettign smothered with attention. But she was laughing the whole time, and our guests really seemed to be loving it, so I didn't have the heart to take her away for a nap. So, needless to say, as soon as our guests left, we had an overtired baby on our hands.
DBF took lots of pictures, so I'll be sure to post some soon.
This morning we got a call from one of his childhood friends. She grew up across the street from him with her brothers and mother. One of the brothers was killed. So, we went to her house to comfort them.
My goodness, that was mildly awkward for me. I grew up in a very "hide your feelings" family, so to see people I barely know, mourning so openly, made me pretty uncomfortable. I think it's wonderful, though, really, to let people know how you actually feel, instead of pretending you don't fel anything.
But, they don't really speak a lot of English, and I don't speak a lot of Farsi. So, I felt horrible, just sitting with them as they're wailing, and feeling like a voyeur. DBF's friend had to go make arrangements at the funeral home, and needed DBF with her for moral support. So PK and I had to stay behind, and keep the parents of the brother from killing each other.
Poor man, he's walking around the house sobbing, and the woman, is sitting and rocking and staring into space. I am sitting awkwardly, hoping that I could miraculously know what to say, and the language to speak it in. All I can think of is to try to feed her, but she won't eat.
I ended up just sitting with her and the baby quietly on the couch, until help arrived. I think it made her really sad to look at the baby.... Her youngest had just died. She told her that she loved her, and played with her toes.
I really wish I knew what to do in situations like that.
Last night my wonderful DBF gave me flowers. No reason, just cause he loves me. He put on the card: "To the best mother EVER!" His timing was perfect. I was very nuch in need of something to make me feel better. My perfectly even-tempered golden child has been a raging fussbudget for the past few days. I can't figure out why. She's not especially gassy, and I don't think I've been eating anything different. She has gone from her usual sleep ten hours, eat, sleep another three, to 5-5-2, 5-5, or 6-2.
Maybe she's over-tired?? Growth spurt? I really can't say.
It's so hard to try to comfort someone who can't tell you what's wrong. I got frustrated with her for incessantly crying, which, in turn, made me feel totally guilty.
In other news, my hair is starting to fall out. I've been waiting for it. My hair is quite long and thick, and my neck is hurting from carrying all of this around. It comes out in big handfuls in the shower. Poor baby, though, I always find my long hairs wrapped around her little sweaty fingers!
Oh, and I officially cannot wear ANY of my old jeans. I didn't think getting dressed could be any harder than while pregnant, but I was wrong.
The weather is beautiful and HOT here in Southern California. Old Grumps McGee here and I are gonna take a walk now, to see if we can't find some sort of magical "baby calm" tree or something, to help us have a better night than last.