I'm 24 years old, married to Chris, and mother to Nolan and Mallory. I have to cats, Corona and Kokanee.
I live in a suburb of Toronto, Ontario. My mother lives down the street with my twin sister, Jordan, my 22 year old brother, my 20 year old sister and my 15 year old brother. She is a hair dresser who is struggling to make ends meet.
My father lives in the city. He embezzled money years ago and recently served a term in jail. He's got a good job and an apartment now. I rarely see him.
My babies are my life right now, as a SAHM. I believe in homebirthing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, intact penises, delayed vax'ing, unschooling and everything else that goes along with natural/attachment parenting.
I guess I will start with a birth story for each of my children.
Nolan Stewart's Birth Story: Attempted Homebirth, Hospital Transfer
Dec 5, 2003
I started having contractions on Monday December 1. They were about 5 minutes apart the whole day and we were excited that it finally seemed to be “IT”. I was due November 23…so I was READY! The contractions slowed down in the evening so I went to bed and slept until about 8am the next day. As soon as I woke up the contractions started again: five minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds.
I went to the midwife that morning and allowed the first cervical check: I was 4cm and 90% effaced…we expected me to go SOON and quickly. Hahaha. I had contractions all day long…easy ones though. My sister came over to hang out just in case. I took a bubble bath that night and the contractions slowed again so I went to bed.
I woke up Wednesday morning at 5am to some stronger contractions…still coming at 5 minutes apart. My mom came over that day so get things going…we went to the mall. We walked around the mall for about 3 hours…not buying anything…just walking in the warmth of the mall to get the contractions stronger. Then we came home and walked up and down the stairs of my eleven floor apartment building. The contractions got a little bit stronger…coming every five minutes and lasting about 30-45 seconds. Then, around 10pm they slowed down a little bit to allow me to sleep. I slept until about 4am then got up. I hung out with my mom until 10am when we woke Chris (my husband) up. We had plans to go out for lunch…hehehe, they fell through. Around 11am the contractions started getting REALLY strong. I needed to stop and breath through them instead of walking and talking.
I was supposed to go to a non-stress test and biophysical profile that morning but didn’t go because of the contractions (and because of my low-intervention beliefs). My midwife called and stressed that I should have gone but when she heard my voice during a contraction she changed her mind and decided to come over and check me. I would have hated myself for going and having an ultrasound done. I went the entire pregnancy without an ultrasound…I certainly didn’t want one the day before I gave birth!
The midwives arrived around noon. I laboured hard for the next four hours. I needed someone to hang off of during contractions…they were HARD contractions. But, I could get through them. I also made sure that I thanked everyone who volunteered their body for me to hang off of…I knew that it was hard work holding up all 195lbs of me! The best thing was when this one midwife (I had 4 there) pushed on my hips during a contraction!
At around 4:30pm we decided to check me again. I was 5cm and 100%. Not enough progress for my midwife so we decided to break my water. I crawled onto the bed made up for the birth in the spare room and they pulled out the hook used to break water. My mom sat on the bed at my head and they broke it. There was meconium in the very little fluid there. Immediately the midwives left the room to start making plans to move to the hospital. I felt so alone. This moment changed everything that I thought my birth was going to be and the left me alone, dripping amniotic fluid with my pants around my ankles. They didn’t explain the situation…they just left. Finally they came back and told me that we were abandoning a homebirth and moving to hospital. They said it wasn’t an emergency…just a precaution. I was fine then…we knew it was a possibility, especially since this was my first baby.
The car ride was the worst. I made Chris drive SO SLOW!!! Hahaha.
We got to the hospital and into the birthing room. The OB on staff (Dr. Fingers, I named him because he was a huge, black man with enormous fingers!) checked me and I was 7cm now. Too late for drugs. I didn’t want them anyway but it was nice to know they were an option!
They hooked me up to a monitor and started timing contractions. The monitor was really distracting…one of the student midwives would only look at the monitor and wasn’t supporting me, so my mom, a midwife, took me off the monitor and sat me in the bathroom (where the monitor couldn’t go). I laboured on the toilet for a couple of hours. I remember staring at the label on my moms overalls.
Finally, at 10pm on the Thursday I was complete: 10 cm and fully effaced. The baby was in a +2 station. PERFECT! I started pushing in a lying down position on the hospital bed. I PUSHED and PUSHED! I pushed for 3 hours. I changed positions to squatting and side-lying. Side-lying was my favourite. At that point the OB came back into the room (after the 2.5 hour mark the midwives needed an OB consult). Dr. Fingers said, “I’m just going to cut a small episiotomy.”
I YELLED, “NO EPISIOTOMY!!!!!!’.
Hahaha! He let me push for an other 15 minutes but the baby’s heartbeat was dropping. When the baby’s heartrate dropped below 50, Dr. Fingers told me he was going to cut me. He cut one episiotomy and I pushed for another few minutes but nothing happened. So, he cut ANOTHER. I pushed Nolan right out! It was 1:43am on Friday morning then.
There was a neonatal team there waiting for Nolan to be born because they knew that he would have swallowed some of the meconium in the fluid. They needed to make sure he was breathing properly. Dr. Fingers caught Nolan and was ready to hand him over to the team when my mom grabbed Nolan out of Dr. Fingers hands and put him on my tummy so I could see what I worked so hard for! He was beautiful! I don’t even remember his face…just that I got to announce for the first time that it was a boy!
They wisked him away and up to the NICU for suctioning and oxygen. Chris went with Nolan.
It took them 3 hours and more than 40 stitches to fix me up. I had 3rd , almost 4th, degree tears. And I was hemorrhaging. I lost a ton of blood…they were considering a transfusion. They put me on a pitocin drip and gave me a shot of pitocin. They gave me two Tylenol 3’s, a foley catheter and a shot of demoral too. Yay! Drugs! This was worse pain than the labour!
I finally slept. I slept until the next morning. Then, I got to see Nolan around 6pm the next day. He was beautiful and so worth the work and pain.
There isn’t much that I would change about his birth. I had no drugs…that’s what I wanted. He was safe. And we got to attempt a homebirth. But, at the first warning sign we moved to hospital…it went perfectly as planned. I would plan a homebirth again for the next baby…but I would use different midwives.
Nolan was 9lbs 13oz when he was born…no wonder we had trouble getting him out the old-fashioned way! Hehehe….
I have to say though…the labour and delivery wasn’t the hardest part..in fact, it was fun.. The hardest part was not getting to see my baby for almost 24 hours and the 3 hours they took to stitch me up. That was more painful than my labour and delivery.
Ironically enough, I continued to hemorrhage (lost an estimated 1500mL of blood) so they thought that I’d retained a lobe of the placenta (one of the student midwives was checking the placenta but she mangled it so we couldn’t tell if it was all there). So, to determine whether or not there was a piece in there, they gave me an ultrasound. HAHAHA!!! I have my first ultrasound EVER the day after my baby was born. I thought it was funny.
Mallory Anne's Birth Story: My Homebirth
March 5, 2005
On March 8, my EDD, I felt my braxton hicks change. I’d been having them for upwards of two weeks. In the evenings they would come every 5 minutes for HOURS on end and then just stop in time for bed…what a tease! But, on my EDD, they changed…they got slightly more intense but farther apart; 30-45 minutes apart. I dealt with them all day…we went out for lunch and had a nice day.
At 3am on March 9, a contraction woke me up…and then another one 7 minutes later made me stop to think. I got out of bed and puttered around a bit. They came every 5-8 minutes for a couple hours and then slowed down to about 30 minutes between again. Sigh. So, I went on with my day. I packed up Nolan and got on the bus to my mom’s house. We had a nice lunch with her…contrax coming every 15 min or so. We hopped back onto the bus and came home around 3pm.
That’s when I got out my breast pump. With the help of the pump, I got them coming every 4 minutes…and STRONG. I called my sister and had her come over…I called Chris at work to warn him but told him to continue his work. As soon as I stopped the pump, the contrax eased up a bit. They came every 7 minutes or so and weren’t as strong. We watched Dr. Phil at 5. Chris came home and Jordan went back to mom’s house for a bit.
This is where it starts to get a bit hazy…Chris went to the store at some point to get juice, bread, milk and such just in case this was the real thing. I think it was before Jordan went home. The contractions were still bearable at this point but I called the midwife anyway…she was nervous that I’d go fast. She told me to call back when the contractions last longer than 1 minute…they were only about 30 secs at this time.
Around 7pm, I called my mom’s house and told her that I thought we were going to have a baby tonight. She laughed…all the women in our family go ridiculously overdue…even Nolan was 2 weeks past. However, she said that we should walk the mall to get things going. She cancelled her hair appointments for that night and came over with Jordan. They arrived around 7:30…that’s when things picked up. I’d just lost my plug and decided against the mall. I needed to hold onto someone for a contraction…I couldn’t talk through them anymore. They were coming every 2-3 minutes but still only lasting 45 seconds so we didn’t call the midwife back yet…she only lived down the street anyway.
I started to get nervous…this is probably where I entered transition. I NEEDED to have someone by my side, standing, at all times so that I could hold them during a contraction. Jordan lent her tiny body, my mom did too…and so did Chris. It felt great to have people so willing to let me hang my 180lbs frame off them…I knew it wasn’t easy…especially for Jordan who weighs barely 115lbs herself. I got nervous when Chris wandered off to set up my music and commanded mom or Jord to stand with me (even though they were only two feet away on the couch). Hahaha.
We got set to watch American Idol while I laboured…I moved over to the couch and that’s where I popped. It felt like a balloon popped inside me and then warm water ran down my legs. I was THRILLED!!! My water broke on it’s own!!! We headed to the bathroom to get a pad. I sat on the toilet and we checked my pants. My biggest fear had been cleared…the fluid was clear. No meconium. I was so excited that my water broke…I kept talking about it…and then it hit me: the contractions would get more intense now. Oi.
When I got off the toilet, there was some bloody show in there. YAY!
Chris called my midwife, who, in the couple hours since we talked to her, had gone to another birth. So, she sent her back-up: Carolyn. Carolyn arrived around 8:30. She offered to check me but I refused and kept labouring. Jordan’s boyfriend, Greg was sent to the store to get more juice and to pick up my other sister, Alison.
Around 9pm I felt the contractions change…I was getting pushy. I started grunting at the end of each contraction involuntarily. So, we moved to the bedroom. I knelt on the floor beside my bed. We joked that the baby would arrive before Greg got back with the juice…Greg has been known to take his time…but we love him. I started to really feel pushy. I stared at the eye on my fish-shaped hot water bottle during contractions and concentrated on not pushing until I couldn’t help it anymore. Apparently, I would look into the hallway at random times, smile at Chris and tell him that he was going to be okay…this was going to be okay. Hahaha…
At 9:30ish my primary care midwife arrived, Lisa. She brought her birthing stool so I sat on it. My mom held me up from behind and Jordan donned some gloves infront of me to catch the baby. Greg and Alison arrived at this point although I don’t remember it happening. I started pushing involuntarily…I just couldn’t help it. I pushed when I wanted to and everyone cheered me on…no directions…just cheering. All of a sudden I felt a *POP*! The head had come down and was out now! I asked, “Is it out??? Is it out???”(meaning the head) and my midwife misunderstood, thought I meant the baby, and said, “No, not yet.” I was disappointed but doubled my efforts. She barely managed to slip the cord from around the baby’s head when I pushed out the rest of her body. It was too quick for even Jordan to catch her. I pushed for 2 contractions…5 minutes in total.
The baby was put onto my chest and I climbed onto my bed. I lay there with this child on my chest and she started crying. I’d never heard Nolan cry before he was taken to the NICU…this was incredible. They didn’t suction her…she didn’t need it. I just held onto her for 5 minutes before Jordan said, “Well, WHAT IS IT???” So we checked…A GIRL! Born at 9:39pm.
Nolan came in to visit me with my mom…he’d woken up. Then he went right back to bed. They assessed my perineum…2nd degree tears along my previous midline episiotomy (didn’t tear along the mediolateral though) through to my rectum…but didn’t damage the sphincter muscle so no hospital transfer was necessary. And, I tore up along my labia. We had to wait for the placenta before stitching though…it seemed to take forever. I was bleeding too much so we decided against a physiological third stage. I cut the cord that held my daughter and I together…what a crazy thing. I nursed Mallory. 45 minutes later, and another trip to the birthing stool, and the placenta came out. They started the stitching.
Once I was stitched up, my sisters helped me to the bathroom where I showered. Jordan dried off my bottom. Hahaha! She thinks that’s funny. I put on the nursing nightie that my mom bought me. I climbed into bed with my little girl and we all hung out. Jordan brought me juice and muffins. Chris and Alison took pictures. Mom sat with us. It was great.
Just after midnight they did her assessments. 9lbs 4oz. 21” long. 14.5” head circ. 9&9 on her apgars. Good respiratory noises, good heartrate. She was perfect!
We took a tour of the placenta…I sent it home with mom to store in her big freezer.
I finally went to bed around 2am. Sigh…much needed sleep!
I think that covers everything. It was the best experience…I haven’t stopped smiling since. Everyone was perfect…respectful of my wishes: no vag exams, no directed pushing, no suctioning baby. It was fantastic.
So, at 4am, we're going to start giving Mallory a bottle of whole milk.
She's taken to SCREAMING her head off when I don't let-down as quickly as I should. Our bodies work in hormonal loops...at the beginning of the day you are able to produce more milk and let-down is quicker. As the day goes on and your hormones shift, less milk is produced and let-down tends to be slower. So, at 4am, I'm at the very end of my hormone cycle and let-down can take up to 15 minutes for me. ARG!!! By that time, Mallory is shrieking at me and walking up EVERYONE!
I've e-mailed Dr. Jack Newman and he advises to take certain galactagogues to increase milk supply. I'm gonna start with Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek (again...I took it for a while when she was sleeping through the night too long). Apparently, they should increase the flow of milk and increase let-down time.
But, until it starts working, we can't be waking Nolan and the neighbours (she has!!! she is *that* loud!). She'll take the ugly brown nipple by Gerber (same as her brother LOL). So, Chris is gonna give her a bottle of milk at 4am instead of nursing her. It will be somewhat instant gratification instead of waiting 15-20 minutes for let-down but we're gonna use a slow-flow nipple so it's not too easy for her. I'm gonna pump at the same time. Apparently, these herbs should start working within a week to increase supply and let-down. We'll see....
At any rate, I'm glad to have help. She still gets up 3 times a night from the time I put her down so it will be nice to have a break. And it will be nice to have her take a bottle. We have a few parties and a play to go to over the holidays and I don't want to worry about her not eating.
Although, there is a part of me that is worried. When Nolan took a bottle it was the end of getting him latched and that was very hard for me. But, I tell myself that we're adding one bottle for a girl who still nurses 6-10 times a day. She should do fine.
Things are getting SOOO MUCH EASIER with our little Diva. I'm taking Blessed Thistle, Fenugreek and drinking Alfalfa-mint tea. Nolan *loves* the tea and I give it to him freely...no caffienne, just alfalfa and mint. If anything, it's good for him.
I'm making myself sick with the smell of my sweat though. To answer Valuable's question: I reak of maple syrup. Fenugreek emits a sickly sweet, mapley smell and I reak. Chris, being the French Canadian that he is, LOVES me smelling like maple syrup. Gross. I'm taking wet wipes to my underarms 3 times a day and reapplying fresh deoderant to mask the smell. LOL!
However, it's significantly helped with my let-down. She's getting loads better and I'm grateful. I've been trying to nurse her in one spot all the time...the same spot on the couch so that I can associate let-downs with that spot. I feel comfortable on the couch, infront on the TV, so I make a point to go there everytime she eats. We're rarely out of the house for a feed...we were on Sunday at the Inlaws and it wasn't a problem.
But, the other day Chris and the guys were watching a scary movie upstairs. SOmething they RARELY do because I don't like scary movies and make them watch downstairs. I arrived home around the same time that they put the movie on and they didnt' feel like moving. Fine. But, when the girl got up she wanted to nurse and I have to sit in the livingroom. I wasn't comfortable with the movie being as creepy as it was and the discomfort showed in my delayed let-down. She yelled. Chris got grumpy because the yelling baby prevented them from watching their movie. I finally let-down and she quiets to nurse.
I took a strip off him later. MY comfort comes first. I'm trying to work through these issues of comfort and trying to establish a routine for my body to relate to...he and his friends with their scary movies come in a far second. Next time, he told me, he will turn the movie off and put something nice on until she's done nursing. He agreed that I'm working harder than he ever would to continue nursing and dealing with the shreiking. He agreed that it's the best thing for her and for me...and he'll be more supportive of it. Good for him.
A friend of mine recently got her 1 year old ears peirced. They are so adorable!!! Baby girls look so pretty with peirced ears.
It kinda makes me sad, in a way. I would love to have Mallory's ears done but I could never do it. I feel like it's such a violation of her personal space and her right to choose what alterations she will make with her body. I wouldn't get her tattooed...so I won't get her ears peirced either. People say it's different, but I don't think so.
My ears have all sealed over and I can no longer wear earrings...but you can still see the holes in my ears from when they were peirced...and you can still feel the lumps of skin inside the holes that developed as scar tissue before the sealed for good. If Mal doesn't want to have peirced ears ever (and I know a few girls who have never) then she should have a right to her perfect, little, hole-free earlobes just as cute and fuzzy as they are without me interferring and forcing my preferences on her.
Chris and I went to a Christmas party last night for his work. It was GREAT!!! It was at a beautiful, ritzy restaurant downtown called Brassaii. The food was fantastic...shrimp ( and I don't normally like shrimp), mushroom and olive bruschetta, filo wrapped pear and gorgonzola, salad, choice of veggie steak or salmon...open bar...
They had a live jazz band and I was watching the pianist play...he was a young guy, probably about 27-30 years old. He must have taken my watching him the wrong way cause he came up and introduced himself to me...offered to get me another drink. LOL!
Chris and I had such a great time...he looked great in his tie and jacket. I wore a long, silvery skirt with a black lacey top that showed lots of classy cleavage. We danced, drank, ate, schmoozed. It was a lot of fun.
And, the company picked up the tab for our cabride home: $80. YAY!
Caring for the kids during the day and working at night is wearing me thin, I think. I had bloodwork done last week that shows my thyroid is correcting itself but that my iron is low...that explains some of the tiredness.
I have to admit though, I'm going to miss this overactive thyroid. LOL! I've dropped weight and feel great...but the biggest bonus is that I can eat anything I want! I have a burger after work a few times a week and don't gain a thing! Infact, if I didn't, I'd probably lose more. Hahaha.
I don't know what I want to be for Halloween. I've got a work party to dress up for...I'll have to mull it over.
Teddy was robbed on Saturday night and I've been paranoid since. I have been walking home after my shifts at work when it's dark...not after 9pm but it gets dark around 7pm these days. I figured that if I stuck to the main roads that I'd be safe...but my 6'4" brother wasn't safe on a main road at 8pm.
So, the managers must like me because they've told the kitchen manager that he's to drive me home when I'm finished my shifts...he has special permission to leave the line, drive me home, and then come back to work. Woohoo!
My babysitters are wonderful...I'm so grateful to them. They make our life possible. With me *having* to go back to work there's no way that I could arrange for childcare for the 2 of my children without paying an arm and a leg. This way, I can work evenings, they sit for an hour until DH gets home and then I only have to pay $5 or $10 for my sitter.
Last night, the sitter fed them, bathed them, and put them to bed...leaving me with a tidy house after my shift. How nice is it to come home to a tidy house?? It's worth millions, IMO.
I'm exhausted right now. It's almost 9am...I got to bed around 1am last night after closing the restaurant but stayed up until 2am coughing into my pillow. UG!
But, I made good tips last night...people were friendly and easy-going. One of our regulars bought me a beer...so I drank that with him at the end of my shift. Nothing like a cold beer after a long shift.
When I got home DH told me about his evening...full of milestones everywhere! Nolan went to bed for the 2nd time without his soother. He's only had it in bed lately but lives for bedtimes because he knows he gets it. But, 2 nights in a row without it...we might have to throw them out in a day or two.
And, Mallory. Oh, that sweet girl! She went peepee on the potty tonight! She dragged DH upstairs and told him "Potty!" in her sweet, demanding way. So, for the first time, he put her on the potty. DH said that she must have thought he was going to let her fall in (even though we have an insert seat) but quickly got used to it before she peepeed!! Then, he put her diaper back on and she said, "bedtime, night-night". LOL! So, he put her to bed about a 1/2 hour early (6:30) and out she went. She's still asleep at 9am but I'm not surprised as she's got my cold and a double ear infection toboot.
I have to work today. I start in an hour and work until 5pm or so. *sigh* I enjoy work but I'm sorta stuck in the middle. All the young girls are under 22, still in university, partying, ect. All the women older than me are older than 40. Then there's 25 year old me...nothing in common with the young party girls who have no responsibility and not much in common with the older married-with-teenagers women.