Archive for babies

Two Years Ago Tonight: The Birth of Baby B

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , on July 26, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Two years ago, in my one hundred year old house with no air conditioning, I was waddling around nine months pregnant and thankful that the summer’s humid heatwave had broken a bit and we could use the whole-house fan to draw in the cooler air. It was still damp, but not hot.

I had just gotten my little guy Ethan down to sleep, nursing him and holding him and wondering how much longer he would be my only son, how much longer before this new person would enter our lives. While nursing him, I’d felt the twinges of Braxton-Hicks contractions that were the norm now, but I had gotten past hope that it was labor starting. I just assumed it was more practice.

I lay down next to my sleeping husband sometime after eleven, around the same time it is right now as I write this. I tried settling in on first one aching hip, then the other, and felt something not like a contraction, but more like an ache in my cervix. It was odd, different than what I’d experienced with my prior two labors.

Unable to get comfortable, I got up and walked around. I just wandered from room to room, restless, not sure if this was the beginning of something or just the groanings of a woman tired of carrying around extra people all the time. I took a bath and tried to be quiet.

My husband had to leave for work at 1:30 a.m. and I didn’t want to wake him unnecessarily, but after a while I realized this was probably labor starting. When he finally awoke, I told him I thought this was it, but to go ahead to work, since my last labor had been so long and slow.  Though I was torn about it, I watched him leave, thinking I would be calling him in a few hours.

I got back into the bath and decided I should call my midwife just to tell her things were happening. My contractions were difficult but not overwhelming, and they were growing rapidly closer together, but because of our last seventeen hour experience together, she told me I should see how things go for an hour and then call her back. This was around 1:45 a.m.

I called her back at 2:00, beginning to panic a little bit and feeling like things were happening so fast.  There was a moment in which I felt my fear rising at being alone with this difficult task, and I remember telling myself that I could do it by myself. That this would prove I was strong. I called my husband to turn around and come home.

I don’t even know who got there first, but I was so relieved to see my “team” I think I plunged right into transition. I don’t remember much of the beginning. My husband filled the birth tub, and I got in as soon as I could because I was using all my energy to cope with the powerful contractions.

Not long after Leslie (the midwife), Mary Frances (her assistant), and my husband got settled around me, I was in the tub and feeling very much like pushing. I remember saying, “I feel like pushing and it’s too soon! Why do I feel like pushing?”

Mary Frances asked if it would make me feel better if she checked me, and I said, “Yes!” with what I’m sure sounded like huge relief and hope.

When she said I was complete, I got really excited about how fast it had been. Really only an hour and a half or so, which for me was amazing! But the hard work was only beginning.

I have big babies. Not like, super huge or anything, but when you consider my size, they are big. Ethan weighed eight pounds, eight ounces, and I pushed for five hours with him. That’s nearly unheard of, and it’s likely that if I’d been in a hospital, I would have been bullied into a C-section.

So I was geared up for the pushing this time, but also afraid. Afraid of getting stuck, afraid of having to last for hours.  I was determined to be effective and strong.

And boy did I try, but this nine pound, six ounce baby took a lot of work to get into the world. Leslie had to ask me to change positions a few times to help bring him down, and finally, squatting and gripping the edge of the birth tub, I was able to do it. It took everything I had to give.  Every time a contraction came I looked desperately for Randal and held his hand. Mary Frances kept cool cloths on me, and I just worked. I worked hard. And finally, when Leslie told me to reach down and catch him, I couldn’t even let go of the edge to do it!

But then he was here, and I was holding him, and he was mine. And he was beautiful, and still is.

And Beckett, sweet pea, I wanted to write your story first because I fear I’ve given you too little of everything so far. I fear you’ll remember in some part of your heart that the worst year of my life was supposed to be the best and easiest of yours.

I want to tell you that when I held you tonight and watched you fall asleep, my heart ached with all the mistakes I’ve made. Tonight, I’m making you cupcakes and telling your story. Tomorrow, you will open presents and blow out candles.

And for the rest of our lives, I will love you the best I can, and hope that it’s enough.


Becket, a few minutes old.


Fiber Friday: End of An Era

Posted in Cloth Diapering, Fiber Friday, Motherhood with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I have been purging lately.  Not the good kind, wherein you lose a lot of weight but still get to enjoy the foods you love.  The other, messier kind.  The house purge.

We have so much stuff, and I have been so crazy (no, really – like bats in the belfry, toys in the attic, though in our house it’s rats in the attic and toys all over the damn place), that there is nothing but chaos all around us.

I might have mentioned my little pet OCD project.  I stumbled into it quite by accident, but we love each other and I think it’s for keeps.  Coupled with my ADD it’s like a torrid romance, without the sex, though sex is in the running for the next object of my affection.  I jump from obssession to obssession, and before I know it I have enough supplies to keep an army in yarn, fabric, paper crafting, recycled sweaters, rock climbing gear or cigarrettes for at least a decade.  

My major hesitation is the baby stuff.  I’m parting with the clothes in a fairly light-hearted manner, with only a few tears and gut-wrenching sob sessions,  and a mere two huge boxes of  “must keep” items.  Because, you know, they’ll never make such adorable clothing for babies again and I might someday have grandchildren.

No, the real problem is cloth diapers.

As I said in an earlier post, I love them.  I covet, crave, and fondle them.  I have truckloads of fabric out of which I sew them.  My last five years has been spent accumulating, experimenting and creating.  Most of my knitting has been longies and shorties for – you guessed it – diaper covers.

As I pack away the rarely-used items and try to figure out what to do with all the raw material, I find myself wondering who I will be when we move out of this stage.  Since no more babies are in the works (do you HEAR ME UTERUS??) what will I do with the fabric?  Will I continue to make and sell on Etsy for other people’s babies?  Or is it really time to find some other obssession?

I am so sad to be done.  So sad that some day my baby boys will not kiss me squishily on the mouth.  Sad that the snuggles in bed in the morning will pass away.  Sad that there will be no more toothless smiles in my future, except perhaps my own.  I want to want to be done – but I will always ache just a little in my heart that who I am, what I do, is constantly being redefined.  Soon, I will no longer be the mother of toddlers.  In no time at all, I will be the mother of men and a woman.

For whatever reason, this cloth diapering thing has been the symbol of this season of my life.  As I fold them and decide where they should go, I think of all the work, all the washing and care that goes into parenting.  The drudgery, the cuteness,  the raw need a baby has for his mother.

Part of me feel ready for whatever is ahead, ready to let the babies grow up and not need me quite so much, or at least not in the same ways.

And part of me wants to always have a baby to love and to love me right back, in that simple, sweet way babies have.

P.S.  Wanna buy some diaper fabric?


Posted in People Are Idiots with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Ugh.  I finally found a suitable replacement for MySpace, where some *cough* obsessional *cough* issues with jealousy were seriously cramping my style, and then I hear Facebook keeps deleting photos of breastfeeding women with their babies.


Oh yeah, I forgot.  Breasts are the puritanical equivalent of the way HAIR is in some cultures, which I will not name in the interest of judiciousness.  And y’all know I’m nothing if not sensitive and careful with my speech.

Anyway, since men are apparently unable to control themselves in the presence of HAIR or NIPPLES, we must suffer the consequences of posting such photos.  Of course, maybe universal health care will cover Brazilians, and, I don’t know – nipple melanin removal?

As soon as I have a solution to this problem, I will be sure to let you know.

But I will say this:

If you don’t like to see women breastfeeding their babies?  STOP LOOKING!

And for your viewing pleasure, this guy has a healthy attitude about nipples (how refreshing).

Things I Would Never Do

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2008 by Ms. Ex

I am constantly amazed at the things I swear I would never do…that I now do.  Thankfully, those things do not include breastfeeding an eight year old, like this woman.  Be warned – this one can cause some uneasy feelings, no matter how vigorous a breastfeeding defender you are.

That said, I can almost, almost understand.  And in case you missed it, I said almost.  The problem is one of perspective. You have this little baby, and he grows, but he is still your baby, right? He is still your littlest one, your wee munchkin. So it is hard to see it for what it is, until, as my friend said, he comes in from playing outside and lays across your lap with big dirty sneakers on, or the next babe comes along. Then suddenly, that two or three year old’s head is huge – definitively huge, and it suddenly seems as if it might be time for something different.

Yes, it’s a sad moment, but whew! Thank goodness for perspective, right? Otherwise, some women might breastfeed until their kid is like, eight. Or something disturbing like that. I know I might catch some flack here.  I am about as pro-bf’ing as any LLL-ing, homebirthing, attachment parenting mama. But there are limits.

I’m just realizing that those limits can sometimes be a forest obscured by trees.