Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Walden's Birth Story


Woke up in the morning pretty sure Jen's water broke. Now you never REALLY know with Jen. I guess once you have a first kid all bets are off when playing the "What Fluid Is In My Underwear?" game. Good thing one of our midwives lives across the courtyard. She popped over to verify the substance in the underwear was amniotic fluid. We were having a baby that day one way or another.

First things first. Jen hops on her computer and starts the series of events she had been planning for this occasion. All she really has to do is send 25 emails to various people saying "Execute protocol 1.4" and everything runs smoothy after that. I, on the other hand, sent an email that more or less contained "Hey Boss, I forgot to tell you that we're having a baby over here. Cover for me for a while. Those projects on my desk will have to wait."

One of our absolutely best friends, Meredith, had been invited to be present at the birth. Only problem, she lives in Oregon. So we roll the dice and select a 10 day span she should fly in for with the hopes that she can catch the birth of a baby. It was a long shot and the midwives were worried it would create pressure on Jen to go into labor which could consequently slow down or stop labor. Meredith flew in on Friday night. Baby born Saturday morning.

So Meredith takes Rigley out to the store and The Farm next door to play while Mommy and Daddy get busy birthing a sibling. Well, mostly Mommy, although Daddy did hold a towel and tracked contractions. Yeah, that's right. AND I almost broke a sweat.

Labor starts in earnest around 8:15am. Noticeable contractions, but we decide to take a walk down to the river anyway. If this were to follow Rigley's birth, we should be having a baby at 6pm. Second kid may come faster so we ballpark a birth time at around 3 or 4pm. Plenty of time. If any of you happened to be strolling through Lee Martinez Park that morning and saw a woman hunched over, don't worry. It was just a woman in labor having a contraction every 100 feet.

Once we got back to the house, Jen started to dial it in. Shades pulled, no more talking, hunched over some pillows in the downstairs bathroom. For Rigley's birth, I tracked contraction frequency and duration on a post-it note. Now there is an app for that. (Highly recommend Contraction Tracker for all of your contraction tracking needs.)

Our neighborhood midwife comes over just to watch and listen around 10:15am and immediately texts the other midwife to get over here ASAP. At this point it kicks into high gear. I'm texting our birthing support team to get over to our house quick, and calling Meredith who was checking out the new baby pigs at The Farm with Rigley to get back home. We really wanted Rigley to be present for the birth and be one of the very first people to hold the new baby.

Midwife #2 shows up at 10:35 and pushing starts in full force. Jen is still wedged in the bathroom downstairs so to catch this baby I hop into the bathtub and wait.

10:57am baby comes out. Jen was an unbelievable champ! Meredith and Rigley arrived to hear Jen's last cry and the baby's first. They hustled downstairs to see mommy and daddy crying and holding a new baby boy.

The whole thing was intense. Because it was so fast there was no room to get into a groove. Every contraction was slightly stronger than the last. There were no plateaus just a steady increase in intensity. You really have to hand it to Jen who champed it out from top to bottom. A totally different experience for her first labor, but nowhere near beyond her abilities.

Welcome Walden! May your stay on this planet and with this family be full of joy, love, and laughter.

Child #2!!

Most people we know didn't really find out we had another kiddo on the way until Dec/Jan so this birth might seem a little quick. We kept the pregnancy to ourselves for a few reasons: we had a bunch of friends who all had babies when we first found out and we didn't want to be like "Hey congrats on having your first baby, we have two." We also wanted to tell a few key people face to face and that meant waiting until the holidays. Plus, we really felt that we didn't need the same kind of support during this pregnancy since we had done it once already.

Anyway, we are really excited to have another family member!

Stay tuned for some more updates. (Being on leave from work is going to help with blog frequency.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I hate books about parenting. The whole point is to increase anxiety and guilt about what a bad parent you are and then they try to sell you something. I already know what kind of parent I am and some child psychologist with mountains of knowledge and whimsical writing style just ain't gonna help. I started reading a fatherhood book when Jen first got pregnant. I lasted 3 chapters and haven't read a damn thing since. Not because I'm arrogant and think I'm the perfect dad, but mostly because it didn't make any sense. But... ummm... lately... I've been thinking. *whisper* Maybe we should get a book or two.

Our kid is a bully.

(Yes, she is two. I know that. I also know that "All kids go through that phase." But, if that's true, how come every other kid on the playground is not currently beating every other kid that looks at something that she may want to play on now or in the sometime distant future, huh?)

It's true.

Example #1: Recently we spent a weekend with a 2 and a half year old named Elsa. We have since renamed Elsa to just "Punching Bag." It really fits her. She has the bruises and scrapes (courtesy of yours truly's progeny) to prove it.

Example #2: After spending a week and a half away from daycare because of some vacation time for us and the saint who coordinates the "Toddler Circus," we started talking to Rigley about how she was going back to daycare the next day. Seriously. The VERY next thing that came out of her mouth was "Hit Wesley (a daycare buddy with the bruises and scrapes to prove it)." No joke. In her primitive, little, toddler brain, she associates daycare with beating little kids. She was getting tired of beating up her old ma and pa and really couldn't wait to get back to slapping, swatting, and pounding her old buddies at daycare.

Ok, so you're thinking that there must be violence in our house, right? Not so. In my head I confess that I have thought about giving sweet Rigley a little "love tap" when she scowls at me and throws her plate of spaghetti at the wall for the third time that night. It does cross my mind, but as of yet, no physical outbursts on my part.

Maybe its all that TV she's watching. Hmmm... Well, we can rule that one out so far since we don't have TV. Actually I would love to get her hooked on Dangerous Housewives or Jersey Shore. Right now Rigley can pay attention to one thing for almost 9 seconds before bolting to somethings else. I figure if she can get nice and addicted to TV she can learn to pay attention to something for 8 minute increments between commercials. *sigh* We can always dream.

It's not like we are the permissive parents either. Heck, she smacks us in the face DAILY and we are all over the timeouts. Boom! Time out. Whack! Timeout. Blammo! Timeout. We're talking through each instance after every time out. We're talking about alternatives to hitting and how to use words to express strong emotions. Believe me, Super Nanny, we are working our tails off! To no avail. If it were up to Rigs her birthday presents would be a pair of brass knuckles and a billy club so she could roam the neighborhood riding any bike she wanted and no one would EVER touch her stuff.

These days we are tip toeing around the house just trying not to piss off Hulk. Anything could set her off.

"Oh! You wanted the blue binky? Not the red one? Here's two of them! Please! Please don't punish me!!"

"No more peas? Oh. Okay. Does anything sound good to eat? We have 75 different things on the menu tonight. Do any of them look good to eat? What? Umm... No we're out of yogurt. No! Please! I'm sorry!! No more beatings! I'll go to the store right now!!"

We're seriously considering picking up those parenting books now. It might be too early to take her down to the boxing gym.

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.