It’s hard to believe, but my baby will be 8 months old soon. That isn’t far from a whole year… Which is incredible. I am certainly going to cry from joy and sadness at his first birthday, I’m just a sappy momma and I know it. I feel like things are moving too fast, and that it’s all gone by in the blink of an eye! He is a really inquisitive little man, and as we go about our days I see more and more of his personality, his likes and dislikes, and we are surprised lately by his toughness. He hardly cries sometimes when we expect him to let out a huge wail–and mishaps are happening more often now that he’s all over the place, mobile and exploratory. Crazy. Here are some photos from our life that I finally had a chance to edit–I caught our dogs chillaxing together too, they are so sweet together. Shadow & Lady make a wonderful pair… I think they’re somewhat inseparable, as much as Shadow likes to play the tough dog. They’re one of the best things that has happened to each other–him helping to rehabilitate her from her previous life (who knows, she was a rescue) and her bringing a more gentle, really playful side out of him. They look like an old married couple in these pics.
All my love,
I love to post photo memories. They capture the emotions, moments, and thoughts so much better than my words–and better yet, they grab hold of a second in my baby’s life and keep it for me for all time. Lately we’ve been doing so much growing, but not so much physically as mentally, emotionally, those little nuances. Things he’s picking up on that we’re always surprised with. August’s got himself crawling, albeit somewhat awkwardly but still pretty effectively. Today he also sat up for the first time spontaneously and without help! What a miracle development is. Truly–one second I’m like, “This will take forever for him to learn! I can’t imagine it happening..” the next my jaw is on the floor & he’s mastered a new skill already. It’s just incredible. From me to you, some of the many faces my little one’s picked up on the way–and I have to say, I’m super proud of my little handsome sweetheart. Within these photos are his surprise, curiosity, concentration, sweetness, playfulness and the list goes on. And really…How kissable are those cheeks!!?
All my love,
I’ve been away, but now I’m back! Time is but a breeze that blows past me these days. Did I really just do another Friday Photo Shoot with my baby?! It feels like I just wrapped one up yesterday– these weeks just go in the blink of an eye! Since he was very small, I’ve tried to make it a habit to do these mini sessions with him, to capture his minute changes, or his huge changes, as they come. It’s been great to have that reminder in my brain, “Oh, it’s Friday! Time for photos with my baby!” And oh, do I ever love taking photos of him. He’s so photogenic, and he seems to know that the camera is there to capture little pieces of his life. Love it. Here he is, my handsome little charmer at 15 weeks!
Here’s my baby boy at 7 weeks old… The week he really began to smile.
Then 8 weeks… on his fun jungle playmat
And I took this set today at his fun little 13 week shoot:
Don’t you just want to kiss those little feet!? I do! What has changed about my little boy in these weeks? Everything. From the cute little personality that’s coming out, to the soft brown hair that is sprouting at the top of his head… everything is changing so fast. We’re trying to document all of those sweet milestones and keep track of when he does things and how. I journal on an inconsistent basis, making sure to jot a quick note about when big things occurred and write them out in all of their glory later. This is a truly amazing time, yet it is also a trying time. Teething has begun and that’s no fun. Other than when a cute little pearly tooth pops out, it seems to be the pits for all of us until he can be soothed into a peaceful sleep. We’re hoping he won’t be teething for months before one actually comes in–who knew those little teeth could take so long?
In other news, something I’m learning is that you can count on life to be inconsistent–there are so many ups and downs as a new mom! When you think you’ve got one thing figured out, another complex problem takes its place and makes you rethink it all. When you and your husband seem to find a nice pace of living, when there is some pattern emerging from the chaos all around, you find yourself walking yet again in a maze of craziness. Such is life, eh? Oh well. Some days it really does get to be a lot, and I am pulling out my hair in agony… wondering how I will make it. Then others we just smile at the insanity and make the most of it. Laughing as we go–not being too hurried as we go about our tasks, and enjoying it.
These past few days, all I’ve been saying is, “Thanks, God, for a new day tomorrow…. and.. where did that Infant Tylenol go!?”
Remember these shots? Thirty Three, Thirty Five, and then Thirty Eight weeks pregnant. With baby A. Not nearly as large as I would be at 41 weeks… I was huge. Not yet baby August, as the world would know him, but a secret name only we and a few family members knew. That was one of the fun things about pregnancy–keeping our name a secret! We loved it. For us it did a few things: People would keep asking, but it was our own choice and our own timing. It allowed us the freedom to keep a secret to ourselves. It also allowed us to not worry what people thought about the name beforehand, because they did not have a say in it. We had chosen it, and they could gracefully enjoy it once he was born. : )
I think making decisions like keeping the name a secret during pregnancy are important because the experiences is yours, not anyone elses. Of course, those who choose to tell the name are also in their own right to do so. But pregnancy is a time of decision, a time of commitment, and a time of intense preparation that many do not understand or grasp. Especially in the last twenty or so years, I think our culture has really skyrocketed the notion of having “your birth experience,” and becoming educated. Most notably, I think this decade is a time when women are questioning medicine’s complete and unwavering authority, because more and more people are beginning to see the birth process holistically, and not treating it as a medical condition.
However–My birth experience was not what I had envisioned –not “holistic” or “natural.” It began very medically, with the use of Cervadil, a drug that I didn’t think would be necessary. At nearly 42 weeks pregnant, my body was showing close to none of the common expected signs of impending labor. My water did not break. My mucus plug did not come out (that I could tell), and I did not have strong or steady contractions at any time, even when we arrived at the birth center to begin induction. My birth began with my own decision that it was time, because I felt a few contractions that were strong, and honestly I didn’t know how safe it was to keep my little guy inside. I had been advised by numerous people, and I didn’t want to jeopardize the life of my baby. So, in a state of heightened stress and awareness, we set off for the birth center.
Things did not begin well. A nurse who I had previously not at all enjoyed was actually there during the beginning of my induction. She was forceful, rude, and her personality just didn’t mesh with me. She wouldn’t have liked to be treated the way she was treating me. And to be truthful, I think that the staff you are surrounded by will greatly affect your experience, so I did NOT want to deal with her seeing my girly parts and being the person I called on for help.
When she asked if she could check to see if I was dilated, I told her no–I would please like a different nurse to be taking care of me. Funny, I know there weren’t many people on staff that evening, and I know it was probably a pain in the butt for them to have to call my midwife (who was on call), but I do have rights as a patient. I feel the birth center staff was almost shocked at my request to receive care from another individual. Receiving care from someone I neither trusted or liked was not on my list of to-do’s during my son’s birth. I tried to be peaceful, but it was really hard. So anyhow, after that initial, stressful runaround, my midwife came in, administered the Cervadil, and so, we waited.
It stayed in for 8 hours. This was the fun, waiting, nothing’s happening, semi-boring, not actually fun time. Which then continued for even longer. My cervix was not responding very much to the drug. To add to the stress of things not going nearly as we had hoped (no drug-free birth for me, but perhaps I could still have a waterbirth?!) my midwife was gone now, because her daughter’s graduation was going on, and another midwife who I did not know nearly as well would be with me. She turned out to be wonderful–in the midst of everything going haywire, God provided a person who coached me and helped advise me, and did not pressure me into anything. Which was what I really needed. An advisor, not a pressure-pusher. So she advised bouncing on the birth ball, walking, etc. Troy & I went out, on a very very hot day in May, and walked around. My contractions were increasing, things were going better. I had to take breaks and really steady my concentration, and bring myself inward. That was a good sign. I think it made it easier to bear these contractions, knowing that I needed them to happen, and knowing they were bringing me closer to my baby.
So we walked and walked, in the blistering sun, and then went inside. I was placed on the monitor intermittently, to make sure baby was okay–but those things are so touchy anyhow. They kept picking up an irregular heartbeat but it was just because I had moved around a little bit. We walked more. We walked so much around that hospital–seeing people looking at us and smiling, knowing what we were doing. Some of them offered an encouraging, “You can do it!” Which was nice. So hours and hours of waiting, and trying, and then getting checked for dilation, and no progress really being made. All of the details of my birth aren’t completely clear to me, even now, because of all the stress involved. But I do know that it was a very long time. We went up and down and finally, I started to dilate more and contractions began to come on more. How exciting!!! Feeling like we were actually going to meet this baby, that he was real and was soon going to enter our lives in a very real way, was what pushed us forward. The nurse started to get the room ready for my waterbirth, since I hadn’t had an epidural and would still be allowed to do waterbirth. So I got into my waterbirth gear:
The nurse said that maybe I could take a warm shower while she was prepping, to help me relax. Unfortunately, that stopped my dilation and contractions, I guess because I was not in real active labor, and before that begins a lot of things can cause contractions to lag. SO… I never really got the contractions to begin again, and my waterbirth plans fell apart. No waterbirth for this girl.
Frustration. Disappointment. Disillusionment. These were all things that I felt during my birth experience. Wondering where my God was when I needed him. What was he doing, anyhow? All of my doubts combined when I finally had to make the decision to begin pitocin. I was so thankful, at this birth center, they never pushed me into those things, but told me that they thought it might be time to try something new because I was making no progress. I had been in labor for such a long time that my body was exhausted already, and I hadn’t done the hard, exhilirating part–the push. Troy & I made the tough decision to start pitocin, and I went through five hours of painful torture. No lies, pit sucks. If you’ve ever experienced it, as one of my friends said, you would “describe the worst pain in the world,” most likely. I did that for the five hours, held my ground and stood tough. But it was so, so hard. And then…
I’ll have to fill you in on more in Birth Story, Part Two.