Friday, October 22, 2010

Dashel's Story

I didn't know I was pregnant, I just knew that I wanted to be pregnant and I was really crabby. Oliver and I were grabbing a few things from the store before our best friends came over for dinner. We walked by the pharmacy area and I grabbed a pregnancy test. I really didn't know why I put it into my cart and at the check out I almost put it aside several times (because they are freaking overpriced!). But I didn't. I bought it and brought it home. I didn't tell Cody I was going to take one because well I thought it was going to be negative and I didn't want it to be a big deal.

3 minutes didn't need to pass, more like 30 seconds. Two bright pink positive lines. I was in shock. I just started crying and my smile was gigantic. I ran out of the bathroom and showed it to Cody and we started to laugh and be in shock together. Our friends were due to arrive in 10 minutes! Of course they were the first to know because we couldn't contain the news.
From the beginning I prayed very specifically for what I wanted this birth experience to be. I had a checklist that seemed pretty simple but for me it was all the things I wanted for my first birth that I didn't get. 
1. On time- I really didn't want to go overdue, but does anyone? I also didn't want to go more than 1 week early because there was a business trip my husband would've had to go on and I really didn't want him out of town after our newborn had just arrived.
2. Fast labor - I was praying for 12-24 hours. And I know for a lot of people that sounds long but compared to my 84 hour labor experience with Oliver 1 measly day of hard work sounded like pie.
3. Minimal to no tearing - I suffered a 3rd degree tear with Oliver and recovery was difficult. I just didn't think I could manage a newborn and a toddler on 2 weeks of bedrest.
4. I REALLY didn't want to push for more than 1 hour 
5. I wanted a peaceful chilled out environment. I wanted to go into labor during the evening and let Oliver sleep like normal and either have the baby during the night or in the early morning. I didn't want to send my son away and have him be gone and off his routine only to come back home sleepy and confused.
All of this sounded like A LOT to ask - but I knew my God, and I knew His heart for me. So I asked and asked and asked... "Lord! Show me redemption. Let my heart hope for the things that I am afraid I will not get."

My pregnancy was very uneventful (minus the food poisoning incident at 6 months). I came to terms with the idea of delivery and I trusted that we would be able to handle whatever came our way. We planned a second home birth with the same midwife we used with Oliver. I was getting excited! And at my 36 week prenatal I told my midwife that I was ready for whenever he decided to come - I was ready but not in a hurry. I was ready to wait another 4 weeks - it felt like exactly enough time to finish preparing.
We went to a birthday party for one of our best friends on Sunday (37 wks 4 days) and all that day I was having pretty strong contractions. We joked that our baby was just waiting until after the party for me to go into labor. But it felt too soon so I just tried to relax and enjoy my friends. It wasn't labor because I slept that night very soundly and peacefully and I was glad. Monday Oliver and I hung out with my mom and talked a lot about the "best time" for his arrival. We decided that another week would be good. 
I slept very little on Monday night due to contractions and when I woke up on Tuesday morning I felt bleary eyed and incredibly sleepy. I asked my mom if she would take Oliver for a little while during the day so I could rest - she came around 10am. I was still having contractions but they weren't regular in timing so I wasn't going to get my hopes up that this was labor day (after all I was only 37 wks 6 days!) 
Every time I used the restroom that morning I noticed that I was loosing a small amount of my mucus plug, I didn't think a whole lot of it though (denial) but I decided I would call my doula and midwife just to inform them both of the changes. 
I first called my husband to let him know what I was feeling like - he asked if he should come home from work to be with me, but I couldn't see the point. I wanted him there but I didn't want him to waste time being home from work when I wasn't even in labor. After I got off the phone with him I called our Doula, Molly. She encouraged me to rest, eat and get plenty of fluids. She told me she could come over if I needed her but I insisted that I was fine to be by myself since I was just planning on napping anyway. I then called my midwife by this point I think it was around 10:30am and she was at another birth but she spoke with me for a few minutes about what was going on and also encouraged lots of rest and as many good-for-me meals as I could handle, I let her go but told her I would call her later if anything changed.
I made myself some breakfast even though I wasn't hungry and decided that I would nap for as long as I could. I slept on the couch but contractions would wake me up every 30 or so minutes. Frustrated that I couldn't sleep I decided I would watch a movie - thanks Netflix!. I had been wanting to see "The September Issue" for awhile and since I was alone I decided that was perfect. I curled up in my bed and put it on, it was such a good distraction, after a little while I realized how tired I still was and the contractions seemed to be taking a break so I paused my movie and fell asleep. At around 2:30ish my midwife called to check in on me. I let her know that I had been resting and drinking lots of water but that my contractions were still coming but they weren't consistent yet. I am pretty sure I told her that this definitely wasn't labor - just my body getting prepped for the real thing because my due date was still 2 weeks away. I finished my movie and started to worry that Oliver had been gone too long - I worried that maybe he should be home with me since I was due soon and we would soon not have these times together just the two of us (this should have been a sign for me that I really was in labor). I called my mom to check in and things were going fine but he was starting to get sleepy for his nap. My mom put on a video for him to relax to and said she would bring him home around 4:30. 
I was anxious. I didn't want to be in labor because I didn't want Cody to have to take his business trip, but I didn't want this exhausting pre-labor to last another two weeks. I wanted my husband and my son home. Contractions came on and off - I lost more of my mucus plug throughout the day. I wanted to go on a walk but it was way too hot outside, so I decided to just bounce a little on my birthing ball and sleep again before everyone got home. 
My mom dropped Oliver off at home and had to leave pretty quickly I told her that I would call her if we needed her again that night but that we probably wouldn't. I got dressed and put Oliver in the stroller so that we could get a little fresh air together before Cody came home. It was HOT! We only lasted about 15 minutes, in which time I had about 3 strong 40 second contractions. When we came back in the house I decided that we should all go to Target so that I could get a few things that we needed plus have time to  walk around in the a/c. We left shortly after Cody got home to head out on our shopping/walking trip. On our way there I let Cody know that I was nervous. If this baby comes in the next few days he was going to have to leave so soon after his birth. He laughed, "No babe, I won't have to go at all. Don't worry about that - just relax and have this baby." 
I felt like a boulder crumbled from my shoulders. And that is when things really started to change. I was a strong contraction while we were in the car and 2 more while Cody ran into another store to find a bed sheet for a newly acquired guest bed (just in case any of our birth team needed a rest, he is so thoughtful). It was getting difficult to sit in the car through the contractions so I texted him to hurry it up. He came running out and asked about the contractions - now 5 minutes apart. We pulled around the corner and headed into Target. While inside I got a call from my doula asking how things were going - but I was still hesitant to be totally honest. I let her know what we were doing and that I was 5-7 minutes apart. She said that she was heading into a meeting and was getting out at 9:30 so she could call us then to see if anything had changed more. 
We walked and shopping and Cody just kept saying - you're totally in labor Lauren. The boys picked up a few things for dinner but I didn't have an appetite anymore. I was ready to head back home and Oliver was getting hungry and sleepy so we checked out (funny: the teller asked when I was due and I was like well in another few weeks but I think I'm actually in labor right now - she looked at me like I was crazy to be walking around Target in labor. Imagine if I had told her I was going to go home and have my baby!)
Once we got home the boys ate their dinner while I took a bath. After I was done I went into Oliver's room and gathered clothes, diapers and his favorite toys, I packed them in a nap sack which I set by the front door. Cody just kind of looked at me funny - "Who is that for?" "It's for Oliver just in case my mom has to come and get him in the middle of the night, I want to make sure he has all of his favorite things."  "You packed him a bag but you don't think you're in labor?"
 Cody dressed Oliver for bed and I went in to put him down to sleep. At that time in our sleep routine he would ask me to read him "Goodnight Moon" about 500 times so I obliged. Was this our last night together just the two of us? I felt my heart skip a few beats. Would we still be best friends once his little brother was here? Did I have enough love for both of them? I had no answers for myself. I prayed over us both and kissed him sweetly making absolutely sure that I told him how much I loved him and that I knew he would be an amazing big brother.
Both Cody and I were really tired. We got ready for bed too and Molly called us around 9. I asked Cody to talk to her because I just didn't feel like talking on the phone. They talked for a bit and then we both just laid there in the quiet dark. Cody asked me to squeeze him during each of my contractions so that he could time them. We did this for a little bit and eventually he fell asleep. I dabbled in and out of awareness with each contractions and by 10:30pm I could not lay down during them anymore. I snuck out to the couch and tried to rest there as much as possible. I took a shower and washed my hair and then I climbed back in bed. I had spent all day by myself and I just didn't want to be alone anymore. My tossing and turning woke up Cody and I think we were both a little surprised at how quickly the intensity had changed. We phoned our midwife around midnight (even though I felt really bad calling her so late since I knew she had been at the birth the previous night) She asked if we needed her yet but we didn't feel that was necessary so she let us know that she would be ready to go for whenever we needed her. I also texted my mom and let her know that this was really happening and we would update her frequently.
I labored on with Cody's support for a few more hours and then we decided to give Molly a call and let her know she could head over soon. My contractions were now 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 40-45 seconds. I paced around the house a little but mostly stayed in our bedroom. I really didn't want to disrupt Oliver's sleep because I wanted him to be able to sleep all night in his own bed (he's typically a pretty light sleeper). Just before Molly's arrival I started to get really blue. I just couldn't cope with feeling like our choice to have another baby was going to "put Oliver out" - silly I know, but in the moment all I could think about was how we were all so used to it being the 3 of us, happy and comfy in our life. So when Molly got there I was a little teary and we talked about it which helped a lot. In the meantime Cody had called our midwife again and let her know that she could come in the next hour or so.
Once that storm of emotion blew over a bit (contractions have a way of making you focus on the task at hand, you know) Molly suggested we try to lay down together for a little bit and listen to some music. We were able to relax and get back in our rhythm. Molly started to prep the birthing tub (I was beyond AMAZED that Oliver slept through the extremely loud air pump!)
Our midwife got to our house around 3:30am and her arrival felt like a fresh wind. She just has this presence that exudes relaxed confident excitement. After she unloaded some of her gear she came into my room where I had been laboring and we talked as she filled in my chart. We laughed that I was exactly 38 weeks that day and how she definitely had not been expecting my call already. She observed my contractions and listened to our baby's heart tones. She encouraged me that things were going perfectly and to just do what I was doing naturally. I wanted to let my mom know that things were still going smoothly (she had been at my previous birth as she was just as anxious as I was) we texted some friends to let them know to pray and Cody updated his FB to let our world know that we were truly in labor. 
I took a little bath while everyone worked on getting the tub set up. Molly had made me some aptly named "Labor Oil" and we put loads of it in my bath water . Once I was out of my bath I threw on some clothes (as you'll see in my pictures I grabbed blindly) and I laid down to rest in bed a little bit more beside Cody who was sleeping soundly. I had major sympathy for my man every time I looked at his sleepy eyes - and I wanted to make good on the promise that he would get the rest he needed during this labor, unlike last time around. Our midwife came in and sweetly suggested that we go on a walk because the weather was amazing. I gave Cody a few minutes to wake up and I put on some shoes and texted my mom before we went that things were going great and I still felt great. And actually I couldn't believe how great I felt. Things were happening so quickly and I was keeping up with it. I felt just energized enough to labor through my contractions but still very peaceful and zen - enjoying taking every contraction as it came. We started our walk at 4:30am and it really did feel blissful outside. We laughed and talked and Cody let me lean into him during each contraction. He was my rock and I felt every bit of his excitement mingled with mine. And it was during our walk that I knew we could really do this - we WERE really doing this. As the strength of my contractions grew I knew that our baby was getting closer and it just felt right to be outside in nature absorbing the energy of the fresh cool air in the middle of a hot summer.
We decided to head back in and have our midwife check my dilation. I wasn't sure what to expect since I still felt really good and everything was very manageable. I was still talking normal in between my contractions so I thought that I must still have quite a ways to go. It was just my midwife and I in my room as she examined me and I was shocked when she told me I was easily 8 maybe even 9. SHOCKED and GIDDY! I was so pleased with myself and my body. I knew that the hard parts were still to come, but I still felt human and I was ready. Cody and Molly both came into the room and I'm sure my face looked funny because my smile was ear to ear. We told them the good news and they were excited with me. I wanted to call my mom myself and tell her because I thought it would be funny - I called her and it was around 5:30am she was still mentally foggy with sleep and so when she heard it was me saying that I was 8cm already and still feeling wonderful she was also totally shocked (and a little confused) I told her to go back to sleep. 
We all agreed that I should try and eat a little and drink some more fluids and then try some contractions in the birthing tub. The water felt soothing. I felt a little awkward trying to find good positions, and I think for me standing and sitting over the toilet were the best for me. But the water felt relaxing so I gave it a try. The sun was rising and I remember feeling comforted at the sight of a new day beginning - I would hold my baby on this new day. I transitioned in the birthing pool for close to 2 hours. Groaning with each contraction trying to hold good squatting positions but the slippery tub made it difficult. I started to feel my weariness - my midwife read scripture to me, the days Psalm 16  for the day of the 16th. It helped me to remember what I was really trusting in - My Father, He who created me for this purpose. 
Around 7:30am Oliver awoke. I asked that Cody get him from his crib because I didn't want him to be startled. Cody told Oliver that mama was busy working for our baby brother. When he saw me in the tub he started to freak out a little bit - still dazed from sleep. I suggested that he eat his yogurt with daddy and that someone call my mom to come and get Oliver. I continued to labor but I tried to hush myself, it felt unnatural to suppress my instinct to groan but I didn't want Oliver to be frightened. Soon enough, in record time, my mom arrived and whisked Oliver away for a fun play day. I felt good knowing that he would be especially loved on and prepared for when he came back home to his new brother.
Meanwhile in the tub my little one's position was crushing a nerve in my back making me have horrible leg pain during each contraction- I felt like my nerves were on fire. In the moment it was hard for me to communicate my discomfort and I think everyone thought that my muscles were hurting, it was an intense pain and I felt like I needed to get out of the water and move around. I was also starting to get really cold and feeling like the water was only slowing me down. My midwife suggested that I try to empty my bladder and do as many contractions over the toilet as I could. Cody helped my waddle to the bathroom and sitting on a stable surface felt good. 
We tried a few contractions on the birth ball - which was awful. And then a few in our bed - awful. I just wanted to be left alone with Cody and do my own thing without instruction. Everyone went out to the living room and I tried using the bathroom again. Afterwards I decided that maybe we should heat up the water in the tub again and try that once more. We got into our bedroom (basically like 5 steps from the bathroom) and my water broke. Cody yelled to our midwife and she hustled into our room to check the fluids. I made sure to look and see that it was clear. I told her that I would go "drain off" some of my water in the bathroom and then get back into the birth tub. Cody came into the bathroom with me and as soon as I sat down I could not move - our son was coming, fast.
I said "I'm pushing!!" and Cody asked if I wanted to move somewhere else but I couldn't. Our midwife, Molly and the midwife assistant came running into the bathroom. My midwife looked at me and said, "You know, this is a great place to have the baby! You'll deliver the head, stand up and deliver his body and then sit right back down." 
So there cramped into our tiny bathroom that was getting stuffy from the a/c being turned off I pushed 2 more times and delivered my son's head. (I have to side-note here that Cody passed out as the head was crowning and someone helped him into the bathtub directly across from me - he came to and saw the rest of the body be born and then moved into our bed so that he could get some fresher air. I love my husband and think that this is absolutely hilarious) So once his head was delivered I cradled it in my hand and stood up. Bearing down one last time I helped deliver him with my own hands and once he was in my arms - supported my my midwife - I sat down and looked at my boy. The first thing I noticed was that he had large hands - with 10 fingers and small little baby feet with 10 toes. His looks favored me (which I was so excited about because Oliver is his daddy's twin) and he had sandy brown hair. I took him in - every ounce of him, and I was perfectly smitten. He didn't look too tiny as I feared he might since he was 2 weeks early. Once he was weighed and measured we found that he was 7 pounds 8 ounces and 20.5 inches long. Absolute perfection.
I brought my son into a warm bath for a few moments so that we could wash off a little bit. I told him that I was so proud of our journey. I praised my Lord for giving me everything I desired for this birth. As I looked him over I searched his face for what his name would be (we had a list) but I couldn't see it just yet. Cody came back into the see us - looking like he had much more color in his face now. I handed him our son for the first time and I'll never forget the love struck look on my husbands face - we did it again, two perfect sons, how did we get to be so blessed.
We named our son on his 3rd day - Dashel Falcon Ryder.
 June 16th, 9:16 am. 12 hrs of labor, 4 pushes. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sew Inspiring

Put your hands up if you think afford, cute, well tailored, trendy and comfortable maternity clothes are impossible to find!

This was my experience with both pregnancies. It was so frustrating to find things that I wanted to wear. I wore my belly band with regular jeans and tried to find x-long shirts to cover my bump. Dresses were an option but I kind of got bored with them and by my 3rd trimester that's about all I could fit into. I felt cute a good portion of the time - but it took lots of effort. I couldn't just grab from my closet and wear anything I pulled out. A lot of my friends have experienced this dilemma too. Sure Isabella Oliver, and Pea in The Pod have some super cute looks - but I just couldn't shell out that kind of money.

So what is the solution? Well, nothing yet =).... but I have this dream  - See I really really really want to design a maternity clothing line. I already have a million ideas swirling in my mind. And I want to be able to make custom sizes, because not all pregnant bodies are created equal. My problem lies in that I have not had the time to devote to increasing my sewing experience. I can do basic pattern work but my machine isn't top of the line and my finances aren't really expendable for buying loads of experimental fabric. But I don't want those things to hold me back. Because what good is a dream if you can't just go for it - failure or success.

So here is where you can help me! Anyone with sewing skills - you can teach me some tricks! My sister has purchased a serger (yay!) that I have access to. If you want to donate scrap material that would be a plus too! And maybe in a few years I can make this idea come alive... hopefully.


From the start of this blog I have lost 3 lbs. It doesn't feel (or look) like much, but I only have 7 lbs to go so it is definitely a start. I actually haven't done a whole lot to be totally honest. I have walked with the kiddos on our street (up and back is about 1 mile) and I have done a little yoga and pilates. I was definitely hoping to have been in the gym and running by now but I am trying not to judge myself too harshly. Overall I still fit in my clothes - albeit a tad snuggly - and I have been adjusting to the hustle of having two needy children. Life happens.
So my goal now is to try my hardest to lose the rest of this pregnancy weight by the end of the year. I KNOW that it is going to be difficult for me to turn down loads of pumpkin pie during the Holiday season, but I am willing. For me it isn't just about loosing weight either, it is mostly about health and self- confidence. We all deserve to be happy in our bodies and exercise definitely cures a lot more than jiggly thighs.

Do you have any goals you've set for yourself lately? I'd love to hear how it is coming along for you too!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Some Like it Hot

I on the other hand love this cool fall weather we've been experiencing lately. We've had a scorching summer with little rain and lots of humidity so on our first cool day I was hesitant. I didn't want to fall (hehe) in love and have the next day be another 98 degree bummer. So I am happy and fully adjusted now that I know it is going to stay cool (at least under 85).

Hello my favorite season, I've missed you ohsomuch!

(I found this image online /


Last weekend for my niece's 5th birthday we took the kiddos horseback riding at a local dairy farm. The weather was stunning and the kids had lots of fun. The horse that Oliver was on, Ralph, was slow and lazy but for his first horse experience it was great.

Photos by my sister