So here is what I've been up to lately:
Renna Faith was born on May 14th. Here she is 4 days later in her most peaceful state:
I'll try to get some more shots soon. She's a sweet little girl. Already she turns towards my voice and gets quiet when I hold her tight and talk to her. She's eating well and getting better at sleeping at night. I'm recovering pretty good too. I am looking forward to a visit to the chiropractor to straighten out some issues in my neck and back, but other than that, postpartum is going well. The other children have been gone to their wonderful grandparents' this weekend and I enjoyed the peace and quiet of an almost empty house. Brandon did stick around and I've seen him pop in and out in between things he's had to do this weekend. A couple of evenings we've been able to spend some quality time together, but my favorite times have been eating breakfast (that he cooked) in our bedroom together. Nice conversation, laid back, relaxed, and yummy food! The peaceful bliss is about to come to a grinding halt however- the kids are due back in the next hour or so and the house will once again vibrate with the pounding little (and not so little) feet of our children. I will be happy to see them...perhaps I could find some earplugs though. :-)
ATTENTION: THIS IS ABOUT THE LABOR. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW JUST SKIP THIS SECTION AND PICK UP AT THE CAKE PICTURE.
Now back to the baby. For those who are interested in more details, this was just a different as every other baby delivery. They never seem to happen the same way twice. It actually started on the 7th (a Wed.) when I thought I was in labor for about 3 hours and called the midwife. She packed her bags and got ready to come, but after that 3 hours of regular contractions- at about 9:30 at night, things died down and I had a restless sleep that night. The next day when I woke up, they started up again. Having just felt really stupid for calling the day before, I refused to call the midwife until they got harder and as a result, I had regular mild contractions every 5 min. all day long until about 9:30pm that night again when they died away. Friday I had NOTHING. Saturday was an off and on day. We had Jonathon's party that day with the cake I put up earlier and that kept me distracted for the most part- which was good.
Sunday I awoke from another rough night of attempting to sleep to a delightful Mother's Day breakfast from the kids and Brandon, and then went to church. I tell you, I was looking for every reason in the book to avoid church that day! I just was tired and ready to avoid people for a while. Plus, all you mothers out there will probably relate to the feeling of not wanting to wear that one maternity dress or outfit- not one more time. But I went anyway. Church, then taught Sunday School (I teach the 4 yr old- 8 yr. old class which has 8 boys and 1 girl in it) and as it was Mother's Day had most of the afternoon off. So I took a walk with my friend Ellen thinking that it might possibly help my body make up its mind about this baby coming, but if not I was in desperate need of getting out for some exercise anyway. Came home, didn't have to make dinner either, and took it easy that evening.
Monday- I made some decorations for the Fairwood Graduation cake that needed to be done in advance, saw my midwife and had a generally normal day with the children. I also didn't have much in the way of labor.
Tuesday morning at 8:30 sharp I began having contractions again. I decided to catch up on laundry and cleaning up around the house and around 1pm, the midwife came to check me out and see how things were going....1cm. Ugh! You can't be in labor and be much further back than that! So we went for a walk- 2 miles- to the lake and back. Then, Brandon and I had plans to go out that night for dinner and since things were taking their jolly time- at the recommendation of the midwife, we went anyway. Off to Olive Garden, thanks to a babysitting offer from Sharon, we trucked. I got some sort of Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo stuff- yum and Brandon got the tour of Italy which had lasagna, manicotti and something else I think. At the end of the meal I was having hard enough contractions that I was ready to go home, so we got dessert in a to-go box and left. Stop at the grocery store and the movie store and then home again where I discovered that I was infact, still at 1 cm. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM!!!!!!! Actually, I know it takes me FOREVER to have babies, this just seemed longer than the others. And in fact it was! So, off to bed I slunk in discouragement to have those silly 5 min. apart contractions all night long. My midwife and her assistant stayed overnight in case things changed quickly, but at 7am the next morning, I awoke to find myself much in the same situation. Around 10 am I was out walking again in circles around the church and wishing that things would either get moving or go away. I prayed, I talked on the phone to distract myself, I finished folding laundry, I prayed, hmm....what else...oh...and some natural things that I won't mention to move things along possibly (but no castor oil). By three in the afternoon it seemed like they were coming a little harder and I discovered that I was at a whopping 3cm. But from there things finally began to pick up...and the back pain began. With every contraction, my back began to ache and just got worse and worse until, frankly, near the end of it all I was crying from the back pain and couldn't focus well on working with the contractions. At around 8:30 I was in a good deal of discomfort and really having to focus on relaxing. It seemed closer, but when I was checked, I was at a mere 5cm. Just agonizingly long. It was at this point that I started questioning just how big of a wimp was I if I was only 5cm and my water wasn't broken, and it hurt so bad! Things moved a little quicker from then on though and in spite of another 4 hours, I did progress all the way to 10 eventually. My water never broke, for which I'm thankful- I have no idea how I could have managed the pain if it had. Near the end the contractions seemed like nothing compared to all that back pain. I found myself desperately trying to get into a position that was less pressure on my back. With the others, I always felt best in a kneeling position, but that wasn't working. So inbetween contractions I tried various different things to aleviate the pain and basically ended up in the classic birth position because that happened to be the one I tried on the contraction when suddenly I was ready to push. It took three pushes to get her out and then, there she was. Beautiful, crying, healthy, and I was totally relieved that suddenly my back wasn't screaming at me anymore. Most of the kids have come out to me saying something endearing like, "Oh, I'm so happy you are here, you are beautiful! I'm your mama. Welcome to our family!" Unfortunately Renna's first comment from me was, "It took you a REALLY long time to get here!" But then I proceeded with the gushiness. Brandon said he thought the cord was really close to her head because it came out at about the same time and he wondered if it was close to being wrapped around her neck. But all was well. Oh, and my water did finally break when her head was coming out. Everything about her was ok. She was alert and quickly pink. She cried long enough to let the midwife know she could and then settled down in a contented sigh on my chest to listen to all the new sounds around her.
So at 6 lbs. 8 oz. and 19 in. long, she is a tiny little bundle of joy, but well worth the effort of getting her here.
NOW ON TO The GRADUATION CAKE:
Sarah Adams was my legs for the decorating process. I decorated it Friday- about 36 hours after the birth. I'm glad that was the only thing I had to do this weekend, but as the kids were gone while I was decorating and I had Sarah to run around for me, it ended up being a peaceful and kind of relaxing process.
Above is the top of the cake and below is some close up of some detail. Loads of fun to make.