pictures galore

My MIL came to help me out this week and let me tell you, I appreciate it. Its so nice to be able to ease into this whole parenting two small children thing. Mal is still just about the easiest baby you can imagine but I am also still healing and getting my bearings about how to fulfill both of my little boys' needs. Anyways, I am very very lucky and having Melanie around has been a huge blessing.

And we are having a wonderful time.

We went to Mobius.
And we have gotten to know grandma better. This has included reading books and baking cookies and all sorts of other fun. In fact Zekey has warmed up to grandma so much that he has been following her around everywhere, even asking to be held and *gasp* allowing her to change his diaper!
But mostly we have just been staying at home, falling in love with our newest family member.
And I think he is falling in love with us right back.

Bonus picture of Zeke who apparently thinks Ive been taking too many pictures...can you see it?

The view from here

The view from here is very good.
Life in general is very very good.
It's Josh's last day of paternity leave today and while I will miss having him home. The family naps with all 4 of us snuggled into our bed, the quiet time playing domino's in the middle of the afternoon, the ability to pass the babies back and forth... Still I feel confident that I can handle it alone, which I wasnt sure I would. Plus my mother in law arrives tonight to help out for the next week, so its not like I will be really alone after all.

This week has been bliss, however. Zeke has exceeded all our expectations and so far loves his baby brother to death. Mal has proven to be an extremely happy baby and in 6 days has only had 1 crying fit (due to gas while passing the last of his meconium). I'm trying not to hedge my bets on either of these facts lasting, it has only been a week after all. Ezekiel can grow bored of the big brother role, Malachi can still develop colic.

But still. I will be happy. By day 6 of Zeke's life we had already dealt with IV antibiotics for an infection, a bad latch (that resulted in sometimes an hour of trying before a successful feed and both of us in tears long before that), engorgement and oversupply, nightly gas cramps, and the first signs of his protein allergy (hello projectile vomit). I love Ezekiel. I love him 100 times more now that Mal is born if that's possible and I honestly worry that I will have the connection with my second born that I have developed with my first. But Zeke was a horrible horrible baby. Everything was hard.

With Mal everything has been so soo easy. Which isnt really saying that much, honestly. It's not hard to be a happy baby in this household. I can count on one hand the number of times he has been put down. I am bad about holding babies all day. Josh is even worse. I think Zeke was held for his first 3 months and Mal is looking like he will get the same. We haven't even attempted the bedside bassinet yet and I'm not sure when we will. The sleeping situations around here have always been fluid. The number of people in our bed ranging from 1 to 4 weekly, nightly, and even hourly. Im not even sure when Zeke joined us last night. After Mal's 5 am feeding and before his 7. I just woke up to find him curled next to me.

The view certainly is good.

More Pictures and an update

This was mere seconds after Mal was born. Josh's hands were shaking so bad that he didnt get a single clear shot. I cant think of many things that matter less. Its perfect.
We've also been asked what Zeke was doing during all this delivering of babies in bathtubs. He was in the livingroom, watching netflix on my netbook thru the whole thing. From time to time he would wander down the hall to check up on us and Josh would smile at him and say "Hey buddy, we're ok." and then back Z would wander to good old Blues Clues.
He was in fact so enthralled with the fact that it was apparently a holiday (why else would he be allowed a bottle and cartoons right off the bat?) that we had a hard time getting him to pay attention to his new brother at all. I think when called into the bathroom he said "baby", pointed at Mal, and then went right back to his show.

By the time I was finished and showered and on the couch however the draw of Blue had waned enough for Ezekiel to decide the very best way to greet a new baby brother into the world is by giving him "knuck knucks" aka knuckles. And you know what? It very will might be.

At the very least its a great story to illustrate forever that for better or worse I am now the mother of brothers.
And Zeke has embraced the roll of brother better than Josh or I ever imagined he would. He asks to hold "his baby" and loves to give Malachi his binkie (yes I have another consti-sucker and have already given in to the bink in order to relieve my poor breasts) or to bring him books that he then reads to him.

Of course Mal is still new, and Josh is still home to help, and so Zeke hasnt really had to compete for attention or priority yet. But we are taking the fact that he isnt already jealous as a very good sign. And while it will probably get harder, for now we are celebrating how easy it is today.

And it has been soo soo easy.
Mal has proven to be a very happy baby so far. He loves his sling, he loves his brother. He is a champion breast feeder and my milk has already arrived full throttle.

He has giant giant hands. It is the very first thing every single person has noticed.
And I have been healing beautifully. With no stitches needed, and very little cramping I almost feel back to my old self and its getting harder and harder to stay in bed while my house becomes a tornado around me under "daddy rule" which lets be honest is no rule at all ;) But here I sit, nursing and blogging, for at least a few more days.

A Birth Story

People who had done it before told me that after this experience, having a baby naturally and of my own strength, I would feel like a Goddess. I would find the wall named impossible and I would cross it, and I would never ever be the same.

I have to admit, without trying to minimize the miracle that took place in my bathtub this morning, I feel like nothing more or less holy than a woman. I only did, after all, what every woman is designed, specifically, wonderfully, to do. Don't get me wrong, it was a miracle indeed. It was beautiful, and it was transforming, and it was one of the most hallowed things I have ever done or of the most hallowed things you CAN ever do or see. But it was the kind of everyday miracle, like breathing, like being in love, that you can't really take any pride in. You can only be thankful.

And I am. So thankful. Not only for a healthy baby (the ultimate goal) but for the opportunity to experience be able to birth my son.

Zeke's birth was a medical procedure, without trying to minimize the miracle that took place in that hospital room a year and a half ago, that is what it was...a medical procedure. Malachi's...without the beeping machines and the metal instruments and the plastic bags of IV fluids...Malachi's birth was an act of nature. It was earthly and it was otherwordly and it was the most natural thing you could ever imagine.

And only after having experienced this do I actually find peace with Zeke's birth. Only after being allowed to birth without fear of judgement, or intervention, or violence against myself or my baby, do I realize the strength I needed (and the strength I HAD) during Ezekiel's birth.

Things did not go according to plan, and I made decisions I would later regret. But at the same time, I've realized that I was a mother already as I birthed Mal. Somehow, until I held him in my arms, I had not realized that it was during Zeke's birth that I became that Godess. It was then that I found that wall of impossible and crossed it. THAT was the day I found my mother-strength.

Suddenly I find myself healed and I see Zeke's journey into this world for what it truly WAS, my passage into motherhood, my entry into that long, long, line of human Goddesses. Maybe I needed that battle as much as Zeke did.

As far as the knitty gritty details of this birth go...well...when you have a baby so fast there is not much to tell. I woke up at 4 am with a strong contraction and went back to sleep. It's happened so much over the last few months that I didn't think one thing or another about it. But at 5 am I had another and I decided to take some of the herbal tincture my midwife had given me to help turn all these braxton hicks into something real.

I doubt it was necessary because from 5 to 6 am the contractions were a good 7-4 minutes apart and I decided to call Cathy and tell her it was time to come over. She said she'd wash her face and be on her way. I jumped in the shower, decided after 15 or so minutes that the water wasn't helping as much as I had hoped and headed to the bedroom where Josh was still in bed to let him know I thought the baby might come fast and he should start filling the birthing tub. I made it to the hallway before my water broke and I suddenly thought I was dying. Maybe 10 more minutes and I was pushing.

At first I tried to fight it. My midwife was still not there! But when a baby wants to come, you cant stop it, so I moved back into the bathtub, filled it full of water and Josh delivered our sweet second born shortly after 7. Neither one of us had the presence of mind to look at the clock but luckily we did call Cathy to ask her for directions as to what we should do now and she says it was about 7:06.

She arrived probably 10 minutes too late and said "thanks for waiting for me!". But she delivered the placenta, checked on baby and I, and helped Josh take down our barely half up birthing tub. I told Josh I just need a little bit more practice and that next time I promise I will labor somewhere between 2 and 38 hours. ;)

He is here!

Malachi William arrived today at 7:06 am, after two hours of labor.
Nine lb. even, 23 inches, and he is beautiful.

My little artist

Zeke has been such a big boy lately. In more ways then one. First off, physically he is getting HUGE. I am so glad I put off buying him new jeans because suddenly it's looking like even the 2T's are going to be too short pretty soon. So I'm going to keep putting off buying more until this latest growth spurt is over and I absolutely must. That or until it gets warm enough to buy shorts, whichever happens first.

I blame the fact that the kid has been eating like a fiend. A normal breakfast these days is an entire serving of oatmeal (1/4 cup uncooked), an entire yogurt cup, and a banana. Then he takes a 2 hour break before he starts begging for more.

He's also been a big boy in other ways. So independent lately and getting to be so smart. Its bittersweet and makes me so glad to be having another. I know I would be taking it harder if I wasn't. That and if he wasn't still just so sweet. He's been asking to be rocked after his naps lately and I just love it. He is such a cuddler.

His newest thing is coloring. Coloring and playing "Yahpsee". Playing Yahtzee with a 1 year old? Not that fun, in case you wondered. I get 1 roll for ever 3 or 4 of his and somehow while every roll he does is a "Yeah Yahpsee!!!" every one of mine is an "uh oh". I think that means I'm losing? He wants to color or draw all day long, though. For Christmas he got some window crayons and those have been a big hit.
He DOES have to be watched carefully, though, or else he finds things more entertaining then the window to color on.
The window crayons are the activity that just keeps going, however, because there is nothing Ezekiel likes to do more when he is done making his art then clean it up. That spray bottle and a sponge equals an hour of mommy time at least.

As far as a pregnancy update goes...well I am still pregnant. I had hoped the new moon tonight would help but alas, no luck. I have also thought spicy food, a long walk, acupuncture, raspberry leaf tea, and a billion other things would help. Also no luck. My midwife forbids castor oil so I haven't done that one but I've tried about everything else.

I have resigned myself to patience. And to the hope that maybe the baby is just into astrology and doesn't want to be a Capricorn. If she waits until the 20th she gets to be an Aquarius...

Even though I am not quite yet 42 weeks I went ahead and took a picture this morning. And this is why: I have been asked a lot if my stomach has "dropped". Actually, I got asked this a lot during both of my pregnancies and I never knew what to answer. I carried both so low the entire time that I never really noticed any such thing happening. Well check out this extremely blurry photo (Sorry, as you can see, someone small was trying to be noticed and shaking me). I can most definitely say that I HAVE DROPPED. I am not actually sure what that means...but I am sure that it has happened over the last few days.

Hopefully it means I will have a baby soon. Because honestly, I dont know how much more this poor tummy can take. This dropping business put a whole new level into the stretchiness of my stretch marks and now a few of them have to be band-aided because they are bleeding. Poor poor tummy. Also this is the laziest baby in the universe. She only moves about once a day. Which means every day at about 7 o clock I start to stress out because she hasn't moved. Then she rolls over once and re-settles for another 24 hours. At 35 weeks this was kind of nice. At almost 42 its not as cute.


I've been feeling a bit embarrassed...ashamed, really...over my behavior recently as my due date approached, came, and then passed me by. I have been impatient. And cranky. And complaining pretty much non-stop. I'm sorry for everyone that has had to deal with me. I would like to make excuses right now, about being so very huge and uncomfortable, and about my nearly constant braxton-hicks contractions, and my fears that I'm going to have to induce yet again to get this baby out. But I think excuses are just counterproductive at this point. Because it is all of course worth it. I am thankful to be healthy enough to carry my babies to term and it is some comfort to tell myself that my extra-long cooking methods create extra-adorable babies :) It is only a matter of days or at most a week or two at this point, I am keeping faith that I WILL go into labor when the time is right. Plus as soon as it is all over I'm sure I will forget all about it and want to get pregnant again right away.

(Actually, although Josh and I have decided we definitely want a #3 and are deeply considering a #4 we are taking a "break" before that adventure. My body is tired and we think it would be best for my health, for my sanity, and for our children, if we let some time pass before adding to our brood. Some people can handle marathon pregnancies and some people can fulfill the needs of 3 or 4 preschoolers at once, but I doubt my abilities on both those scores. Plus, since we are only 23 and 24 we aren't exactly racing a clock. What "a break" entails we arent sure. Until I have weaned Blueberry and have had my body to myself for a full year? Until both these kids are potty-trained? Until Zeke is in school? We think we will just wait and see how we feel as time passes, but we are thinking a good 3-5 years before my next pregnancy would be ideal.)

Anyways, I have an acupuncture appointment tonight. I am nervous, having never done acupuncture before but I have heard good things about its ability to get babies moving, I happen to know a local acupuncturist, and it is a risk-free induction technique. And then Friday is a new moon, which may also help. I am keeping faith.

Job Description

Although I have never minded describing myself as a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM if you will), I will admit that it lacks a certain...consequence? It doesn't really sound like much, I guess is what I'm getting at. I am a mom, and I stay at home. Sounds a bit like laziness, really.

I personally prefer the term Homemaker, if I am thinking about it. My work is making a home. That sounds a little better.

I've heard people say they are Domestic Engineers. That always makes me giggle. It's cute.

But the other day I heard one that is really good. Really really good. From now on I am no longer a simple Stay At Home Mom. I am now officially my family's Director of Development.

The New Rules

Yep, I have entered that time. That time that no woman should ever have to enter.


Luckily I planned well and as per tradition (if two times a tradition makes) spent my due date getting a pedicure and then eating dinner out with my best friends. Not as fun as having a baby, but at least when I DO have the baby my toes will look delicious.

But the point of this post was that now that I receive the mandatory 5 or 6 phone calls or emails a day asking if I am still pregnant, I have a couple rules to establish. Rules for me in particular but honestly...these are rules for pretty much any nearly or over due woman. I say all this at the risk of being rude but I don't really mind at this point, because I may save myself (and countless other poor woman) the tragedy of the following comments, which are NOT EVER allowed:

(Yes, I have received ALL of these comments in the last week)

"Are you still pregnant?" Unless you are in a relationship to said pregnant woman that really might leave you uninformed when the baby is born (I swear, mom, I'll let you know) and you really have a reason to have to know (curiosity doesnt count) you are not allowed to ask this question.

"Why don't you just induce?/strip your membranes?/break your water/other form of induction?" or in a related field "When will you ect?" or "You should just ect." I am well informed. I know these option are available. I don't need to be reminded of them 40 times a day.

"I went over my due date and I was not nearly as pathetically wimpy and complainy as you. You should be like me." or related "I loved being pregnant, I never wanted it to end" You are either a liar or a robot. Either way I am no longer interested in your conversation.

"You look ready to burst!" or any other comment on my size. Also pointing out the fact that I am waddling (yes, I have noticed, thank you) and/or cant bend over (I am also aware of this).

"This will be just like Zeke and you wont ever go into labor." That comment is particular to me but really any horror story that comes up into your pretty little head can be left to yourself. I have been told (so far) that I will never go into labor, that my body is broken and obviously unable to go into labor, that my placenta is surely no longer in working order I have been pregnant sooo long, and that if I wait too long the baby will be too big to be born vaginally. All before my actual due date. And along with each of these lovely nuggets of obvious wisdom have come stories of other women or "medical facts" that prove this to be true. Scaring sleep deprived women helps no one.

Maybe this is the same as the above but it bears repeating: Any and all comments that my personal medical decisions are dangerous/ill advised/stupid/martyr-ish. I pay someone for this kind of advice. You are not that person.

You may be left wondering "Well then what am I allowed to say?" Although I hope what you are actually wondering is "Who would ever say such things?" I know the answer to be: everyone I currently know. So, yes, I will be sooo kind as to give you a few helpful hints.

You may:

Compliment my person, my family, my home.

Give me pure, unadulterated pity.

Comment on the horrible weather. (ALL weather is horrible at 40 weeks)

Offer me icecream.

On a lighter and brighter note: I actually don't feel all THAT bad. I wish this crazy off and on again fever would stop. We cant figure out what's causing it in the first place, despite numerous cultures and tests and lists and lists of questions from my midwife about any and all symptoms. At first we though flu. Then infection. Then maybe pre-eclamspia. But it is proving to be none of those. I will blame hormones. If the fever comes back again we have decided to just take some antibiotics for (apparently) the hell of it since that is all my midwife's back-up could recommend when we ended up calling her.

****I am updating this post to tell everyone that the only thing the latest culture found was E Coli. E Coli!! For some reason I think that is the funniest thing that has ever ever happened to me. Since feeling crampy and having loose stools is par for the course when you are preggo, I never considered an intestinal infection. Anyways, now we know.****

I also wish these freaking stupid contractions would stop. Either that or get stronger and produce a baby. I blame all of my impatience and crankiness on the fact that I've had sooooo maaaany braxton hicks contractions this pregnancy. I am sick of the word contraction. I hate both braxton and hick. If those are people. Which I assume but do no actually know.

But I'm surviving. And my fingers and toes look great.

And Zeke has taken to wearing this scarf absolutely everywhere we go. Which entertains me to no end. It was a Christmas gift (to me) that he took to right away. At first we thought it would end with that day (Christmas) but he has worn it almost every day since then as well.
He thinks he looks pretty snazzy.

He has also been cooking up a storm. Yes, those are real apple slices he is preparing for the oven. And yes, that is my frying pan on his stove, despite the fact that the frying pan the playset comes with is much more appropriately sized.
We might want to invest in a football or something...

Just relieving you

Just in case anyone was worrying about my mental health as I entered an ENTIRE NOTHER DECADE pregnant, I am doing surprisingly well.

I think it was around 11 am on New Years Eve that I starting having light cramping and contractions. I think my description to Josh was "The pittliest, most pathetic contractions you can imagine" and my immediate response to my uterus was "You are joking me right? THIS is all you've got?" (yes, I talk to my organs)

I did what I could do get them going stronger (lunges on the stairs, bouncing on my birthing ball, ect) and then gave up to take a nap. They continued right on so when Josh got home from work (Early! Yipee!!) we decided to go to the mall for some serious walking. (Basically we set Z free and follow him, its a work out) They continued right on thru walking, thru spicy labor chili I made for dinner, thru my wonderful New Years Eve bath.

An aside: The recipe for a wonderful New Years Eve bath includes but is not necessarily limited to: Sparkling Apple Cider (the closest thing to alcohol I'm currently allowed and a childhood New Years tradition besides), aromatherapy oil in the water, my favorite Jane Austen novel (Persuasion, in case you needed to know), Iron and Wine playing in the background, and NO BABIES ALLOWED (I love to bath with Zeke but it isnt exactly the same, ya know?) Josh recommended candles and had to be reminded that I have a freaky candle thing. I seriously CANNOT relax if there is a candle anywhere near me. I am convinced the house will light on fire and put the candle out if I so much as have to leave the room to use the bathroom and jump about a mile if it flickers (imagining it suddenly exploding or something), not to mention if a cat goes anywhere near it. I never lock my car or my front door, my passwords and pin numbers are all insanely easy to guess, I walk around in the dark downtown whenever I feel the need and constantly talk to homeless men but man oh man do I worry about candles. And Zombies.

Anyways, the contractions lasted until midnight. They lasted all thru the night as I tried to sleep. They lasted almost all thru New Years day. They never got stronger. They never stopped until probably 5 pm. So weak and pittly (lovin' that word) that I could ignore them at will but never stopping all the same.

You would think I would be really irritated at this point. Especially as they stopped. But I think I was right yesterday, entering the new year was strangely calming. Now that I've passed that deadline that I set for myself I am suddenly free. The baby WILL be born in January 2010, there is no other option. So suddenly it doesnt matter if its the 1st or the 20th. It is all the same in a way. Babies evidently dont care about taxes.

PS Just had another weak-ass contraction. So I guess they didnt stop so much as had a 3 hour break? Who knows what's going on...