Monday, May 26, 2014

Kenna's Second Week

As Kenna is uncurling and waking up a bit more we are seeing a bit more of her little self. And it does seem like she is going to be having a mind of her own!

She is our squeaker and squealer, very often grumpy at this time. We're still getting to know each other, and it seems she prefers to be snuggled or swaddled :-)

Tatum is warming up to Kenna, too. When we go somewhere she asks if Kenna is going to go with us, she "plays" with her by bringing toys over to her when she's lying on the activity mat and shows them to her, and 
asks about her when she wakes up. She's not overly in-love yet or trying to take over as a mommy like I've heard other toddler girls do, but she doesn't seem to dislike or be angry that Kenna is around.

I did survive my first week at home with two kids. It would help if Kenna would start sleeping longer stretches at night, but hey, some NingXia Red and I was able to keep on trucking!

Last Monday we made crowns, and that pretty much wiped me out for crafts for the week, lol.  Luckily they were played with nearly that long!

And Kenna, who had been nursing sometimes as often as every 30-45 minutes, took a bottle! Hallelujah Mama gets a break! Ammah tried first, but it seems Daddy had the magic touch!

In other news, Tatum will be getting glasses this week! We began noticing that one eye was crossing when she looked at things up close, so we took her to the doctor's last week. (in this pic her eyes are dilated from drops and the crossing was more pronounced than it usually is)

Its something that she'll hopefully grow out of, and you know I'll be using my essential oils (frankincense) as well, but for awhile you'll be seeing a mini-librarian Tatum.

We made it a family affair to go try on glasses, and here were a few she tried on at first:

When we put on a certain pair, this girl perked up like it was a new toy. She saw herself in the mirror and started her happy dance, her little butt shaking back and forth like it had a motor in it! We could hardly get her to look at us to take a picture because she wanted to look at herself.

We pick them up later this week, and hopefully she'll still have the same reaction!

After picking them out, we went to grab lunch with my mom and Ammah. Tatum had decided to carry her doll around in the carrier, just like I was carrying Kenna around.

And Mom and Ammah both got some snuggles in from Miss K

Oh, and Roy has taken up his guard-dog approach to Kenna as well. Usually he can be found lying next to her bouncer or swing, or on the floor next to (or on) the activity mat with her.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kenna's First Week

Here's my littlest girl at one week old!

This girl eats--a LOT! More than my little ten-pounder Tatum did! And she wants us to know she is her OWN girl! Within 15 minutes of being born she got upset about something and let out a squeal to make us understand her displeasure. We've heard that little squeal a number of times since then...I don't think we're getting a calm, quiet baby like we originally thought! I think changing her name to Kenna--meaning fiery, beautiful, and strong and competent woman--was the correct choice!

Tatum got to meet her little sister about 8 hours after she was born. As she came around the corner she stopped short when she saw me holding Kenna.

"Do you know who this is?" I asked her.

"It's for ME!" she said.

"Yes!" I said, then continued with the brainwashing I've been working on, "This is your best friend! Do you know who it is?"

"Baby Kenna!" she knew right away!

"She come out of your tummy!" 

"Yes she did!"

Immediately her toddler mind went to work. "Now you can hold me!!!"

Um...give Mama a week or so before I'm hefting your 40lbs again, lol!

Tatum spun and danced and played, then settled down with her guitar to sing a lullaby to Baby Sister.

Later that day Roy came home from Nonnie and Poppie's and met Kenna. He sniffed her a few times, then when my mom pointed her out again he sniffed one more time, they lay down next to the bed with a "Harumph!" as if to say, "Yep, another one."

My Uncle Larry and cousin Cara were visiting that weekend as well--good timing! We were honestly expecting Miss Kenna to be late so it was fun that they got to meet both of our girls for the first time on the same day! Since they live in Colorado and we've moved a few times, we actually haven't seen them since our wedding 6 1/2 years ago!

Tatum was hooked pretty quick--especially since Uncle Larry brought bubbles, nail polish, chapstick and toy animals. The way to this girl's heart for sure! He even painted her nails--twice! She was letting them dry in this picture :-)

By Saturday night the rolls in Kenna's neck were beginning to accumulate some junk so it was time for her first bath! 

The big bathtub for her was still in the attic, so we attempted a bath in our little sink.

It did not go so well.

Why oh WHY are they doing this?!?!

On Mother's Day I got the best gift--the gift of alone time!  Matt and Tatum went to church and Kenna slept most of the time so I got to enjoy a quiet morning! 

Later we headed to my parents for a late lunch and to hang out. Towards the very end of the day, Tatum finally used up enough energy to hold Kenna somewhat calmly. 

Kenna also is pretty at home taking naps with Daddy

A day or two later we gave Kenna another bath--this time with much more success!  She nearly fell asleep while taking her soak, and loved the water pouring over her feet so much she reached up and hooked her toes on the rim of the cup!

So there's our first week highlights! Tatum is handling baby sister great so far...I keep waiting for the jealous big sister to show up but she has yet to appear. Whenever she comes back from time with Ammah or Nonnie and Poppie she always looks for Kenna and says hi.  This morning she came back from an overnighter and didn't see Kenna until she was going out the back door. She stopped when she saw her asleep in the bouncer and intoned, "oooooh hiiii!" Maybe my best-friend-brainwashing will work!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kenna's Birth Story

On Thursday morning Tatum and I went to see my midwife, Susan, for my scheduled appointment. As I was 11 days past my ultrasound due date with Tatum, both of us assumed we had plenty of time and we scheduled the next appointment for the same time next week. My due date wasn’t until the 10th or 11th and it was only the 8th—we had plenty of time!

Then Tatum and I headed to the chiropractor, then Lowe’s where we loaded up on some discounted rosebushes and shrubs, made another trip to the grocery store because I was determined to be stocked up whenever this baby arrived, then headed home.

Instead of taking a nap like I’ve normally been doing while Tatum is napping, I decided to get my 14 tomato plants, 6 jalapeƱo plants, and 12 marigolds in my garden. And put up the fence around my last raised bed. And repot a bunch of plants. Basically I worked my butt off in the mid-eighty degree weather, taking water breaks inside and using peppermint oil on my neck to keep cool. 

After four hours of working in the sun (which honestly felt glorious and I had the fleeting thought, “you know, I’m not even exhausted! I think I could even handle labor!”), I made some spaghetti, had my parents come over for dinner since Matt was at an after-work event, and took a shower to rinse off the dirt and sweat. I was having a number of Braxton-Hicks contractions, but that’s not unusual for me and I just attributed it to being dehydrated and having done so much physical labor.

While reading Tatum’s bedtime story around 9:30 I realized I must have had 6 or 7 Braxton-Hicks in the past hour. Braxton-Hicks aren’t painful—but your uterus tenses in a “practice” contraction and gets rock hard just like a muscle flexing. After we put Tatum to bed Matt ran me a bath since I really wanted another night of sleep after such a long day of work! I also used lavender essential oil because sometimes those can make you so relaxed that labor stops. When I got in the bath around 10 I decided to use my contraction timer on my phone just to see how close they were to each other. That was an eye opener! They were between 1 and 3 minutes apart—but still no pain! But then I had a couple of contractions that were “uncomfortable.” Then I needed to use the restroom. Twice. Hmmm….
I called Susan just to let her know what was up—12 contractions in about 30 minutes but most of them just painless.  While talking to her, however, she had another client call in who was also having contractions. Uh-oh! She asked to call me back and in that time frame I had 2 or 3 more uncomfortable contractions. She called me back around 11 and asked if I wanted her to come check me.  The other woman was having a contraction 20 minutes apart, so she was going to get ready and come over to see me just in case this was the real deal. I called my mom and told her I’d let her know if anything was really happening after Susan checked me. Matt started to pick up the house and get thing pre-ready to go.

When Susan got to our house around 11:30, we found I was 4cm dilated and already 50% effaced! “Sooo…I’m having my baby tonight?!” I asked. Susan smiled and said, “You’re having your baby tonight!” We made the phone calls, my parents headed over so my dad could take Tatum to Ammah’s house and Roy home with him (I think he would have tried to climb in the birthing pool with me), and my mom to be there for support.

Elizabeth, who is also a midwife, arrived as did MacKenzie, the student midwife (who was 30 weeks pregnant herself, bless her heart!). Matt moved the dining table against the windows, set out the tarp and blew up the birthing pool.

Contractions began to get regularly uncomfortable around midnight, and I tuned into a soundtrack from the Hypnobirthing CD on my headphones, turned the lights low in the bedroom and chilled in there for awhile. I breathed through contractions, swayed, rocked, and walked around for about an hour. I walked out in the backyard (admiring my day’s work), looking at the stars and feeling the coolness of the night air, leaning on Tatum’s slide to breathe through the contractions. Matt and my mom were placing bets on birth time, the midwives were hanging out in the nursery and everything was so calm and peaceful. 

This was taken around midnight when we knew we'd be having Kenna in our arms soon

Elizabeth actually left to go attend to the other woman who’s contractions were beginning to come close together. Susan takes a really low number of clients and this lady’s first two births were both early, and my first one was so late she thought there was no way there could be an overlap—statistically speaking it was an incredibly low chance!

Thankfully my contractions were a few minutes apart, still. I remember with Tatum I would get literally less than a minute to recover between contractions before I would feel another one coming on—and it being my first labor those close contractions were exhausting, aggravating and freaky all at once. So this time getting to actually walk around, talk, breathe, and recover before another wave felt like luxury! I wonder if using the lavender and taking the bath prior to really beginning active labor helped slow contractions down—which I was completely OK with!

For those of you interested in how I used essential oils through labor, I applied Joy and Valor towards the beginning, and again around 1:00. When they began to get uncomfortable I used PanAway on my lower back and lower abdomen, and really think that helped with pain. I would occasionally rub some Gentle Baby on my chest and wrists as well, as it’s so calming.

Around 1:30 I asked Susan to check me again, and found that in two hours I had progressed to 8cm and 75% effaced! She also commented that Kenna was still high, but my cervix was very soft and stretch and all it would take was her coming down to dilate me the rest of the way. Around this time I asked Matt to fill the birthing pool and I began to vocalize through the contractions. I can’t imagine having to stay still through contractions—I was usually leaning on the bed or the kitchen bar and swaying back and forth, willing myself to relax everything and release and tension.

At 2ish I climbed into the birthing pool and OH what sweet relief!!!!!! It was around then I went through transition and began to really vocalize. I kept moving positions from my hands and knees to my side to kneeling but at this point nothing was comfortable.

At one point I found I needed something to say or recite besides “OOOOHHH!” or “OOOOH JESUS!” so the thing that popped in my mind was Psalm 34. In 6th grade our teacher, Miss Iris, had us learn the entire chapter, verse by verse, over the course of the year. Most of that chapter (I still confuse the last few verses) is still imprinted in my mind, and is my go-to Psalm. Not only were the actual words comforting and reassuring, but trying to remember the order of the verses, or pick up where I left off with the last contraction kept my mind focused on that instead of the double and triple-peaking contractions I was laboring through then.

Here is the chapter in its entirety, although I think I only got through the first 17 or 18 verses:

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.
Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

After awhile of that I felt I needed to use the restroom. My midwife said that was fine, but I may be so close that I might end up pushing the baby out in the bathroom instead of the pool. I had just had one contraction with an urge to push and knew that might be a distinct possibility but I still felt the need to go. So I climbed out of the tub, wrapped in a towel and moved to the bathroom. I had two more contractions where I felt I needed to push while on the toilet, but still no head. I headed back to the pool and climbing back in was almost as bad as a contraction!

Climbing in I had another contraction and urge, and my water broke with a little bit of meconium in it. Then, in that what felt like a VERY VERY quick moment Kenna moved from very high in the birth canal to crowning! While I only pushed for 20 minutes with Tatum, I felt her dropping little by little, and even while pushing we’d see more of the head, then it would go back a little. But this all happened in one frightening and very painful contraction! I was VERY loud and felt my voice go from low and open to a higher pitch and nearing a scream. My arms were grabbing a hold of the handles on the sides of the pool and I remember them shaking violently when Susan came right into view and locked eyes with me. I honestly don’t remember what she said but I remember focusing on her eyes and reaching up behind me to grab onto Matt’s arm. I also got a visual of Tatum when she freaks out about something and thinking she must get it from the primal side of me because I felt like a toddler freaking out!

The next push Kenna’s head was born, and the push after that she came into this world at 2:44 am.

As Susan lifted her up and onto my chest I felt that overwhelming joy at finally holding her in my arms! She coughed a number of times and cleared her lungs. She wasn’t crying, but making those precious newborn noises. She felt smaller in my arms than Tatum had, as well.  So little, tucked against me. I heard Matt laugh and begin to talk to her as well.

I remember, too, realizing that the cord must have been really short because I could feel it taut against my belly. Susan asked if I felt like I could get out of the pool to birth the placenta so with her and Matt’s help I did, and sat/reclined on the floor with Matt supporting me from behind.

When I again squatted and pushed the placenta came out easily—except for one piece of membrane stayed attached inside. I pushed, we waited, and I got to turn Kenna so I could get a good look at her face. The first thing I thought was how different from Tatum she looked. Her hair was fairer, her face not quite as chubby. She got a little mad and I started singing Tatum’s favorite nighttime lullaby, “Godspeed,” by the Dixie Chicks (except we sing “baby girl” instead of “little man,” and Tatum insists we add Roy to the last verse). I figured since she had been hearing it from inside the womb for months she would recognize it, and she certainly did! That baby quieted right down! She also nursed for a little bit.

This is the end of the "birth" story. There's more about the afterbirth portion, but if that isn't your cup of tea you can skip to the pictures at the end.

The membrane was still not detaching, so Matt cut Tatum’s cord once it stopped pulsing and held her as my mom took his place behind me. I don’t think we got any pictures of Matt holding her, but it is imprinted in my mind. The look on his face, his smiling and talking to her, then sitting down and rocking her. I took a tincture of herbs to help the contractions expel that last piece of membrane hanging on, then laid back on pillows so Susan could check my perineum. That membrane was still not detaching so after talking to me, Susan snipped the rest of the placenta away from it so I could have some mobility.

I went to the bathroom and Susan massaged my uterus, then I massaged it, all trying to get that danged membrane to detach. When it still didn’t, Susan talked to me about using pitocin to help my uterus contract and release that membrane. We moved to my bedroom and I got to hold my Kenna again while I got the shot in my thigh, and another herbal tincture. This went on for awhile, and that blasted piece of membrane didn’t detach until 4:30 or 5:00 I think. I was so tempted to just yank it out but knew leaving a piece of it inside made me prime for infection.

After that I still needed to be stitched up just a bit. I had a minor second degree tear, and Susan sutured the first row, but by the time she began the second, outer stitches the anesthetic was wearing off. We actually think I may be somewhat immune to it, because after Tatum was born no matter how much the midwife used I could still feel every single stitch. Because of the way I tore this time, Susan had given me the option to not suture but just take it very very easy for the next ten days, so when I began to feel every stitch I opted to just tie off what she had done and take it easy (I didn’t have that option last time).

So finally, around 6, Susan and MacKenzie had cleaned up everything, I was changed and cleaned, and we gave Kenna her newborn exam. She weighed in at 9 pounds 5 ounces, and 22 inches long. Everything beautifully and thankfully healthy.

The next day Kenna did develop a cephalohematoma, which are most commonly found in babies delivered with forceps, but we think she dropped so fast she literally banged her head against my pelvis to bruise it. So if you notice a little bump on her head the next few weeks it’s nothing to be alarmed about—it will resolve on its own. The kid just had to make a wham-bang entrance!