2 Kids : Six Weeks In

Has it really been six weeks since Harrison was born?  Really doesn't seem possible and that's not the sleep deprivation talking!  I'll admit it...I was slightly terrified of having a newborn and a toddler thanks to some slightly ignorant comments from people regarding how hard it is to go from one to two kids, although I'm hoping it was well intentioned???  I even had someone tell me my life would be over once the baby arrived.  Gee, can't wait to pop the kid out and hate life.  Hate your life much?  So that didn't exactly set me up for feeling super confident when it came to raising 2 kids.  So how has it been? 

Sleep was a toughie and at the same time, not as awful as I was expecting.  When Selah was a newborn, the sleep deprivation hit me like truck.  A truck driven by an elderly person blasting into the front of a grocery store because they mistook the gas for the brake.  You know what I'm talking about.  There were days I definitely should not have been driving I was so tired but I considered it a success when I made it back home with Selah in one piece.  But with Harrison, I haven't dealt with the same mind numbing exhaustion nor the dread of what a setting sun meant for me.  Yes, I'm definitely tired and resemble a corpse (albeit a drooling corpse) if given the opportunity to nap but it's waaay more manageable this time around.   Thankfully Selah is still taking an afternoon nap and most of the time, I get Harrison to take one during the same time so I have a little time to myself to catch up on things around the house or if I'm really lucky, pass out face down on the bed for an hour or so.

Some of those 'well intentioned' comments were of their kids being insanely jealous of the new baby.  I have yet to see any of that happen with Selah.  I have seen nothing but overwhelming love for her little brother...it's awesome.   Well, maybe not so awesome when she's dragging him by the legs to 'put him in the Boppy because he wants to see', putting her toy stethoscope on his head to play doctor or putting her huge stuffed Winnie the Pooh over his face because 'Harrison wanted to see Pooh'.  She's very caring and sweet toward him and gets bummed when she hears he won't be going somewhere with her.  I can't wait to see what their relationship will be like when he gets a little older.  I read a comment online a few weeks ago that I found helps a lot with managing 2 kids at once: if both of the kids need something at once, tend to the older child first and then the baby.  If Selah wants a cup of juice and Harrison is starting to get fussy, I get the juice for her and then pick baby bro up and give him what he's looking for...usually food.  Always food.

I'll be honest, I was a little freaked to run errands by myself with the 2 of them.  Not sure exactly what I was scared of but you know...being outnumbered by little people can do that to you.  The first trip alone was the ever awesome Target and equally intimidating Costco.  I tried to minimize the chances of epic meltdowns (from both the kids and myself) by timing them between feedings for Harrison and lucky for me, all went well; not including the 2 bags of dark chocolate covered pretzel crisps I had to have from Costco.  I'm now pretty confident in taking the kids out by myself and even took them to the park today.  Harrison decided to pass on the monkey bars and nap while Selah was running around like a crazy person.

Will there be times when they're driving me nuts and I'm hiding in our closet with my foot keeping the door from opening?  That's probably a big fat yes but right now, I'm going to keep on floating on my happy mom-of-two cloud.

Harrison's Birth Story

Harrison Daniel Brown's Birth Story
December 14, 2014
4:40AM : 8lbs 4oz : 20"

**Just a little disclaimer that if you're a guy, get grossed out easily or are eating your lunch, you may not want to read this post because pretty much anything labor related is gross.  You've been warned! :)

In the weeks leading up to Harrison being born, I kept imaging what I thought it would be like and honestly, how I was sure it was going to go.  Ha!  Most women will tell you that labor is anything but predictable.  Considering Selah had been born 5 weeks early and gave me a run for my money with a barely-made-it-into-the-hospital 2 hour labor, I was sure that I'd have another similar experience with Harrison.  Since I was delivering him at home, I started prepping for his arrival kinda early on.  In the state of Colorado, you have to be between 37-42 weeks pregnant in order to deliver at home with a midwife so 37 weeks was my personal goal and that date fell on Thanksgiving.  I had his first outfit all ready, the birth kit was set aside in the back of the closet, my labor playlist on my phone and the food and drink I'd be having while in labor was ready to go in the fridge.  Almost like clockwork, I started having contractions on Thanksgiving night around 2AM.  They weren't anything major but enough to wake me up and right when I got to the point where I was going to start timing them, they stopped completely.  A little frustrating to say the least.  So for the next 2 weeks, I continued on with this middle of the night 'is it or isn't it' false labor game.  It was driving me insane!  This was nothing like what I'd experienced with Selah where that labor came out of nowhere with no contractions before the day I had her.  It even got to the point where I was getting constant text and Facebook questions asking if I'd had him yet when in reality, I hadn't even hit my due date yet!  I don't think many people, myself included, thought I'd actually get to my due date so a lot of people ended up thinking I was over my due date.

The morning of December 9th, I was getting Selah and myself ready for lunch when I made my thirtieth trip to the bathroom and discovered that awesomely appetizing mucus plug.  I'd never seen it with Selah and sure as heck wasn't about to Google what one looked like but trust me, you know what one is when you see it.  Kinda ruined the thought of eating the sandwich I had waiting for me on the table.  I texted my midwife to let her know what was going on and that I also was getting a little crampy.  Now for someone who was equally torn between the feelings of 'heck yeah, it's almost time!' and 'I'm not ready!', seeing your mucus plug can be a little defeating because it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going into labor soon.  It can be hours, days or even (gulp)...weeks.  I told Dan that it may not be a good idea to go to his appointment that evening on the complete opposite side of town because again, I was sure something was going down that night, and I did not want to be delivering this kid alone while he was stuck in downtown traffic.  Suffice to say, a big fat nothing happened.  Not even any contractions.  So I continued on my uncomfortable merry way and had my 39 week appointment with my midwife 2 days later.  I may have done some whining that I was done and equally done with the people asking if I'd had the baby yet.  Yes I had him but I haven't told anyone because he's not cute was the sarcastic response I wanted to say each time I got asked.  We talked about the possibility of stripping my membranes to try and get things going if he hadn't come in a week or 2 and scheduled my 40 week appointment for the next week.

Another couple days went by and still losing bits of my mucus plug and we all went out on Saturday morning to try and let one of our crazy dogs run some energy off at a nearby school field.  For some reason that I now know why, my hormones took some wacky nose dive and I turned into uber crank (that's putting it mildly) and was not being exactly nice to Dan.  For literally no reason.  I then had a complete hormonal snot nosed sob fest after we got home about the fear of having 2 kids, not being able to handle it, not ready for the sucky painful part that is labor and on and on.  In the back of my mind, I wondered if this meant something was finally going to happen but finally pulled myself together.  Around noon, I had this insane need to make some chocolate chip cookies like NOW and started having mild contractions.  I started timing them and they were only about 30 seconds long and about 6-7 minutes apart.  I texted my midwife about what was going on and she told me that she would head over once they were 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute for an hour.  In the meantime, Dan had to run some paperwork over to someone's house and was unsure if he should leave.  The contractions weren't getting stronger or closer together yet so I told him to go and that I'd call him if things changed since he wasn't going to be that far away.  I put some Curious George on for Selah so I could stay relaxed and over the next couple hours, the contractions were kind of all over the place in terms of duration and spacing.  However, once 4PM rolled around, it seemed kinda clear that things were picking up a little bit and they weren't going away.

The whole time I was pregnant, one of my major concerns was what would we do with Selah when labor rolled around.  She's a really sensitive little kid and I knew that I did not want her to be around while I was in full on active labor.  She'd be asking me what was wrong and if I was okay a million times and eventually getting upset.  We'd made plans with our friends to take her if I went into active labor during the daylight hours and if things happened once she was in bed, we'd just let her stay in bed and sleep through things.  I was anxiously counting down the hours to 7:30 when she'd get into bed and the last couple hours before her bedtime had me leaning onto the big chair in our bedroom, timing away and trying to keep a lighthearted attitude for her to keep her happy.  In the meantime, I texted my birth photographer to let her know that more than likely I was in labor and that I'd keep her posted.  It was around 8:30PM when it was clear that Little Man was coming that night and my midwife let me know that she was getting her things together and would be there within an hour.  With Selah in bed and asleep and The Office playing in the background to keep my mind off the ever increasing contractions, I could now get down to business.

I'd been on the floor, leaning into the chair during contractions when I started having aches in my back which I thought were because of the position I had taken on the floor.  Turns out, I was in the beginning stages of back labor.  I've heard women talk of their experiences with back labor and lemme tell ya, none of them are good.  And I completely agree.  As if having the contractions in front weren't bad enough, I was now dealing with what felt like hot knives all over my lower back.  Back labor is a weird, different kind of pain I'd never felt before; definitely a hot kind of pain.  Coupled with the intense period cramp pain you get with the 'traditional' contractions in front, it really kinda sucks.  Bet that makes you want to run out and get pregnant so you can experience it, doesn't it? ;)

Right around 9:30, my midwife arrived and started getting her things set up.  She offered to check me during my next contraction and I was pumped because at that point, I was sure I was pretty far along based off how I was feeling.  I was at a 5, which wasn't awful but not the almostthere I was expecting.  When you have a 2 hour labor with your first child, it kinda skews your expectations a little bit for the next kid.  Soon thereafter, her assisting midwife and the birth photographer both showed up and I was left to labor on my own.  One of the many things I loved about having a home birth was the fact that I was left alone.  I wasn't hooked up to monitors or IV's and constantly bothered to check progress.  Nope.  I could labor in the quiet of my own bedroom and they only checked me maybe once an hour or so.

When you're in labor, you kinda lose all track of time so I have no idea what time it was when my body decided it was time to start getting rid of everything.  I had a serious evacuation of the bowels, if you will, which while not fun at the time more than likely meant that I wouldn't any pooping issues when it came time to push.  Yes, a stupid thing to be concerned with hey, I didn't really want to be dealing with that.  And just like when I was in labor with Selah, I started throwing up pretty heavily.  That is my body's way of dealing with a lot of pain.  I've had it happen when I broke my wrist and I certainly had it happen with Selah and let me say that the frequent vomiting while you're already dealing with painful contractions doesn't make for a pretty picnic.  But to class it up for you, I was using a 5 gallon Home Depot contractors bucket to puke in :)  My midwife was concerned with me getting dehydrated and was pushing the coconut water to get electrolytes back into my system.  I can honestly say that I will probably never have another pineapple flavored coconut water in my life.  While I may have forgotten what labor feels like, one whiff of that drink will probably have me dry heaving.  At some point, I had gotten onto our bed and was laying on my side through contractions.  I was trying my best to relax through them because if I didn't, it made the pain worse and I'd then throw up.  During one contraction, I was laying away from where my trusty bucket was and before I could ask Dan to grab it for me, I puked all over the bed.  That's where having the extra set of sheets over the waterproof mattress cover came in handy.  Bless his heart, Dan cleaned up my mess and attempts at getting me to change out of my vomit stained shirt failed.  Hey, when you're in transition labor, you really could care less that you're laying in a pukey wet shirt.  Labor's glamorous folks!

Around the time I hit 7 centimeters dilated, my midwife broached the subject of breaking my water to help move things along.  The bag was in front of his head and was keeping me from really dilating further.  This is the semi embarrassing part.  I hemmed and hawed and said I wanted to see if getting in the tub would help my water break or move things along further.  My reason for pushing off the breaking of my waters?  I was already in serious amounts of pain and I didn't think I could handle anything more painful.  Yeah, your way of thinking during labor, and especially transition, is not exactly the best and brightest.  The midwives agreed to let me get in the tub and started filling it up.  I'll be honest; when I naively pictured my labor and delivery with Little Man, I just knew that it would happen in the tub and that I'd pull my beautiful, peaceful baby up out of the water and it would make for some awesome pics.  It didn't exactly happen that way.  I spent maybe 10 minutes max in the tub and had to get out.  I could not get comfortable and couldn't get warm.  I was already having the shakes from labor and being in water that wasn't scalding hot like I normally like it wasn't helping.  So I had them help me out and back onto the bed I got to lay on my side and continue on my labor quest. 

Who knows how much time had gone by before the midwife came back up to check on me and suggested again breaking the bag of waters.  I'd been laboring hard for a long time and it was time to give me a break and get Little Man here.  Despite my ridiculously irrational fear of it getting more painful, I agreed and they started getting ready.  It was a weird feeling to say the least and while it wasn't more painful, the pressure kicked up tenfold.  Ask me where I thought I was actually deliver my baby and on my bed was the last place I envisioned.  Laying down was so painful when I delivered Selah and I was certain that I would not go that route again.  I started pushing on my right side and was then told to flip over to my left side because Harrison was getting hung up on the right side of my pelvis.  Turning over at 9 months pregnant when you're not in labor is hard enough.  Throw in some actual labor and it seemed like the most ridiculously difficult task ever.  In the end, I probably only pushed for 10-15 minutes max before he came out and I helped pull him up to my chest.  I was expecting him to have a head of thick, dark hair like Selah had so I was a little shocked when he just had little wisps of blond hair.  Completely different pregnancy...completely different babies too!  They cleaned him up a little while I was holding him and I delivered the placenta with no issues shortly thereafter.

One thing I did not get to do with Selah that I was bound and determined to do with Harrison was to have delayed cord clamping.  The standard practice in hospitals is an almost immediate clamping and cutting of the cord but delayed cord clamping is when the umbilical cord has stopped pulsing and the benefits from delayed clamping are pretty awesome.  It significantly improves their iron and hemoglobin levels, not to mention gives them 30-40% of their blood and helps fill their lungs.  Kinda hard to argue with those facts.  Once the placenta was delivered, clamped and cut, it was wrapped up and kept on ice until it was to be picked up by the woman making it into pills for me.  For more info on placenta encapsulation, you can read my post here.

The midwives got me all cleaned up and back into our freshly made bed while I watched them do Harrison's newborn exam.  Based off how he looked, I took a guess at his weight being 7 pounds 5 ounces.  I was completely shocked when they said he was 8 pounds 4 ounces!  Almost 3 whole pounds heavier than Selah had been!  Once they finished his exam, they handed him back to me where he went right to feeding and cleaned up any traces of evidence that a baby had just been born there.  2 hours after he'd been born, they left us to relax and spend time with the little guy.

I usually get one of 2 looks when I tell people that I had him at home: 'that's so awesome!' and 'you are freaking nuts'.  Having a natural delivery in a hospital is one thing...having a natural delivery at home is another that definitely isn't for everyone I realize.  You definitely have to have not only confidence in your midwife but also in yourself that you can do this.  Would I have a homebirth again?  Absolutely!.  The care I received during my pregnancy, during my labor and after he was born were so much better than what I got in a hospital.  I was relaxed, happy and not stressed and those 3 things can certainly help with recovery.  Despite Harrison being so much bigger than Selah was, I found that I actually recovered a lot quicker this time and didn't feel as banged up.  The things that bothered me the most were my sore stomach muscles from so much throwing up and the after contractions for the next couple days.  Yikes...those do not feel good and are way worse with your 2nd (and 3rd/4th/etc) kid.

A big thanks to my midwife, Perfect Gift Midwifery, and birth photographer, Another Look Photography, for some great images that I included a few of below.  Don't worry, nothing too graphic and consider yourself lucky that I'm showing you how rough I look ;)



Harrison : One Month Old

Holy cow...doesn't seem possible that Mr. Harrison arrived a month ago today.  He's been quite a blessing to us and aside from the obvious anatomy differences to big sister Selah, he's totally different from her.  He's looking more like me every day (from what I'm told by several people), which I find kinda humorous because whereas he came out with blond hair and looks like me, Selah had my afro-licious dark hair at birth but looked exactly like Dan.  He is pretty chill and really only gets upset when it's time to eat.  And boy can this kid eat!  In 2 weeks, he'd gained 2 pounds.  Each time he got weighed by either his pediatrician or my midwife, I got incredulous looks and exclamations of 'whoa'.  I'm really curious to see how much he weighs when I go in for my 6 week all-clear with the midwife in a couple weeks.  He was given the nickname of The Hulk when I was pregnant with him and it looks like he's definitely living up to it so far.  He's doing amazing at nursing and I'm pretty stoked that I am as well.  It was such a struggle for Selah and I so I'm pleased with each day that I can provide for the little man. 

Harrison definitely loves to be snuggled and held.  I'm more than okay with that because I can certainly tell you that this time goes by far too quickly.  When it comes to sleeping at night, he's been having some good stretches lately.  The last 3-4 nights have been awesome for me as he will go from about his last feeding at 9:30 and then wake up anywhere from 2:30-3:30.  That's like a vacation for mama!  I think he got my vibes of 'please be a good sleeper' while in the womb ;)  He's also much more serious than Selah was.  He always seems to have a furrowed, deep thinking brow going on.   I'm definitely more serious but here's hoping he picks up my dry, sarcastic (and sometimes inappropriate) sense of humor too.

Happy One Month little man...we love you!