my girls, day 4

oh, where to start? has it really only been four days? somehow i feel like she's always been here with us, like the birth was part of a whole previous life. and i guess both those things are true in a way. so here she is, sweet lovely hazel, and i can't even believe how blessed i am to have these two children. life is so amazing...

we're all doing well. i feel fine, really -- i get tired easily and feel a bit achy from time to time, but i have a hard time believing i was pregnant and gave birth four days ago. i had very little bleeding with the birth or since, which i'm sure is a big part of why i feel good (that and the fact that i've been home the whole time! i think having to change locations can really take it out of a person, especially if you have to spend much time in a hospital where their secondary goal seems to be to ensure you never sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time).

eva seems to be adjusting quite well thus far. she seemed so excited and proud to get to see her baby sister's birth, and immediately started trying to soothe hazel by singing her songs and stroking her hair... so sweet. sure, eva's been a bit out of sorts this week, but i think that's as much due to general commotion and change in routine as it is to anything else. she asks to hold hazel a couple times a day, and earlier today as she held her, she sang this song to "her baby" (as hazel began to make a few noises and root around): "oh hazel, your breastmilk is coming pretty soon, i know you are hungry... but i have to snuggle you first and we also love you too..." then when larry began to bring hazel over to me (after eva agreed it was time), eva said to her, "i love you so much and i'm glad that i have you in my family." oh! this hormonal mama just about melted (and i was glad i had a pen handy to furiously scribble all that down).

and hazel... oh my sweet baby. she's doing so well for someone so new to this world. she's a very content, peaceful baby (for now, i know these things can change :). she basically nurses and sleeps, with charming periods of quiet alert newbornness in between. at this early point in her life, if she cries, that means she's about to burp (or poo), and as soon as that's done, she drops right back off to sleep or goes back to nursing. she's also been tricking her papa with lots of those triple diaper changes, where even when he waits until it really seems she's done, she'll fill the clean diaper within moments of it going on. it's kind of comical from my position across the room, possibly less so to him, say, in the middle of the night.

it's so nice, we're so much more laid back this time around. that's largely the second baby effect, but it's also due to not being influenced by the medical model of baby care this time. with eva, we wrote down the time, side, and duration of every nursing session, tracked her poos and pees, took her temperature every few hours, and swabbed her cord with alcolhol at every diaper change. with hazel, we haven't done one of those things, and it's so nice to save that mental energy for something else -- like just enjoying gazing at her. i hope this early trend of being more calm and present in the moment persists. that's my goal, anyway.

for the data junkies: at 48 hrs, hazel weighed 6 lbs 10 oz (meaning she had lost about 5% of her birth weight), and now at 4 days, she weighs 7 lbs 2 oz, above her birth weight already! i'm not surprised she's back over her birth weight quickly (eva did the same), but i am a bit surprised that she gained 8 oz in 48 hrs. (if you couldn't guess, my milk arrived on day 2 and she's been nursing like a champ since then...)

so here i sit, cabbage in my bra, spit-up from three separate incidents covering my shirt (the second of the day), needing a shower (and a nap, i'm sure), with laundry in stacks and toys everywhere... but deleriously happy. at some point, the fatigue will catch up with me and i'll crash and wonder what the hell i've gotten myself into, but for now, we're soaking it all up.



hazel, originally uploaded by kelanew.

welcome sweet baby...

yesterday, may 23 2008 (our tenth anniversary) at 3:31 p.m., we welcomed hazel into our family. she was born at home in water, and the birth was witnessed by eva and my mom as well as larry, two friends, and two midwives. she's a bit bigger than her sister was, measuring in at 7 pounds even and 20 inches.

more details later, but the labor and birth went smoothly and we are so pleased to have had a beautiful home birth. such a peaceful way to welcome our new daughter into our family.

we're all doing well (if a bit tired), eva is thrilled as can be, often checking on hazel and comforting her with kisses and songs. we look forward to introducing her to more family and friends over the coming days and weeks.

(if you like, click through on the above photo to see more photos on my flickr site.)



work in progress

larry's on bedtime duty tonight, and i can hear eva upstairs singing the end of the ABCs, and a moment later, squealing. she's sort of hyped up this evening, which is either due to the chocolate milk (that she only gets while grocery shopping) or just a reaction to the general mood around here. something's definitely afoot, and i'm sure she can tell.

i'm a bit surprised (though for no logical reason) to still be pregnant the evening before my due date. a week ago i had some signs that i was pretty sure were the real deal, but turns out i was just a bit sick, not laboring. since then, after the anticlimactic dip wore off, i've again found it hard to believe that this baby will in fact come out of me at some point. that part doesn't quite seem real. and so i think, did i feel this way last time? no, of course not, i never had the chance to consider such things. eva came early and under such a flurry of activity and changing of plans, i never got in my head about the whole thing. this time, for better or worse, i've been given that opportunity.

at a certain point, a pregnant woman at term is supposed to feel done. i still don't know that i feel "done" (despite all logic! i'm plenty uncomfortable, what with the various indignities of pregnancy sneaking up on me these days), but i guess i'd have to say i'm feeling "ready". i've done most of what i wanted to do around the house (like find the newborn clothes and pull out diapers -- even for a procrastinator, it seems prudent to get around to such tasks prior to birth), i've put myself into the headspace for birth as fully as possible, i've even bought the necessary ingredients for the chocolate birth-day cake i hope to bake during early labor. i'm anxious to meet the baby and find out who it is in there, i'm anxious to stop waiting and move forward. that said, i feel like i could be happy being pregnant for much longer. i like it, and i probably won't get the chance again. but this anxious feeling will probably slowly migrate over into the realm of "impatient", which i think is what being "done" is all about. i'm ready any time now, though.

the photo at the top is a montage of eva's very first haircut a bit over a week ago. she was thrilled with it, and smiled the whole time. i knew she'd be comfortable since she has been going with me to see jennifer since she was a baby, but i didn't know she'd love it so much. despite it being a bit shorter than i had hoped for (oh well it'll grow), it's much more manageable now and looks nicer in general.

below is a photo of the birth flags eva and i did, to add to the string of them done by my friends at my blessingway. a more complete description is on flickr (if you click through on the photo), but the centerpiece of eva's is a drawing of panowah inside my uterus, complete with amniotic fluid and an umbilical cord. and hair. everyone has green hair. oh, also, she's riding a skateboard, apparently.

my mom arrives day after tomorrow. so, baby, come out any time now... there'll be one more person around who is very anxious to meet you.

birth flags



my blessingway was on sunday. this is a tradition among my group of friends, a way of honoring the mother who is about to welcome a new baby. in contrast to a traditional baby shower, it's less about the baby and gifts (and balmex, oh that commercial is annoying, isn't it?) and more about the mother and her transition and also about the birth itself.

i've been thinking for a few days how i might describe it, and i don't know if i really can. it was empowering and i felt incredibly supported as i leap into the unknown of life with a second baby. it's really something to feel that connection not only to my circle of mama friends, but also with women in general... say, maybe, the 300,000 who will be having babies the same day i do. (having a baby is this crazy mix of life-changing and kind of mundane, at least on a broader scale. weird.)

last friday, my friends surprised me with a trip downtown to get henna on my belly, and as you can see above, they all got their hands done. i absolutely love my henna, i think it's really beautiful. i can imagine looking at in labor, letting it ground me and bring my focus back where it needs to be.

we also generally do some sort of offering to the mother, something assembled or crafted by each of us, offered up with some words of support for labor and beyond. i was given a prayer flag, with one panel from each person, along with three blank panels for larry, eva, and i to complete later. eva just drew hers, i'll get a photo up on flickr at some point -- it includes panowah in my uterus along with amniotic fluid. cute, right? it also includes her riding a skateboard (what?!) and the dog "swimming in water at gram's house". so, it's a mix of accurate and befuddling.

and if that wasn't enough, there was more -- a food tree to begin after the baby is born, candles to be lit by each person when i go into labor, an amazing and beautiful homemade cake. the best part, though, was having that time to spend with my friends (both on friday and sunday) before life gets a bit more crazy.

i was hearing some concerns that i might go into labor before the blessingway... and i kept thinking "what are you talking about? i'm nowhere near having this baby!" (you know, despite all... logic. and reality, and that sort of thing.) well, somehow now that the blessingway is over, and the fact that the next day i hit 38 weeks, suddenly i'm feeling like, yes, i could actually have a baby at some point here. at 38 weeks, i'm officially more pregnant than i've ever been before (and oddly, have gained to the pound the same amount of weight i gained with eva).

so now i feel like i can have a baby, but i still don't know that i will imminently. i'm perfectly happy being pregnant -- in fact, i think i'll need to get over that before the baby will be born. this is likely my last pregnancy, and despite the difficulties i had a few months ago, i like being pregnant. i'm sure i'll feel done at some point as time progresses, but for now, i'm content to wait. don't get me wrong, i'm excited to meet the baby, very much so. but i guess (at least for now) i'm willing to be patient. so unlike me! maybe this portends well for my ability to be more in the moment this time, to not try to rush through always to the next stage. that's my hope anyway, to really treasure these fleeting moments that are gone too soon.

all of that said, there's some crazy stuff going on in there right now, so who knows. maybe the baby will be here sooner than i think. i have a history of being too dismissive about such things. :)