Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Look Back at Emmy

Emmy joined the family 2 years and 8 days after Joshua. You'd think after the first experience I had with labor I'd be dreading those first moments of realization when the labor pains began. Nope. Not me. I was trying everything I could think of to get labor started. (except castor oil. Nooo castor oil for me, thanks.)

It had been quite the pregnancy from the get-go. You know, there was the normal nausea, exhaustion, that taste in your mouth that never goes away, all the fun things we all go through in early pregnancy.

And then the real fun started. First, it was this craving of ice that I couldn't shake off. After a while I just... gave in to it.

Just once.

Or twice.

Okay, I admit it. A few weeks after the cravings started I was known by name to the people at the gas station, who expected me on a very regular basis to come in and get a cup of ice, just ice, and walk back out with a wave.

At first they charged me a quarter for the cup.

They stopped doing that after I snarled at them a few times about how ridiculous that was. I think they felt bad for me, this very round lady with a toddler on her hip, fishing around the bottom of her purse for a quarter because the craving was so overwhelming I couldn't seem to walk back out of there and go home to make ice of my own.

Took too long, you know, to make ice in a tray.

I'd have to wait HOURS for that.

Talk about ridiculous.

Of course, most of the time I went to the grocery store and bought bags of ice and took them home all ready to eat straight from the freezer bag.

The thought of it now just makes my teeth hurt.

I talked to my midwife about the craving of ice and she wasn't too concerned about it. "Your bloodwork was fine!", she said cheerfully, and sent me on my merry way home... to chew on more ice.

Once my ice cravings were recognized and a plan of action put in place, I started realizing ice wasn't the only craving I had. On my rounds to the store and back on my little ice runs, I found I was really enjoying the summer air, the breeze through the open window, the peace and quiet as my son slept in his car seat in the back, and the wonderful smell of asphalt being freshly laid.

Oh yes. Asphalt.

Mmm... the smell of freshly laid asphalt. Sniffing the air as we drove back and forth, back and forth through the construction zones abounding in northern Michigan in the month of July...

Yeah. Weird, huh? Something was definitely off about the whole thing. At least I didn't want to EAT the asphalt though! Some women crave and EAT chalk while pregnant. Of course, I know now that cravings like that signal some sort of imbalance of chemicals and what not, but then I just took the word of my midwife that I must be fine and kept trucking on.

And eating my ice, of course.

When my mom showed up nearly two weeks before my due date ("Don't want to be late to the party like last time, dear!") she was a little shocked by the sight of me.

I admit, I was kind of... round. And big. But really, I'm not sure it warranted THAT kind of reaction.

"Lisa, your ankles are... HUGE!"

"Thanks, Mom."

"And your feet! Your feet are like SAUSAGES!! Look at your TOES!"

"Again. Thanks. I can't really see my feet down there, but I'll take your word for it."

"And why are you carrying around that cup of ice?!"

"Eh, I don't really know, but I'm almost out. Wanna go for a drive? I know of this construction site about 10 miles away we could check out..."

She was concerned. My midwife was not. I was just simply ready to be done. I was ready to be done, oh, about the time people started asking me when I was going to have that baby because "oh my goodness, you're so HUGE!" at 32 weeks.

I tried and tried to get labor started early. Nothing worked. Dilated to 3 for more than 3 weeks, one trip to L&D for a false alarm, and crying great crocodile tears of frustration at the weekly appointments when even the midwife's attempts to get things going failed to make progress.

Finally my due date came.

And then it went.

No baby. Now I was just crying in frustration in blustery outbursts at random intervals.

I woke up with contractions around 3 am and came downstairs to sit in the rocker and start timing them. They came and went, I rocked, I went for walks, I showered... and the contractions came and went and nothing fell into a discernible pattern. They went from 3 minutes to 7 minutes to 3 minutes to 20 minutes.

I was sure it was another false alarm and I'd go another week or two or maybe a month at the rate this was going.

I mean, for all I knew it wasn't really the real thing because although the pains were moderate, my water hadn't broken, which was one of the first signs of labor with Josh!

Finally, with tears of frustration, I took my midwife's advice and dosed myself with two Tylenol PM and went to bed.

Colby went to the church bonfire.

Two hours later when he came home he woke me up to check on me. I'd had contractions in between being passed out asleep, but none that were too terrible. When I got up from the bed to go use the bathroom, a contraction hit me and had me doubled over the side of the bed, trying to get my bearings and figure out how to breathe again.

"Wow." Colby said as he watched my eyes get that slightly crazy look to them.

30 seconds later another contraction hit me. I hadn't even made it around to the other side of the bed yet.

"Let's ROLL!" Colby yelled down the stairs to my mom. And ROLL we did!

I hardly had time to process anything as we went from house to truck to hospital to... yeah, I lost track after that of all that was going on. Next thing I knew I was in full panic mode, which I know now comes about 2 minutes before the need to push for me. I didn't even have TIME to think about wanting a water birth. I didn't have time to think about where and how I wanted to give birth or drugs for that matter - there was just this knowledge suddenly that I was in "the zone" and I wasn't about to move from the position I was in - even though it wasn't the most conducive to catching a baby. But we won't get into that.

Her birth was mercifully quick, despite the fact that she came out with her hand up next to her face.

They laid her immediately on my chest, cut the cord, suctioned her appropriately, and stepped back.

I looked down at my tiny little daughter. Okay, maybe not so tiny. Oh. Oh wow! She's kinda a big girl ain't she? I thought.

She looked up at me. And pooped.

On my bare skin, mind you.

And then she peed.

It was at this point I looked around for some "Help here, please!" and noticed that the nurses had ALL taken a step back from the bed.

What in the...?? I thought as I looked at the row of nurses, hands clasped nervously in front of them, looking askance at me holding my poopy baby. Well, one kind of had her hands a little outstretched as if this were excruciatingly difficult to have this 'hands off' approach.

She was the one who came rushing forward when I asked for help. Apparently they had all been warned before hand that I was a "homebirthing mama" and wanted as little intervention as possible.

Yeah. I may be a little crunchy here... but not THAT crunchy!! Please don't make me do the clean up too!

After she had relieved herself so thoroughly, they put her up on the scale.

9 pounds, 2 ounces. Everyone collectively turned and looked at me. 9 pounds?! Out of ME?!

"Did you know she was going to be THAT BIG?!" one of the nurses asked.

"Uh. No. No clue. The other midwife guessed somewhere around 6.5 lbs. a week ago." I answered.

Yeah, see?! I KNEW she wasn't a 6 pounder when I carried her around inside of me for that long! I wanted to say. Where's the phone? I'll call her up and tell her RIGHT NOW!

Ah well. At least I didn't KNOW she was a 9 pounder before I went into labor. It would have scared the bejeebers out of me.

Totally makes me have a whole new respect for our neighbor lady, who just gave birth this week to twin boys, 10 lbs. 1 oz, and 10 lbs. 3 oz. At home. With no drugs. Wow. I remember how incredibly miserable it was to carry around 9 pounds of baby inside me - 20 pounds of baby is just beyond what I can wrap my mind around!

I felt like a whole new woman after giving birth to Emmy. The relief was immense! But I finally had to come to terms with how messed up my hormones and chemical balance were when the baby blues hit me hard a few weeks later. I couldn't shake them off. I couldn't pull myself up by my bootstraps and get back to normal. It was hard, and looking back, I know it had a lot to do with all of those crazy things that went on during the pregnancy. Like smelling asphalt.

That little girl has been my challenge since before she was born, and she still is! But besides teaching me patience, patience, and more patience, she is also the bright shining light with the golden laughter and the spirit of adventure that takes us all to new places. I don't know what I'd do without her.

We survived those first few months, just in time to have another surprise thrown at us - a new pregnancy when Emmy was just 8 months old.

Oh boy.

But that's another story.

yep, she was a little chublik!

I couldn't believe all the hair she had! And then it fell out and turned blonde.

at 9 months

at 1 year old - yep, the fiery temper has pretty much always been there...

2 years old, what a cutie.

at 3 years old, my little butterfly!

Now she's 4 years old!


Anonymous said...

great story! I remember it well. Actually I don't remember her BM.. but I do remember your swollen ankles.. So, what does it mean if you crave ice? Love ya honey, Mom

Lisa said...

Craving ice and tar and some other things are generally indication that you are anemic. Guess I should have taken my prenatals a little more faithfully. :)


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