Thursday, May 29, 2008

the first party

hard working boys... being sweet and sharing. when does that change?the mamas with their may babies...
definately a book birthday! -- is there a better kind?

we celebrated on memorial day which was a few days before his actual birthday, but since he was born on memorial day last year it just felt right(i know it may take some people a minute to process that ;-)the weather was wonderful... a lot of our family was able to make it and elisha's little birthday buddies made it as well. the pound cake and peach cobbler was delicious if i do say so myself... and the birthday boy was in good spirits. so other than the moment where he was waving around a flaming finger(note: i didn't include that video) everything went off without a hitch... and even the whole burning candle stuck to his finger didn't seem to bother him at all. he just looked at all of us, as we were frantically grabbing his hand and sticking it in the closest sweet tea glass available, like 'whats the big deal'... holding him is like holding an octopus - we learned that you can't be holding him and be far enough from the candle for him to not reach and yet close enough to blow them out... all of you with curious babies under the age of one, keep this in mind for that first celebration!

this video is so funny to me. it is after the whole candle episode. elisha is looking at the cake and just about to die to get some... how did he get to be so dramatic? i think the pound cake and homemade ice cream lived up to his expectations... at least he told me they did, but he may have just been trying to be nice ;-)
speaking of being nice- andrew asked me if i wanted us to celebrate elisha's birthday as my day... we have a korean friend and in their culture your birthday is a time to celebrate your mother, spend the day with her, make her a cake etc.... i think it makes sense. we definately celebrated e and gave him a gift and cake etc. but andrew did give me a little present(some earings to match the necklace he gave me after e's birth) yesterday morning before we went and sang to elisha... thank you love!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

happy birthday dear elisha

exactly one year ago ...
i can't decide how to end this sentence.
definitely- my firstborn son made his entrance into the world( although this idea confuses me a little, because i think he was every bit as much alive and therefore "part of the world" when he was inside of me... andrew and i both think people should count years by conception dates rather than birthdays - its a more accurate measure of age... a baby who is a week past due really is not the same age as a baby born on the same day who is a month early)... at 8:41 pm via cesarean section.
birth should be beautiful. it is the entrance of a new life. it is the culmination of the rite of passage that makes a woman a mother. it is truly truly a beautiful wonderful thing. but in a way, to me it felt a bit like dying.
i immersed myself in information about birth; spent 12 weeks intensively studying how to do it naturally. i am a big baby. i am scared of pain. but i was facing my fear ... ready to just do it. to experience this thing. to be . to birth. (this may sound insane to most of you -- most people think it is a painful thing one should try to get through with the more pain killers the better....but i don't care this is my blog, and i can just put this out there if i want to... and maybe that will help me process everything and move on). i had scripture in my heart 'do not fear for i am with you do not be dismayed for i am your God... i will strengthen you and help you i will uphold you with my righteous right hand..." i was prepared to do this incredibly hard, incredibly scary, incredibly important thing. and it is important. i really do believe that your experience in birth can definitely set the tone for your mothering(we had a rocky start... it is hard enough to go into it at your best...).
i was past my due date. i had various other issues at play with regard to pressure from my dr. i did not want to be induced. i think babies know when it is time to be born. we were doing every trick in the book to try to get this baby to be ready w/ out pitocin(an induction drug)... i had contractions all weekend... didn't get but a few hours of sleep all weekend and then monday(memorial day last year) the real thing started- slow, predictable... 1am until maybe 6am things went along just as they should. i focused and relaxed and just let the contractions come and go. but then they started spacing out and i was asking andrew to put pressure on my lower back. i became more and more uncomfortable... this wasn't just contractions, this was back labor! that is when the hardest part of the baby's head- the back- is hitting the mother's tailbone. babies are supposed to be turned the other way... head looking toward the mother's butt, so to speak.
if you haven't experienced back labor... i can't even ... it just isn't something you can explain, except to say that it is unbearable. i had expected to go through labor 'one contraction at a time'. i was going through it one breathed prayer for mercy at a time.
we went to the hospital around noon. the one dr. in my practice that i really didn't want was the one on call. he had been delivering babies for 50 years. he said that he treated obstetrics like war- he looked for problems and fought them before they happened... this meant that he didn't see birth as a normal, healthy thing-- he saw it more as an illness... not as something a mother does--- something a doctor does. granted there are maybe 10 percent of births that are truly dangerous and a c-section is warranted... but the avg. is upwards of 30 percent and a lot of that is because of people with this mindset.
he took one look at me and said "she's going to need a section." {how do you like the thought of being sectioned? i think it is inhumane terminology} i was not in danger(pain mind you... but not danger) and elisha was not in danger so we kept fighting for more time... those hours are like a black hole to me. when you are laboring naturally you lose all sense of time. you are just doing it. breathing, being, and definitely praying. it really could've been days or minutes for all i knew or cared... i didn't have the leisure to notice. but it was hours. around 5:30? i got an epidural. i knew i had to get my wits about me to deal with this whole c-section thing that the dr. kept pushing. if i had to get a c- section i would have to get an epidural anyway. i was shaking ... epidurals make me shiver uncontrollably. i was still not dilated much. as to be expected, my contractions slowed down once i got the epi, so we had started the whole snowball of interventions. they put me on pitocin to get the contractions going again... they upped it... after countless times of my dr. telling me 'no real progress... we are going to have to section her" i had actually dilated all the way! he was willing to give me a try. i was so weak and exhausted that they told me to try to rest and let the pitocin push the baby down more because when it came to pushing him all the way i would need strength. after crying over what looked like was going be a c-section, i was as giddy as i could be(for as exhausted as i was)... a chance; i was at least going to have a chance to push him out. but after ?? an accurate timetable is really hard for me to figure out?? he came back in. he checked me. elisha still had not turned and since it would've been a tight fit anyway, having opimal position was key. he had not dropped much either. the dr. put his hands on elisha's head and tried to turn him himself, but to no avail.
the doc. dashes all my hopes so quickly. he said" she needs a section... or it will be an ugly forceps delivery, but the baby could get stuck and then have to be pushed back up and cut out anyway... he has been showing some signs of stress with some heart decelerations(which by the way are extremely common when you flood a baby with pitocin... usually just means you need to lay off on the drugs!).... well, let me know ... i think she needs a section... if you want a second opinion that's fine, but i'm doing a section!..... let me know now b/c i have the operating room scheduled for twenty minutes from now and we need to start prep" ...he is throwing all of this at us while we are constantly asking him to give us a minute... we need to talk about this, pray about it, process... but he wouldn't leave until we said a half way 'fine' to buy ourselves a second. andrew and i just looked at each other. we had been fighting this all day. i had been fighting this my whole life. the only thing more terrifying to me than having a giant needle stuck in my spine and left there was being cut open to have a baby pulled out.
it was a whirl wind. i remember staring at the ceiling of the hospital hallway as they wheeled me around. i was all alone, i had been shaven and now was stripped and laying on a cold metal table in a room full of people that i didn't know. men talking about me and scrubbing me, taping me off. i am shaking uncontrollably, partially because of the epidural, and partially because of the cold sterile room. blue blue blue everywhere... surgical blue... where as birth should be red ... and maybe green for life. i don't quite understand how elisha had not dropped low enough and yet he was low enough to require a nurse to push him back up while the c-section was performed.???
andrew was allowed in at the end when elisha was pulled out. we heard him screaming. i craned my head to catch a glimpse of him across the room... no one can ever describe what that moment is like when you first lay eyes on your child. it was a complete letting go of self. you know even more than you did at the beginning of this 'letting go"-- pregnancy and labor journey, that you will do absolutely ANY thing for this person...
there i was laid out on the operating table (andrew had gone with elisha to the nursery to oversee the whole bathing, measuring, etc) i was catching bits of concern in the doctor's voices(turns out oops-they cut through my cervix instead of my uterus-- he later tried to make it seem like it was my fault "for insisting on laboring for so long"... really he was just too old and it was getting late for him--- sorry for the bitterness in my voice)... i could feel my body being moved around... but i was numb, so i couldn't really feel it. i was more exhausted than is possible... it was all i could do to not fall asleep.... which considering the utmost drama of the occasion, is saying a lot!
i felt so keenly that death is how we get life. i don't at all want to be taken as blasphemous, but i felt a bit like Christ crucified there on the feared table, stripped of everything. all of that for a life. and it was worth it.

-there are so many other details, and so many other ways to tell that story. this is the first time i have written it all out. there are sweet things, like how elisha stopped crying the instant andrew started talking to him b/c he recognized his voice.... countless other precious things about my darling son. but, just as this is his first birthday... it is the anniversary of my first giving birth day as well and i guess i just needed to get this out. i made elisha a book with photos of the day to read to him every year and i struggled so much with how to present this birth- which was not what i want him to think of first when he thinks of how babies are born.

- disclaimer- i know there maybe a few people who might read this and be scared out of getting pregnant... or may be pregnant and now be terrified that this will be your story.... (or God forbid- you have dealt with things much worse than this -- i know that this is not in the same universe as losing a child) we each have our own story that God is writing with our lives. he will bring you through your trails; he has brought me through mine... i feel like i died and came back again.... but i am back again and hoping that he uses this story he wrote in my life for a great purpose.
i'm having a lot of misgivings about publishing this post... i would say it definitely classifies as intimate. but i guess i see it as a story God wrote and what good can it do if people can't read it. we are called to be vulnerable. to be a picture of sacrificial love. sacrificing self.... i am not who i want you to think i am ... i am who he has written me to be, and i may as well have out with it.
-that being said, i feel like this a pretty personal conversation and i think it would be nice to know with whom i am having this conversation...

pictures of the birthday boy, video of cake eating... and another ultra long post with all my recommended sources i found helpful for this first year on the job... all comng soon. i promise!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

am i a nerd?

in light of my last post about my library books... i'm wondering if i am a nerd?
i'm so engrossed in my book about scientific gender differences! i can't help but share facts i have learned about all sorts of things with people... sometimes even strangers. do jr. high categories of nerdiness still exist... if people do still think in those terms, haven't they realized the correlation between nerdiness and interesting, fun, well spoken, intentional, creative(and maybe even financially rewarded) people? i don't know... i'm really just venting a little b/c some one's off hand comment about my tendency to research made me feel insecure about being a dork... now how ridiculous is that? (that's not rhetorical-- i need some encouragement here)

Monday, May 19, 2008

library trip

elb and i went to the library last week... while we didn't find very many baby books, we did bring home a handful of helpful books.

- baby read-aloud basics- the stats are amazing... did you know that the number of words your child hears before the age of 2 is a huge determiner of success in school?*i want to add that this is not my #1 goal --it is to give the love of books and learning* this book was great for teaching how to read (and what to read) to different age babies depending on their developmental stage. it also gave some helpful hints as to how to create a language rich home with a "reading nest" and activities other than tv... i am about to start working on a homemade book about e's birthday. they pointed out that homemade books don't have to be elaborate... can take less than 30 minutes, yet will be loved b/c they will fit your child and their world perfectly!

-taming the spirited child: strategies for parenting challenging children without breaking their spirits- i think this book has some very helpful points... you may be thinking "your son is only 1... aren't you jumping the gun?" i am always researching for the next step; i guess i find that it helps me avoid problems before they start (if at all possible) and i have already had some hints that some small spanks to the hand will help with training elisha. well, my 'mother's intuition' is that my son's personality wouldn't be phased by some small spanks and what am i to do? keep upping the ante until i am leaving marks? well- that classifies as abuse, and i am afraid (with the way he already imitates my every move) that it will just teach him to hit... i think it could get a little hairy when i am hitting him for hitting me! ---sooo i am happy to find that there are many methods of effective 'discipline' that i can use raising e that won't send child services my way ;-) .... i love that making sure your child gets a good night of sleep is near the top of the list! --- the whole question of 'to spank or not to spank' is one that i am really researching and trying to figure out---

***-why gender matters: what parents and teachers need to know about the emerging science of sex differences- i haven't read very much of this yet, but what i have scanned looks fascinating - did you know that male and female brain tissue are intrinsically different?!
edited: i HIGHLY recommend this book to EVERYONE. fascinating and incredibly helpful in understanding the opposite sex... and evidence based. the only part i don't like is his treatment of the homosexual issue, i think it was very lacking in scientific foundation etc... i now own a copy, and have one on loan... somewhere.***

i am proud of myself for going to the library instead of's used book section... hopefully i'll return them on time and they won't cost me anything!

-- elisha was having a ball with his friend machen in the red wagon last weekend!--

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

walk like a man

andrew told me that elisha wanted him to ask what i wanted for mother's day... i told him some things that would be nice. i was so thrilled to have breakfast in bed and a new cushion for our wicker love seat outside... but it seemed that elisha actually had his own idea about a mother's day gift....

he walked on his own for the first time! i'm so glad that he waited for a perfect occasion and he did it in front of his grandparents along with his parents! we were so happy that they got to share that special moment with us.

elisha is an extremely fast crawler so it may be a while before he makes the switch over to walking, but at least we know that he can.

i wish i could post a video of it.... but i can't. instead i'm posting a pic of my sweet boy asleep... boy oh boy is this a rare sight! he looks so precious curled up on his beloved 'duck duck'.

Monday, May 5, 2008

pictures of elb @ 11 months

BubbleShare: Share photos - Find great Clip Art Images.

otis' 3rd birthday!

well, it is my dear dog's birthday this lovely cinco de mayo... we are headed off on a family walk. otis received a brand new leash for his birthday (his has been missing for a while) as well as a stuffed chipmunk toy and some chicken flavored milk bones. deli turkey is one of his ultimate favorites so i'm hoping the chicken flavor will somehow be as good?

these are some pictures we love of our dog that we love.

Friday, May 2, 2008

sling use instructions -- kangaroo carry

the kangaroo carry is a great way to carry your baby facing outward. this carry can be used with babies who have good head control. it can also be done with a pouch sling.begin by adjusting the fabric through the rings to create a pouch with a wall of fabric against your body.

hold your baby up against your body with their back to you. cross the baby's feet.
hold their feet and body with one hand as you open the pouch of the sling with the other hand. settle the baby's bottom down into the sling.
gather the excess fabric around to the rings. tighten by lifting the fabric of the tail up and pull out. then pull the fabric down to lock it into the rings.
there you are. these special moments sure beat using a stroller!

sling use instructions - hip carry

these are instructions for a hip carry. you should wait until your baby has good head control and can sit up before using this carry. the 'tummy to tummy' carry is similar and can be used for babies with head control that can't sit up yet... both carry styles will be great for duration of the time you use your sling (until ~35 lbs).

start this carry (and all others as well) by making a pocket with your sling. pull the inner rail (edge) tight to form a wall of fabric against your body... but not too tight b/c for this carry you will be putting your baby's feet between the sling and your body. you tighten it more once your baby is in the sling.
lift you baby up on your shoulder opposite the rings in a high burp position. then, put your hand up between the sling and your body and grab you baby's feet to pull them through.
continue supporting your child's weight as you spread the fabric under their bottom and up their back.
then lean forward a little as you settle him into a sitting position in the sling. be sure to have your child's bottom below his knees... this insures he is sitting in the sling and will not slip out. tighten if you need to, to be sure their weight is above your belly button... this will be more comfortable as it distributes the weight. note how the rings have moved down my shoulder toward my baby. to adjust the rings back up to a corsage position simply lift your baby's weight from inside the sling fabric as you slide the sling around to get the rings away from you baby with you other hand.
be sure to tighten the sling so that your baby is snug against you. pull excess fabric around toward the rings and lift the top rail (edge) of fabric on the tail up and out and then down to lock the fabric in the rings.
there you are! sure beats holding that baby up with just your arm and hip!
to get the baby out of the sling -- lift up their weight with one hand as you separate the rings to loosen the fabric. it is a good idea to only loosen it enough to pull your baby up and out... that way it will be close to the right tightness for next time you put your baby in the same way.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

sling use instructions-- putting the sling on

before you put your ring sling on each time, make sure the fabric is not twisted through the rings. spread the fabric through the rings and be sure to have the edges 'rails' on either side to ease adjustments.
the ring sling can be worn on either side. be sure to have the rings in front and slip your arm through the sling.
pull the sling over your head to your opposite shoulder.
position the rings so that they are just in front of your shoulder - about where you would pin a corsage. you should start with them higher than i have pictured here, because as you put your baby in the sling the rings tend to slide down.
be sure to spread the fabric out and have it cupping your shoulder. this will evenly distribute the weight so that there are no pressure points.

be sure the fabric is spread out over your back and not twisted.
another tip for wearing comfort is to be sure your baby's weight is above your belly button.

sling use instructions-- back carry

these are directions for a back carry in a ring sling... a similar carry can be done in a pouch sling as well. this carry is for toddlers.
start from a hip carry (see 'hip carry' instructions). have the rings higher on your shoulder than normal.
lift your child's weight with the arm opposite the rings. use the other hand to pull the rings around as you shift the child to your back.
leaning forward to adjust can be helpful...
now tighten the rings and if you choose you can wrap the tail around the rings in a sort of a knot... now you are hands free!
(whenever you are doing a new carry have a spotter on hand to help assist you. a mirror can also be very helpful to get things just right)