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Sunday, August 11th, 2013
2:37 am - Elizabeth's birth story
Elizabeth Catherine was born at home, July 20, 2013 just before
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<lj-cut="long>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Elizabeth Catherine was born at home, July 20, 2013 just before
<lj-cut="long birth story here">
Elizabeth was due August 7, 2013. I knew my dates as I had been carefully tracking my cycles prior to becoming pregnant with her. We planned a homebirth with a lovely CPM who had worked with us through two prior miscarriages. In May and June, we discussed our intent to go camping the weekend of July 11-14. It was an annual SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event, Great Northeastern War. I started going to it in 2004, and didn't want to miss it. I would be 36 weeks pregnant. My midwife was uncomfortable with the idea, but the event was under three hours from our house. I promised to stay hydrated and head home if anything happened.

Our weekend passed pleasantly. Upon returning home Sunday afternoon, I started having looser and looser bowel movements. A little of that is normal for me (because who really wants to have loose poops in a port-a-potty). And then it continued, after almost every time I ate and with each trip to pee until Wednesday afternoon. I had gone to town to run some errands and go swimming to avoid the heat. It was near 90 degrees and I had had mild contractions every 15 minutes when dehydrated on Tuesday. There had been a few on Wednesday, but I wasn't keeping track. I went pee before changing into my swimsuit, and wiped away a huge, bloody chunk of mucus plug.

I called Matt (my husband), decided to do some last minute shopping and skip the swim. I debated calling Chris (our midwife). I knew I would tell her, but I had an appointment scheduled for four hours later. I eventually decided to give her a heads up so she knew before she came out for our home visit. The home visit had been postponed from the previous week due to her midwifery partner's personal life. I was 37 weeks exactly, and Chris was excited that things were happening. After shopping, I went home and Matt and I frantically cleaned our house. Chris called back around 5, postponing our appointment until 10 am, as she had another birth to attend.

Thursday arrived, and so did Chris. Matt returned from his overnight at work. I had continued to have contractions, so she checked me before deciding to go to her day's appointments in town. I was at 1 cm and 50% effaced. Yay, I thought. Things are happening, but I wish they were more productive. She told me to call off work as this was going to happen (I work weekends and wanted to give as much notice as possible before my shift started Friday afternoon). Chris called to check in after her appointments in town. There had been a few contractions, but nothing too exciting. I was at my neighbor's house walking the dog when she called. Immediately, I started having slightly stronger contractions, still 15-20 minutes apart and fairly mild. She called to check on me twice that evening, and each time, the contractions got more consistent after her call. She told me to call her if they got five minutes apart. So, in the middle of the night, I did. She came out with another midwife she works with (her usual partner was unavailable), and checked me out. She could only tell once when I had a contraction while she was present, and I was only 3 cm, but more thinned out. They decided it was too early, and went home for the night. Chris promised to call in the morning.

Through the early morning hours of Friday, I started having some painful contractions, and decided to sit and rock through some of them rather than lie down as it was more comfortable. I let Chris know when she called, and she suggested I call at dinner time again to see if things picked up as the sun went down. She also instructed me to take a nap and a walk. I was able to nap for an hour and a half, and went for a walk with my husband and dog. I had so much trouble deciding what to wear as it was hot, and all the contractions were being felt in the front, low on my abdomen (which is exactly where my skirts all hit). I ended up wearing a loose, linen undertunic. I had contractions throughout the walk, and it was easier to walk through them than stand still, so I did. Matt handled the dog. I updated Chris at the appointed hour (about 6:45). I told her I couldn't play timed video games any more. She told me the less comfortable positions were most productive, so to use those for a while. She wanted an update in a couple of hours, and wanted me to time contractions. I assured her I would, and would call when Matt woke up from his nap before work.

My update at 9 was contractions averaging a minute and a half long and give or take five minutes apart. Grudgingly, I sent Matt to work for the night and tried to make some dinner (a light chicken, broccoli, and scallion stir fry). I found it difficult to cut chicken when each time I would go to start a contraction would start. Immediately after my talk with Chris, the contractions jumped to between three and four minutes apart (averaging closer to four, based on the contraction timer app I was using). So, at ten, I told her four minutes apart. I had a few contractions while on the phone with her and though it was hard to remember all the words, I was able to carry on a fairly normal conversation. She said it sounded like active labor was beginning and to call when I wanted her. Right after I got off the phone with her, they jumped to four minutes long with half a minute between. I thought of calling her, but I didn't want to call her right away. Eventually, I tried to lie down to rest.

That didn't happen. A big contraction started as I lay down, so I sat up and rested over a pile of pillows on my lap instead. After seven minutes of the same contraction, I felt a thump, asked the baby what it did, felt another pop, followed by a gush at 11:38pm. The contraction had some ebbs and flows, but didn't let up. Four minutes after my water broke, I remembered the when to call the midwife sheet said to call within five minutes of waters breaking. By that time I realized I wasn't going to get a good break in which to call her. So I finally called and told her my water broke and I was sitting in a puddle. She asked if it was clear (it was), and told me to change my sheet and put a chuck pad under myself. I had to go downstairs to get the pad out of the birth box. I called my husband at work and let him know. His boss was supposed to stay around for when he got called home, but he told me she had gone home to work on the notes (they had just started a new method of notes at work on Friday). When he told me her name, I kept thinking he was calling to his boss in another room, so I tried to tell him it wasn't that much of a hurry.

So I made my phone calls and did as Chris had instructed (putting a towel between my legs so I wouldn't drip while I did so), and sat briefly on the pad before things got really intense. I had to stand up, sway, do hip circles, and moan through this never ending contraction. I also kept looking out the window waiting for people. I even sent my best friend (whom I had been updating) a text letting her know it had gotten intense (sent at 12:21 am -it took me a while to type that one out, though). I realized the baby was coming sooner rather than later and started asking it to wait for Daddy and the midwife.

Just before 12:30, I started feeling like I had to poop. I wondered if it was poop or a baby, so I gave a tiny push (kind of like how if there is a giant fart and you push to see if it is a poop or a fart). No poop, just baby that time. My body started into a squat on its own and making a different noise then. For some reason, I went downstairs and tried to go back up to my bedroom then. Once I got downstairs, my body started involuntarily pushing in earnest. I got about three steps up the stairs again before I held onto the railing to keep myself from collapsing on the stairs. I told the baby not on the stairs, not on the carpet. I could feel her head coming down. We have oriental rugs and I didn't want them to get soiled. I knew if I stopped moving the baby would be born right there. I made my way to the bathroom (stopping in the living room for another involuntary push while standing/crouching over the rug- not here baby, not in here). I sat on the toilet and let my body push. I was somewhat amazed that even though the sound I heard coming from myself sounded like retching, there was no impulse to vomit.

I felt the baby's head move down and heard or felt myself tear. Crap, I tore, I said. I put a hand to my crotch and couldn't feel where I tore. I could feel the baby's head. I kept my hand there to support its head and my perineum. The nose felt so funny coming out after all the smooth top of the head. As she finished coming out, I brought her to my lap and held her in my arms. She started squeaking right away and was covered in vernix. My dog and cats all heard the baby and tumbled into the bathroom. They very quickly realized they were close to each other (yikes, I am touching you, and the dog) and after a small cat fight, the four legged ones all tumbled back out of the bathroom. Right then the midwife walked in the door (about 1 am). She came right into the bathroom and started looking her over in my arms. Chris let me look between her legs first to see that she is a girl. A minute after the midwife got there, my husband also arrived.

We made a slow train up the stairs to our bedroom. Me holding Elizabeth and Chris holding chux pads under me. The placenta detached about twenty minutes after Elizabeth came out, and Chris had me give a little push to expel the placenta. The placenta was rounded from the top of my uterus and was also heart shaped. Chris examined Elizabeth and me, and stitched me up. My labia had torn (ouch. Ice packs to the crotch are a wonderful thing. Lidocaine gel is also a wonderful thing.). We tried to get Elizabeth to latch on (she barely did, even with help). Around 4:30 am, Chris left us and we slept (it took me another hour to fall asleep). Elizabeth weighed 5 pounds and was 18 inches long, with a head circumference of 12 inches. Her head was very cone shaped upon her birth, but rounded out within an hour or two. I didn't have any truly newborn sized diapers to go in the covers, so Elizabeth was put into a washcloth used as a cloth diaper (thankfully I had just bought a large package of soft washcloths so I would be sure to have all the items on the homebirth kit list).
</LJ-cut>

(2 paintings | paint for me)

Monday, March 18th, 2013
5:53 pm
I am roasting a turkey and root vegetables, and it is making my house smell so good. Also, Matt felt the baby move today! I'm 20 weeks along now. I've been able to feel it move for two months now. I've just started to be able to feel its punches, too. As long as baby keeps growing and I stay healthy, I will be happy. Well, a new mattress to help me sleep better would be good, too.

(paint for me)

Friday, February 1st, 2013
10:19 pm
Wow. I guess I never post anymore. I'm pregnant again. This one has gotten throough the first trimester and is growing well according to the ultrasound I had on Monday. The baby is due in early August.

(1 painting | paint for me)

Sunday, September 16th, 2012
11:41 am
I haven't posted in a while. My phone is not conducive to typing anything of substance. I have had two miscarriages this year. I have been told I am allergic to eggs. I got a dog. I need to work on her recall. She doesn't like when I leave her at home when I work 16 hour days. I want to train her for search and rescue. Work is frustrating. I wants to find a new job, one where I work days so I get evenings and weekends off. This country has abysmal maternity leave laws, so trying to get pregnant and trying to find a new job shouldn't happen at the same time but I'm not known for making my life easier.

(1 painting | paint for me)

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
10:27 am
I need a dog. My local humane society has nothing of interest. We want a Bernese mountain dog mix. We have a goat cart that we would like it to pull. So it will have a job.

(paint for me)

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
11:20 pm - menstrual products

It's been ten years since I learned about menstrual cups, and I ordered my first one Tuesday. I used to use pads as my mom used them and my period was irregular so I didn't use many. My period became regular when I started dating my husband. Then I got married and had a Mirena IUD inserted. My period went away until I had it removed. My mother-in-law gave me a stash of tampons, and I started to use them, but I quickly got pregnant and had a miscarriage. Now that I've been menstruating for a couple months and my stash is depleted, I finally ordered a cup! (really it was two sizes of the same brand). I am so excited I was bouncing off the walls yesterday. I can hardly wait for them to arrive.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

(paint for me)

Friday, December 23rd, 2011
12:53 am - Miska


the cat we found last winter wasn't Miska. The neighbors have mentioned seeing an orange cat around, but before today, we hadn't seen it. This morning I came home to a cat party: my black cat, one neighbor's black cat, a different neighbor's cream and white cat, and this orange cat. This orange cat has rings on his tail, like Miska had (I'm going to check old pictures); we haven't gotten a good enough look to see the head markings. Matt saws the same kitty this evening, too. He set food out for it.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

(paint for me)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
3:48 pm

Last summer I took out my IUD, got pregnant. This fall I had a miscarriage.  Now, it's a wait and see. I'd like a kid (and a dog). this gives us more time to get the house ready.

(paint for me)

Friday, July 29th, 2011
10:48 am
We leave for Pennsic on Monday afternoon. I am very excited, but I have had very low energy levels this week. Matt doesn't drive my car, so this could be a very slow trip.

(1 painting | paint for me)

Friday, May 13th, 2011
12:05 am
I went to Sing Thing tonight and had a great time; now the song "Welcome to the Current Middle Ages" is stuck in my head. There are worse fates :)

(paint for me)

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
1:11 am - Miska's adventures
Miska"sCollapse )

(3 paintings | paint for me)

Saturday, February 19th, 2011
4:14 pm - insurance
We saw the new insurance plan at work yesterday. For me to buy medical insurance for my husband and myself would cost two-thirds of my weekly paycheck in premiums. It would entirely cover routine visits (but I only go once a year for birth control and Matt never goes even if he should). If we needed something major, the deductible for a family is 10k. The premiums add up to over 10k/year. If we were to need lots of care, I would have to spend my entire annual income before taxes before the insurance would cover anything. This does not seem right. Tuesday I will apply for MaineCare.

(2 paintings | paint for me)

Thursday, January 13th, 2011
5:10 pm
Do I need a new stove, or just want one? This stove came with our house. It is all electric (coil) it has three little burners and one big one. The oven runs hot. The little burners frequently don't get hot- they will be a little warm even when set to high. Sometimes one burner wont get hot then I switch the pan to another burner (which will be able to boil water) but the next day different burners will work. There is also no window in the oven and I would really like to have a second big burner. I like the electric coils because there is no gas at this house so i'm not having a gas line/tank just for a stove (though I say the same thing about tankless hot water heaters and it's hard to find an electric tankless hot water heater). I don't want a smooth top because they are so annoying to keep clean and looking nice (my parents have one and I don't like how it's aged) it would cost about$ 350 for a new one. The coils I have never get red which concerns me. I wonder if just replacing the coils would work or if something is wrong with the internal wiring.

(paint for me)

Saturday, January 8th, 2011
1:40 am
I bought shoes today- Keen hikers. They are low top so they look like normal shoes, but have added ventilation. I feel like my house is a mess. I need to do dishes, put away clean laundry, sweep, vacuum, dust. I don't have to work until Monday, so I should make time this weekend. I'm tired and should go to bed, but I'm waiting for Matt to get up and get more pellets, but he's taking forever because he has a headache.

So he got up, and while going downstairs, stepped on Mama Cat's paw. She yowled which woke up Big Cat, who looked all concerned at her (very funny as he will usually growl if she's too close).

We finally finished the garbs we did for someone over the summer. Yay! Now we can work on our own stuff again. On that thought, we need to adjust the bobbin tension on our sewing machine. I want to make a straw tick for our bed and linen sheets and skirts with pockets.

I need to replace my stove as its three little burners alternate which ones work. My washer/dryer needs a heating element or just to be replaced, but it stopped squeaking while spinning when I threatened to replace it. We also need to get working on everything we need to do before refinancing the house this summer. Matt needs a shop saw to finish the railing, so he wants to buy that before continuing. He also needs a truck, but what we want costs two to three times what I want to spend.

(paint for me)

Sunday, December 19th, 2010
7:26 am
I went down to my parents' this week and went bra shopping as all of mine are worn out and don't fit anymore. They don't fit because I gained 20 pounds last year and it made me gain two cup sizes. Some of them also irritate my skin because of the elastics. I found that I am ok with some lace -yeaterday I wore a new all-lace bra for 15 hours before it made me itchy at all. The combination of cup size and sensitive skin concerns me slightly. If I ever get pregnant, will I be able to find a bra I can wear? Right now I wear a 36G in most brands. I shouldn't worry about it

(paint for me)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
11:08 pm
My big cat figured out how to open the kitchen door, went out, and came back 45 minutes later with a mousehe'd killed. Smart kitty. Silly that he used to be called Stupid.

We played on the Kinect all evening last night and some this afternoon, and my muscles are definitely feeling it.

(paint for me)

Monday, November 22nd, 2010
11:56 pm
Today I bought an xbox kinect. Wow. It came with kinect Adventures and that silly game got my heart rate up and muscles working more than they have in a while. A little sad, perhaps, but it's way easier to get your whole body moving than with the wii. It doesn't feel as stupid because you can't cheat it-there's a camera and it really follows your actions well.

(paint for me)

Friday, November 19th, 2010
4:23 am - New Orleans
I won a trip to a conference for work in New Orleans next April. In addition to whatever conference topics I attend, what cultural things should I do/ places should I go?

(paint for me)

Friday, October 8th, 2010
5:54 am - holy mackerel
After nearly four years at my current job, I gave my 30 day notice last night. I have been skimming the classifieds on occasion for years and finally found something that looked good (working with kids, pays better than my current job, I meet qualifications). I found the ad a couple weeks ago in the weekend paper, emailed my resume the next wednesday, got a call the next monday to set up an interview the next monday (that would be this past monday). At the interview they said I'd hear by friday, and tuesday I got a call that pending background checks I had a job offer, which I accepted. I waited until the next day (yesterday, wednesday) to fill out the releases because I had a cold (feeling better now and was just coming down with it by my interview). So I gave my notice even though my boss is out sick this week. The program director said he'd cry. I don't like change, so it's a little crazy feeling. I'm excited, though because I'll be working with kids in their homes and making more money. I do orientation next Thursday. My coworkers were debating on whether or not they want my shift, which was fun this evening. I'm going to be hard to replace because I've been around so long that I've been training the shadowers and pulling the slack when my boss is unavailable. I've told them I'll stay on the relief list because I've been around so long.

current mood: ecstatic

(paint for me)

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
4:22 am
I am excited about a job interview next week -yay! I hope this is good, but I am always nervous about new things.

I got home tonight and was told my cat had a red squirrel for breakfast, and then caught a flying sqirrel. He's a good hunter.

(paint for me)

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