Day Five

So. We are five days into being a family of five. Five! Five days seems ridiculously small when you're talking about something that will be around for the rest of your life, but also incredibly long when you remember being in a moment of feeling that the pain would never end and OMG THIS BABY IS NEVER COMING OUT. So yeah, wow, it's already been five days since I experienced that and conquered it. Tomorrow is Saturday, and then it's Sunday, and then Monday morning will dawn, Shelby will go back to work and I'll be thrust into dealing with three children by myself. Which is, in a word, terrifying.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Lots of people have been asking how the baby is, and how the boys are doing and if they are in love with their sister. The answers are wonderful, pretty good considering, and most of the time.

Avonlea is fabulous and beautiful and perfect. She's a great nurser, is letting us get a fair amount of sleep and seems to be in perfect working order as far as five-day-old babies go. She's a pretty chilled out baby, which I'm scared to get excited about since Beckett was such a hellbeast, but I'm hoping our luck continues in that area. Her umbilical stump fell off today and I totally cried because she's changing so much already and um, wasn't it just a few days ago that she was still INSIDE ME? Sheesh.

The boys are really doing fantastic, considering their world has just been dramatically interrupted by this tiny pink yelling creature. Sawyer doesn't seem to be phased much at all. He goes about his day as he normally would, occasionally walking over to ask if he can hold "his baby." He likes to tell me about the things he's going to do with her when she's bigger, his favorites being play tag and drive with his cars. Beckett has been acting out a small bit, but doesn't seem to be jealous. I've been making it a point to give him lots of cuddles and remind him that he's still my baby too. He's incredibly sweet and loves to kiss her head, and when she yells he asks, "What did she say?" Too stinkin' cute.

And Shelby is, of course, amazing. He is the perfect husband and perfect daddy and there are several moments throughout each day that I look at him and am just overcome with emotion at how I got so lucky. That sounds ridiculously cheesy, but guys, this man is seriously the kind you just don't find very often. He makes me dinner, gets me Dunkin' Donuts whenever I want and watches the baby in the evenings so I can get a few hours of sleep. Avonlea has him wrapped about a dozen times tightly around her finger and it is absolutely adorable to watch.

And then there's me. Ha. I'm doing.. okay. Mostly okay. But sometimes not okay at all. Physically, I'm healing rapidly. Thanks to a fabulous waterbirth I have no tears to worry about, which is awesome. I'm not too fatigued and the afterpains are finally gone (HATE those suckers). My belly is shrinking and I'm counting down the weeks until I can start exercising and get my body back. Oh, how I can't wait to have my body back. I feel so unattractive right now. I know that will come with time though.

Mentally? Emotionally? Well, that's a different story. The first couple days were great. I felt on top of the world, completely overjoyed with my baby girl and had a constant smile on my face. I was inviting visitors to come see us the day after she was born. My midwife visited on Tuesday and warned that some moms experience a flood of emotions on the third day and I admit it - I fully expected to skip that whole bit.

And then the third day came. With it came the tears. Oh my goodness, the tears. Out of absolutely nowhere and for absolutely no reason. I'd be standing at the counter eating a bite of chicken and just start bawling. I began to feel panicked, anxious, overwhelmed and sad. The What Ifs started flowing in. What if I can't handle this at all when Shelby goes back to work? What if she's a high-needs baby like Beckett was? What if I just lose it in the middle of the day and I have no one to call, no one to rescue me?

There is also extreme sorrow over not having my family here, my mom in particular. When Sawyer was born, she had a flexible job and we could go visit her at work every single day. She lived two blocks away and could swoop in any time I needed her, for any reason. Then came Beckett, and although she was working a different job, she was still available almost all the time and if it weren't for that, I'd have gone insane. So to not have her here at ALL? With a brand new baby? It is killing me. I miss her so much. Nothing could have prepared me for how crippling it is to need someone near you and they just can't be there in person. Phone is wonderful - she has already saved me more than once just with calming words. But it's not the same.

Then there is the worry that the mental and emotional havoc I dealt with just a couple months before I got pregnant will return, in the form of horrible post-partum depression. I am scared. I still have my medication and I could easily start taking it again, but the thought of going back down that road of dependency is a double-edged sword. I have a gorgeous, healthy new daughter and a wonderfully supportive family. I should be bursting with happiness and it angers me that I let irrational worries cloud that positivity.

For now, I'm trying to just take it a day at time. Enjoy the moment and not worry about what will come tomorrow, because when it comes, I'll handle it - do I really have any other option?

Last night was a rough one but today has been good. I have to keep my focus on the good. And right this moment there is a daddy cooing at a tiny little baby as she kicks her feet and gazes at him with her big blue eyes - sounds like something pretty good I don't want to miss. Goodnight for now.

Avonlea's Birth Story

Avonlea Dawn
born at home on July 19th, 2009
8lbs. 3oz., 21.5 inches
born in the water and caught by Daddy!
View the birth in pictures

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Avonlea's Birth from Alicia Melban on Vimeo.



July 18th, 2009 - the day I had guessed my baby would make her grand entrance, and by 5pm I was showing no signs of labor whatsoever and feeling pretty discouraged. I was only six days overdue, as I had fully expected, but my parents had to travel back to Wisconsin the next morning, and I was extremely sad that they would be missing the birth of their granddaughter. I spent the day feeling sorry for myself and thinking about my next appointment with the midwife on July 23rd, and how I'd probably be able to make it no problem.

My mom and I talked about my feelings and came up with a plan that she would go back the next morning, but I could call her as soon as I was in labor and she would come right back. She might still miss the birth but would be here immediately after and that comforted me. For the first time the whole week, I felt at peace with everything and not anxious, as I had been.

Around 6pm I decided to go upstairs to de-stress and have some alone time. While upstairs, I started having some piddly little contractions, and thought, "Here we go again, more Braxton Hicks just to tease me!" I mostly ignored them, played some Bejeweled and laid in bed and watched TV. Shelby came upstairs around 7 and I let him know that I was having some small contractions but they were probably nothing. I was timing them just for fun and they were about 3 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds. VERY mild though.

I decided to go back downstairs and watch TV with the family, and see if they would go away. The contractions continued on at a steady rate for the next hour or so, though not increasing any in intensity. I texted Cara at 8:30 and told her to keep her phone near her tonight, just in case. We talked for a few minutes about what was happening and I decided I would take a bath to see if the contractions would stop. Reading back through the texts now is amusing - I had said "These are pretty annoying!" and she said, "Yeah, labor is pretty annoying!" LOL!

So around 8:45 I went back upstairs and took a bath, adding in some clary sage oil to help relax me. I figured if this was the real thing, the bath would help me relax so things could progress, and if it wasn't then it would put a stop to things so I could have some relief.

I went back downstairs again after my bath, and everyone looked at me oddly and my mom said, "Are you in labor and not telling us??" I laughed and said of course not. I still thought it was nothing, even though the bath had not slowed the contractions at all. I couldn't stay downstairs long though and headed back up around 10pm. I texted Cara again that things were still happening and that Shelby would call her if it was indeed the real thing. I laid in bed again and watched some more TV, and my mom came up to check on me and I finally admitted that I was having some contractions but didn't want to get everyone's hopes up. She said they would head to bed and to wake her if I needed anything.

I spent the next couple hours alternating between the bed and the birth ball. Contractions were still steady, every 2ish minutes and a minute or so long. But again, still not intense and I barely had to concentrate through them. Shelby called the midwife around midnight to tell her what was going on, but I made sure he told her it would be awhile and we'd keep her posted. I was worried about having her come too soon again like with Beckett's birth, and was still also in denial that I was really in labor at all. She made him promise to call if the contractions got longer or more intense because she didn't want to miss the birth, and that made me laugh. Like I would be lucky enough to have such a quick labor, right?

My last text to Cara was at 12:59am and said, "The ctx are def getting stronger but still no bloody show.. WTF?" I was having to breathe a little through them at this point, but was waiting for the bloody show I had had with Beckett and it wasn't coming. I was really getting annoyed with that every time I'd go to the bathroom, and also annoyed because I just wanted to go to sleep and couldn't. The contractions were just strong enough that when I would doze off, one would start and wake me back up.

Around 2:30am, I still hadn't been able to sleep and was annoyed with Shelby because he was snoring next to me and not helping much. I snapped at him to please go get my mom, and when she came in I cried a little and told her I was just sick of these contractions that were going nowhere and just wanted to sleep. She suggested I try laying on the couch and see if that was more comfortable. So we moved downstairs, but I only lasted about ten minutes on the couch before things really started picking up. I think Shelby called the midwife again at that point, and I kept telling him to make sure he mentioned that I hadn't had any bloody show. She said she would be on her way, and I whined to him, "What if this is still nothing??" Very humorous in retrospect. :)

I was not comfortable on the couch at all, and got up to go to the bathroom which is where I had the first really intense contraction. I yelled for Shelby and leaned on him through it, and when I wiped, there was blood. Finally! I also started shaking and thought, transition? Already? No way! I told him to call Cara and that I wanted to go back upstairs. We got up there, and I sat on the toilet some more and was having to brace my arms against the wall to help with the contractions. I barked at Shelby that I needed in the water NOW and he got to work setting up the tub. We hadn't even pulled the hose and pump out yet. Cara arrived during all this and I remember saying "No pictures of me on the toilet!" Haha.

I think I was vocalizing a little at this point, and Shelby kept coming in to comfort me and I would shoo him back out to work on the tub. I think I yelled, "What is taking so long??" They were trying to use the pump to fill it and something was holding them up. He came in and tried to fill a bucket with water from the bath tub only to find that it was cracked on the bottom and the water was spilling out. I HAD to have relief in the water at that point so I started filling the bath tub and got in. It helped some, but the hot water ran out when it was only half full and I was extremely annoyed. They kept working on getting some water into the birth tub and I labored in the bath for a bit.

Finally there was enough water in the birth tub for me to move to it, and it was heaven. SO much better than laying on the bed or sitting in the hard bath tub. I was already feeling pressure with the contractions and wanted to push so badly, but I thought that was still a long way off. I remember saying "I want to push, but it's too soon!" I think the midwife (M) arrived shortly after - she said it was around 3:50am. I was working really hard through the contractions now, which had gotten very intense and without much of a break in between. M listened to the baby and she sounded great.

It wasn't much time later that I started pushing with the contractions. I was hoping it would be a relief like it was with Beckett, but it really wasn't. It was a lot more painful than I remembered and I just wanted her out. I think it was then that I said I was scared - and in my head I was wondering how in the world I was going to do this. It hurt so badly! My mom was awesome and kept reassuring me that I was doing great and she would be here soon.

I finally decided that the only way to make it end was to push as hard as I could, so that's what I did. I felt like I was getting nowhere though and when I tried to feel for a head, I didn't feel anything. M did a check while I was leaned forward against the tub and said her head was right there, and told me where to feel. I was able to feel her that time, and that was the motivation I needed to keep going. With a couple more good pushes I had her crowning and I said "She's coming out!"

Shelby moved over to catch her, I felt my water break and suddenly her head was out. I cannot describe how excited I was at that moment to almost be done. M was telling me to breathe as she checked for a cord but I only waited a few seconds and then pushed her shoulders and the rest of her out. As soon as I felt her body slide out, I said "Oh thank GOD!" The feeling of relief was monumental. Official birth time was 4:21am - half an hour after the midwife arrived!

Shelby passed her up to me and I lifted her out of the water, and there she was! The first thing I noticed was that her head was perfectly round - not a hint of a conehead. She had come FAST! She let out a couple good cries, and I was crying right along with her. My mom went to get my dad at that point - poor guy had been downstairs all by himself listening to the whole thing, LOL. Needless to say, he was excited to come up and see that everything was okay.

Shelby brought Sawyer in to help cut the cord, and the poor kid was still half asleep, but very much in awe. I delivered the placenta and the boys got to work cutting the cord. Sawyer did great, and was so sweet - he saw the drops of blood come out and was worried he had hurt her. Aww.

We nursed a but in the tub because she had a bit of gunk in her lungs, and it broke up pretty easily. Soon it was time to get out and do the herb bath and newborn check. Shelby and I put in our guesses for weight - I guessed 8lbs. 5oz. and he guessed 7lbs. 5oz. I couldn't believe how close I got - she weighed in at 8lbs 3oz! Smaller than her brother, but much longer at 21 1/2 inches. She had a fairly small head as well - 13 1/2 inches. We then had our time in the herb bath, where she was of course perfectly content and alert. M noticed that she had a dimple in one cheek, which made me so excited. Beckett has one in the same cheek, but his didn't appear until just recently.

After our herb bath we moved to the bed for more nursing and I was checked for tears. Only a tiny scratch that didn't even bother me - yay! M and Cara left a short time later and we were left to snuggle with our new girl.

I have now had two beautiful homebirths and would not change a thing about either one. Avonlea's birth was so much different than Beckett's - much faster and more intense. Totally not what I was expecting! Both were perfect though and I feel so incredibly blessed.