enchanted & wild

Friday, March 3, 2017

Indigo North's Birth Day

(as remembered by me, with Luke’s thoughts woven in)

In the weeks leading up to labor, I’d been feeling increasingly strong and frequent BH contractions. On Wednesday (1/11), at almost 41 weeks, we had a routine midwife visit. Baby wasn’t engaged, and was still posterior (despite my many efforts to flip him into a better birthing position). I was getting veerrrry impatient. Afterwards we went out to brunch at S.A.P. and had a normal day.

Later that evening (around 9pm), we were watching The Office in bed, when I experienced three back-to-back contractions- similar in feeling to my “strong braxton hicks”, but more powerful. I tried to ignore them, but within a few minutes, I was having to focus on breathing through them. Despite my continual saying “just wait and see”,  Luke got right to work on his to-do list. 

I went downstairs, and paced, swaying and breathing through contractions. Luke called up my mom, and the midwives around 10pm, letting them know my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and about 1 minute long. The roads were very icy (local schools had been cancelled that day), and I remember really worrying about everyone driving over safely. At 11pm the midwives arrived, with a couple suitcases full of supplies. I was managing through the contractions by bending over our bed, and applying pressure to my back. By midnight, contractions were intense, with almost no breaks, and I decided to move to our bathtub. A combination of the warm water, and moaning, allowed me to get to my ‘zen place'.  Everything seemed to progress really quickly. At one point Jill even said “you are almost there, get ready to meet your baby”.  My water broke a half hour later, which was followed by an urge to push. 

The first few urges were strong and involuntary. That instinctual pushing feeling soon faded into a prolonged “transition” feeling, with back-to-back contractions, which only were eased by my intentional pushing through them. I was encouraged to stop pushing, when after a cervical check, it was found I had an anterior lip. A hazy cycle of attempting to reduce the lip (wasn’t working)- insane contractions- pushing, but trying not to- and a lot of swearing...whimpering, perhaps, followed... It felt like no progress was being made, despite my enormous effort, which really started to affect my morale. 

I decided to get out of the tub, and spent the next couple hours doing a circus act of position changes while pushing- kneeling, standing, sitting, sidelying, reclining... It is hard to describe how immensely impossible each movement and position adjustment felt during this time. After about 2 hours, there was a point when the collective mood changed. I sensed this, but was focused on pushing, and was only aware that the doppler was being used much more frequently. A hospital transfer was mentioned, which brought about many emotions- concern, relief, disappointment...

During the next pushes, for the first time, I felt progress- an indescribable pressure. Luke saw a dark head of hair. I overheard Sara calling an ambulance in the background. In a very urgent, and ‘we are doing this’ mutual attitude, with a collaboration of Jill’s hands, scissors, and pushing so hard I thought I might break, he was born (face-up!). At 3:18am, our stargazer was finally here! Under a full moon, after 6 hours of labor (3 hours of pushing), he was placed on my chest, and we heard his first cries. 

There was a flurry of movement immediately following- but my world was still. Jill controlled my bleeding and started stitching me up (in the dark, with a headlamp- ‘bad ass’). EMS arrived, and kept in the background. Luke cut the cord. My mom stood by my side, beaming. Indigo latched on and started nursing. We finally checked the gender- a boy!

When Juni awoke, he asked to see ‘his baby’ (my mom spent the night calming him, and assuring him my “dinosaur noises” meant the baby was almost here). He was wide-eyed with amazement, touching and kissing Indi’s tiny fingers and cheeks. Luke got a little choked up, thinking about how our Juni now has a brother, a best friend to accompany him through life.  

Afterwards, looking at my charts and talking with the midwives helped me better understand all that happened. Indigo’s heart rate dropped, and wouldn’t return to baseline, in the moments before he was finally born. A combination of being posterior + a de-flexed chin + and being wedged in kind of crooked, made for a hard second phase of labor (for both of us). While this labor was only half as long as my first, it was much more difficult, which I wasn't expecting. 

Recovery was very different this time around too- both emotionally and physically. After Juniper’s birth, I had a super-woman-type glow...this time around, I was very much humbled by needing to accept outside help (during labor and recovery), and incredibly grateful to my chosen birth team. Physically, I was a hot mess for weeks, and relied a lot on Luke (thanks Super Dad!). And my mom, who somehow knew I would want homemade biscuits after laboring all night. :)

AND a funny outtake...pretty sure half of the city of Menasha's first responders saw my vagina that night. I lost track of the number of people that popped into our bedroom to check on us. At the time I didn't care (the great thing about birth!)...but now every time I see a police officer, etc. I think 'hmmmm...I wonder how well we are acquainted' ;) HA!

Indigo North- 1/12/17- 3:18am- 8lbs 6oz- 20.5"

Indi is now 7 weeks old (how did that happen!?) and is just the sweetest. Juni has been so loving- the best big brother. I'm hoping to get Indigo's name story on here too... and maybe even some of the photos that haven't made it off my camera yet...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Costa Rica: days 1-2 Poas, Catarata del Toro

Day 1:
We arrived at the airport before dawn. The ticket line was long, and SLOW, and the self-check kiosk wouldn't print Luke's ticket (traveling with a lap seat infant proved time after time after time to be a complete pain- even though we already had juni's ticket in hand). We "missed" our flight (not really, you see, we literally watched our plane sit on the tarmac due to delays, our seats empty beside my folks). Luckily, we found a new flight later that day, and the saint that helped us waived our re-booking fees (that would have cost TWICE as much as our original tickets). My parents ended up missing their next flight due to the delay, so we actually ended up on the final leg together, just later than planned, with many more hours spent in airports.

Juniper was an angel on the plane. ANGEL. He played with plastic bugs, ate snacks, watched airplanes take-off/ land and slept! Holding a sleeping toddler on a plane is a mental endurance challenge, but, there as no amount of sore butt/asleep legs/cramped arms that is worth an over-tired juni, on an over-packed night flight. We landed around 9pm, found our taxi, crammed ourselves in like clowns in a mini car and practiced our spanglish spanish with the driver. We arrived at the hotel and cannon-balled into the pool. We made it.

Day 2:
We awoke early to balmy air and chirping birds. Juni was mesmerized (birds! trees!). We played in the dirt, scavenged a very sour fruit off the ground, and watched troops of ants- all before breakfast. We packed into our rental suv, and raced the clouds to our first destination: Poas volcano.

Fresh strawberries purchased at a roadside stand, overlooking the strawberry fields.

Peering down into Poas volcano. The crater was filled with a smoldering milky-aqua water.

Our next stop was further down the road, a little off the beaten path: Catarata del Toro. The view from the top, peering down into the volcano crater- amazing, the perspective once down in the 'hole'- other worldly. We were enveloped by green and over-sized prehistoric-type jungle plants. Mist from the waterfall filled the air. We had the place to ourselves. It was by far, one of the coolest things I have ever done/seen.

Observant juni spotted a cool beetle.

Hummingbirds flitted about in the gardens.

We rolled into La Fortuna at sunset, ate casados tipicos at a local soda and chased a very overtired babe around the city park.

Where we stayed:
Trapp Family Country Inn - Alajuela
*very nice, close to the airport- a perfect start/end to a trip
Hotel Arenal Montechiari- La Fortuna
*clean, nice cabins overlooking Arenal, family friendly

Where we played:
Poas Volcano National Park
Catarata del Toro

Choose a car rental that delivers to your hotel! We went with Vamos rent-a-car and were very happy with the service. 

Get to the volcanos early for the best chance of a cloud-free view into the crater. 

Continue to days 3-5.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Costa Rica: days 3-5 La Fortuna

Start at the beginning days 1-2.

Day 3:
We soaked away the morning in the Arenal hot springs- a hot volcanic river flowing through the jungle.

A roadside soda served us lunch at the base of Arenal volcano. After fueling, we ventured to Arenal National Park, stopping in the road for a band of roaming coatis. A chorus of strange birds kept us company on our trek through the rainforest. Juni hiked a half mile, stopping to poke his fingers in mysterious holes.

Supper was patacones and burritos, and dessert eaten on our cabin porch in the moonlight.

Day 4:
Next stop was Ecocentro Danous, a tiny green oasis outside La Fortuna. With the help our our guide, we got a close up look at frogs, lizards, sloths, agoutis, birds, caimans... We got lucky and stumbled upon a sleepy sloth, napping on the forest floor.

We dipped our toes in the river at the base of La Fortuna waterfall, had a very authentic restaurant experience in town (complete with cats and dogs under the table- felt like home!) and had an ice-cream night cap in the park. We fell asleep to a raindrop lullaby.

Day 5:
We set out to drive the infamously treacherous roads around Lake Arenal, to our next destination, Santa Elena. The rain and mud foiled our plan to hike to Rio Celeste. We bumped and swerved and held our breath, as we slowly made our way through the mountains. Juni stomped in puddles at a local playground, as the neighboring church choir sang. My dad literally got out of the car, and kissed the road, when the dirt road turned back to pavement. Lunch at the quaint Cafe y Macadamia, overlooked lake Arenal. The iced tea and chocolate macadamia cookies were almost better than the view. Santa Elena was windy and mist from the cloud forest floated past our cabin. The sun set over the pacific ocean, just out of sight, from our new home on the hill.

Where we stayed:
Hotel Arenal Montechiari
Cabanas la Pradera
*rustic, affordable, family-run cabins on a beautiful property (with fantastic hosts)

Where we played:
Arenal free hot springs
Arenal National Park
Ecocentre Danous
La Fortuna Waterfall

Favorite eats:
Cafe y Macadamia

Skip the over-priced hot spring resorts and go to the local free springs! The entrance is just past Tabacon Resort (you can't miss it)- look for a yellow gate. We went during the day, parked along the road and it felt very safe. 

To the cloud forest days 6-7.