Sunday, July 31, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I don't know how you could watch Aura's Round 3 video without shedding tears of joy and love. To me, this entry encapsulated the most beautiful aspects of motherhood and left me feeling inspired to live life to the fullest.
I adore the moving narration that accompanied this wonderful video from Jen, as part of her Round 3 entry. Clearly, I'm a sucker for tearjerkers!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I want to congratulate Elizabeth Antonia on her wonderful work in the Styleathon. This event left the judges with an extremely difficult job. With every entry so filled with awesomeness, it was very hard to pick a single winner. But ultimately, Elizabeth, it was you who stood out with the consistency of your voice, the quality of your images and video, and your strong perspectives on babywearing. We were all inspired and touched by your entries, and feel that you perfectly exemplify the ethos of Sakura Bloom. I look forward to collaborating with you on a signature line of slings!
I feel incredibly honored to have had such an outstanding group of women gathered here for the Styleathon. I fell in love with each one of you and your adorable babies and I cannot thank you enough for pouring your amazing creativity and gorgeous energy into this event. Thank you for giving it your all while at the same time supporting each other so beautifully. You are wonderful ambassadors of babywearing!
With so much gratitude and admiration,
Lynne and everyone at Sakura Bloom
In case you missed it, here are Elizabeth's entries:
Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3
And a reminder of what the Grand Prize package includes:
- The iPad 2, in winner's choice of color
- A collaboration with Lynne Banach, Owner of Sakura Bloom, designing a signature collection of slings (a portion of the proceeds from the line will go to the winning blogger's charity of choice)
- Custom portrait of winner and baby in a Sakura Bloom sling, by Samantha Hahn
- Custom Marla Cielo handbag designed exclusively for the Styleathon winner by Andrea Tobin.
- $250 gift certificate to Lilla P and personalized shopping spree with the Owner and Creative Director of Lilla P, Pauline Nakios
- A pair of frames from Selima Optique, chosen for the winner by Selima Salaun, herself
The participants in the Styleathon went to this beautiful, spiritual place that I never expected -- writing about their respective parenting journeys, how their children have changed their lives, and how their identities as women have been transformed by motherhood. They did all of this with humor and grace and style for days, submitting photos and videos that made me laugh and made me cry and inspired me anew to cherish every moment I have with my kids.
The other thing that surprised and delighted me during the Styleathon was the genuine sense of fun that came through in each post. From Danielle's adorable documentary of baby Henry's first baseball game, to "Miss" James' and Gemma Bird's rainy-day romp, to Natalie's taking New York City by storm with Huck in a sling, to Melisa's warm and love-filled day-in-the-life with Blake and Devon, to Jen's picturesque strolls with Rowan, to Aura's life-embracing ode to adventure with Elodie. Each woman presented such a strong sense of humor and joy that added so much to the Styleathon.
From a style standpoint, the biggest thing I learned from these women is the ultimate power of being YOURSELF. It's about confidence, about knowing yourself and respecting yourself. I loved seeing the different fashion sensibilities of the Styleathon mamas. I loved seeing that in a field of very diverse expressions of flair, the common thread was a gorgeous radiance borne of self-confidence and strength.
I have also been moved by the response of the Styleathon readership. Thank you so much for taking the time to soak up the posts and leave such lovely, enthusiastic, and supportive comments. I am thrilled that so many of you seem to have been inspired by this event to babywear or try a ring sling. I can't imagine being a parent without the aid of wonderful baby carriers, so to be able to share that passion with the world makes me very very happy.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
My contractions started Monday, May 17. I went to the Prime Outlet mall with mom to do some walking & for her to get clothes for her trip the next week, & then we went to Whole Foods for lunch. On the drive home I noticed some contractions, but they were so light I don’t think I would have even realized what they were if I’d been doing anything.
Tuesday May 18 I had a midwife appointment with Char Lynn & was 1 cm dilated. She said she could try to separate the membranes, I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but it ended up not working anyway. I got a herbal tincture to help start labor, & set up to make apt for Friday with an OB-GYN to be “approved” to have my baby at the birthing center, since I was more than a week overdue.
Noticeable contractions started Tuesday afternoon. I used an iPhone app to time them, which made it very easy.
I did LOTS of walking Tues-Thurs in Artisan Park with mom & dad. It was nice in the evenings but really hot during the day. We got one of those little spray bottles with a fan which helped some.
The whole time I really didn’t feel sick of being pregnant like I hear some people say, I just knew that I did NOT want to have him in a hospital, & if I went too far overdue Florida state laws require that, so I felt pressed for time in that sense.
I took the herbal tincture Tuesday & Wednesday, every hour for 6 hours or whatever the bottle said, until Wednesday I started to feel dizzy. Then I called Char Lynn & she said to stop them, that the alcohol in them was too much for me or something like that.
Mom & I went to Jenna’s to visit while walking on Tuesday at 8:40 pm & Thursday at 8 pm. Tuesday was fun, but Thursday I just felt uncomfortable, I was having such hard contractions. They stayed about 7-8 minutes apart when I wasn’t walking, 2-5 minutes when I was.
Thursday the midwife on call switched from Char Lynn to Marianne.
Thursday night/Friday morning at 2 am I woke up shaking, Landon called Marianne who said we should come to the birth center. The drive there was the only time I listened to music while in labor. There were police outside for the Ally Gator bar, which we thought was strange. I was 2 cm dilated but she wanted to keep me there to monitor me, so we went to sleep. It was a hard bed & I timed contractions all night, & was up for the bathroom a lot.
In the morning we drove to New Port Richie to see the OB-GYN, I was extremely uncomfortable in the car.
We got there, did paperwork, a non-stress test, ultrasound, & listened to scare tactics – risk of still birth, shoulder discotia, that I was too small for 9 lb baby, & might need C-section, etc.
She said I could try Castor Oil for induction. I was 3 cm dilated, & it was extremely uncomfortable when she checked my dilation. I realize now that she probably separated my membranes without bothering to ask or tell me, which ticks me off, but she gave me until Sunday May 23rd to have my baby out of a hospital, which accomplished why I went there.
I had a whole wheat bagel & black cherry smoothie from Panera for lunch on the drive back to the birth center. Once we got there we watched High School Musical 3, & then decided to go home to sleep in our own bed.
Mom, Dad, & Faith came over & brought us dinner, I don’t remember what because I didn’t eat it. I was having very hard contractions & was still shaking since that morning.
I sent Landon to Publix for sweet potatoes because I didn’t want to eat anything else, but he forgot to get them & came back with Silly Bandz instead (funny now, not then.) He also went to Walgreens to get Castor Oil for the next day.
I laid in a hot bath a lot that evening to keep from shaking, & I just felt better in there.
Landon called Marianne to see if she had any suggestions & she said I could try a little (4 oz.) wine to stop the shaking so I could hopefully sleep. Landon went back out for wine, bought Strawberry Wine at Mobil, & ironically ran into youth kids while buying it.
I drank 4 oz wine, (my first drink ever, besides Communion at Grandma’s church) but threw it up immediately.
Tried again a little later, slept a little. I ended up awake most of night though, with just a little sleep in bathtub for about an hour or two.
Saturday May 22 I got up around 8 am, my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. At that point I felt like this couldn’t possibly last much longer.
After talking with Marianne that morning we decided to skip castor oil because she was concerned the effects on my body would be too exhausting when I was already so sleep deprived.
Initially I thought I just wanted Landon there when the baby was born, but I decided the night before that I wanted my parents to be at the birth center too, so Mom & Dad came over at 9 am, & we drove there in van.
Once we got to the birth center, I sat on birthing ball, & rocked against table & wall to help baby drop or something. Deep breathing really helped during contractions, & rubbing my own back did too. I had been having really bad back labor the whole time, & didn’t like anyone else rubbing it because they just couldn’t do it like I wanted at the time & it was too much work to try to tell them.
They kept forcing me to eat. I did not feel like it at all, but I had dry Cheerios out of a ziplock bag & some vitamin water.
My water broke around 11 am, mom heard a “pop” & asked, & I realized that it felt like I wet my pants so it must have broke. It was a pretty small amount of fluid. Marianne did some kind of test on it to confirm that it was my water that broke. I was 8 cm dilated then.
I got in bathtub after that, which helped a lot. Landon kept me company in there, because as usual I didn’t like to be alone.
(Mom & dad were in the living room watching a Star Wars marathon on Spike on a tv with no sound all day.)
I had one super long contraction (5-10 minutes) & called Marianne in. She said that a lot of times the final contraction is extra long, so I got out of tub & started to push – standing, birthing chair, hands & knees, etc. but nothing worked. When I started pushing (noon) I asked how long it would take & Marianne said usually a few minutes to an hour or two. I find that funny now.
Charlie had gotten there while I was in the tub. I was glad she was going to be my birth assistant because I felt like she would be on the same page as me for the most natural birth possible, and I knew her better than anyone else because she had taught all the labor & delivery classes.
I did lots & lots of pushing. I was almost falling asleep in between contractions, I was so exhausted from not sleeping the 2 nights before.
Marianne talked about having to transfer to a hospital if I didn’t make progress in the next hour around 4 pm, but I did not want that. After all I’d been through already there was no way I was going to get a C-section now.
Kaden was posterior, which I guess is why I was in labor for so long, had such bad back labor, & pushed for so long.
Marianne helped coach me a lot with the pushing. I think she wanted me to be more confident in myself & do what my body felt like but I just was not feeling that confident in myself. Next time I’ll know what it’s like so I think it would be easier to trust my instincts, but I’m glad she & Charlie & Landon were there to be confident for me. Their saying that I was doing it right and that I could do it really helped me get through everything.
I had to use catheter, which was not pleasant, but it was also not as bad as Charlie made it sound in Labor & Delivery classes.
They forced me to drink water, vitamin water, eat peanut butter, & honey. I didn’t especially want to at the time, but I needed it. I don’t think I was especially moody or anything, but I do remember getting mad at Landon for eating around me.
Hours later we were still pushing. When they got a mirror for me to be able to see the progress it made me push much more effectively. Once he was down far enough that I could feel top of his head, it felt much more real that he was really coming. The “Ring of Fire” thing when the baby crowns is real, but I didn’t really care at that point, and the hot compresses definitely helped.
Charlie was checking Kaden’s heartbeat pretty frequently. They said they were impressed with how strong we both were.
At one point I think they had me not push for a contraction, & then Kaden turned the right direction (from posterior to anterior) on his own. After that he was born pretty quickly.
Once his head was out it just took another push.
Marianne said “now pick up your baby” so I did. That was the most incredible feeling in the world. I’ve never been so happy and so relieved in my life! He was so beautiful & perfect, not “ugly newborn” at all. His little eyes were so big & wondrous, & his hands were so tiny & sweet & just everything about him was completely precious. He was born at 9:01 pm. The second I held him everything we’d been through all week was completely worth it.
I was surprised how big he seemed, he wasn’t how I imagined a newborn. He had a lot of hair & it looked like a faux-hawk right away, which was funny, although they put a hat on him so you couldn’t see it anyway. Mom said he had a pretty pointy head at first, but I didn’t notice.
They gave me a shot of Pitocin in my leg after he was born, because they were concerned about me bleeding too much or something. I didn’t really care about that either then.
Dad went to get us Subway. I was glad that we ended up having mom & dad there in the living room because it was nice to have them keep everyone updated through texting, & run & get us food (& pray for us!) Also I just felt more comfortable since Landon was still not feeling 100% from being sick, that if he had needed to rest or something they would have been there. I think it was special for them too, to get to see Kaden right after he was born.
Sometime shortly after Kaden was born (maybe 15-30 minutes?) he stopped breathing. That was scary, but I didn’t really freak out or anything. I just didn’t think God wasn’t going to let anything happen to him. Marianne seemed a little shook up by it. That’s when they cut the umbilical cord, so she could rub his back & use the little tube sucker thing (later learned it was a De Lee suction) to get stuff out of his lungs.
They weighed him maybe an hour later & he was 8 lbs. 15 oz. He’d already pooped twice so they said he was definitely 9+ at birth.
I was able to nurse Kaden pretty soon after he was born. I had been a little nervous about breastfeeding, since it was obviously something I’d never done before, but it really felt very natural. Charlie helped with how to hold him & make sure he was latched on correctly, which helped me feel more confident too.
I ate my Subway but they made me have some chicken broth first. They also made me have juice & yogurt & take a shower. The shower was nice, but Charlie wouldn’t let me shave my legs. I couldn’t believe how swollen I was, no one warned me about that (but I guess 9 hours of pushing can do that to you.) And my stomach was all stretched out, which I didn’t really like, but didn’t especially care then either.
I made Landon video tape the birthing center before we went home, while I was holding Kaden on the couch.
I said goodbye to Charlie & told her I was glad she & Marianne were the team I got. She said any other midwife would have probably made me transfer to a hospital, so then I was even more glad!
We left for home around 1 am, and I was so tired. I could not believe I’d just done that. The Ally Gator bar next door was packed, police & all. Kinda creepy, but once again, I really didn’t care then. I was just so tired & so happy & so relieved.
My Thoughts afterwards:
I think I started pushing a couple hours too early. I didn’t know then, but I definitely wasn’t having pushing contractions when I started, for at least probably the first hour.
Next time I think less walking while in labor would be better, so I could save more energy. It was very draining. More walking during pregnancy, but less during labor.
Less rigid timing contractions would be okay too. Especially throughout the night.
The bath tub was a HUGE help. Will do again.
Anything to possibly help avoid a posterior labor would be worth trying.
For some reason, I think I’d gathered from somethings I read maybe, I thought that when I went into labor I wouldn’t be able to think clearly or remember what I wanted & didn’t want, but that was definitely not the case. I could think & remember fine, it was just like I was working really hard, like a really tough workout.
I wasn’t planning on “catching” my own baby, but I’m glad I got to. It was very special to be the first person ever to hold him
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Just three days ago you came into this world, and my life changed forever. That was the day I realized there was no limit to my love. There are no borders, no confines to restrict the fierce affection that courses through me. The walls of my heart encompass only that, my heart, not my love. There are no walls, no boundaries to restrain my feelings. Just because I love your brother with all of my being doesn't mean that I can't expand again and love you too, with every ounce of my self. It's almost funny now that I was afraid of that. I was afraid of figuring out how I would fit more love into my life, afraid that there was no way I could love anyone or anything else like I love your brother. And then I met you, and you proved me wrong.
This is how you made your debut:
It was the morning of your due date, May 11 and I had yet another doctor's appointment. We all thought that maybe you'd come a little early, so when week 40 rolled around I was done, done, done with being pregnant. My back ached, the belly hurt and I simply could wait no longer to meet you. At the office I was dilated 2cm - not much, but more than anything the previous visits had revealed. I was hopeful and let the tiniest bit of excitement slip into my consciousness. You were coming - maybe not that day, but soon!
Easy but timeable contractions started shortly after that 10AM visit. There was nothing really intense about them, in fact the only difference between those contractions and the 25-50 Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having per day for weeks prior was that they were somewhat regular. I'd glance at my cell phone every time I felt that wave of tightness start in my lower abdomen, careful not to let myself think that I was actually timing them yet - I didn't want to get ahead of myself. 11:37, 11:48, 11:56, 12:05 - these contractions were about 10 minutes apart!
So we got your big brother dressed and we all headed out. It was a beautiful, sunny day and Lithia Park was gorgeous. Spring had filled in the trees, new green leafs flickered like tiny flames on every tree. Rhododendrons so red and so pink, they could have been painted into the scenery. Your dad played with Asa, climbing up the ladders and tumbling down the slides, while I walked and and rubbed my belly, thinking of you. I paced through the trees, keeping track of the rolling waves and talking to you. Hello baby, I thought aloud, when are you coming? Do you feel these contractions too? Are you as ready as I am? We walked and walked, up the paths and down, stopping each time we passed the playground to laugh a bit with the boys, watch your brother shimmy belly first down the twisty slide and kiss your dad as we made another lap around the park.
The walking really seemed to help. The more I walked the more intense the contractions became. Nothing too strong, mind you, just more than they had been. I could still talk and think and move about regularly. These were the easy breezy contractions that I could only barely believe were the real thing. And just about the time when I was ready to believe that this was it, this was labor, this was the day you would come into the world, this was the time....they stopped. We got home from our laps around the park and I promptly laid down. All that walking really took it out of me and I was ready for a nap. And with that nap the contractions slowed and slowed until they stopped all together. I was disappointed and even sad - I really thought we were there. I tried not to dwell on it though, tried to remain positive and tried to get some sleep.
Turns out, that was a good idea. Around 10pm those pulsing waves started again. They began up high, above my belly button, and squeezed through my abdomen all the way to the very base of me. Rhythmic and strong, these were contractions. I knew I should rest, so I stayed in bed, trying desperately to find a position that allowed me to breathe through the contractions and relax between them. I slept, off and on, for the next few hours. These contractions were the real deal, to be sure, but still not so strong that I couldn't focus through them or sleep between.
Until 1am. That's when things started rocking and rolling. I woke your dad up and let him know it was time to start keeping track of these suckers. We found a website that was devoted solely to contraction counting and began timing. Three minutes apart? Really? That can't be right, I said, lets try the next one. Two and a half minutes. Three minutes. Two minutes. Really? REALLY? These waves shot through my body and took over my whole being while passing, but I was still standing, still pacing, still breathing right through them. Surely they couldn't be this close, surely there was a mistake in the counting. Your dad suggested we call Jani, our doctor, but I said no, it's too early, lets just keep timing these and make sure we're accurate.
By 3AM they were a minute and a half apart and we had been timing them for more than an hour - they actually were that close. I paced our tiny house, walking in circles through the dark living room, into the dimly lit kitchen and down the hall past our bedroom. Each time I lapped by your brother's door I heard his soft night time music playing and resisted the urge to run in and pick him up, to hold him to me and say you're going to be a big brother soon, the baby is coming, the baby is coming! Instead I would brace myself against the wall, or the arm of the couch or the kitchen counter - whatever happened to be nearest. Your dad would rush to my side and push, hard, on my lower back. Just the perfect spot to counter the enormous amount of pressure in my belly. Each time I was amazed at how much that actually helped.
By 3:15 I was finally convinced it was time to call. I dialed the office, got the midnight answering service and waited to wake up Jani in the middle of the night. When her sleepy voice asked how far apart the contractions were I hesitantly said, about a minute and a half? As if it were a question. But it doesn't feel like the contractions are strong enough to be that close together, I told her, and I really don't want to get there too early. She said she thought we should come on in and, as another wave, more intense than anything yet, ripped though me, I conceded. It was time to call your grandmother, get her to come stay with your brother and head to the hospital to meet you.
It took grandma no more than 15 minutes to get here. She had had her bag packed for weeks and was more than ready to rush over here at the drop of a hat. Somehow those 15 minutes stretched on forever. I had 6 or 7 contractions in that time, each stronger, more insistent than the last. I paced the living room, stopping to lean on the couch and breathe, breathe, breathe through those waves and looking out the window for the lights of her truck in between each one. Finally the road lit up and the rumble of the engine stopped right outside. She was here. Time to get in the car and drive.
I quickly stopped in your brother's room, kissed his head and told him how much I loved him, promised him I'd bring him home a healthy, happy baby to be a big brother to and closed his door again. I hugged my mom, paused for another pulsing wave and strapped myself in the passenger seat. This was it. We were finally here, driving to the hospital in the middle of the night, ready to bring you into the world.
We arrived in the ER at 4am (the same time, as it so happens, that we arrived at the hospital for your brother's birth. The day after your due date, just like Asa). They were ready for us, but we still had to wait a few moments for the OB nurse to come and lead us to the right place. Angus says it was less that two minutes that we stood in that sterile grey hallway waiting for someone to come show us the way. if you asked me, I'd say it was infinitely longer. I think I had two contractions during that time, each one rocketed through my body, quickly spreading that wave of tightness through my belly, my back, my entire being.
Once in our room we had a quick ride on the fetal monitor to make sure everything was ok. I could hear the metallic whah-whah, whah-whah whirring of your heart beat and it was soothing. It sped up during contractions, slowed down in between. These contractions were the strongest yet. I thought about my breath and sighed hard into the height of each wave, and relaxed into it as much as I could. Being on my back, on a table was about the least comfortable position I could imagine. I was (and still am) surprised at just how striking that was to me this time. It never really occurred to me the first time - it was all new and uncomfortable. But this time around I was acutely aware of the awkwardness of that position. I felt like a turtle on it's shell, struggling through the most most intense sensations a body has ever met, trying to relax, breathe and stay comfortable. After just a few minutes though our wonderful nurse, Tasia, said that we'd monitored enough. Every thing was perfect and it was time to get in the tub.
The room was dimly lit, some sort of innocuous soft music gently coursed through the speakers and the water was warm and waiting. The second my body touched down I felt relief. Absolutely instantaneous. My whole body was lighter, my whole self freer somehow, eased and supported. I leaned my shoulders and upper body over the edge of the tub and placed my knees at the bottom, bringing the water level chest height. The next contraction threatened to split me in two, but something else took over at this point. Some sort of awesome feminine power that couldn't be explained, only experienced. Some sort of primal magic, otherworldly strength kicks in and lets you ride it till the end. Two more impossible waves crashed through me and I breathed heavy, moaned right into the crest and kept on swimming. With the next I felt nothing but the need to push, like that's all my body could possibly do at that moment in time. And push I did. Just once. Once! I felt your head moving through my body and I knew you were nearly here. Without thinking, I reached down and greeted your tiny head with my own hands. What a moment. I freeze it for a second in my head, remembering just what it was like to be the first hands on your body, the first human contact in this world. I love that. Jani was there just in time to reach in the tub herself and help to bring your slippery self up to my chest. And there you were. Wet and warm and quiet. I held you there, you and I floating in our tub and you opened your eyes, slowly looked around, blinked against the lights and took your very first breaths. You didn't even cry love, you just let it all wash over you, you just took it all in. Silent and alert, you greeted your new home.
You, my love, make our family complete and I cannot imagine life without you. Thank you for choosing us as your family.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Here are the revised, official requirements for Round 3:
Video Option: Create a video centered around a new Sakura Bloom sling, Styleathon accessories and items from your own wardrobe. Your video can be impressionistic, instructional, comedy or drama. It can be all of the above or none of the above. It's up to you to decide what genre or approach will best capture what you want to share with others.
Photo Option: Submit a series of documentary-style photos that are inspired by the phrase, "a babywearing day-in-the-life." Whether that means you're at home, out running errands, traveling, or attending a special event (or a little bit of all those!). Include a few words that tell us more about what you're doing and how babywearing helps you get through the day.
We are so impressed by everyone's entries so far, and we can't wait to see what they create next! Thanks for following along, and for all the amazing feedback. XOXO, Leigh
Monday, July 11, 2011
This picture is from an article called the “RESCUING HUG”Read more about the story, here. Read this to learn more about the proven benefits of skin-to-skin care for preterm infants.
The article details the first week of life of a set of twins. Apparently each were in their respective incubators and one was not expected to live. A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules and placed the babies in one incubator. When they were placed together, the healthier of the two, threw an arm over her sister in an endearing embrace. The smaller baby’s heart stabilized and temperature rose to normal.