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Month: July 2012

elsa’s birth day cake

elsa’s birth day cake

I decided months ago that I wanted to have a Birth Day celebration for the baby when she was born. Having a new baby born right under our roof was definitely something to celebrate, I thought, and since we would all be home together on the day it happened (rather than half of us at the hospital and half with Aunt Abby), we actually could.

So a couple of weeks ago I made a cake. A pink lady (strawberry) cake. And I made some lemon curd to fill it with. We wrapped the cake layers in plastic wrap, then froze the lemon curd in the cake pans so that on the actual birth day, all we had to do was stack it, let it thaw, and frost it.

It worked out perfectly.

And so on the 24th we sang “Happy Birthday” to Elsa and celebrated her arrival with a delicious cake. It made me happy to do something special for the occasion, and to show in some small way how excited we are to have her with us. 

elsa’s birth story

elsa’s birth story

We’ll start the story on Sunday night. That is when I started having contractions that I thought, but was not sure, were getting stronger. After weeks of Braxton-Hicks contractions, this was very exciting for me. Pain! Intensity! Relaxation techniques! I was so happy! But the contractions were not really getting stronger, or longer, or closer together, and as much as I had hoped that I would wake up in the middle of the night with “real” labor, I was disappointed when it was 7:00am Monday and I had slept soundly.

Still. I was having contractions. So I texted my midwife and let her know I thought something might be up. Maybe false labor? Or maybe it was just slow to start? And then I did my Perfect Pregnancy workout video to try to get things going if they were going to go. And then I took the boys shopping and made bread in case I didn’t have a chance to do those things later. We also inflated the birth ball, which not only made a great distraction for the boys, but came in handy throughout the day when I’d have a “good” contraction and need to rock and relax a bit.

By the end of the day I was really confused. My contractions were still strong-ish, but not progressing. I’d have 3 in 30 minutes, and then wait another 20 for another one. By this point Micah was really trying to get everything in order despite the fact that I was like, “I don’t know what’s going on here.” He cleaned and organized our room and then got to work on some last minute things he needed to do for clients. I texted my midwife again to let her know how things had been going. And then, at 11:00, we went to bed. I was hopeful that I’d wake up in the middle of the night, but tried to prepare myself for another disappointingly sound night’s sleep.

And then, at 1:50, I woke up! I was somehow under the impression that I’d had 3 really intense contractions in a row, so I sat up and waited for the next one, just to be sure. I went to the bathroom in case I really just needed to pee, and then sat on the birth ball for the next 30 minutes and several contractions before waking Micah up and telling him I thought maybe he should call the midwife. Which he did. She was at our place by 3:00am. I was rocking on the birth ball, breathing deeply through contractions and reading Bossypants in between. Oddly enough, it wasn’t funny. Not a bit. And before too long I gave it up. I just rocked on the ball and breathed and relaxed while Micah held a hot water bottle to my back.

By 4:30 I thought I was feeling pushy. Or did I just wish I was feeling pushy? I hadn’t been checked at all, so part of me thought I might only be at a 4 while the other part of me thought I was probably at an 8. So finally, I asked my midwife to check me: 7-8. Okay. That’s good. But then things slowed down. It felt like forever between contractions. I was suddenly so tired. I lied down on the bed for a couple of contractions. I told my midwife I was feeling a little discouraged. I wasn’t progressing. This baby was never going to come. She had an idea to help things get going. I sat down on the birthing stool and with the next contraction she pushed the rest of the cervix out of the way. We waited for the next contraction and she made sure the cervix hadn’t slipped back. And then we waited for the next contraction, which is the one where I was going to push her head out. It was about 5:30. And that is when we heard the boys’ bedroom door open.

I kid you not. I was sure I had at least half an hour before they woke up. By that time Abby would be there and ready to take them out if needed. But maybe they had a 6th sense.

So Micah ran and told them the baby was coming. They needed to stay in their room. He introduced the birth assistant, and then he booked it back to our bedroom, where I was on my hands and knees waiting for the contraction. The contraction came. I very loudly pushed with all my might until her head was out. And then I rested. Until my midwife said I could push the rest of her out whenever I was ready. I wondered if maybe, since I had gotten the baby this far, maybe she could get herself the rest of the way out? But it was rather uncomfortable just waiting there, so I gave it another (very noisy) go. And then there she was, crying on the floor beneath me.

“Oh, honey! Thank you!” I said. “You have a lot more hair than I thought you would.” I scooped her up and wrapped her in a towel and held her to me as I knelt there on the floor. I said many more things – apologies, thank yous, expressions of relief – and then my midwife and her assistant helped me on to the bed. Micah and I settled down and began examining our little daughter. The sun was just starting to come up, so we had turned off the light and opened the curtains a bit. We tested out her name and asked, “Are you sure? What do you think?” as we had been doing for the past few days.

A few minutes later the doorbell rang. It was my sister who stayed with the boys while we cleaned things up (you know, delivered the placenta, cut the cord, that kind of thing) and then the three of them came in to meet little Elsa. They watched while she was weighed and measured. Seven pounds, one ounce. Twenty inches long. She bore it all without so much as a peep.

And then things began to wind down. The midwife and her assistant prepped supplies and gave me instructions for the next 24 hours. Abby and Micah got the boys ready to go for the day. They dressed Elsa, too, and we all had a good laugh about her funny little outfit: pink and white striped leggings with a floral onesie on top. We pulled out our phones and our cameras to start spreading the news. And then, a little after 8:00 the apartment was quiet again. The midwife and her assistant left. Abby took the boys for the day. And Elsa, Micah, and I crashed on the bed for the rest of the day.

little elsa

little elsa

She’s here. Elsa Margaret Heiselt. Born at 5:39 this morning. Here’s the official birth announcement:

So far she has slept a lot. And made very little noise. I am feeling good – by far the best of the three births. And we are happy to be home. Abby got to our place 20 minutes after she was born and took the boys for the day after we had introduced them to their sister and gotten them all clothed and fed.

Here are some more pictures for your enjoyment.

I’ll post more about the birth itself in a day or two.

bike mechanics

bike mechanics

I took Simon to the library this week while Oliver napped and Micah worked. The boy rode his bike and we planned to do a couple of other errands as well: a trip to the fruit stand a little farther away for some lemons and a stop at the pharmacy. But as we were leaving the library Simon noticed a tack in his front tire. A lady behind us in the checkout line was kind enough to pull it out for him, but as soon as we got out the door, Simon fell off his bike. Which doesn’t happen any more. Unless, of course, the tire is completely flat. The tack did some serious damage.

Simon was pretty sad about it, of course, and we walked the bike home without doing our other errands. And then I patiently waited for Micah to take the lead and fix the tire. Micah, however, was swamped last week. He’s been working feverishly on several projects and has had very little time away from the computer. That meant nothing to Simon, who kept asking for help anyway.

Finally Micah came up with a solution: he’d tell Simon exactly what to do, but he couldn’t leave his work. (I was busy being tired or something.) So Simon and Oliver got to work. Micah did, of course, help them find the right tools, but the two of them followed Micah’s instructions and got the tire off and inner tube out. They pumped it up and found the hole. And then I helped put the patch on. Simon got everything back in place, and Oliver helped screw the bolts back on.

It’s pretty awesome to be able to fix your own bike tire at age 5. Just sayin’.

“you could have ten of those.” – a crosspost

“you could have ten of those.” – a crosspost

It’s easy to forget, sometimes, that we have really great kids. Yes, they drive me crazy on occasion. Like tonight. When Simon decided it was too cold in his room and knocked on the door one too many times asking for advice. (First: turn off the fan. Second: put on a blanket. And no, your blanket does not need to go over your head. And why do you think it is too cold in here? It’s close to 80 degrees in our apartment. And also, you never sleep with a blanket on, even in winter, so what makes you think the middle of July is a good time to start?)

So I think it best to record the events of a few mornings ago (and which I already documented on The Mother Runner), just to remind myself of how lucky I am.

At  7:06 I finally sit up in bed. It’s been quiet, but I can see under the door that the light in the living room is on, so I’m not the first one up. Are the boys reading quietly on the couch? I wonder. Simon comes in at that moment, as if he’s heard my thought. He’s fully dressed and clearly having a good day.

“Look at you!” I say, “All dressed and everything. You wore that shirt yesterday, but I’m okay with that.” He looks so tall and skinny to me all of a sudden. So old. It’s probably the shirt, which is too big for him. All his shirts seem too big for him these days.

“Yeah, I got everything ready and finished at exactly seven o’clock!” he says, and looks at the clock. “Seven minutes ago!”

“Alright, well let’s go see it!” I say as I slide off the bed and follow him out to the living room. “Where’s Oliver?”

“He’s still sleeping. I didn’t wake him up and I got everything ready all by myself.”

“Thanks for letting him sleep. That was really nice of you.”

I look at the table and, sure enough, there are plates for everyone. Cups for the boys’ juice, along with the bottle of juice itself. Forks set next to the plates. And next to every plate are the appropriate vitamins: a Flintstones multivitamin with iron for each of the boys, a multi for Micah as well, and next to my plate are two probiotics, an iron, and a prenatal.

There are even two extra plates on the table, one for the scrambled eggs and one for the toast, which is what breakfast is every other day, on the days we don’t have granola. And Simon is very good at keeping track of which day is which.

He’s still jumping up and down with excitement at his accomplishment as I turn toward the kitchen, where I see that he’s pulled the toaster out of the cupboard and plugged it in. Next to it sits the bowl Micah always uses to scramble the eggs before he cooks them. There is a fork ready to do the scrambling as well.

“Wow, Buddy. You really did get it all ready!” I say as I pull the bread off the shelf and reach for a knife to cut it with.

He makes my life so easy. I really could, as a friend suggested, have ten more just like him.

(But I won’t.)

instagramagic lately

instagramagic lately

In summary: These days we’ve been staying cool – indoors and out, playing with other people’s newborns, listening to our hearts via our midwife’s Doppler, riding bikes, eating well, and trying out new eyes.

Further notes: The balloon and balloon paddle in the second picture has been the favorite toy for a solid two weeks – made at a playgroup with two paper plates and paint stirring stick. I can’t decide whether I love it or hate it, but it sure does keep the boys occupied.

One of the many benefits of having a homebirth is that the midwife comes to us, spends an hour, and gets to really know our family. The boys are well practiced in what to do when it’s time to listen to the baby’s heart. Simon gets the gel on the Doppler, they both take turns with the power button, and Oliver knows to get a tissue ready to clean my belly off afterward. And then it’s their turn. Oliver is still a little confused about the difference between having a heart inside of you and having a baby inside of you, but I’m not sure what we can do about that at this point.

The boys could hardly wait to go see their friend’s new little sister who was born on the 4th. She’s a cute little thing and they loved getting a chance to hold her for a few minutes.

I decided after three days of my tasty meals being rejected that I didn’t really ever want to make dinner again, so I made breakfast instead and everyone gobbled it up. Go figure. And now Oliver wants waffles and berries for dinner every night.

We’ve decided that watermelon, good as it is by itself, is even better pureed into lemonade (and also super good tossed with feta and chopped mint – not pictured).

Simon is totally competent on his bike now. It’s been a while since he’s run into anyone and has even mastered the art of slowing down on the downhills. It always makes me so happy to hear people say, “He doesn’t even have training wheels!” when we pass. Chalk one up for the balance bike. And Oliver continues to surprise us with his balling skills. That header may have been an accident, but it was a happy one for sure.

And finally, isn’t Oliver the cutest little subway rider you’ve ever seen? (Nod and smile. You know it’s true.)

crosspost: big changes for me and my little boy

crosspost: big changes for me and my little boy

I realized recently how little time Simon and I have left in the life we’ve been living the past 5 years. The life where we are together most of the day, where he is my sidekick and antagonist, where we spend the afternoons working together and trying not to get in each other’s way.

Not only will we be adding another child to our family, but a few weeks after that I’ll be flying to Utah with the baby for two weeks. And the week I get back he will start school. That’s the big change: School. A full day of school.

It makes me nervous to have him away from me for so long. I worry about all the other influences that will creep into his life. I worry that he’ll have a hard time making friends. I worry that school won’t be everything he hopes it will be. Just like every other mother.

And I wonder if he’ll feel left out when Oliver and the baby and I go to a museum or a park while he’s at school. I wonder if he’ll be sad not to be home with the baby when she is still so little. I wonder how Oliver will handle having his sidekick gone for so long. I wonder if they’ll miss each other.

There are, of course, things to look forward to as well. I look forward to volunteering at his school. I hope to surprise him every now and then with a lunch date. I’m sure school holidays will have much more meaning and relevancy to us and we’ll have more reasons to celebrate when we’re all together. And it will be interesting to see how we all get along with new groups of friends, new parents to interact with, new functions to attend together.

I’m excited for this new phase of our lives. I think we are ready for it. Simon has been bored to tears at home for months now. But realizing how quickly it is coming, and how little time (and energy) I have to spend with just him in the next two months, makes me a little sad.

belly shots: the results

belly shots: the results

If you are interested in the results of the photoshoot we had at our place this week, click here.

We’re supposed to choose our 10 favorites. If you’d like to weigh in, go for it. We’re all ears.

Oh, and the photos of Simon aren’t really in the running. He stole the show while I was doing a “costume change.”

belly shots

belly shots

A friend of a friend is starting up a maternity photography business and needed some guinea pigs to help get her portfolio stocked before she goes out searching for clients. I always love to be a guinea pig, so I volunteered to let her shoot me and my belly.

To be honest, I didn’t expect much. She was shooting in our apartment, which I was sure would lead to photos that may not have even been worth her time. Not to mention the fact that she was working with me.  Thankfully, she knew what she was doing and there were a surprising number of photos I liked. Some I would even consider putting on my wall. I’m glad I had the chance to be a test subject and get some professional photos of me during this pregnancy.

I’ll post a link to a light room with some of the shots in a couple of days (when she gets the photos edited and such).

It’s funny . . . I think I only have a couple of photos of me during Oliver’s pregnancy, and I have dozens of me during this pregnancy. Good thing me+pregnant belly looks the same no matter who’s inside!

somersault with a twist

somersault with a twist

Oliver has a new skill he’s eager to share. No matter that he’s just barely competent at it. He practically does a 180 just getting up the momentum for it, and that’s cool. (The time before this he almost did a 360 spinning on his head, jumping to try to get over. It was hilarious, but, sadly, I didn’t have my camera ready.)