Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EC Adventures - Two at a time!

So our EC Adventures series has begun a new chapter: we'll call it "Tandem EC." EC with two is not all that much more difficult than EC with one - so far. Occasionally, they have both needed to go at the same time, in which case either Brandon and I each take one, or we just have a "miss" to clean up, but this doesn't happen too often (thank God).

Leonidas is very upset with me for having another baby, and consequently, has been refusing to go on the potty for me. He also seems to be completely unaware that he is going at times until after the fact, which is unusual for him. He has been wetting the bed 2 or 3 times a night, which he has never done. He does, however, like to pee outside and "water the grass", so when daddy is unavailable to take him to the potty, I let him play outside :) We have recently started putting his potty in the living room so he can sit on it himself, and this has seemed to help matters. Now if we can only get him to understand that his underwear have to come off first...

Ruby has been surprisingly easy in this respect. She cries or fusses when she has to go, and we are communicating very well back and forth. EC Rule # 807: Cues are more reliable than timing. The fact that your always-on-schedule-reliable-baby just peed and pooped three times in a row does not mean that she doesn't have to go again. That squirming means something - pay attention! This was a lesson hard-learned today.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Letting Go...Sort Of...

Letting Go.

These are two words that we often put together, hoping to be able to accomplish their meaning, but seldom finding the ability to even define what they mean, much less master their intent. There are multiple ways in which we use this phrase, from the Language of Letting Go to Let Go and Let God, but what does “letting go” really mean? And, if it really is something positive, how do we accomplish this?

I’ve been struggling with this one, and even as I write this I’m figuring it out, so please disregard any discontinuity in these paragraphs. This is pretty much just my mind thinking and writing as it goes, with no rough draft ☺

I find the phrase “letting go” to be kind of daunting. It seems to insinuate a relinquishing of control, and I HATE giving up control! Of course I do. I’m human. No human wants to give up control. That would be counterintuitive and most likely jeopardize our survival. We’re hard-wired to hate the very idea of surrender. Most people stop here when they think of defining the phrase “letting go” – then wonder why they can’t seem to get it right. “Why can’t I just let go?” “Just let go and let God.” “Just…” as if it were “just” that simple! Oh sure, that’s all there is to it, huh? Just completely ignoring all of my instincts and giving up? Sure, no problem! Why do we think that this should be simple? Or even remotely possible? I’ll not touch on the Biblical nature of this right now, but let it be known that I AM taking Biblical teachings into consideration here, and I see no support for this view, either in scripture or in nature.

So what are the other meanings to this phrase? What other factors come into play? You see, the very idea of “letting go” is ambiguous. On the one hand, it means giving up control, yet on the other hand, it may mean taking back control as well. How is that possible? Well, if one “lets go” of the constraints which define him and contain him, he can find freedom, which, in itself, is a form of self-control. I find it easier to incorporate this aspect into the definition of “letting go,” for a number of reasons, both spiritual and practical. Again, I’ll leave the theology out of this for now, but sum up by saying that I find more support for this view than for the former. Practically, however, this seems to be the only true way of “letting go” of anything. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s simple. Letting go of our chains – especially those which we forged ourselves – can be almost as difficult as self-sacrifice. Actually, in a way, it IS a form of self-sacrifice. Even our fears define us, and without them, oppressive though they are, we are never quite the same.

As I said, I have been struggling with this concept lately. I am defined by a number of traits, both positive and negative. I don’t like to be one of those people who refuses to change and says, “Oh well, that’s just how I am.” I think that’s selfish, even though I know we all do it to some extent. Being able to see our own faults takes a great deal of discipline and mental contortionism; changing them takes nothing short of astral projection! Stepping outside oneself is essential if one is to even BEGIN on this road. And unfortunately, looking at ourselves is usually not pretty. I’m reminded of the swamp of sadness in The Neverending Story. It is easy to allow it to overtake you. If you decide to take a good, hard look at yourself without having a worth-while goal, you may get lost in what you see, and some people never make it out.

So on that happy note…what is our goal? How can we keep our heads above the water? Optimism helps, but this is something that usually just falls on one person or another, so we can’t all rely on that. Perhaps redefinition of self is the goal. It’s a big task, no doubt, but definitely not as scary as losing oneself altogether. When you are willing to redefine yourself, you don’t have to “lose” anything. You just gain more parts, really. Perhaps you are an angry person. You don’t need to lose that part – you simply gain the ability to control it and work with/through it. If you are a genuinely angry person, you may always be an angry person, but you can also be a self-controlled person, and that may make the difference. Afraid of crowds? So maybe you’ll always be somewhat afraid of crowds, but you can add the ability to deal with that fear. Of course, there are things that will have to be “let go” in the very real sense, but it’s easier to take it step by step.

So I’m not even remotely close to having this down yet, but I’ve been working on it. I have a lot of things that I’ve been needing to “let go” of. For one, I am a very angry, impatient person. Even writing that makes me angry! And honestly, I’m surprised I’ve had the patience to write this much! Now I don’t claim expertise in this of course. Out of 100 times a day that I need to “let go”, I probably manage to let go maybe 20 times. But who knows…tomorrow it may be 21 ☺ The point is, it’s a work in progress. There are ways to make the process easier, though. I’ll try to touch on a few of them that I’ve found.

First of all, watch your language. “I can’t”, “I have to”, “I can’t stand” – these all need to leave your vocabulary at once. Even “I am” statements need to be curbed. These all convey a sense of permanence to our own pitiful plight that sends us into the old habit of repeating the same mistakes, then defining ourselves by them. “I can’t stand it when the towels don’t match,” can become, “I prefer the towels to match.” The second one is much easier to deal with, don’t you think? Suddenly it’s just a “preference,” rather than an absolute that MUST be adhered to in order for you to keep your identity. Even the statement that I made earlier, “I am a very angry, impatient person,” can be changed to something like, “I tend to get angry and lose my patience easily.” Ahh, that feels much better, and didn’t make me angry! I can deal with “tend to.” “I am,” on the other hand, is so dreadfully permanent and doesn’t offer much hope for change. It’s amazing what changing a few words in our own vocabulary will do!

Second, please fail. Failing is ok. It doesn’t mean you have to start over. Just try again next time. And if need be, apologize, to whomever your failure may have affected. This is difficult for a lot of people, but with practice, it will get easier. And trust me, you’ll have plenty of practice!
Third, let go by holding on. Huh? Yeah, seriously. You have some tricks up your sleeve. When you find one that works, take note, and use it often. Hold on to that bag of tricks, and pat yourself on the back when you remember to use them. Share your success with others as well. It’s ok to brag a little. You’re not being overly-prideful. You’re simply being happy at your own little victories. Share the joy, and keep ‘em coming!

I know I’ve got more, but honestly, if you’ve read this far, I commend you. I wouldn’t have! Maybe I’ll put this in my book someday, if I ever finish it. It will be in a chapter entitled, “How Not to Screw Up Constantly,” or “Tricking Yourself into Not Being Yourself,” or some other cleverly-worded, eye-catching title that makes people think, “Hmm, how profound,” which is just another way of saying, “I have no idea what the hell that is supposed to mean.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ruby Jane - first few weeks

Well, so far, so good with little Ruby :) Our main concern this week was an apparent clogged tear duct that was getting worse. The poor little thing had a huge bump near her left eye that was draining and hurting her and just making her miserable. It was also really distorting part of her face so that the left eye looked considerably smaller and further away from her nose than the right one. We took her to see my doctor who suggested using warm compresses and massage from the corner of the eye toward the nose, but by the next week, it was hurting so badly that we decided on Wednesday that we were going to take her back the next day to see if the doctor could offer any more relief. That evening, I steamed up the bathroom and took her into a warm shower with me. When we got out, it didn't look any better - it wasn't draining and was getting bigger and more painful for her. She fell asleep, and a few hours later, it was completely gone! :D There was no drainage from her eye, which means the tear duct actually opened and drained through her nose like it should. There was no bump left at all! All that remained was a red spot where the skin had been stretched out over the bump, and by morning, all was completely better. Her left eye is actually a bit bigger than her right! She can open it all the way now, and we are so happy to be able to gaze into BOTH of her beautiful eyes.

We'll see what kind of adventures next week holds...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ruby Jane King is here!

Ruby Jane arrived on Monday, July 5th, 2010 at 6:46pm. Here is her birth story:

I woke up at 8:00am with my son, as usual, and contractions were there, a little more uncomfortable than normal, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I had a feeling it was the day, though. I felt a strong contraction later that morning and my first thought was, “I’m in labor.” They started to get more uncomfortable, but not regular at all (they never did get regular, even at the end), so I called the midwife around noon and told her what was going on. I said I would eat some lunch and call her back to let her know if there was any progress. I called back at 2:15pm and told her to come over, since they were really starting to hurt.

She arrived at 3:00pm and checked me. I was dilated to 5-6cm outside and about 4cm inside, but stretched to 6cm during contractions. They helped Brandon set up the pool and everything. Around 4:30pm I told Brandon to fill up the pool, because it wouldn’t be long – the contractions were killing me. I got in the water around 5:30pm and she checked me. I was dilated to 6-7cm. The water was such a relief, though! I asked her to check me again around 6:30pm or so because I was feeling a lot of pressure and slight pushing. I was 7-8cm, but she said my cervix was so soft it would probably open with some pressure from the baby, so if I felt the urge to push to just go with it. About 5 minutes later I had a really bad contraction that pushed at the end, and I said, “Oh, she’s coming right now.” Then the pushing started and my body began to push her out – about 5-6 in a row with no time to breathe in between, but I really didn’t have much control over that – she was pushing herself out. Another few of those and her head was out. I felt it hurting in the front, so I pushed her toward the perineum a little to avoid the bad labial tear I had last time. No contractions for a few minutes, then another few pushes and she wiggled her body out at 6:46pm. I reached down to catch her and Brandon and I brought her up out of the water together. The cord was around her leg and pretty short, so I unwrapped that and laid her on my chest.

The placenta was born about 20 minutes later. We didn’t cut the cord for about 1 ½ - 2 hours. I stayed in the water for a few minutes after the placenta was born, then decided to get out and lie down in my bed, so off we went. We popped some pink champagne and made a toast. The midwife took a look at me to see if I had torn. I had one very tiny labial tear, but no stitches required and it’s not even in a place where I can feel it, so no pain at all. She nursed like a champ within about 10 minutes of being born, and nursed about three times in the first hour or so. We finally decided to cut the cord, but not to clamp it. Then she pooped and we did the newborn exam while I ate some dinner. She weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. and was 19 ½ inches long.

She went out to the living room with daddy to see all our visitors while I nursed Leonidas to sleep. Then she and daddy came back and we all went to bed. I didn’t sleep much – just watched her a lot. Leonidas did great with her – a little jealousy once when nursing, but other than that, he was amazing with her.

As of today, she is 5 days old and doing great. She has a clogged tear duct, but nothing too serious. Leonidas has some jealousy, of course, especially when she is nursing, but today he's been really great with her and just loves her. The tandem nursing thing is going well so far - I've got the nursing-both-at-the-same-time thing down pretty well. The family bed is working well, too. We've all been getting plenty of sleep, and as of right now, are sleeping at the same time. I'll keep updating this of course...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Adventures in Childbirth - Part 2

Still no baby...still waiting...

Progress is being made, I suppose. Dilation, as of Monday, was 2cm. That's something, right?

So it looks like I may be making it to my due date after all - whichever date that may be, the 4th, 5th, or 6th. Maybe longer. Who knows? I'm still having contractions, and they're there all day long. Sometimes I'll go for hours with regular contractions 5 minutes apart. Then they'll stop or at least slow down for the next few hours. Maybe I'll be lucky and just labor like this all week long instead of super-painful, quick laboring all in one day! That would be ok. That would be well worth it, I suppose.

In the meantime, we are ready for her. I was in a crafty mood again today, so I hit up Jo-Ann for some elastic ruffles and fabric flowers for making headbands. Haven't made them yet, but I bought the stuff. One step at a time! Maybe it will give me something to do while I'm in labor...

We have our birthing pool, brought out of storage. We have the pump to blow it up. Unfortunately, we're not quite sure how we're going to fill it...last time we used a hose with a connector that attached to our faucet. This time, we don't have the connector, and our faucet is weird so it wouldn't work anyway. I guess we'll have to do buckets. Lots and lots of buckets.

Aside from that little hiccup I think we're all set. We've got our birth kit ready with all our supplies. We've got plenty of clothes for her. I got an extra waterproof wool pad for our bed (half-price remnant at Jo-Ann - score!). Now all we need is Ruby!