That first week of a baby's life...

I have a theory, and I'm sure I'm not the first -- the reason we don't sleep for the first 6 weeks of a baby's life is so that we won't remember it.

I just spoke to my Christmas Mommy. Much as she was in labor... she is doing a lot better than she thinks she is. Her milk seems to be coming in wonderfully, and although the baby isn't sleeping very well, she is taking advantage of the wakeful nights to get to know her little guy.

Isn't it difficult to settle into life with a newborn? I told my midwife that I'd gladly be pregnant for 15 months and deliver a 6-month-old. Some people, my mother among them, just adore the newborn stage. "Oh, I just love how they're totally helpless and dependent, and you're the only one who can give them what they need," my mother has said. To me, this is not the best part of motherhood. But it is, I suppose, what makes three people a family -- the pacing the halls, the hours rocking, the shared tears.

Like how the pain a woman feels in labor will guide her to move her body in a way that is most beneficial to progressing her labor, the growing pains of parenting lead us to get to know and love our new babies in ways that no one else can.

Boy, I sure do wish I could have remembered all this when mine were little. And I'm sure I'll forget it again if we ever have a third, too!

Badger the Bi-ped

Badger is walking. Not all the time, but consistently. We no longer have to coax him and he's just as likely to rise to stand and walk as he is to crawl to where he's going. What a busy boy he is!!!

Christmas Baby!

Oh my, what a Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I spoke to my backup on my way to my parents' house, which is 200 miles away from where I live. She knew that we had a client due 1/2/08 -- first time mom, C. So off Mr Sweetie, Chim Chim, and Baby Badger and I go.

Christmas morning comes and every thing is fun and festive. The kids had a blast. We're getting ready for my mom's Christmas Day buffet dinner and then... the phone rings around 1:30pm. It's my client C. She's been having contractions since 630 that morning. C. is pretty sure this is the real thing. We decide that she will give me a call when she decides to go to triage to be evaluated. I call my backup to let her know that she may be needed. No response. SO frustrating.

We devise a plan that we'll take the carseats out of my car, I'll head out, do my job, and return the next day to collect my husband and kids and see my brothers and their kids some more. If the birth goes very long, my dad can drive folks back. I hit the turnpike by 2:30 and FLY across the most beautiful state in the Union. I get a call around 400pm -- they've already gone to the hospital and are being admitted... she's SIX cm. Holy mackerel. I increase my speed and call my backup; again, no response. I get to the hospital at 5:15 -- 2 hr. 45 min. from door to door, 200 miles.

C. and her husband R. are doing better than they think. Around 7cm C. is scared that the pain is going to be increasing and that she can't handle it. She considers getting an epidural and we discuss the pros and cons. She has a fantastic family doc attending her birth, and I've never seen a doctor be so supportive or knowledgeable of natural birth or spend so much time with a woman in labor. We spend time on the birth ball and Dr. gives C. some paced breathing to keep her in the driver's seat, and this helps so much. I wish I had thought of it but I'm thankful to have been able to learn from him. The nurses thought she was bonkers for going natural. I was irritated with them for not being respectful of her choices.

C. makes it through to 10cm and takes a while feeling the urge to push. She was afraid of the pain but it helped her labor down to the point that she really let her body do a lot of the work for her. When she got down to pushing she did fantastic. She was strong and determined. C. has her baby in her arms 45 minutes later, at 9:05 on Christmas Night. No name for the little guy when I left but the family was happy, content, and adoring of each other.

I crashed out in my big bed all by myself, woke at 5am, drove a bit more slowly across the most beautiful state in the union, and had a nice after-Christmas Day. We drove home last night and had a good night sleep, everyone in his or her own bed, and woke up to just the 4 of us at home for the first time since MIL came to visit on 12/11.

Hope everyone had wonderful December Holidays and that 2008 brings wonderful things for all!

Changing Care Providers

I have always loved the saying that you can change who your care provider is but you can change who your care provider is. Meaning, it's a lot easier to transfer your care to someone who respects you as a client/patient than to try and undo 30 years of biases and habits in your 20 minute prenatal visits.

My first January client is in this predicament. She feels the backup to her primary care provider is not hearing and respecting her concerns about an issue, and it leads her to question how well her concerns were met by her primary in the first place. She's in the window and she's considering switching providers. I hope it turns out to be a big misunderstanding but I respect her ability to advocate for herself and her priorities for her birth.

I have nothing! YAY!

It's been a busy few months doula-wise and that's been WONDERFUL. This is the most amazing career I could imagine and I'm so so happy to have met my trainer and joined her group of doulas. However. I am SO glad to not be on call! I had my postpartum visit with my birth center client on Monday, and my next client is not due until 1/2/2008 so I'm clear! I do have at least two prenatal meetings between now and then as well but I'm so relieved to be able to pack away the doula bags for a while at least. They were a permanent fixture at my front door for a good six weeks!

My mother-in-law is visiting and we're enjoying some family time. Various and members of his family will be here for visits and then we'll also visit my family for a few days. The kids are so very excited!!!

Birth Center Birth Yesterday!

I was lucky enough to have all the due-date bingo line up just right and I didn't miss my 12/3 client. She had her baby 12/4 in the morning after a labor full of laughter, tears, hard work, and lots of love. She is one disciplined woman and I'm extremely proud of her for giving her baby girl A. the gift of a gentle and natural birth.

I am a little under the weather -- a stomach bug reared its head about 1/2 hour after the birth -- but I cannot wait to snuggle this big baby girl... 9 lb 4.5 oz! Great job for this first-time mom!

Thanks to Kris for the real-labor vibes, they totally worked :)

False labor, prodromal labor, pre-labor, no matter what you call it...

... it's tough. My client has had several incidents contractions that have lasted for 12-36 hours (the incidents, not the contractions.) and it's just exhausting her on every level. I have been there, and I feel for her. Let's hope that M. can get some good rest tonight, and save her energy for the big day, whenever it may be!