I had a very different post planned for this follow up to Corra’s birth. Then it hit me this week that it’s hard to have a baby. Hard physically (although the short labor was awesome, and I’ll tell more about it below), hard emotionally (raging mess of hormones I am), and hard logistically (Layna walks but not really independently…well, not if we actually want to get anywhere). And I know you are thinking…yes, and? Anyone who has kids knows all of the above and those without kids can probably imagine. So anyways. I did want to write about how loved this little girl is and how grateful I am for that.
Aunts and Uncle. Funny thing about girls and boys…my little sisters couldn’t wait to hold Baby and Brenna drove down from college just to hold her. I had to remind Uncle Ian that babies smell fear and he just had to be bold and take charge. He did and she cried. Sigh.
A word on Pictures: I didn’t mean to use pictures of everyone looking directly at the baby. Those were just the majority of them…cute babies will do that I guess. There were some cool ones but they were photo-bombed so bad in the background (and My Little Ponies can photo-bomb too) that I just opted for these even if they are similar. Carry on.
These are three of her 10 (hope I counted that right) grandparents. I don’t know if you can get much more love to a baby than to give them 10 grand and great grands. And I still maintain that when she opens her eyes, she occasionally looks like Mr. Bates from Downton Abby. My friend suggested that as a Halloween costume…baby tweed vest and tiny cane! YES! There will for sure be pictures of the rest of her grandparents when they get chances to come love on her. Not to mention I still need pictures of our midwife. Unfortunately she got sick the day or two after Corra was born so hopefully we will see her this week.
For those of you who asked, her Birth Story is below, but I totally get if you stop reading right here (not that it was horrible or anything, just some people may not be as interested in placenta talk as, say, most of the women I know).
Corra Shea’s Birth:
Monday morning (August 12th) around 3am I had a contraction that woke me up and I had a few after that were strong enough to wake me up. I didn’t think anything of it because this had been going for weeks and she was already two days late, it wasn’t like she was ever actually going to come out. That morning went on like usual: farm chores, breakfast, morning work but the contractions didn’t really stop. They would slow way down when I sat down but I kept figuring it was just going to last a bit before they quit. I sent husband guy off to work. Around 9 I texted him to maybe plan on coming home around lunch time because it was getting too hard holding Layna while I mommy danced (you know what I’m talking about…that slow sway that all women do when they are in the same room as a baby) through contractions. I had him come home at ten when they got stronger and stopped going away when I sat down.
Officially, we started timing labor at 10:30ish because that’s when I had to stop and brace against a wall and think myself through contractions. I also got in the shower because there is just something about scalding hot water that makes everything bearable. I only ever feel contractions in my lower back so the jet of water was awesome. Anyways. 11 o’clock grandma came to get kids just in case (I still didn’t really really think it was happening) and so Neil could help me. After they left he called our midwife and since there wasn’t enough time between contractions for me to talk to her she came right over. While I was showing her where everything was, I braced against out treadmill for a contraction (most use it’s been in at least 8 months!) and my water broke. It’s odd because my water broke basically while I was pushing with the other girls so I don’t remember it at all…such a weird feeling that. So I got back in the shower. Not too much longer and it just felt better to push a bit against the contractions and then I couldn’t stand being in the shower. I got out and Margie had set up pads on the floor and the bed so I could be where ever felt best. [shameless plug for homebirth] : it is so nice to be able to try different positions without feeling like you are inconveniencing the staff! Midwife’s are all about finding what works, funky awkwardness from weird positions be danged!
Kneeling against my bed was fine for a while but when I felt like pushing it felt like I was pushing against a brick wall…nothing was happening. And by this point I should have been able to feel something changing. Margie checked where I was at (and it was the first time she had check me…another beautiful thing about homebirth… if it’s not necessary, why do it?) and I was at a 9 cm. There was a small lip of the cervix holding her head like a rubber band which is why pushing wasn’t moving her down at all. Margie flipped it off and then things were better. I was tired from kneeling so I climbed up on my bed on my side and that felt sooo much better. This surprised me because with Little man, the hospital staff basically “insisted” that I be on my side. The. Whole. Time. And it killed me!
But then when there was nothing in the way and I found something that worked, I got to push for real. It’s a funny thing about expectations. I had been focusing on just getting her head out because that is the hardest part. So once her head came I kind of stopped pushing because I was thinking, “Hey the rest of her will just come on out, right?” Yeah. No. The fact that I stupidly stopped pushing made everything hurt way way worse, almost as bad as her crowning. Then my sweet husband guy reminded me that I had to keep going and I would have felt really dumb had I not been, you know, in the middle of delivery! Two more pushes and she was here.
Neil had texted my mom around 12:10 to tell her that my water had broke. And then in perfect my-husband-form he texted her, “1:12” and that’s it. So it took her a minute to realize that he was not giving her a helpful time check, but rather telling her time of birth. Just a word on my husband. He was the perfect birth coach. I kind of freaked him out but grabbing him around his neck during a particularly bad contraction at one point but he didn’t tell me that it surprised him until way way after. He talked me through each one and reminded me of all the things I could do to make it better. He makes my world turn so I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have done it as easily or as fast without him. I hope he can pass all that awesomeness onto our son.
The weird thing (like there is only one, HA!) about birth is the shaking that happens right after. I couldn’t stop shaking. I guess it’s a mild form of shock after going through the most difficult thing I most likely will ever experience. We cut the cord and got all bundled, then she nursed for the first time like a champ. She still is my best nurser, a fact that makes me profoundly grateful. When the first words that come to mind when I think about nursing are “meat grinder” and “dull 6 inch needles” it helps to have a baby who only wants to eat every 4 hours and only takes 15-20 min to be full. Here’s to hoping it gets a lot better. Epic sigh.
After that we eventually weighed her (8 lbs. 5 oz.) and she went back to checking out this big new world of hers. Corra didn’t cry when she was born. She came out and just looked around at everything. There may have been a token squawk but mostly just a quiet examination. So far, she has kept this up…crying when she needs something but otherwise sleeping and watching life. Then siblings came home and we started life as a family of six.
At almost a week into it I have realized some more things:
– newborns are hard (see beginning of post) and just because I feel normal, does not mean I get to pretend I didn’t just give birth less than a week ago. I totally have been overdoing things, for me and for kids. Feeling fine physically is huge and I don’t want to discount what a blessing it is. It does come with an interesting challenge for me. I feel fine so I must be fine so life should just go back to “normal,” right? Except we don’t know what “normal” looks like anymore. And I have had to step back and give myself and my family time to figure that out.
– the kid you least expect to have issues, will have the most. Naomi is having the hardest time, mostly because Garyn and Layna are too busy being busy with their own pursuits. Garyn has books to read and things to build. Layna has tables to climb and cats to battle. Naomi wants to help with the baby and she wants her mom back and she doesn’t know how to be confused. It is getting better, but we will see tomorrow when Daddy goes back to work and it’s just me and 4 kids.
– I have four kids! What the what?!
– My birthday, out of necessity, is going to suck this year. We can’t really go out to dinner, because I can’t nurse in my living room, let alone in public. I don’t know if babysitting could happen because everyone is going back to school soon, so quiet evening at home sans kids isn’t in the cards. Oh well, Downton Abby and early bedtime for us…and that’s ok. Maybe I’ll splurge on key lime cheesecake.
– Life is good right now. My baby is healthy and beautiful, my recovery is more or less done, and my family is doing better than expected. I couldn’t be more blessed or be feeling more grateful on this lovely Sunday morning.