Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mommy Blog

Wow! What an adventure. One week old and I have felt more joy and frustration (thanks to a touch of the baby blues) than I have ever felt in my life. As my beautiful Amara and I work to figure one another out I am in constant awe of her presence; such an amazing little being. It is probably good I did not have any expectations of what motherhood would be like, who could imagine the demands and rewards of caring for your baby.

So far Mike and I have not felt too sleep deprived, she is very good about sleeping at night. I wake up to feed her two or three times but she does not stay awake thank goodness. We are also sure to get our naps in during the day with her. She is nursing very well; we struggled at first to get the right latch and I think I am just starting to produce enough milk for her voracious appetite. We would like to send out another big thank you to all who gave us diapers, they are working out great and despite all the laundry, have been a dream to use.

Mike has been the best Daddy this week, he is the most wonderful partner. He has been the main poopy diaper changer and we have just started using our slings and carriers (which is why I can write this) so mommy can get a little time to do things like shower and brush her teeth. I sort of expected that I would be surprised by him as a dad, but in fact he is exactly the same sweet and loving man. Thank you to everyone for your kind words during the last week, Amara can not wait to meet all of you. Her are a few more pictures of her first week of life.


Monday, August 25, 2008


Welcome World to Amara Day Johnderson! Finally this baby decided to grace the outside world with her presence. I’ll get the stats out of the way and then give the story:

Born: August 24th at 3:10 pm
Weight: 8 lbs. 14 oz.
Length: 21 inches
Beautiful with a full head of hair

Now the story.
So, our original due date was August 5th, but after examination by Jessica, our midwife, we all decided to move it up to August 12th. The 5th didn’t seem right to us and Jessica said the baby felt small (not so small anymore!). This was definitely a good idea in hindsight, because if the baby is more than two weeks late, then the back-up doctor is required to induce the birth in the hospital.

The 5th came and went, the 12th came and went, and when we were a week overdue Erin was required to get an ultrasound in order to check her fluids and the baby. Everything was great, no problems; however the doctor who saw us was definitely a little anxious about getting Erin and the baby on the induction or c-section schedule. And he was terribly concerned about being surprised with having to deliver at the last minute for fear it might, in his words, “cut into his weekend.” I understand the sentiment Doc, but this is a baby we’re talking about, and baby’s come when they are good and ready.

The next day Erin went back to the midwife’s house and Jessica assured her that everything was fine, and told Erin to just keep talking to the baby and try to coax the baby to come out. She said, “But don’t tell the baby that it needs to come out now; tell it ‘you’re doing a great job in their, but there’s this crazy thing about doctors out here where they really want babies outside of their mother’s belly within two weeks of your due date.’” So we waited and waited some more. We went back to the Doctor’s a couple of days later to get another ultrasound; everything was still great. Jessica checked Erin again and came to our house to visit us. She told us that if the baby hadn’t come by Sunday then we should try to herbal methods of inducing labor. Jessica is a very conservative midwife, in the sense that the more hands-off she can be, the better.

Erin’s mom (Patty), sister (Kim), and niece (Kaylee) came to visit late Friday. So Erin felt like she had the support to start the herbal treatments to start labor. After a good rest Friday evening, and a relaxing morning Saturday, Erin took homeopathic herbs and some Castor Oil, under Jessica’s careful instruction. And by 3:00 pm on Saturday, these remedies had persuaded her body into labor. She had light contractions for several hours as we walked around our Camp. And by 8:00 pm Erin started some harder contractions and Jessica had arrived at our house. Erin labored pretty hard through the evening; some minutes were certainly more intense than others. She spent some contractions inside the house, some outside under the stars and rising moon, in the fog, and with the evening music of crickets, frogs, and forest sounds. At some point in the evening two other midwives had made it to our house: Leslie, a senior apprentice who was just finishing the last stages of her midwife training; and Jess, a new apprentice who was so excited to be at the this birth since it would her first homebirth since other than her own.

After several hours of intense contractions, sometime early Sunday morning, Jessica did an internal cervical exam and said that Erin had been working really hard but that there was a little bulge on her cervix that wasn’t letting the baby drop down. Jessica tried to manually push Erin’s cervix over the baby’s head (which Erin said was the worst part of the whole birth), but that didn’t work. So, the midwives told us both to rest for a couple of hours, because the hard part was yet to come.

After the rest, Erin started again trying to push passed the cervical lip. She worked so hard, we tried every trick that the midwives had up their sleeves. Erin squatted, kneeled, lunged, walked, and lied down, in every position possible. After another internal exam, Jessica said she was making progress but she still hadn’t pushed passed the lip. Erin really took it all in stride. She is so amazing & I’m so proud of her; she’s such a strong woman.

Finally the midwives said that one of the last things to try, although it would be really hard, is walking up stairs while lunging and squatting (this should surely be an Olympic event, its hard to describe). This was really hard for Erin, especially because she was now getting the urge to push, but Jessica said she should do her best to breath through the urge to push, so that she didn’t inflame her cervix again. Erin took this advice to heart although it was extremely difficult for her. After the Stairmaster exercise the midwives had her try a few new positions while resting on the bed. And at some point Erin said, “I’m feeling a lot of pressure and I feel like the baby is moving down and getting really close.”

And sure enough, Erin’s intuition was correct. She was still breathing through her contractions when Leslie asked Erin to put her hand between her legs and feel the baby’s head. Erin has now said that pushing the baby out was the least difficult part of the whole labor because she had control and she knew that every push was truly bringing her that much closer to her baby. Erin slowly pushed the baby’s head; with every contraction it popped out and crept back in, making a little bit of progress each time. Kim (Erin’s sister) was helping talk Erin through every contraction, while I was helping deliver the baby.

At 3:08 pm the baby’s head popped out, let out a screech, and… At 3:10 pm I caught Amara Day as she slithered out; she was born beautiful with a full head of hair, 8lbs 14oz., 21 inches long; just perfect! There was a lot of crying and jostling and cleaning up and everything, but Erin and I were at peace just blissing-out with this new life.

The three midwives were such an amazing team. I felt like they were three wonderful spirits, almost in one body that floated through the room; each had their own style and strengths balancing each other and blending in perfect harmony. Thank you to each of them. And thanks to Erin’s family for helping take care of everything around the house, being with us, protecting our birth, and making us delicious chicken and dumplings for dinner after the birth.