the birth of felix charles (part 1)

i have decided to break felix's birth story up into two posts. the first as an account of the events of his birth day and the second as a more emotional assessment of the process of birthing him and my processing of this experience vs. eleanor's birth.

birth day
"who knows how long i've loved you."


throughout my pregnancy i was given three different due dates; february 23rd, 25th, and 28th. knowing what that looming date can do to ones psyche i tried very hard to not put too much weight on any of the dates i was given. being that eleanor was 8 days late i felt it best to set myself up for the same this time around. so when the 23rd arrived i didn't think much about it. we spent the day in grand rapids, doing some last minute food shopping and admiring the plants and butterflies while walking around the frederik meijer gardens. little did i know that this would be the last day we would spend as a family of three.

i awoke sunday morning with less than 5 hours of sleep under my belt and feeling a different kind of contraction. i had been experiencing braxton hicks for months now but something about the surges my body was now having were different. i laid in bed with my family quietly knowing that this was it and thinking about what lay ahead. i got up and went about our sunday as usual, made a nice big breakfast and settled into cbs sunday morning. as the show went on so did my contractions and so for fun i began timing them. they were pretty irregular but i knew that this was it. this was going to be the day we would meet our son. knowing that movement is good for labor i decided to clean the house. i scrubbed the bathrooms, dusted the whole house, vacuumed, and swiffered and as i did my contractions became regular, 5 minutes apart. i texted my doula and told her where things were at and then called my mom to tell her that they might want to start driving. we continued to go about our day as normally as we could. after eating lunch and putting eleanor down for her nap we decided it would be good for me to relax a bit and let my body do the work. i took a nice long bath, finished packing for the hospital, and then laid over the birth ball listening to my birth affirmations. as i relaxed my contractions slowed down but every time i would stand up and walk they would pick up again. we were faced with a choice: keep moving to keep things moving, or try and rest and let birth pick back up on it's own. since i hadn't slept well the night before my doula and i felt that trying to take a nap could be beneficial. i laid down and tried to sleep but i just couldn't sleep through my contractions. they were growing in intensity and i was finding it hard to relax during them. i was trying to focus on the surge breathing we had learned in hypnobirthing but there was so much pressure that the inhalation was incredibly difficult. (looking back now and knowing what was about to happen i know that that was because my body was already working for him to descend) i called our doula and told her that even though my contractions were irregular we were going to head to the hospital. i sent the babysitter a message and she said she would be over in 5 minutes. stijn packed the car and i put my coat on and then a contraction came that sent me onto all fours in our kitchen. i threw my coat off and asked stijn to help me to the bathroom declaring that i had to go, NOW. as soon as i sat down my water broke. the babysitter arrived and stijn told her to take eleanor upstairs. still thinking i was going to get up, get in the car, and head to the hospital i was shocked when my body started pushing, involuntarily and i felt his head crowning. one contraction later his head emerged. i yelled for stijn (who was still taking care of eleanor and the sitter) and another minute later he caught our son as he was born in our bathroom. we both sat there stunned looking at each other and at our little man who came in such a dramatic fashion. in between our laughter stijn called karlye, our doula, to inform her of a change in plans and then 911. dispatch helped him to take care of me until an ambulance arrived that took us to the hospital. a few hours later my parents brought eleanor to the hospital in her pajamas to meet her new brother. i will never forget those moments of apprehension followed by smiles and "hi" and the most tender of touches. this was the beginning of our new life as a family.

in the end my only regret was that we had to go to the hospital at all. it felt like such a disruption to what had been the most natural of labors and birthing. we had wanted a calm unmedicated birth and in the end that is exactly what we got. i trusted my body and my body did what it was created to do. after a total of 10 hours we birthed a beautiful, healthy, 9.5 lb. 22 inch long baby boy. there are still moments where i laugh thinking that we are those people... and then there are moments where i forget the exceptional way in which he was born. these last two weeks have been wonderful and having had the chance to process not just the details of his story but the emotional aspects as well i can say that his birth was incredibly healing for me and i can't wait to share that bit with you soon.

i looked through my phone to get a real time assessment of his birth and for reference the space between texting our babysitter to come and felix being born was less than 20 minutes!

meet felix

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just wanted to pop in for a brief moment while both my babes are sleeping to introduce you to felix charles: born sunday at 5:55pm in quite the dramatic fashion (more later), at 9 lbs. 5 oz. and 22 in. long, we are smitten.

39 weeks and a new perspective

39 weeks

the end is near! and the end is hard. i will spare you all any complaints i may have about the waiting game and instead a change in perspective. i was laying in bed last night wondering if it may be the night that i awaken with the "real thing" contractions and it suddenly struck me for the first time that this may be the last time that i am pregnant. this may be the last time that i get to feel the movements and kicks of my child inside of me. this may be the last time that i have this figure. this may be the last time that i experience birth.

in the midst of pregnancy, when you can't remember not being pregnant or what you normally look like in clothes, or when you are counting the weeks and days until you meet the new member of your family, it's easy to forget just how amazing the pregnant body is and just how lucky you are to be experiencing it. it's easy to focus on the negative; how tired you are, how tired of being pregnant you may be. it's a lot harder to remain positive. but that is my new goal; to try to see these next few weeks in a positive light.

stijn and i aren't sure whether we will have any more children. what we do know for sure is that it will be many years before we think about it again. so this very well could be my last. and that thought and it's possible finality makes the waiting a bit easier. it makes the discomfort i feel a bit less consuming. it makes the thought of labor and birth so exciting. soon a little boy and i are going to work together with my body to bring him into the world, to join our family, to be our son. i don't need to rush it, i just need to savor these last weeks i have with him alone, in my pregnant body because it may be the last time.

a baby hat for baby brother

a baby hat for baby brother

with just a couple of weeks to go i decided it was time to make something for baby brother. poor thing as the second born, he's already getting the shaft. when i was pregnant with eleanor i had nothing but time to take weekly belly photos and write her weekly letters, i knit her a blanket and loads of hats and booties. this go around i've taken only a handful of belly shots and written to him never. finally, taking advantage of nap time, i managed to knit a little hat from the softest and most beautiful yarn i've ever worked with. when i finished i thought maybe i'd try to eek out a pair of booties to match or maybe even a blanket but then i got realistic and figured i better not push it. who am i kidding that blanket would sit unfinished next to eleanor's sweater (started over a year ago). hopefully he wont be scarred for life or hold it against me.

a baby hat for baby brother

a baby hat for baby brother

in other news, i'm 38 weeks pregnant! we're spending our days trying to keep busy and just enjoying our time as a family of three before the little guy arrives. stijn and i are going on a date this weekend and next week i have little day dates planned for eleanor and i every day. after baby comes and we get settled i hope to continue weekly or biweekly dates with e.

happy weekend friends!

29 weeks

29 weeks

well here we are already. one week into my third trimester. in some ways it has flown by and in others i find myself wishing it were over. all in all this pregnancy has been easy and thankfully very healthy but as you may remember from the last time we did this, i don't particularly love being pregnant. i am so lucky that my body handles it well and i haven't had any major complications but this go around has been a bit more painful than the last. comfortable sleep escaped me long ago and my pelvic pain makes it hard for me to walk by the end of the day but i'm coping well (no time to wallow when your chasing a toddler).

speaking of my toddler, we are trying to prepare eleanor as best we can for the big changes that are about to take place. we talk to her daily about her baby brother, we bought her this book, and her own baby to take care of. when you ask her where her baby brother is she smiles and points to my belly and she even gives her baby brother kisses. she's at an age where she loves to help mama and papa do things and i can't wait to see my big helper taking care of her brother.

29 weeks


we're trying to prepare for the little man's arrival but truthfully we aren't at all ready. i've gone through bins of clothing, washing what was gender neutral, storing what has sentimental value, and getting rid of what doesn't. we pulled out baby things, washed the insert for the ergo carrier, and set up a play area. i scrubbed eleanor's bloom fresco chair, washed the padding and straps, and set it up for a baby again. (eleanor will use a different high chair) so in some ways the cleaning, purging, and organizing has me feeling very accomplished but we have yet to get some pretty major things, like a crib.

with our travels to europe and cincinnati for the holidays i know that this next month is going to fly by and then before you know it we will be a family of four!

the ethics of baby naming

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do you have names picked out for your children before even being aware of their existence? do you keep them written somewhere? do you keep these names secret for fear that a friend will steal your name? i used to do all of these things. funny though that neither eleanor's name nor the one we have picked for baby brother are on those lists.

we struggled for a while with a name for this little man but finally settled on one a couple of months ago. we talk to him, refer to him, and tell eleanor about him using his name. so to us it's who he is. and here, friends, is our dilemma...

friends had their baby a few weeks ago and named him the name we have chosen. so what do we do? do we keep the name that we know him as or do we start over? help!


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some things for baby boy

forbabyboy

one/ warm knit blankets
two/ cute boy sweaters
three/ baby moccasins
four/ a non diaper bag diaper bag for mama
five/ a double stroller
six/ a mini version of eleanor's crib
seven/ a beautiful mobile for little eyes to gaze at
eight/ the best swaddling blankets
nine/ cozy rompers to keep a michigan winter baby warm