Three Months Later… A Birth Story

Oh, hey – the last time I posted, I was in the home stretch (pun intended) of pregnancy. Here I am at home on Friday, January 29. I knew I was in labor, but I didn’t know Maxwell Orion would be born only about four hours later.

As of yesterday, we have a three-month old!

20160429. Three months old.

So what if it took me three months to getting around to documenting our birth story? Let me hook you with some spoilers: this tale includes Taco Bell, getting your frosting swirled, and a hilarious anesthesiologist with a potty mouth. Brace yourself.

It all started at my weekly OB appointment on Wednesday morning; my due date was the following Saturday, 1/30/16. The doc checked me out, told me nothing seemed to be imminent, swirled my frosting (this is a fun way of saying she stripped my membranes, which sends about 50% of ladies into labor within 48 hours if their bodies are ready), and said it could be a day or a week. I asked if we should get my parents down to Indy since they would be watching Willem during all the hospital/birthing hoopla, and she said, “Well, I would.” Okay then!

The parents came down and hung out with us Wednesday and Thursday. I felt totally normal and fine, but I did have some business going. Still, I just assumed I’d be pregnant FOREVER, because that was exactly how I felt the entire last week of pregnancy: that I would be the lucky medical anomaly to have a college student in my uterus.

That night, we got Taco Bell because, if any kind of food was going to be successful in expelling a baby, it would be Doritos locos tacos, AMIRIGHT?! I had some pretty good contractions that night but assumed it was the tacos talking.

The next morning, I woke up feeling totally downtrodden. I slept just fine the night before with no contractions, no discomfort, no nothing. By 8:30, though, I was calling my parents at the hotel to tell them, OH HEY, no rush, but I think I’m having a baby today. Contractions had kicked in and were regular, but they were still totally manageable painwise. I kept waiting for them to become horrendous like they were with Willem, but they never did.

I spent the morning cuddling Willem, yukking it up with the parents, timing contractions, bouncing on my yoga ball, and finally calling the doctor’s office around 11:00. I was annoyed that they wanted me to come right in; since nothing felt super awful yet, I was afraid I’d be stuck in a hospital bed laboring forever if we went in too early. Chris came home around 2:00, and we headed to the hospital.

January 2016.

Thank goodness we did. I was already dilated to 5 cm when I arrived, but I was really not in any pain and walked from the office to L&D to get checked in. My two L&D nurses thought I was an induction because I was acting so a-okay: “So why are you getting induced?” When I told them I was 5 cm already and in labor, they got a little more pep in their step.

January 2016.

It all went extremely fast after that. We checked in around 3:30, water was broken around 4:00, epidural process started around 4:15. The anesthesiologist was hilarious (Anthony) and, as the bearer of the mighty epidural, by BFF very, very quickly. By 4:45 I told the nurse I wasn’t sure the epidural was working since I had some intense pain on one side. She was like, “Um, I’m pretty sure that just means you are about to have this baby.” Sure enough, there he was, RIGHT THERE, ready and waiting.

Suddenly, there were a lot of people in the room, and I swear one of my nurses said, “Oh, here’s so and so. She’s going to catch your baby.”

The doctor did manage to get back in time, right around 5:00 pm (I think). I still was in shock and disbelief when she looked me in the eye and said, “Let’s have this baby.” I think my exact words were, “Wait, I’m not ready!” I figured I had at least a few more hours.

I pushed through 5, maybe 6 contractions, and there he was at 5:25 pm, screaming on my chest, a little dimple on one side of his sweet mouth every time he got really worked up. I still cannot believe what an amazingly different labor and delivery experience this was compared to Willem’s. It was, dare I say it, EASY. And because I wasn’t completely wiped out when Max arrived, I was actually able to enjoy him… and definitely got pretty teary eyed when I saw his face for the first time.

January/February 2016.

Welcome to the world, Maxwell Orion! Born Friday, 1/29/16 at 5:25 pm, weighing 8 lbs. 7 oz. We love you more than we can say.

January/February 2016.

January/February 2016.

January/February 2016.

January/February 2016.

On the homefront.

On the homefront.

TWO WEEKS!

That’s right. Two weeks until Baby #2’s estimated due date. This iconic scene from Total Recall is all I can think of:

We’re ready…ish. Readyish. With Willem, I really had no idea what to expect. Sure, you read the books and the blogs and absolutely soak up all the information you can about caring for your newborn (or at least I did). You get all the baby “stuff” that is supposedly essential to having a happy baby these days. You stock your freezer and buy 20 extra rolls of toilet paper so you won’t have to send your husband out at 2 am.

20160115. Baby blanket for #2.

But no one can tell you how your body and brain will react to insane hormones, nursing all day and all night, the physical pain and recovery your body must go through on zero sleep, and a tiny creature you don’t quite understand, are just getting to know, and are trying to keep alive and, preferably, from crying.

End of the year snapshots.

And so now I know all of that… which makes it both easier and even more terrifying. That’s where the readyish part comes into play. I know I will never be truly “ready” for the newborn shock to the system. It’s just something you’ve got to get through, in all its sweet messiness.

End of the year snapshots.

This time, of course, I also have a wonderful little boy in the mix, a little dude who amazes me daily with his smarts, sense of humor, gentleness, and sweetness. Latest cute Willem-ism: he has this running monologue lately that goes something like, “big car, red car, green car, big big car,” etc. as he’s going about his day. Yesterday I asked him what was in mommy’s tummy. His response? “Baby car.”

I am so proud to be his mom, and I can’t wait to see how he and his little brother become a team. And I worry I am not going to be able to live up to being the mom Willem knows and loves.

Warm December chicken petting.

And then I worry that I’m going to sell this new little guy short, that he’ll just be along for the ride. And I know this is all silly and, really, pointless to fret about because, in TWO WEEKS (+/- two weeks, of course), Baby #2 will be here.

We’ll be fine, we’ll be great even, and when it comes right down to it, I absolutely cannot wait to meet this kiddo.

20160116. 38 weeks.

Willem-Speak

As I get closer and closer to starting this whole child-rearing journey all over again with a second little guy, I find myself constantly amazed of Willem, our first little guy. I swear the kid has grown leaps and bounds in the last several months.

End of the year snapshots.

The latest: potty learning and language. Maybe we’ll get to potty training some other day. Let’s just say I am completely amazed at his ability to really get it this time around. It’s totally impressive to me that in just a week, we are really getting this down. I’m so glad to be laying this groundwork now, even if things slip a little (understandably) when Baby #2 arrives.

Now for the fun stuff: language. A few choice phrases in Willem-ese:

  • Helicopter: “apart-ter-ter”
  • Octopus: “ah-puh-tata”
  • Lawn mower: “murr-murr”
  • Again: “ah-NENN”
  • Stuck (his favorite book lately): “kuh”
  • Semi (as in semi truck): “hem-eye”

Some other faves:

  • Together/Apart: he says “apart” with such gusto, all high at the end – “ah-PAAAARRRRT.” He also loves pulling things apart just so he can say it over and over.
  • “Oh no!” repeated in a very high, sweet falsetto, usually when he does something like purposely pulling his train off the tracks
  • “Milk” – which sounds more like a goofy “MEEEEEELK” (totally taught him that, I’m so proud)

 

And just to get a real dose of the cuteness over here:

A Gratuitous Post All About LOVE and THE FUTURE

Today marks our one-year wedding anniversary. What a wonderful, insane year it has been.

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our wedding!

20130907. Our Wedding!

20130907. Our Wedding!

20130907. Our Wedding!

For instance, we now have some new residents: tens of thousands of bees and an adorable almost-seven-month-old.

Willem adores his BFF Crosby:
Friends.

Homies and their chew toys.

As always, we are looking to the future. I think that’s one of the coolest things about us as a couple: we push each other and support each other and egg each other on with whatever latest hairbrained scheme one of us has until it doesn’t seem so hairbrained anymore and we actually do it.

Today’s discussion (during lunch at La Margarita, our fave Mexican restaurant, which I hadn’t visited since my due date) centered around finding some land/buying a farm so Chris could start raising nucs and building top bar hives (the latter he could do here; the former, not so much). I also had a really freaking amazing idea last night centered around food deserts and a new way of getting produce to communities who would maybe love to eat fresh produce if only they had access…. And that’s all I want to say about THAT because I might actually want to try to do it at some point.

I’m also exploring new ways to spread art into the world (and maybe make a little cash on the side so we can maybe, possibly, actually get us some land one of these days) and have re-opened my Etsy shop! Visit me at www.etsy.com/shop/famousthecat and get yourself a custom “home sweet home” print to display your own family love all year round.

Here’s ours:
20140712. Updated Home Sweet Home.

Raspberry Jalapeno Wheat Beer: Throwback Sunday?

Chris is currently working on what I think will turn out to be magic in beer form: a raspberry jalapeno wheat beer.

He brewed it up last Sunday and just racked it out into the secondary fermenter yesterday, poured over four pounds of raspberries and I don’t know how many jalapenos. I’ll let him wax poetic about the process (we actually blew the lid off the primary fermenter with our first use of a yeast starter, and Chris created a flash fire and had a minor boil over – BREWING BEER IS SO EXCITING) and the end product.

In the meantime, here’s what my boys were up to last weekend. Chris brewing away:
20140420. Brewing on Easter.

20140420. Brewing on Easter.

Willem discovering the mirror on his play mat:
20140420. Willem.

20140420. Willem.

I sure do like those two. And here they are today. We have a clean baby, family in town, a Discovery show on TV, sunshine, fresh coffee, and a good day ahead of us. Happy Sunday!
20140427. The boys.

(P.S. We also discovered this past week that our baby is still a giant. He’s in the 95th percentile or above for height, weight, and head circumference. At 9 weeks, he’s 15 lbs., 4 oz. Go breast milk!).

Reduce, Reuse, Reprettify!

REDUCE, REUSE, REPRETTIFY! Since we got married at such a beautiful location (South Circle Farm), we kept our decorations really simple: some fun banners, beautiful flowers, big white paper globes, floral buntings, and strands of origami birds.

Koester-112-2769817604-O

20130907. Our wedding!

Koester-114-2769817664-O

I had a wild hair to re-use them somehow in the nursery, so after the wedding, I saved them. I kind of love our nursery “mobile.”

20131214. Nursery "mobile."

20131214. Nursery "mobile."

And a couple of prints I made:

20131214. Nursery art.

ON WINTERIZING THE CHICKENS: Earlier this week, it got frigidly cold here in the Midwest.  We’re talking low single digit temperatures with wind chills in the negatives. What with this pregnant/giving birth in the middle of winter thing, I decided we needed a reliable way to keep the chicken’s water completely unfrozen, even if we have to step out to the hospital for a day or two. So, although the DIY warmer was doing okay, I broke down and bought a legit chicken waterer warmer (this one, to be exact) – and just in time.

I also rigged up a light bulb clamped into the rafters of the coop for the two nights where it got really frigid. I feared I would awaken to a Little Red popsicle on Wednesday morning, but it’s amazing the heat that one 60-watt light bulb, some cracked corn before bed time, and five chickens can produce in a small space.

Safety Note: All you have to do is Google search “chicken coop fire,” and you’ll see that heating coops is no joke. Pine shavings and dried chicken poops make a pretty good incendiary device, so be smart about any electrical or lighting device you put in those coops! Our neighbors had a heat lamp going the other night, which would scare the bejeezus out of me with how hot they get.

In short, the girls are currently happily scratching away in their snowy run, searching for treats in the hay. I also realized one of my greatest chicken-related fears last week: went to pull a glove out of my parka pocket and found it covered in goo from a forgotten, smashed egg. This is why you shouldn’t really carry eggs in your coat pockets.

AND OTHER GENERAL CUTENESS/AWESOMENESS LATELY IN OUR LIVES:
My loves:
Friday night faves.

Birdie hugs:
20131207. Birdie hugs.

Me and my beautiful madre:
20131130. Our baby shower.

Chris’ new mistress – taking things to the next level at the Space-Farm Continuum!
Taking things to the next level at the Space-Farm, y'all!

Sneak preview – Christmas knitting:
20131214. Beard!

20131214. Grumpasaurus.

Birdie and Chris’ snowman from this morning:
20131214. Chris made a snowman.

And, as of today, we are in the single digit countdown: 31 weeks down, 9 (+/-) to go!
20131213. Almost 31 weeks.

Giving Thanks, the Wrap-Up (in Which My Family Is Amazeballs)

Right after Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite. I mean that in an Elf sort of way. Actually, I generally relate to this clip perhaps a little too much this time of year.

Chris and I went up to Chicago and had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house with my parents, aunt and uncle, and some of my cousins and their kids. Food, family, football: the Thanksgiving trifecta. It was a warm glow kind of afternoon, and I’m not just talking about the weather.

20131128. Me and Chris. Our amazing baby shower!

On Saturday, my mom threw us the best baby shower ever. For real, the best. It was at a tea house near their place, complete with your choice of 50+ types of tea, personal tea pots, mismatched (gorgeous) China cups and saucers, and delicious itty bitty sandwiches and desserts.

20131128. Grandma, Amy, me, and Pam. Our amazing baby shower!

The women in my family are pretty rad, too. They are down to Earth, funny, silly, loving, generous, REAL ladies who inevitably have a serious hoot any time they get together. Our shower was no different. I think my favorite part was getting to spend the morning with them all.

20131128. Shawna, Braelyn, me, and Chris. Our amazing baby shower!

That beautiful “little” girl standing next to me? I was her nanny when she was 6 months old until she was 13 months old. It’s hard to believe that was 11 years ago!

I also feel like we are so ready for this baby – at least, as far as “stuff” is concerned! Between my parents’ astounding generosity and these amazingly generous ladies, I am overwhelmed with gratitude – and BABY STUFF. I don’t know how they managed it, but we didn’t even have any duplicate gifts. Well done, family!

20131128. Bibs from Pam. Our amazing baby shower!

Wait… we’re going to be PARENTS?!

Of course I don’t have a single photo yet of my mom and me! (Hint, hint, Chris – you need to upload your shots stat). I got a wild hair when we got back home Saturday and managed to unpack and put together almost all of our goodies. Here are a few outtakes from the office/nursery (heavy on the “nursery” part):

20131205. The office is giving way to the nursery.

My desk gets more and more interesting every day.

 

20131205. Baby's got the goods.

An army of sleepers, the most amazing chicken hat, and tiny baby booties knitted 34 years ago by my grandmother, now for our little one.

 

20131205. Baby's got the goods.

A blanket my aunt Beth embroidered for me when I was a baby, art I made for the kid, and the most ingenious storage idea ever for tiny baby things.

Thanksgiving weekend also meant another four weeks of BUMP WATCH 2013. We’ve learned the kid now weighs 3.5 pounds, which puts it in the 80th percentile for weight. No wonder I feel so rotund!
Bump Watch, 2013: Weeks 26-29.

Babies on the Brain…

And in the yard and in the house and on the fence and on and on and on…

My co-worker today told me that, during the 17-year cicada cycle, there is a huge growth in baby animal populations. I don’t have any better explanation for the insane number of baby animals we have found in the yard lately, so I’m going with it.

First, we discovered the cutest baby bunnies I HAVE EVER SEEN (turned out to be at least five) hiding out in our garlic beds. This little muffin and its siblings were about the size of tennis balls (in other words, TIIIIINY).

20130512. There she is!

Then, as Chris was leaving for work this morning, he discovered this magical, mythical beast just hanging out, covered in babies, on our fence.

Backyard Opossum with Babies

I mean, like, SERIOUSLY?! Are you KIDDING ME?!!!

Backyard Opossum with Babies

As long as we’re on the subject of babies, I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention two of my favorite wee babes, who we got to see this past weekend: my beautiful nephews.

20130511. Zach's 1st birthday, hugging his new hedgehog and rabbit.

Zachary, age one.

20130512. Me and my sweet Ben.

Ben, age almost-four.

And finally, there’s MY baby, Birdie, who has injured herself yet again. It breaks my heart. She managed to rip a nail completely in half in a dishwasher-related freakout last night, leading to a restless night that culminated in me dragging a blanket and pillow out to the rug in the living room at 5:00 this morning and petting her until she stopped whining and fell asleep beside me. My poor, sweet girl.

20130514. No chew!

NO CHEW! NO CHEW!

Yo, Dawg, I Heard You Liked Earth Day, So We Took Your Car and Gutted the Engine and Made It into a Lawn Ornament, Complete with Bird Bath and Composter…

When I started this blog post, I started at the end, writing, “Finally, and unrelated to everything else in this (not-yet-written) post, [blah blah blah song that’s been stuck in my head].” But then I thought, why not start with the end as the beginning? That’s apparently what’s REALLY on my mind, so who cares if it’s unrelated to anything else going on right now? Maybe it IS the most important thing at this very moment.

So, here goes… Unrelated to everything else, I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a while, and the video makes me want to move to Jamaica and hang out with just about every person featured in it for coffee or maybe something a little stronger, a dancing lesson, a bicycle ride, a game of cards, or a boxing match.

I know you, you know me
Baby, you know me
We’re all together in the same boat
I know you, you know me
Baby, you know me
I Just wanna dream

In other news, we had an awesome, whirlwind trip to Des Moines the past several days for a surprise birthday party for Chris’ mom. His mom deadpanned, “Oh, you’re here,” as she walked in and we all yelled the required, “SURPRISE!” She was, however, very pleased to see us (so she says), and we got to spend some good time with her, Chris’ dad, and the human menagerie of his family. It had been too long.

Oh, and if you saw the previous blog post, we did NOT come home with a five-foot metal chicken. If only we’d had the trailer hooked up… We did, however, make it to El Bait Shop (I just linked directly to the beer menu, because OH HOLY F*CKB*LLS, it was amazing!). As we were with family and it was 2 in the afternoon, I only got one beer (sadly, because I wanted to try about 15 of them). It was a winner, though: Green Flash Palate Wrecker IPA. I chose…. WISELY.

Before we left, we made what should probably turn out to be an amazing APFELWEIN. Yeah, not just APPLE WINE, but APFELWEIN, which is really fun to say in an Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque accent (and even more fun if you were saying it in such an accent after two glasses of aforementioned APFELWEIN, I’m guessing). I’m pretty stoked about our entrance into brewing and fermenting delicious things. This one required nothing more than a carboy, five gallons of cheapo ghetto apple juice, two pounds of dextrose, and some yeast. In six weeks or so, we should have an amazing, dry, crisp, carbonated bevvie to sip on and share.

20130419. Apfelwein.

TOTAL BABE. Also, all of this brewing stuff is really Chris’s awesome doing. Please continue being awesome. And thanks.

20130419. Apfelwein.

20130419. Apfelwein.

EDWORT APFELWEIN! (In an Arnold accent, please).

And now it sits, bubbling away gently in our basement.

Speaking of apples, our two apple sticks trees we planted last fall in the backyard, are sending out buds. Hooray! Someday, they will bloom more beautifully than our non-native (yet totally gorgeous) Japonica. Spring… it has sprung.
20130422. Japonica in bloom.