Ignore the pink blanket...I just grabbed it not realizing Kyle would pull out his camera. We're pretty open-minded about most things, but even I will not be dressing this little guy in pink...not for awhile anyway. :)
One of my best friends, Julia, gave birth to her little boy, Noah, two days prior to my delivery of August! With two completely different personalities, Brooklyn and Lake are each reacting to the change in their environment in different ways. But they share one common thread, they each need to feel special, too. So Drew and Julia came by Saturday night to meet August and let Lake see that Brooklyn also had a baby brother. While at our house, Kyle did his best to coax some smiles out of serious Lake, and was quite successful. I think she and Brooklyn were good for each other! Meanwhile, Jules and I held our babies together and enjoyed being tired brand new moms together.
While my OB cleared me to go home 4 hours after I gave birth to August, we ran into some unexpected roadblocks to our journey home. As our pediatrician is not "technically" a pediatrician and therefore does not do rounds at our hospital, we knew we would have to have some other doc release August. What we did not anticipate was that at 4:00 in the afternoon, there are no peds rounding. One was paged, but never returned the nurses page. It transpired that we had to stay Thursday night to make sure that August could be seen the next morning at rounds. We were LESS than thrilled, especially as this was the first night I had EVER spent without Brooklyn. And I was not excited about that, despite the fact that I did have a new baby to hold all night. A night during which I slept less than an hour with diaper changes, feedings and the normal hospital interruptions. Plus I was burning up!
We made a few mistakes along the route. We didn't pick the pediatrician to look at August, so a clinic was written on our charts. Apparently, this particular clinic doesn't round early in the morning, like most do. They didn't show up until 12:45 the next day. As I was climbing the walls, anxious to go home. Then, after waiting and waiting, it occurred to me that it was just THIS clinic that hadn't done rounds, but OTHER doctors were there. Well, as I realized this and we got on the phone to have some other doc check out August, we were informed that the doc from the clinic had finally arrived. And she was taking her sweet time getting to talk to us.
Taking so long, in fact, that I hunted her down outside the nursery. I had no desire to spend a second away from my new son, particularly not for a poky physician who was just writing up orders and notes and avoiding speaking to me - the crazy new mom who was clamoring to be released from the hospital. And she really was avoiding me, I discovered. Apparently, she had bad news to deliver and did NOT like confrontation.
And I was not backing down - I was anxious to go home! I had had nurses promising me for HOURS that we were just minutes away from leaving. So this poor doc tells me that her clinic has a policy to keep babies whose mom's were Group B Strep positive in the hospital for 48 hours to make sure they don't have an infection. I had prepared for this - I had already contacted my own doctor and given him the heads up that I was Group B Strep positive and that the rounding peds person would probably not want to let me go without assurance that my baby was immediately in the care of another doctor. Well, this woman didn't care. She was not going to release August for another 24 hours. She thought I was nuts for wanting to go home so early anyway. And basically told me so. Literally called me weird. I countered coolly with - "Different. Different from YOUR expectations. Not weird. Just because you are used to one thing does not make something outside your expectations "Weird". I'm obviously a different kind of woman than you." She was shaking....literally shaking. And I was seething. Ice cold, but furious and frustrated and exhausted and missing my little Brooklyn and DYING to go home. On top of which, my entire family (aka babysitting pool) was headed to Springdale at 3:00 Friday afternoon to attend the wedding of my cousin. There was no one to stay and keep Brooklyn!
I finally said, Look, I'm not angry at you - just this whole stupid situation. We didn't choose your clinic and certainly would NOT have knowing how late you round up here, and we were given very different expectations from the other hospital staff and we are justifiably frustrated. I understand your position, while I do not like it, and I need to talk to my husband to figure out what we are going to do.
I began to realize we could a) leave AMA (against medical advice) and take our chances, b) have my mom skip the wedding and stay home to watch Brooklyn for us while we waited out our 48 hours in the hospital or c) we could get Brooklyn from my parents and bring her up to the hospital with us and see how that worked out. After much deliberation and discussion, Kyle and I decided that we would just wait it out, get Brooklyn and bring her up with us and take our chances on getting out a little earlier than promised the next day.
So we did. Kyle went home and brought back changes of clothes, a laptop, some books, Brooklyn most importantly and some books for her! And we survived. It was like spending a night in the most uncomfortable hotel room of all time. Kyle cramped on the plastic couch, Brooklyn sprawled next to me on the bed and August in the crook of my arm. Me waking up to feed him and change him and praying that I wouldn't wake up Brooklyn. Who amazingly, slept soundly through the night and didn't wake up the next morning until 8:45!
We finally saw the pediatrician from the clinic the next day at 1:30!!!! So much for getting out early! We managed to make it home just shy of 4:00, and finally, our little family was able to begin to settle into our new life together.
I wasn't sure how Brooklyn would react to meeting her little brother, but my worries were in vain. I was also not sure how she would react to seeing me sitting in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, but I gotta give my girl credit. She's pretty cool with just about anything. When, shortly after birth, my sister in law, Melissa and my sister Rachel brought Brooklyn up to see us, Brooklyn ran up to me unhesitatingly and climbed up onto the bed. At the time, August was nursing, and I thought, Ok, here we go...this is where she might get possessive. However, she stood up beside me, put her arm around me and said, "What's he doing?" And then she asked, "What's on your arm?" I told her he was hungry, so he was eating and I had an IV in my arm giving me some medicine. "Ok," she said.
She immediately wanted to touch his face, pat his head and once we told her his name, she was referring to him instantly as "MY August." It could not have gone any smoother. Praise the Lord for that!
The arrival of August began early in the morning. Sometime around 4 am, I woke up thinking I must be having a bad dream or something. Something didn’t feel right. Then I realized I had been having contractions! Not just the usual Braxton-Hicks, but these were actually hurting! After DAYS of waiting for something, anything, to happen, it seemed something finally was!
I had been sleeping in Brooklyn’s room with her for the past couple of weeks as her bed was more comfortable to me for some reason. As I lay there with her snuggled up against me, I started noticing that the contractions were pretty regular. I reached for my trusted Timex on the bedside table and found that the contractions were lasting about 30-40 seconds with about 3-4 minutes between them. They weren’t horribly painful, but they didn’t tickle, either. After about 30 minutes, I crawled into bed with Kyle and said, honey, I’m having contractions. He sort of mumbled something and then went back to sleep. About an hour later, they were still regular and consistent. I nudged him again. He woke up this time and we decided maybe we ought to at least get our hospital bags ready. As the sunlight began to fill our bedroom, we talked about whether this was the real thing or not and should we call someone to maybe come be with Brooklyn…at some point it became clear to both of us that this probably wasn’t false labor.
I hesitated to get REALLY excited, but some part of me thought this could be it. It was tricky because my labor with Brooklyn began with my leaking amniotic fluid for a few days before being admitted to the hospital and put on pitocin to get my contractions going. Fortunately, with her, my body kicked in pretty quickly and I didn’t have to experience a “pit” labor. But I certainly didn’t go into the hospital having contractions or even feeling remotely close to “being in labor.”
We pulled out our Bradley book and began reviewing the different types of labor to see if my “symptoms” fit into anything. Boy, that book is so handy! I called one of my nurse practitioner friends to ask her opinion. She said it sounded like the beginnings of labor to her and that I should check back with her in an hour. This was 6:00 am. Around 7, things still the same with some increased frequency in contractions, I called Lisa back and getting her answering machine, decided she would have told me to go on in. The only real reason being that I was Group B Strep positive. Apparently, there is this bacteria that lives everywhere and can occasionally be found in our bodies without being an active infection. If this bacteria resides in your birth canal (you test positive for the test), there is a risk that your baby can pick it up and contract an infection as it passes through the birth canal. So, if you test positive, they want you to come into the hospital sooner rather than later to get some antibiotics. First, to kill any infection and a dose later to make sure antibiotics are in the baby’s system as it is born. This was the only reason I hesitated about when to go to the hospital. I had no idea how much time I might have before delivery and wanted to make sure I had enough time to get whatever meds I needed.
Finally, around 8, we called my parents to tell them we thought we might be in labor, then my sister in law, Melissa, to come over and stay with Brooklyn. They were happily building and knocking down block towers when Kyle and I left for the hospital. The contractions were steady all the way there, and once we parked, it took forever to walk the long corridor from the parking deck to the hospital building as I kept having to pause and just let my belly sag through the contractions.
We checked in, I was asked a zillion questions, they started an IV on me and then my contractions started slowing way down. The Bradley book tells you to anticipate this. It either is that a) you were in false labor to begin with or b) the adrenaline that you feel about actually going to the hospital to have a baby slows things down. I just knew they’d end up sending us home and I’d be kicking myself for going so early! Our nurse, Caitlin, told me to just relax and after they got us into a birthing room and we did some walking, if things hadn’t picked back up, we’d re-evaluate. She checked me initially at 9:45 and I was just dilated to 1 but about 60% effaced. A long way to go.
By the time my antibiotics had run in and we were in a room, we were ready to see if this thing was really happening. Walking did the trick. Almost upon standing up, the contractions picked up in intensity and pace. We walked for an hour – literally the fastest hour of my life. I felt so retarded waddling down the hallways in my flowing hospital gowns while people streamed past me – everyone either smiling at me in that way they do at all pregnant women or smiling at me in understanding – having done a walk or two on their own before. I was holding my trust Timex which had the nerve to break, so I’m holding half of a watch and checking it every few minutes.
We took it upon ourselves to not just walk the halls but to climb 15 flights of stairs up and back. Figured there were fewer people to encounter that way. In any case, towards the end of our walk and my 15th bathroom trip later, I noticed some bloody show which usually means your cervix is dilating. We waddled our way back to the room and Caitlin checked me once again. She informed me with pleasure that I was now 3 cm dilated and really really soft – she said she could have made me a 5 just with a sweep of her fingers. But she didn’t. This was around 1:30. I was kind of shocked – to have dilated to 3 in such a short time seemed pretty good!
Caitlin recommended we take a short walk and then come back to get some strips of fetal monitoring and contractions. Let me insert this – Caitlin was awesome. She was a total advocate of the Bradley method and was in fact a doula and a midwife. I was in good, and more importantly, supportive hands.
No sooner had Kyle pulled out his wallet to go find the cafeteria, did my contractions ramp it up a notch. I went from talking to Caitlin to suddenly entering a zone of seriousness. I grabbed Kyle and said, uh, you’re not going anywhere. He made a quick phone call to my mom to let her know that things had suddenly picked up and could she please bring me our pillows (the one thing we’d forgotten). She jumped in her car, and I lay down on my side to start doing some serious concentrating on relaxing every single muscle in my body. The principle behind the Bradley method is to get out of your body’s way and let it do its thing. Stop fighting the pain of a contraction and sink into it, while consciously working to COMPLETELY relax every other muscle in your body, giving the uterus the attention it needs to just work on pushing that baby down.
Kyle started out by applying counter-pressure with his fist to my lower back. As every labor is different, with this labor, it didn’t help at all. I had him stop almost immediately, finding him infinitely more necessary as he talked me through mentally evaluating every muscle and physically releasing any tension. He was so amazing. As my contractions seriously sped up and became serious work, I indicated the start of a contraction by raising my index finger. This meant, pay attention to me and make sure I am working right. He was, as I said, amazing. In the middle of it all, my mom showed up and bless her heart, had a panic attack upon realizing that she was stuck on the second floor of the hospital unable to use the stairs. She is way claustrophobic and hates elevators. This is a problem because the hospital prohibits the use of stairs due to infant safety.
Anyway, I was taking this in through a haze of pain as I worked through my contractions. That and outside in the hallway, it sounded like a squeaky toy was bouncing around, and I swear it was driving me mad. I begged Kyle to please make the squeaky stop. He dashed out in the hallway to see what he could do. It momentarily stopped.
Time was flying by, or seemed to be, and I was deep into this labor. No going home now. This was very different from Brooklyn’s labor – it seemed to be moving really fast now that we were on our way. I was working very hard, although my mom insisted I looked asleep. Kyle assured her this was me actively working on relaxing.
I was also burning hot. Sweat was pouring off me, although Kyle had almost cranked the ac down to the point where everyone but me needed a winter coat. He put wet washrags on my head and arm and that really helped. In the midst of my contractions, I was actually able to feel my uterus dilating. It was so bizarre. I was concentrating so hard on letting my uterus work that I was able to FEEL it work. And I knew I was getting close. I told Kyle to get Caitlin to check me – I needed to feel like I had an idea where I was on this journey. I sensed it was closer than anyone thought. Including me.
I finally had enough of a break to go to the bathroom, and I ended up staying in there for about 20 minutes. I think sitting up and letting gravity keep dilating me made a difference. I had a harder time relaxing everything while I sitting up, but Kyle was great at letting me sag onto him and he just kept encouraging me to relax everything. At some point, my nurse Caitlin popped her head in and said she had a second to check me if I was ready. By this point, I was thinking to myself I was really close – the pain was incredibly intense during the peak of the contractions and I was feeling on the edge.
My poor mom, it was killing her to see me in pain. It was under control, but sometimes I had to moan to let out my breath during the contractions and it hurt her to see her daughter hurting! Caitlin quickly checked me and said, oh my goodness, girl, you are 9 centimeters and I can feel your amniotic bag BULGING! To Kyle she said, once her water breaks, get me immediately – she’ll want to push immediately and I need to make sure her cervix is completely out of the way.
Then she ran out to assist on other mommas pushing their kiddos into the world. Apparently, either due to the full moon or just a summer of pregnant women, there were 8 other women literally delivering at the same time. And a few doors down from me, another women and her husband were using the Bradley method just like us! This was her 5th baby, though!
No sooner had she walked out the door, then a DOOZY of a contraction overtook me and I groaned with the effort of it, and then suddenly, like a water balloon slamming against a wall, a SURGE of water shot out, soaking me and the bed. It sounds disgusting, but was about the most interesting thing that I have ever experienced. And boy, Caitlin was right, the second that happened, I was in pushing mode. And when that happens, all hell better get out of your way cause there is NO stopping that moving train.
I immediately rolled to my back and scrambled to breathe while my fingers instantly sought for the buttons to raise the headboard. Kyle laughs now to recall that I, of all people, had to take care of getting that done. He, meanwhile, was running out into the hall with my mom, yelling for someone to get in here – that it was TIME! My mom scrambled to the foot of the bed while I used my spare seconds between transition and pushing to get situated. Knees up to my chest and my back against the head of the bed, ready to breathe in and out, then breathe in and out, then PUSH with the next 2 breathes/contractions. Problem was, where was everyone? No nurses or doctors…just mom and Kyle! And I think we all really thought it was gonna be mom catching this baby.
Suddenly, a strange face with a calm voice loomed over me instructing me firmly to NOT PUSH YET! I said, “You are out of your mind. I don’t have a choice!” as the urge to push built up in me to such an extreme degree that I just knew I would die if I didn’t push. SOMEHOW, I controlled it and swallowed the urge. My darling Caitlin and another precious nurse, Holly, also a midwife and doula and Bradley advocate, flanked me and I was checked to make sure the cervix was out of the way. It was. Just in time, Dr. Breniman appeared and instruments appeared that would be used to clamp the cord once the baby was out. And I pushed. And suddenly, I felt the head crown. I felt it. And knew because my mom and the nurses and Dr. B were telling me about it. I was able to use the Bradley pushing method to completely control the pushing process. The true beauty of the pushing process is that it is so satisfying to be able to respond to your body’s call to action. You can DO something instead of letting that something be done. So, after building up my breaths, I pushed actively and suddenly, the head was there, then out, then the body just slithered out and my baby was lying there – and it was a BOY! Born at 4:00 pm on Thursday, July 17, 2008. Miraculously, after only 2 ½ hours of hard labor.
I sat forward and watched as Dr. Breniman briskly rubbed my little boy. He was totally grey – the cord had been wrapped around his neck twice – loosely enough to be out of real danger, but the baby still needed to breathe and turn red. As I watched, Dr. B never lost his cool and suddenly I saw color spring into my baby and his little mouth twist up into a helpless precious cry. And to my complete delight, before even cutting the cord, Dr. Breniman laid my little baby boy on my chest and I almost cried with ecstasy. I really felt like I was having a boy, but feeling and knowing and holding that little one are all very different things.
For long minutes, the world stopped rotating and it was just me and my baby. Voices faded and all I saw was Kyle’s face next to mine, our eyes filled with identical tears as we became parents for the second time. This little one was already woven into my heart and soul and as precious to me as any baby could ever be.
As the world once again came into focus, I noticed that my Dad had dashed into the room just as the baby was born – I vaguely recall a black business suit flurrying in and his excited voice telling me how proud of me he was! My mom stood there with tears in her eyes, telling me how she’d just known! Kyle wisely said, yes, and you had a 50/50 chance, as did everyone who made a speculation. Gosh I love him. He knows how much it bugs me when people tell you with a sense of assuredness something that only God knows for certain.
I realized I was being stitched up (ugh…again) because I had tore, not because I had an episiotomy. I felt better knowing that somehow. Anyway, as I processed the onslaught of shivers and tremors that flood your body with the rush of adrenaline upon giving birth, my mom and dad literally cupped my chin to keep my teeth from clattering so loudly and tried to encourage me to breathe slowly. My dad was so afraid I was going to pass out. I remembered the same thing happening when I’d delivered Brooklyn, so I was expecting it, but boy, it is still something to experience. And it lasted forever, it seemed. Once the shivers finally subsided, baby boy Floyd was weighed and found to be a surprisingly large 8 pounds, 3 ounces and 21 inches long! WOW! I had prayed so desperately for a smaller baby, but once I held him, he still seemed tiny to me. And infinitely precious.
My brother Michael showed up along with my dad and for a while it was just me, Kyle, our baby, mom, dad, Michael and our nurses. We chatted in a state of giddiness and then everyone trickled out to let us decide on our baby’s name. Which is August Banner Floyd.
He immediately latched on to my breast and nursed for an hour – no kidding. I was so impressed. And he looked SO much like Brooklyn did when she was born. I know they continue to change, but for the moment, he really looks like Brooklyn.
More to follow in subsequent entries, but for now, we are delighted to introduce the latest member of our family – baby August.
Are on the go. And are they ever! I planted these tiny little, helpless looking sprouts of lemon-lime and suddenly, as though Miracle Gro fell from the sky overnight, they have exploded. I love them. I love the colorful messiness of them and how they appear to be reaching for certain things...the road, the rock wall, the Japanese maple...I will be sad to have the pluck them out in the fall before they turn to slime, oddly enough. For now, I smile when I see them sprawling and shining vibrantly!
It's my best friend, Jules, with her little one!!!! Born yesterday around 5ish, she had the shortest labor EVER!!! And was rewarded with a 6 pound, 13 ounce little man named Noah Preston. It's so strange because he is almost EXACTLY the size Brooklyn was when she was born, and holding him last night, I was amazed that she'd ever been so tiny! And I can't wait for my own bit of tinyness to emerge!
He's the spitting image of his big sister, Lake! Julia and I have been sharing our pregnancies together day by day. She's been a week ahead of me the whole time and my constant companion and co-miserater. We are on the phone with each other multiple times daily inquiring as to each other's status...any contractions? Nope...Any leaking? Nope...We even have the same OB/GYN, so our doctor visits are practically shared. We have worked out together at the gym, waddled around the Farmers' Market together with our little girls, fielded infinite inquiries as to our due dates and the sex of our babies (she knew she was having a boy, but mine is still a surprise), we spend hours at each other's houses letting the girls play and eat macaroni & cheese while we talk about everything under the sun.
I'm so jealous that she's already holding her little one! But I know, it won't be long and our babies will be sitting side by side on a blanket while we hang out with flatter tummies and boobs full of milk (or as Brooklyn refers to them - "Hungies"). Too graphic? Well, get over it! :) It's all part of the fun!
So, welcome to the world, little Noah! (And doesn't Jules look FABULOUS for having JUST given birth?? It sickens me.)
I am so stinkin ready to have this baby-child. I know I actually have it pretty good - so far no stretch marks, no swelling and some pretty darn cool maternity clothes, but STILL!!!! There comes a time when you're just ready to no longer be pregnant. I LONG to sleep on my stomach...to not have to pee every hour on the hour and sometimes more frequently...to be able to run again...to meet this little one instead of just imagining what it looks like...to hold it in my arms...to breastfeed once again...to experience that incredible thing that is giving birth to another human being...to look at Kyle's face and know that this little creature is part of us! I'm so ready.
So I'm anxiously awaiting that moment when you know - a baby will be born today.
I still can't believe this gorgeous child is mine. I love every little thing about her. Especially her affectionate nature and willingness to smooch me! She is such a cuddle-bug, always eager for a hug, a cuddle, a hand down my shirt (yep we still have that to contend with) and to "hold you"! I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world!
There is a little evening ritual that we have developed lately: I go sequester myself in the bathroom with a good book while Brooklyn gives Kyle about 20 books to read to her. He is so patient to read to her and it has become one of their special times together. I love hearing their voices as they cuddle together on the bed and read through the books which we all 3 have basically memorized. There are definite favorites: Eighteen Cousins, Number 17 Rue Petite, a horribly written and illustrated Peekaboo book, Little Bear, the Circus book, a Potty book, a collection of Richard Scary stories, Duck at the Door, Mucumber McGee (a fabulous library find) Olivia books and that just scratches the surface. Periodically, I'll hear Kyle call out - is mommy STILL in the bathroom?? And I'll laugh and say, yep, keep up the good work out there!
The problem with B is that she is uberpersistent when she wants a book read to her. There is no turning her down. She will literally pester you to DEATH!
I'm a bit behind in updating my blog. Events-wise, that is. I have yet to mention that I recently had the privilege of spending some quality time with one of my oldest and bestest friends in the world - Allison G. aka Alli! She and I have been best buds since the fifth grade, when we met and immediately hit it off. She was shy, I was outgoing...she was musically inclined and loved drama, the extent of my musical bend was that I could play the piano, but certainly not sing like she could and I leaned more towards a career in medicine, as opposed to the theatre. But our opposite interests must have helped us fit like jigsaw puzzle pieces because our friendship has survived so much over the past 20-odd years: we managed to emerge successfully out of a tumultuous friendship with two other girls...a friendship that created more drama over a three year period than I ever care to repeat. Girls are hard enough to get along with without throwing jealousy and competition into the mix. Although, I suppose those are never far from hand when you're dealing with young girls. We somehow survived.
Our friendship also survived us going to separate high schools, separate colleges and living in separate states for the last 5 years or so. We've been there for each other when her parents got divorced, when grandparents passed away, when boys treated us poorly, when we had great boyfriends, when we had great roommates and cruddy roommates, when we just needed a shoulder to cry on or laugh with. She got a degree in theatre from Rhodes while I got a nursing degree from the UofA. I then switched tracks and became a bank consultant while she got her masters in more theatre stuff. I got my masters in Business and then stepped off the career path to become a mommy. Alli continued to pursue her dream of working in theatre and then suddenly she jumped tracks and is pursuing med school! She no longer lives here, but the times she pops in to visit her family, I get to spend some quality time with her, too.
I find it interesting that from the first moment Brooklyn met Allison (around 6 months of age or so), she adored her. Went to her without hesitation and immediately loved her - no prompting or encouragement needed. And even when we haven't seen Alli for months, I can bring her name up to Brooklyn and her face lights up. She totally remembers her Alli and loves her to pieces. So when she popped by to spend a Sunday morning with us, Brooklyn wouldn't let her out of her sight! She was ok with us talking to each other as long as she could be front and center with Alli and preferably, in her arms! I think it's amazing how my little girl can sense how special my dear friend is and take to her so strongly!
On the birth of their little girl, Kate Lucille, born in the middle of the night, July 5th, 2008! She weighed 9 lb. 3 oz (WOW!!!!) and looks like Becky to me and Kyle. We are so excited for them and can't wait to meet her ourselves! She is lucky to have such wonderful parents as Greg & Becky and great siblings like Mia & Gavin!
Hey there. I'm Ashley - wife of Kyle, mother of 5: Brooklyn, August, Dorien, Wyeth and Wilder. New residents of Chicago, my favorite city in the world. We live in an old 1893 home that you'll hear all about as we fix it up and make it home. We are Christ followers, home-schoolers, adventure seekers, fun lovers, DIYers, creative souls and this blog is about our lives.