For the Grandparents to enjoy. And others who enjoy viewing our blog. But mostly for the Grandparents. A short video of Tate and Chrysalis. The newest Huntingtons.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Usually, when I come home from work, Orion looks up and very excitedly says, "DADDY!!" It's very fun and endearing to have such a perfect little admirer. A couple of weeks ago however, he had just woken up from a nap before I walked in the door. Lately, when he wakes up from his naps, he's quite fussy. So when I came inside, he was sitting on the couch watching Cars, and he was not in the best of moods. I, on the other hand, was. I came in and said excitedly, "Hey buddy! Daddy's home! Come give me a hug!" He just sat there and stared at me like I was crazy for expecting that. I realized right away that he had just woken up and that that's why he was so fussy. So I changed my tactics a little bit and instead of being all excited and fun, I took a more subtle approach. I went and hugged him and just cuddled with him.
It's not that he wasn't happy to see me, I'm his hero afterall. It's just that in his current state of mind, he wasn't capable of having or expressing excitement. And because he's so young and immature, I was the one who had to change my tactics so that he could feel my love and happiness for him. I was the one who had to approach him differently.
My testimony is this. Our Heavenly Father loves us. I believe that he wants us to be happy and excited and jubilant much more than we are, yet because of our state of mind, many times he has to approach us differently. Instead of bursting in our lives and saying excitedly, " Hey buddy! Daddy's home! Come give me a hug!" He come's and cuddles with us. He gives us the comforter, which when we are feling down and depressed, gives us love and lets us know how deeply Heavenly Father cares for us. That's why He's referred to as the comforter. Not only that, but if we're in a mindset to be able to accept more happiness, he will give it to us. He knows us intimately, and he will never try to force happiness or joy on us. Had I tried to get Orion all happy and excited when he was feeling glum, he would have only gotten upset with me. He wouldn't have wanted to play at that time, even though he LOVES to play. It's the same way with us and Heavenly Father. He will always give unto us according to our needs, but also our desires. And if we desire something different than what we need, he'll even give us that. Jacob 4:14, referring to the hard-heartedness of the Jews says,
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I feel it important to write these things down before I forget the feelings and emotions I am currently experiencing. Like Alex said, my first labor took place in a hospital and I wouldn't really say it was a bad experience, but it was definitely not the experience I anticipated I would have. I had a slower recovery and also suffered from post partum depression. I used to think that medical intervention and the baby blue feelings were just a normal part of going through labor. I've come to realize that it is not. That is not to say that I am here to discredit any physician who does save a woman's life in the middle of her labor. I have just come to believe that for most women, medical intervention is an unnecessary evil. In this Western society, many women are led to believe that they need to be in such an environment in order to have a safe delivery. I used to think so too. My mother is a nurse and before he passed away, her dad was an anesthesiologist. I have been surrounded by indoctrinated people all my life. My own mother gave birth in the hospital to all four of her children. But I don't disrespect her healing wisdom as that is truly a gift of hers.
I had a strong desire to have a more natural childbirth this time around. I thought I would have my next birth in a birthing center because it seemed to be the nice, in-between option to a natural home birth and a hospital. As I researched and read more and more about home births, I began to lean more in the direction of the home birth. There were a great many people around me who inspired me to take this route. Some I would like to mention here are Alex's cousin Logan and his wife Alishah who recently had a home birth, and Kira Johnson's mother who I met over the summer who's had quite a few home births. The one person I found the most inspiration from was my very own Grandmother. I recently discovered that she'd had her first child in a medical facility and that afterwards, she had her last two in her own home with the help of a midwife. By recently, I mean I just found this out in December; two months prior to giving birth to this sweet little girl. This was pretty much the last bit of drive I needed to feel confident in my ability to have a natural, drug and intervention-free, home birth.
I can honestly say, that even though there was a moment toward the end of my labor in which I did doubt I would be able to do this, that it was indeed the most rewarding experience I've ever had in my life and that if I am blessed enough to have another child, I would choose a home birth over a hospital birth instantly (granted it is still a low-risk pregnancy and all looks well throughout my prenatal visitations). I can't begin to describe what a difference it has made in both my physical and psychological recovery. When I didn't feel instantly bonded to my first child, I felt there was something wrong with me. I felt guilty for not feeling like the mother I thought I should be. And I love my little boy. Don't get me wrong. I just know now that there is something euphoric about the whole labor process that when interfered with can create a sense of disconnection. I never understood why I felt so unattached until I came across this passage in a book I was reading called Unassisted Childbirth by Laura Kaplan Shanley. In it, the author quotes Helen Wessel, a woman who claims that post partum depression only occurs after an unnatural, medically controlled birth. She describes it so beautifully to me that I would like to write what she says, here, as I fear that paraphrasing it won't come across with the same significance. She says:
"The most important contributing factor to depression following childbirth is a feeling of being robbed, a sense of loss. For nine months of pregnancy and several hours of labor, a woman has gradually been brought to a peak of emotional and physical expectation. An adequate emotional and physical climax at the moment of birth provides a most essential catharsis for this pent-up emotion. This climax is essential. A mother who has missed it and had a passive, frigid birth, due to anesthetics . . . still is emotionally in a state of expectancy. She looks at her child but experiences no euphoria, no sense of exhilaration . . . If an adequate birth climax does not provide it, it will come later, in spells of frustrated weeping, like the tantrums of frustration of the small child who cannot explain, and indeed does not know, what it is he wants."
When I read this, having felt that depression and having gone through the weeping, I knew exactly what she meant, and it was then that I realized I never wanted to have that feeling robbed from me ever again. I couldn't explain this, not even to my husband. Indeed I had felt like that child.
Now I don't want to have this come across as a sad story. I don't want anyone to feel bad for me. I've overcome a lot in the last two years and even more so, having had this labor turn into everything I ever wanted out of it. I write this for my own record and to perhaps inspire others who may be contemplating a more natural childbirth.
So to make this already long story into one as short as possible, here is how I would describe my labor this time around:
Friday morning at around 4:45 am, I began having that crampy feeling. That's how my contractions have always felt to me. Being at home, I was definitely in my comfort zone. I progressed at a nice pace, not too intense, not too fast, but just enough that I felt confident I could handle it. That whole day, my contractions were roughly 20-30 minutes apart. That night, I couldn't sleep a whole lot, but I tried to nap in between each contraction switching my positions often and going from the rocking chair to the birthing ball, to standing and then side-lying. It really wasn't that bad. Just like uncomfortable bloating. Saturday at noon, I finally called my midwife over and got into the birthing tub, which is where I thought the baby would be born. When she checked to see where I was, I was dilated to about a 7.
At this point, my progression had somewhat stopped. She checked me again after about three hours and I was still at a 7. The contractions had gotten more intense so I knew my body was not about to go through days of this again like it had with Orion. With Orion, I'd been in labor for three days. I was getting more and more exhausted. My midwife suggested we break my water and while sitting on a birth stool, she would try to pull my cervix up over the baby's head. Her reason for suggesting this was that she'd discovered that the anatomy of my cervix leaned more posterior than normal and it was therefore more difficult for the baby's head to aid in the dilation process because it wasn't fitting into the cervix correctly. Anyone else might not have this problem. It's probably because I have a shorter torso. What was interesting to me about all this was that she also noticed that when she stretched my cervix it was already very elastic. I wonder now, if this was the same reason I had so much trouble with pushing Orion out, and if his being born with a Gumbi head bump had anything to do with this special anatomy of mine.
About two contractions later, I easily went from a 7 to a 9+. After pushing for a few minutes my leg began to cramp a little and so I felt the need to walk around again and then got into the tub again. But at this time I was already pretty tired and was starting to feel like giving up because the contractions themselves were not as easy in the water anymore. They were just as intense. My midwife decided to give Alex and I some privacy at which point, I said to him, "I can't do this anymore. I just want it to be over." He kept telling me he knew I had it in me. I then told him to shut-up because he had no idea. At that moment, he decided to give me a blessing and I calmed down a lot. He said, if I tried the stool again that he knew I could do it, and that if it didn't work, he would take me straight to the hospital. I'll admit I was frustrated with this suggestion and this was when I felt most like giving up. And not because the pain was so intense. It was more because it had been going on for so long. I get impatient quickly I guess. But really not wanting to go to the hospital this time gave me one last drive. So I accepted the invitation to the birthing stool again. My midwife Suzanne, reached up inside as I sat on the stool and said I'd gone back to a 7. But the determination that came to me all of a sudden was definitely from another source, because having Suzanne reach up inside me was not the most tolerable thing. That was indeed the most painful part of the whole labor. And it's only because my anatomy is so weird that we went this route in the first place. I gave it all I had. In one contraction I was a 9+ again. That part was easy. Then I just had to push. Suzanne kept saying, "If it hurts, just push harder." I noticed that when I didn't push harder, it was only more painful, so having her coach me through this was very helpful. I pushed, and about 5 minutes later I was crowning. That ring of fire everyone talks about is so real. It's such a rush. It's a natural high you won't get any other way. As Helen put it; It's an "essential catharsis." The baby was out, and ten minutes later I delivered the placenta. I was done. And in my arms, I carried the most beautiful blessing from above. The euphoria was there. I was instantly enamored by this sweet bundle. I know that my Heavenly Father had turned my weakness into a strength. I know I couldn't have done it without my sweet husband and the power of the priesthood. My Grandmother's story and the prayers of my family all flooded through me at this moment and I felt such a power I never knew a woman could feel.
I am truly blessed and grateful that this sweet little girl came into the world so healthy and so naturally. I haven't felt a bit of depression this time around. I think back to that documentary I watched with Alex starring Ben Stein; Expelled. As I hold my little girl in my arms and as I later had the opportunity to explore the intricate design of the vessels that wrap around the placenta that nourished my angel, I wonder how anyone could deny that an "Intelligent Design" is truly behind everything. God exists. At this time in my life, I have no doubt about it.
Well, I do hope you've enjoyed reading my birth story as I've really enjoyed writing it out. Oh, and one last thing. Like Alex posted in his blog before mine, I do highly recommend sponge baths for a while after giving birth. Don't try to be superwoman and shower right after like I did. Not very wise. :o)
Monday, February 9, 2009
With Orion's birth, we went to the hospital. Ligia was doing quite well until about 6 centimeters of dilation. At that point, the nurse came in and said that the baby's heart rate slowed to about 125, and so Ligia had to stay in bed on her back. Funny thing is that the average heart rate is 120 to 160. Then, lying on her back made the contractions much more intense. She still wasn't progressing very fast, so they decided to break her water. Soon after that when she still wasn't progressing at the speed they at the hospital desired, they decided to give her pitocin. Well, amazingly that didn't make the progression speed up all that much either. Because of the extra pain caused by the pitocin the epidural soon followed. When it finally came time to push, over 72 hours later, Ligia was just so exhausted that she didn't really have it in her anymore, hence the episiotomy and foreceps. Too make a long story short, it wasn't the greatest experience. It seemed that one needless intervention led to another, and eventually, a needless intervention wasn't so needless anymore.
We wonder if all the drugs and unnecessary interventions, such as clipping and cutting the cord way earlier than necessary, may have led, or at least contributed, to some of his problems after birth. He had collic, excema, and jaundice. Poor little guy was miserable. My family and everyone else for that matter kept making suggestion after suggestion for how to take care of him. It was just so frustrating because we were doing everything we could for him, and nothing seemed to make things better. But this is not supposed to sound sad, he's doing great now. I'm just contrasting the two experiences.
With Chrysalis' birth though, everything went really well. Ligia was laboring here at the house and when she was about 6 and a half to 7 centimeters dilated, we called the midwife. Shortly after she got here, we discovered that Ligia had a posterior cervix and so it didn't exactly align with the baby's head. All the midwife had to do was to pull the cervix foreward so that it aligned with the head, and the next contraction made the cervix dilate to a 9 plus. To make it short, after a 35 and a half hour labor, consisting of 28 minutes of pushing, Chrysalis was here. Like I said, she was perfectly alert and healthy. It's funny, I never knew that a baby could be born without crying, but she was. I would have to say that this really was the perfect birth.
It just amazes me how perfect this experience has been. Chrysalis is totally calm and peaceful. She had no problem latching on to breast feed. She's been a perfect baby. It was so nice to be able to have her without drugs and unnecessary interventions. She's so healthy.
It really has strengthened my testimony of the power of God and his love for us. Ligia wanted to do this at home so badly, but she doubted herself at times. In fact, at one point the midwife almost suggested that we go to the hospital because labor had slowed down so much, and things just weren't progressing. Of course this made Ligia doubt even more. I gave her a blessing and I knew that she could do it. Anyway, she ended up doing it and doing it really well. I know that the only thing that made it possible though, is that Heavenly Father gave her not only the ability, but also the confidence to be able to do it.
One of the best things about doing it at home though, is how quickly Ligia is recovering. It's only been two days, but she's pretty much stopped bleeding entirely. She got out today when we went to the health food store and got some herbs to help increase milk production. She's been doing great. It's just been wonderful, I can't describe it in any other way.
One last thing, to anyone who is thinking about doing a home birth, don't shower right away afterwards. Ligia was feeling like superwoman who conquered the world, and thought it fine to take a quick shower. Well, the blood loss, combined with the heat from the shower turns out to be the perfect equation for black outs. No, she didn't black out in the shower, but she did black out right afterwards. I wouldn't have been extremely concerned except that her body went ridgid, her jaws locked up, her eyes popped out, and I swear she was turning into Emily Rose. Yeah, I was pretty scared. I had 911 on the line before her head hit the pillows. Apparently, even though she was only out for three seconds, protocol states that the paramedics still have to come and check things out. It was all quite the comedic relief though, when they came running and huffing and puffing to the house. They actually thought they were going to deliver the baby. So yeah, I recommend sponge baths for at least 2 or 3 days. I hope you enjoy the pictures and videos! It's been wonderful!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Here is Orion holding his little cousin Tate on his blessing day. I wanted to hold this little piece of heaven too. I need the practice. I must admit I'm a little nervous to have another newborn in the house. I fear I will have forgotten how to take care of one. Orion is pretty grown up now and really has a personality of his own. Full of attitude, tantrums and spice. I'm glad he's getting some practice in on how to be a big brother.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Here's one of Orion getting a little too dizzy. Alex was spinning our cup just a little too fast, even for me, being 8 months pregnant and all. But when we got off, he surprisingly wanted to stay on. Not to worry, he wasn't at all traumatized by the experience.
We took Orion to Disneyland for the first time and rode the Merry-Go-Round, The flying Dumbos, the spinning teacups and watched Fantasmic (my absolute favorite show). I know he was a little overwhelmed with all the excitement but he sure slept well that night. Here is a short clip of Father and Son on the Sleeping Beauty Carousel.