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The Toddle

The Toddle
The Toddle

I present to you a special video clip:


Watch out, world- she walks.

And talks.

Actually, she especially enjoys doing both at the same time.

2013-08-05 16.46.48

Anyways, I actually thought about recording this for the family/friends out there the other day when there was enough light for my phone to pick up the action. Then I just had to add some music to it. It fits.

Near the end she does a lot more talking, so those of you who want to hear that, just keep watching. 🙂

P.S. She does this ALL. Day. Every. Single. Day. It’s exhausting. How do people have more than one of these?!


A Labor Story, Part III

A Labor Story, Part III

Not so long a gap between parts II and III. I must be getting used to the sleep deprivation!

To read/review Part 1, click here.

To read/review Part 2, click here.

(Disclaimer: this is the part where things start getting a little…messy. And, you know, even though birth is an awesome process, it doesn’t always look and sound pretty!)

When we were told that we had reached 5 cm, we were pretty happy. My mother loves to tell me the horror story that was my own birth, and how I tormented her for twenty-nine hours of labor, so progressing 2 cm in two and a half hours seemed pretty promising. While I was definitely feeling pain and discomfort, I figured I could manage this pain for several more hours if needed be, though I knew I definitely wouldn’t sleep through it.

(The calm before the storm!)

Shortly after this 8:00 PM measurement, I decided to try and go to the bathroom again, to help me walk around, and Cary, our doula, encouraged me to see how the contractions felt as I was in a sitting position. They (the contractions) were definitely getting stronger.

When I came back out, we decided to have me stand. As the contractions hit, I had my arms around Jared’s neck and he helped hold me up through the strongest parts. Cary helped hold the monitors on my belly (remember, the stupid things were having a hard time registering my contractions and the baby’s heart rate, so we had to be diligent about position and pressure so they didn’t think the baby was freaking out!).

After about two standing contractions, it hit me like a wave: first, a bout of nausea, and second, an astoundingly intense contraction. And then the next contraction was just as intense. I hesitate to say painful; it definitely hurt, but it was because of the intensity that my whole body felt with the contractions. And then the next one was the same, but with an almost tingly sensation down below. And then again. They were less than two minutes apart; and I felt like I couldn’t get a break in between them!

This is where I wavered. I looked into Jared’s face, and I think I said something along the lines of, “I don’t know if I can do this for too much longer. I think I need to lie down again because this hurts so much.” (Meaning, pain-wise, I was doubting my ability to go the distance.)

Like a great partner/coach, he looked me in the eyes and said, “Of course you can. You’re doing great!”  Cary followed up with more encouraging words, and we decided to try one more standing contraction before lying down.

After another intense contraction, they helped me onto the bed. This time though, the position change didn’t help the contractions; they continued to be extremely intense. And then a completely new sensation took over. I looked at Cary, who was sitting almost at eye level next to the bed, and I am sure I sounded confused and surprised when I said, “I think I want to push!”

Remember, this was roughly a half hour or so after being told I was 5 cm out of 10 cm dilated, so I think we were both a little worried that I might be having the pushing urge too early, which could definitely be a complication in the birth plan. She asked me to try out one more contraction to see if it went away.

It didn’t.

Cary went to go get the nurse, explaining that I felt the need to push. The nurse came in and checked me again, and even she sounded a little surprised when she said, “Well, I can tell you one thing. You’re about to have this baby!”

I believe I uttered a very intelligent sounding, “What?” to which she repeated, “You’re about to have this baby!” Then, she rushed out to call the doctor and ready the birth reinforcements.

I think all three of us, Jared, Cary, and I, had a classic “WTF” moment. I was so shocked that the next contraction almost didn’t faze me. I’m sure the look on my face said it all. We were all amazed that labor had progressed so quickly in so short a time. I was even a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to be able to finish “Shrek”.

This is the part that is a little rushed for me, because it both felt like an eternity and mere seconds at the same time. We quickly were pulled back into the moment when the nurse returned and informed us that I had to try and wait because the doctor had gone home, and was heading back now. (Later, we learned that she had called the doctor ten minutes before this to let her know I was a 5 and that it would probably be a while, so to stay at home. I imagine the call back ten minutes later was a fun one to listen to.)

This meant that I had to do the classic, hyperventilating panting, to avoid pushing. I am saying this now–putting this in print–that I will never, ever, do that again unless it is a life-or-death situation. My exact words will be, “I’m sorry, but you can’t stop me from having this baby, and somebody better stand guard to be ready to catch her/him.” Because of ALL the pain and contractions was nothing next to the misery of panting for a half hour.

It was wave after wave of feeling the need to push and trying not to. My whole body was fighting me. Gross comparison: Imagine having violent diarrhea, but being told you can’t go to the bathroom right now and need to hold it. Then times that by about 100, and that was closer to what I felt. As the birth entourage (what I liked to call all the nurses and attendants for baby and me) piled into the room, I was only vaguely aware of them getting everything ready, because I was in my own little world that only Jared managed to make bearable.

Poor, poor Jared. As each contraction and need to push hit, he was there telling me that I could do this, that I was amazing, to keep panting, even though I was groaning and hyperventilating as I said with each little breath, “I don’t think I can do this.” From what I could see of his face, he was absolutely miserable. I think it was just as hard for him to watch me going through that wretchedness and not be able to do anything about it, as it was to be the one in it.

I lost track of all time. I had no clue how long I had been going through this. Finally, after what was again an eternity, I heard somebody tell me that I could start pushing because the doctor was almost ready.

Heavenly. That’s the only word I can think of to describe the change of being able to go with the waves of contractions my body was putting me through. It felt wonderful to be able to push. While it was hard, and it was uncomfortable, it was not painful (especially after being told not to push for what I learned later was about a half hour!).  Where holding back had felt like infinity of punishment and misery, time seemed to fly with pushing. And the whole way, Jared and the doula were by my side, encouraging me.

It seemed like only a few pushes later (again, another half hour had gone by without me realizing it) when they asked me if I wanted to look and see the baby’s head crowning. I was in the zone, though. I didn’t need to look to know she was almost here.

Shortly afterwards, I could tell the exact moment that she came out. I pushed harder than ever, knowing she was so close, and I could feel as her head came through, and then as the doctor pulled the rest of her little body through. At 9:47PPM, less than 6 hours after starting the pitocin, the culmination of 9 months arrived. I was tired and exhausted, but again, it wasn’t painful (though later I learned I had second degree tears). I just felt relief and happiness.

They lay her crying little body on my stomach, and I remember saying to her, “You’re finally here! I can’t believe you’re here!”

To know my body COULD do this process with little medical intervention, and to know that I was able to have full control and knowledge of this process as my daughter came into this world… Ahh. To say it was incredible, empowering, doesn’t seem to fully do this experience justice.

The joy I felt was slightly interrupted when I noticed the doctor started to cut the cord. We had put in our plan that we wanted to delay the cord clamping just for a few minutes, and that Jared wanted the option to cut the cord, but the doctor completely ignored those again. By the time I could get Jared and Cary to notice, the doctor was almost done, so Jared said just to finish it. (He wasn’t that disappointed; he was more irritated by the fact he hadn’t been offered the option!) The placenta came out with no problems, and I got stitched up.

And for quite a while, we snuggled with our new addition. We marveled at her tiny, perfect hands and feet, and I was completely enamored with her full head of hair. And when Jared turned to me and said, “What about Evelyn Quinn?” which had been our “secondary” name, I agreed, even though most of the pregnancy I was certain she would be Sophia.

In that moment, it all just felt right. And even though the hard work remaining in our hospital stay was just getting started, for that moment in time, everything in the world was as it should be.

Getting close!

Getting close!

So today we hit the 38 week mark. Woohoo!

(That announcement couldn’t be complete without accompanying pictures, right?)

Had an interesting trip to the doctor’s office today, where we expected nothing, and then as she was examining me, said, “Wow! Interesting!” (Just what you want to hear in the middle of somebody examining you “down under”. Oh, did I just cross a line admitting that? Too bad. You are reading MY blog, after all.)

After I politely inquired after her reaction, the doctor said I was already at 2 centimeters dilated and 70% effaced (for those who know what that means. If you don’t, I dare you to look up “dilation and effacing” online!). Essentially, it could mean the baby is coming soon, or that she still will take her sweet time and show up in two weeks. So, it actually means WHO THE HECK KNOWS when the baby decides to arrive.

Even more exciting news, the baby’s room is near completion! I’m feeling pretty good about it at this point.

See, this was her room a week and a half ago:

Yeah, scary, I know. Since it was that darker, brownish paint, we definitely had some priming we had to do.

Then, this is what the room looked like about Tuesday:

Painted a lovely shade of Tinkerbell Green, but still no furniture set up and the carpet desperately wanted to be cleaned. (Excuse the awkward angles of the pictures, but in order to get the green coloring to show up true to shade, I had to contrast it with the white ceilings/doors.)

Then, as of yesterday evening, the room had become… this:

Some wall decorations up: Carter Jungle Jill Wall Decals courtesy of my mother…

The wall under the decals with a bookshelf and cedar chest.

A crib all set up (courtesy of the most handsome Jared!) with sheets already washed, and the mobile I PUT TOGETHER BY MYSELF WITHOUT ANY HELP! Also, we took down the remaining decals that we put on the crib in this picture because we weren’t crazy how they looked. (We might try something like this once we decide officially on her name. Could you see that in pink lettering with those cute monkeys?!)

Moving along, you can admire the nightstand, bouncer, cubbies, desk (that will also act as a changing table once we get a changing pad…)

And here you can see the dresser and bookcase, mainly full of my old Beanie Babies and then books that I mostly got from wonderful people at my baby shower. (I didn’t forget to blog on that, by the way. Still waiting on pictures from a secondary source!)

Can you tell how excited I am that her room is pretty close to complete? Her closet and dresser are full of clothes, we have diapers and wipes ready to go, and we’re just missing a few essential items like the changing pad and diaper genie.

I love, love, love how Baby Boothe’s room has really come together!

Wretched Raccoon Report

Wretched Raccoon Report

Once upon a Sunday morning not too long ago, Jared got up to let our dogs out. (This is because our dogs have a habit of getting up RIDICULOUSLY early. Stevie is a hungry monkey. He will jump on any exposed body parts, which wakes Bonnie up. Bonnie will then proceed lick you to death if you don’t get up by 7:00 to give them food. It’s been excellent practice for getting ready for the baby, right?).

Anyways, because I wasn’t feeling great, Jared was the one to let them out. The dogs usually bark and mess around when they are outside, so I didn’t think twice about that as I dozed back off. Surprisingly, just a few minutes after getting up, Jared called me -not called for me up the stairs; he called my CELL PHONE- telling me to get outside, immediately.

Naturally, that’s not the sort of call you ignore, so I got up and ran out to the front like he had asked. Jared was standing in the back of his truck with the hose poised to spray the roof of the garage. When I got closer, this is what I saw:

(Raccoons pictured actually look MORE pathetic in person than they appear as shown here. Really. You can see that sad, sad look in their eyes!)

This little fella had been playing in our backyard when our dastardly dogs located him and chased him UP ON TO OUR ROOF of our garage. (I really would have liked to see how he managed that.) Then our raccoon friend started to try and get more safe and secure by apparently pulling at the siding of the house. Entre: Jared. Spotting this ridiculously scared raccoon on our roof, he decided the best way to get it to move was by spraying water at it to chase it off (which, by the way, is a top recommended method for discouraging raccoons to hang out by your house).

Unfortunately, this just motivated the raccoon to move from the back of the house to the front, which is when I came into the picture (and took that pathetic picture).

After convincing Jared to do some research on the best way to handle raccoons, we went back inside (and did research- imagine that!). We quickly learned that if you have a raccoon issue, animal control and wildlife services don’t really care. The best way to get rid of them is if you pay a pest control service or try to remove them yourself with various methods (like spraying water at them).

Naturally, this called for some creative thinking. We devised a master plan. I would stand in the back of the truck in front of the house with the hose poised to spray. Jared would get on the back of the house with a very long piece of house trimming and try and guide it into the tree, where then the raccoon could make a quick escape onto a fence or the ground. The end.

It all went as planned. Except for the part where the raccoon was supposed to go DOWN the tree. Instead, the ridiculous raccoon went UP the tree. Extremely up the tree. Wrong, wrong direction.

(It’s kind of like “Where’s Waldo?” except this time, it was “Where’s the Raccoon?”)

And there Mr. Raccoon stayed there for over TWO DAYS.

Monday morning before work, I went out and tried to check with a flashlight (because of the “Spring Forward” time change, it’s still pretty dark when I leave for work), but couldn’t see him. I was hopeful that he got smart during the night and left, but NO. Jared texted me at work to let me know that Raccoon was on the same section of tree as he had been all Sunday.

By Tuesday evening, I was concerned. We were supposed to have a monster storm, and the raccoon had stayed in the same vincinity for over 48 hours.Was this thing sick? WHY would you sit in a tree for that long without food if you were feeling okay? I called a pest control place who said there wasn’t much they could do except set some traps out at the base of the tree and hope the raccoon would get to the food first (because we have LOTS of awesome critters… squirrels, frogs/toads, big birds, cats, OPOSSUMS -which had been the previously coolest critter we had seen in the yard up to this point, if you wanted to know- that could get stuck instead). He also said that it was unusual for healthy raccoons to behave this way, but not unheard of, and call him in a day or so if we still had The Issue.

Thanks for NOTHING, Mr. Pest Control.

So here we were, with a pathetic raccoon stuck in the tree and a monster storm on the way, and no new ideas. All we had left to do is wait out the storm and hope the raccoon was smart (and healthy) enough to move on. And boy, did we have a storm. Midnight to 6:00AM was all about the thunder, lightening, heavy rain, and hail.

I fully expected to see a dead raccoon in our backyard Wednesday morning. (I’m Captain Positive-O, right?)

Wait for it…

The raccoon was gone. Without a trace. Not in any of our trees, or on the roof, not dead on the ground, not anywhere on our premises. The raccoon finally made his great escape!

Over a week later, I am happy to say we have had no further raccoon incidences. As cute as he was, I think it’s probably best that he stay away. I like to pretend that he found a nice, dry tree to hide in away from any humanoids, and now is happily scavenging around without running into further trouble. (See, I CAN be positive sometimes, JARED!)

But perhaps I speak out of turn. It may be too soon to tell…

Stay tuned for any return reports on Wretched Raccoon sitings!