Friday, May 21, 2010

Trial Run of the Birth Tub

Last week, the midwife brought the birthing pool and other birth kit items to our house. I had a choice of a couple of pools, and I chose La Bassine. I chose this pool because it is a bit smaller and only requires 100 gallons of water (opposed to 170ish that the other tubs require.) But even while using less water, it seemed deep enough that I will get the benefits of buoyancy. This way we will not tax our hot water heater too much, and the tub fits on the small space of tile in our apartment.

We decided to set the pool up as if I were in labor, just for practice. I highly recommend doing this to anyone who is planning a home waterbirth. Daryl wasn't happy about doing what he considered needless extra work. But I reminded him that it will be his responsibility to know how to inflate the tub and fill it with the proper temperature water, at the proper time. If there was anything wrong, and the tub doesn't get filled in time because he doesn't know what he is doing, then I would hold him personally responsible for depriving me of my choice of pain management!

So he "humored" me and did the practice run. I'm very glad that he did. The adapter to attach the hose to the sink did not fit onto any of our sinks. We had to go to Lowe's to get one that did. Lowe's did not have the correct adapter, so we spent a long time trying to figure out how to create one out of what they did have available.

Finally back home, it took Daryl a little while to figure out the air pump to inflate the pool. Once we got the pump going, the pool inflated within just a few minutes.
Then it was time to test out our hose adapter. To make it easier to fill with warm water, we are running our hose from the bathroom sink into the pool. Some people regulate the temperature by boiling pots of water to add to the tub, but that would be very impractical given our living arrangements and location of the birth pool.
Luckily our creation fit both the sink and the hose! I am not sure what we would have done if it had not fit either ends. It leaked just a bit, but not too much.
We ran the hose to the pool and began filling it. This presented us with another issue we hadn't thought of before. Our hose had just come in from being stored on the deck. It was dirty. The way we intuitively laid the hose into the pool (the same way we would if filling a kiddie pool) caused the grime and dirt particles to go into the tub, and the water into which our baby girl would be born! So now we know that before putting the hose into the pool, we should thoroughly wash the first couple yards of hose, and lay the hose over the pool edge rather than laying it inside. I used a fish net to clean the debris from the pool. The same fish net will be used during labor to keep the water clean.It took about an hour to fill the tub, from the time we started inflating it to the time the water reached the "fill line." This is important to know, because we don't want to fill the tub too early in labor, as the water will get cold and I am not planning on using the tub until further into labor. But we don't want to wait too long and not be ready when I want to use it. Knowing that it will take an hour to get ready means that we can try to coordinate it to the right time of labor. We also figured out that if we use hot water only to fill the tub halfway, and then use both the cold and hot water for the rest of the way, then the temperature is perfect by the time it is full. Temperature regulation is also very important for the comfort of the mother as well as the safety of the baby.Of course then the big question is, how do we get the water out of this thing? The midwife also provided a pump that our hose hooks into. With the pump, we can drain the water out into our yard or into an inside drain. It took about an hour to drain the pool as well.

The only difference about this practice run and the real deal will be that on Evie's birthday, there will be a disposable liner inside the tub to make it easier to clean, and more sanitary. With everything we learned by doing our practice run, we will be able to fill the pool when the time comes with very little problem.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Park Outing: Wildwood Metroparks

It seems like spring is finally here to stay in northwest Ohio. Our weather has been a little strange, but it usually is around here. A few weeks ago, we had summer-like conditions, with temperatures in the 80's! Then suddenly it took a turn for the cold and we've had a few more frosts and freezes. This week is finally normal May weather: cloudy, but in the 60's.

So, we took Jonah to one of our favorite parks to capture a few pictures of him and our dog, Paddington. Here are some of my favorite from that day:Paddington was a little anxious that day, because of all the maintenance people working on houses in our neighborhood. I thought the trip to the park would mellow him out a bit, but as you can see in this picture he is still a little freaked out. Jonah loves to give the dog hugs, and always says "awwww!" when he does it! He knows he's cute, the little stinker.

At this point, I came to realize the frustrations of taking portrait-type pictures of an energetic toddler. They won't hold still, and for the two seconds that they might be still enough, they look away. I tried to remedy these problems by giving him something to look at. It worked for the two seconds it took me to get this picture!These two pictures bring tears to my eyes. Notice first off, that he is not wearing his casts. The doctor wants him to be out of his casts for much of his playtime so that his tendons don't get too stiff. This is a big milestone for children with orthopaedic castings- to be able to go part of the day without them. It is heaven to us! Next, notice the two things he is doing in these pictures. He is WALKING and CLIMBING. He is completely 100% self-mobile. He is still a little wobbly at times, but for the most part he is considered a full time walker, and up to par with his peers. When other mothers ask me if the casts are worth it, and going to the doctor so many times a week etc. I show them these pictures. For this, yes, it is completely worth it! A couple of months ago, I would have given anything to see my son walk and climb like a normal child his age. The orthopaedic surgeon has been a blessing for us. A tough blessing to handle, but a blessing nonetheless.
Looking at these pictures, it is hard to even imagine that our little family of three is about to become four. Sometimes I wonder how another little body could possibly fit. I know that once she gets here, we won't remember what life was like without her or how we got along with just the three of us. But right now, trying to picture her in these photographs seems a little overwhelming.

And finally, to show that it really *is* spring here, a picture of my absolute favorite part of the season. Lilacs. The lilac bushes in the park were in full bloom and covered with butterflies. I wish I could photograph the smell that was flowing through the gardens from them. It was wonderful

Monday, May 17, 2010

Home Birth and Group Strep B

This week, my midwife came to the home appointment with some news that was a little shocking to me. My group strep B test came back positive. I had taken the test believing that the results would be negative. I was negative with Jonah, and I eat a lot of pro-biotic rich foods like yogurt. I wanted to have the test because in the event that we would transfer to the hospital, they would treat the baby as though I was positive simply because they don't have the test results. This could mean unnecessary antibiotics.

So when the midwife sat down and told me that the test came back positive, I was a little surprised and taken back. Now we have something to consider. In a hospital birth, I would be given antibiotics through an IV during labor to prevent the bacteria from spreading to the infant. This is a choice with some midwives, but isn't with mine.

Group Strep B is a normal bacteria found in some women's vaginal or rectal areas. Like all of the other bacteria that humans carry on our bodies, group strep B typically is harmless. However, in labor and birth, it could cause an infection that may cause serious problems for the infant. Not all infants who come in contact with the bacteria get infections, and there are some situations that seem to put the infant at higher risk. There are plenty of medical websites out there that you can look up all of the statistics etc, so I don't feel it is appropriate to list them all here.

One of the main risks that could lead to a GSB infection would be if my water breaks more than two hours before the baby is born. Because of this, we will try to keep the bag of waters intact as long as possible during labor. We will not break the water to help labor go faster. I am also taking extra vitamin C which is shown to strengthen the bag of waters to prevent a prolonged rupture.

In addition to the vitamin C, I am taking garlic capsules and eating probiotic rich foods, to help kill the GSB bacteria and keep the good bacteria around. During labor, I will have minimal to no vaginal exams, to prevent the transfer of the bacteria through the birth path. I will also be using a wash called Chlorhexedine, which in Europe has been shown to be just as effective as IV antibiotics.

And finally, Daryl and I have decided that it is best to give the baby a shot of antibiotics once she is born. This is a personal choice, and one we did not make lightly. We heavily weighed the risks. The fact is, our daughter will be coming into contact with bacteria that could potentially cause a lot of problems for her. We feel that giving her the shot of antibiotics will help protect her from preventable illness. I will be taking the test again, because even though the bacteria is found one week, it may not be there by the time birth comes. Especially with the precautions that we are taking to ensure that the bacteria is at a minimal amount.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't Trust a Toddler When you Find Him Sitting in the Dark

It was about 6:30pm, and I was relaxing with my family in the living room. I was tired, and assumed that Daryl, or one of the other four adults in the room, was keeping track of Jonah. I closed my eyes for a few moments, when my mother-in-law piped up "Where is Jonah?"

I found him sitting alone, in the dark, in the bathroom. Strange, but he was just sitting there so no harm done (or so we thought.) We went about the rest of our evening, put Jonah to bed, and I started the diaper laundry. I like to use the upstairs bathroom after Jonah goes to bed, because the bathroom in our apartment is right next to his room, so it sometimes wakes him up. It was 11:00 at night when I journeyed up to the bathroom with a full pregnant bladder, turned on the lights, and was faced with this:Let me help you tally the objects in this toilet, because it's kind of hard to tell from the picture. There is a basketball, a sock that had previously been missing that day, and the knob to a thermostat. Yes, you read that last item correctly. Your guess is as good as mine!

Oh boy, toddlerhood is proving to be some fuuunnnnn times!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Sewing Machine: Part II

As it turns out, there really was a sewing machine inside that box! I opened it up, and of course decided that the best course of action would be to read the instructions first.Seeing as to how I have not sewn anything since junior high home economics class, I had no reference point for reading these directions. They may as well have been written in Japanese. Daryl's mom came down and "showed" me how to wind the bobbin and thread the needle (in other words, she did it while I watched) but I'm not really confident that I truly learned anything from that.

As I was putting Jonah in the car to go to our diaper swap, where I had someone lined up to show me the basics of diaper sewing, Daryl's mom came out and told me she wanted to go too. I didn't mind this at all. Except, she doesn't really know a lot about modern cloth diapering. I have explained to her quite a few times the different fabrics needed and the different types of diapers, but she always seems as though no one has told her a thing about it. She even seemed clueless about BumGenius, and pocket diapers, which are the diapers that I always put out for her and anyone else to use when we are going out. In fact, they are our main diaper right now, so she sees them quite a bit!

So, instead of focusing on actually sewing cloth diapers, the time was spent explaining to her all of the diapers and fabrics. I'm glad that she went with me, because she is an experienced seamstress, but at the same time I wish we had spent a little more time sewing. We did not actually attempt to sew a diaper, because we ran out of time.

We did have the opportunity to buy a lot of cute fabrics, and one of the moms was kind enough to cut out some diaper patterns that I could practice on.I've been reading online about sewing diapers, and I think I'm ready to give it a try. The only thing that really confuses me is adding the elastic. But, we'll get there. For now, I'm focusing on winding the bobbin by myself.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Sewing Machine

In this box is a sewing machine. Not just any sewing machine- MY sewing machine. You might ask me how you could be sure that there really is a sewing machine in the box. I could be lying to you. The only answer that I have for that, is that you can be just as sure as I am that there is a sewing machine in this box. I have not opened it to check. I've had the box.. um, sewing machine.. for nearly ten months now.

Daryl bought me this box.. I mean sewing machine.. around Jonah's first birthday, which is mid-August. We were very heavily considering adding a second child to our family at this time, and I wanted to learn how to sew, so that I could make things like diapers and slings and blankets during the pregnancy. As you may know, I am now 37 weeks pregnant, and as you can see I have made little (or no) progress in learning how to sew a single stitch.

I have looked up patterns online, bought fabrics and threads, but for whatever reasons I cannot bring myself to open this box. I have sent out a plea to mothers in my local cloth diaper community, and they have agreed to walk me through sewing my first diaper tomorrow at our diaper swap.

I will report back tomorrow on how this goes. I will either be super proud of myself, or I will feel like a total failure at it! Stay tuned to find out if it really is a sewing machine inside the box, and to see if I really can learn how to sew.