From the monthly archives:

May 2010

The Birth Story

by Esther on Sun, May 30th, 2010

in Documentation,Labor,Parenthood

As we’ve already reported, our son Axelrod was born on May 15th, 2010, at 7:43 in the evening.

He was born in our bedroom, where we first unknowingly conceived him, knowingly dreamed of him, and with hope laid a great many plans for him.  He was born into the hands of our very capable and trusted midwife, Lynn, and from there went straight to his mother’s arms.

From start to finish, the hours that followed my water breaking are both foggy and precious.  There are moments that are burned into my memory forever, and moments that my husband reminds me of when we retell the story to each other while trying to get a grasp on just how our universe changed that day.  There are moments when I’m sure that the both of us seemed incredibly lucid… that we already have forgotten.  Memory, when it comes to an event that is the most painful, most endearing, most pivotal event of your entire life, is funny, stretchy and malleable times all the stars in the sky, added to the value of each fish in the sea, to the exponential frequency of infinity.

That in mind, I doubt I’ll do our birth story justice.  I’ll never be able to quite capture something that becomes more fully realized to me with every second of our son’s life.  I could write this story in 10 or 20 years and it would have a different, equally precious, description of every moment I recall.  I could write for hours today and feel the story is still incomplete.  Life that brings babies is like that, I guess.

When I last reported to our pregnancy blog, my water had broken in a gush of glory at the local cabaret club.  I had slept soundly for the night after a shower.  I woke up that morning with no symptoms of labor and spoke with our midwife, who encouraged me to start drinking delicious castor oil cocktails at noon.

I had really hoped that my son’s birth story wouldn’t be kicked off with castor oil.  I decided that we should walk to one of our favorite breakfast spots, about a mile away, to try and encourage my inevitable labor.  I put on the dress that my best friend Myrtle had bought me to labor in the day before: a kelly-green jersey sun dress that was stretchy, cheap, and comfortable.  I layered on a hat and a sweater and headed out with my husband and my best friend at about 9:30 in the morning, which is an hour I’ve hardly seen the outdoors of during these last few years of working a noon to nine schedule.  The morning air felt pretty ripe with expectation; it was a beautiful day.

While carb loading on buckwheat pancakes with delicious fruit toppings at the cafe, we played it normal.  Honestly, I can’t remember in the least what we talked about.  Every part of the conversation was overshadowed by the knowledge that I was going into labor that very day.  I started to really zone out into my own birthing bubble.  I felt completely connected to my husband.  My best friend was with us, and she’s our partner in all things criminal and lovely, but my husband!  My husband was my whole world starting at breakfast and continuing on for the rest of the day.  As far as I was concerned, there was a bubble around us that the universe had hermitically sealed and it was impermeable.  We were going to have our baby, finally.  The news washed over me again and again.

On our walk home, we stopped at Whole Foods to stock up on foods for the folks who would be in the house for our delivery.  I barely knew what to order!  I thank goodness every day that Myrtle was with us, acting in a way like my sensible, outside the bubble, extension.  She choose some foods for us to order while I stood mutely in front of the prepared foods counter, overwhelmed by the whole outside-the-bubble world.  We picked up those foods and some extra supplies and headed home.

We were home by 11:30, I suppose.  Myrtle and I put the foods into glass bowels that were wrapped for later before she headed off to have a lovely day, knowing that she would come back later to me going through the motions of what was supposed to be a long and exhausting labor.   I called Lynn to get a pep talk about castor oil.  What would it do?  How long would it take?  Would it be terrible?  How did it work?  I hated the thought of having to induce anything, but was also so done with being pregnant.  I was 3 centimeters dilated, 41 weeks along, well rested, and mentally prepared.  I just wished it could have all been triggered on its own without having to drink something that had less than desirable side-effects.  Lynn explained to me how the castor oil worked, and also reminded me that, while we had 72 hours to deliver before having to transfer to a hospital (for risk of infection), the midwives at Rainy City Midwifery liked to have their ladies in labor within 24 hours of water breaking.  I braced myself and pulled out my (former) favorite flavor of coconut milk ice cream from the freezer.

Using a hand blender, I combined my (former) favorite ice cream, 2 ounces of castor oil, and Perrier for a delicious milk shake.  At exactly noon, I downed it.

Castor oil milkshakes are actually not delicious

Shortly after finishing this, Milton and I went up to the loft to get one last nap in before labor started.  I had been instructed to drink another milk shake at 2pm if labor hadn’t started, but was absolutely certain that I would wake up to my first contraction before then.  I was wrong.

At 2:30, I woke with a jolt and checked my cell phone.  It was late.  I was supposed to have drunk another milk shake by now!  I shook Milton awake and worried to him that I had messed everything up when I didn’t wake up on time.  He assured me of my craziness, and we went downstairs to make a second milk shake with my second (former) favorite flavor of ice cream.  I drank that and I waited.  I tried to pass the time doing whatever I could.  I watched the banana bread defrost on the table.  I went to the bathroom.  Mostly I just wondered why the hell I wasn’t in labor yet.  I worried.

3:10 rolled around with still no signs of even a Braxton Hicks contraction.  I googled “immunity to castor oil” and came up with a good dozen stories that convinced me that castor oil had done absolutely nothing for my system.  For a famously fast metabolism, I was sure getting nowhere fast.  I yelled down to Milton, “I’M IMMUNE TO CASTOR OIL.”  We wondered what would happen next.

At 3:13, I had my first contraction and pulled out my iPhone to use the Contraction Master application.  I was fairly convinced that showtime was still so far in my future that using the app was just a funny game, but I was also certain that the game was ON, which was exciting enough.  For an hour, Milton and I made out, slow danced, and laughed with each other.  We were totally going to have a baby!  And we are totally in love!  Win!

All through this hour, I was having contractions every 1.5-2.5 minutes for about 45 seconds.  They were definitely progressing, but were completely manageable.  We texted our midwife and doula to let them know that the contractions were regular, but that we were totally in control and not in a 4-1-1 situation yet.  Our doula was off supervising a birth for another couple in our birthing class.  That woman was had been at 10 centimeters and pushing since lunch, so we told the doula, “No problem!  We’ve got plenty of time!” and carried on with our labor.  Our midwife decided to come over and check me out to see how things were progressing.  She figured that she would pop in and then leave us to laboring alone for a few more hours.  I bounced on a ball and read my favorite columns in the latest issue of The Stranger for a little while.


After this photo was taken, I hit another level of intensity.  We were still at 2.5ish minutes for 45 seconds and chugging along at a very manageable pace, and right after a contraction, Milton followed me up the stairs to supervise a trip to the bathroom.  I stopped on the landing of our stairs to support myself through another surge, and again at the top of the stairs.  Milton joyously declared it a 2 contraction trip to the upstairs.  I asked for the bag of rice that we had warmed in the oven for my castor oil pains and found that that bag was just what I needed to get me through the next several contractions.  I hung out upstairs in the rocking chair, not realizing that I wouldn’t come downstairs again … for a whole week.

At this point, I still didn’t think my contractions were a big deal.  I was doing a lot of deep Ujjayi breathing through them, and found that I could maintain my breath throughout.  This had been my plan for labor all along.  I had hoped that I could maintain my Ujjayi practice through all of labor and delivery.  I had read a bit of hypnobirthing literature, and though I’m not fond of visualization (frankly, the rainbow visualization technique outlined in the hypnobreathing book made me feel as if I were gagging on a tie-dye moo-moo), I felt as if the 2 breath practices that hypnobirthing waxed poetic about were the same practices I used in my asana practice or to lower my blood pressure during times of stress.  I practice that breath control all the time, on the mat and otherwise, and figured I had everything covered.

At 4:56, Lynn arrived for my check up!  She watched me move through some contractions before checking me out on the bed.  I have to stress here that we all still thought we were in this game for the long haul.  Lynn was going to check me out and leave us to our laboring for a while.  I had my rice bag and my husband in my bubble and we were going to rock this birth out slowly and with grace.  Our doula was going to finish with a birth down the street and arrive with a birthing tub so we could deliver our son into the water. Myrtle was going to enjoy her afternoon while I was in early labor and arrive in a few hours when things got intense.  We had all the time in the world at that point.  We were bound and prepared for a glorious all nighter!

Or so we thought. Lynn checked me out and declared me “a good 4 centimeters” along.  She looked at my husband and said, “I’m not going anywhere.”  She told me that she was surprised I was as far along as I was from the look of my contractions and I pat myself on the back a little.  I figured there was no way I would lose my Ujjayi breath if I could get to “a good 4 centimeters” without a hitch.

We contacted our doula and let her know that I was in active labor.  The woman she was with was STILL pushing (uh oh!) and she sent for her back up to join us.  Right around the time this call happened, I started to feel a little more intense and decided to get into our bath tub.  It was 5:15.  The water felt amazing!  I couldn’t wait for my birth tub to be ready!  Milton stayed with me and held my hand.  With every surge, he commanded my eye contact and helped me breathe through.  At this point I realized for the millionth time what an amazing birth coach he was going to be.  He was absolutely right there with me for the ride.  Up to this point, he had project managed the whole labor, making sure that he executed contact with our midwife, doula, family, and friends.  He refused to let anything distract me or stress me out.  Now, in active labor, he committed himself to being totally with me and letting everything he had set up so perfectly ride itself out.  Our connection, which has been solid since we first met, honestly sparkled.

While I was in the tub, Marion arrived.  She’s Lynn’s assistant, a student midwife whom we’ve met before during a clinic appointment.  She’s swept my cervix before.  I know this woman!  I was, however, lost in little our bubble at the moment, and I decided that she’s a new face.  I introduced myself to her and she laughed.   Around this point, we stopped timing the contractions.  It no longer mattered how far apart they were.  I was in active labor and time had stopped.  Time had stopped for my husband.  It became just a blur of rushes and coping.  It was all meditation and strength from where ever I could find it.  Marion checked the baby’s heart rate before, during, and after contractions to make sure he was maintaining.  He was doing great, like we all hoped he would.  My blood pressure, on the other hand, was not the best.  I’d been trying my best to keep it down for some weeks, and now that the contractions were coming so fast and hard, it was being a bit pesky.  The midwives give me some sort of homeopathic powder to put under my tongue that seemed to do the trick.  I remember feeling a superhero relief when Lynn gave me the blood pressure nod of approval.

Lynn watched me go through a contraction and declared that it seemed different than the ones before.  She was right.  She also noticed at some point that it seemed like I was having one weak contraction and then one strong one.  This is reflected in my Contraction Master records as something that had been occurring since labor began.  Of course, I didn’t exactly notice until Lynn did.  I just thought it fun to note.

Not very many rushes later, I had to ask myself if I was being dramatic.  It hadn’t been so very long and, rather suddenly, I felt pushy.  How was that even possible?  It was a half hour or so since my 4 centimeter check up.  I felt so not ready to feel pushy.  I thought that, obviously, I must be pushing along this process psychologically in much the same fashion I pushed along the pre-labor process and thought I was about to go into labor every day for about 3 weeks running.  I had another contraction and looked into my husband’s eyes.  When it was over I said, “I think I feel pushy?”  For some reason, I remember that I didn’t want him to tell Lynn that I was feeling this way.  I guess that’s because I figured there was really no way I could be so far along.   Everything I do is dramatic!  It’s natural for me to exaggerate everything, isn’t it?  He told Lynn anyway and I remember feeling foolish.  If I felt pushy already, what would it be like when I was even further along?  I expected that I was really just at 5 centimeters.  Lynn reached into the tub to check things out.  I was at 7 centimeters.  I was in transition!  It was 6:20 and it had been only 3 hours from my first real contraction.

At this point, our doula’s back up lady, Mali, arrived and introduced herself.  Actually, I don’t remember her introducing herself at all, but am sure that’s what happened.  I do remember hearing Lynn call down to her that there isn’t time to set up the tub.  I stared at my feet in the bathroom and cursed inwardly.  I was momentarily pissed that we were not going to have our dreamy water birth and I say as much to Milton in between contractions.  Between 2 big rushes, I thought this was all going a little too fast and for my tastes.  With the next one, I forgot to think anymore about control over the birth I wanted.  At 7 centimeters, I became completely immersed in the birth that we were having.  I let it roll over me and let myself get lost inside it.

Lynn asked me if I wanted to have the baby in the bathtub.  No, I did not.  It’s small, cramped by the toilet, and we had a pretty big team assembled at this point.  Eventually, I specifically got out of the tub to use the toilet.  Experiencing some pretty frank castor oil side effects, I was too modest to ever be on a toilet with anyone around, so I endured a few contractions in the bathroom alone.  Contractions were difficult enough with the support of a husband!  Alone, they were horrible.  Alone, I hated them.  Alone, they were an unproductive enemy.  I was just totally lost in them without a coach.  They hurt a thousand times more, and I felt so alone.  Still, when Marion peeked her head into the bathroom to check on me, I yelled at her to get out.  Modesty triumphed over loneliness and pain for a good 5 minutes.

It was 6:30 when I moved to the bed to labor on my side for a bit.  I don’t remember much about this at all.  I don’t remember the contractions.  I don’t remember the people.  I don’t remember what people are saying to me.  I don’t know if I said anything to anyone.  Some time around then, Myrtle arrived.  I felt like an animal and I didn’t want her up stairs to see me like this.  Of course, she was downstairs in the kitchen, taking in my every primal scream.  For some reason, downstairs felt like a different world from upstairs.  To me, the visual was different from the audio.

At 6:48, Lynn checked me again and jolted into reality when she tells me I am 10 centimeters dilated, 100% effaced, and ready to push.  I asked her to repeat herself.  For a moment, I was really, truly, completely in shock that I was complete.  We pushed through a few rushes on the bed while Marion holds my top leg up and Milton coached me.  They felt painful, unlike anything I ever expected.  My known and trusted Ujjayi breathing was long gone.  I breathed however my husband told me to breathe.  Pushing felt unproductive and Lynn told me that I had to get the baby over the bone.  I remember all of this from our birth class.  A stuffed skeletal pelvis and a doll head flash through my mind.  Lynn shows me where in my perineum to concentrate my pushing and I dedicate all my energy and all the months of highly competitive (with myself) Kegel exercises I’ve been practicing to this area.  Lynn asks if I would like to move to the birth stool.  I am totally game.  Lying on my side feels fine, but not productive, and I want to have this baby.

Immediately, on the stool, pushing felt so different.  The baby was moving.  He was coming, and I might have said as much.  In between contractions, I felt almost as if I was entranced or sleeping on my husband’s shoulder.  Every song that the stereo played was one that I absolutely loved, which was convenient since I made the mix myself for this very occasion.  My husband was on my left hand side and Mali was on my right.  I had just met this Mali, but I already needed her desperately.  I reached for her hand with my right hand every time a contraction began.  She became indispensable to my getting through this experience.  Between contractions, I am at the same time entranced and lucid.  During contractions, I remember overhearing Mali say that I was “a monster” (in a good way).  Pushing was the worst torture I’ve ever felt.  I hated it.  I hated it so fucking much that I  said as much, which I am later ashamed for.  I remember saying, “It fucking hurts!”  Later, I can’t believe I complained at all.  Of course it hurts.  It’s labor!  I honestly wish I had been able to channel the pain a little better and not complain.  I told my husband at some point during the final pushing that we are never doing this again.  Everyone else in the room laughed, apparently it’s a common sentiment.  Seeing my baby’s face now, I would relive the whole experience for the same outcome.  I would endure it ten fold!  In retrospect, it didn’t hurt even a little bit.  Thank god for our malleable memory and our personal bubbles.

I can’t tell you enough how amazing the rhythm of these contractions were.  Here I was, in the most horrible pain I could’ve ever imagined, and then – I am fine.  Between, I was able to rest.  At the height of a contraction, I was uncertain of my ability to sustain and survive.  In between,  I was gazing into my husband’s eyes and thinking about how much I love him, thinking about how the two of us are having a baby who will shape and define the rest of our lives together.  I almost forgot that I am in labor in the space between these rushes.  I was almost able to forget that another contraction was coming.  When the next rush came, it would start slowly and I would think it won’t be as bad as the last.  I would grab for Mali’s hand and tell everyone, “Here it comes!”  Every time it came, it was worse than the one before.  I now knew what they meant when they talked about the ring of fire.  I now knew what it meant to have the baby come down and then slip back up after you’ve pushed so hard to get him down there.  When all of this happened, I also knew that it was almost over.  I could feel the contour his little face low inside of me.  I knew that, soon enough, I would have him in my arms.  Lynn had me reach down between my legs  to feel his head.  It was soft and wrinkled, like the skin of a newborn kitten.  Feeling him was really surprising to me and, according to Milton, I gasped in surprise, as if I didn’t expect him to be there.

In between all the rushes I called down to Myrtle to check on her.  I felt badly that I’d left her down there all alone to den-mother my kitchen!  I wanted to make sure she was comfortable.  Between one of the contractions, Milton knocked over my water.  Marion goes downstairs to get me some more because I can’t let go of Mali’s hand.  I told Marion that I like my water with lemon, but not with rind.  I hate rind!  Lynn apparently remarked to Milton that I was remarkably lucid.  When downstairs, Marion tells Myrtle that his head is an inch out.  I began another contraction, pushed, and felt madly productive.  I heard Lynn yell, “Marion, get up here, I need you!”

Next thing I knew, his head was out.  His body was easy after that.  It slipped out as if it had no bone.  I was in a daze when Lynn’s voice called through our bubble and said, “Reach down!  Reach down!”  Suddenly, there was this gurgling blue and white creature in my arms!  I was elated!  In complete awe!  He was gurgling and like a little old man, I’ll never forget the sound.  When he found his breath and cleared his lungs, he screamed and screamed like a little devil.  Both Milton and I found this hilarious!   He was pissed, and telling us all about what just happened to him!   Milton cut the cord at some point, and I’m told that the cord was really very healthy and difficult to cut.  This makes me very proud!

We did it.

I called down to Myrtle and told her that she’s gotta get up in the loft to check out our guy.

Greeting the 4th partner in crime

I find it hard to believe, looking at these photos, that it’s still light outside.  For some reason, I picture his birth as having taken place after the sun was set.  But, actually, as Lynn remarked at the time, he was a sunset baby.  This is fitting, because a variation of his name (his real name) means sunlight in Japanese.

At some point, I delivered the placenta.  Apparently I complained that this also hurt, but I remember that it was absolutely easy in comparison to my son’s impressive head.

After a while, I handed our son over to his father so that I could move off the stool and on to the bed, which has been protected with a drop cloth between sets of sheets for quick changing after the event.  I told Milton to take his shirt off so that Axelrod could have skin to skin contact.

Skin on skin with his father

This is another blurry point of our story.  It’s almost a point of the story that I don’t want to share, because I don’t want to pull back from the awesome that is the birth of my son to get into medical issues and aftermath.  But, it’s part of the tale.  And, on reflection, labor and delivery involve every kind of emotion and event.  Labor and delivery includes everything wonderful, awesome, dramatic, and sometimes grotesque.  So. I stood up off of the birth stool and move my butt up to the bed… and proceeded to hemorrhage down the side of the bed and on to the floor.  It splashed impressively on to feet and ankles with a sound.  I looked down and thought, “They’ll fix that right up.”  Milton looked down and thought the same thing.  Myrtle confessed later that she was worried.  My doula confessed later that she started to rush from the birth she was attending in another part of the city (that woman, after pushing all day, delivered 4 minutes after I did) because they were talking about having me transferred to a hospital.  Lynn gave me a shot of something and put something else under my tongue.  The bleeding stopped, thank goodness, and I recall being very diligently monitored by Lynn and Marion for some time after while I shook and trembled my way through the shock that my body was experiencing towards the light of recovery.

I was really curious to see my placenta and asked for it.  Marion offered to bring it to us to give us a little Placenta 101.  This was really exciting to me.  I think I might have asked Myrtle if it was ok with her that Marion bring it around.  Of course Myrtle is game for anything at this point, I mean… she had just watched me hemorrhage all over my bedroom floor without so much as flinching.

Marion gave us a pretty stunning class on the different parts of the placenta, showing us the amniotic sac, the tree of life, and the cord.  I have to say that I am really very impressed with my body.  I just can’t believe I grew that thing!  Or that it sustained my son for 41 weeks!  Around then, our doula, Cheryl, showed up and made a placenta impression on a piece of paper.

Placenta print!

(I’m sorry if our placenta is too much information for anyone out there, but I personally find it all very fascinating!)

Next, I had to use the bathroom to prove that I could use my bladder — which was a Very Important Event — and I was then also allowed to take a shower.  I was absolutely relieved to be allowed to shower all of the day’s waste off of me.  I figured if I was allowed a 10 minute shower all by myself, I would be transformed into a picture of bright and shining health.  A quick glance to the mirror told me otherwise, though.  My ruddy skin was 3 shades of the wrong color and I knew that it was right to confine me to bed for a week after the birth.

When Cheryl, got there, I was so stoked that I got to have my two doula’s with me at once.  Two doulas, two midwives, a husband, and a best friend (who was totally promoted to sister after seeing the whole after birth business), AND a brand new awesome son.  How lucky can one lady get?

My two doulas!

Soon, our son was weighed, measured, and checked for the proper reflexes.  Everyone in the room took bets on how much he weighed.  I thought silently to myself that he might weigh 9 pounds and 2 ounces.  I only figured this because it’s what my brother weighed when he was born.  I didn’t say anything out loud, though, but I swear to you, readers, I had it right in my head.  He was 22.25 inches long, which delights me.  I have a thing for long legs and am glad that they run in our little family.

9lbs, 2ozs

Eventually, after giving us lots of important instructions, our doulas and midwives left.  Myrtle stayed for a while, shot some amazing photos of Axelrod, and cleaned my house like a champ.  She was leaving the very next morning for a flight home.  She took this photo before we all cried and she left for her hotel room:

Post-fetal position

We spent our first night together marveling.  The first long nap that Axelrod was supposed to take never really happened.  Alexrod just wanted to nurse all night, which I was really fine with.  We worked through the hours together, figuring out how he worked on the outside of my body.  Figuring out that we were family, and that we were both in it for the long haul.  Milton and I will never be the same sort of family we were before this little guy’s birth.  We are now part of a better, bigger family.  We are now parents, and sport a very worthy and excellent son.  We wouldn’t have it any other way, either!  I can honestly say without a hint of irony that this is the best thing we have ever done with each other, for each other, and for our family.  Parenthood is pretty awesome stuff, already.  It is every emotion.  It is every worry.  It is every sort of elation.  It is every sort of love.  We welcome it, completely.

The End.

Or, more accurately:  The Beginning.

One week old


The first 10 days

by Milton on Tue, May 25th, 2010

in Month 1

It’s been a beautiful and amazing 10 days.

Every morning I look at little Axelrod and he looks different. Bigger and smarter and more obviously a grand magic trick of the universe.

I’m really proud of Esther and myself for adjusting so well to this little guy’s arrival. We’re usually getting enough sleep, and whenever something comes up that we aren’t exactly prepared for, the help of our midwife, doula, parenting books, and the Interweb always seems to bring up the answer. The answer, most often, is don’t worry. It’s something I tell Axelrod all the time too. Not to worry. We have him covered. He can relax, because until he can take care of himself, we’re going to be taking care of him. It’s a new feeling, this feeling of not only a desire to help, not only a strong desire to take care of the little guy, but also a feeling of competence that we CAN take care of him. That the things he’s going to worry about (at least for the first part of his life) are things that may seem crazy to him but we know all about it, have been through it, and these are problems and challenges we can surmount, no prob limo.

Here are a few pictures from his first week or so.


He’s here!

by Milton on Sun, May 16th, 2010

in Baby,Month 1

Little Axelrod was born on May 15th, at 7:43pm! He was 9 pounds 2 ounces, and 22.25 inches long. Esther did such an amazing job through the whole thing. We’ll fill in the details later but the short story is that Esther’s water broke at 12:15am on the 15th, latent labor started at 3:30pm, active labor started at 5:20pm, she was “complete” at 6:48pm, and he was born at 7:43pm. Which if you do the math (the midwives did it for us actually) 1st stage labor lasted 3 hours 18 minutes and 2nd stage lasted 55 minutes. Yes, that’s pretty fast. Esther was totally superhuman through the whole thing. And now we’re singing songs and playing games and napping with the product of all our hard work and hopes. We are totally stoked.

 Being weighed

More pictures and stories as soon as I figure out how to leak-proof my diaper strategy.


The Hollywood Break!

by Esther on Sat, May 15th, 2010

in Documentation,Labor,Pregnancy by week,Week 41

Penny Simkin, the wonderful doula who taught our class, calls the pre-labor water break The Hollywood Break.  I figured it probably wouldn’t happen to me, and had honestly rather hoped that comfortable sac of water would stay in place for a good long portion of my labor.  But here I am, 11 hours after shoving a dozen paper towels between my legs as I laughed hysterically during a bathroom trip at our favorite cabaret bar, still giggling over the drama.

I had just finished sitting through a set break at our table on stage right.  We were watching and laughing at a couple seated front and center of the stage who obviously felt they were the only couple in the room.  They were all over each other!  I’ll admit, it was kind of hot.  We remarked about how nice it was to have entertainment while The Heavenly Spies took their break.  I thought a bit about what it’s like to be so in love and attracted to each other that you forget that there is a whole world outside of your being, and remembered times with my husband that felt like that.  I remembered feeling that way just a few months ago, when we took in TWO back to back Can Can shows for Valentine’s Day and had a terrific time together.

I thought about how Ina May Gaskin says something like, “It’s that loving sexy energy that gets the baby into your body, and it’s that loving sexy energy that will get him out,” and I wondered, will loving sexy energy from couples heavily making out right in front of me, in one of my favorite places, while I’m with my husband and my best friend watching beautiful women with hardly any clothing on dance their hearts out, count?  If so, I was feeling as if this lucky crane should really start presenting himself soon.

At that moment, I stood up to use the bathroom.  I paused to consider the small gush and pushed my way through the crowd towards the bathroom.  By the time I got to the door, things had become surreal.  The Heavenly Spies were back on the stage, the crowd was howling, and I was sopping wet.

Sadly, labor contractions are not really kicking in.  It’s looking as if I will be drinking a Castor Oil concoction in about an hour.  This is a little frightening, but I’m mostly excited.  I guess I’ll take a quick nap, first.

Labor on a crazy Saturday.  While (pardon me for saying so, but I must) all the crazy slutty girls from the East Side in their ridiculous 6″ heels parade around with their douche bag boyfriends while drunkenly howling, fighting, and shooting each other outside the windows of our beloved little loft, we’ll be howling an entirely different song from the inside.  I love it!


Go time

by Milton on Sat, May 15th, 2010

in Labor,Week 41

8am, May 15th: 41 weeks, 0 days. Water broke 8 hours ago.

Last night we decided to watch some burlesque at our favorite local cabaret bar, The Can Can.  About halfway through the 3rd act, around midnight exactly, Esther got up and paused, looking at us quizzically.  She shook her head dismissively and went to the bathroom.  Myrna and I probably both knew what she was thinking, but it wasn’t until Esther had a girl summon us to the bathroom that we confirmed that in fact her water had broke!  We excitedly paid the bill, and walked home, making sure the staff had a good story to talk about for the night.  Looks like the exciting show was the last convincing argument that Axelrod needed in order to pack up and start the big move.

Only 10% of women have their water break before contractions start, but Esther being the dramatic show(wo)man that she is, of course had to do it this way.  We got a good 7 hours of sleep, and are under orders to get a good breakfast and start pounding the pavement in order to get these regular contractions a little organized.  This is our friend Myrna’s last full day in town, and we’re going to try to make it worth her money.  She’s on our way over now and we’re going to walk to our favorite breakfast spot, Portage Bay.

Send us some good messages on the astral plane.


{ 1 comment }

40 Weeks, 6 Days

by Esther on Fri, May 14th, 2010

in Challenges,Psychological,Week 40

A Night of Hemingway

I was up all night last night with 45 second long contractions that started every 2.5 minutes.  It was very similar to a bit of false labor that happened last Sunday, but last Sunday’s hours of excitement and discomfort followed a cervical sweep, and this night did not.  This particular false labor followed a walk around the 3 mile path of GreenLake.

The walk was REALLY difficult, which surprised me.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I had no problem keeping up a terrific pace around the lake.  One week ago, I had no problem mounting the hills of Seattle on an hours and hours long walkabout with my husband.  This time I crept along at a snails pace.  The last mile of the lake about killed me.  Aching knees, aching feet, grumpy pants.  I could have curled up on any old patch of grass for a nap, but then I would have gotten to the car (and ultimately my bed) even later.  I can’t believe the difference one week post your due date makes!  I’ve always been in great shape, and feel a little broken.  I feel detached from my body in a way that I never have before.  I am watching my lumbering from afar.  Sometimes I wake from a nap and wouldn’t know I was pregnant… until I have to move and roll over to somehow make it up and to the bathroom for my every 10 minute trip to the toilet.  Everything is taking so much effort that I’m a little concerned about what a long labor is going to be like.  Having strong Braxton Hicks for 8 hours straight is not at all painful, but is absolutely exhausting.  Will real labor take even longer?  Will real labor be 10 times stronger… or 100?

We went in for a 41 week ultrasound today.  The baby looks great!  His cheeks are chubby like mine and we think he has his father’s eyes (which is how I always pictured him).  I felt as if I was cheating a little bit with our sneak peak, but placated myself with the knowledge that we were doing this to make sure everything was ok.

(Honestly, I knew everything was ok.  He’s totally chilling out in there.)

I’m exhausted today.  I just woke from a 4 hour nap and, having eaten a sandwich, am thinking about retiring for 4 more hours.  Maybe I’ll wake up in for real labor some day soon.  My sleeping schedule is totally screwed so I must be ready to be a newborn nursing mom, right?


Our good friend Myrna is in town for a couple days.  We thought she’d be able to meet little Axelrod when she made the flight plan, but I think we were a little overzealous in our predictions.  Still, it’s great having her here.  Today we’re going to walk around Greenlake and eat some delicious sandwiches from Paseo.  No, life is not tough.

Also, there’s a midwife conference happening tomorrow that both our midwife and doula would like to attend if possible.  Our birth class instructor is giving a talk on the OP fetus (occiput posterior, where the baby’s face is pointing towards the mom’s belly rather than towards the mom’s back), and how little we know about it (ooh, I found the actual paper online here though it’s a little over my head).  Occiput posterior positioning often leads to a more painful birth process, which is why it’s generally a less favored strategy for the baby to take.

Anyway, it looks like an interesting talk.  If Esther does go into labor sometime tonight, maybe we’ll just head on down to the conference.



by Milton on Wed, May 12th, 2010

in Psychological,Week 40

We don’t have any.



by Esther on Tue, May 11th, 2010

in Challenges,Pregnancy by week,Psychological,Week 40

Oh you guys! Honestly, we don’t need labor inducing tecniques. I get acupuncture needles all over my body, have been inserting Evening Primrose Oil for weeks, love awkward pregnant intimacy with my husband (even if I don’t want to talk about it on our blog), have had cervical sweeps, walk all the time, spend lots of time meditating, eat pineapple sprinkled with cayenne (ok mostly because that’s delicious!) and on and on and on and on and on and on. And then on. And on. Really. Truly. Madly. Deeply.

We know. We hear you! We read the books you recommended. We talked to our midwives. I get calls, texts, emails, facebook wall messages, gchats, facebook chats, and even pretty snail mail cards from everyone in our community. We love you all for that, but are feeling a little overwhelmed. And, honestly, we understand that none of it really works if the baby’s not ready.

I am trying to relax and not feel exhausted by pregnancy. I am madly looking forward to the batch of babymoon hormones I will get when our little crane decides that it’s high time he arrives. In the meantime, my best friend is going to arrive via plane tomorrow! We hadn’t been intending to have her here at the birth… but that could be awesome if it happens. Whatever comes with our imminent futures will be awesome as long as everyone remains in good health and high spirits.


No need. Except for castor oil and Pitocin, we’ve tried it. A lot of it.

I sort of think all of these methods are about as effective as the hiccup cures.

If we keep trying random things, though, one of them is bound to “work”, right?