Monday, March 26, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Here is the story of your birth:
It had been two weeks since February 22nd (your due date) and I had tried everything possible to induce labor: long walks, spicy food, sex, evening primrose oil, blue and black cohosh supplements, nipple stimulation with the breast pump, visualizations while I listened to hypnobirth CD’s, acupuncture treatments… I even tried castor oil on March 3d- the night of the full moon (coincidently this also happened to be the day your father was due to be born, but he ended up being 3 weeks late!) (Daddy comment: your mother is what I would describe as “excitedly eager.”) But alas, none of these were working. At the time of your due date (40 weeks) the doctors said I had plenty of amniotic fluid, a healthy placenta and a happy baby whom didn’t seem to want to go anywhere. My body was not acting like it was in a hurry either, as my cervix was not only undilated, but also unripened and you were still very high up. I had hoped to have as natural a birth as possible—laboring at home as long as I could and hopefully without any medication (see included birth plan).
Finally, on the morning of March 6th, something felt different. Since I’d been having cramps and Braxton Hicks contractions fairly regularly since Valentine’s Day I didn’t get too excited. These cramps did seem stronger to me, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up over nothing. I went to the market and to yoga that morning and they still didn’t go away. Everyone in my yoga class visualized me having you that day and I spoke that as my intention. I came home, ate lunch, took a nap and did my hypno CD. The cramps still didn’t go away and seemed to in fact get stronger. By this point, I was pretty sure I was finally in early labor and called your father to ask him to come home right after work as this might be it (On your due date your mother did a very similar thing so it was hard to judge if it was truly the time or not – I was not that concerned as I felt pretty sure even if it was there would be no rush).
By early evening it seemed like I was having fairly regular, but very mild, contractions about every 10 minutes. Your father came home; we ate dinner and packed (We actually put packing off for a while – at the point when I got home I still wasn’t 100% convinced it was the real thing and I tried to entertain your mother by acting silly and taking care of chores around the house but she almost had a break down when I stayed in the garage too long.) By midnight, I was getting fairly uncomfortable and the contractions were longer, and coming much more frequently—about every five minutes. (By about 11PM, I became convinced that this was the real thing. I called your grandparents to let them know; previously your mom had already spoken with Nana and Papap to figure out a plan for them to come down to LA from Sacramento.) At this point your father made the first recording of the frequency and length of my contractions. (I purposely tried to wait as long as possible before timing so we would not get to anxious.) After packing, we just tried to relax as much as possible. We watched some Seinfeld episodes (even though we had to keep pausing for contractions); I did lots of stretching and moving on an exercise ball; we lay in bed and your father comforted me and we tried to rest, and I took numerous showers. I found the hot water to be the most helpful for easing the pain of labor. The contractions felt like a really intense cramping in my hips, lower back, and butt that would come in waves.
We labored all night at home and the contractions continued to grow in intensity and become longer and more frequent—coming about every three to four minutes by around 5AM. (I again tried to hold off on timing them until it seemed they really had changed. It was very difficult to judge when we should go to the hospital and the fact that we had been up all night and were really tired made it even more difficult to make this decision, but I knew that I wanted to hold out as long as possible. At around 7 your mom made me call her doctor (Dr. Hackmeyer). I wanted her to do it because she was supposed to talk to him so he could judge whether it was really time or not. I called because we assumed he would call back, but as it turned out they patched me through to him immediately. I said, “I think we are ready to go to the hospital” and I must have sounded sure cause he didn’t question me. We went to the hospital around 7:30AM. Part of our decision was based on the traffic – if we didn’t go now we would have to wait at least 2 hours and your mother didn’t want to do that. I was willing to go along with your mothers wishes as I had resisted going up to this point. I had set 7am as a sort of minimal goal in my head for when we would leave.)
The car ride was not that fun for me, but it wasn’t awful either and traffic was good. Your father had previously programmed my Ipod with the hypno CD. There were a few tracks that were specifically designed to listen to when you were having contractions – 30 sec, 60 sec, etc. I put the seat way back and listened to these as we drove. When we arrived I had a hard time walking from the car into the hospital, but my contractions really seemed to slow as soon as we were admitted to the maternity ward’s triage room (a communal hospital room where you initially check in and they see how dilated you are, etc.) A rather gruff nurse asked me why I was there—I thought it was obvious, but my contractions had slowed down a lot and she didn’t see one happen when she checked the monitor until after I answered the question. (While I don’t disagree, I thought the nurse was asking a more general question: “Are you having contractions but aren’t due for another month or are you supposed to be having contractions?” Anyway, your mother snapped back an answer of “I am in labor!”) The nurse checked to see how dilated I was, which turned out to be very disappointing—I was only 2 centimeters and you had barely engaged and were only at minus 1 station. I was very demoralized to say the least since you have to be dilated 10 centimeters to have a baby, so we had a long way to go! I was especially upset because I really thought we had stayed home a reasonable amount of time and I’d expected that I’d have progressed a lot farther than that. (I have to say that I was surprised to – I really had taken it as my duty to keep us at home as long as possible – and I felt that we had at least gotten over the “we arrive at the hospital way too early” hump.) I was a little disheartening by the idea of how long it had been taking and how little I’d progressed; I had a feeling that it could take me a very long time to get to 10 cm… Our doctor stopped in on his way to his office hours and checked on me and suggested that I go home and come back to his office at 1PM. We did that.
Neither of us had slept the night before, so we ate something and tried to take a nap. I drank a half glass of wine and managed to fall asleep for an hour while listening to my hypno cd. I felt better when I woke up and was happy I was still having contractions, but they didn’t seem to have gotten stronger and were not happening as quickly as they had been during the middle of the night. Things had definitely slowed down even though labor hadn’t stopped. When we returned to see my doctor, I was disappointed to find that nothing had changed—in fact, he told me that while he could understand how some people would say I was two centimeters dilated, he would only have called it one centimeter. He stripped my membranes at this point as well, hoping this would get things moving.
We then talked about my options. Knowing of my initial desire for a natural birth, the Doctor said that I could go home and just keep laboring on my own, but since this was real labor he didn’t want to let me go much beyond 20 hours in the early stage. The next option was to go home and come back to the hospital at a pre-arranged time—like around 7PM. Then he could evaluate how things were going and I could continue if things were progressing and if they weren’t moving along, he’d administer pitocin to induce labor. The third option was to go the hospital right then, get an epidural (the idea being that I could get sleep and rest up) and see how things progressed. With this option there was a good chance that I would need pitocin because getting an epidural generally slows things down. He guessed that you would not be born until midnight at the earliest, but more likely sometime in the middle of the night or early the next morning. He definitely didn’t try to talk me into one route or the other and he left me and your father to discuss our options in private. My gut instinct was that if we went home I would go another night without sleep and by the time it came to push you out I would be too tired to do it on my own. I was very concerned that would lead to a c-section or episiotomy and I would be worse off than if I just checked into the hospital right then. In my opinion, the atmosphere of the hospital and the car rides back and forth, combined with my exhaustion at this point, made it unlikely that I was going to have a totally natural childbirth. I felt that this was an honest assessment of the situation, and rather than become disappointed that things weren’t living up to my initial desires, I followed my instinct and checked into the hospital right then. (Your mother really couldn’t stand the thought of having to make another round trip car ride home and back to the hospital – it took about 30-45 minutes each way.) Ultimately, I think I made the right decision and am happy that I was able to be so flexible in making this choice, despite my outline in our birth plan for a natural birth. (I really tried to push for going home and waiting, as I felt it was my duty to support your mother in her initial wishes in the heat of things, but the above reasoning really seemed sound and I decided we should follow what she was feeling.)
We went back over to the hospital around 2:30PM. We had another shortstop in triage (where we ran into a lady from our birth class who was, rather ironically, having early contractions) and then we were moved into our own room. We had two labor nurses, Shara and Jennifer assigned to us (Jennifer was in training) and they were both great. I received an epidural right away (fentanyl, which meant I needed an IV of fluids so I would keep hydrated). We waited a while, but even though the nurses commented that the contractions that I’d been having naturally were very long and strong, they had slowed down considerably and were now about 7 minutes apart, so they gave me a dose of pitocin. After this, your father and I both settled in and slept for a while. I was happy that I could still feel my contractions even with the epidural, although I was also very thankful that I was able to get comfortable enough to nap and get some much needed rest.
At around 5:00PM, my doctor came by after his office hours and I was pleased to find out that I was now four cm dilated (this meant we could move to a “new” fancier labor room) and you had descended somewhat. At this point, he ruptured my amniotic sac as a method to ensure that the labor kept progressing. He remarked that we had some “pea soup” – meaning there was meconium (that’s poop that you made while in my belly) staining the amniotic fluid. Because your heart rate was being monitored and everything looked ok, he was very calm and didn’t act concerned about this. (I was very glad to be at the hospital at this point – if we would have been at home and your mom’s water broke and we would have seen that it was stained with meconium, I would have been very anxious.) I was really happy with how calm he and the nurses remained because they didn’t make me worry and they allowed me to continue laboring without any other interventions. Before the doc left, he reaffirmed his thought that the earliest you would make your entrance would be around midnight.
The contractions were becoming stronger and I had less opportunity to relax between them, even with the epidural. Just before 7PM, we were moved to a new labor and delivery room with a great view of the Hollywood Hills. Ironically, it was the very same room we’d seen in our childbirth class’ tour of the hospital, which at that point hadn’t been in use yet. (I organized our stuff , which included me getting out the cheat sheets I’d typed up of things to remember to say to your mother in labor “You’re doing a great job, visualize the baby, etc…”.) This was also when the day nurses went off their shift and the night nurse came on. Our night nurse was named Emily and she was also really terrific—perhaps even better than the day nurses. She checked my cervix again soon after her shift started and I was 7 cm dilated. I was really happy and excited about this and she was convinced I’d have the baby before midnight—we both agreed that March 7, 2007 would be a great birth date. Your father asked if we should call our family and she said not yet. He decided to take this opportunity to go get dinner. (I did call our family to update them – they were about to sit down to dinner themselves and I told them it sounded ok as I was about to get dinner too. I was glad that after one of our birth classes we wandered around the hospital and discovered where the cafeteria was. It was very confusing to decide what to order, and I settled on a patty melt and onion rings along with a vitamin water. Note – they do not know how to make a patty melt at Cedars. There were no onions! Luckily, I had the onion rings, which I piled on the sandwich. I got it to go so your mother wouldn’t have to be by herself any longer than necessary.)
When your dad was gone, I spoke very briefly on the phone to my friend Heidi, but felt like I needed to get off quickly because the contractions were becoming stronger and felt different. I felt like you were really starting to push down on my perineum and was starting to feel an urge to push. Because of this and because of the strength of my contractions on the monitor, Emily checked my cervix again. I was already at 9 cm and you had completely descended and were ready to be pushed out. I should note that although you hadn’t descended very far before I went into labor, you were in perfect position to be pushed out—head down right over my cervix. It was about 8:15 at this time and Emily called the doctor and your father arrived back at the same time. I updated him and he inhaled his sandwich and called our family. (It also turns out that when we had gone back home earlier I left the camera at our house so I asked them to bring it.) Emily reviewed pushing instructions with me before my doctor arrived and stopped the epidural, although I was given one last low “pushing” dose.
The doctor arrived just before 9PM, very pleased that I’d progressed so quickly after such a slow start. I was really happy and excited as well and your father put on John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” as the nurse set up a mirror on a stand in front of me and we got ready to push you out.
Doctor Hackmeyer reviewed pushing instructions with me as well and I recalled the advice from our class and from the Ina May book. One of the main things I thought about was that I shouldn’t scrunch my face up when I pushed. Instead, I decided to smile while I pushed, figuring I was less likely to tear and/or get broken blood vessels in my face if I did this. Also, I was really happy—I was finally going to get to meet you! (It would be hard to describe the look on your mother’s face: beaming happiness mixed with excitement, also fairly calm and confidant too.) Your father and the nurse each held one of my legs so that I was ready to push in a modified squatting position. (Immediately the doctor said to me, “Look, you can see the head.” Honestly, I was like, “Ok? What?” It was very dark and hard to tell what was what, but after a few pushes I really could start to see the top of your head, and it looked really weird. I had been warned about this so I didn’t freak out, but I saw all these ripples of skin and what looked like a sharp corner. Nonetheless, when you came out you had this perfectly round head! Apparently this was largely because you came out so quickly once the pushing stage began.)
I felt all the yoga I’d been doing helped me feel comfortable and strong in the pushing position and with breathing and that the kegels I’d been doing helped as well, because I could feel myself using those muscles when I pushed you out and I felt very confident and in control of the situation. The doctor and nurse seemed genuinely happy with how effective my pushing was and gave me a lot of praise, which I appreciated and which helped me keep trying to push as hard as I could. Seeing what was happening in the mirror was what helped most with the pushing though, especially when I could see your head crowning. Your dad was also great, saying lots of nice things and we really worked as a team. (Midway through the pushing phase, the intercom rang out asking for holly, which confused me to say the least, although your mom seemed oblivious as she was intent on pushing you out. It was the nurse was calling to let us know that our parents had arrived. In between pushes, I ran out to get our camera, although I only took 2 pictures so I could stay focused on what was happening.)
Since you were so far down in the birth canal already, your head was starting to come out very quickly and the doctor used mineral oil to help massage you out. This, along with having me slow down at the end of the pushing phase, helped keep tearing to a minimum. It did get very difficult at this point not to push, but the Doc talked me through it and suggested that in between pushes, I could exhale very slowly with a slight push at the end as a way to relieve pressure, which I found to be very helpful. When I did finally push you out, it was the most exhilarating and euphoric sensation ever—I was ecstatic that I would finally get to meet you! (From my perspective I started to see your head little by little and then all of the sudden, I was seeing a lot of head. The doctor kept saying “look, look” and I realized that I could make out your face through the perineum. Seeing your head was very abstract, to say the least, because babies are generally born with their faces pointing down, towards their mother’s spine, and I had forgotten this part when your mom was in labor and kept expecting to see your face. Next he said “ok watch, it’s like pulling a rabbit out of a hat” and presto there was your head sticking out of your mother’s body.)
At this point, the doctor realized that the umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck, so he quickly clamped and cut it while your body was still in me. This also unfortunately meant your father couldn’t make the first cut. (It was odd as I looked down at your face as this unfolded and I was not sure what was going on – I was in a state of suspension while there was a pause before you started to cry. This was the second thing that had the possibility of being a big deal, but once again everyone remained very calm and it turned out not be an issue.) After this, the rest of you quickly emerged (after only 34 minutes of pushing - at 9:29PM) and you were handed over to a pediatrics team (called to examine you because of the meconium in the amniotic fluid), which meant I wasn’t able to hold you first thing. While I was disappointed about this, I was concerned first of all with your welfare and I was prepared as this had all been explained to me ahead of time. The funny thing is, we still didn’t know if you were a boy or girl, so I shouted out, “Is it a boy or girl? (I was following along what was happening with the Peds team but had also realized that we didn’t know this yet and was trying to figure it out. However, I didn’t have a straight view and didn’t want to say anything till I was 100% sure. Luckily, the labor nurse went to the other side and let us know.) “A girl” they answered. While I would have been pleased either way, I felt vindicated that my instincts had been right as I thought you were a girl when I was first pregnant. (This is also the point when you took your first poop outside your mom’s belly.) The Peds team quickly finished their evaluation and deemed you healthy. (At this point, I got to go over and cut off the approximately 12” of umbilical cord that was still attached to you, off. It was actually quite difficult to cut – not soft at all. The other thing that is amazing about the cord is that it is very translucent and then there is an abrupt change from cord to skin.) They then weighed and measured you (7lbs 11oz and 21 ½ inches long), wrapped you up and handed you to your father. (I actually thought you might have been bigger because at the 40 week ultrasound they guessed you were 8lbs.) While this was going on, I had two very small tears that the doc sewed up and then you were brought over to me. Incidentally, the doc told me that the tears were not in places he would have cut and I honestly don’t know that I would have even known they had happened if he hadn’t told me. (Luckily, they didn’t affect my recovery at all.)
Despite the fact, that I had to wait a few minutes to hold you, the joy of the birth and in seeing you was in no way dimmed. I was very happy that you were healthy and strong, especially since there were a few “concerns” during the birth process, and that you were so beautiful already. (I should note that you came out very clean and also had a very good color. You didn’t have any funny newborn look about you.) I was really feeling pretty ecstatic at this point about everything and the mood in the room was very celebratory. I put you to my breast right away and was really happy that you latched on immediately and started sucking. While I knew we didn’t have the absolute perfect technique yet, you were happy, so I was happy, and we figured out the details in the next few days. Before the doctor left he told me that he wished all births could go this well. (Note, when I saw him for my four week checkup, he said of the birth, “we had fun, didn’t we?” and mentioned again how happy he was with the process and I agreed with him!) Even though your birth wasn’t completely “natural”, I was very satisfied with the process because I avoided any serious surgical interventions, experienced labor for a number of hours on my own without medication, and was able to be completely in control during the pushing stage. But best yet, I was not overly exhausted after I had you and was in good physical shape, so I was able to work on being your mom without any extra physical stress from recovering from complications during your birth.
We hadn’t chosen your name yet. While we had one boy name picked out (Grayer Matta), we had a list of 3 girl first names and various middle names to choose from. The doc and nurses asked us your name immediately and I wanted you to be named before our family came in. Our “top” choice was Ezra Gray because we like the way it sounded and this was the name that our friends Anton and Heidi (the only folks we’d discussed name choices with) had liked best. I also wanted to use it because it meant “helper” and I felt that despite the slow start of labor, etc you really had helped a lot—being in perfect position for pushing you out, etc. I yelled across the room to Andrew that we were naming you the “number 1” choice and he said “okay,” so you were named. (As your mother says, I didn’t really have a lot of say in the final naming choice which is slightly different than I had imagined--but I felt that after giving birth your mother should be given some leeway – not to mention that I was really happy with any of our top choices, which were Ezra, Oona or Padma. Gray in general was our favorite middle name because it was a variation of Ray, which is the name of your great grandfathers on both your mom and dad’s sides. We also liked gray because it is the name of a color and connotes complexity—that things aren’t always black or white.)
Almost immediately after you were put in my arms, our family came in—Nana and Papap, with Papap’s guide dog Rainier, and Grandma and Grandpa Galambos. After a little suckling, you became very quiet and alert and allowed everyone to hold you with no complaint—looking around with wide, wondering eyes. We stayed in the labor room for about an hour, until you went off with your father and a nurse to get cleaned up and the rest of us were brought to our post-partum room. I felt quite good and was able to walk immediately since I had never had an extremely strong dose of epidural. You and daddy showed back up about an hour later and we all celebrated by having a bottle of Champagne that was left over from your baby shower. We were exhausted but exhilarated by the time everyone left and nothing seemed quite real yet. We all went to sleep—me in the hospital bed, your father on the cot, and you in your bassinet next to me. A few hours later, we were startled out of our sleep by a loud cry and that’s when we knew it was for real! (I will never forget the sound of your cry waking us up that first night. Not only were we exhausted, but you really hadn’t had a full cry yet - I shot up in bed and thought “What do we do now?!”)
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
The Egg's Numerological Profile (by Sharon Mehdi):
- Her Destiny/Life Path (primary life lesson) is 1: Leadership, Attainment and Independence;
- Her Total Expression (gifts she comes into life with) is 9: Humanity and the Universe, the highest number in the cycle;
- Her Soul Urge number is 22: This is a Master Number and is quite rare. It is the number of the Master Builder -- someone who creates (in physical form) something highly significant for the betterment of humankind. This is the most significant number in her chart.
- Her Sub-Lesson (kind of like an added Destiny/Life Path) is 7: Analysis, Introspection and Spirituality.
- Her Personality number is 5: Construction Freedom (a highly creative number).
What does this all mean? Some further notes from conversation with Sharon Mehdi:
Numerology—same numbers don’t mean same thing for each person, it’s how they all weave together that creates meaning.
Ezra was born in a one year—very fortuitous, the beginning of a cycle.
Destiny—primary number. 1 is a natural leader—comes into life with a lot of skills. Most important things parents can do for a number 1 baby is to try not to fill her head up with beliefs, expectations, fears, desires. Let her find her own path. Nurture her independence.
Expression number—culmination of a cycle. Last number and also all encompassing number. 9 person frequently has more trouble “seeing trees for forest.” 9 is a visionary—sees the bigger picture, but not necessarily detail oriented. Known for being very creative and good administrators—just not good at the little detail bits. 9 baby—let mind expand, read great imaginative stories. 9’s can understand far more than other children their age frequently. Very intuitive number.
Soul Urge 22. Any time there is a master number, there is a heightened sensitivity to situations/people/etc. Frequently kids who have master numbers in key places in their charts, tend to “build barriers” cause they are so sensitive/empathetic to others and it can be difficult for them to know what to do with that. But as the 22 grows and matures, they are able to let go of these barriers. Not to worry if she does this, but she should grow out of it. You can help them by helping her explore from an early age without an agenda. “If you can do anything, what would you do?” Encourage her to do whatever she’s interested in and to let her lead this exploration. 22’s will create something in the world of significance. Soul urge is the part that keeps you going when you want to give up—the part others might recognize before she knows it herself. Usually in a person’s thirties, they start to develop this more.
Highly creative chart—foster her creativity, “whatever she chooses will be astounding.”
Sub lesson—7 is the number of the introvert. 9 is the number of the extrovert. She has both numbers, so she could be hard to pigeonhole. “marches to a different drummer.” Most important thing to a 7 happens inside them and they rarely share that. 7’s are very deep souls. She has the ability to be a leader/visionary/catalyst, but there will always be a silent/private part of her. Wonderfully complex. This number will keep her grounded and down to earth. Very “psychic” number.
Personality number—how the world will perceive her. 5 has a lot of fun in life. “the writer/traveler/artist/poet” etc. 5’s have to travel. Won’t be able to tie her down or hem her in. Nature of the 5 is to explore. People will be drawn to her and love her. 5’s are the most popular. Curious, full of adventure.
When you wrap them all together, you have a little creature that came into life to lead and be her own person. To be free of the thoughts/constraints/beliefs in the world—work on fostering that in her. You will learn from her very early on. She came in to lead in a “big” way. Whatever she does will have far reaching effects.