Our little girl is finally here! Talula Violet Aiston arrived on Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 8:57 p.m. She weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces. She was 19.5 inches long.
This is the best we can do for a picture right now because our beloved Canon Elph was stolen and we had to use a disposable camera. They're not very good for close-ups at all.
I went to sleep Wednesday evening with contractions. They were totally bearable, and I could sleep through them. Joey kept waking me up by rolling over on top of me, so I had to kick him out of the bed. I just had this feeling that I needed to get a good night's sleep.
I had contractions throughout the next day, but they were still bearable. Joey had the day off, and we just hung around home. I knew it was the day, and I let Tania open her "big sister" presents. There was a game of Crazy Eights among her gifts, so we played that for a while. Joey did some frantic cleaning and took Tania to the bookstore. When they came back, my contractions were getting more intense, and were about 5 minutes apart. We packed a bag and headed to the hospital. It was about 4:00 p.m. when we arrived. My cervix was 100 percent effaced and 3 centimeters dialated. I thought that I would have a long way to go.
We were extremely disappointed to learn that Tania would not be allowed to stay overnight at the hospital with us. We really wanted our family to be together. But Tania didn't mind; she wanted to go to her cousin's house. We decided that we should take her sooner, rather than later. Joey drove her around 6:00 p.m. and I got in the jacuzzi. My contractions were getting more intense.
When Joey came back, we walked up and down the hallway. My back hurt with every contraction, and he would apply pressure to it. It was really helpful, to the point where I could not let him go anywhere, because I needed him to apply the pressure with every contraction.
Around 7:00 p.m., the contractions were extremely intense. I was yelling and crying with every one. The nurses started talking about the epidural. I kept saying no thank you, but I was thinking, who the hell do I think I am? There were about 12 other women in the birth center at the same time I was, but none of them were yelling and crying. They all had taken the epidural. If they couldn't handle childbirth without drugs, why did I think that I could? I asked the nurse to check how dialated I was. I was 8 centimeters already. I really don't know what I would have done if I was only 4 or 5 centimeters. The nurse said that if I wanted the epidural, I had to have it then. I said no. I knew it would not be long. About two minutes later, I felt like pushing. I was standing by the bed, and the nurse told me not to push until she checked me. I pushed anyway. I think she knew it, and she asked me to get on the bed, because she thought the baby might fall onto the floor.
She checked me and said I was ready to go. She said I could start pushing when I felt the urge. It was sort of funny because I had already been pushing, but whatever. The next time I pushed, my water broke. The paged the doctor, and she and another nurse came rushing in. Pushing was really hard and scary, but it took the pain away from the contractions. My doctor was really good. She knew my wishes, and when I said, "I wish you could just take her out of me," she said, "No you don't. You want to do this the way nature intended." I didn't feel pain from the baby coming down the vaginal canal, but I was afraid, because I tore a bit with Tania.
The doctor and nurses kept saying that she was about to come out and that they could see her head. I thought they were trying to give me false hopes so that I would keep pushing or something. I didn't see how she could come so quickly. On about the seventh push, she shot out. It didn't hurt; it just felt really uncomfortable for my hips.
They put little Talula right up on my chest. She was crying a cute little cry, but she stopped crying when she heard my voice. She was so pretty and healthy and perfect. Joey was crying and we both just instantly fell in love with her. The nurse took her to weigh her and everything, and she just lay in the little warm baby bed thingie looking at Joey as he stood next to her. Then the nurse brought her back and I breastfed her. She knew exactly what to do. She must have taken a class about it when she was in my uterus.
That night, I put her to sleep in the baby bed that the hospital had for her. I was afraid to sleep with her in my bed because the sides were not very sturdy. I was afraid also because I was so exhausted. I might not even wake up if she fell out of the bed. But she ended up getting too cold in the baby bed, so I brought her in with me and just stayed up. She loved sleeping with her mama, and we got her temperature up in no time.
About not taking drugs: I didn't research any effects of the epidural. I just wanted to do things the natural way. I wanted to feel in charge of my body, and I wanted to trust that my body would do what it was supposed to do. I wanted to know that I was strong enough to do this. I have heard that the epidural leads to a failure to progress in labor which leads to a higher likelihood of c-section. But my reasons were really mostly selfish, like running a marathon. I just wanted to know I could do it. With Tania, I did not have the epidural, but I did ask for it. The anesthesiologist was unavailable. I guess I would have gotten it otherwise.
We went home the next day, much to everyone's surprise. I think the hospital staff thought we were weird. We didn't want the epidural; we wouldn't let them give Talula any shots or put ointment on her eyes; we didn't want anyone watching her so we could sleep. I honestly didn't think we were so "out there" until now.
The first night home, Talula had a poop-fest all night long. She didn't let me sleep much, but it was so nice to be home, and so nice to snuggle up to my little angel in my own bed. Joey had 4 days off, so he got to spend time with her too. He loves to hold her and rock her and lull her to sleep. He's such a good, gentle daddy.
We took Talula to the doctor for her first check-up yesterday. She was four days old. The doctor had expected her to have lost weight, but she had gained 3 ounces! I must have some high-quality breastmilk. It made me feel good, since I felt at the hospital like everyone was doubting that I knew what I was doing.
We decided to make that day Talula's first day out, so we went to the library and checked out some books for Tania. She got three pretty cool looking chapter books and a Gilgamesh children's book. We got a bunch of National Geographics and some wine magazines out of the "free" bin. Then we went to Umeke Market (a health food store in Kahala) to get our DHA pills and some groceries. I also bought lavender and tea tree oil and some pure aloe vera gel to make a good baby wipes potion. I don't want to poison her with the stuff at the store.
We have been using this amazing sling that I got as a gift from my friend Leela. (It's the first one - orange and beige tiger print on one side and a brown, orange, and beige sort of batik print on the other side.) Talula loves it. She goes right to sleep in it. It's made out of a thin cotton, so it's not too hot, although we do sweat when we wear it. She likes to be facing me right up against my belly and chest. I love having her in it. It's like she's a little kangaroo...a little joey.
Today is our first day using cloth diapers. We got two free packs of disposables, so we thought we'd use those up first to make my life easier. We will mostly use prefolds, I guess, since they're cheap. They work for me. Some of the fitted ones just leak right out the side. We're going to try Fuzzi Buns tonight, since she sleeps about 6 hours straight now! (God, am I lucky!)
Tania is such a big help. She loves her little sister. She always wants to hold her and help change her. She watches her if I have to go to the bathroom or something. It's really nice to have her around. She was a little jealous at first, but I think she gets it now.
Well, that's the news about Talula. Homeschooling has slowed down, but we want to get back on track. I have to get Tania through the first-grade materials in time for second grade. Piece of cake!