Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

Sometimes we choose the path we will take in life, sometimes it chooses us. About an hour after Ruby was born, we were given the news that she may have Down Syndrome. The Midwives recognized a few markers characteristic of downs and shared their concerns with us. We spent a few days of asking ourselves, "does she or doesn't she?". At times we could see it in her eyes, other times we saw nothing. We'd talk ourselves into believing it and then convince ourselves otherwise. We took her to the pediatrician and a blood test confirmed the diagnosis 5 days later of the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. And so began our journey...and hence our new motto, "it could be worse".

We were sent for an echocardiogram as kids with Down's have a 40% chance of congenital heart defects. We unfortunately were given the news she was within that percentile. Ruby has 2 holes in her heart, the cardiologist is hopeful the more serious one will close on it's own, but otherwise we will just be on the watch for signs of heart failure which would then lead us to open heart surgery. The other hole isn't something we have to worry about until she's older and it can be taken care of with less invasive surgery. So, it could be worse.

For now, we have a typical newborn who just eats, sleeps and poops. She's very cute and is a dream in comparison to our dear 2 year old Luna (who is dealing with not being the center of attention...and with the terrible 2's). We've been running through a litany of tests to see if she has one common ailment or another that tends to affect those with Down's. They are setting us up with a geneticist as well who will help guide our next steps in this whole process.

We go through waves of grief, but remind ourselves how no future is written for any child. You can have a completely healthy and typical child who is diagnosed with Leukemia or a slew of other afflictions. We question whether we would have wanted to know this before she was born...but aside from the weight of this news brought upon us shortly after finally having our home birth we had dreamed of, we had a few days to fall in love and bond with our new daughter without any confirmed label, grief nor expectations. So although the road we are about to embark on in life with our new daughter isn't what we had expected, this road less traveled may make all the difference.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Introducing Ruby Skye

Please join us in welcoming Ruby Skye into this world. She was born at home on Saturday, May 14th at 2:33pm after 7 hours of labor, weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz and 19.5 inches long. We had been anxiously anticipating her arrival each night, making sure everything was in place and we were prepped before going to bed. I love that the world always reminds you that you're not in charge of things, therefore commencing my labor in the morning instead of my aforementioned prepped-and-ready-to-go evening. I had my first contraction and water breaking at ~7:30am at about 20 minutes apart. We started getting the birthtub setup and everything in place, but quickly realized the difficulty we were having with dear little Luna running around bored. My brother-in-law rescued Luna of boredome and allowed us to continue our preparations. By 11:30am I was ~5 minutes apart and the midwives arrived. I had been laboring sitting on the birth ball with fears of getting up to move as it always brought a cascade of contractions. I was so thankful for the birthtub this time as well. We had one last time but our hot water heater was insufficient to fill it and I wasn't able to get in until I had already been pushing. I crawled in sometime after noon as the contractions got stronger and closer together and didn't get back out until after she was born.

From then on it was a blur. I wasn't checked for progress at anytime durng pregnancy or labor, which was a blessing as there were no expectations of how long things would take or when I should push...we just relied on nature and trusting in myself to know what my body needed to do. The midwives were great in that way as well, anytime I asked how or when I should do something, they just told me to push/breath/move however I needed and whenever I needed. It was really just me with Gig there to lean on and grip all the blood out of his legs with my hands during contractions. It was intense (read: painful), but I did it. I never got to feel Luna being birthed because of being transferred to the hospital and having an epidural. I can say it was the most painful thing I've ever done, but amazing that the pain is over and all your hardwork paid off instantly. Ruby is healthy and sleeping ALOT and being held non-stop. Luna is trying to be helpful by covering up Ruby (including her head), and getting her pillows and books. Needless to say, we can't leave either of them out of our sight!

When I look back at Luna's labor, it was such a different experience. I remember being told I was fully dilated and so I started to push. I now know I never really felt that physical urge to push which is what exhausted me so much last time and resulted in going to the hospital. I was very nauseaous last labor as well, I don't know how many times we wrote "vomited" on the labor record. We were prepared with a bucket this time, and luckily never had to use it! I was thankful for the overall short labor, considering my second stage labor with Luna was ~7 hours in itself. We finally got our homebirth though, and were thankful for the opportunity and the support of our midwives. We are all healthy, happy and at home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

In celebration of the belly

When I was pregnant with Luna we spent a lot of time celebrating the Buddha belly. Little did Gig know he had a thing for pregnant chicks. He is excited for the arrival of Ruby, but also grieving the imminent loss of the belly (which won't be reappearing in my lifetime). With Luna, we did a belly cast, painted my belly and took pictures, had professional maternity pictures done, and photographed each month of my ever growing belly. This pregnancy, ummm...we took about 3 pictures of my belly. So, in my state of nesting I decided I should do some of the aforementioned rituals, not so much for us, but solely so Ruby isn't wondering if she's adopted since there is hardly record of her time in my belly. We did a whirlwind bellycast while Luna napped the other day, and a quick photo shoot the other night. Here are a few of the results:

We've been spending wonderful family time at the park this past week off work. Here are a few of my favorite pictures:

Thankful for the relaxing time I've had with my little family before it grows...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The waiting game

I'm 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant...just waiting for the green light. I took off work mid-last week for some relaxation and prepping before baby comes. Lets just hope she's not overdue or there goes all my paid time off. We have decided to have a home birth which we wanted all along but insurance wasn't allowing it. We continued to be disenchanted with the midwife experience through the OB's office and just took matters into our own hands and decided to pay out of pocket. We're late in the game so the cost is quite a bit less, and we worked to get it down a little further. Gotta love that! When was the last time you bargained with a doctors office? Exactly! I love the realness involved with working with midwives, you actually have a say in your healthcare and payment rather than feeling directed and trapped by mainstream doctors/insurance. So, we've been prepping the house and tryng to keep things in order although Luna has different ideas. We know from last time you have to be prepared for anything, including driving to the hospital after pushing for over 3 hours. We're hoping things go smoother this time and we get to welcome Ruby into the world at home. Here's a most recent picture of the big buddha belly at 38 weeks.

And working in our new garden beds, hoping shoveling will bring labor early. Trying to get the gardens and starts all planted before Ruby arrives.

New additions to the family as well...2 baby chicks. A Rhode Island Red and a Gold Sex Link.