Neve's Birth

She's here! 

After several weeks of feeling like she would never come, she did! 

Neve Lolkje Hoekstra joined the family on January 16th at 12:26 am. 

I had different expectations leading into Neve's birth than I did with Judah's.

  • I had anticipated the labour would be a lot shorter than our first. Half as long, the statistics and experts told me, is the norm. 

  • I expected the pain would be less acute. I don't know why I thought this, I just sort of assumed having done this before would give me physical and mental preparation I didn't have for the first. Plus I had had hundreds of Braxton Hicks contractions, by default then my uterus must have been in the best shape of its life.

  • I assumed my water wouldn't break until late in the labour. With Judah, it was broken by my midwife right before we started to push...

Let's just say Neve had other plans from the get go...

Saturday, January 14 - 11:30 pm 
Neve is having a major kicking fest. So major, I joke with Luke that she's decided she's had enough in there and she's busting her own way out. Joke's on mama- 5 minutes later the water breaks... sort of. Turns out, Neve has broken the bag of waters high up in the sac, thus not all of it leaks out and full out labour doesn't begin in earnest. We don't know this until much later. We call our midwife and I keep my bum up in the air to ensure Neve's head can't drop down onto the cord.

Sunday, January 15 - 12:05 am
Our midwife arrives, confirms that yes that is amniotic fluid (phew, I haven't begun wetting the bed yet) and no the baby has not dropped onto the cord, nor has the cord tried to exit the building. Everything is looking good, I'm free to move around and encouraged to sleep.

2:00 am
My contractions are steady and strong enough that I can't sleep, but weak enough that I know we're in very early labour. I'm psyched. I get up and watch numerous episodes of Modern Family in the living room.

7:30-8:30 am
Eager family members/ birth team arrive to check in on progress. Much hanging out ensues...

With little progress, much of the birth team resorts to napping. 

The rest entertain themselves drawing cartoons...

1:00 pm
Clearly feeling far too comfortable, Luke and I decide to take a long walk to get things going.

The walk is fairly successful.

The midwives return to check on progress. The cervix is 85% effaced. I was hoping to hear that I was 5 cm dilated. The midwives go home again and we kick up the activity. 

Things are starting to get painful. The TENS machine is pulled out and, after shocking me once or twice, we get it going properly. Pizza is ordered.

7:00 pm
After cat napping between intense contractions, Luke, my sister Charissa and I head out for another walk. It is bitterly cold- I have intense contractions every 50 meters. We return home shortly

8:00 pm
We decide to take the action upstairs. Active labour has started. 

We hang out in the nursery for awhile. Everyone practices their deep breathing :)

The midwives return for the last time - hoorah! - and set up all of the home birth equipment. I continue to hang from Luke's aching neck. Did I mention he's a fantastic birth partner?

10:00 pm
5 cm dilated and "waters are bulging". Me: "There are still waters!?!?!"
We ask our midwife to break away!! 

Water is broken for the second time.

Now that we're cooking with gas, we move to the bedroom.

10:30 ish
We enter the transition phase of labour, wherein I hurl my cookies. Yes, labour is glamorous. But hey, we're still smiling between contractions....

Not so much during...But look at that team at work! Who needs drugs when you have 5 cheerleaders (wonderful mom in law is behind the camera).

11:15 - PUSH...and PUSH...and PUSH... this kid's head is huge!!!

January 16, 12:26am - She's here! After untangling her chest and arms from a record-length cord, I hold my daughter for the first time. What a rush!

Meeting her amazing Dada.

3 am- After the extended family comes to meet the new arrival, our wonderful midwives complete the newborn exam. Baby Neve is 8 lbs. 2 oz. 20.5 inches long, with a head circumference of 36 cm.

The next morning Judah and Neve meet for the first time. Jude is, of course, pantsless.

Welcome to the family Neve. We are so glad you've come!


10 Months!

This is it- we are done 40 weeks. The due date has come...and is almost gone. 

Where are we now?

Aches and pains
Yep...plenty. Particularly in the front of the pelvis- who knew that such pain could occur? 
The pelvic pain is rivaled only by sudden pinched nerves in the butt, causing embarrassing leg paralysis. Which results in walking/falling with one jelly-like leg- often in public places. 
Who knew pregnancy could be so dignified. 

Oh yeah, and dry skin...and braxton hicks contractions... and an inability to sleep...and...you get the idea. 

Total weight gain
34 pounds. Make that 35...I just bought chips and chocolate pudding. 

Cravings this month?


Judah's thoughts on baby now?

Judah, like his mother, has taken to shouting to the baby in-utero. Yesterday he screamed, "Come out baby! I have things to show you!" I hope those things don't include his obsessive toilet- flushing or dog- licking habits. 

Current state of the baby?
Baby's head is still riding pretty high in the pelvis. I am assured this is common is consecutive pregnancies and that she will drop when labour commences. Fetal drop zone, coming up!

Her heart rate is lovely, and amazingly, I can frequently feel her practice breathing. Super cool. 

As for her position, she's been stubbornly posterior - her back is to my back - meaning potentially late, long, back labour. This is what happened with Judah. His labour stretched out over 3 days. THREE DAYS!

In order to avoid this fate a second time, I spend much of my waking day crawling around, hanging over my exercise ball and generally creating a human hammock out of my stomach to get baby to rotate. Judah sees this as an excellent opportunity to get hourly horsey rides. My back should look like an Olympic swimmer's shortly. 

Induction attempts?
So far my induction techniques have been limited to drinking copious amounts of raspberry tea, taking long walks and willing baby out with my mind. All have proven lame. Monday, if I'm still pregnant (is there a reverse knocking on wood that can be done here?) I'll be at the midwife for a stretch and sweep. If that doesn't get the ball rolling then... I got nothing... I'll just keep waiting. 

"The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power." 
Heather McCue 


Things a woman may do while awaiting labour...

Crawl around the living room, kitchen and bedroom. Draw the line at the bathroom. 

Eat everything with a splash of hot sauce. EVERYTHING.

Take up residence on an exercise ball... Bum in the air when possible. 

Walk up stairs sideways.

Try to quell constant heartburn with meditative thoughts about calcium tablets.

Take long showers and try to tempt the baby out with renditions of early Roch Voisine songs.

Shout at your stomach. Cries of "GET OUT!" seem to be the most satisfying. Encourage your toddler to do the same - the baby may as well get used to the sound of the toddler shouting. 

Field calls from interested relatives, friends and acquaintances. Assure them you would know if the baby was out, and no, you wouldn't keep it a secret. 

Take long walks with chocolate at the final destination.

Pretend to sleep.

Pretend to sleep with 4 pillows between your knees.

Pretend to sleep with 4 pillows between your knees, and a toddler smushed up to your face.

Pretend to sleep with 4 pillows between you knees, a toddler smushed up to your face, and a snoring husband.

Don't sleep.

Try to convince your midwife to do some sort of labour inducing magic.

Try to convince your husband to do some sort of labour inducing magic.

Try to convince your mailman to do some sort of labour inducing magic.

Apologize to your mailman for your freakish behaviour.

Wrap a stuffed animal in a receiving blanket, put it in a bassinet and pretend the whole thing is over and done with.

Pretend your water is breaking in the express line at the grocery store. 

Look at pictures of yourself in pants that would not fit mid-sized farm animals. 

Try not to think about the fact that tomorrow is your due date and you will, inevitably, deliver late...again.


The Waiting Game

Although baby isn't technically due until January 12th, I'm feeling mentally and physically due...make that overdue. 

My ever empathetic father (he actually is) says waiting for labour must be something like waiting for death- just a terrible thing you know you have coming to you. Thankfully, I have a slightly sunnier outlook on the whole labour process (and if this pregnancy goes any longer, I'll even have time to blog about it), so when I woke up at 2 am last night, with strong, close contractions I thought the end was nigh and I was psyched!!!

I paced the halls- the contractions continued. I laid in bed shifting positions- the contractions continues. I woke Luke up and informed him something was happening- the contractions continued. And then I started thinking of the things I hadn't done yet... 

I had no Powerade in the house. HORRORS! How was I to push out a baby without a sugar-laden supply of elecrolytes? 

Not to mention the fact that I still hadn't gotten around to buying an exercise ball- CRUCIAL. I'm sure ancient cave paintings show women labouring on exercise balls. 

I hadn't gone out and found a bassinet for baby. I couldn't give birth, Judah would immediately crawl into our bed and crush her. TERRIBLE!

And worst of all, I hadn't baked muffins to have on hand for my birth team. How could I reasonably expect my midwife and family to go through my birth without a banana muffin in hand? UNTHINKABLE! 

And so, with all of these realizations floating through my mind, I can only assume my brain told my body that this was definitely not a good time to have a baby. The contractions abated sufficiently and Luke and I drifted off to sleep, hand in hand.

Today, I set about giving my brain fewer excuses for keeping baby inside. Braving the first snow squalls of the season, my mom, brother, sister and I set out for a shopping expedition and came home armed with an exercise ball, a baby bassinet and build-it-yourself, rocking bassinet stand. 

After getting in a long nap, to make up for my pretend labour, Jude and I set about constructing the bassinet stand. Much of the process involved the following dialogue:

Me: Judah, pass mommy that piece please.
Judah: No, I need dat piece, Mama.

Me: Judah, aren't you going to help Mommy make the baby's bed?
Judah: No, I building a tower, Mama... I need candy!

Me: No you don't. Give me that, please.
Judah: *running away with said piece, shrieking with delight* I build tower! I get candy too!!!

Two hours later, and with come correlation to Luke's arrival home with a drill and Judah's removal from the bassinet basket, we finally finished our Mama-Judah project.

Now I just need to get my hands on some Powerade and rotten bananas...