Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A week in...

Salem (5) and Eve (1 week)

Well, we are a little over a week into having eleven children; and I must say, we find that this eleventh child is exactly what we needed.

She is so delicious. Her only dietary complaints thus far have been feijao (Brazilian black beans) and Arby's huge sized unsweetened iced tea (well, duh...that was just asking for trouble). The feijao is staying on the menu because it is a family favorite, but I will be having salad those nights. And decaf coffee is my new evening drink of choice, with a splash of heavy cream.

Papas make the best burpers.
She sleeps when she is supposed to (if I avoid the two aforementioned culprits), she eats when she is supposed to (whatever that means...she eats when she is awake, and I guess that's the same thing), and she earned the title of Best! Baby! Ever!, bestowed by her father, when her umbilical cord stub fell off at a week old.

We could just eat her up. Zebby (23 mos.) and Eve.
Ethan returned back to work this week, and the children and I have been taking turns cuddling and enjoying this newest member.

She just fits right in, and of course! She is ours. She is meant to be here, and we're glad to have her.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Latest Addition

Eve Ellen Allison
June 9, 2015 at 4:33 PM
9 lbs., 8 oz.
22" long

(The "Ellen" is after my maternal great-grandmother.)

She holds the unique distinction of being our easiest actual delivery. After a day of laboring at home, two days post-due date, walking around the yard with Ethan while children interrupted to ask if we were sure there were no more popsicles and what could they have because they were surely starving (but no, not for fruit or more of lunch, but for something else), of timing contractions only to be left wondering if they even were contractions ("I don't know!" I told Ethan. "I mean, it's just pain!") and then confessing that if I had to go through any more of this (I had already been dealing with contractions for two days) I would most certainly applaud women who got epidurals and even sympathize with those who willingly choose Caesareans, he said, "Why don't you call your midwife, and let's go."

So I did. They told me to come into the office and be assessed there. We left the house, with me semi-crouched in the back seat because there was no conceivable way I could sit in the front. I remember asking that the radio be turned louder and thinking that every curve of the road was torturous.

We arrived at the clinic. We walked in, me clutching Ethan, and waited in line while an older lady scooted around to the second window to ask, "Do you know how long Chrissy is going to take? She's been back there forever. Can you find out?" and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, with the ice pack pushed against my back and tears coursing down my cheeks, until Ethan pushed his way to the window and said, "Excuse me, my wife is in labor, can she be seen?"

They took me to the back, the midwife came in to check me, and then she said, "We need to get you to the hospital right now, and I'm riding in the car with you."

As I tried to crawl back into the back seat for the second time that day, she asked, "Can you do this or should we just go back into the office?"

I wasn't sure what would happen there, so I said, "No, I can do this!" and then she hopped in the front and asked Ethan how fast he could drive. (Even if you are a slow driver, the hospital is about 1 minute from the clinic.)

We got to the hospital, a valet whisked the car away, a nurse whisked me up to the labor and delivery room with the midwife running alongside, and the nurse said, "Now. Whenever you're ready. We don't have time for a gown or an IV."

I was a little stunned. "You mean I'm ready? The head is engaged?" I stood by Ethan, holding on to him through the contractions.

"Absolutely," said my midwife. She then told the nurse she rode with us because she wasn't sure if she would have to deliver the baby in the car.

I stood for a few more minutes and then got into the bed, leaning on the back of it in a hands-and-knees position. And fifteen minutes from our arriving at the hospital, Eve was born.

I was in shock.

"You mean that's it? We're done? How can we be done?"

The midwife summed it up well: "Wasn't that so surreal?"

It was! It was wonderful. I instantly felt better than I've felt in months, I was able to shower almost immediately, and Ethan fulfilled his almost every-other-year promise of an Outback steak (tricky when eaten with plastic forks, but delicious nonetheless).

The nurses and staff were very pleasant and accommodating, leaving me alone to rest and recover (all excepting one stickler of a hospitalist -- that's the hospital's pediatrician -- who felt it was incredibly negligent to desire a discharge at 24 hours and who also proceeded to tell me how negligent the hospital was in putting things like swaddling blankets and caps in the baby's bassinet..."Babies should always be placed on their backs on a firm mattress with no blankets or swaddling or any other object in the bed." But we won out, and this negligent mother was able to introduce her newest child to her other ten children shortly thereafter).

And shortly after that, Eve was sleeping nicely on her sheepskin. Because I am a mother and not a hospitalist.

She's just a ridiculous, wonderful, pudgy, silly little thing; and we all love her madly.

And as always happens, with each new Allison here, I gained an even deeper appreciation and love and gratitude and sense of wonder at this man with whom I get to share these children.

I am so, so blessed. I can't imagine anyone else with whom to share life, or with whom to wonder between contractions about the earth groaning in childbirth, or what new shades of meaning we could get from being reborn, or with whom to groan/laugh over the day's devotions being about the woman being cursed with pain in childbirth. 

Anyhow. That's what has been going on here.

And you?
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