"Parents are like shuttles on a loom. They join the threads of the past with threads of the future and leave their own bright patterns as they go."
-Fred Rogers

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thomas Michael Irwin has arrived!!

On Wednesday May 20th Heather was induced for low fluid levels. Her handsome son, Thomas Michael, was born at 2:22 a.m. on Thursday May 21st. Here is Thomas' Birth Story:

"On the morning of our due date, we had an appointment for a sonogram to check my fluid levels, which had recently been registering low (despite hydration efforts). The sonogram showed that the fluid levels had dipped below the safe level and we were instructed to head to the hospital for an induction. We were initially upset by this as we were working towards a natural childbirth through the Bradley method. But after discussing it with the doctors, it was emphasized that induction was the best option for the health of our baby. We called Tricia to let her know we were heading to the hospital!
I had been having contractions that started the evening prior, but they were still about 15-20 minutes apart. The doctors and nurses agreed to go slow on the pictocin to see if it would jump start my natural contractions. I did have to have an IV for this, as well as the antibiotics for Strep B. They started the pictocin around 2:30pm. My husband David left the hospital just after so he could run home and get our bag, cord donation kit, and car seat (we had taken the El to the appointment). While he was gone, my OB came in and ruptured my bag of waters to jump start the process.
Around the time he returned, the contractions started to become more intense. We worked on a few different positions. The IV was annoying, and the monitors kept slipping as I moved around. But the nurses were very supportive of our needs and came into adjust without complaint.
Tricia arrived soon after. She dived right in and worked with Dave to get me through each wave. Dave was by my side the entire time, lightly rubbing my back, giving me sips of water, and wiping my forehead and neck with a cool rag. Tricia provided calming words that helped me to visualize getting over each contraction. She made sure I kept my shoulders and neck relaxed and my breathing slow and deep. She also brought lavender oil which was very soothing.
For a few hours we labored with the contractions 2-3 minutes apart. It was hard, and exhausting, but because the pictocin was kept low (I never had it above level 4) I could rest in between. At some point, however we all began to notice that they were slowing to sometime 4 minutes apart. I was at 6cm. At this point I felt that the pictocin may be increased and that scared me enough to start talking about an epidural. Tricia suggested that Dave and I try some time alone under a warm shower to see if we could get the contractions to increase. The dark, warm shower did the trick! By the end (I think it was around 2 hrs) I was at 9.5 cm and felt ready to push!
Our little one took his time coming out. He was pretty low to start, but it still took me about 3 hours to push him out. Tricia and Dave were wonderful and encouraging. Thomas Michael came into our world at 2:22am on May 21, 2009. He was perfect - screaming his head off. He came to my chest before getting cleaned off and weighed. Soon after, his daddy was able to hold him and calm him down.
Despite the unplanned induction, we both felt that the birth of our little boy was so special and perfect. Because we had Tricia's support and had taken the time to educate ourselves on the type of birth we wanted, we felt able to keep control of the challenges labor presented."

I really enjoyed being at the birth of Thomas Michael. It was such a beautiful birth and Heather was amazingly strong and relaxed. It was a birth that reminded of why I do what I do and how influential a doula can be at a baby's birth!! Here is an e-mail Heather sent to me shortly after the birth:

Hi Tricia -
I received your wonderful text message, but haven't had time to reply (wonder why?).
Thank you so very much for attending the birth of our beautiful baby boy. Despite the induction, we couldn't have asked for a better birth. Your calm words helped us so much. Family has asked both Dave and I if it was worth going with a doula, and we both have given a very positive YES! You were able to give Dave the confidence and support to just be there for me. He is so appreciative of that. Your calm voice and suggestions helped me through the worst of my contractions. And through the pushing (which was hard work!)
One of the things I was most afraid of was to look back on our birth and feel disappointment or regret. We have none of that - just awe and respect (and a little bit of pride).
I will give you a call soon. We have family in until mid week next week. So far breast feeding is going well - he has gained 6 oz in the past 48 hrs!
We can't thank you enough!
Heather, Dave, & Thomas Michael

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I recenlty attended a homebirth in my neighborhood. Katrina and Jeff were an amazing team and when their little boy was born the entire house shook with the most amazing energy. It was one of those births where I am reminded of the amazing power of love.

Katrina just asked me to share a story of motherhood for a compilation she is making for Mother's Day. I sat and thought for a moment, and below is my contribution. Here is what my children have taught me this year:

When my fourth child was stillborn on February 3, 2008, I didn't know how I was going to be able to go on. It was the hardest thing I've ever endured. My three girls, ages 2, 4, and 5, were my saving grace. While surrounded by adults who felt uncomfortable and fearful at the mention of death and grief, I had these three little girls who were open, honest, and reflective. They taught me that it's okay to be sad, but more importantly, it's okay to keep living. 15 months later I find myself pregnant again and while I'm thrilled, I'm also absolutely terrified. Everytime someone asks me which baby this is for me I struggle with what to say, but my children always pipe up with, "This is mommy's fifth baby, our brother Michael died.". They say it so matter of factly, but so lovingly, and everytime they say this it warms my heart. Michael lives on everyday because of my little girls. Last July we planted a tree in our front yard to remember Michael on his due date. Now that Spring has arrived, everytime we leave the house the girls yell out, "Hi Michael!" to the beautiful baby tree that is beginning to bloom. I am amazed at the strength and openess of my children. I feel blessed everyday that they are in my life, and because of my children, I am reminded daily of what is important in life.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mommies out there!

More pictures of David Louis

Hi There! Click on the link below to see more pictures of baby David!!