Saturday, May 31, 2008

Many Thanks

Over the past month I have shared many of the struggles of being a new mom on this blog and I have been blessed by numerous comments left by a variety of women, offering me support, encouragement, empathy, advice and prayers. I am so grateful for you and the things you've said. It's really good to not feel so alone - all of this can make a woman feel crazy.

So to


One Month Old

Four weeks ago I gave birth to Miss Lydia Anne Engstrom.
She has consistently been a pain in the bottom. ;)

Here's some quick updates about our daughter:

- She's super strong; she's been able to hold her head up for awhile with the time duration getting longer and longer. She can also support herself on her legs when we hold her up or she leans against us.

- She's able to nurse off both breasts now. This is good news, especially since I seem to be prone to plugged ducts and the pump alone wasn't cutting it.

- Her fussiness has gotten better but that's mostly because we've become more competent parents. Every night, sometime after 6 she begins to cry and fuss. It ends by 10, 8:30 if we're lucky.

- She seems to not like it when I eat dairy products so good-bye butter, farewell all types of cheese, so long ice cream and yogurt. I will miss you so, so, so much.

- Her baby acne is pretty bad.

- She's pretty darn cute.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Yesterday my friends threw me a baby shower.

-that Heather seriously gave me designer burp cloths, which makes me feel like a celebrity.
-the handmade scrapbook created by Katie, Lydia's godmother.
-the cake, made by Kim, and absolutely beautiful and delicious.
-finding out Kim is moving to Madison to begin her post college life there.
-that my friends gave me wipes, but not diapers, knowing we're doing cloth.
-that people drove for hours to get there.

When asked to talk about the birth and life as a new mom I was incredibly honest. There was no holding back as I described how horrible of an experience the labor was and how difficult being a new mom is, especially when there are all sorts of breastfeeding problems and a fussy baby.

Despite my depressing news, it was still a lot of fun. I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A good woman

Check out this article about a policewoman in China who has taken it upon herself to nurse several babies who have been orphaned or seperated from their mothers because of the earthquakes.

What a woman!

Thanks to Alicia for pointing it out to me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thank God for Mom & Cooks

Things are beginning to level out a bit. There will be a super bad day (like yesterday, let's say) but it will be sandwiched between two good days. But the bad days are still pretty stressful.

That's why I am so grateful for the friends and family who have provided dinners for Travis and I and to my mom, who has spent the night and many days with me and Lydia. The more I sleep the better I feel and Mom's presence allows me to nap more.


For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a stay at home mom. I was always a great babysitter - I cooked, cleaned and the kids loved me. So I thought that the whole SAHM thing would be easy for me. I pictured myself with a tidy home, dinner ready for Travis and happy children. (I also pictured myself thinner.)

Because I had the natural knack for mothering, and I feel it's my vocation, I thought this would be so much easier. I was duped. About a week ago, as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, "I don't remember praying for humility." But that is what I've gotten. My pride and dignity have gone out the window time and time again: milk soaking my shirts, poop all over, crying I cannot console, a boob poking out while I'm burping a fussy Lydia, and on top of it all I can't shower or brush my teeth until 11 usually. And when I'm low on sleep the crying is much more likely to not only begin, but continue for hours. (I'm talking about myself crying, not my daughter.)

It is amazing how such a tiny person can make me feel so unsure, incapable and frustrated.

But man, does it feel wonderful when she snuggles up to me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stop crying, please.

Lydia has colic. Every night for about a week she's begun crying for no real reason. It begins between 5:30 and 6:30 and lasts for 1 to 3 hours. Nursing may help for a few moments, as will walking, swaddling, shushing, swinging or massaging.

The rest of the night and day she's great. But, oh, how I hate the evenings.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Report from a mother of a 2 week old

I am so tired of breastfeeding and crying and changing diapers. I am not tired of sleeping.

People keep telling me this will get easier but I am beginning to believe that all people lie. My experience is that it gets harder. Every day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I am the Promised Land...

... minus the honey. But, oh, how the milk is flowing.

Lydia is now 12 days old and I thought I'd give a quick fill in on what's been happening since the birth.

There have been some struggles with breastfeeding. Lots of pain and soreness, followed by Lydia not taking the right breast, followed by engorgement. Thank God for Kim, who attended the birth and is with La Leche League. She's paid us 2 home visits and we've finally figured things out. I'm pumping the right breast until it heals up a bit and Lydia grows a little bigger.

However, even with her feeding on just one breast she is definitely getting enough milk! She has plenty of dirty diapers and, even more impressive, she's growing! Doctors want babies to have regained to their birth weight by two weeks. Lydia had gained almost a full pound by day 10.


I'm still reflecting a lot on the birth. Overall, I would say it was a lot worse than I ever thought it would be. I'm still glad I did a home birth, because there were so many perks to being at home: the women who attended me, the role Travis played, the comfort I felt being home, not having to transition to the hospital and then home again. Plus, because it was such a difficult labor who knows how it could have turned out had we been in the hospital. Would I have ended up taking an epidural? Would that have led to complications? Would I have been one of the 31% of women who have a c-section? But if I'm going to be honest, I have to confess that the pain I went through in labor was the most horrible thing I've ever experienced in my life.
These past two weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster and I have been struggling with the "baby blues" a lot. Things are getting better, especially since we've worked out some of the breastfeeding issues, and I've been able to delight in my daughter a lot more.
She really is a cute, sweet little booger. Even when she's pooping. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Labor

It all started with this guy:
Iron Man.

Friday night Travis and I went to see the new Iron Man movie with some friends. It started at 7pm. So did my contractions. I had had some contractions, on and off, throughout the day, but nothing seemingly significant. But at 7 I started noticing that the contractions were a little stronger, and they continued to strengthen and become more regular throughout the 2 hour movie. It was a good film, by the way, and I recommend it.

We timed them for the next few hours and finally made the decision to call Bernice, since they'd been an average of 5 minutes apart and 1-2 minutes long each. I was instructed to call her back in another 30 minutes but she thought she'd be on her way. We went ahead and also called my friend, LB, who came right over and began timing contractions for us.

Bernice and her assistant, Brandi, arrived around 2am. They got a feel for the situation and Brandi fell asleep on the couch while Bernice stayed up to be available. Over the next few hours I slept between contractions. During the contractions I would hop into a variety of positions. I never "decided" what to do - it was more instinctual.

I was in labor for 21 hours and I had strong, painful contractions for at least 15 of those hours. I had back labor for most of the labor. This was caused by the fact that Lydia was posterior - she was facing up and out, not my back like she was supposed to be. To be honest, the labor was more painful than I ever imagined it would be, and of all the "horror stories" moms told me of their own labors, none prepared me for how intensely painful this labor was. Around 11am on Saturday Bernice called in another birthing assistant, Kim, to help, since she had experience with posterior labors. Travis and I both loved her. As good as Brandi and Bernice both were, Kim walked right in, put her hands on my hips and greatly relieved pressure. She also had me get in the tub, which is when and where Lydia finally turned anterior (facing back).

Positions I used:
- standing, leaning against the wall
- kneeling, leaning on the birthing ball
-laying on my left side, squeezing Trav's hand
-squatting with Travis supporting me from behind while he sat on the bed
-standing, holding onto Travis (in a slow dance type stance)
-kneeling on all fours (I did this on the floor, on the bed and in the tub)
-rocking and swaying was often used

A few things I remember from the labor:
- While in the bathtub I told Travis I couldn't do it any more, that he had to take me to the hospital so I could get an epidural.
- There was a point, also in the bathtub, when I desperately wanted a c-section. I just wanted everything to be over with - even if that meant major abdominal surgery.
- Around 5am I was having a very strong, painful contraction. So much so that it caused me to vomit. And while vomiting I felt a gush of fluid. My response: "Oh shit, I just pissed myself........ Or my water broke." My water had broke.
- I was supposedly very polite throughout the labor, saying "please" and "thank you," as in, during an intense contraction, "Someone please put pressure on my back! Lower! Thank you!"
- After I got sick Bernice started having me drink "LaborAid" a mixture of honey, lemon juice, baking soda and a few other things. It tasted horrible but she made me take a sip after every contraction to soothe my stomach and keep me hydrated. However, by the time I was pushing the taste of the LaborAid was making me sick and I announced loudly after a sip, "I'm not drinking any more of that crap!"
- I pushed for 31 minutes.
- After a good push that moved Lydia down I was told to hold, pant and let my body stretch. I did that twice but then couldn't any longer. I continued to push, just wanting to get it over with, and I heard and felt a pop - which led to over 2 inches of stitches a little later in the day.
-I listened to Johnny Cash during the labor. His low voice helped me keep my cries/moans low instead of high pitched, which helps keeps things loose and open.
-I squeezed LB's hands like crazy while I was pushing.

In the end, Lydia was born red (except for her hands and feet) and crying. There was very little molding on her practically perfectly shaped head. Travis did not end up catching her, which was the original plan, since he was putting pressure on my lower back. (But in the end he was okay with not catching her, though he feels more confident about doing it next time.) Travis did cut the cord, though. One neat thing was that the sex of our baby was not announced to us, but we were able to discover it for ourselves.

The afterbirth was easy and Lydia and I both cleaned up easily as I bled very little. I was absolutely delighted to meet my baby, and like a champ, she self-attached to my breast in an hour and 15 minutes. I discovered that I have a great pelvis and a wonderful uterus. (So says my midwife.)

After things had settled down we all had some birthday cake: pineapple upside down cake that LB made for us. It was delicious!

I ended up having 2" of stitches. My knees were bright red and swollen for a couple of days from all the kneeling I did. My arm pits were sore from supporting my weight on all fours. My upper middle back was sore from the way I leaned on the birthing ball. My abdomen was sore from my uterus clamping down. My hips were sore from labor. In the week and one day that Lydia's been here she's gotten bigger and has learned to latch on very well to the left breast (though we're still struggling with the right). I am very, very sore on my bottom but my daughter is a dream child and I'm loving getting to know her.

LB is also a blogger, and if you'd like to read her account of the birth, please go here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Welcome Lydia Anne

Born at 3:51pm on Saturday, May 3rd.
After 21 hours of labor.

She weighed 8lbs, 15 oz and was 20.5 inches long.
She was a 9 on the APGAR and self attached an hour and 15 minutes after birth.

More details will come in the following days.

Friday, May 2, 2008


In the month of April there were 1,199 visits to this blog. That's a lotta visits! Just 63 came yesterday. My guess is that people are checking in for one reason and one reason only: to see if I've had the baby.

And the sad answer is - No baby yet!

But do keep coming back, please. I will post here when labor begins and definately will post pictures at the end.

And many thanks for stopping by. Keep praying for us!