Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Six month update

We took Ryder to the pediatrician today.

It’s only his third check up. It wasn't easy to visit doctors out of our campervan in New Zealand, but now that we’re in Tahiti we’re a bit more settled.

He is 17.5 pounds and 26.7 inches, which is just slightly above average in weight and height, but then again we are 10 days past the six month mark as well.

He can sit up on his own, he is curious and friendly, and the doctor said he is a beautiful and well-behaved little boy.

The doctor also said he cried much less than other babies receiving their shots.

I feel like Ryder passed his final exams with flying colors or something Smile




Other things new with Ryder: He’s just starting to get a tooth and loves to chew on anything. A particular favorite seems to be Jacob’s rubber bands. Our little athlete. Or is it gourmand?




As always, he is my grocery shopping buddy. We are staying in an apartment on the top of a hill so it’s our daily routine to walk together—I think of it as my workout—and get groceries.



He’s so easily bored interested in everything that I’m always trying to give him new things from around the apartment. Here he’s playing “She loves me…she loves me not” with a flower.




Ryder loves animals, real…



Or not quite.




His favorite things are: getting a bottle before bed, watching mom and dad make faces at him and laughing like crazy, and reaching for anything he can get his hands on.  He’s such a funny, sweet, and social little boy. He loves getting held by strangers. He’s not shy at all, and will grab their hair/hands/noses and refuse to let go if given the chance.


So anyone want to come babysit? We’ll let you stay with us in our apartment in Tahiti…. I haven’t figured out how to get to the beach yet with a baby. 3 weeks in Tahiti without yet visiting the beach for me! We’re planning on hiring a babysitter here soon enough. I want to learn how to body board with Jacob.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving post

I’ve been posting more to my new site recently. There are several reasons for this. Mostly to try to grow my credibility online so I can reach out and meet other travelers, specifically traveling families. I’m interested in doing this more and more, since it looks like this is going to be our lifestyle indefinitely, and I want Ryder to have friends with lifestyles similar to his. I also want to reach a larger audience to help inspire others to travel with kids. Also, my new site uses Disqus, so I can more easily respond to comments. If you want to keep up with my posts, you can like the page on Facebook, or you can follow the RSS feed. I’ll probably create a sign up so you can get posts to your inbox as well.

Anyway, I’ll still use this blog to occasionally post updates which are very specific to Ryder, but I thought I’d let you guys know about this post today:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Four months so far.


Some of our favorite things about having a baby so far…


From Kalli:

When he sticks his tongue out super far and looks me in the eyes to show he’s hungry.

Co-sleeping and waking up to find him staring at me, then drifting off to sleep, then waking up to still find him staring at me.

The gulping satisfied noises he makes as he eats.

Me telling him about my plans for our family’s future, and him seeming to listen all ears.

Telling him fairy tales as he looks me right in the eye.

The way he lifts up his legs to toot.

Having him be crying and then me singing him a lullaby makes him stop.

How shocked he looks when he sees something unexpected.

Teasing him by touching his mouth with his binky, tickling him, and playing other baby games.


From Jacob:

When he squeaks and looks at me while doing it.

When he smiles, of course.

His curiosity about everything.

He’s happy to just “T out” (put his arms straight out while on his back) and gaze upwards.

How easily he gets surprised.

How cuddly he is.

His fits are cute.

His grabby hands.

Even though he has little control, he wills his hands over to flop down on mine.

He does a decent job of mimicking things like facial expressions.



Ryder brings us so much joy.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Meditations on Travel and Motherhood: Traveler’s Guilt

This is a new one for me. I never felt guilt before for traveling. But now with Ryder it’s different. I don’t feel guilt at taking him around everywhere because of lack of stability or anything like that. He’s a baby. All he needs is his mom and dad, milk, and sleep.  I think it might even stretch his mind a little bit, to be held by people who speak different languages, to be exposed to different climates and ways of traveling—carseat, metro, taxi, airplane. But seeing so many family members hold him and love him and then to take him away during the period of life when he will change the most, that’s hard.


My brother Regan with Ryder in Mexico City


Ryder and Grandpa Al

But then I remind myself, even if we lived in the States, we have family in Utah, Iowa, Texas, and Missouri. We couldn’t be around all family, all of the time, even if we weren’t expats. The reality of modern life today is that most people don’t live right next to family these days, because work or school takes them across the nation. We are actually unusual in that we could choose to live where we wanted to in the States, but even then, some family would be missing out. And in some ways, because it’s important to us to see friends and family while we’re in the States, I think we make more of an effort to make that time special than people do who live closer by.

It’s still hard. No one loves my baby like family. Thank goodness for Skype.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Learning to drive with a baby

028I’ll publish this one anyway, even though, ironically enough, we have decided to get a campervan here in New Zealand. I wrote this one in Utah.

Rant time.

I don’t like driving. I suppose I should explain why because a lot of people really like driving, I think. Well, now that I have a baby I hate driving ten times more. Here’s why:

1. I hate car seats. He has to ride in the back while I am driving on the freeway. If he starts to cry because he is hot, cold, uncomfortable, falling out of his seat, missing his binky, missing his mommy, tired, wet, whatever, what am I supposed to do? I’m driving. On the freeway. I have to listen to him cry. The entire time I’m on the freeway. When I babywear him on the bus or metro, like I did in Mexico, he NEVER cried. He was comfortable and if he needed something, I could attend to it right away. With cars this is impossible.

Here’s Ryder kareoking with Jacob at one of our weekly get togethers in Mexico City.

2. I hate cars. I hate how you constantly have to fill them up with gas ($500/month expense anyone?) I hate how they break down all the time. I hate how hot they get in the sun and you have to open your door with your shirt tail and you have to worry about putting on your melting seatbelt and you have to put your already sweating child in the burning carseat.

3. I hate traffic. I hate road construction, and I hate changing lanes going 80 miles an hour with folks who you know nothing about their skills as drivers. I hate not knowing where I’m going, and having to look at the GPS while I’m driving.

4. I hate waste. Seems like so much gas is wasted to get one little person inside one huge vehicle from point A to point B within the same city.

OK, time to tell you what I love.

1. I love babywearing. I love never having to get my baby in and out of car seats but just hopping in and out of the metro with him practically just an extension of my body. Easy, fast, convenient and I never have to worry about waking the baby up.

2. I love public transportation. I love hopping on a train, bus, metro, or taxi and doing whatever I want while someone else is in charge of getting us there.

3. I love free time that I can spend reading, playing with my baby, or sleeping even when there is traffic. I feel much safer with this kind of transportation than with cars.

4. I love how green public transportation is.

All this is meant to say, I guess this means I am not cut out to be an American mother. I would just stay home probably most of the time, just to avoid the annoyance and hassle of getting from one place to another. Am I missing something? Is driving really that great of an activity? Many people say driving is the ultimate freedom. To me, I feel shackled by its inconvenience, ESPECIALLY now that I have a baby.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Difficulties of Traveling with a Baby…

IMG_1002are way overstated.

I can’t speak for what it will be like when Ryder is walking, or driving for that matter.

But as a three month old, Ryder is ridiculously easy to travel with…most of the time.

On the 12 hour flight to Fiji, he just slept like always. Babies, I’m told, love white noise and bumpiness. Planes, therefore, are ideal for Ryder.

Hotel rooms? We use the same bed wherever we go, so it’s not a big deal for him.

Crying in public? Just as not fun abroad as at home, but it’s just as likely to happen anywhere.

There’s no need to worry about carrying food around. He flies for free. He doesn’t even play with toys yet. He’s easy. He’s portable. He doesn’t need nearly as much stuff as you’d think. I’ll do a post soon on what we do carry for him.

Venice Beach, Los Angeles


Waiting for his connecting flight in Fiji.

There are two exceptions to this so far:

When we checked out of our YMCA the other day, he had a massive blowout. I was talking on the phone with Air Pacific and didn’t notice at first. Poop on his back, on his blanket, on my pants, on his carrier…it was epic.

And we no longer had a bathtub to use because we were in between homes. I spent 45 minutes cleaning him and me off with paper towels in the YMCA basement restroom. I had to dig around for new clothes for us both out of our suitcases. That is the extent of difficulty of traveling with a baby that I have experienced. It wasn’t fun at the time, but it was amusing to recount afterwards

One more thing. Ryder was sleeping up to 10 hours a night in a row. Now, with the time change in New Zealand, his rhythms are off and he’s back down to only five and we’re back to square one. Dang it.

Other than that, I am here to tell you what I never heard before—traveling with a baby adds to the experience of the voyage. It doesn’t detract from it. Jacob and I can’t wait to see him growing and experiencing the world around him. We’re sure he’ll provide insights we’ll have never thought of. Right now, he seems happy enough just going where we go.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

7 types of mom I DON’T want to be…updated

Well, I was afraid of turning into these 7 types of moms. I thought I’d give an update on how I’m doing.

#1 The Serious Mom

I don’t know if I’m any more serious, but it’s possible. When you’re sleep-deprived, it’s a natural tendency. Although I’m happy to report that Ryder is sleeping from 8-2 pretty regularly. He even slept 8 hours the other night. It’s not anything I’m doing, I don’t think. He’s just a good little sleeper. I try to keep a dark room so he knows it’s nighttime…I sing him the same lullaby every night (Good night, Ryder…it’s time to go to sleep. Mommy loves the baby, Daddy loves the baby, Mommy loves the baby, but it’s time to go to sleep"). I’m really glad we’re achieving this without a schedule because I realized, Jacob and I aren’t scheduled people. We like to be spontaneous. I also like having him sleep right next to me (see #2).  We’ll see how Ryder does after the time change when we move to New Zealand next month.


One thing’s for sure, I am definitely more sentimental. I almost cried when he got his vaccinations and his breath was taken away from the pain so he couldn’t even scream. I told Jacob before I had the baby that I was not a fan of baby talk and I intended to speak to him normally. Guess who spends all day goo goo-ing and gah gah-ing?

#2 The Worrywart

I do have random fears now. Like I have this weird idea that someone was going to snatch and grab him from me in Mexico. I think that’s because that happened to my phone there though. My other compulsion is to constantly check his breathing while he is sleeping. Other than that, I think I am pretty laid back as a mom.

#3 The Easily Offended Mom

I don’t mind advice still, but in Mexico they have something they do that I don’t agree with and they are kind of over the top about. “Tapalo!” they shout, which means, cover him up! They carry their babies around in papoose looking things and you can see their hair is smeared with sweat. When Jacob and I went to a Mexican family’s ranch this last weekend, Ryder was crying his normal “I’m tired and about to go to sleep cry” as I held him in my arms. One of the women marched in, took him and said his problem was that he was cold. When I returned to the room a few minutes later, 5 Mexican women were tiptoeing out of the room, saying, “he’s asleep!” I entered to find Ryder wrapped in a thick blanket with a hat on his head and lying on top of a huge fuzzy stuffed dog. This in a room without a fan where I personally was already sweating. Ryder was squirming with his eyes closed. I had to rearrange him, of course. I doubt those women knew or would have even cared about current SIDS recommendations (no hat while sleeping, use a fan, etc.) Mexicans think every problem with the baby has to do with being cold, and so I just couldn’t take them seriously.

#4 The Mommy War Participant

Fortunately I haven’t felt any pressure from my mothering skills except for one day when Ryder was crying. He’d been upset the whole weekend and groaning in his sleep. I’ve since read that all babies get colicky between 6-8 weeks and it’s just part of their growing pains. For Ryder it was more like 5-7 weeks where he was crying more than usual. Anyway we were at a friend’s house and I was about to go feed him and a lady with many kids told me: “No! He is not hungry!” and she took him and held him in the colic position, belly down on the arm, which he seemed to like because he stopped crying. It shook my confidence a little to see her step in like that, but then I decided that just because I am Ryder’s mom, doesn’t mean I will always be so in tune with him that I can read his mind, and as a new mom there will be plenty of things I still have to figure out.   I think he has the cutest little frown in the whole world:025

#5 The Relinquish My Dreams Mom

I had no idea I would end up with a baby that prefers to be out and about rather than home. That is an amusing turn of events, because I am a homebody in the sense that I spend a lot of time at home even though we travel, and Ryder prefers the motion and noise of being outside. I’ve taken him with me everywhere in my Boba sling002—to Lucha Libre, the movies, Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky’s house, restaurants, even on the plane and he is pretty good. I still break out in a cold sweat when we’re in a public place and he starts to get fussy, but for the most part I feel like he is on his best behavior when other people are around. Here he is just chilling on my lap as I watched a movie:018

#6 The Dud

The first time I spent away from the baby was to go get my hair dyed. I requested blonde and they dyed it red; I went and got it redone and it still has orange streaks. I guess Mexicans don’t do blonde. Anyway, I think I’m managing this one pretty well, although I have yet to get back into my regular workouts. I still want to lose 5-10 more pounds.

#7 The Conditionally-Loving Guilt-Tripping Mom

What’s not to love about a two month old baby? I do love him more than words can say. When he smiles at me I think, “ if I died right now with him looking at me like that, I would be happy.” I am a much better person to him than comes naturally to me.  Did I really think that I would be an exception to what evolution has developed to further and protect the species—mother instinct? Nevertheless I continue to be surprised how much I dote on this little boy. He is so much fun and I have a hard time believing what everyone says, that it gets more and more fun with time. He is the sweetest little baby and I love every minute.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The most important subject for new moms

That’s right, it’s sleep! Ryder and I are still working on getting our sleep schedule figured out. He has slept 5-6 hours in a row at night 3 nights so far, and I am working towards getting that consistently, so I’m not sleeping/tired all day. That was the cruel irony I found after giving birth: the most exhausting experience of my life and not getting to sleep more than 3 hours at a time for the next 3 weeks.


This is his bed:

mexico city 004

It’s basically a tent. We put it on a glass table next to our bed. It has no pillows or sheets and it has a firm mattress, and it’s big enough to last for years. This will be Ryder’s bed—his familiar home—for the next several years. It’s no longer on sale on Amazon, but you can find it here: It’s only 4.5 pounds and was $69.95. It folds completely flat and pops out easily.

If I had a second choice it would be this one. It’s only 3 pounds and $29.99, but it’s only for infants, not usable past age 4-5 months.

I’m cosleeping a lot more than I ever intended I would, though, because it’s easier than lifting him in and out of bed. I read that 70% of parents cosleep with their babies despite the recommendations of the American Pediatric Association. It’s very sweet to snuggle in the mornings that way, and Ryder seems to prefer it to sleeping alone. I only do it when it’s daylight, though, so I can see him, and after Jacob’s gone to work. He’s running a basketball camp right now for Mexican kids.

I started Ryder  on his binky when he was little over three weeks old, and it’s a lifesaver. I don’t know how some parents manage without it. Ryder sucked his thumb in the womb (we saw it on the ultrasound) and sometimes it seems like nothing will satisfy him except to suck—anything.

I’ve read two books about baby sleeping— On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep and The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night .  They are basically two completely different styles. Babywise is a controversial book . Its author, Gary Ezzo, is very anti-attachment parenting, which is the style of the other author, Elizabeth Pantley. I think I lean toward the more attachment parenting style, while not thinking “crying it out” is evil. Also, I am not a very scheduled person these days, and Babywise is pretty strict when it comes to feeding times. I’m trying to take ideas from both, though. The most important thing I got from Babywise was this: get a full feeding in, and don’t just let the baby snack or fall asleep at the breast. Then they won’t get the “hind milk” which is what makes them feel full. I’ve had days with Ryder where it felt like I was feeding him every hour, and it was exhausting. The full feedings help to avoid that. I also learned to let Ryder cry just a little bit will sometimes mean he will go to sleep—that he’s fussy because he’s tired.

The ideas I got from Elizabeth Pantley are these:

  • Don’t just pick him up as soon as he makes a noise in the night. Sometimes they are just sleeping noises and not hungry noises.
  • Don’t turn on the lights or do anything terribly exciting at bedtime or during the night, so he can distinguish between night and day. Develop a bedtime routine to calm him down, like reading books, giving a bath, massage, and other peaceful things with dimmed lights.

 Grandma Hiller’s forehead massage relaxed Ryder nicely:

mexico city 010


mexico city 008

  • Don’t let the baby nap too long during the day, or he will get his days and nights mixed up. Three hours should be the max and less than one hour doesn’t really make them less fussy.
  • Establish an early bedtime for baby, around 7-8 pm.
  • Don’t let the baby become dependent on having something in his mouth to go to sleep—the “sucking-to-sleep association.”
  • If the baby needs help going back to sleep, use key words, patting, rocking, to help them, and use breastfeeding as a last resort.
  • Make a book about sleep for children who are toddlers and still not sleeping well.

BOTH books say that routine is important for baby. Routine is not something I have had in my life for quite a while, so wish me luck as I try to figure out Ryder and I’s routine and stick with it. One way we are choosing to avoid routine is not having him have to fall asleep in the same place. We want him to be able to fall asleep on the go. Here he is in our Boba wrap, on the way home from the hospital:mexico city 005

Babywise says a baby can sleep through the night at 2 months (that’s part of the controversy) No Cry says 4 months. I’m aiming for the two-month goal of 5 hours a night while trying to be realistic.

Any tips/ideas that have worked for you and your baby?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Postpartum surprises and changes

My biggest surprise is a happy one: the evolution into Jacob and I becoming parents has been natural. We are over the moon with our little one. This is enough of a surprise for me, because I may have been something akin to depressed when I was pregnant. It’s hard to say, because the symptoms of pregnancy are so similar: I could sleep 12 hours at a time, my appetite was lower, I couldn’t get out and do the things I liked because I didn’t feel up to it, I was anxious for the future…mostly normal pregnancy things really, but it just got worse with each month. I just didn’t feel like myself.

So it has been wonderful that I didn’t even get the “baby blues” let alone postpartum depression. I have felt 100 times better now that I’m not massive and I have a healthy and beautiful baby that I totally feel bonded to.

I had no idea how much I would enjoy breastfeeding, especially as the pain has lessened. Before having a baby, I thought it sounded so unnatural for something so supposedly natural. After all, I’d never played the part of ‘milk producing mammal’ before. But it’s so much more than that. It’s providing sustenance and comfort to a little person who is entirely dependent on you, who coos and squeaks and bobs his head and makes happy noises when getting fed.

Also, if anyone had told me having a newborn is just like having a puppy I would have been more excited at the prospect. Ryder whimpers, pants, licks and is so similar to having a pet that Jacob and I both agree that our desire to have a dog has been quenched. I just wonder if that dwindled desire will last as Ryder grows? Except a puppy doesn’t have such kissable cheeks, nor does a puppy smile a huge gummy smile when he’s with you.

I had no idea that it would be so fun to dress up a little boy in cute little newborn outfits.

It’s so funny to me now that I wanted a girl. Ryder is just perfect for Jacob and I. No little girl could be sweeter than our Ryder. I’m thrilled, too, that he looks like Jacob. mexico city 001

I wouldn’t mind if he was like Jacob in every way. He already seems to have my husband’s good natured temperament. Although it has made me laugh, to be feeding my baby and to see my husband’s face, in miniature, peering up at me.


One of the more difficult changes for me has simply been lost time with Jacob. Jacob was my whole world before Ryder…now I see less of him because of the weird sleep thing. I’m sure we will get that under control eventually, but for now the nature of a needy newborn means I’m cuddling a lot more with Jacob’s miniature version than with the full-sized one.

fathers day

Jacob is the father I knew he would be: fun, competent, and involved. I’ve never seen him happier. Ryder doesn’t scream when dad gives his baths (I’ve had my mommy guilt moment already too, when I realized I’d made the bath water too hot for Ryder and he was screaming).

 mexico city 005

He loves to carry Ryder around in his pouch. Here he is latching on to Jacob Smile

 mexico city 010mexico city 001

He also likes to give Ryder his nose to suck. Ryder happily obliges.

mexico city 009

Ryder does gang signs with his hands. We think it’s so funny.

“Jacobito” (little Jacob) is a good sleeper, he has already slept as much as 6 hours in a row, and he is not colicky. He’s an easy baby. Also a surprise, Jacob and I had prepared ourselves for a crier.

He has already been to his first museums, ridden on the bus and in taxis, attended church, went on outings with friends, and ate at restaurants without a hitch. He is a good little companion. Some Mexicans have given me some grief for taking him out so young (I think they do the 40 day stay inside postpartum thing) but for the most part they have been friendly and happy to see him.

I feel more connected to the world in general now. I am not only in the position of being a daughter and a sister…I’m now a mother too. I have never felt “baby hungry” or spent time with a newborn. In fact I have not considered myself a baby person. Now when I see a pregnant woman I know what is coming her way, and I smile.

I already feel melancholy that Ryder is growing so fast…it helps to look at his newborn pictures and remember…

newborn blanket

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ryder’s Birth Story Part 2

mexico city 001We entered the taxi and I was noticing that we were driving what felt remarkably slow. It was after one am, which was a blessing because it can take 2 hours in Mexico City traffic  to get to Medica Sur Lomas. The streets were empty, though, so when the taxi driver asked, “Should I drive fast or slow?” I said “fast” at the same time Jacob said “slow.” Smart man, he listened to the woman in labor. Jacob felt like he drove recklessly, but I was just glad he got us there in 20 minutes because I didn’t feel like singing through contractions in the cab.
When we arrived at the hospital they sat Jacob down to do paperwork and wheeled me away to another room, which I did not like because of the language barrier. They set me up with the fetal heart rate monitor and brought in a doctor with limited English who began by asking, “What is the purpose of your visit?” If I’d had a sense of humor at the moment I would have answered something like, “I broke my nose” instead I said somewhat wryly “I’m in labor.” He then asked me about 20 other questions like “Do you have any diseases?” the whole time I was wishing Jacob was there. He finally showed up and the doctor checked my dilation. I screamed. There is something barbaric about a man you just met shoving his hand up you. When he said “Seven!” I breathed a sigh of thorough relief. If I’d had that kind of pain for that length of time and only had been at a two I don’t know what I would have done.
We waited quite a while as they fussed about setting up my antibiotics. I had tested positive for Group B Strep and my doctor had told me it was unnecessary to treat during labor; I could take ampicillin for 5 days and it would be gone. When I researched it on the internet, however, I discovered the official position of Australia, Canada, and the US was that it had to be prescribed during labor. That it can regenerate within hours so it is pointless to treat before labor. Group B Strep is harmless in adults but is the leading cause of serious infection in infants. Thus I spent hours of studying on the internet about how it was to be treated because my doctor and doula didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. This was an example of how healthcare in Mexico is substandard.  I didn’t want to admit that—I wanted the best hospital in Mexico to be equal to the US but in this case it seemed quite lacking. Only 1 in 200 infants gets Group B Strep of untreated moms, so it’s still rare, but it was something I decided I didn’t want to mess with. So I made the doctor promise I could take penicillin with 5 million units  at the initial dose and 2.5 million every 4 hours thereafter.  It was a little stressful to feel like I had to administer my own medicine but in the end it wasn’t important because it took so long for my water to break. As long as your water is not broken your baby is still protected. So I got the IV put in and it helped to be listening to my meditation CDs as she did.
My meditation program was one bought last minute. It’s called Hypbirth and it’s supposed to be started in the second trimester. Instead I bought it about a week before my due date because I was starting to get scared about labor. I listened to it that week but I didn’t give it my full effort. I didn’t do the “finger drops” and I didn’t stop the tapes and do the things she asked. During labor, though, it was nice to have a voice in the background telling me to relax. I found out later Jacob thought she was annoying for saying stuff like “you’re a thousand times more relaxed then you’ve ever been right now.” He thought, she is in labor, why should she be more relaxed than she’s ever been, that’s not realistic. I found out later the same track played over and over again during my labor, but I was distracted and didn’t notice.
Glenda Furszyfer, my doula, had arrived but my doctor hadn’t yet. They led us to the laboring room. I got in the shower and despite the water being warm I started to shiver uncontrollably. I believe that was me entering transition phase which is dilating to an 8. I asked Jacob to turn on my Princess Bride playlist on Grooveshark. My doctor arrived and greeted me when I was shaking like mad, nude, in the shower. I didn’t care. It’s amazing how your inhibitions disappear when giving birth. I got in the laboring tub and almost fell asleep. My contractions stopped. Glenda thought I should get out then. I started kissing Jacob through the contractions which helped to distract from the pain, and also it’s supposed to help speed labor along. My doctor and Glenda left to give us some privacy. My contractions were still slowing down, so we decided to go for a walk around the hospital. Because I was still singing through my contractions, Jacob told me we should probably go back to the laboring room because I was probably disturbing the other hospital guests—it was the middle of the night after all. When we returned he went to the room where my doctor and Glenda were convening together. Later I would find out they were deciding to break my water. Jacob tried to talk them out of it but they had already made up their minds.
My doctor checked my dilation. I screamed through his check as well. Glenda told me that my doctor was out of all ob gyns a very gentle doctor. I told him not to take it personally. He said he didn’t. I was at a 10. He told me he thought I should get my water broken and use some progestaglandins to start contractions. I resisted weakly. I said, “I’m scared.” Glenda said, “You’ve already done the hardest part! Don’t you want to meet your baby?” My doctor told me it would be bad for the baby not to. Of course Jacob and I were powerless to argue against that. He got out the hook. After my water was broken, and after allowing them to make that invasive procedure, they really began to take charge of my labor and I no longer felt in control. Glenda kept having me do full squats. I’d hold Jacob’s hands and do them, but she was a tough taskmaster. She was correcting my form, telling me to keep my feet flat and go all the way to the ground. It was torture. I could feel the baby pushing, pushing his way down the canal. It was definitely the most athletic thing I’ve ever done. I drank nearly 3 full large bottles of Gatorade. I kept asking to get in the water and for whatever reason, Glenda kept turning me down.
mexico city 008
The tub I didn’t labor in.
I also kept asking if I could lay down and rest. Finally Glenda agreed to let me get on the bed. She then had me start pushing through contractions. It was certainly not resting. I felt no urge to push, but she and my doctor kept shouting to push harder. I was pushing with all my might laying down against she and Jacob with my feet in the air. It was so hard. I was roaring through the pain, I was no longer singing. My voice would feel hoarse for the next 24 hours from this 45 minute experience. I remember saying, “I know I can’t get the epidural, but don’t you have anything else you can give me for the pain?” and Glenda saying, “No, there’s nothing.”  She also told me, “It’s almost dawn! Babies come when the sun arrives.” Finally they had me get up on the bed into squat position and that’s when they could see Ryder’s head. They told me to feel his head with my hand. It didn’t feel like a head to me, it was too soft and squishy. I knew it was finally going to be over soon, though, because nurses and the pediatrician suddenly came into the room and were bustling about getting prepared. My doctor was stretching me down there manually with his hand, Glenda was saying, “Don’t forget this moment! You are going to meet your baby soon” and I was sweating. The intensity of that experience was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. The so-called “ring of fire” where the baby’s head exits stung but compared to the pain of the moments leading up to it it wasn’t so bad—after all it only lasted a few seconds. Once his head was out the rest of his body slipped out easily. Glenda had helped me take off my sports bra moments before so he could be skin to skin and we could start breastfeeding right away, which is what we did.
He was screaming and purple when they put him on my chest. My first impression was, “Is that really my baby?” I didn’t recognize him. He was covered in slimy stuff and his face was swollen and puffy. I don’t know why but I was thinking I would recognize him when I saw him. I thought his nose, especially, looked very swollen. Now I know that he has Jacob’s nose—an alpha nose, Jacob calls it Smile I anxiously awaited to hear that he was healthy and sound and all in one piece. He latched on and had a healthy appetite immediately. I was struck how he seemed to have his eyes wide open and that he was looking me right in the eye. I thought his eyes would be closed and I certainly didn’t think he would make eye contact right away.
ryder right after birth
glenda and i
Glenda’s visit the next day

Glenda kept saying, “Talk to him! Talk to him!” I was mildly annoyed. Of course we were going to talk to him. I was still in shock from the overwhelming experience of before, so all I could manage was, “Hello baby. Hello baby.” Jacob tells me he was laughing joyfully but my experience was not over. I still had to birth the placenta. I had no idea how huge that thing would be! I had Jacob take a picture of it. I had to get stitched up. I had 10 stitches. It hurt a little even with the local anesthetic I was injected with but there was plenty to distract me while it was going on. They told me it was a medium bad/deep tear.  I also had a shot in my side to help prevent hemorrhage and help shrink my uterus. They had taken him away and started doing things to him, like clean him up and give him his Apgar score (9.9).  They also gave me some pain pills (after it was all over, ha!) I was finally finished, 27 hours after my contractions started. I hope the next time I have a baby it goes a little faster. Ryder arrived on June 9, the day after my mother-in-law’s birthday and the day before my dad’s birthday. We took pictures, which are inappropriate to share since I don’t have a stitch of clothing on. I had a breathing strip on the whole time I was laboring too—my nose is still not breathing well after my rhinoplasty back in July.
Jacob, before the birth, had said he was just going to stand at my head so he didn’t have to see anything. I think he imagined he would just be playing on his phone during labor. But it turned out he was involved in every step of the process, from massaging me through contractions to allowing me to clench his hands as I did squats to holding my legs as I pushed through contractions. He watched Ryder come out and was surprised at his greenish purplish color. He cut Ryder’s umbilical cord. He handled it all very well. Then they had me move to another bed, I could barely move and they had to help lift me, and they wheeled us down to our room. The next stage of our little family began.
Jacob says he looks swaddled.
little family 2little family
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