Delayed Gratification

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

Life’s all about compromises and trading one thing for another (as well as love and joy and heartbreak and perseverance and creating, etc.). 

I don’t remember what I was responding to when I wrote that several months (ages?) ago, but I have some thoughts on it now. It’s a little hard to focus when my ears are straining for sounds (of the baby blocks away, safe in the tricycle with Dad at the handlebars, while I’m “off duty”?!) and my mind skips. 

Raising this boy is a moment-to-moment grunt with jumps of joy mixed in, hormones and hope holding us to the labor as we both love it for what it is, and anticipate relief with the passing of this phase. 

News from our bedly liferaft

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

Our placenta is in our freezer. It looks like a sirloin steak. I just knows we will forget about it until the night we pull it out, thinking of grilling up a nice dinner…

As if things couldn’t get any goopier: I just found a little nugget in the bed that prompted the question, “chocolate, or meconium?” the answer was…um…chocolate, but I did not eat it, just in case.

This milk-coming-in thing is kind of hilarious. It Sid just everywhere! Clean blanket? Not any longer! Clean baby face, washed yet again! I can see how one very quickly establishes new standards for “clean,” and that certain body fluids have special privileges for being on stuff and getting to stay there. 

I lost it last night considering the beautiful enormity of it all. This perfect, angel creature, each precious present moment, the big, wonderful, unpredictable, terrifying future: holy shit!

How am I doing? I woke up weigh size DD boobs, spent a half hour in the shower milking myself, and now have instructions to feed him as much as he will oblige. Bring it on!

Colace is the best! Another milestone achieved. Now I know I can truly do ANYTHING!

Shart Attack

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)
Some naked time after a change. Caleb showing him the view out a window, he sharts on my hands, shorts, floor and into the baseboard heater. Back in bed, I sit up against the wall, prop my bended knees up on a wedge pillow and set Shaw facing me in the crook of my thighs with his bum in my lap. I begin to read a new issue of TR magazine while Laura takes a much needed nap. A few minutes later, Shaw sharts again, luckily into a paper towel temporary diaper, and passes out after a few calisthenics and flailing stretches. Joking that he’ll probably pee on me next, Laura fades off. 15 minutes later, pee erupts into his blanket and out of side onto my magazine. I’m wet in my crotch, he’s actually managed to get pee in my underwear and his in on motion! He passes out after a massive yawn. I decide to ignore it to keep Laura from waking up. I sit, wet and slimy, reading.  11 minutes later, he spits up, then erupts in a sneeze/cough that shoots milk out his nose. This effort requires a 15 minute nap on his part. 5 minutes later, his first booger explodes out of his nose. He passes out happy that I’ve cleaned it. Laura wakes after an hour. It was a wonderful hour! Soon after changing, nursing and a family lunch in bed, the entire family proceeds to all fart, leak, shart, and stomach gurgle syphonically together.

Labor Memories

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)
It was definitely a life changing event for us. And a life creating one for Shaw. For me, witnessing that much pain, physical intensity (to the breaking point and beyond) blood, gore and exhaustion, while at the very same time knowing it was welcomed, purposeful, and as natural as can be, was one of the more humanizing events of my life. Shaw is sleeping and not crying much. So far he’s pooping, which is key because it means he’s nursing effectively (even if we can’t tell at the time). Laura made it to the porch today for 2 minutes before back to bed. We’re feeling very supported by family and friends

April 28th, Caleb: Pre labor snuck up on me, but Laura knew at morning Yoga “something was happening”. Laura: Those lower ab cramps were back with a vengeance by mid-afternoon. Kam stopped into the porch and witnessed me “having a moment.” I still wasn’t ready to get psyched because I knew from Anji that they could go on for another week. I don’t remember the sequence of events well, but I felt like I wasn’t able to get anything done, including make lasagna. I finally gave up after cooking the pasta halfway. Then I went to bed and waited for Caleb to finish making it and bring it to me. But…She felt more strong pushes every hour, then more often, until about 11pm when she was in bed moaning every 5 or 6 minutes with contractions around a minute. I felt during the afternoon that she was just getting ready to maybe go into labor. Then it hit me when she started long, loud hummms and moans and chants of “I’m relaxed, I can do this, I want this, I’m relaxed, i’m open, open, it’s Okay, the baby will come, hummmmm, hummmmmmmm, hummmmmmmmmm”.  We called the Doula, Libby who was here about 11pm.

By 3 am the moaning and loud with contractions that were a minute or two long, every 2 to 3 minutes, for half an hour. I had taken an hour nap 1am-2pm. Libby sat with Laura who liked all fours and then finally in bed on her side. Laura would go limp between contractions and sleep sometimes for 5 minutes. Laura says: “I had heard that the laboring mom should “rest” or even SLEEP between contractions, but thought, “I’ll believe that when I see it.” Well, it truly does happen. I felt like I would put my head down and no sooner would be up again omming. No idea that five whole minutes would have passed.” We were nervous that Libby wasn’t in charge of calling of midwife and instead asking us if we wanted to call her. How would we know? But she was on it when it was time and said to call.

Anji and Lucina arrived at 3am. Laura was full in the ommmmmm zone.

They checked in on my smart phone contraction timer logs. They checked in with Laura, watching her and asking her questions. They disappeared and let Libby and I continue to help Laura. We set up the tub. The shower thing didn’t fit, and I cursed myself for not testing it early, despite being told it would fit the shower. I used the sink, which we had tested, and prayed silently that it would have enough pressure to push water up the stairs. It did! We filled the tub. Laura got in and for 1.5hrs slipped in and out of the world. She ate a little Yogurt, continued her sipping water with a straw, had some honey, and Ensure we had lying about, even though it was strawberry cream flavor and sucked.  Great to have the Ensure! Used it for days after for calories with no chewing, something Laura was insistent on.

Then the bathroom and pushing labor. Lunging in the door frame. Screaming in my face. Crying. No drugs though, not even a peep from her to have any meds or make it stop. She was in a “bring it on” mood mostly. Anji had a mirror and was watching every contraction. Then it was obviously getting long after two hours of all fours on our thick wrestling style stretching mat. We moved into the bedroom. She couldn’t make it on the bed and had a lot of pushes on the edge of the bed, forcing Anji with a mirror almost under the bed. I could see the mirror. It was intense. The head and hair were there, then gone, then there, then gone, then a little more then gone. On the bed, back down, the midwives insisted. Laura had hated this position from the get go, or the idea of it with no leverage and being “squishy” and would not do it, but it worked for a while.  But it seemed to fade then. Then the midwives got noticeably agitated and Anji said “OK Laura, you’ve got to push and get this baby out. I’m going to tell you what to do, and you’re going to do it.” and she would flip Laura on all fours, and then back on her back, and see what worked. The Olive oil came out. The fingers reached inside and pulled. Then a moment and Anji said “episiotomy” to Lucinda. A little sewing scissors came out and snipped. Blood.

Shaw announcement to the Ivie clan

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

He’s here!

I have the daily epiphany, as I look into his marvelous face, that HE IS THE PERSON WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR all these last months. This thought fills me with great joy and wonder, that it was HIM floating around inside me, and now he’s with us. It is beyond words for me, truly.

Voila: Shaw Gordon Goldblatt Clark, 8lbs 9oz, 21 ½ inches long, born at 9:50am on Sunday, April 29th, 2012. Photos here: (an album with more details of the birth and life-on-the-outside also exists. If you want to see it just let me know).

Caleb and I had a fun time scouring our families’ generations for names we loved, and Shaw Gordon was the combination that stood out to us as a boy name that was both meaningful to us and beautiful. Shaw comes from Olde English, and means “dweller in the wood” or “son of,” depending. We love being in the woods together and the natural world has been formative for both of us. It is his paternal great-grandma’s family name which can be traced back hundreds and hundreds of years, and so, has a bit of it all. Gordon is lovely and is his paternal grandma’s family name, which was altered from the original (don’t know that) when they immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe. Goldblatt and Clark for his parents. All adding up to one person’s first foot forward in life: his.

Life thus far has been relatively mellow for all its momentousness. We are counting our MANY blessings (what comes after a trillion?) and enjoying the present moments. Shaw is a tranquil, earnest, healthy boy. He is putting 200% into learning to latch on, feed from both sides, excrete, settle down, and stare with a mesmerized expression at the world within 8-12 inches of his face (Caleb quipped that for a newborn it’s as if they’ve awoken on an alien planet, surrounded by giant aliens, and have yet to figure out that…THEY’RE ONE OF US). He apparently has large hands and his right ear is shaped just like his left one except that the earlobe curves up like a shovel (if this ear thing remains so, as I hope it does since it’s the cutest pair of ears in the universe, we anticipate him feeling embarrassed about it in middle school:).  Milk coming in has been our first trial, and we’re working on becoming an even better team as we practice for the many challenges that await us as parents. Betty and Larry, wonderful midwives, and a handful of exceptionally calm and capable friends have helped us hold the fort during this first week.  By all outside accounts, we are doing really well. We feel fortunate and grateful, and not yet too sleep-deprived. Caleb will be on paternity leave for another week or so, and has been taking care of me and Shaw, keeping the house in order, and generally being AMAZING during this early time. I am a lucky woman and Shaw is a lucky boy.

Speaking of grateful, thanks to phone callers, texters and emailers. Messages have been hard for me to find the wherewithal to listen to and calls hard to return so far, but I DO SO APPRECIATE your interest and thoughtfulness and will joyfully get back to you when my wits are more about me!

If you have time and desire to read on, here’s my version of Shaw’s birth story. Caleb and I are working one that intertwines both of our perspectives, but it’s not done yet.

Shaw was born at our home in Brattleboro, Vermont, under the care of two outstanding CPMs (CPM: Certified Professional Midwife, who specialize in providing prenatal, birth, and postpartum care for uncomplicated, typical pregnancies and are legally allowed to attend home births). We also had the attention of a wonderful doula and, lastly, a close friend who is a neonatal intensive care nurse and blissfully soothing presence. Although I’ll never know when exactly I “went into labor,” things were brewing all day last Saturday. I went to prenatal yoga class from 9:30 – 11, and had to take my very first break towards the end. I couldn’t concentrate on much and felt generally physically incapacitated most of the day, wandering about offering moral support to Caleb as he worked on house and yard projects we’d initiated together. The final straw was that I decided, “Darn it, I’m going to get something out of this day by at least making lasagna!” I got as far as boiling the pasta before I had to go to bed (or so I thought, HA). Caleb finished up making the lasagna and brought it to me in bed.

Time suspended at this point, and apparently by 10pm I was having 60-second contractions five minutes apart. Caleb called our doula, who promptly came over to offer us support, and time entered yet another dimension. By 2am the contractions were up to 120 seconds, two to three minutes apart, and we called the midwives, who arrived at around 3am. While I coped with the doula’s help, Caleb and the midwives set up a birthing tub in an upstairs room and I hopped in there for what amounted to a break (thank goodness) before pushing contractions began at around 6am. For all that we’d done childbirth classes and I’d gotten oriented to hypnobirthing etc., pushing was what floored me, was where I hit a wall for the first time. I just had NO IDEA how intense and difficult that part would be – in most of what I’d heard, pushing would feel like a welcome (if challenging) homestretch. Well, I suppose it felt welcome but definitely like a slap in the face and a higher hurdle than I’d prepared myself to jump.

However, birthing goes on and by 9am the baby’s head was visible.  The problem was, it was no longer progressing steadily outward. The midwives had been using the Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat frequently since they’d arrived, and in what became these final minutes they didn’t like the slightly slowing trend they heard. They sprung into action, had me get into all kinds of positions, instructed me to push constantly even between the contractions, gave me oxygen through a mask, ultimately did a small episiotomy, and got him the heck out. I don’t think that part took more than five minutes. (During this period of time I remember becoming like some out-of-control screaming woman from the movies, making all kinds of noise.)  Then, suddenly, there was a baby! WOW! was the reaction. That’s a big baby for you! As you can see in the very first photos, he was all covered in thick vernix, indicating that he had probably arrived a teensy bit early (which bears truth when compared with my “due” date, May 5th). We all spent the rest of the day pretty much in bed, and have been laying very low ever since.

Preg moment of the year

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

Panic Attack in the Fish Store

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

Preg Week 32: Roller Coaster

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

Quite a roller coaster on the inside these days! Emotional roller coaster for Laura, baby is behaving like a physical roller coaster, lumping and poking and sticking out in all directions a lot of the time. 

Anything but nesting feels like a pretty large hassle. Craving time at home and with Caleb. We are sweet together these days, lots of snuggling and looking out for each other. It feels like a wonderful place to go through labor and start the journey of us being three. My sentimentality trigger is on high as I both can’t wait for the experience of labor and welcoming the new person, learning how to care for him or her; and simultaneously wish that we could stay in a state of suspended anticipation, love, attentiveness, sweetness. In other words, I am relishing this special time.