Friday, December 30, 2011

Knitting- Mismatched or Funky?

One thing I haven't had a chance to do much since AY has been born is knitting. My hands are literally and figuratively always full- holding the baby, helping the other kids, catching up on chores, etc.
But I do miss it. There is something very calming about knitting and we all know I could use some more calm and sanity in our chaotic loving home. So I am slowly trying to get back to it,
A few days before AY was born, I had finished one glove out of a set of finger-less gloves. I thought it looked really cool and was looking forward to starting on the second one. I thought they were useful too because they could keep me warm and I would be able to help out the kids- wipe noses, button coats, etc. without constantly taking my gloves on and off.

Then AY was born and my knitting obviously got put on the back burner. But this past week, I really got the knitting itch and in between the baby's naps and other gaps in time, I managed to finish the other one.

Except they don't match. This was all knit from the same skein of yarn. The yarn is self-striping and the colors keep changing.  I noticed this as I was knitting but I was hoping there was enough commonality in them for it to look like a set.

 Um not so much. So now I am not sure...knit another one and hope it matches better? Or maybe just wear them like that and hope people think it's cool and funky rather than mismatched and weird. It's all a matter of perspective I guess. What do you think? Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This is How I Do It- Expanded Version

Here are my secrets to keeping it all (or most of it) together. For more suggestions, check out Ellen's guest bloggers at Love That Max.

1) Sleep/Self-Care
Here is a fact about me: I need a lot of sleep to function. Some people I know (including my husband) can run on 6 or less hours but I have found that I need at least 7 or 8 in order to feel like a human being. If I do not sleep enough, I am cranky, impatient and everybody suffers.
My children are lively and full of energy and in order to keep up with them, I need to sleep. A lot. So I do. Now with a newborn, getting sleep is obviously a bit trickier but I am trying to go to sleep early and also to take naps when I can.
For me, making sure I sleep is part of taking care of myself and making sure my needs get met. Because if I am running on empty, I can't give to all the members of my family, special needs or not, who need something for me. Along the same lines, I try to carve out time for myself (ie yoga/knitting/blogging),to have date nights with my husband, etc but my number one necessity is sleep.

2) Help-
When Y was first born, I felt like I had to do it all by myself or I was not a "good" mother. And for a while I did. Then A. was born 15 months later and I still thought I had to do it all. After all, as a stay-at-home mom this was my "job" so I was responsible to do it. A few mini-breakdowns later, I learned my lesson. I may be the mom, but it's okay to delegate or outsource some tasks. I started having some cleaning help, then a few hours of babysitting and I have not looked back.
 Well that is not entirely true. Every once in a while I feel badly that I need to rely on the help of others so much, whether volunteer or paid. Then I remind myself that I have four kids aged 6.5 and under, one of whom has special needs and little to no safety awareness, one of whom is a preschooler with no impulse control or safety awareness, one of whom is an infant and one of whom is fairly typical while still a stubborn drama queen. So if I  cannot take all of them to the park or supermarket by myself for the next few weeks or months, that is okay.
My husband is busy with his job, my parents and siblings are across the ocean and my in-laws travel a lot, which often means if I need help, I need to hire someone (or every once in a while find some good-hearted volunteers). We are fortunate to qualify for some funding to pay for care for Y., so that alleviates some of the financial burden, but I strongly believe that at certain times, hiring a babysitter is a necessity and not a luxury.
Here are some times I enlist help for the sake of my sanity:
- The 4 to 6 pm afternoon rush- pick-ups from school, Hebrew school, After-school activities, homework, dinner, baths, etc. Need I say more?
- Doctors or therapy appointments: I only take the child that has the appointment, the rest stay home with a sitter. I have a hard enough time keeping one kid entertained in a waiting room, I am not about to show up with my whole crew. Plus the appointment can double as some alone-time with that child.
- Going to shul: Y is prone to wandering off, so I need someone solely focused on him.
- Hosting large quantities of guests for Shabbos meals: I cannot serve food and take care of my kids' needs at the same time, not to mention the possibility of actually sitting down, eating and talking to our guests.

3) I don't do it all-
There are only so many hours in a day, especially if you are sleeping for 7 or 8 of them! Sometimes things don't get done, sometimes they are forgotten or pushed off. Sometimes I am just plain lazy and do not want to do whatever it is that needs to get done. Sometimes my children and I need a break from working on goals/play skills or whatever else is on the agenda. Calls are not made or appointments are missed.  Children are still not toilet-trained. But that is okay. I am trying to do the best that I can with the tools that I have. Tomorrow is another day. And the day after that is too.

So this is how I do it. I sleep, I ask for help and sometimes I take a break and just don't do it. Caffeine and chocolate also play a large part. What are your tips and tricks for getting it all done and staying sane?

Monday, December 26, 2011

This Is How I Do It

Ellen at Love that Max is having a guest-post series this week called "This is how I do it"- Parents of children with special needs share their tricks on how they manage to juggle it all and stay sane. The first one was interesting and I am looking forward to reading them all. Go check it out!
Even though, no one asked me to contribute, I thought I would share my own top three:
1) Sleep/Self-Care
2) Help
3) I don't do it all

Explanations and more details to follow tomorrow. Right now I am going to follow tip number 1- sleep!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Celebrating Milestones

Eight years ago, on the sixth night of Channukah, my husband and I got engaged. Eight years later, there we were, trying to install four carseats and wrangle four children into the mini-van we had rented for the afternoon to go visit cousins in New Jersey. 15 minutes later, as we were finally ready to drive off, my husband and I looked at each other, not quite believing that we have officially outgrown a sedan and are now a mini-van family.
A lot has happened and changed over the last eight years. We now have an entourage- a carload full of spunky kids. I am happy to report that we still argue about the same things...kidding! And we still celebrate all the big and little milestones, including Baby AY's 4 week birthday! So Happy Engagement Anniversary to us!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Channukah

We are almost ready for Shabbos Channukah. Highlights include my inlaws coming, yet more gifts/toys four our kids and Baby AY turning 4 weeks old. I can't believe how big he got. At his well visit last Tuesday, he was already 8lbs 15 so I am assuming we have cleared the 9 lb mark by now. And he is much more alert these days, which is nice to see. Although whenever he is awake, he wants to be held, so I am getting a lot of use out of my baby carriers.
Saturday night we have a family party and then Sunday afternoon we are going to, you guessed it, yet another Channukah party. It's nice to spend tuime with all this family we usually don't  see so often, but it gets a bit overwhelming especially with our kids overdosing on sugar and going to bed too late.
But I am going to try and stay positive and enjoy the craziness. In that spirit, I will share with you, Y's new favorite Channukah video. Chag Urim Sameach!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Channukah Parties Galore

Channukah has arrived and with it lots of latkes, donuts, chocolate and gifts.
Last night was the first night and after candle lighting, we gave the kids some gifts and played dreidel.
Today, M had a Channukah party at school. He was so excited that I came and he participated beautifully, singing all the songs with his Morahs.
M is super happy to be having a Channukah party

M "reading" the song sheet that has all the lyrics

M enjoying donuts. His baby brother slept through the party!

This evening we also had a party at our shul. There was pizza and latkes as well as art projects and a magician.

The highlight of the evening was when the magician made balloon shapes for all the kids there. Of course my kids were the last in line and we had to wait forever...the magician made Y. a little dog and hearts for both A. and M. On the way home, M. dropped his balloon and it popped. He then dramatically exclaimed, "Mommy, my heart is broken!" It was a classic moment.
 The boys still need quite a few reminders about fire safety and staying away from matches and candles, but otherwise the kids are all really enjoying the holiday and overdosing on chocolate "gelt".
Tomorrow I am going to Y's school to tell the students a bit about Channukah, and then my inlaws are coming to spend the weekend with us with yet more gifts for the kids. What's not to love?
Wishing you all a "lichtige" Channukah!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Out on the Town

Had to share this great picture of me and our whole crew out and about. We went to the Children's Museum today. I was not brave/crazy enough to attempt going by myself. My husband came along and took this picture as we were trying to hail a cab home. In the end, we could not find a taxi (maybe they got scared off when they saw us) and decided to take a bus instead because it was getting late and it was too cold to walk.
I think the people on the bus were entertained by our crew. Y was trying to move to the back of the bus while my husband was holding  him to make sure he did not escape. M was standing on his chair to get a better view out the window, while I was holding on to him to make sure he did not fall. A. was behaving herself (as usual) and AY was nice enough to stay asleep in the sling and not want to be fed until we all made it home. Just a typical day in the life ....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homebirth- Part 1

Before writing about homebirth, I want to stress that I am not trying to convince anyone to have a homebirth or that homebirth is the only/optimal way. I strongly believe every woman needs to educate herself and make the choices that work for her and her family. My aim is just  to show that homebirth is a viable and safe option for most low-risk women.
When discussing homebirth and its safety, I am referring to planned homebirths attended by certified and licensed midwives, whether they be CNM (certified nurse midwives) or CPM (direct-entry midwives). I do not mean accidental homebirth, where the woman did not make it to the hospital in time, or unassisted childbirth, which is a whole topic onto itself .
A certified nurse midwife has undergone rigorous training and can provide pretty much the same care as doctors- she can monitor the baby's heart rate, give IVs of fluid or antibiotics if necessary, repair any tears, administer pitocin to help postpartum bleeding, do newborn assessment as well as neonatal resuscitation. What a midwife cannot do is administer an epidural or perform a C-section.
Study after study has shown that homebirth is as safe, if not safer than birth in hospitals. The neonatal and maternal mortality rates at home are the same to those in hospitals. If you would like to see a study that backs this claim up, click here. Another study done in the Netherlands can be found here. You can find links to other studies in this post.  Intervention rates of home births, as you can imagine are much lower- To quote one above mentioned study
Individual rates of medical intervention for home births were consistently less than half those in hospital, whether compared with a relatively low risk group (singleton, vertex, 37 weeks or more gestation) that will have a small percentage of higher risk births or the general population having hospital births (table 3). Compared with the relatively low risk hospital group, intended home births were associated with lower rates of electronic fetal monitoring (9.6% versus 84.3%), episiotomy (2.1% versus 33.0%), caesarean section (3.7% versus 19.0%), and vacuum extraction (0.6% versus 5.5%). The caesarean rate for intended home births was 8.3% among primiparous women and 1.6% among multiparous women."
Additionally, here is a study that finds the midwifery model of care to be superior to the other models, in terms of outcomes for mothers and babies.
In case you are wondering what the Midwifery model of care is, here is an excerpt from the website of the Midwives Alliance of North America:

Midwives Model of Care™
The Midwives Model of Care™ is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life events. The Midwives Model of Care includes:
  • monitoring the physical, psychological and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • minimizing technological interventions and;
  • identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention
The application of this model has been proven to reduce to incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.
The Midwives Model of Care definition above is Copyright © 1996-2001, Midwifery Task Force, All Rights Reserved.

I don't want to bore everyone here with statistics, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are many excellent websites that have great information about homebirths, you just have to find them. Here are just a few:

Choices in Childbirth
NY Homebirth Midwives
Bring Birth Home
Why Homebirth- an article in midwifery today

Coming up in Part 2- "What if something goes wrong/Thoughts about Risk" and "How exactly does this work?"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Busy Day

Today was going to be the day when I finally post some info on homebirth...but it has been a busy day and my bed is calling. In my quest to get back to a normal schedule, here are some of the things I accomplished:
-buy Channukah presents for the kids, although I still need something for Y.
-buy a pretty sweater for myself (thanks Mom!)
-pick M up from school. This is totally worth it because he is so excited to see me. He says, " My Mommy's here with my new baby brother!"
-cook food for shabbos AND dinner
- pick up A from school as a surprise and have her proudly introduce Baby AY to her Morahs and friends
- the regular homework/dinner/bath/bedtime craziness
-finally order thank you cards on snapfish with this cute picture on them. Plus I had a 50 percent off coupon.
- hold this cute baby for about two hours straight because 8 30 to 10 30 seems to be his cranky time.
Now that he has finally fallen asleep, I am going to take this as my cue to try and get to bed too.
But to get things started a little bit, I'll share one great article about homebirth.- Why women should not fear homebirth  by Mayim Bialik. I hope some of you read it and share your thoughts

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Life with Four

As my parents' departure looms closer, I am starting to think about what life will be like when I am on my own with my crew. I think my biggest challenge will be the morning- getting all of us dressed, bundled up and and out of the house in time to catch A's bus across the street at 7 36. If I can manage that, the rest should be a cinch. The other crazy time in our home is 4 to 6 pm but I usually have help at that time to make sure everyone gets fed, bathed and their homework done before going to bed.
Two interesting developments that could make the next few weeks challenging: One of our longtime babysitters is going to Italy for a semester abroad at the beginning of January, so next week is her last week helping out. Finding a good caregiver is hard. This particular young woman has been working with our kids on and off for two years now on different days and in different ways. She really loves our kids and knows them well. She will be sorely missed...and I need to find someone to replace her. If anyone reading this knows any students who may be available to help out Mondays and Wednesday afternoons after 3 45, send them my way...I am totally serious!
Secondly, Y and M will be off from school for a week at the end of December for a holiday break. Friendship Circle is running a winter camp for children with special needs so I think I will sign Y up. Having him home all week needing to be entertained could prove to be a bit overwhelming.
Speaking of overwhelming, two of my favorite bloggers wrote posts this week about the insanity that is life with four young children (excuse some of the language...they have had a rough day!). I had to laugh at Mama Birth's and Melissa's descriptions of their kids' antics...but not too much, because I know that that may be me in a few weeks. Something to look forward to :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ready to Leave Hibernation

AY is officially two weeks old and I am ready to rejoin the world. When M was born, my midwife at the time suggested to me that I not leave the house for the first two weeks so I would not overdo it. At the time, it seemed a little crazy to me, but I decided to give it a try.
I thought I would go stir-crazy not going out for so long but the truth was, it was really relaxing to just be home. And it definitely was a good safeguard to not overexert myself. So when AY was born, I decided to do the same thing. For the first week of his life, I left the house only two times- for a pediatrician's visit and to take A to buy shoes at a store around the corner (this was not really planned but I felt that she needed a little extra attention)
The second week, I only left the house on Sunday to go to the bris. This past Friday, I decided that I was feeling well enough and was ready to get some air. I picked M up from school and it felt nice to be outdoors again, and to see some people other than my lovely family. Last night I went out for some frozen yogurt and today, my mom and I took the older kids to the playground, which was my longest outing yet.
So I guess I am now officially leaving the house again. As nice as it was to have this time to rest. I am looking forward to getting out a bit, taking AY for some walks, doing some of my own errands rather than relying on others and taking M to school. And I am definitely ready to rejoin civilization.

And now for some Channukah fun- presenting the Maccabeats singing Matisahu's "Miracle"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baby update

AY is almost two weeks old! Time really  has flown by, it's mostly been a blur of nursing, changing and holding the baby, along with lots of time spent in bed sleeping or at least attempting to sleep.
AY will sleep nice stretches, but when he is up, he wants to be held most of the time. I have been trying out the sling I got and he seems to like it. It's pretty comfortable and I have my hands free. I can see myself using it a lot, especially once I start taking the kids down to the bus again. I also want to find my Moby wrap which I seemed to have stored away somewhere.
I am definitely feeling much stronger this week. I don't collapse into bed by 8 pm anymore and I have gotten some projects done, including putting away my maternity clothes and swapping it for my winter stuff. The next step is organizing all the baby clothes we got as gifts. And if I am really ambitious I might even start working on thank-you cards...but that can probably wait another week or two.
My parents are still here for another week, which will give me some time to ease into my regular routine. Next week I want to start doing some of the pick-up and drop offs for school again and also cook a bit. People have been really generous with sending us dinners, but I think I am ready to start choosing my own menu, rather than being surprised every evening and hoping the kids will like the offerings.
I know it is too soon to expect a routine and a schedule but I do hope we will get there in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, I want to try and enjoy this time, rather than just trying to get through it. The little man has already graduated from Newborn diapers to size 1...before we blink, he won't be so little anymore!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AY's birth story

My doula Leda came for a postpartum visit today and presented me with a lovely birth story. This inspired me to finally write down my own version. Note- if you do not like birth stories and do not want to read about mucous plugs, contractions and amniotic fluid, stop reading right now. Otherwise, consider yourself warned and read  on:
During this pregnancy, I started having Braxton Hicks/ pre-labor contractions pretty early on, around 34 weeks. I was surprised, but my midwife Miriam reassured me that it was normal for symptoms to appear earlier in subsequent pregnancies. On November 7th, in my 36th week, I had a day of more intense contractions and all around weird sensations and I thought I may be in labor and that my water had broken (it had not). The sensations went away in the evening though and for the next few weeks, I went about my regular business, having some days with more contractions, others with less. I tried to rest up more, especially at nights. I always knew the contractions were not real labor because they did not hurt that much and because they stopped when I was lying down.
I saw my midwife Wednesday before Thanksgiving and she said everything looked great. We scheduled our next visit for Thursday, December 1st, my due date. My husband laughed and said there was no way we were still going to be seeing her pregnant that day.
Friday November 25th started out as a pretty regular day. The kids were all home so we spent time at the park in the morning and then the afternoon getting ready for shabbos. A little bit after candle-lighting, I noticed that I was having a lot of discharge, more than usual. This continued on for most of the evening so I asked my husband if I could call the midwife just to check in and see if it might be amniotic fluid. I told her what was going on and she told me she thought it was my mucous plug and not amniotic fluid. She also told me how to check to be sure, to go to bed early and call her if anything changes.
I went to bed early and had a pretty good night's sleep although I just felt something was going on. I was not having a lot of contractions, but something felt different. I also remember having a few contractions lying down and thinking it was weird, because I had never had contractions in bed.
Shabbos morning I woke up and soon after started having real contractions. They felt different than the Braxton- Hicks because they were stronger, although still not very painful. They were coming about every 15 to 20 minutes. I told my husband to go to shul but to make sure the janitor would pick up the phone in case I needed him. I was not sure if I should go to shul, but once I saw that the contractions were still irregular and not hard to deal with, I decided to take the kids. I figured it would distract me and also keep them busy. It is hard for them to be home all day so I wanted to take them out.
Shul was pretty uneventful. We only went around 10 45 and left about 12  so we were not there for that long. I was able to daven and interact with people at the kiddush after, while every 20 minutes or so taking 45 seconds to surreptitiously breathe through a contraction. Around 12 I decided it was probably best to head home. We then had a pretty normal shabbos lunch. I wanted to go about with my routine as much as possible until I felt like I could not anymore. So I served everyone lunch and I ate a good meal to make sure I was well nourished and hydrated for labor. We sang songs and talked about the parsha with the kids.
The contractions started feeling stronger and coming closer together. At some point my husband walked into the kitchen while I was leaning into the counter and breathing/swaying. He shook his head and said something like, "It's a good thing you know about this stuff and are calm."
By now I knew this baby was coming that day, it was just a question of when. We discussed dropping the kids off by friends but there were some teenage girls coming over to play with them around 3, so we decided to wait and see what was going on once the girls left. Maybe we could stall till bedtime or at least till shabbos was over when we could distract the kids with the iPad.
We finished lunch around 1 45 and I told my husband to go rest because I could not sleep with contractions anyway. I decided to read on the couch while the kids played. The contractions were closer together when I was actively moving around so I was trying to stall a bit by staying lying down. The contractions were more uncomfortable that way. The kids still had no idea anything was going on. They did not really notice me breathing through contractions and I wasn't doing anything else at this point.
When the girls arrived to watch the kids around 3, I excused myself to go lie down. I called Miriam to tell her what was going on. Because the contractions were still spaced out when resting, she thought I probably still had some time but told me she would be close by, awaiting my call. I was a bit disappointed because I thought she would come right over, but decided Miriam was probably right and there was still more time.
I tried to lie down and rest a bit, but I was too excited by all the happenings. Plus I could not stay lying down during the contractions which were now 7-8 minutes apart and getting stronger.
The turning point came at 3 45 when I went to the bathroom and all of a sudden, started having contractions every 2-3 minutes. I stayed in the bathroom for a bit because I felt more comfortable there but when I saw that they were not slowing down and also thought my water might have broken, I realized I needed to call Miriam back.
I called Miriam around 4 10 and told her I was ready for her to come ASAP. I also called my doula Leda who happened  to be on her way to the West Side anyway. She said if I was calling her on Shabbos, something must really be going on. It was a little strange making all these calls on Shabbos, but I knew it was the right thing to do. If anything I probably should have called earlier!
From here, everything went really fast. My husband asked the girls to stay so he could daven mincha. He would watch the kids till the end of shabbos and then put on a video for them. There was only 45 minutes left till the end of Shabbos so that seemed to make sense.
He also brought me some water. Meanwhile I decided to get in the shower to cope with the contractions. By now they were really intense but thankfully they were very short, maybe 30 seconds or so. Maybe 45. I wasn't timing anything at this point, just trying to get through one at a time. The shower was incredibly helpful. I let the water run down my back while leaning into the wall and moaning.
I could have just stayed there. I did not really want to move but I realized I was close to pushing and decided to call Miriam again to make sure she was really coming! Just as I came out of the bathroom, Miriam walked in. It was 4 45 and I was so relieved to see her. I told her I thought I was almost ready to push and she took one look at me and agreed. She checked the baby's heartbeat and said it sounded great.
About two contractions later, Leda walked in and I started to feel a real urge to push. At 4 57, with one of my first pushes, my water broke. At first I was pushing standing up but then I decided to move onto my bed. This was my first time pushing self-directed rather than the counting way they do in the hospital. It felt better this way to push when I felt the need to, rather than when the doctor tells you to. I could feel the baby moving down, although I could not see anything because of the position I was in.
At this point, Leda asked if she should go get my husband and take over the kids. I was very much in the moment and did not want her to leave my side. I also was not sure how he could be in the room for modesty reasons. Looking back, I regret that decision. I did not realize how soon the baby was going to be born and I wish he could have been there. I was also just really focused on getting the baby OUT. Throughout my labor I had been pretty calm and in control, even through what must have been transition while I was in the shower. But now I was starting to lose it and just wanted it to be over. With every push I kept asking if the head was crowning yet. I actually only pushed for 10 minutes but it felt like forever at the time. Finally I felt the baby crowning and the head emerged. I was assuming that from that point on, he would slide right out like the others did, but instead I felt incredible pain as his shoulders and the rest of his body came out. It was the only time in my labor when I actually screamed really loud. I remember saying, "What's going on?" because I thought something was wrong.
But then the baby was here! Miriam and Leda helped me turn from my knees onto my back and handed me the baby. They covered us in towels so we would be warm and I got my first look at the baby. I checked the gender and announced "It's a boy". He was covered in vernix and cried right away. In fact, Miriam said he started  making sounds before his whole body was even out. She also told me that the pain I had felt was him coming out straight with both shoulders, as opposed to rotating one shoulder at a time, so she had helped him along a bit. Even so, I only had a minor tear that did not need any repairs. The baby looked great. His APGARS were 9 and 10.

As soon as the baby was born and I was covered, Leda went to get my husband so he could meet our new baby. It was a very special moment. We were waiting to cut the cord until the placenta was out so I just lay there with the baby on me, getting to know him. I felt the cord pulsating, which was pretty cool. The baby cried a bit and at first he was not so interested in nursing but after 20-30 minutes, he latched on like a pro.
Soon after,I delivered the placenta and we cut the cord. The kids came in at some point to meet their new baby brother. They were very excited.

After about an hour, Miriam examined me to make sure my bleeding was normal (it was) and did a newborn exam on the baby. He measured 21 inches and weighed in at 8lbs 6 oz, although I think Miriam's scale might have been a bit off and he was probably more like 8 lbs 2 oz. He passed his newborn exam with flying colors- his color was good, all his reflexes were in order and, as a bonus,  he was beautiful!
I could not believe how normal everything had felt. I also was feeling very good for just having given birth. When I told Miriam that my perineum felt a bit sore, she laughed and said, "Well you did just have a baby come out of there!"  I got up to take a shower, while Leda and Miriam changed the sheets and cleaned up the room. The mess was pretty contained and it was easily done. I also got dressed so we could take some pictures with the baby.
Miriam left around 6 45 after making sure we were all settled and okay. She told me to call her anytime if I had any questions and that she was available to come back if I needed her. Leda stayed for a bit longer. She got some laundry started and brought me dinner- orange juice and cereal.
My husband put the kids to bed and called our parents to share the news. By 8 pm, everyone had left, the kids were sleeping and I was lying in bed with the baby. I marveled at him and at how smoothly things had gone. It's truly a miracle how one moment you are pregnant and then all of a sudden there is this little person. We felt incredibly blessed.

PS: I know a lot of you are curious about the logistics of home birth. I plan to do a more comprehensive post about it in the next few weeks, including frequently asked questions, the safety of homebirth, etc. so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

And his name is....

Aharon Yochanan, from hereon to be referred to as Baby AY. The bris was really beautiful, although I spent too much time on my feet and was exhausted afterwards. My husband gave an amazing speech, which I have yet to hear, explaining the significance of the name and praising me :) I am waiting on the audio recording. It was also nice to see so many people make an effort and come out to share in our celebration.
I had originally scheduled a babysitter to come watch the boys during the bris and bring them to shul a bit later. I did not think they could sit quietly and did want to have to worry about them running around the shul. As luck would have it, her alarm was set to vibrate and she overslept. This meant I had to reorient myself and get to shul with all four kids by by myself. Luckily we don't live too far and everyone cooperated. Once we got there though, I quickly lost both boys and could only hope someone was with them.
As the bris was going on, I was trying to focus and pray while Y was running back and forth from the men's to the women's section and M was attempting to swing himself over the banister. I thought to myself- I am not going to be upset. G'd clearly had a reason He wanted my boys to be at the bris...even though I myself did not want them there.
It worked out in the end. My mother pitched in and then a close friend saved the day by distracting M with her iPhone and making sure Y was accounted for and safe. My babysitter came at 9 30. She felt terrible and made up for it by taking all three of the kids and keeping them busy through the entire meal so I could eat and greet others :)
Baby AY is doing okay. He slept a lot and does not like having his diaper changed but he is a trooper. He and I are getting ready for another early night. I feel a little silly going to bed every night at 9 pm but I also know that that is what I need right now in order to regain my strength. Tomorrow the kids go back to school and I am planning on spending another morning in bed, snuggling with my little one.

Me and AY all ready for shabbos

Saturday, December 3, 2011

First Shabbos

I can't believe our little man is already a week old. On Friday night, I was very emotional. First at candle-lighting, when I added another candle for the baby, I started to cry. Then at the meal- my husband giving him a bracha and making kiddush for all of us made me tear up again. It just felt like the baby was now officially part of our family. It was very overwhelming- in a good way.
Today I kept thinking about last week, when I was in labor. All afternoon I had been timing contractions, wondering if this baby was still going to be born on shabbos. Then at 5 05 I thought about how he had just been born and how the midwife placed him in my arms  and I discovered that he was a was really a wonderful experience.
I do want to write up the story of his birth, before I forget anything. But tonight, I need to get a good night's sleep. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow- the Bris and Naming!