Friday, June 21, 2013

Leila's Life: 4 Years

I've written a lot about Leila already; in Hadley’s post, I draw comparisons between the twins several times.  Leila, our second born, is spunky, girly, and outspoken.  The most noticeable thing about Leila right now is that she chooses her own outfits, and unless I feel like the outfit is wrong for the weather or immodest, I don’t interfere.  Dresses or skirts are a requirement (in her mind); pants are only worn under skirts.  Matching is not required, multiple layers usually get added throughout the day, and a headband is usually worn like a flapper, right across the forehead.

Leila loves dancing, especially ballet.  Once she is in her “princess dress” (which is any dress) for the day, she becomes a ballerina and pretends that she’s going to ballet school.  Both of the twins are very excited that they get to attend Princess Dance Day Camp in July!  If I can, I’ll post a video of their “recital”.

I already mentioned that Leila is our extrovert.  She befriends anybody within minutes of meeting them.  That usually buys Hadley enough time to be introverted for a while without anybody noticing.  :)  It seems like she especially plays well with boys.  While out for ice cream with friends the other night, she and our friends’ four-year-old boy went far away from us, sat on a park bench together, and looked at the moon.  Both of us mothers nearly had a panic attack.  :)

While Hadley seems to enjoy being alone when she imagines, Leila has actually created imaginary friends, named Tyler and Eloise, to play with both of them.  Tyler and Eloise join them while playing, bathing, eating, and sleeping.  You just never know where they’ll show up next.  It’s cute.

Happy Fourth Birthday, Leila Lanie!  Our family is better because you are in it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hadley's Happenings: 4 Years

A couple of weeks ago, my big girls turned four!  I can’t believe it’s been four years since I gave birth two ways in 28 minutes.  (I love telling that story to new friends.  I usually just say some version of that sentence really nonchalantly and watch their faces while they try to figure it out.) :)

Our firstborn, Hadley, continues to be our sweet, quirky gal.  She’s quite introverted and tends to warm up to new situations quite a while after Leila has already jumped in with both feet.  One of my favorite things about her is how she finds a blanket or a towel to hide under when she’s really socially overwhelmed.  It’s her little coping mechanism.  Last week, however, Hadley broke out of her shell and befriended two little Amish girls at a Farmer’s Market all by herself.  It made my heart so happy.

When she’s with our little family, though, Hadley thrives on physical touch.  She’s constantly asking Tony or me to scratch her back or lightly tickle her arms.  She has a special bond with Tony and he can join her in her imaginary play world better than anybody else.  She’s great at including Marlowe while she plays, too, even though Marlowe never cooperates exactly.  :)  Of course, I can’t go without mentioning the special bond that Hadley and Leila have.  They are together for most of the day and night, and even though they have normal sibling moments, they never get tired of each other.  One personality is a perfect complement to the other, a natural rhythm of which they aren't even aware.

Hadley seems to be more connected to this pregnancy than the other girls as well.  She named the baby, “Baby Sally”, and asks more and more often if the baby is "out yet". 

She loves to dance, and while Leila likes to imitate ballet, Hadley’s dances are more like break dancing.  And, apparently, dancing is more fun when you don’t have any clothes on.  I haven’t tried it, personally.  :)

Happy Fourth Birthday, Haddie Lou!  Our family is better because you are in it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

26 Weeks & My Drug-Free Labor Decision

Here we are, the two of us, at 26 weeks!

I don't remember feeling those "third trimester" symptoms as early with my other pregnancies as I do this time.  I'm going to the bathroom more often, have to ask Tony for help because I'm "beached" on the couch already, and baby girl seems to be dancing on my bladder more than I remember at this point.  Oh, and I'm moving into what I call "Stage Three" maternity clothes.  And I don't want to hear from you ladies who pretty much wore the same maternity clothes the entire pregnancy.  Yes, I go through three sizes.  :)

Hadley and Leila turned four years old last week!  I promise to blog about them soon.  They bring so much laughter and joy into our lives.  Four years old is going to be a great age.

Today, though, I have something else on my mind.  As I mentioned before, I'm going to go through this labor and delivery "drug-free", and I want to write down some thoughts as we prepare for it.

Here's my history (if you don't know): when the twins were born in 2009, I got an epidural because complications occur more often with twins, and in the rare event that an emergency c-section is necessary, the epidural is already in place, which saves time getting to the distressed baby.  Rare event, they emphasized, but I was the lucky winner of that lottery -- Hadley was born vaginally, and Leila followed 28 minutes later after a placental abruption and emergency c-section.  Placental abruption is one of the riskiest things that can happen to a baby during delivery, and I'm so thankful that our team of doctors and nurses saw what was happening and delivered Leila safely.

Nearly 2 1/2 years later, when Marlowe was born via VBAC, Tony and I opted for the epidural again.  I think we were anxious about the VBAC - there's a small increase in risk when compared to a normal vaginal delivery - but also, it was what we knew and felt comfortable with.  The epidural was just what you do when you have a baby.  Everything went well, and Marlowe was born safely and happily.

This time around, before we even got pregnant, I knew that I wanted to give birth "naturally".  Something inside me was just nudging me toward that decision.  So, I've read the books.  I've talked to mothers who have given births all kinds of different ways.  Mostly, after all my research, I've decided that both sides ("pro-drugs" and "anti-drugs") are making broad generalizations about the other side that are not necessarily correct.  I felt like I needed to "take out the trash", figuratively, and decide what my own reasons are for pursuing natural labor this time.

Here's what I came up with: my three driving reasons for drug-free labor, from least important to most important:

3. Epidurals and scheduled inductions increase the likelihood of a c-section.  This is a fact.  Allowing your body to work in the way that God designed it, without interference, decreases your likelihood of major surgery and other complications.  (With that being said, I want to add that I understand the merits of each of these things at the right time.  They've been designed for a reason.)

2. It's my body, and I want to understand and be educated about what is happening to it when I give birth.  American women are severely under-educated about their own bodies.  Looking back after giving birth to three children, I find the hospital birthing class almost laughable.  There was absolutely no training on drug-free pain management techniques.  It's no coincidence that women are walking into the labor and delivery unit at the hospital, after attending the hospital birthing class, and going straight for the drugs.  They don't have a clue what they would do if they had to give birth drug-free.  I'm finally taking a personal responsibility to educate and empower myself.

1. I want to.  Without this desire, the other reasons wouldn't matter to me enough to change my mind.  I want to form a bond with the generations and generations of women who have given birth naturally.  I want to sweat and work with my husband, and feel the rush of oxytocin after the baby is born.

That's all.  These are probably not the reasons that other women choose to go drug-free.  And that's what makes this experience special and unique to me.  Even though there will be a great deal of pain, I'm genuinely looking forward to September ... but I guess that's mostly because we get to meet the newest member of our family.  And that's something that unifies all mothers, no matter how we give birth.