June 4, 2019
A year ago today! I can’t believe he’s already a year old. Time seemed to move slower with Miles. Life is also busier these days, partially because we now have two kids, but we’re also busy working towards airstream life, I’m doing more photography and working on building that. My life as a mother feels more balanced because Daniel and I have worked out a schedule to be able to share the “load” of parenting more equally and that is something I wish for everyone, it’s been so amazingly different. I’m so glad to have been in a place where we need less than the average family and so it’s ok that we make less, to be able to enjoy this season of life with less resentments.
I want to first share his monthly pictures I was determined to keep up with, some pictures were (way) late, I think one month i got it early, and the first three months were all on time. I almost gave up but pushed through and it’s done! And I’m honestly kind of relieved haha. But at the same time I feel like I’m in shock or something that he’s already a year old. Time just flew by. With Miles I was excited and happy for him to turn one, but with Sage I’m feeling the sadness that I hear most parents/mothers express, the sadness I didn’t understand when Miles turned one. I UNDERSTAND. Gah it’s so real. My baby is one!
I’ve been tearing up a lot lately. I realized part of the sadness is also noticing the contrast with how big Miles has gotten, especially compared to Sage. That not long ago Miles was as small as Sage. I broke down the other day talking to Daniel about that, and how I don’t remember Miles being that little or what he did or sounded like and how grateful I am for the technology of videos and photographs. Lately it’s as if everything Miles and Sage say and do are the cutest, sweetest, heart bursting things I’ve ever witnessed. Things like, Miles telling Sage “you are my sweetest heart,” or the way Sage just marvels at Miles and smiles at him constantly, Sage started signing “milk” for anything he wants this past month and making similar sounds along with the sign, Miles insisting we sing our bedtime song (the Barney “I love you” song) and all take turns, each time he always says “… and a kiss to me to you” and smooches to Sage before continuing the song. I. CAN’T. HANDLE. IT.
Sage isn’t walking/standing on his own yet, which is kind of surprising to us, but he loves to hold hands and walk along with us. He stands accidentally and promptly sits down once he realizes we’ve let go, haha. He’s signing “milk” and pointing to things as he says “oooooo” looking at you with wide-eyes. He’s wearing 12-18 month clothes, some of which Miles got for his 2nd birthday. We are enjoying life as a family of four and I am daily grateful for the kindness Miles shows towards his brother and also appreciative of the way he expresses his (understandable) frustrations in a way that’s mostly non-violent towards his brother. Don’t get me wrong, things get real crazy around here sometimes, but mostly, they get along really well and that was my biggest fear when we decided to add another little bean to the mix.
After these monthly pictures I’m sharing his birth story if that’s something you’re into. And, if you make it to the end (even if you don’t read it all), I’d love to hear your thoughts and hear any of your experiences, with birth, second children, or first children! Drop a comment at the bottom and let me know 🙂
I made an instagram post about two weeks after he was born. Some tender words from a second time mama with an image of my pink babe and still-swollen body. I think it’s meaningful to share it here along with his birth story: love for you took time to develop, it wasn’t immediate the way it was with your brother. a part of me is ashamed to admit that out loud. another part has figured out exactly why it was this way. i nursed you and held you the way any new mother would, but i somehow felt empty and unsure. even though we had planned for you and anxiously awaited your arrival, i had unknowingly lifted up a barrier to protect the relationship i had with your sweet brother. to protect him from feeling left out or less than in anyway. because a family of four is a big change for him, but it’s all you’ll ever know. days passed and the warmth in my heart grew as i watched his immediate love and concern for you, and the sweet sound of papa rocking and whispering to you in the dark hours of the early morning. forehead kisses now come more natural. you’re an angel sweet boy. please don’t be confused, i hope you feel how loved you truly are. these last two weeks have been a dream, i’m so glad to have you here with us.
This is going to be long, so feel free to read as much or as little as you like. Or, feel free to skip to the end for probably way too many pictures for a blog post but I couldn’t narrow it down anymore than this of his last year! But if you like birth stories, I think it’s a good one 🙂
My labor with Sage was different than with Miles in a lot of ways. I’ll try not to compare the whole time, for some reason it’s really hard not to do that. I was imagining most of my pregnancy that he would come early, which turned into hoping he would because I was in a lot of physical pain and so ready for it to be over. At 40 weeks I said I would start doing some of the “old wives tale” methods to try and get labor started. I got a massage a few days before, I walked under the full moon, I ate spicy food, drank strong raspberry tea… and another week went by.
Monday night I took a warm bath with Miles, and put clary sage in the bath for good measure. I stayed up later than Daniel, catching up on Grey’s Anatomy. I was lying in bed and on my phone for a little bit, I began to notice some mild contractions, not anything I hadn’t experienced before, but at 40+ weeks I was more on the look out for any sign of labor, waiting to see if another one would come after. I felt about five in a row. I was texting my friend at the time, she asked what I was doing up so late (I think it was now 11pm), I casually replied “waiting to see if another contraction comes.” I told her not to get all excited yet, but she did anyway, and starting making plans to come out just in case, haha! A few minutes later I felt like I needed to pee, just as I was going to get up my water broke on the bed and I rushed to the bathroom. The weirdest thing! My water broke in the bathtub with Miles so I hadn’t experienced that before. I had to wear some of my post-labor pad diaper things for the rest of the time because it never fully stopped. So I rushed to the bathroom and tried to yell for Daniel without waking up Miles, but they both stayed asleep. I went to get Daniel and we both went downstairs very excited. I called our midwife, Kellie, and she wanted us to keep her posted and that she may end up coming out just to be there even if it meant she would just be coming out to sleep for a while. Since we lived about an hour and a half away from her, better safe than sorry. We were also expecting my labor to be pretty short since it was my second and Miles’ actual labor was “only” 6 hours. I made some strong raspberry tea and went walking around the pond with my mom and Daniel. I was determined to keep the labor going. We went around the pond twice and then came back inside to layer the master bed with plastic sheets and thrifted sheets. I was going to lay down and try to get some rest when Miles woke up, so I went back upstairs to lay with him and get him back asleep.
I laid in bed trying to rest with Miles. Daniel came up to tell me that Kellie had arrived and said we should try and get some rest. My contractions grew stronger and I started vocalizing. Daniel went downstairs and came back up with Kellie so she could check on me and listen to Sage during the next couple of contractions. I couldn’t rest any longer so I gently squeezed and kissed Miles on the forehead and went downstairs before things escalated too much and we weren’t in the right room (we live in the garage apartment and planned to be in my mom’s master bedroom with the large jacuzzi tub as we were with Miles) haha. I laid on mom’s bed and labored with Daniel for some time. I was getting frustrated because I kept thinking I wasn’t actually in labor because although the contractions were getting stronger, they never felt consistent, in length and the distance between each one, like with Miles. I had arranged with a fellow photographer to come capture his birth, but we waited too long to call her because I wasn’t sure what was happening (she got there very soon after he was born and capture some sweet moments that I’m so grateful for). I wanted to get in the shower, so Kellie and Daniel helped up and into the large shower. I thought I’d stand but it was uncomfortable to stand straight or bend over so I sat down and let the water hit my back. I noticed my mom and Daniel left and came back after a while with Miles. They were watching me, I could tell Daniel was explaining to him what was happening, he wore a look of concern and wonder (I think it was about 4am). I had wanted some food earlier, someone made me eggs and bacon, I ate a couple of bites and soon after threw them up in the shower. I stayed in there for a couple more contractions before deciding it was time to get out.
Kellie helped dry me off and I walked back to the bed. I was on my hands and knees for a while, I could tell I was getting close to pushing, I felt anxious, and was moving around on the bed quiet a bit between contractions. I was worried about the pushing part this time around. I tore a lot with Miles and had a pretty rough afterbirth experience because of that and my uterus didn’t clot as quickly as it was supposed to after I had him, so I lost more blood than I should have, so I was very weak on top of the pains from his birth. I had shared these concerns with Kellie, she even said at one of our appointments that I was a different person this time, more concerned and having more anxieties contrasted to my confidence with Miles. Which was unusual because that was my first. Kellie was telling me it would be a good time for me to get on my side so that I could try to prevent tearing this time around. I really didn’t want to move from where I was, it felt like too big of a hurdle to get from hands & knees to my side, but I knew she was right. After the next contraction ended I quickly collapsed to my side, literally like the beached whale that I felt like, hahaha.
Daniel was at the foot of the bed holding my hand with one of his and cradling my head with the other, rubbing my shoulders and back. I was having a hard time figuring out what to do with the leg that was on top and eventually got a cramp from trying to hold it up, my mom came over and helped hold it up for the remainder of my labor. I looked at Dan with tears in my eye because the photographer wasn’t there and we hadn’t set up the gopro video like I’d wanted (we didn’t record Miles’ birth and I wish we had so I could see it through different eyes). I noticed my brother, Danny and his girlfriend there, my dad and Miles, and my mom’s boyfriend, Pat all in the doorway watching and supporting me on this journey. I got excited and told Daniel to ask Danny to get the gopro figured out. I’m so glad they did, it was just in time too. So insane to go back and watch and listen to that video. Yikes! I began pushing soon and I remember the pressure of baby’s head making his way down, I became concerned again, worried about tearing and starting crying. Something inside me overcame that quickly and remembered the mantra I had created to use with intention during labor. I started telling myself that I was strong and flexible, my body was designed to stretch and remain intact, I repeated this to myself over and over throughout the last few pushes.
Miles was standing on the side of the bed in front of me, vocalizing with me, sometimes laughing in an awkward and loud way. I noticed him and thought it was funny and sweet in between waves but once the contractions started again it was honestly disruptive and irritated me a lot. I didn’t know how to ask him to stop without being unkind so I just tried to block it out which made laboring very difficult—to split my attention in that way, luckily we were towards the end and I didn’t have to do that for too long. Either that or he stopped, I don’t remember.
He was born and Kellie brought him to my belly, I closed my eyes and dropped my head onto Daniel’s arm with a big sigh of relief. Kellie told me to reach down and grab my baby, but I swear I still fell his feet inside me. I laughed and said he’s not all the way out yet! She pulled his bottom up towards me and I worried that he wasn’t making a sound yet, she assured me he was fine. We rubbed his belly and he let out a soft gurgley cry.
I looked up at Miles to see what his reaction to this grand event, he was looking at Sage and looked back at me and smiled. I looked up into Daniel’s teary eyes and smiled. I looked down at this wet, red, squishy babe, with lots of dark hair and a big round head. Then came more mild contraction like feelings for the placenta. Kellie was tugging on it lightly, with Miles I had some issues with that so she was on alert for it this time. Placenta came out, no problems. I was holding Sage close to my belly and Kellie suggested I pull him up to try and start nursing. I laid on my side and he latched on pretty easily. I placed my hand on his belly and looked at his wet hair. Miles asked if we were going to throw him away. I laughed and said “No, of course not. He’s going to stay with us for a long time.” He asked that several times that day, and the next day or two. I remember talking with my mom about it, wondering why he thought to ask that question. I think because there were lots of pads and towels being thrown into trash bags, and it was all, in a way, kind of “a mess” being cleaned up. I remember one time I responded to that same question “Do you want us to?” and Miles’ face got very serious and he said “No” and shook his head.
Kellie went somewhere and then came back, tending to afterbirth things, I’m not sure. I didn’t think Sage was that big, but Kellie made some comment about him being big, and we said “Really?” she said, “Oh yea, he’s at least 10 pounds!” I was shocked, haha I had no idea, even after admiring him for a few minutes, I didn’t think he was that big. Maybe I was in denial that I had birthed a “10lb baby” seemingly easy (Kellie had told me it didn’t look like there were any tears, and I felt great in comparison to Miles). He nursed for a long time, hours.
At some point I sat up and was sitting against the headboard with Daniel next to me. My mom had taken Miles into the other room and they came in occasionally to check on us. Sage was finally done nursing and Kellie was going to take him to weigh and measure him. We all took guesses on his size. June 5th at 6:30am 10lb 12oz and 23in long. Wow. When they came back Daniel and Miles, together, cut the umbilical cord while Sage nursed again.
I was conscious to keep Sage close to me that first day. I noticed throughout Miles’ life that he’s been very attached to me and hit that “stranger danger” phase pretty quick and it almost seemed as if it never left. He’s always been very attached and also concerned about me. I have done a lot of emotional healing through various methods, uncovering past hurts and traumas of my early childhood that have had effects on my life and the way I make decisions and react to situations, “The way I am.” Doing emotional work to grow as a person and be more aware of things in my own life so that I can be a bigger and better person. Spread love and working hard to put a stop to the vicious cycles of harsh communication and addictions that have run so deep in my family for generations. Anyway, I often wonder if the way Miles was taken away from me those first several hours affected his sense of safety and attachment to me. Daniel and I needed the rest desperately (I had been awake with on and off labor for 30+ hours) and he was in the hands of family who loved him and brought him to nurse anytime he looked to be searching for me. This could be for a hundred different reasons and maybe I put too much pressure on myself to make things “right.” But I also think it’s super important, so I give myself grace and I also hold it with the upmost importance.