Thursday, March 19, 2009

Here Comes the Sun...

I never understood why people talk about the weather, and the plants that bloom with such passion until I moved to where the seasons change so markedly and the end of winter is truly the cause of celebration. We are certainly celebrating the return of the sun, and days that feel like they are 'normal' length after our short and dark winter days. Equinox is just a day away, and we are singing 'sun sun sun here it comes!' After Saturday there is officially supposed to be more than 12 hours of light a day.

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter.
And now the smiles are returning to the faces!

This new moon, mother earth wakes up from her winter nap, and the world celebrates it with resurrection festivals and Easter by the full moon. We welcome Spring time, new beginnings, the sunrise, the direction of EAST, the time of Easter, the element of air, baby chicks, and of life energy bursting through the cracks and new things taking hold.

We are all new beginnings over here. It is wonderful to have had a baby in sync with the change of seasons, to have hibernated all huge tired and pregnant in the dark swedish winter, and to have a new baby when the springtime is coming and the sunshine starts filtering back in.

Ten Days Old
Sweet Smudgey Baby Kisses
The day I was in labor was the first day we saw flowers in our yard- the little white snow drops that are the first to show up. Now they are opening. And SwedeGirl transplanted a few yellow flowers from school that are known as winter evaders, or tricksters, or something like that. Little yellow flowers that are known to be amongst the first to emerge. And this lovely purple blossom
showed up in the yard today And we have crocuses popping up in our mossy yard. And other wild yellow buds are poking through.
Today was sunny and pretty warm and there is no question the return of spring is near.
Ah, sunlight!!!
We (ok, SwedeDaddy) cleared out the recycling that had been piling up today, and it felt like some purgative spring cleaning. I followed around with the baby in the sling in the sunshine looking at the yard. It's our first year in the house so we are not sure what will come back and what is dead and gone as far as the plants go. We are excited to see our bare branches come back alive soon! In the summer, you could not see our house from the road. So here is shot from today, still looking bare. But with the spring signs showing, there is promise for more green to come!
I am still in recovery from having a baby mode, but the infectious energy of spring is brewing in me. I am thinking of what life will bring this year, of projects I am looking forward to doing, and of the new type of life this sunny new season marks the begining of. I am not doing, just thinking. Just imagining the flowers and berries to come, and wondering what life in Sweden with two little girls will be like come summer.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Labor and Birth Story

Click on the picture below for a PG-rated photo montage of labor and birth.

(Windows Media Player will open, and please be patient, it might take a while for the video to start playing)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Baby Land

So that's where we are, floating in new baby land.... I feel a bit run down, and am sleeping lots, but feel TONs better than I did after my c-section birth, which is making me oh so grateful for the great home birth we had. Maybe I'll get a post in sometime about the birth, about labor. Wow. It was hard, but great, too. If it's gonna be hard, I say let it be at home and in a big warm tub of water, though, for sure! If I am going to be uncomfy, let it be in the best of possible circumstances- as it was.

I have not had the energy for all keeping all my favorite postpartum aids coming until today. I made a new batch of postpartum tea, my special favorite healing soup, and need to refresh some other healing aids. It would be lovely to have had a helper around who could magically do all that for me, who knew just what to do already. But life is pretty good having support of Swededaddy so I can rest and focus on baby.

I am sleeping lots, but the SwedeDaddy is doing dishes, getting food ready, entertaining the 4 year old, who is adjusting and a bit demanding. So he is pooped. He is asleep now, and I think it's his first real recovery sleep!

So life in new baby land....The baby sleeps, makes a little grunt, and nurses, and grunts again later indicating a need for a diaper change, but other than that, life is easy. She is sleeping, nursing, and has eyes open a few hours a day to stare lovingly at the closest available family member.

In terms of is first baby harder or easier? First was way harder, this seems *almost* easy now. It was such an adjustment then, and I was in so much more pain and it was all just more trying, more drama. However, what we have gained in benefit from experience, and in terms of less pain from a better/ recovery period, is made up for by having an energetic other kid around. She is overall doing very well. She likes to play baby and do what the baby is doing (fake crying is a very annoying sound, by the way), and is just recently 4. Which means she is like a big puppy now anyway, romping and playing and needing to learn how to be gentle and move slowly near the baby. Her pace is a step up from sleepy new baby land, for sure!

She has a name now, but since I don't use them on the blog, you'll just have to email me to find out!!!

SwedeBaby FeetSwedeNakeyBabySwedeSistersSwedeSisters Cuddletime

Proud Sister
Recovering MommaSwedeBaby! Welcome SwedeBaby, The Zero Birthday Party. Me and My Girls!Pooped Papa

Sleepy Swedie Pie

Monday, March 9, 2009

Announcing: Our Second Baby!!!!

A girl born 3-9-09 at home in the water at 1:30 am, weighs 8.2 lbs/ 3.7 kilos.

So 'second baby' what we still call this sweet new daughter, who we thought would be a son! We had a good boy name....

Turns out my last post was an early labor project, things began while writing it, and picked up from there, resulting in a baby born in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Everyone is well, healthy, and tired!

Fresh out!

Welcome to the world!

Dad and daughter crash at the end of Day 1

Sister cuddles

On the blanket made by our friends for the new baby! The strings from our blessing way, time to cut them off!!!
This baby gets to be welcomed to the world by it's Swedish Family!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Late Pregnancy Preparations:
The Space and The Birth Supplies

By my measure it is my due date, by BVC (the swedish health clinic), it's not till Tuesday. But here I am. Pregnant, and braced for a possible two more weeks of it since my daughter was late.

I started feeling really clear baby can come any time now as of yesterday, and I have been having some tightening that makes me hopeful it may not be a full two more weeks, but like I said, I hestitate to get any hopes up.

We are planning for the baby to be born at home, and so have a few special preparations ready. Especially since I am a homebirth midwife, I like to have all my little remedies and comfort measures ready. I have way more home remedy stuff than a home birther in the US would need to have on hand, as the US midwife would bring many of these things along. I use a number of things not commonly used in Sweden, so it is comforting to have my familiar stuff on hand. I have these things because I had them for my midwifery practice.

We also are working on keeping up with dishes and laundry so the baby can make it's enterance into to a tidy and beautiful home. This is made much easier by SwedeDaddy's recent addition of a ***>;~DISH WASHER ~;<** to our home. So great.

And I have been busy making food to have snacks on hand for labor, to eat after birth, and for the first days postpartum. If the baby is late, this postpartum food stash will just grow, but we are OK in a minimum sense on the food front for now.

Otherwise, here are a few things we have
prepped for home birthin' ....

The extra Sheets and plastic sheets for the bed. When labor starts, you make the bed with old sheets on top, with a plastic sheet under it over a nice clean set of regular sheets. That way after birth you pull of the top sheet and plastic, wash it, and you are all set with fresh sheets to recover upon. There are also baby blankets for receiving the new one here, and a heating pad that will keep them toasty and warm before the emergence.
The all important birth pool!!!! Yes, its a kiddy fishy pool, but it's the right depth and height. We have a heat exchange system that provides infinite hot water, so I choose the bigger tub since keeping it warm will not be much of a problem for our water heating system. This gets set up with the shower curtain underneath, the hose attached to the sink to fill, and the pump to get it all full. DON'T FORGET to PLUG THE DRAIN!!!
Labor Box: This has my midwife supplies of doppler and BP cuff, because I thought I might as well get them out. But otherwise it has massage tools, a rice sock for warming and keeping on my abdomen, some underpads.
Here is the birth and postpartum box-
a peri bottle, a baby hat and diapers, a few other comfort measures.

And for remedies and herbs....

From Andy (thanks) the Rescue Remedy Pastilles- used for any occasion when things get intense and you feel like freaking out. Like perhaps, birth!

The essential oils I have gathered that are birthy- favorites, and a little battery powered diffuser. I like clary sage for making things STRONGER, lavender for keeping things calm, lemon and rosemary for pepping up a tired crew. And some of Earth Essentials blends from Light, Postpartum oil smells so good, and Peaceful Arrival for exactly that.

My homeopathic birth kit is ready. I have this from my midwife practice and for home remedies. Sweden is NOT big on homeopathics, in fact they are barely used at all and not widely available. Arnica is invaluable as a aid to swelling and bruising after birth, and for sore muscles that have worked hard. Hypericum (St. John's Wort) helps nerves heal, and there are others to help tissues heal fast. Some are good for stalled labor, or for minor bleeding. The remedies were useful to me in my practice, and while i do not know I will be in the space to self diagnose anything, I find them comforting to have on hand! And I WILL Use the ARNICA!

The Midwives here do not use herbs tinctures, so I pulled mine out- cotton for increasing oxytocin's power if things get sluggish, Wombstringe as a bleeding preventative, angelica if the placenta is slow in coming...and a mix of others for comfort and progress if need be.

After Birth, I used to give mamas Shepard Purse/ Pennyroyal tea. Shepard's purse staunches bleeding and acts as an astringent, pennyroyal empties the womb of any remaining bits and blood. I have mine ready for tea to be given right after birth. And I also have an herbal Sitz bath mix for soothing soaks after birth- for use in the peri bottle, in compresses, or in a bathtub. My mix consists of antiseptic sea salt, astringent yarrow and shepard's purse, and tissue healing comfrey and calendula.

Monday, March 2, 2009

When we still had snow...

Our snow has long since melted and we now have the type of weather one fears when moving to a winter climate- gray and stark. But I realized I never put up these photos of the Swedish countryside covered in snow, so I am posting retroactively.

Here are just farmland pictures from our drive one Sunday to a store. A reminder of how pretty things are in just a common, everyday way. On of the things we love is that while many things are the same distance from us as they were in Florida, here in the same travel time we go over hills, through farmland, and past old churches and little villages, seeing a variety of place and a sense of change with each turn. Very different than driving 30 minutes in Florida on a big busy road that is a monotonous drive past McDonald''s, Walmart, gas stations, and strip mall after strip mall.

The remains of the last harvest poking through the snow
Snowy Hills and little Swedish red farmhouses

The Windmill on the Hill near SwedeGirl's school

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We had some pictures taken....

The woman who sold us this fabulous house moved on so she could have a photo studio in her home. So with my belly growing ripe, we thought we would go visit her new digs, and have a few pregnancy pictures taken, since we had done this with my first pregnancy.

Click on this photo and link here for the first preview.....

If you live in Skåne, she is a great photographer, and will gladly do a family sitting for you too!!! Check out her website, watermarked on the picture. Her site won best European photoblog! If you can't get her contact info, let me know, I'll pass it on.

PS. Blessings to the powers of PhotoShop for removing my strech marks.