Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Heroes

Above all I made it through that 33 hour labor with tons of love and support. My birth team was a dream.
Sara: Cathy’s apprentice. Because she lives only a few blocks from me she was there for me at a moments notice. During pregnancy she helped me feel like I was awesome at growing a baby! She came to me in early labor and rubbed all the parts of me to help labor start. She was excited with me and enforced the positive energy in the apartment. 
 Kellee: my doula AND sister who was with me every step of the way, in pregnancy, labor and the birth. She hasn’t attended a ton of births yet, but she is the kind of doula you want. She entertains you, talks to you, relieves your pain, holds you, makes eye contact always. She encouraged me in all the right ways. She knew what I wanted and honored it. She is open minded and unselfish. If you want her as your doula let me know.
Brittany: The Photographer/Best Friend. I never realized how important documentation of this event would be to me. Brittany was the perfect addition to the group. She was in the action getting the perfect photo. But she was also my incredible constant friend, which she has always been ever since I’ve known her. She was there the longest, entertaining anxious Paul and I on Sunday evening to the final photos of Yosemite’s footprints. She was lighthearted and could make me laugh. She also pointed out many of the precious moments that happened as they came, and later when she brought me the photos and even wrote her own perspective on my birth. 

Cathy: My midwife. From day one she trusted my body to do what the female body has done for eons. She calmed my nerves every time I worried about things from too much exercise to my low iron levels. When the labor happened she was always calm. She was hands off in a way that reinforced the idea that me and my body were doing exactly what they should be doing. She knew when to call for help and relied upon her midwife community, a community where women will jump out of bed at 4 in the morning to come stitch up a complete stranger.
Lori: My mama. She was just what a women needs in the baring of her first child. She set about (with Becky) making food for everyone throughout the 33 hours. She even made meals to freeze for Paul and I later. She, knowing me very well, never discouraged me and gave me perfect encouragement. Looking back at the time when I was worried I couldn’t have her there because she might have negative suggestions is so foreign to me now, I needed her and she was wonderful. 
 Becky: Paul’s mom. She was a last minute addition to our team, asking me on Sunday afternoon if she could just be there, in the other room. Of course she was welcome and as soon as labor really was going on Monday I felt comfortable with her there and told her to be in the room. She was a huge support for Paul. He was tired and doing everything he could for me so Becky rubbed his back and made sure he was fed and happy. She never criticized the process of home birth, even though I knew she worried for me. After the birth she was able to stay the rest of the night and hold Yosemite while Paul slept and I was stitched up.

Liz: The last minute magic midwife. She came at Cathy’s call in the middle of the night and filled our home with a new warm energy. She, as a finishing student, was creative and incredibly helpful. She brought a fresh breath to all the team so that we could pull together and finish the birth successfully. I will never forget her steady eye contact that calmed my soul. So grateful Cathy called on Liz to help.

Paul: My Rock, My Husband, My everything. Paul was just magnificent, when I started my research on labor and birth he was ready to learn it all with me. He took a hypnobirthing class with me. He encouraged me to research all my options. When I got anxious about things he helped me feel like everything was okay. When I was in labor he was Kellee’s equal in Doula-ship. And even more he had the strength to hold my tired body at every turn. He walked with me, rubbed me, held me, sang with me, blessed me. He knew what was going on and never was afraid. He had the courage I needed, and I gained that from him when he looked in my eyes. I love that man, everyday I love him more. When I look at Yosemite I fall in love with her Dad. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Birth of Yosemite


Our lives have changed forever with no regret. (Marni, this is the perfect opening to this letter to Yosemite that you’re writing. I get scared of change sometimes, but it’s always only BEFORE the change occurs. Afterward, I look back with gratitude at what brought on the change. Yosemite is here in my life because of you. I can’t express how grateful I am to you for that. I have felt closer to God every day since we met. The relationship we have is so pure and special; we’ve worked together with love and honesty. I think that is why God has sent Yosemite to us—she is a very great soul. Thank you for your elegance, and sweet determination. I admire you in every way. Love ya! –Pablo**Daddy-o)

It started slowly Saturday evening, contractions of different intensities and just about 10 minutes apart. I was having practice labor throughout the week so I decided since I had been sitting for 2 hours we should walk to see if it would go away. Luckily they didn’t and I got excited. I tried to sleep but when contractions got a little stronger I couldn’t wait. I called Cathy and she said that I had better try to sleep, every last rest I could get would be critical (but little could I foresee that). Sunday came and we just went on with routine. Going to Paul’s sisters’ farewell and luncheon after. I was getting impatient. When was this labor really going to kick into gear!? I felt so on edge because I kept feeling like it was going to slip away and I’d have to wait another week for Yosemite to come!
            By evening we were at home again, Paul and I napped, but I didn’t really nap and Paul napped a lot. We walked again. Earlier in the day I had sent a message to my birth troops to give a heads up. Brittany, our photographer and my best friend said she was too excited to wait around and wanted to come entertain us a little. I was very grateful for fresh energy. She brought me a letter of love attached to a jar with roses and different teas. We played phase 10 and Sara, my midwife’s apprentice, came to see how I was doing. She helped things pick up a little by rubbing my pressure points and using marjoram oil.
            At this point I felt a shift, things were happening, this was the start of my labor it was Sunday evening and I had a long road a head, but the energy of birth was starting to rise. Cathy sent over Liz a midwife student who could check my cervix. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to hear that I wasn’t dilated at all and the cervix was hard, but while she was on her way, Brittany said to me “okay what’s the worst that could happen… no dilation and no cervix softening.” Once she said that I thought okay I can handle hearing that. When she came she was gentle and surprised us by telling me I was at about a 3 or 4. I was happy I was not expecting that.  We called Paul’s family to come have a drum circle a tradition we love. With all the instruments brought together someone will start the beat and people will join in on a drum, Indian flute, guitar, or even a didgeridoo. The family came and lacking our brother-in-law’s drums they made due with 2 handmade doumbek drums, the Indian flute and a whole bunch of Tupperware. It was getting late and I could feel that birth energy dying down, so after a quick beat, where I danced around the room, I sent the group home so we could try to rest again.

 My mom and my doula/sister came close to midnight, and Paul’s mom came back after the drum circle, Brittany was there already snapping photos. I knew now the importance of rest and we all went about to settle down. After laying down the contractions became further apart I didn’t want that to happen so Paul and I got up and went about eating delicious snacks with everyone asleep around me. Kellee (my sister) being my ever constant, came and ate with us, during which time I would pipe up, “big one” or “medium” for each contraction. Kellee wrote down the times and pretty soon the contractions were all 5 minutes or less apart. I called Cathy and Sara and within the next 2 hours both were there and things were moving. Again Cathy’s advice was sleep and rest. And we all tried. Morning came and things were moving along nicely. I was certain she would come that afternoon, contractions steadily getting stronger and stronger. However it wasn’t fast enough, so we started using different herbal tinctures and concoctions.
It wasn’t long before things picked up more. Little did I know how much we needed the tinctures, labor could have lasted much longer than it did. It was around 3 in the afternoon and we were still 12 hours out. I had high hopes that she’d be there by early evening. The pain intensified, I was finally feeling a pain I had not anticipated, as much as I geared myself up for pain 10X greater than what I had ever felt, nothing can prepare you enough. I started relying on my rock, Paul more and more. I was in enough pain to cry and cry, I didn’t know there would be pain that would take me beyond tears into exhaustion. For now it was these tender tears that I shed that made me feel comforted. I put all my weight on Paul’s knees as I started to cope with this strong pain, and as I cried I began to sing. It must have come from some place inside of me where I felt the need to sing myself a lullaby to calm down. I sang “Scarborough fair”, “Grown Ocean” and “Sim Sala Bim”, and Paul sang with me. Brittany told me later there was not a dry eye in the room. It was then that the energy of the moment melded us together in this event, bonded forever.

 I was checked sometime after that and I was at 8cm, but it was at this point that Cathy felt a lip on my cervix. I never thought twice about it, I trusted Cathy so much. She wanted me to try pushing, before the urge to push was there so that she could, with her fingers, gently push the cervix lip over Yosemite’s head while I pushed. After the first try at pushing I lost my calm focus on contractions, when one would come I would tense and scream, then Paul would lock eyes with me and I would sound my primal yalp as I pushed. We did this again and again with no avail. Cathy then did something that surprised me she called someone else to come help. It was Liz who had checked me almost 24 hours before when this whole thing started. She brought a whole new energy to the group; it was much needed, for all our exhausted minds and bodies. She went to check the cervical lip and right then a surge came, I grabbed her arm and made eye contact with her, she made contact right back and helped me through the contraction. The lip had swollen so we proceeded to ice it, putting little pieces of ice up inside and right on it. Pretty soon the swelling had subsided and it was time to get that lip over her head!
Ever since the pain had exceeded what I thought I could handle, I kept thinking “I want out, I want it to stop”, and as I would come out of a contraction and look around; I was so confused that no one else was saying this too. Then a little sense would kick in and I would realize well if we’re not moving on to plan B then Plan A much still be working. So then my internal dialog would change to “I can do this, I can do THIS!” It took a lot of praying too, I was praying, Paul was praying, my mom was praying, Kellee was praying. I think everyone had a little prayer in their hearts. I was exhausted, feeling like I was in this never ending cycle, I wanted Yosemite here so badly, every pain I prayed she would just come!
            Lo and behold we had success, Liz had Paul lean against the wall and hold me tight so that I could hang all my weight on him and depend on gravity to let her down. After a few contractions of this, Liz got that cervical lip over Yosemite’s head! Everyone was so wonderful as this was happening. This was terrifying and so painful for me, but every single soul in that room was so positive, and so encouraging. My mom who I thought would be the hospital advocate at this point was instead saying in my ear things like, “you’re doing great! She’s almost here, relax you can do it!”
            That urge to push finally came! In my family we used to take road trips to our cousin’s house in San Diego, that was always a long drive when you’re a kid and it was a miracle when we’d finally pass under rainbow bridge, that was the sign that we were almost there and the energy in the van would shift and we’d laugh and chatter the last 30 minutes of our drive. Well reaching that urge to push was kinda like that, except we were all so tired. But in my head I knew that Yosemite was going to be out soon, and two hours later…. She was.
 As I pushed, I wished every time that it was the time she’d crown. This was a long process, Earlier during labor I once asked Cathy, “when will this end?” She said that I had been saying “open, surrender” that whole time, but when I was really ready to surrender, when I really wasn’t afraid anymore, and when Yosemite was truly ready, then she would come. So in the birth pool, with all the lights off, everyone sleeping around me (except Kellee, my guardian angel) I became focused, determined. Yosemite was coming out, and I was going to get her here. The pain was there, but at this point I knew it wouldn’t be going away until she came out. When she started to crown and I looked down and saw her head and decided it was now or never, I pushed hard and instead of the gradual crowning, then head, then body, it was BAM all baby in one push, “like a pea shot from a pea gun” my mom said later. Brittany caught the moment all in Paul’s face.
          Up on my chest she went, all warm and small. She breathed life more into me then into herself. Paul was crying and from the pictures you can tell I was beyond tired and totally in another world. Yosemite was alert and calm. It was life changing and is life changing to become a mama. And Paul kept saying the whole next week, he would never ever go back to life without her.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yosemite in the City

The saying, "pictures tell a thousand words" may be true, but whether or not they tell the truth is debatable. I wouldn't want you to get too attached to any notion from this picture that the whole campout was a smiley piece of pie. Lots of it was, but no great adventure ever went just as planned. Let's just say the moment this picture was taken was indeed blithesome. 
Here we are starting out. I have just picked up my cousin Keaton and we're ready to take off to the City of Rocks. Yosemite gives her shout of approval... or maybe she's yawning... or hungry...? 
The initial excitement was too much and she slept most of the way.
At the gates of the City we were stopped by a heard of cows blocking the road. The head cow herder had us drive up through them honking as we went. I think he just wanted us to speed up his job. 
Site 60 is probably one of the most beautiful in the reserve. Yosemite's first real look at the great outdoors was one of amazement. I wonder if she has ever felt the world so open around her before.
Here's her travel bed. She took to it easily and slept like she does at home. What a trooper!
Wanted to see how comfortable she really was sleeping outside. She enjoyed the hammock for about 3 seconds.
Sunny outdoor outfit. After this was taken, it got really hot and we should have driven home right then. Instead we climbed a little, ate lunch and climbed some more. I was very excited to be outside, very excited to have my little girl with me and very excited to climb and all that kept me from wanting to see that she wasn't having all that much fun in the hot sun (neither was my sweet wife). We didn't start driving home till about 2pm. Yosemite got a little heat exhaustion but recovered quickly as Marni kept her hydrated and cool.
If there's anything to be learned, it's that Yosemite rocks at camping, but the heat can be dangerous. I'm so proud of my little girl and her incredible mother for taking this adventure with their over-excited dad. the City of Rocks is a diamond of a destination and one of the most beautiful places we've been privileged to visit, but nothing is as precious as my very own family. Peace out. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It is crack time!

I wish I had thought of this...
I found this online and decided to make one. It may not look like much, but it has several uses:

First and foremost, it serves as a training weight for crack climbing.
                                         Perfect fist jam
                                          Hand Jams
                           Finger lock. At skinniest, its 3/8'' (too small for me but good for Marni)
Off-Width practice.

8' long, made from 2'x8' boards--its heavy

Its also a great range finder: Fist jam = 4'' camalot
                                           and so on...  Plug and chug rather than spend time
                                                  and energy guessing which cam to place.

                                                00 metolious

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blame it on the Hormones

I have been pregnant for 33 weeks now. And I love using the excuse of pregnancy for a lot of things, especially eating habits. Plus it's so easy when everyone offers that up as an excuse for you (snitching before dinner is ready, and someone says it's okay she is pregnant). So I've decided to talk a little about what I think is choice and what has been really hard for me in this pregnancy.

The trouble with sugar: before pregnancy I had been 95% sugar free, we had reduced our diets to nothing with more than 5 grams of sugar in the table of nutrition, and sweets and treats were very rare. When I started into the nausea phase of pregnancy I really didn't want to eat anything. Then I discovered that sugary things were the only thing I would eat sometimes, and rather than starve I ate them. I had major guilty feelings for this, so back and forth I would go, "I've had too much sugar!" to "I better eat something, or me and baby will both starve".

When I was starting to feel better, was just around Christmas. Since my sugar habits were all over the place I choose sugar all holiday long. As my nausea subsided it was amazing how much control I felt I had again, and I thought "why have I been destroying my body (and babies body) with sugar??"So I went off the stuff mid January. Determined to go back to the previous Marni Sugar-Free me. Easier said than done, and yet looking back I realize I had a lot more choice in the matter. I would be sugar free for two weeks, then something tasty would come along and I would eat it, then for two weeks I'd be a sugar maniac eating all the candies that Peggy provides for the Elms office.

Not only was I doing this, but because I couldn't be consistent Paul was eating sugar when I was eating sugar. At that point we were taking on the philosophy of "don't beat yourself up about it, you'll do better tomorrow", only the next day I'd say the same thing on and on again, never stopping. Then I'd feel really guilty and stop eating sugar for a day, then crash again. Yeah that idea isn't very effective with this Aries type.

Finally I said to Paul one day, okay for me this isn't working, and I'm scared everyday that'll I'll get Preeclampsia, I'll have Group B Strep and labor will suck because of that. I told him the "don't beat yourself up" idea was not working, I needed to beat myself up. I couldn't blame this crazy diet on pregnancy anymore! So I stopped again, I went back to my original sugar free plan, wherein all sugars everywhere are off limits all the time, It's just easier for me to make the decision upfront and never let a taste in. (This has also sounded much like a testimony advocating that sugar is ADDICTIVE!). So I have been off sugar again, not long but this time I just know that I will not go back, especially before this baby comes!

Lazy Lazy Bones!: Now I wont say that before pregnancy I was always active and never lazy, not true! I had the occasional week where I had a hard time self-motivating and getting things done. Yet I was pretty good, Paul and I made sure to exercise 5 to 6 days a week, the apartment had it's messy days, but mostly clean. Enter first trimester pregnancy, and there goes all desire to do anything. It wasn't even that I was very sick, but for some reason I just couldn't. I used pregnancy as an excuse a little too much in this phase. Paul and I would plan to get up to exercise early in the morning, morning would roll around and I would tell him I couldn't get up, I needed sleep.

The truth is it was harder to get up, it was harder to exercise, it was harder to clean, harder to work, harder to go places. After awhile I started feeling pretty sad. Thinking about it at the time I thought, "this is hormones", and so it really was pregnancy  causing me problems. But as time moved forward and I still felt sad, I thought that this couldn't be just hormones, I had felt this way before not pregnant (and not on my period). I had felt this when I hadn't been doing the things I love to do! Like exercise, go outside, visit people, clean my house!

I knew that to be happier I'd have to fight harder since the hormones made things harder. It was still very much and back and forth struggle well into second trimester. However it was my choice now, so I could not blame the pregnancy 100%, only on occasion where it felt like my body really did need a break. This has been a struggle still, but I feel in the last few days maybe a twinge of early nesting coming on. I have stayed on top of dishes, I have picked up our apartment more, last night I even attempted to scrub the grout... Paul made me stop because the chemicals were way to strong. And ever since I bought a support belt (which I recommend for any active pregnant ladies!) I have been able to keep up on jogging and climbing!

Special treatment: I don't like people to fuss over me. With pregnancy the fusing seems to come in truck loads. When I was using the excuse of pregnancy I was getting a lot of concern. As I've learned that mostly it is choice here, less people fuss and more they are impressed, and let's face it I love impressing people ("you are 33 weeks pregnant and still climging?", love that one).

*I will say however, no matter how much pain I am in or not, as a pregnant woman I still deserve to have back and feet rubs as much as I ask for it! That is the only excuse I will stick too. ;)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Granite Love

So Little Cottonwood Canyon is a lovely place, we try and go up there when we can, when the weather is good, when our saturdays are free. We went about 3 saturdays ago. The weather was lovely, although everyone of us decided to wear chacos and the hike had about three feet of snow (I was the prepared pregnant lady with wool socks to wear with my chacos!) So here is that day in pictures.
 Snowy chaco hike, we're calling the new sport "chaco snow shoeing"
 Our wonderful friends Reesa and Jeff came up with us to catch some Vitamin D and climb and hike.

 Our friend Weston Came up by the end of our day to take some footage of Paul Climbing, Weston is an amazing film maker. Paul's siblings Shelley and Laurie came along too!

Stuffed Cabbage

When your groceries are low, and you have no money to eat out, you start to get real creative with your food. A lot of nights I have Paul open the fridge and call out to me what we have in it, then I google recipes involving that food. Last week it was Stuffed Cabbage.

 It actually turned out really yummy! We just put some cheese on top and ate!
We stuffed it with quinoa, tomato paste, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices.