Little Luna Lee Is Here

We brought the two-day old newborn home from the birthing center and I’m splayed out in my bed while smells of deliciousness waft into the bedroom from the kitchen, where my mom is here taking care of me and cooking up a storm. The baby’s bassinet has pictures taped on it, drawn in washable marker featuring hearts and palm trees and tulips, creations of her oldest sister to welcome Luna into the world.

Our littlest family member, Luna Lee, at six hours old.

Luna’s birth story started at 11 o’clock on Thursday night, when I was ready for bed. A contraction came, and then fairly quickly, another. I called my midwife and she said to go ahead and get to the birthing center, since third babies tend to come faster. We told our helper, Yani, to take care of the older girls in the morning and brought our stuff and checked in. I don’t remember the conversation we had in the car except that I kept having to pause whatever we were talking about in order to endure contractions.

At first check after getting to the clinic, I was only four centimeters, so we thought we were in for a long haul. But the contractions were surprisingly strong, and when I spent some time in the birthing pool, they got super strong and the baby felt low … almost to the point where I felt the urge to push.

At one point I had to institute a moratorium on jokes because in between contractions that were so strong I could hardly breathe, Matty checked his phone and goes, “Hey, did you know Don Rickles died?” [GROAN.]

Out of the tub and still in my purple bikini top like I was just a giant person on spring break or something, I asked the midwife, Selina, to check me again and suddenly I was 10cm dilated (which is to say, fully dilated), meaning the baby was already ready to make her entrance. Babies descend with each contraction, so the final half hour of labor is the hardest (at least it’s been true for my unmedicated births, which is all I know about).

Then came the dreaded “I-Feel-Like-I-Might-Die” part, or as the birthing educators call it, “The Transition“. My mom wasn’t here yet (she wouldn’t arrive until lunch time on Friday, and it was only 4a.m.), and I was terrified without her. Matty was there to “coach,” and so was Selina the midwife, and an intern named Daniel who my OBGYN had suggested attend my birth to see the experience from start to finish. I’m not sure what he was thinking, being there for such a crazy occasion while on his summer break from the University of Kentucky, but Daniel ended up being awesome to have there because he got an experience out of it, but we did, too. He took photos of Luna entering the world. (It’s all pretty ‘National Geographic’ so you won’t see it on this blog.)

Selina guided me along, making sure I didn’t push too hard or too soon, which prevents any down-there tears. But I could feel Luna coming like a powerful storm, and even though my face was buried in a pillow since I was screaming and I didn’t want to scare people, somehow miraculously I heard the voice of my OBGYN Dr. Chung, telling me the baby would be out soon. I guess he had made it to the birth from his home just in the nick of time, which is impressive.

Three pushes, and Luna came out surfing a wave, since Selina broke my water for me as she emerged. Luna cried out for a remarkably short amount of time — five seconds — then was suddenly quiet for a wipe down and time on my chest, which is what we do after birth to help regulate the baby’s temperature and help her feel secure. She stayed on my chest for an hour — for the final stage of delivery (pushing out her “condo,” the placenta), until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing and Matty could cut it, and through her first nursing.

Then homegirl got weighed and measured! She’s 8lbs, 6oz and 20.5 inches long. She’s sleeping and eating like a champ. You can find her blog at LunaLee.blog.

Skin to skin time right after Luna was born.

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Baby’s First Six Weeks: Stuff You’ll Need, Stuff You Won’t

It looks like I have several friends with babies on the way so I will interrupt my usual nonsense blogging to offer a quick guide on some baby industrial complex items we’ve found useful — and not so useful — during Baby Eva’s first six weeks. Bottom line: You don’t need that much stuff to raise a happy baby. That said, there are some items that really come in handy.

Eva’s Favorite Things

There’s Eva in one of her favorite swaddle blankets, behind the beagle of course.

Swaddle Designs Ultimate Receiving Blanket
There are Miracle Blankets out there (too many velcro parts, pain in the ass in the middle of the night) and something called Halo Sleep Sacks that other moms really love. But we have preferred a straight up well-made swaddle blanket. Nothing else wraps Eva as tightly and keeps her feeling as secure as her Swaddle Designs brand blankets, which somehow are the perfect size for swaddling and are made with material that wraps really tightly. Eva loves these. They are pretty inexpensive on Amazon and easy to use.

Fisher Price Cradle Swing
There are lots of swings out there but most of my friends recommended this one, and Eva loves it. It has all sorts of fun swing settings and music, etc etc. Eva hangs out in her swing during the day and sometimes gets in there to help her nap.

The Nap Nanny Chill
It’s at a 30 degree angle that babies seem to like (especially babies who like sleeping in car seats), and really lightweight so it’s easy to move from room to room or even take on trips. Eva sleeps on this for naps and at most evenings, too. I hear it’s especially good for gassy babies because lying flat on your back after a big meal never feels awesome.

Other Useful Items: Bottles with slow flow nipples, lots of baby socks, footie pajamas, contoured changing pad and cover, diaper genie, a good glider (try them out before purchasing because you want to like the movement) and a strong electric breast pump are well worth the money.

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