proud mama

The photo credits for this post go to Marj Heinrichs, baby lover extrordinaire - see bottom photo for proof. There's nothing I can write that won't be obscene gushing about my own children, so I leave you with the (gorgous-amazing-wonderful-delightful) pictures...



You may suspect that I've been freakishly busy with a newborn and too tired to post. Nope. Lazy. Ezra has this newborn thing figured out and is taking it really easy on us, all things considered. NO, he is NOT sleeping through the night. Are you kidding? We fully expect him to get the hang of that by the time he's three. If we're lucky. I had forgotten that a newborn is actually less intense than many of the later stages can be. He doesn't require much of us aside from sustenance, fresh diapers and snuggling. He's nursing well, sleeps decent streches and is up to 10 and a half pounds at 2 weeks. Plus he's wicked cute. I'll find a picture to throw up here one of these days.

I realize that this has turned into more of a mommy blog than I had intended since the pregnancy thing took over. I guess that's honestly my space although I have been thinking about some of the "green" stuff lately too. I feel some angst over the quantity of diposable paper products going through this house over the last fortnight. Great term by the way (fortnight), it should be used more often. Ezra has been switched over to cloth diapers, thanks to Teri who provided us with the teeny size that we were too cheap to invest in.

The other thing that brought up a lot of questions about environmental impact was the building of the playhouse. I know that due to it's size, it's footprint isn't huge but it's a fascinating exercise to see where my ideals really shake out when they're up against money, time and convenience. I was really happy with the balance my dad and I were able to achieve and thank him for it. He was willing to try some of my used/strange/cheap matierials which was a pain for him but pleasing for me. On the other hand, I was able to relax enough for him to buy what he needed to get it done and do it well.

If I ever do get the opportunity to build a house someday there will be exponentially more of those weighted decisions to make and I can see why it's such a stressful experience for most people. What I found interesting was that there were way too many "choices" in a very narrow field. There seem to be an almost infinite number of companies all making the same things in the same dull range of colours but we came across almost no options that were directed towards healthier choices. There was no mention of sustainable harvesting, embodied energy or off-gassing potential of any products. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough but there certainly wasn't anyone advertising those things.

Back to the baby thing. I need to go to bed now, he's been sleeping for hours.



Jeremy did the work for me. Here are updated photos of Ezra and a shot of the finished playhouse.


Ezra Milagro Hiebert

"I've got a bowling ball in my stomach and a desert in my mouth"
- Tori Amos (Crucify)

That sums up my early thoughts on labour. My water started trickling at 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon and within a few hours it was more like a waterfall. I spent an hour lounging in the hammock, listening to music, making notes and relaxing. The Tori Amos song came on and I laughed and laughed. Perfect. I was feeling a lot of nerves, some relief that things were in motion and a good dose of anticipation.

I had a few very early, mild contractions at about 6:30 while we were eating. I was restless and wandering for the early evening and talked to the midwife around 7:45. I was having contractions 6-10 minutes apart but very mellow so we decided I was probably best served by heading to bed and trying to get in a nap before the real deal kicked in.

I think somewhere between 8:30 and 9 I noticed the intesity increasing but not the frequency. I asked the pit crew to get the labour pool ready because I was starting to want a refuge. By the time I talked to the midwife again at 9:15ish I was definately in active labour already and was headed into the pool. She noted that she was on her way. I think my body was starting to go into shock from the speed of things already at that point. I was shaking and every time I moved a muscle a new contraction would fire up and leave me dreading the next. I couldn't recall why "natural" childbirth seemed like such a good idea.

The labour pool and birthing room I had prepared was exactly what I hoped it would be. It was cozy, quiet and private. I felt like a hippie freak when I set it up but it was worth it. It had low light, sari curtains and matching music.

What I did forget was that no matter how awesome the setup was, labour was still going to be rough. I wished I could have appreciated it more but on the other hand was very, very glad that things were moving quickly because I had no desire to prolong those particular moments. At some stage Jeremy noted what a miracle labour & birth really were and I apparently muttered something about "disaster" being more appropriate than "miracle" (Milagro in Spanish). I wasn't feeling particularly brave, strong or balanced. Stoic might be more appropriate. Suck it up Tannis, suck it up. It will end.

Ivy had gone to bed but knew it was the night for the baby to be born and couldn't sleep. She wandered in and out of the living room and spent time with Grandma. She apparently wanted to help me very much and all she could do was let me use her special plastic cup (I didn't want glass). So sweet. She ended up staying awake for the whole thing but didn't want to watch, which is what we had pre-arranged. She did fantastic, I was worried she'd get more upset. Ella slept through it all but woke up and pattered out of her room at 4:30 am to meet little brother.

It must have been around 10:20 when I asked Jeremy to call the midwife back to tell her I could feel the baby moving down and to find out where she was. Luckily she was only 10 minutes away at that point. By the time she had everything hauled in the door I was starting to feel pressure to push. At one point I looked at the midwife and announced that I was starting to panic but other than that I don't think I said much. Every time anything touched me it set off more intense contractions, I don't recall that from other times as much. Even the doppler to check heartbeat seemed unbearable.

Everything flew into high gear and they somehow managed to haul me out of the tub despite my protests. I was quite clear ahead of time that I didn't want to give birth in the tub but of course when the time came, moving seemed like a stretch to say it kindly. I'm glad they're so good at that, I think it went something like this: "Tannis, it's time to get out". "uh, no." "Okay, Jeremy grab her other arm and on the count of three lift your leg and here we go". And off we went.

This was the first time I remember feeling the size of the head and having fleeting thoughts that it wouldn't fit through my bones. I believe I pushed actively for about 15 minutes. The midwife coached me heavily through the crowning with when to push and when to hold back and he made it through without a scratch! I am still blown away by what the body can do and that I had any control over it at that stage. The shoulders came out more easily this time and I got to reach down and pull him onto my belly.

Little Ezra was packed full of mucous on arrival and needed a lot of help clearing his passages. The ambulance got called, just in case things would take a turn the wrong way but we were thankful to not need it by the time they arrived (which was amazingly fast). After things had calmed down Ezra visibly relaxed and his breathing improved. Many, many thanks to the attendants for knowing when to play it safe and when to trust in the amazing power of primal bonding to help things along. What an insane job they have - I'm so thankful they do it. Throughout that time I didn't feel any anxiety or concern about being at home. Everything went as it should in situations where things aren't going smoothly, just as it's designed to do. I attribute my calmness to a combination of trust in caregivers and birth-high hormones. I could see Ezra was breathing and was a decent colour and figured if he really needed help from the hospital, off we would go.

Fast and furious, I think that sums it up. I've always fantasized about a fast labour and finally got it. Ezra and I were both in shock but I wouldn't say I'd ever choose to draw it out longer, as if it was ever a choice. Now that the physical effects of labour/birth are fading I'm feeling more and more thankful for the way everything went. I've had great pregnancies, good labours, and three healthy children. I don't even know how to express my gratitude for it all. I hope I never take it for granted and we chose "Milagro" as Ezra's second name to remind us of the miracle that all of our children really are.



Thanks for all the kind words coming in from all over - I'm sorry I'm not up to responding to each individually at the moment. For those of you that love the birth stories (I'm one of them), I'm aiming to get that up here in the next few days but don't hold me to it. My parents are here taking care of the basics for a few more days and then we plunge back into real life where we make our own food and clean up and stuff.

The playhouse is fantastic, I'll get some photos of that soon too.

Naptime. Or maybe bedtime, I forget the difference.


welcome with love

He made it! Ezra arrived just before 11pm on August 4th and weighed in at a hefty 9lbs 14oz. All indications are that our little michelin man is happy and healthy now that he's getting used to being on the outside. We're going to try to catch up on sleep but pictures will show up on Jeremy's blog later today.



This whole waiting for baby after due date thing is new for me, I've been lucky in the past. I think if this was my first I'd be going nuts by now. It helps to have a pretty good idea what to anticipate for labour and the newborn weeks. I know the babe will come eventually but it's harder to remember in some moments than others. I'm interested to see how well I'll cope with the induction pressures, when and if they come. I've been (and still am) a very critical voice against inducing unless there are absolute physical indications for it. We'll see how willing I am to buck the system once I'm tired of being this big and the OB's are sitting me down to angrily lecture me about potential dangers to my baby.

Overall I'm feeling pretty positive and relaxed, thanks to being surrounded by mellow people and the support of Esther, my encouraging and upbeat twin in this adventure. I have come to suspect that Jeremy is having secret conversations with the baby when I'm sleeping, convincing him to stay in just a liiiittle longer because it's easier that way. So true, but I'm missing any resemblance of a normal body by now. I see people flopping onto their stomachs on their beach towels and gasp, first in horror, then jealousy when I realize that they actually can.

Other tidbits:

The advertising phrase "You can't...rush...a turtle..." keeps running through my head. Odd choice.

Yesterday when I was lounging on the blanket at the beach, half asleep, a duck waddled right up and NIBBLED my toes. I didn't know I could still move that fast. The people beside me cracked up after I explained why I kicked sand all over them and said it must be a sign. But what does it mean?!



Since there's NO BABY yet I'll keep posting about the funhouse. We have deck action and the first coat of paint. The girls did a wonderful job of helping out with the paint but my mom did the bulk of it while dad worked on the masterpiece deck all day.