Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zane Ephraim's Birth Story

My eyes popped open at 2 AM. "My water has broken," I thought incoherently as I rushed upstairs. When I got to the bathroom, my pulse pounded but I realized, duh, my water had clearly not broken since... I wasn't wet anywhere. But I could feel a few mild contractions, real ones, not just Braxton/Hicks tightenings. After I settled down a bit, I got myself some warm milk and went downstairs to rest. As for the past few days, sleep felt impossible because I felt like I had to dang pee every five minutes. I laid there awake, feeling contractions come and go.

Just the night before, at my Primary Presidency meeting, I had announced that this baby was in no rush and I didn't plan to have it any time soon. Too much to do! With Jed, birth had been a violent, immediate whirlwind. But with Zoe Ann I had been through weeks and weeks of early labor ("False" labor my foot! It's the same as the real thing, it just doesn't go anywhere...) before she came all at once. So far, in this pregnancy, I'd had no early labor at all to speak of. I was still 9 days before my due date, and the pattern for my kids seemed to be later and later.

So I lay there for a while, and tried to sleep through the contractions. When I laid down, they slowed, so I assumed they were doing nowhere. 14 minutes between contractions doesn't impress me much. But I was still getting up every five minutes to pee, so there was plenty of time to think about it. For kicks, I downloaded a contractions timing app on M's cell phone (Hey! There's an app for that!) I finally got about an hour of sleep.

At 5:20 or so,I woke up, the contractions resumed but were a little stronger. Hmmm. This could be it, I thought. As I lay there, I felt a little movement. I sat up. The baby started to move. I've never felt movement like that -- wiggling, turning, twisting, churning, arranging -- and at that moment I felt my baby communicate with me. I caught my breath. That moving felt like talking, from child to mother, telling me that baby was getting in position because it was time. The night before, I'd been reading about pelvis structures and how the baby turns position during labor, and when the baby moved I could clearly feel it turning into position, settling into the pelvis, ready for birth. (Looking back, I think also it was baby moving his nuchal hand, since when he was born and still 6 weeks later, he always rests with his hand up next to his cheek. Thanks for moving that sucker, Zane, because I really don't ever want to birth a hand. I also think the nuchal hand is why the baby never really dropped or had any early labor, he was caught up too high.)

I went upstairs to take a shower. Taking a hot shower is my own personal birthing ritual, I don't know why I like it so much, but I do. I felt calm, and a little excited. When I got out, the contractions were starting to rock and roll. But they were still much too short to be "real" labor (or so my textbooks tell me) so I took my time. I went downstairs and sat next to Michael. it was about 5:50. He turned over groggily. "What are you doing up?" I smiled a goofy grin. "I think it's baby time!" He jumped out of bed, a giant smile on his face. "REALLY!? How far along are you?" "Ummm, I 'm not sure exactly but it's movin' along."

He rushed upstairs. He knew as well as I did that we were totally unprepared for this. I'd done an excellent job of making myself and everyone else sure that this baby was going to come late. I had packed my bags a couple days before, but only in ritual, not in actual anticipation. We still didn't have our new carseats we ordered online (skinny ones to fit three across the back.) We hadn't set up anything. No idea where the crib was.  Good thing Granny had sent us a huge box of diapers or we wouldn't have any of those either. Laughing at ourselves, we started gathering this and that. "Should I call my mom?" he asked. "Ummmm, I don't know." "Well, are you getting close?" "I don't know." At this point, Michael became alarmed. He knows from experience and training that when I start saying "I don't know" that I am heading into transition. He called his mom. A few hard contractions later I went in to him and said "I think you should call your mom." Giving me his sweetest "No DUH!" look he gave me a hug. "She's on her way."

I started moaning. Then I started roaring. Michael became even more alarmed as I hung on him for each contraction. "Get out in the car!" he said. "No! I hate the car!" There was no way I was having one of these contractions in the car. We went out in the driveway where I started scaring the neighbors. They aren't used to a half-dressed roaring fat lady, even if we are a little redneck out here.

Michael called his mom. "Where are you?" She was five minutes away, on I-164. "Michael, we HAVE TO GO I AM FEELING PUSHY!" He called her again, "We are leaving the kids. We'll see you on the way!"

So I climbed in the car and we left Jed and Zoe sleeping in their beds. We wave to Grandma as she screams in from the opposite direction. On the way there, as I'm howling away in the passenger seat, Michael says "Well, are we going fast enough!?" I looked at the speedometer. 50 in a 30 zone. "NO GO FASTER!!!" He got it up to 70. This is why we go to the close hospital. We screeched into the hospital labor entrance and I run inside. The lady asks for my name. I lean over and put my head on her desk, roaring like a mad woman, and I'm pretty sure at that point she said "Oh, my." Nurses started rushing in from the other rooms, hearing a familiar sound, and half carried, half pulled me into triage. In the back of my mind I giggled. "Hey, I guess we CAN skip registration!"

Who is your doctor? Blanke. Get up on the bed, we need to check you! I don't want a check. I want to squat because this baby is coming now. We ask for a squat bar. They refrain from laughing in our faces and point out there really isn't time. She checks me, doesn't say a thing, mutters something to the other nurse and the room goes from busy to absolute chaos. It's precisely 6:30 AM, right at shift change for the nurses, and later our nurse told me she came running in from the parking lot straight into my room. Two minutes and two pushes later, my water breaks. one push later, and four minutes after arrival and "check in," Baby Zane Ephraim Stanfill comes rushing into the world. Crying, shouting for joy, at the same time Michael and I proclaimed, "It's a baby boy! Our own baby boy!"

Ten minutes later my panting doctor shows up. He didn't even know which patient I was, because at the time of birth nobody knew my name.

By then, baby is happily nursing, I'm beaming, the nurses are all giggling, and the sun is rising. What a great day. Happy Birthday, Baby Zane!

Postscript: A few technical notes about the birth. One of the best parts was thanks to an awesome nurse and plenty of craziness, I got to pull the baby right onto my chest after the birth and they let me keep him there, nursing dozily and adoring him, for almost two hours, at which point the nurse said that administration had called her three times screaming for some statistics so they can legally say the baby had been born and know who we were... so when we were done nursing would we mind letting her weigh and measure him? She had wanted to give us as much time as possible. I love that lady!

This birth I tested Group B Strep positive which had honestly been stressing me to the max. I had an inch thick sheaf of research ready to go to my Drs appointment later that day (maybe the early birth was an act of mercy for Dr. Blanke, hahaha..) I knew there was no way I'd get the required four hour dose of antibiotics during labor, since I've never had a labor four hours long. That puts me in the murky and unpleasant world of a) baby health uncertainty, and b) tortuous "hospital policy" that requires an expensive 48 hour stay, extensive testing, and if the baby so much as sneezes a possible 5 day NICU stay. Blessedly, though, since the birth was so fast and my water broke just as he was born, there was almost literally no exposure to the baby, so GBS was no concern and we got to go home 12 hours after the birth.

My other concern was the glucose prick test, which had been slightly nightmarish with Zoe since she was a stubborn sleepy nurser. I'd done quite a bit of research on this, too, so I'd know when to refuse the 29 heel pricks and when to know they were necessary. Fortunately, again, in the madness, the nurses forgot to give him the test. Four hours later, one meekly came in and said, "Um, we kind of forgot this test... do you still want it?" I laughed. No, he was nursing like a champ and red as a beet. But thanks anyway!

And lastly, though a precipitous birth is exciting and makes for a great story, Michael has strongly suggested that we NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. Next time I have to wake him up earlier. I agree.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Totally cute, even when he drools!

The other baby of the house uses the swing when Zane isn't in it.


This has been a tiring week for me.  I've been sick, Primary has been a huge morass of unfilled callings and upcoming events, and sleep deprivation has set in big time.  But today I had the best helper ever. 

In the morning, Jed shouted at me as I walked by with a load of laundry "Mom, is it ok if we use these wipes to clean the drawers?  We hate these black spots.  Also, we are going to clean the walls."  Well, a woman can't turn down an offer like that!  I offered spray bottles and sponges, which pretty much sent them over the moon with excitement.  Before long all the walls had been sprayed down below three feet and surprisingly, much of it had been wiped down, too.

After lunch, we read books for quiet time.  Zane sat bright eyed and bushy tailed in his baby bouncer.  I sighed, wishing for a nap but realizing it probably wouldn't happen today.  As I got up, though, Jed asked "Mom, can't baby stay with me?  I will take really good care of him."  Hmmmm.  Seemed ill advised at first, but as I thought about it, I couldn't think why.  Usually Zane slept by himself in the front room during quiet time.  Jed takes excellent care of the baby and knows all the important things (never pick him up, never put anything over his face, etc.) and is probably better at keeping an eye on him than I am.  (OK, he is better.  Jed is a most solicitous elder brother and I am a fairly distracted mother.)  So, I decided to give it a try.  I told Jed that if the baby started to fuss, he should come gently tap me on the shoulder and I would come get Zane.  "Don't worry, Mom, if he starts to cry I just put the binky in his mouth!" I left both bedroom doors open so I could keep a close ear out for how things were going in there from just across the hall.  Baby cried for a second, the binky went in, and then he was quiet.  After about 10 minutes I peeked in the door.  Zane, bound up tightly in his blanket and strapped in his seat, sat there, alert, binky furiously wiggling in his mouth.  Jed sat right in front of him with an array of toy trucks and machines, telling Zane a story in a quiet voice, occasionally punctuated with the appropriate sound effects.  I checked in a little later and Zane was fast asleep, Jed sat on his bed reading books.  Then I fall asleep.  When I woke up 45 minutes later, everyone was right where I had left them.  So lovely!

Fast forward to this evening.  Michael was an hour late at work (they're at a busy time finishing off the quarter or somesuch), and I was running to tend the kids and get dinner on the table to eat during the 15 minute gap when we would all be home together before I was off to the church for meetings.  I had both the kids up at the counter helping assemble the pizza, but Zane sat on the floor and cried and cried and cried.  I knew he was hungry, and I just wasn't getting it all done in time.  I looked at the pizza.  I looked at Jed.  "Jed, do you think you could put the pepperoni and sausage on for me?" "Sure Mom!  The whole package?!"  "Sure."  I picked Zane up and sat on the couch, listening to Jed coaching Zoe in the kitchen.   ("NO, Zoe, don't eat it all!  Only one piece!")  When he finished I went in to check and wow he had done a fabulous job.  Then I asked him if he wanted to do the cheese.  I continued nursing and he happily spread cheese all over the pizza and a portion of the floor, but really quite good for a first timer.  "I put on extra cheese, Mom, because I know how much Dad loves cheese!"  By the time Michael got in the door, the pizza was totally finished, the oven hot, and Zane's belly pleasantly full.  We popped the pizza in and a five minutes later dinner was on the table.  I never could have done it without Jed's help.  He has really turned into an awesome little helper.  Tonight I wrote him a little love note telling him how much I appreciated his help today.  He likes that sort of thing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sleeping Cutie

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I just spent an hour sitting here on the couch, reading a good book with my baby nestled in my arms.  He grunted and cooed at me, sometimes his little eyes fluttering shut, other times looking at me with a grave old-man gaze. Daddy is gone, siblings off to bed. I have a million other things to do, some very important things to do... But nothing seemed quite as lovely as spending a quiet hour, sitting here on this couch, enjoying my little babe. 

Zane spends a lot of time in his swing or on his bouncy chair.  I hate that.  I try to carry him around whenever we are out.  He lays on the table with us when we are eating.  I take him from room to room with us when he is awake. I lay him on the floor in the morning so he can enjoy the company of his brother and sister. I want him to feel part of our family.

But so very rarely, it seems, do I get him all to myself.  So for now, just this little moment, it's mommy and boy together.  Quiet.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

These Boots Were Made for Walkin'

Zoe gets in touch with her Montana roots

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Paw-pa Steve and his magic talisman

The kids love snuggling into Papa Steve's lap with the well-beloved iPad-o'-fun. It's always hard to tell who enjoys it more, Grandpa or the kids!


Auntie Annie

After another wonderful summer with Auntie Annie in town, we were sad to say goodbye this week. As a farewell present, she made herself and Zoe these darling matching watermelon aprons. Seeing as how Zoe loves all things frilly and sparkly, it was of course a hit.  Little Zoe looks so much like Annie at the same age - short blondy hair, bright brown button eyes.  She's going to miss her "Lella."

Annie, we will miss you so much. Come home soon!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Beautiful Zane Baby

Naming Mistake

I realized the other day that we have made a major error in our child-naming strategy.  As most of you know, our kids are all named after grandparents.  But the problem arises when you start calling for them and it turns out all of their first letters are interchangeable with real names:

Jed - Zed
Zoe - Joey
Zane - Jane

Sorry, everyone for eternity.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gestures of Love

My darling toddler runs down the hallway, eyes alight, cheeks grinning.  I hold out my arms as she approaches, ready to swing her into my lap and hug her with delight.  But just as I'm about to pull her to me, she grabs my bare arm, wipes her disgusting snot coated nose up and down several times leaving a long booger-trail from wrist to elbow, and gallops away back to her playtime.  Yes, I am "Mommy," the living handkerchief.


Monday, September 5, 2011


Friday, September 2, 2011

Say Ah!

Jed Eyes

Jed's trademark eye thing.
We can do it too!

Baby Love

The kids still passionately adore their baby brother. One of their favorite things is "tummy time" when the baby lays on a blanket on his belly.  Ooooo, then everybody needs a blanket and some tummy time!  They lay there in a row, taking turns laying way too close to the baby and sticking their faces way too close to his and shouting way too loud in his face... and it's so darling I can't say no.  Zane will be a very well socialized child.  And he will be able to sleep through a hurricane.

Jed prays for Zane every night.  "And please bless the baby that he will love cars and that he will love blue like his big brother and play with me when he grows up." Every day I find little car offerings left on Zane's lap in the baby swing. I've been surprised how he's latched on to the "brother" concept, since he always has been crazy about his sister and adamantly said he wanted a girl baby.  But now he seems plenty pleased with another boy.
Jed begs to have Zane lay on the table with us for every meal.  The kids coo and giggle and tickle his toes, and he doesn't seem to mind a bit, in fact it settles him down when he's fussy.  The only hard and fast rule is that his head must be closest to Jed so they can gaze adoringly at one another over the peanut butter sandwiches.

Zoe giving the baby some extra love after our meal.
Cheesy grin!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zoe's Cool

I posted this on Google+ and my brother's comment made me laugh:
"She's rockin' a brand of cool that I think completely skipped me somehow. I shake my fist at genetics."
I totally second that.  So it skipped you... does that mean the coolness comes from Dad?

Granny Zo'An

My best friend, my mom, came to visit. She left two days ago, and left a big hole in my heart and in our house. We love you, Granny!
The baby just LOVES photo time with Mom and Granny!
Granny and Jed have a special bond. And matching cheesy grins.

Granny started calling Zane our little "dead dog" whenever he collapsed to sleep.  Now Jed calls our darling baby brother "The Dead Duck."  Not sure how I feel about that.

She's so pretty.

Look what I made!