max's birth: vaccinations, cps, and home to hospital

A couple of questions/follow-ups after Max's birth story. 


A few months ago, I asked friends on Facebook about sidestepping newborn vaccinations in New York State, which is famously persnickety about things like this (you know, civil liberties and stuff). Lots of opinions, ideas, and experiences were shared. I'm not anti-vaccinations -- both our girls are fully vacccinated -- but something in my mommy-gut just doesn't like shooting newborns full of stuff they didn't arrive here with. Whether there's any merit to it or not (read: please let's not quibble in the comments, this is just my personal choice), I like to delay all vaccinations for at least a few days, if not weeks or months. 

The Hep B vaccine was easy to sidestep. Vitamin K and the eye ointment were another story. Some sources indicated that a refusal on those accounts would lead to a call to CPS. Turns out they were right. When we said "no" to those procedures, they sent in a sympathetic nurse to chat us up about it. We still said "no." Then they sent in a nice pediatrician to discuss it further. We still said "no." Then they sent in a different nurse (the bad cop nurse?) who told us the social services representatives were on their way, and if we still said "no," they'd have to call CPS. 


Well, yes, really. And from what we've heard, CPS + the Army is not something you want to get tangled up with. So at that point we called it a day and told them to go ahead with the blasted Vitamin K and eye ointment.


A few people have asked why I went to the hospital for this baby after having loved Maren's home birth so much. Simple answer -- there aren't any legal home birth midwives in our area. I found one underground midwife whose training and certification meet most states' laws, but New York is (guess what!) stricter than most states. 

That said, I was really pleased with our hospital experience. I felt that my choices and preferences were both heard and honored, and the nurses were awesome. And let's be honest, it's nice to be able to send the baby to the nursery at 4 in the morning when all you want to do is sleep.


baby rebellion (it could be worse?)

If this looks like All the Toys and Bedding Thrown Out of the Second Story Window to you, you'd be right. Three days after we brought The Boy home from the hospital, there were a few minutes where my mom was at the grocery store, Richard was at the hardware store, and I, the lone adult in the house, was sitting on the couch with a book, blissfully unaware of what the thumps and bumps coming from upstairs really signified (my thoughts at the time: At least they're not fighting...). 

Well, this is what was going on. The girls were dragging everything from their room into the little-used third bedroom, soon to be Max's room, and dumping it out the window, which currently has no screen (somebody call CPS). They later refused to clean it up, so Daddy bagged everything and threw it in the garage. So, if you're coming over for a playdate anytime soon, I hope your kids have really good imaginations.

Later the same day, when all three adults were home (my mom was visiting), I sent my two little cherubs into the garden with scissors to get some chard for dinner. You see where this is going.

That's where it went. Backwoods Appalachian poster child and faux hawk toddler. 

Luckily I have a good friend who is a hair wizard and worked some magic on my poor girls. Lizzy really regrets having done it and is pretty embarrassed (the kid starts kindergarten in two weeks), but Maren doesn't seem to care. To tell the truth, I think she looks pretty darned cute, if a little bit more impish. We figured maybe they needed some more attention, so Daddy took them on an awesome hike the next day. I was totally jealous.


max's birth story

The Boy was due on Monday. By Wednesday, I was getting grumpy. I spent most of Wednesday being Mamasaurus Rex, and the girls (wisely) steered clear for the better part of the day. Sad but true. 'Cause you remember how miserable this is, right? Right.

Richard got home from work really late, and we stayed up until 11:30 that night just talking. He went to sleep, but I stayed up reading for a while. Shortly before midnight, I suddenly started having strong contractions. Within a few minutes, they were strong enough that needed to get up and pace. I woke Richard and asked him to sleep on the couch downstairs so that I wouldn't have to try to get back upstairs in the middle of a contraction.

He never did go back to sleep. In another few minutes, I couldn't talk much (the sure sign for me that things are getting serious), so he called our neighbor Amie to come sleep on the couch. By 12:45, we were on the road to the hospital. At check-in, I was dilated to a 6. The nurse wanted to do the IV and monitoring thing, and all I said was, "No." Then she said, "But--" and Richard said, "She said no." Incredibly, it worked. For most of the time they used a handheld doppler device to monitor the baby's heartbeat; later on, a nurse removed the heartbeat-sensing device from the monitor belt and held it up to my belly (did you know they could do that?! neither did I).

Soon after, my friend Saralyn arrived for labor support. I labored in the hospital room for a while longer, holding onto Richard or on my hands and knees on the bed. I got in the hot shower, where I hung onto the curtain rod and rocked from side to side for a while. After I got out, I asked the nurse to check me again, and I heard the amazement in her voice as, in rising tones, she said, "eight...nine...she's complete!"

Around 2:10 or so I started pushing. The baby's heartbeat started dropping without going back up again, and after a few unsuccessful pushes, Saralyn told me authoritatively, "Amanda, it's time. You need to push this baby out now." Later she told me that a big group of hospital staff had appeared at the door and they appeared to be discussing an emergency C-section. Although I wasn't aware of that event, I did feel prompted at that time that a C-section might happen -- and that if it did, it would be ok.

At 2:32, a few more agonizing pushes later and two and a half hours from that first contraction, he was out -- the relief! -- and he did have the cord around his neck, but pinked right up and scored 9 on both Apgar tests. I realize that slimy, vernix-covered babies are not the cutest things in the world, but to me he was beautiful. I'll tell you the truth, I was nervous about having a boy. I just couldn't emotionally imagine having a boy. But I tell you what -- precious little love in this world has come more easily.

The girls came to meet him the next afternoon, and I'm telling you, they are both textbook-perfect big sisters. They love that kid. We all agreed on his name (Lizzy and Maren got a vote, too; after Clifford [as in the big red dog] was struck down, they got behind Max with little quibble), so Max it is.

I tore. I needed stitches. Hospital food is nasty (but I would have eaten twice as much of it; holy cow someone tell those people to feed the new mamas more food, please). And the afterpains after that third baby are every bit as horrible as your girlfriends told you. But I think I got the better end of the deal, after all.


Meet Max.
Born Thursday morning.
9 lbs 6 oz.
Sweet + perfect in every way.