August 25, 2010

He's Here...a Birth Story! (Not too gory but definitely all there...just an FYI)

I can't believe he's really here (or that I'm sharing a picture of me right after birth).  Our little boy decided to make an early appearance on Monday.  Amazing!  

I started feeling uncomfortable around 1:30 am Monday morning.  Thought I was just having digestive can come with the territory you know.  Pretty soon I realized it wasn't digestive issues.  Soon there was nothing left in my stomach or the other way and around 4 am I realized that this was probably the real thing.  I tried waking Andrew up, telling him I thought I was having contractions.  He woke up enough to ask how close they were.  I told him I wasn't sure; they just seemed to keep coming!  Naturally, he fell back asleep.  

I went back to the other side of the house and focused on contractions for a bit longer.  Then, I called Andrew on his cell phone.  That finally got him out of bed since it was in the living room.  He came and rubbed my back for a bit and I told him we'd probably better start packing.  So, he ran around getting stuff I thought I'd need, took a shower, then I took a shower, and around 6:20 we headed over to the hospital.  At this point, things were feeling really uncomfortable.  Andrew dropped me off, went to park the car, and returned to find me kneeling on the floor over an ottoman.  Honestly, it was one of the best positions.  Some guy walked by while Andrew was gone and wondered if I was okay.  Absolutely; it was so much better than standing or sitting.

After much prompting, he finally got me on the elevator and up to the labor triage nurse.  She gets me hooked up and checks me and is somewhat surprised to find I'm already 6cm dilated.  By the time they got me all checked in and up to Labor and Delivery (approximately 40 minutes) I was at 8 cm.  Keeping in mind, 10 cm is the end goal.  It was all happening quite quick...but it sure didn't feel quick enough!  

Of course, when we checked in we found out that all of our midwives were at a training for the next two days.  So, a very nice doctor who works at the hospital ended up doing the delivery...but to be honest, it's really the Labor and Delivery nurse/s that do the hard work- just don't tell the doctors that!  

Turns out I'm a very internal not touch me when I'm in labor.  I don't want you around and I surely don't want to be touched.  Our friend Kathleen got there around 8:30 ish.  Honestly, didn't do much for me but she was so wonderful for Andrew.  She reminded him to breath and was able to tell him how things were going to go.  Plus, afterwards she took great pictures for us.  So glad she could be there with us...I just didn't want to chat during the fact.

The Labor and Delivery nurse, Brenda, was awesome as well.  Really patient with me.  Asked me what my plan was...ummm...don't know.  Pretty much just want to have a baby.  Finally, she asked if I wanted to get in the tub.  YES!  That was the best plan.  The tub really helped.  When I got out of the tub, she checked me and I was fully dilated and she accidentally broke my water.  What a mess...labor is not a clean sport.  At that point, I was told I could push when my body told me to...since I wasn't on any drugs for pain I was assured I would know.  Let me tell you, you still don't really know until all of sudden and then it's like okay I'm going to push.  At 10:26 am, our little boy joined us.  What a relief.  At that point, I just felt relaxed, happy and done. And, maybe a little hungry :)

He's an 8lbs 8oz 21 inches long bundle of joy.  I've always questioned the sanity of having children, even after I got pregnant.  I'm sure I'll question it again, but for now, he's just the most perfect thing in my life.  And in no way am I upset he came 10 days early...that head was plenty big enough!  Hard to believe I was camping and kayaking over the weekend and giving birth on Monday.  He's a special boy ;)

PS. Andrew thought I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions until the triage nurse said I was 6cm dilated...seriously, I knew they were the real thing :)

August 15, 2010


There's a story I've heard many times about my great-grandpa Ray M. (everybody seems to call him that, M being for his middle name of Milton).  Anyway, Ray M. would visit my grandparents when my dad was a kid for a couple of weeks.  The house had a huge picture window with a lot of hummingbird feeders.  Ray M. took a red baseball cap and put black dots on the hat with a permanent marker. Then he would sit outside very still and quietly in front of that picture window so he could see his reflection and watch the hummingbirds try to "feed" off of that hat.  I decided to channel a bit of my inner Ray M. this morning.

I pulled up a lawn chair and a cup of coffee and watched the Girls.  I just can't believe how amazing they really are.  In what seems to be a completely uncoordinated process, they create an amazing hive.  There is no particular in and out...left side of the hive isn't incoming and right side isn't outgoing.  Inevitably, one of the Girls gets knocked ass over tea-kettle as she tries to land or take-off but she just brushes herself off and goes on about her business.  They are still bringing in pollen...some have bright orange baskets on their legs....some with light yellow baskets.  Others appear to be scouts, out looking for more.  I saw a couple others doing the job of an undertaker...bringing out a Girl who had completed her life's work...taking her far away from the hive.  It's kind of like watching a camp sit there and zone out to a certain extent and ponder the meaning of life.  Not too shabby a way to drink a cup of coffee on a beautiful morning!

August 10, 2010

Proud Mama...of a Bunch of Girls

As some of you know, this was the first year that bees joined the Jones Cottage.  And, what a year it was!  We had some crazy swarming behavior in June.  Still not sure what exactly happened there other than the Girls made a new queen. At least we are pretty sure they did...either way they have continued to produce more bees (need a queen for that) and honey.

Sunday was the day that we "robbed" the hive.  Our hive consists of two deeps or hive bodies and a super.  A super is like a deep other than it's not as deep.  Between the super and one of the hive bodies we had a screen called a queen excluder.  Basically, queens are too big to fit through the queen excluder and therefore, she doesn't lay any eggs in the super.  So, the worker bees store honey in the super and that's what we "rob."  Boy did they do a good job.  It is likely we could have added a second super had we realized just how good our hive was doing.  We are new and since the spring was so wet, we never anticipated a brand new hive doing as well as ours has done this year.  

Turns out the top deep was full of honey too.  The bottom deep appears to have mostly brood.  So, we think the Girls are set for the winter.  We pulled the super, scraped all of the honey and wax off of the frames (10 frames hang down in each box for the bees to make their wax, brood, honey, etc), and put the super back on the hive.  The Girls will clean the honey off that we couldn't get and may even start making we'll see if we get any more between now and the end of September when we pull the super off for the winter.  

Andrew has been working with all of that for the last couple of days.  The final count is approximately 9.5 quarts of honey and 1.5 cups of beeswax.  The honey tastes great and the wax smells amazing.  But then again, I'm the proud mama...I might just be a little biased!
Photos kindly taken by my friend Kathleen Thorpe
Click on the picture for a better look!  And, no, they haven't started making maternity beekeeping suits :)

Love Letters to My Sons..