Archive for August, 2013

Maeve at One Month

31 August 2013
Maeve and me

Maeve and me

Looking back I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to have a home birth.  I think we have been lied to about how doable it is because it threatens the status quo.  The disempowerment around how we come into the world lays the foundation that makes it that much easier for all other oppressions to come in.  So home birth is “fringe” and people who do it are “edgy.”  I feel so fortunate that I and my daughter made it through the prenatal care gauntlet.  Even home birth midwives, bad asses that they necessarily are, have restrictions they have to adhere to in order to keep their license (my midwife told us though she could tell there was nothing really wrong with me, that if my BP got even a little bit higher then we would have to go to a birthing center).  And I have nothing but respect and admiration for every woman who has gone through the process, whatever form it took, of having a baby in the U.S.

Joe says that good blogging is brief and need not be polished – so here a few other thoughts at one month plus:

In the last few days Maeve has started making eye contact – there were hints of it before but now her gaze is more focused, sustained than before.  Its exciting and sweet to have this new connection with her.  Also, in the last few days we’ve also had a couple of great yawning exchanges, where we yawn back and forth several times.  (more…)

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Baby Maeve’s Fourth Week: Joe Goes Back to Work

25 August 2013
Maeve, in a somewhat typical  state for this week: kind-of-alert and kind-of-sleepy

Maeve, in a somewhat typical state for this week: kind-of-alert and kind-of-sleepy

I don’t have too much to report this week, in part because last Monday I went back to my work at the Bronx River Alliance. It’s not for long, though, because I gave notice., In a few weeks, will be a stay-at-home dad, at least for a while.

Though I really like the work at the Alliance, the commute really eats up my week. I live in Jersey City, and take two trains to get to the Bronx. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes each way. I guess it could be worse – on the train I get a lot of reading and sketching done – but my wife Carrie and I discussed it and we decided that, for now, it makes sense for me to wrap things up there, and stay home. It wasn’t crazy bad this week (I was tired at work), but it just felt like I had very little time to spend with Maeve and Carrie.

I’ll post a few thoughts, and some photos – so I can keep up my weekly Maeve gallery. It’s easier to post photos here on the interwebs than to try to sort through them all and keep them well-organized on my phone and laptop. (more…)

Maeve’s Third Week: First Bath, Mastitis, and More

19 August 2013
Maeve gets fussy this week (though she's just doing her job, letting us know when something needs attention)

Maeve gets fussy this week (though she’s just doing her job, letting us know when something needs attention)

Maeve Margaret Linton Lincourt turns three weeks old on Tuesday August 20th. I am going to make this a fairly short blog entry, because, though being her father has been great, there’s not really tons of new stuff to report, and I am a little bit tired. Yawn.

I won’t let the lack of hard news prevent me from posting…

Maeve showing off her mad napping skills earlier today. I also include this photo to show that we do occasionally dress her up in clothes - mostly it's been pretty warm and she's staying home, so it's just diapers and diaper covers, with a thin blanket accessory

Maeve showing off her mad napping skills earlier today. I also include this photo to show that we do occasionally dress her up in clothes – mostly it’s been pretty warm and she’s staying home, so it’s just diapers and diaper covers, with a thin blanket accessory

plenty of photos…

Maeve ready for her close-up

Maeve ready for her close-up

from this week! (more…)

Baby Maeve at Two Weeks: Sleeping, Breastfeeding, and Being Wonderful

12 August 2013
Maeve relaxing somewhat during a diaper change. She's glorious!

Maeve relaxing somewhat during a diaper change. She’s glorious!

I am trying to get in the habit of posting weekly with the progress of our precious young daughter Maeve, born July 30th 2013 – entering her 14th day as I write this. My wife Carrie and I each posted our accounts of her birth, here and here, respectively. I did an update at one week, here.

I am not going to guarantee any great parenting guru insights in these weekly posts. There are perhaps a few interesting thoughts, but it’s mostly a sort of electronic scrapbook that we can look through and share with others (especially our family and friends on the west coast.) I hope to keep posting a lot of photos of her – all the photos here are from this past week (click on images to enlarge.) Perhaps if Carrie and I post frequently enough, we’ll be able to see some of the arc of Maeve’s growth. Perhaps I will get too busy to keep posting as long or as frequently. I may to try to shift to a shorter format – getting short pieces out sooner. Maybe Carrie and I will write some stuff together. We’ll see.

Week two wasn’t radically different than week one. The new normal felt a tiny bit more routine… but Maeve is still doing lots and lots of sleeping and breastfeeding. In between these major pursuits, she takes time out to look around the room a lot. It seems like she’s just a bit more squirmy. During a lot of week one, she was sleepy and content in seemingly any position; now she wants to sit up when she’s laying down, or lie down when she’s sitting. She doesn’t like to be face down on my chest any more (awwww) because when I do this she goes into feeding mode: she smacks her lips, sometime bops around trying to find my non-existent milk-filled breast, then looks around for her mom. Week two she’s looking to her mom for comfort – maybe I just didn’t notice this in the whirlwind of week one.  (more…)

Beginning Carrie’s Version of Maeve’s Birth Story

7 August 2013
Maeve Margaret Linton Lincourt - born July 30th 2013

Maeve Margaret Linton Lincourt – born July 30th 2013

Written a week after the birth – the morning the grandparents headed home.

It was most pain I have ever experienced – more than I had expected. Don’t know how I did it for 12 hours – my sense of time was completely different – it passed more quickly than usual.  Starting right when we got home from the walk (about 8am) until I started pushing at about 4:30pm, the contractions were steady and intense.  The pain was in my lower abdomen – and into the creases of my hips.

I made a loud, constant noise/tone on each exhale, over and over through each contraction, the sound I made got louder and “truer” as the intensity of a contraction built – when I would hit the “truest” tone (exhale) of a contraction I felt like I was transforming myself into pure vibration for a moment. I had the thought that I sounded like a bleating sheep or those Bulgarian throat singers, that I sounded like I was discharging very early grief – my own birth? and that I was discharging (healing or resolving) the pain in the exact moment I was experiencing it.  My inhales felt short like I was gulping air.  I wondered if they were too short.  I think the toning made me dehydrate quickly – my mouth felt dry and I drank a lot.

I kept my eyes closed and face buried, pointed toward something, the tub wall or couch cushion, most of the time – would look out once in awhile between contractions at Joe, Marci, Maritza, Raizy and Vicki. This way of coping was totally intuitive – making a vibration seemed to be the best way to make the pain bearable. The contractions came very regularly with what felt like short breaks (I wonder how many I had in total – how many it took for her to come out.) I could feel when a contraction was coming and it was a short run up (couple of seconds) until the pain was full blown.  (more…)

Some Musings Seven Days into the Baby Maeve Era

7 August 2013
Maeve sleeping - which she does a lot (see below), with Carrie's hand to help show size

Maeve sleeping – which she does a lot (see below), with Carrie’s hand to help show size

Our beautiful baby girl Maeve turned 7 yesterday. 7 days that is.

She’s a newborn. I wrote my take on her birth story here. She’s doing fine. Her primary purposes in life are: breast feeding, pooping, peeing, and sleeping. Frequently she tosses in a bit of hiccuping, arm/leg flailing, grunting and looking – all for good measure.

I am not sure what format is going to work to blog about Maeve… I figure I will start with a couple paragraphs as a sort of status report, then write some not-all-that-deep thoughts about some things I’ve been noticing. (more…)

Our Home Birth Story: Welcoming Maeve into the World

1 August 2013

(hey everyone – this is a birth story – it’s perhaps a bit graphic – some real blood, adult themes, not for everyone)

Maeve just after being born. Her head was still somewhat oblong then, as it gets squeezed going through the birth canal

Maeve just after being born. Her head was still somewhat oblong then, as it gets squeezed going through the birth canal

Two days ago, Tuesday, July 30th 2013, my wife Carrie Lincourt and I gave birth to Maeve Margaret Linton Lincourt, a 21-inch long 8-pound 4-ounce daughter. Our first. We had Maeve at home, in the flat where Carrie has lived for the past 6 years. Below is my account of the incredible, intense and ultimately wonderful home birth experience we had.

Let me start by saying that I am a very imperfect witness. (This is a concept I borrow from Primo Levi, one of my favorite authors, who, in The Drowned and the Saved, states that, as a survivor his Auschwitz experience was highly unusual, and therefor he is not the best person to tell the stories he does.) As a male, I was there, was supporting, but I didn’t go through one-hundredth of what my wife went through… nonetheless, I am going to try to tell the birth story as I experienced and remember it… so we can share with friends, family, our future selves, and our daughter. (Another imperfection is that I didn’t take a lot of pictures. I was in the thick of it supporting Carrie… thanks to others for taking quite a few of the photos here.)

For the past months, we’ve been preparing for a home birth. Various friends of ours had successful home births (including my neighbors at L.A. Eco-Village), so from even before we became pregnant, our intent was to have our baby at home. This was welcome to a lot of our friends, but some folks who were less familiar with birthing at home were worried for us. Overall, though, it was a decision we knew was good, and the more read and listened and talked – we felt better and better about our choice being right for us (though perhaps not for everyone.)  (more…)