Block 1 done! P90X3 is truly addictive!

Here’s how I looked at the beginning of week 2, and today, 20 days later, at the end of block 1:

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I haven’t lost much, 3 and a half pounds maybe, but I feel like my clothes are fitting better.  I love that my fiance, Metalman, and I are doing it together, he feels more firm and muscly everywhere when I snuggle him, which is sexy!  Mostly I love that I can always squeeze in 30 minutes a day, even with the baby right there next to me doing her own little moves on her play mat, and I know that whenever I start it, the minutes fly by and I get to the end of the thirty before I know it and I feel SO good and SO proud after.  The rest of the day my body is so much more pleasant to live in, and mentally and emotionally I’m high as a kite from all the endorphins.  It’s really such a good thing, I start to wonder why on earth I wasn’t squeezing short power exercises into each day before????  Well I am now, and I can’t imagine ever going back!

 

Week 3 -P90X3

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I still got that postpartum bloat and love handles thing going, but I’ve only been at it two weeks and lost 2 pounds. I would have loved to see twice the improvement but hey, it’s faster improvement than I was previously seeing just going twice a week to the gym.
And I love the sore feeling every day &endorphin rush after!

Lemon & Cucumber shampoothie & a leave-in cucumber aloe conditioner recipe

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I threw two cucumbers and three lemons, skin and all, into my food processor and made mush.  I should have peeled.  There are tiny chunks that take a bit of effort to rinse out.  That said, I can’t say it’s bad, but I’ve only tried it twice, once after I used a castile soap & coconut milk shampoo because I had way too many oils that wouldn’t come off my hair in any other way, and once today when my hair was already kinda fine.

It seemed dry on the ends though so I dipped the ends of my hair into a homemade conditioner recipe (acv & water, and a mix of hair-healthy oils) but kept that oily stuff away from anything above my neck, and then rinsed with acv and water, and followed up with a leave in conditioner recipe.

So IMPORTANT NO POO REVELATION #1 — do not put yummy oils like (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc ….) in your hair unless they are in a very very tiny amount, like a teaspoon into a half liter concoction.  Homemade shampoo just can’t deal with removing the excess and you’ll have weighed down heavy, oily looking hair.  Well, near my roots it looked bad, the processed ends drank it up.  So it’s important to find conditioning treatments that have NO OIL involved.  Or, ok, just a tiny bit.

So, without fun and super hydrating oils to lean on, how do you give your parched hair a drink?  Or, at least the length of it that may need it more than the new growth near your crown…. ?

I blended a peeled cucumber, a half liter of strong chamomile tea, and several tablespoons of pure aloe vera gel, a few drops of peppermint essential oils, and a tablespoon each of argan and jojoba oils.  I filled a spray bottle and went to town after my shower.  It almost tried to clog the nozzle with the chunky aloe & cucumber mush but it basically sprayed alright.

Six months postpartum & ready to shed the last of the pregnancy weight – P90x3 ?!

I’m starting a 90 day challenge to get fit and burn off the last of my pregnancy weight (I gained 50, still have 15 to go) better known as P90x3.  I am SO not the type of person to do at home workout videos, the only ones I’ve ever done at home was Les Mils Bodypumps and that’s only because I got used to them at the gym so it felt the same as the classes I was used to attending at the gym, only in my living room with a few pieces of equipment.  I had seven or eight different editions of bodypump to circulate through so I didn’t get bored, and I did it maybe twice a week from home at the most, an hour each workout.  But nothing since I got pregnant and noticed the bodypump workouts triggered a bleed in week 13, which was March ’13.  I was forbidden to exercise and was not really supposed to do exercise until my postpartum checkup in early December.  That’s a long time to be told to put your feet up and take it easy and I gained a LOT of weight.  The first 25 pounds came off immediately, the next ten have come off SLOOOOOWLY these last 5 months, and I am DONE with the final 15, I want to sew my wedding dress for my wedding coming in July, and I have four months to get in the shape I want to see myself in for the rest of my life in my wedding pictures.  I’d even like to lose more than the pregnancy weight, as I gained a good 15 pounds after settling down into happy domestic life (compared with the tip-top slim/svelte shape I was in while single and dating and going out in all my cutest outfits and hyper conscious about how they were fitting, week to week).  But for now, let’s just focus on the pregnancy weight.  If I do it through clean eating and intensive exercise, it will look very good, and I don’t need to get super skinny.

Here’s me bravely posting my ‘BEFORE’ pictures, before getting into the 90 days of daily exercises that is P90x3!  This “only 30 minutes” thing is exactly why I am trying it.  I could never do more than that with a baby by my side all the time needing tending to.  (Disclosure, I am not affiliated with Beachbody or the P90x series in any way, I might not have even paid for the DVDs and instead done the naughty thing to get my copies onto my hard drive)…..

 

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You can see my spare tire I am DESPERATE to be rid of before I fit myself for a wedding dress.

Here’s me after one week:

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Since I actually am now in week 2 of the challenge so I can post a review about how it feels and how I like 7 of the 16 workouts.

I’m doing the ‘LEAN calendar’ which is geared to weight loss and more cardio, less muscle mass building.

Monday’s workout is called “The Accelerator” and it’s basically a fast paced cardio workout, every move having a ‘regular’ speed and a ‘hyper speed’ and each move lasts one minute and there’s about half a minute break after while he explains the next move and you get into position.  No equipment needed but yourself, a small towel and your water.  You’re supposed to wear supportive cross training shoes with a stable base, like basketball shoes, but I had none so I used my handiest sneakers.  I understand why he advises so strongly about the shoes!  I picked up some Pumas at the second hand store that seemed never used that have a much more wide and stable base and now I’m happier.  The Accelerator is fun, fast, and the thirty minutes goes by quickly.  The Donkey Kicks at the end, however, KICK MY MOTHER FLIPPING BUTT.

Tuesday’s  workout is “The Warrior”, developed for the armed servicemen and women who needed a routine they could do anywhere, even in cramped conditions with no equipment.  It’s more cardio, no equipment needed, but there are lots of planks and sprawls and sphinx position moves, push ups and explosive (i.e. painful) plyometric movements.  It’s intense but it’s fun.  I like it a lot.

Wednesday is Yoga x which I find pretty easy since I’ve done most of the moves before.  I’m not a pro, however, and can not rock every single move and it certainly hurts when holding the crescent position for long stretches and my various warriors are wobbly.  But it’s much less sweaty and exhaustive than the first two. Feels EXCELLENT after.

Thursday is CVX, which is cardio with a hand weight in your hand.  This is awesome, or at least I think I like it because I can actually do all of the moves until the end, those spiderman twists are impossible for me to do a 360 degree version.  It’s exhaustive and feels so effective.  Surprising that in this, Warrior, and Accelerator there are moves I’ve never done before in fifteen years of various workout classes.

Fridays are Isometrix and the first time I did this I was miserable, couldn’t do any of the plank position movements (holding up one hand and one leg  while in plank) and I couldn’t do much else, either.  But actually on only the second time, I already noticed a pretty big improvement and I’m starting to warm up to it.  The moves are the hard parts of yoga, but held for 45 seconds a piece.  Whew, it’s really painful.

Saturdays are Agility X and I cannot do this.  I just can’t.  I have to modify everything, it’s crazy plyometric (explosions!) moves that I just don’t have the strength or stamina to do.  I cannot jump very high with my knees up to the chest, I’m just not that person.  Hopefully I will start to see improvements.

Sundays are the rest day, or Dynamix if you choose, which is supposed to be a nice, easy workout but I found it almost as tough as Isometrix!  Let’s hope I get better with my balance and my strength so I stop needing to modify the heck out of nearly every move.  I am a ball of weakness, but I’m trying.

I’ve already lost a pound and a half to two pounds, so I no longer have 15 pounds of pregnancy weight, I’m down to 13 or so, so that’s something!  I was losing weight sloooowly anyways with twice a week exercise classes at the gym, but this seems to be picking up the pace two or threefold, which is just what I need.  I also feel like my clothes are already starting to fit better after just ten days….  that’s cool!  Maybe I’ll get out of control top jeans at some point and wear regular jeans and not stress about muffin top!!!  The best part is that baby girl can keep her patience for the mere 30 minutes I need to get these short workouts done, while she’s on the floor next to me with her toys, wiggling around and turning from back to stomach and back to her back again.  It’s wonderful that these are so short or there’s no way in heck I’d ever get them done.

Stay tuned for week 3 photos in a few more days! praying there’s a perceptible difference….

No ‘Poo ?? No bleach either??

Shampoo Free for one week!  No, this ain’t an April Fools joke!!

Here is the current situation today, a bit heavy on top with some organic oils that haven’t completely washed out, but otherwise quite pretty, although the roots are getting a bit mis-matched with the blonde ends….is that Ombre hair trend still in?  Can I pull this off?   Here’s me, 1 week in to the chemical-free lifestyle, holding a baby of course:

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So anyway, what is No Poo?  Going shampoo free?!  No Shampoo?!!?  Do I dare?  I have (naturally dark ash blonde, a lovely shade resembling dirty dishwater or asphalt or something equally bright and inspiring) hair reaching down to my waist and the longest parts have been through several rounds of chemical foil highlights through the years (hate my natural color, miss the golden tresses of my youth, so I get chemical foil highlights every 3-5 months–usually I DIY ‘em or ask a friend to do it since I’m never satisfied with the technique and attention to detail of salon colorists), so they are pretty dry and damaged and feel brittle and hay-like without regular conditioning treatments.  The thing is, the silicone in the traditional products *work* to make my hair, even the ancient, processed ends dangling around my waist, feel *nice*.  It’s going to take some troubleshooting to go without silicone products.  And the oils that work on the ends of my hair are too heavy at the crown, near the roots, and sodium lauryl sulfate shampoos are the quick fix to de-oil my head.  But if I’m going without all commercial hair products, I’ve gotta find a solution to let the upper half of my hair clean and non-oily and the lower half of old hair be soft and smooth and nourished and not feeling like brittle hay.  It has now been a week since I’ve ditched commercial hair products and this is what I’ve tried.

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Luckily I only wash my hair once or twice a week (about every 5 days) because I’m lazy and it’s so thick it takes forever to dry and I don’t blow dry (even that takes forever and I’m, like I said, lazy).  So my scalp isn’t crazy on the sebum production, I usually wash when my scalp feels itchy and dry, rather than when I see greasy roots.

–first I did a pre-poo treatment of coconut oil liberally applied the night before, then the next evening I tried to wash with bentonite clay (I heard it was a good detox for the start of a no poo journey) mixed with apple cider vinegar, aloe vera gel, a dash of avocado and jojoba oils and a couple drops each of peppermint/tea tree/grapeseed/lavender essential oils.  It felt awesome on my scalp and I was all fresh and tingly for a day or two after, but those oils from my pre-poo (and maybe the oils in the poo recipe also)  just did not leave my hair, it was a lank, heavy, oily situation *except* right at the roots (benny clay did clean my scalp and roots up).  My scalp wasn’t producing it, it came from the non-poo stuff I was putting in.

–I waited a couple days for the oils to absorb but when they didn’t I tried rye flour mixed with coconut milk and aloe vera gel…  still oily everywhere but right at the roots/scalp.  I even tried dry shampoo liberally applied and brushed, and it did NOTHING but make my hair feel disgusting.

–next day I tried to go super-clarifying (and perhaps get rid of any lingering silicone buildup) with baking soda and water with a drop of dish soap, and rinsed with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water (with a few drops of nice oils in there).  When it was still damp it felt so dry I felt compelled to put a bit of jojoba oil on the ends.  But when it dried, the upper half was still oily……   However, I did start to notice highlights coming out from my roots.  I can’t know whether these products were subtly highlighting my un-colored roots (about two to three inches of new hair growth since my last highlights) or whether the appearance of the sun since spring suddenly arrived just made the naturally occurring highlights in my hair visible in the mirror, but I definitely noticed some ever-so-slight color change effect.

—the following day I decided to go egg yolks and honey and yogurt.  I rinsed with lemon juice and water (I used my food processor to pulverize the whole lemon, skin and all, and then ran the mush through a sieve to get the juices out).  Finally when it dried it was CLEAN!  Like I had shampooed!

I didn’t touch it for 2-3 days, just elated at the situation with nice fresh looking, clean hair.

 

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Then…. I started to think about natural highlighting and ditching the chemicals to really find out what kind of hair I could grow without putting any chemicals of any kind on my head, and I started research natural highlighting recipes.  I am dubious, but I am willing to try throwing out my routine of chemical foil highlighting every 3-5 months and see these next couple of years what kind of hair I could have without it, and if it’s good I could enjoy that for at least a few years before I need to start thinking about gray hair coverage and get more agressive again with my color (I’m 34 so I’m anticipating at least a few stray gray hairs will start showing up around age 40, right?).

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I didn’t know CINNAMON could lighten your hair!  So I added what we had in the cinnamon department in the kitchen (a couple of teaspoons) to a whole bunch of honey, strong chamomile tea, a tablespoon of olive oil and a processed & strained lemon, (who knew the natural peroxide in honey gets ‘activated’ by olive oil and cinnamon??!)  to make a concoction that I left on my head for almost ten hours.  Last night I needed to rinse all that lemon out, which is drying, so I used my homemade conditioning rinse which is mostly apple cider vinegar and water, but with some flat beer mixed in for shine and body, and a bit of healthy organic oils.  I then rinsed again with strong chamomile tea.

 

The result?  I can’t really tell because the oils I put in my hair again are not rinsing out so I have oily hair at the moment which is definitely hiding any lightening effects.  Ok, I can see if I peer up close that there is definitely still that bit of highlights happening that I noticed several days ago, and the treatment I did yesterday really made my hair smooth and shiny.  But it’s soft, slick, and oily so I really don’t know if the effect on color happened yet.  I’m going to wait and see if the oil absorbs and then try it again, because I guess you need to do it twice a week for a couple of weeks before you can really notice the results.  I’m so impatient!!!!!!

 

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Tried my first princess braided updo!

 

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I haven’t cut my hair in a year and it’s now at my waist!  Well that was true until yesterday,, I trimmed the heck (an inch or so) out of the ends of my hair and tried to hit the layers too, by using the How To Hair Girl’s DIY haircut tips that I stumbled across a few days ago (and obsessively watched every single video of).

This is the first time I’ve ever done anything other than a standard french braid.  I dutch braided (french-braiding-reverse-style which makes the braid look like it’s laying on your head) and did it from front and around and back to the front.  I also used a How To Hair Girl tutorial for that.

What do you think?  I’m not sure which updo to try next, but I think I’m going to go nuts with the DIYs now that I have so much long, long hair to play with!  Yay for pregnancy making it grow like mad!

 

Also……  I’m a week into my attempt to be chemical free when it comes to my hair and skin care.  No sulfates, no silicones, shampoo free and chemical hair color free.  I’m a bit scared and shivery just typing that but that’s my goal!  So far after trying 4 different at home hair shampoo recipes using edible ingredients, I found only one that really made my hair feel shampooed (after I clarified a couple of times with plain baking soda and water, a bentonite clay mask, and even a baking soda and water mixed with one drop of dish soap!).

My shampoo recipe that seems to work even on my long, processed hair:

Egg yolks + yogurt + honey.  Lemon juice rinse.  *LOVE*

 

9 days late, but oh so worth it

Here’s me lounging on the sofa earlier on Sunday with 8year old son and cats, still no signs of labor besides a tiny bit of white plug in the morning (actually both on sat & sunday mornings right after drinking red raspberry leaf tea.)

Now, on Monday very early in the morning (pre-5am) I sense in my sleep that something started to trickle, like I sprung a leak.  My pjs were pretty wet in the crotch when I finally got out of bed a few hours later to check it out, odorless, clear liquid, nothing like mucus.  I decide to wait and see what happens, but I go and rent a TENS machine to practice, since my best friend said it really helped her during the last birth.  The water keeps trickling so I call the hospital and they ask me to come in and have the fluid swabbed and checked.  They test it but say it’s not amniotic fluid, most likely very clear liquidy mucus plug coming out, and they determine I’m 100% effaced, anterior, and 2cm dilated.  I was heartbroken as I had been 2cm dilated over a month earlier and I had had so many contractions in the weeks since and had hoped I was more open.  However, the progress was all in the effacement, as I had still a couple cm length at my 36 week dr check, and it was all gone, so I should have tried harder to be excited about that.  I guess I was just hoping for more!

By the time we got home, I noticed the contractions had been quite regular, every 8-25 minutes for a couple of hours, so we tested out the machine and it did help during these mild but painful contractions, and the trickle had turned pink.  I figured the vaginal exam had made me bleed a tiny bit.  The contractions never got closer together and even seemed to get less frequent at our normal bedtime, so we just went to bed.  By the end of my first cycle of sleep (midnight-4am) I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed they were on hiatus, and I went back to bed.  The trickle of fluid never ceased though, like I had a tiny leak at the top of my uterus and every hour or so a tiny spurt would come out.  I just wore a maxi pad.

I stayed in bed and tried to sleep but couldn’t fall back to sleep until 7am but grabbed another sleep cycle and got out of bed at 11am.  No contractions, so I showered, had breakfast, and watched a movie and watched the trickle situation.  By 1pm they started up again and were at least every 10 minutes, usually more like every 6, but with 1 or 2 pauses (14 or 22 minutes between).  I stared writing them down and I almost always was able to count to 45 seconds, up to 55 seconds during a contraction.  Occasionally they were only half a minute and less intense, but usually they were pretty darned catch-my-breath-close-my-eyes (and use the TENS machine to cope) in intensity.

After a couple of hours,  I noticed they were every 4 minutes so I told Metalman to come home when he could.  He didn’t manage to leave early but anyways after 5pm I had quite a consistent log going, but not getting to one minute in length quite yet or any contractions that really made me feel intense about getting to the hospital.  We texted the doula to let her know that things might happen that night.  I decided it would be more fun to try to go to dinner and a movie and distract myself through this prelabor or early early labor, so we sketched out a tentative evening date agenda…..

….but then at about 7pm I made the decision that things were too regular and too painful during contractions to enjoy any sort of evening plans, and I had a feeling that things were going to happen soon, so we headed to the hospital.   It’s a 35 minute drive and I have a history of fast births once things get going so I just wanted to get that drive out of the way and see what the situation looked like when I got there.  I guess I was definitely hoping that when they checked my cervix it would be the case that the 8 hours of contractions would have done tons of progress and I’d be at 6 or 7cm and almost ready to give birth.  Here’s me having just arrived and being strapped to a fetal heart rate monitor.  I’m huge and miserable and wanted to get the show on the road.

However, shortly after that photo I was told that I was still at 2, my cervix was exactly the same as 24 hours earlier before any of these regular, unpleasant contractions.  I was a stormcloud after that, just faking politeness at my fiance and Doula, who tried to cheer me up.  We got into a hospital room and tried to figure out a way to wait the hours out until things really vamped up from the early labor stagnation I was in, to full on active labor.  We watched netflix on my fiance’s crappy work laptop he had with him, and investigated food options.  I had eaten before we left, but as the clock got to 10pm and then to 11pm I realized I wanted some creature comforts like a hot meal, someplace comfy to relax, a decent movie to try to distract myself with, anything to help the hours just freaking go by until we could move on to real business.  However, we were in a small town area and although Metalman headed off to drive around and search for something open, he found nothing and came back empty handed.  The entire hospital was relatively shut down except for the maternity wing, so no facilities within the hospital either.  They had a snack fridge but I just didn’t want what was in there, I didn’t want to bother unless it was something satisfying.

My contractions kept at the same frequency as they had since the afternoon, and it was midnight and decided to let the midwife check again and do a very gentle stretch/sweep.  She checked my cervix which was at 3cm and did such a gentle stretch for 2-3 seconds that I didn’t even feel it, and then I waited for things to kick in.  After another hour nothing had changed and it was midnight!   I got sick of trying to be social with Metalman and Doula and just wanted to weep with frustration but felt that I couldn’t as I was sort of the center of attention to a little drama there in the hospital room, and I didn’t really feel comfortable enough with my doula to just weep in front of her from frustration and anger/irritation/desperation like a little kid not getting her way, so I decided that things were just not happening and she should go home and get some sleep in her own bed and we’d let her know when things were really in the active stage.

I then had a cry as soon as she left, and released all my sadness about my body simply NOT doing what I wanted it to do, and putting me through such a long wait for this labor to truly kick into gear.  I was also very, very tired, for some reason and felt like I needed to either sleep or give birth.  I wanted my own bed. After discussing it and crying in my fiance’s arms in the hospital bed for awhile, I decided we would go home and come back in the morning.  I put on my coat and shoes but the next contraction was much stronger, at that point it was a bit after 1am.  The next several were quite a bit stronger and I realized there was no way I could go to the parking lot and get in the car, or even out of the building down the stairs.

I took my shoes off and asked to get into the tub and we started making our way towards the tub. I wasn’t able to make it very far, by 1:30 my water had broken and the contractions started coming so intensely I just lost it and started blubbering and begging for help.  I felt pressure against my bowels and asked if they could somehow quickly empty my bowels, as if that would be the solution to everything.  Or anything.  The contractions became so intense and sometimes without any break at all in between, so they offered me gas and air.   I was panting too shallow to really get any benefit from.  I used the TENS for every contraction but I noticed with horror that the contractions were totally painful also in the front and not just in my lower back anymore, so they weren’t exactly offering much of a relief.  Some, but not much.

I lost my mind with fear, as I had just been told less than an hour earlier that I was at 3cm, and the idea that I had “so far to go” at that level of pain just made me lose all morale or faith in wanting a natural birth.  I knew logically that some women can get to 10cm in no time from whatever point, but I was scared to death that I would be the exception and it would just hurt that much for hours.   I told them to arrange for narcotics, an epiural, a spinal, whatever….  so they made phone calls and arranged for a dr to come to the premesis (the 2-3 women there were all midwives, no doctors in the building, but some available on quite short notice on call).  I managed to get into a position so they could check my cervix again (at my request, I needed to know!), which was very very hard to do, any sort of movement was next to impossible, nothing felt ok, I was just writhing like a woman being stuck with a hot poker, and there were literally only 0-10 seconds of rest between the contractions, so getting a cervical check was truly difficult.  However, I was told I was 9cm!  It was 2am at that point, and they called the dr who was just about to walk into the building and told her to go home, and they frantically got a position to help me birth thrown together.

By 2:15 I managed to get into a bed that had been adjusted up to a sitting position with stirrups, and I sat there and they told me I could push.  I didn’t want to, even though the urges came strong.  I was afraid that if it hurt so badly without pushing, that pushing her through my birth canal would….I don’t know, kill me.  I was so scared that if I gave it all I had and it took a long time, I would die from pain.  My mind raced for guarantees that it would at least be fast if I pushed, so I screamed and begged for them to use the vacuum to suck her out.  They told me just to push– that she was ready and coming.  I never stopped screaming my refusal and requests for them to help me somehow, but nonetheless I gingerly allowed myself to attempt pushing her out.

The reactions from the midwives and what I could actually feel myself, was quite amazing, I could really feel her head stretching me and crowning, and the women’s relaxed attitude about it happening so great was encouraging, like maybe I could do this, so I just screamed and did it.  By the third push at 2:30 she came out and…..OMG, I feel I have never felt so relieved and elated in my life when they put her on me and instead of being in the throes of Hell, I was on the other side and felt amazing & had a baby on my chest.

NB: I have had the physical relief from a very intense birth before with my first, and I so I remembered that amazing pleasure of relief (that physically the horror was over), but I didn’t get a baby on my chest after that birth- he was whisked to the NICU, so quite a different experience, only the physical relief was to be enjoyed, nothing more.   I had my baby nearby with my last birth at home, and it was a relatively gentle, non-intense experience, but we didn’t get bonding time immediately.   I had my mom take him right away so the midwife could stitch me up and leave—then my 1 year old woke up as I was being stitched up, so I went to go comfort nurse him back to sleep and I didn’t have a chance for another hour to bask in the glow of my newborn and, by then, I don’t know, the moment of sheer amazement and exhilaration and relief and adrenaline had sort of passed.  Maybe a homebirth with siblings, parent, and a midwife eager to get home, just isn’t for me.    Mostly, it was my 1 year old who took away my focus from the birth experience and the new baby.  

Anyways, this time there was nothing I needed to do, nowhere I needed to go, I just lost my mind with euphoria laying right in the spot I was in (they removed stirrups and added an extra leaf to the bed so that I could lay and be comfortable), nursing my new baby and admiring her ….and feeling so so so so so happy that the ordeal was over.  Bliss.  I called my mom and told the good news.  She pooped on me but I didn’t care, we were a mess of fluids but the midwives just put warm blankets on us and it didn’t matter, and after about 45 minutes the placenta (600 grams) finally came out and they stitched me but very gently and I felt no pain.  4 stitches, but I never stopped enjoying my baby.  The midwives were really really awesome.

Finally, after a couple of hours, I gave the baby to Metalman to go get her cleaned up and weighed and checked out a bit, and I had a shower and got dressed into my own clothes (I never wore a hospital gown).  Shockingly she still didn’t cry, she was peaceful these entire first hours.  The midwives got us a snack and pushed two hospital beds together for the three of us to lay down in, and we napped for a couple of hours.  Then we woke up at about 7am, we got a hot breakfast, a dr checked the baby, and we packed up and headed to the car.  This is baby in the wrap for the first time, leaving the hospital at just about 12 hours from the time we originally arrived, around 6 hours from the birth:

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And here are some photos later that day with her brothers and I on our living room sofa.

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Thoughts on homebirth vs. hospital birth:  I honestly felt like this hospital, that is so natural-birth-supportive (although fully willing to let the mother opt for meds if she wants to, assuming there is even time for that) & so full of warm and dedicated staff, who was so obliging to our birth plan and our desires to leave right after (I would compare this place to a free standing birth center in the US, it was so not hospital-like) , was an even better option than a homebirth for us.  Yes,  the creature comforts of home are excellent but we were back to them in no time.  During my homebirth, things were just not 1000% organized to make me feel like I could shirk every single other responsibility and just focus on the birth.  A midwife who is in a hurry to get in the car and leave, so wants to stitch you immediately (& not very carefully in terms of numbing you properly first) and especially very young siblings who may cry and distract mommy from her main priority, are pretty distracting.  Then again, it was such a relaxed, gentle, relatively low-pain birth experience, that perhaps that huge crescendo of physical relief euphoria at the end would not have been there anyways, no matter what the scenario. But, it would have been nice to just hold and stare at my baby for as long as I wanted after, and that was the one thing that I got to experience for the first time this time and I am so glad!  What a beautiful moment, I will never forget it.  Or the pain!  But… an hour of pain, even mind-blowing pain, was a totally reasonable price to pay for such a perfect baby girl.

Kudos if you got this far!  Oh yeah, 9 pounds 5 oz!