Mothering Pregnant


I am logged onto my computer for the first time in a long while and thought I would post a long overdue update. Where to start?

Tuesday, 8/9, Marshall, and I went to the midwives because I suspected that I was slowly leaking amniotic fluid since the previous morning. I really should have packed a bag and brought Adam, since they had me head directly to the birthing center. We called Adam and waited for him to come. He brought an old friend (temporarily here from Kuwait) to keep Marshall company until my in-laws arrived (they were away on vacation, but headed back).

The midwives started me on a slowly increasing drip of pitocin to induce labor, as I was not dilated, effaced, or ripened. Nothing. Just leaking, slowly. It was ok in the beginning, but became the most intense, utterly exhausting experience of my life. I was also monitored continously (with remote monitors, primarily) and was on antibiotics since they did not have the results of my group B strep test and the baby was premature, and my water had ruptered days before.

It was completely unlike my previous birth experience. I felt completely unprepared. Blind-sided. In the beginning, I tried to rest. Then when things picked up, I hummed, chanted, walked, rocked, bounced, hung out in the labor tub, showered, and clung to Adam. Toward the end, I could not cope with the back to back artificial contractions and feared losing consciousness a few times. After begging for help, I was given a small dose of Fentanyl to make me relax between the contractions. It was recommended since it wears off after 30 minutes and is not supposed to effect the baby the way others do. It was like being trapped in my own body for those 30 minutes; I was not able to actively work through the contractions.

After 30 hours of labor and two incredibly strong, whole body pushes on the birthing stool, Harper Hawke was born and in my arms! He rooted around, latched on and began nursing right away. Our placenta was beautifully heart-shaped. Although he was born at 36 weeks 4 days, he displayed no signs of prematurity except jaundice and being small at birth (7 lbs 1 oz, 18″). I had a sore tailbone, but was in great shape otherwise.

I longed to be home all through my labor. Missing Marshall was so horrible, I began campaigning for discharge as soon as possible. My in-laws stayed with DS1 at a nearby hotel the first night and he came and visited regularly. The attending pediatrician had been concerned about Harper’s “prematurity”, the length of time that my water had been broken, my unknown GBS status, and Harper’s weight, and bilirubin count.

We were finally discharged on Saturday, 8/13. We visited with our regular pediatrician on Monday and were admitted for phototherapy Monday and Tuesday. Then we pushed really hard to go home. We rented a bili-blanket and Harper had to wrap up in that at home Tuesady night-Thursday.

Once all that was behind us and we were all home together, unfettered by cords and lights, we really began enjoying our babymoon. Marshall is doing well with everything and is adjusting to sharing. We are never apart, so the almost week-long seperation was really hard on us. He wants to nurse whenever the baby does, and that is a real challenge. He is getting the hang of letting Harper nurse first then when he switches sides, Marshall slides in and holds the baby while they both nurse.

Harper is sweet and super snuggly. He loves to be close and tries to follow his big brother’s voice with his eyes. He is now almost a pound heavier than when he was born, and is losing his yellow hue. Seeing DH and DSs all sleeping next to me in the big bed is one of the most beautiful things I have ever beheld.

Adam was incredible during the birth of our sons. He is always strong and gentle. Tender and stable, he reminds me of what is real and important. I am more in love than ever before.

Emotions Mothering Pregnant


Damn it. I am bleeding. I am trying very hard to remain optimistic and calm. But, the reality is that I am scared.

I had some minor spotting on Saturday then red blood on Sunday. No bleeding on Monday or Tuesday. I am bleeding again today.

I had an ultrasound on Monday. We saw a gestational sac in my uterus that measured at 4/5 weeks (right on track). There were no abnormalities observed. So, an ectopic prenancy was ruled out. One cool thing was that the tech showed us that my left ovary was responsible to releasing the egg that was fertilized.

I had blood drawn for beta HCG quant testing. On Monday the level was 3682 mIU/mL and today it was 7,066 mIU/mL. Those numbers are right in the healthy range and the rate of increase was ideal.

So, I have to take it easy. No heavy lifting or acrobatics. That is not a simple task when you are the caretaker and playmate of a wild and curious Marshall-boy. I will retest blood on Friday and have another ultrasound on Monday.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” Baruch Spinoza

Mothering Pregnant Spiritual

Full of Joy

A little seed of joy is growing within me. I am envisioning this little life in a very unscientific way. Instead of an embryo embedded in my uterus, I see a sparkle. A glimmering orb. Like the fireflies of my childhood dreams. The glow pulsates; a tiny heartbeat.

I send prayers and wishes that this little life grows stronger and stronger within me. That I will be able to hold within me this sweet one. That we will not have to seperate until we can look eye to eye and breath the same air.

Our loss earlier this summer taught me many, many things. One thing that I learned was that joy is never too “new” or “young” to share. It was and is a strage experience to mourn the loss of a little person that virtually noone else even knew existed. I decided that if I ever had the honor of holding life within me again, I would not hoard the treasure.

So, here it is:

I am pregnant! I am 4 weeks pregnant. I am ecstatic.


Diaper Free

Marshall has been diaper free for 3 weeks, today! He woke up one morning, signed “potty” to me. I helped him onto his little potty that we keep next to our bed during the night and at nap times. He peed then stood up and signed “potty”, again. I told him, “Yes. You used the potty. Thank you for letting me know that you needed to go.” He began to sign more frantically, so I quickly brought him downstairs and sat him on the toilet with his adapter seat on it. He pooped and proudly signed “potty” while beaming his huge smile. It was clear that something was different about this for him.

We have always been very interested in natural infant hygiene. It just makes so much sense! Marsh has only rarely ever used a diaper during the night. He has peed and pooped on the little potty regularly, but not consistently since he was about three months old. So, it was not unusual for him to start out the day using the potty. But, he kept it up throughout our day at home. He would either head to the bathroom, sit on his little potty (that I usually try to keep near), or signed “potty”.

The following day he helped pick out some stickers at the store and we set up a Potty Time chart. Each time he uses the potty, flushes, and washes his hands he picks out a sticker and we place it on his chart. It seems so simple, but he really gets a lot of joy out of picking out the stickers, adding them to the chart, talking about the pictures on the charts and counting them up at the end of the day.

For the first week we brought his adapter seat with us when we went out in a nice little bag that he can carry himself. That way, even if the bathroom and toilet were strange he had something reassuringly familiar to use. But, he is “an old pro” now and seems unfazed by different surroundings when it comes to using the bathroom.

We understand that he may lose interest but if nothing else this has been a fun three week break from diaper washing! I really cannot see him reverting back to diaper wearing, as he seems to derive such satisfaction from his new skill.

I feel fortunate that Marshall is interested in potty learning at such a young age (now 19-months). I try to allow him the freedom to explore it on his own, without pressure. If he misses his body’s signals and doesn’t make it to the potty on time, we reassure him that this has happened to everyone and that he can use the potty next time if he wants to. We clean it up quickly and without a fuss. The most challenging time for this is when we are playing or working outside in the snow. Navigating the many layers required to keep him it tricky! He does not have more than one “miss” a day because he simply prefers to stay clean and dry. He always had. We never had to wonder about whether or not he needed a change. Adam noticed when he was about three days old that when he was wet he would try to squirm away from his diaper.

Every child is different and will be ready use the potty at different times. If you are trying to help your child with their potty learning, please check out Dr. Sears’ tips.



The babe is walking 5-6 steps at a time, by himself. We are all pretty excited about it. The look of glee on his little face! He has added some nice new “words” to his vocabulary. My favorite is “thank you”. It is the same inflection that I use when telling him thank you, without the actual words being formed.

Adam and I are trying to figure out how to keep Marshall from biting so much…We are covered with bites and bruises. He even bit his beloved Nanny. It definitely seems to be teething related. He now has all his primary and secondary incisors and his top left first molar! There appear to be 3 more first molars on their way. Phew! Can’t wait for him to feel more comfortable.



We celebrated Marshall’s young life with our family in Rockport, MA. Adam, Marshall, and I went to Good Harbor Beach to play in (and in one case, taste) the sand and feel the cold, saltiness of the Atlantic. I always feel fully alive at the beach and it was a magical experience to be there with my little family. The next day, we all gathered together for a lunch.

Marshall seemed delighted to be surrounded by all the generations; great-grandfather Marshall Turner Moulton and his wife Grandma Marjorie, great-great aunt Betty Moulton LeGacy, great-great uncle Leonard Moulton, Bob Brown (grandfather Bernie Backstrom), Nanny (grandmother Leslie Moulton Backstrom), great aunt Mary (Backstrom) Whitten, great uncle Geoffrey Moulton and his wife Lisa and two daughters Carly and Sofie, and of course Adam and I.

We let everyone know ahead of time that they did not need to bring a gift. We just asked that they come and that if they wanted to bring something, they could bring something for Marshall’s keepsake box/time capsule. He received a variety of things; from letters to commemorative Obama coins! Our intention is to have him open everything when he is ten years old.

I made him a little crown with leaves and feathers. He looked like a little wild thing, wearing his crown and a face covered with the honey cream that I covered his little carrot cake with. I made him his own little cake and made a dozen cupcakes for everyone else. I covered his with a “frosting” made only with heavy cream, honey, and cream cheese. I covered the cupcakes with a more sweetened version that also contained confectionery sugar.

We read “On The Day You Were Born”. I love that story’s way of relating the child’s place in the web of life. It always makes me a little emotional. I then shared some of the things that I am thankful to Marshall for and encouraged others to do the same.

We tried to keep the whole affair as low-key as possible; avoiding all the unnecessary commercialized hype. Our desire was to gather together to celebrate our love as a family and to be thankful for the joy that Marshall brings to us each and every day.

Your Children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of lifes longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you, And though they are with you – yet they belong not to you. You may house their bodies but not their souls. For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow. Which you cannot visit. Not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, But seek not to make them like you. – Khalil Gibran


One Year

Marshall has been with us, on the outside, for one year! I am so thankful to have him here, with me. I continue to feel a profound mix of awe and gratitude.

Every day he reminds me of the innate goodness of man (and woman) kind. Everyone was once this precious, this perfect, this whole, this worthy, this close to the divine. He shows me what life can be like when approached without scars, prejudices, fears, and pessimism. This tiny being is so full of life! Each day is fresh and wonderful.

When I hold him close to my breast to nourish or comfort him, peace settles in around us, cocooning us both in rich, velvety soft folds. I love to hold him while he sleeps, smelling the sweet, milky, newness of him. Feeling his breath flutter against my face. Hearing him laugh in his dreams.

Marshall’s little voice singing, humming, burbling, shouting, lisping, fills the house during the day. He misses nothing, ready to mimic every sneeze, cough or laugh. Ready to add to every conversation. Ready to dance to all of the everyday music; pot stirring, chopping, sweeping, footsteps.



Marshall is cruising! He walks along, just barely holding on. He seems to enjoy he freedom and practices it constantly.

His mouth is filling up. Seven teeth are fully in (his primary incisors, top secondary incisors, and bottom right secondary incisor) and he is working on cutting the bottom right canine and bottom and top molars on the right side. So, there is a LOT of biting going on, right now.

Marshall is just as curious and animated as ever. Now that the weather is so delightful, we spend a great deal of time outside; hanging laundry on the line, rolling in the grass, blowing bubbles, going for walks. He continues to be friendly and outgoing, especially to older men with beards and college aged girls! He waves at all the appropriate times, without prompting. Yesterday, we were viewing a house with a realtor, and at the end, I was winding the conversation down and M started waving. It was great!

Books are holding a lot of attention, especially Mama Mama, That’s Not My Puppy and I Can Sail Boats.


Child Honouring

I am reading Child Honouring – How to Turn This World Around by Raffi Cavoukian (Yep, that Raffi) and Sharna Olfman. Although I do not typically blog about what I am reading, I feel that this is oh so worthy.”

“We find these joys to be self evident: That all children are created whole, endowed with innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect.”

Please check out the beautiful and compelling Covenant and Principles.


Crawling and Chewing

To our great surprise, M is classically crawling! He does not crawl as fast as he scoots, but he is trying it out. He began day before yesterday, as he was heading over through the connecting hallway to visit his Grammy and Grampy.

What a wonderful mouth of teeth he has now, too. Six are fully in (all four top incisors and the two bottom primary incisors). What a dazzling smile. His bottom right secondary incisor is beginning to poke through. It seems to be more uncomfortable that the others for some reason.