Orion's Birthday

A blog!  A blog!  It's been a whopping 5 months since I've written a post.  We've moved, the kids started back to school, we had a baby, I quit my job, I took over shipping cards for the Gathering Site and now we are just outside of the busy holidays.  Time to get back into the swing.  

Disclosure - this is a birth story, therefore a long novel of a post.  For those that enjoy these sorts of things, those looking for insight and my own guilty pleasure.

Orion Gregory Trent Crutcher: September 08, 2016 @ 2:10pm

Orion was an afternoon babe. 

When we found out we were pregnant we started our prenatal visits with the TriHealth Midwives through Good Sam.  I met them through a client I had as a doula and remembered how amazing they were.  They are kind and have altered the practice to be as close to a home birthing environment as a hospital can give you.  Truly amazing, conscientious midwives.  Love them!

That being said.  I don't know if it was being busy with 3 five year olds on summer vacation, work or my husband being in the police academy but at week 32 I noticed I'd been really detached from the pregnancy.  I didn't look forward to my prenatal checkups and was battling some pregnancy blues.  After a lot of thought and reflection I realized it wasn't being busy or depression - I wasn't preparing for the birth in a way that was intimate and personal to me.  I wanted to home birth.  I needed to home birth.

After training as a doula and assisting births both in and out of the hospital I truly felt I knew my body and the biology of birthing well enough to handle it stress free at home (actually less stressful than being in the hospital).  Trent and I talked and in a nut shell - we both decided it was what we wanted, not just me - so we found KaiaJade (in Cincinnati, this is a great place to start a search for the perfect Midwife).  

The amazing KaiaJade!  You will never meet anyone with a heart so kind and large as this woman.  My AMAZING midwife.  She is truly incredible.  We met in week 33 and OUR  minds (all three of us) were set.  We had 7 weeks to catch up on prenatal information and get prepared for the big day.  Or not....

We moved the first week of September, which would have been week 35 into 36.  It was a crazy week, but we got through it with the help of my brother and his family (OMG!  Thank you!!) and our Woodburn Village (more on that later).  By the next week, I was working hard to get the house in order so I could focus on getting ready for the birth.  FYI - we didn't know the gender of the baby nor did I have any of the supplies needed for the birth.  Just my doula bag - yikes.  By Wednesday of the following week (pregnancy week 36) - I called my mom in a fury.  

'What was I thinking?!  I can't handle another baby?!  Am I crazy?!' Sobbing, screaming full fledged anxiety attacks.  And... that's when my mom started packing.  The beauty of her knowing me SO well.  She knew the big day was if not hours, only days away.  My manic break down before birth.  

That night I decided to replace a window unit in the boy's bedroom and put the bigger one at the stairs for Trent to carry down.  Not a great move while pregnant.  But taking it easy hasnever been my forté.  

The next morning started like any morning.  My alarm went off at 6:30a.  I was definitely at the sore & tired part of pregnancy, so I laid in bed and listened to the kids wake up around 6:45.  I listened to their play and went to check my phone around 7a, go through email, etc....  When I put my phone back I felt a little - well, squirt.  Incontinence in that past month was kicking in so I figured it was just my inability to 'hold it' and I'd be up soon (TMI?  I don't care.  It's a fact of having children).  Not minutes later came the gush.  No question what that was. 

My waters broke with Soren as well.  Just following in my mother's footsteps with both my brother and I.  We are two of the very few that water breaking signifies active labor.  I ran to the bathroom saying - 'No, no no no no no.  Not yet!!!!  We aren't ready!'.  Trent came running in and asked if I was sure I wasn't just peeing my pants.  Heh.  Yeah honey.  I stood up and another gush of clear liquid came out.  

He shrugged.  Smiled ear to ear and quickly ran upstairs to tell the kids they weren't going to school.  'We are having a baby!'  He may deny this, but it was one of the few times I have seen him so ecstatic he couldn't think straight.

We quickly called KaiaJade, made a list of supplies, asked my dear friend-amazing-human being-that happens to be an ER nurse, to call off sick and attend the birth (which she did VERY willingly.  I love you Sarah!), my mom who responded 'duh!  I knew it! I am on my way!', my boss - there was a CSO concert that weekend and school for the kids.  Trent took the boys out to run some errands - birth supplies, food, etc.... Sarah came to check on me and then left to snag my pitocin script from Bethesda and couple more supplies.  

I was left home alone to focus on birth.  The contractions started up quickly.  I did miles circuits as instructed by KaiaJade to insure the baby would be anterior and in a good position.  

By the time Sarah (my amazing ER nurse working friend and other mother of the Woodburn Village) got back I was moving pretty quickly into active labor.  I could still talk between contractions and move but my hips were starting to feel it.  And this time - my abdomen.  Soren was all, I mean ALL back labor.  I never knew what an abdominal contraction felt like.  Back labor was extremely painful.  I was in tears this time.  Of happiness.  

I remember laboring in the kitchen and screaming how much better this felt.  My hips still felt like they were ripping but WOW!  I can stand.  I can move.  I can bear down!  Yes!  Thank you baby!  Keep it up!!

KaiaJade got to the house around 9/9:30 (I think, I am a little foggy on time at this point).  We continued miles circuits until I couldn't do them anymore and we ended in our bedroom where we prepped.  Trent came home with the kiddos and Carol (the Woodburn Village Resident Nana) took them out to play.  I continued to labor and lean on Trent with sounds of the kids playing in the background (they hunted for butterfly larvae - yes, caterpillars.  But they are privy to the terminology).  He never left my side but once to answer a text from my traveling mom.  

The contractions were strong and hard.  I pulled, squeezed, grunted, breathed, dry heaved, you name it - on my husband.  But he stayed, looking me straight in the eye.  Always there - my rock, my confidence when it seemed impossible, the reminder that I wasn't in this alone - ever.

My mom arrived around noon.  I will never forget her scent entering the room - the comfort I needed at the time.  Trent wanted this birth to be the two of us along with our labor and delivery assistants.  It meant a lot to him.  I just required my husband and our kiddos if they wanted to be present.  I just wanted to be home with my family while we welcomed our new member.  My mom respected that, as hard as it was to hear her daughter laboring and not be there.  She went out with her grandsons and became the liaison between our room and the kids.

Shortly after that I started losing hope.  I told KaiaJade and Sarah I didn't think I could do it.  I didn't have enough strength and I was losing reality.  I felt like I was wilting and giving into the pain.  KaiaJade knew me, she knew I had to prove I could do this.  

She said softly - with no judgement 'I understand you are tired.  We can go to the hospital if that is what you wish.  I honor your decision.  You are ok, the baby is ok.'  I responded with a 'hell no! Let's do this!'.  She promptly gave me a couple homeopathics in hopes they'd wake me up (they did!) and some encouragement and sure enough I made it through transition and started pushing around 1:30p.

This I remember vividly.  The head crowned.  Trent was waiting to catch, both of our hands down by the head as encouragement and support for both myself and the baby.  He called out for the kids.  My mom brought them up.  All three - they looked in awe and excitement.  'There's the head! The head!  There's hair!?!?'.  

There was still some pushing yet to go, so we asked if they wanted to stay or leave.  They meandered and two ended up staying by the time Orion's shoulders began to come out.  After that and couple more pushes, there he was.  In my husbands hands.  Soren ran over to my side and Mayer jumped on the bed.  They couldn't wait to get a closer look.  Trent put him on my chest and the comments and questions began to fly.  

I was so aware - so awake.  I answered them between gasps of disbelief, tears and kisses.  I finally held him up to see what we had and looked at my husband 'Orion?', and he shook his head.  Marley came running into the room and on the bed.  So many questions.  They were curious about everything.  In awe that this new life - their baby brother just came into the world.

I had less shaking with this birth and more clarity.  Although they were both unmedicated, this one was so different.  My placenta came and we quickly realized Orion's EDD was incorrect and he likely had a twin that I counted as my last cycle.  He was more likely 37 weeks, almost 38.  He was 6lbs 10oz (Soren was 6lbs 14oz @ 39 weeks), no small fry but not huge.  Healthy, quick to latch, big eyed, full head of hair - our little peanut.  All of us, absolutely in love.  

I know home birthing isn't for everyone, but it was definitely the right move for us.  KaiaJade was phenomenal.  The perfect balance of hands on and encouragement, with a depth of knowledge that is astounding!  She is so in tune and selfless when it comes to birth.  

The kids - oh the kids.  Hearing their voices, their energy - seeing their faces, touching their heads and holding them close during and after birth.  I can't imagine it any other way.  

authored by Chelsea Crutcher

3 months - Yikes!

Forgive me readers - it's been almost 3 months since my last entry.  For years I'd rarely let a week go by without an Around Here or 52 portrait - but this year has been a bit more hectic than the norm.  And for good reason.  Our expanding family really put our noses to the grindstone these past 6 months and although we are still in the tunnel searching for light (not meant to sound so destitute), we are starting to breath a little lighter.

Trent made it.  He graduated - beautifully.  He worked hard, was diligent and mindful and is now a Cincinnati Police Officer.  We celebrated his graduation this month and I'm not sure if I have seen my husband more at ease and content.  Surrounded by his family - all of us celebrating what an achievement this was.  For me, however, realizing how surreal and heavy my future as his wife became.  But I love him and understand his commitment to the community and admire it.

Here he is.  Sitting proudly at graduation.  I kept it together - really I did.  Until... final role call.  They stood up and in military fashion answered loudly when called upon.  It happened so quickly and the 6 months seemed to vanish in an instant.  For this wife, it was his release into the elements.  That this is really happening.  I am so happy for husband, it's a dream of his and means the world to protect the community.  I love you.

First day on the job.  It's been a few weeks now and I am still acclimating!

Along with this giant leap forward - the kiddos are moving ahead as well, at lightening speed!  They are all in school full time starting next month which boggles my mind and we will have our crazy dancing wee one with us in just a few months!  They are reading, writing, making up stories - constructing (their ultimate past time, thank you Uncle Derek), swimming (Soren took the deep end test and I can't get him off the diving board and slide!), visiting parks, spending time with family (thank you Mom for helping me in June! and OMG! - my in-laws are so cool!) and still working on my end. 

We are in the midst of wrapping up our last commercial recording of the year with the Symphony and last opera (Tosca) with Cincinnati Opera.  I am on the road to DVD archive back ups and finalizing masters, dubs and billing (duh, duh DUHNNNNN!).  We've moved out of Music Hall for the year, the Aronoff sounds amazing and I'm interested to see what the Taft has in store for us.  

I miss this space.  I hope not to spend time away from it again.  Coming up will be some great entries from my hubs, updated news on the peanut in the oven (moving as we speak), the three muchachos and how they blow my mind on a daily basis and our busy house hunting days (help?!!!!!  please!!!!).  

authored by Chelsea Crutcher

Final Five - February

Better late than never - February and most of March have just flown by for us.  An update on everything Crutcher Inc. in the next post!  For now - enjoy our Five from February.  They are from our visit to the Fine Arts Sampler at Music Hall.  It was the first concert in Springer Auditorium for the Twins.  SO much fun!

Cheesy smiles and maniacal laughter.  It was a costume concert - Mayer as Batman (vintage - OG!), Marley as Raphael and Soren as Spiderman (he's a little obsessed...)

These are their power poses.  Mayer is... flying?, Marley... strong man - muscles? and Soren... spinning a web?  I think.... 

Batman in Music Hall

Spiderman swinging from the pillars outside Springer Auditorium

And Raphael getting is sand building skills on - turtles gotta dig.

I have to include this last one selfishly because I love this shot.  So - six this month. 

Parenting - Fatigue

Hello space!  It's been too long and I owe you several posts.  Life has been hectic and TIRING.

noun ⎮ Par・ent・hood ⎮ \per-ent-hud\

the state of being a mother or father

I found this Ted Talk when looking up positive parenting solutions.  What she has to say about parenting really struck a chord in me.  To look at our children as equals, more than that - greater thans.  That they are OUR awakeners.  It's much more tiring and difficult turning the mirror on myself as a parent.  That I am the one that needs 'fixing', not the kids.  But worth every minute of introspection.  I feel more whole as a parent and the kids more peaceful and content.

If only it were that simple.  But it's not.  We are parents of three amazing, rambunctious 5-year-old boys trying to figure out where and how their little lives are functioning each day.  This isn't terribly dissimilar to developments with any 5-year-old, boy or girl, blended family or not - but the thing is, our kids ARE boys, IN a blended family and ALL the same age (although in different grades.  Soren's November b-day puts him in Pre-School and the Twins in Kindergarten.  This, too, has been confusing for the wee ones).

Whether or not the kids see things differently in this way, I do.  I'm always second guessing myself and mentally documenting each parenting decision (although my husband reminds me constantly not to be so hard on myself - 'Just look at them fight to sit in you lap!  You're doing great!').  Are they confused by the differences in homes?  Are they trying to find consistency?  Is this a power or attention tantrum?  Honestly, most times - I don't know, or at least it feels that way.  Since they are all the same age and incredibly active kiddos our household can become a Royal Rumpus (they are all Maxes from Where the Wild Things Are).  It's easy to lose your cool, which I've learned is either a play for attention or power.

I am NOT a yelling fan.  I don't like losing patience and more than anything I want to raise children with strong coping skills.  I don't want them to run or bury emotion.  I also don't want them to have outbursts and tantrums as adults.  When conflict arises, I want them to reach for a calm, pragmatic response.  I found this great, FREE webinar through one of my favorite Montessori websites (Modern Parents, Messy Kids) by Positive Parenting Solutions.  Wow.

Of course after the brilliant FREE webinar comes the sales spiel for the rest of the program - which in all honesty seems pretty fantastic if you have the dough to spend.  But if not, the initial webinar is a great place to start.  She goes over the reasons children act out and their needs (power and attention).  How to supply these things without a tantrum BUT they will inevitably happen - so how do you deal with them when the outbursts occur WITHOUT yelling and encourage responsibility and good decision making?

The 5 R's.  Be Respectful and CALM, be sure the punishment is Related to the misbehavior, it is a Reasonable duration to age and maturity, Reveal in advance and Repeat it back to you.

Trying new parenting solutions is great and this one definitely has its rewards.  I really like these methods - BUT it's tiring.  Fatiguing.  Trying new parenting techniques is like starting a new work out routine.  Day 1 - free weights, Day 2 - sit ups/push ups/burpies..., Day 3 - Cardio, Day 4-7 Repeat.  Except with kids - it's every hour of every minute of every second of EVERY DAY.  Even once their sweet heads hit the pillow I am up with Trent going over our day and things that work, things that don't - my new concerns and how the old ones have diminished and are no longer issues but resolve.  It can be so fatiguing.