A Better Birth — Part 5

Serge Constantine, called by his middle name or "Costa" for short

Serge Constantine, a few hours after he was born. Called by his middle name or “Costa” for short.

My son was born at 6:10 PM on Sunday evening. I had been in labor for just around 8 hours, and had only been on the 1-2 ml/hr Pitocin drip for the first 5 hours. Beyond that (and the attendant continuous fetal monitoring), the only intervention that was used was the vacuum extractor.

Constantine was placed on my chest immediately, snuggled up under my hospital gown skin-to-skin with a warm blanket placed over us, and he stopped crying almost instantly. He was very awake and alert. They waited for the cord to stop pulsing, then clamped it and asked my husband if he would like to cut it. My husband is rather squeamish about blood, so he kind of surprised me when he said yes and did the cutting. He came around to the side of my bed to look down on the two of us, and I noticed that he had tears in his eyes. As for Costa, I thought he looked like a little cherub, so chubby and with golden blonde hair. (The blonde hair really, really surprised me. My husband and all of his siblings have dark brown or black hair, and my natural hair color is medium golden brown. But all of my siblings were blonde as babies, so Costa seems to have gotten those genes or something.)

Continue reading

Categories: Babies, Birth Plan, Doula, Gestational Complications, Labor & Delivery | 2 Comments

The journey is complete

The URL for this blog contains the words “partus melior,” Latin for “better birth.” I gave the blog the English title of “Journey to a Better Birth.”

I’m happy to say that yesterday, that journey came to completion. My yellow bump turned blue as my son, Serge Constantine, was born at 6:10 PM, weighing in at 9 lbs 5 oz and measuring 22.5 inches long with a head circumference of 36 cm, after 8 hours of induced labor. I had a doula-assisted birth in the hospital and though it was not completely “natural,” it was better than my last birth in just about every way imaginable.

Complete birth story with pics of Constantine (called “Costa” for short) will follow soon.

Categories: Babies, Labor & Delivery, Personal | 1 Comment

V-Day is here!

cheerful-babyWhat is V-Day, you ask?

Viability Day. Today I am 24 weeks pregnant, which means that if I were to go into labor and deliver today, my baby would have a ~50% chance of survival, and most neonatal intensive care units would be willing to accept my baby as a patient and try to save its life.

It’s hard to pinpoint the gestational age of the youngest baby ever born, since those estimates are dependent on mom’s testimony as to her LMP and/or ovulation date. Some babies that have been listed as having been saved at a certain age were conceived via IVF, wherein the “age” given is really the gestational age rather than the age from LMP that most doctors use—so we’d have to add on 2 weeks to get a more normative age. However, it seems that babies have been saved as young as 21 weeks and some change, which is less than 20 gestational weeks, so that’s pretty incredible.

That said, most hospitals have guidelines on when they will attempt to save a premature baby’s life, setting 23-25 weeks as the minimum limit. Neonatal intensive care is incredibly expensive, and survival rates prior to 23 weeks are abysmal, so I kind of get it even if I don’t like it.

In any case, there is something comforting about reaching the point where I know that, if I go into labor prematurely, all is not lost and my baby has a chance (especially since my baby is measuring a week ahead in spite of its gestational age). For the next two weeks, my baby’s survival odds will increase by 2-3% per day until they reach 80%. For one more week, the odds will increase by 1-2% per day until they reach 90%. After that, things slow down quite a bit, topping out at 95% at 30 weeks and 98% at 34 weeks.

So here’s to you, Ivytine*, for getting closer and closer to the point where you can be safe outside of your mommy!


* Since we will name the baby Ivy if it is a girl and Constantine if it is a boy, we have taken to calling it “Ivytine,” which sounds like a delicious beverage, or maybe an addictive substance. 😉

Categories: Babies, Labor & Delivery | 2 Comments

Sewing Cloth Diapers Part II: Creating the Prototypes

My First Homemade Cloth Diapers

Left: Newborn diaper made with Darling Diapers free newborn pattern. Right: One-Size-Fits-Most cloth diaper made with the pattern found in Jennifer C. Berry’s book.

I spent a good chunk of today creating my first cloth diapers (pictured above). Here’s how it went:

  • I taught myself how to use the sewing machine a day or two ago. It involved sitting down and reading the instruction booklet. I’ve worked with sewing machines before, but only with an experienced seamstress looking over my shoulder, and only on the machines of others, so if anything happened (machine got stuck, needle bent, etc.), I could always go running to my master. This time I was all on my own.
  • The hardest part was winding the bobbin. The instructions on this were somewhat confusing and it took me a few tries to get it winding around the spool instead of winding around part of the machine. But once I got it, it was easy.
  • I only had a few actual hang-ups when using the machine today (for example, my thread broke once). The machine was able to go through the thickest multiple layers of fabric without any problem. I was pleased.
  • I made lots of small errors in craftsmanship which I’m sure I’ll get better at as I practice this, but none was significant enough to ruin my diapers. They should be functional.
  • I started out by making the one-size-fits-most diaper found in Jennifer C. Berry’s book, then applied that method to the Darling Diapers free newborn pattern to make the newborn diaper.

I have a friend with a 7 month-old and a classmate with a newborn. I’m going to ask them to test these diapers on their daughters. I’d especially like to know how well they hold up overnight. If they report that they worked well and had no trouble with leaks, I’ll go ahead and start making the other 43 diapers, assembly-line style. Continue reading

Categories: Babies, Cloth Diapers | 8 Comments

Sewing Cloth Diapers Part I: Patterns, Cost & Supplies

Step 1: Guide

How to Make (All-in-One, One-Size-Fits-Most) Cloth DiapersSince I’m quite the sewing novice and don’t even own a sewing machine, step 1 on the road to making cloth diapers was to get something that would tell me where the hell to even begin. Based on good reviews at, I picked up How to Make (All-in-One, One-Size-Fits-Most) Cloth Diapers by Jennifer C. Berry (Self-Published: Q. Berry Books, 2011). The Kindle version can be purchased for a mere $4.99, but I went ahead and purchased the paperback version for $16.99. I figured, because I’m a sewing dumbass, I would need to have it open on my sewing table and refer back to it frequently, and that’s just easier to do in paper than on a Kindle.

I can’t really review the book until I’ve actually tried following its instructions for making cloth diapers, but so far I think it’s great. I read through it a few times today and feel like I now have a clear picture in my head of just how the heck these diapers are put together. I’ll conduct a fuller review of the book once I’ve actually used it to construct diapers.

Continue reading

Categories: Babies, Cloth Diapers | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Team Green

When I was pregnant with DD, I found out the sex at my 20-week ultrasound. No judgment towards anyone who wants to do that, but this time around, I have decided that I do not want to know baby’s sex in advance. I want the “delivery room surprise” experience.

My husband wants to learn the baby’s sex. His big objection was that he wants to know what kind of clothing to buy in advance, boy or girl—yeah, that’s right, in our home, it’s the dude who’s concerned about buying cute baby stuff!

The other day, I hit upon a realization:

We’re going to name our daughter “Ivy.” So while green is normally seen as more of a masculine color, it will work splendidly for a little girl named “Ivy.” We can just decorate the baby’s room in green, buy green clothing and blankets, get a green car carrier, etc. I told my husband about this plan, and he said, “That’s brilliant.”

I’ve also been doing some thinking about diapering. Disposable diapers cost roughly ~$1000 a year, and there’s a good chance our baby will be in diapers for at least 2 years. (I admit it: DD was in diapers for 3.5 years, and is still struggling to conquer nighttime bed-wetting. But she has disabilities.) So, I’m thinking about doing cloth diapers this time. Not only that, but I’m thinking about making my own cloth diapers (which is the really cheap way to get it done). I mean, I have 29.5 weeks until this baby is born. Plenty of time for some sewing.

I’ll have a forthcoming post on my adventures in sewing cloth diapers very soon.

Categories: Babies | 1 Comment

Blog at