other party stuff

the birthday signage. printed and cut letters, robot cutouts from craft store painted with letter glued on top.

lots of robots, balloons, garlands and stars around. was bummed i couldnt get any green balloons.. but no one else seemed to mind.

the plates, napkins and juicebot army

oscar blowing out his birthday candles. you'll notice the table is fairly empty. i went easy on the food this year. we heated frozen pizzas, made dessert pizzas (sugar cookie, fruit dip, fruit), and had 'nuts and bolts' (chex mix).

alice's robot diaper, which provided the color scheme. when oscar told me he wanted a robot party, i automatically thought of this diaper. and it gave me a good excuse to buy one! shortly after i placed my order i found out they have the robotronic print in a doll diaper, and i wish i had ordered one for oscar's babies!


building robots

last year when we had oscar's dinosaur party, the crafting time was a big hit. so this year i wanted to do that again and unleash the kiddos for some mess-making. i set out a big bowl full of 3 different sizes of marshmallows, pretzel sticks, various candies (sixlets, jelly beans, fruit roll-ups, airheads, and little candy eyes from the craft store) and let them build some edible robots. they each had a bag of buttercream with the corner snipped to use as glue and there was a bowl of little tubes of decorator gels.

they went all out with it and had tons of fun. oscar made his all by himself! check out that fruit roll-up scarf!

aaron made this awesome octobot and ate a lot of candy. then he ate the octobot and made another one just like it.

here is scotie's robot with airhead legs - very nice!

and two of lane's robots - he ended up making a few more.

they had so much fun building and eating that it was hard to get them to move on to the next activity. i thought surely yelling 'pinata time!' would have them running from the table, but they wanted to keep making edible robots!


robot pinata

i thought it would be fun to have a pinata for oscar's party this year, since he didn't have one at his other parties. so oscar and nana both helped me paper mache our robot. oscar wasn't sure about sticking his hands in goo, but then had lots of fun with it until the goo started drying on his arms and making him itchy.

here is the finished robot. i did ribbons on the bottom for the kids to pull. we had to make this an indoor activity, otherwise as soon as we went outside with a pinata, all the kids from the apartments would swarm to us. i had two big fears 1) the ribbon to open the trap door would get pulled first or 2) the door wouldnt open when the right ribbon was pulled.

jeremy held it up for us since we didnt have a good place to tie it. they all got to pull 3 strings before lane finally pulled the winner.....

unfortunately, #2 was the case and the ribbon broke. paper mache is really strong when dry - lesson learned! so we let oscar yank the bottom open and chaos ensued over candy and toys!



this year oscar wanted a strawberry-vanilla robot cake. i swirled together strawberry cake batter and vanilla cake batter into two 9 x 13 pans and that made enough cake for the head, body and legs. the arms were made out of rice krispie treats. i used fondant for the silver parts, because there was no other way to make them silver, and for some reason i really wanted them silver! i used edible marker to write the birthday greeting - how is it that i've never had any of these things before? they're awesome.


giant robot

i used some boxes i had been saving to make a giant robot decoration for the party. everything got covered in foil, holes were cut for buttons (little food container lids), a mirror, and lights. dryer vent arms. and jeremy put that awesome light-up belt on. the kids liked playing with buttons and looking in the mirror. oscar pretends that the robot gives you candy bars when you push the buttons.



so i think this was one of my favorite things from this party.. i got some apples and eve juice boxes from dollar tree and turned them into juicebots! i usually find most of my ideas online and then just do my best to personalize them, but this one i actually came up with on my own for once! i spent quite awhile wrapping them all up in foil, but it was so worth it. we had tea and water for the adults, but they all wanted to drink juicebots too!

they looked a bit sad and worried when they were sitting in the trash can - or maybe that was just my imagination.


party favors

with most of oscar's robot party i tried to keep it as easy and as manageable as possible since there's a baby in the house and i dont have as much time to work on things. on the other hand, i wanted his party be be extra awesome because i didnt want him to feel like his party wasnt as good because there is a baby in the house.

these favor boxes were really easy. i ordered some mini rock'em sock'em robot rings, found some little candies, and used store bought chex mix. the containers were 3/$1 from dollar tree and i printed the labels up with each kid's name. and that was it. at first i thought there should be more stuff in it, but since they would also be getting a bag of pinata goodies, i'm sure this was plenty! plus, oscar LOVES playing rock'em sock'em robots and always asks to play it when he sees it in the closet, so those were right up his alley.


robot invitations

here are oscar's invitations for his robot birthday party! these were pretty quick to make, as word is actually pretty great for building robots. i used one sheet per invite, cut open the doors, glued the back piece on the front and was done.

it probably took longer to fold up the envelopes than it did to assemble the invitations. oscar loved these invites and wanted to push the buttons on the robot.


1 month

here is alice at 1 month old.

she looks just like oscar did at this age

and oscar looks so HUGE now.

the plan

here is the birth plan we came up with to prepare for Alice's arrival. I went over this with both Cynthia and Dr. Brett a few weeks before my due date to make sure everyone was on board. I knew that everything would most likely not go quite as planned, but just the whole exercise of figuring what I wanted and discussing it with those involved helped me to feel involved myself. It also made a big difference in the hospital - they don't normally get moms with birth plans, so I guess they really paid attention to it. (I'm going to add some notes as to how things actually went, in italics)

Birth Plan for Melissa (Missy) Henderson and Jeremy Jones

Location: Wayne General Hospital

Primary Care Providers: Cynthia Odom or Dr. Brett

Labor Support: Jeremy Jones, partner and father-to-be, and Michelle Brooks, doula. They are to stay at my side at all times, even in an emergency.

To the staff at Wayne General: My partner and I understand that childbirth is full of surprises and that decisions may need to be made in the labor room. We intend to work with everyone present to make good decisions if need arises. The following items are our preferences if the birth goes smoothly.

  • We'd like to have dim lighting and music of our choice. No loud talking or noises. (didn't end up using any music)
  • I would prefer to wear my own clothing.
  • I would like to stay hydrated by sipping small amounts of clear liquids. (the nursing staff seemed to have a hard time believing that this was ok)
  • IV only in the case of dehydration or for the administration of medication. A heparin lock is fine. (it was so nice not having to drag an IV around as I walked the hallways..)
  • Electric fetal monitoring is fine as long as I am able to change positions. (this was something I had to agree to for Cynthia and Dr. Brett to work with me on a VBAC. As often as the thing was reading incorrectly, I'm not sure why they even bother..)
  • I would like the minimal number of vaginal exams required for you to assess my progress.

Labor and Delivery:

  • No induction of labor. (this obviously didn't happen..)
  • Spontaneous onset of labor. If it is delayed or there are complications, we would like to discuss our options at the time. (they were very understanding that I was upset by the induction and we did discuss options)
  • No artificial rupturing of membranes without first explaining why and getting my permission. (we had a big discussion about this as well and everyone voiced their concerns and talked about pros and cons)
  • If my water breaks and I am not fully dilated for a long stretch of time, I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of taking antibiotics.
  • We do not wish labor to be hurried, unless signs show our baby is in trouble. (our labor was hurried. this was because they did not want to have a mom with a previous c-section on pitocin for more than 12 hours at a time, i guess)
  • Except for an emergency, I do not wish for my labor to be augmented. If there is a need to speed labor, I would like the option of trying a different position.
  • I am having a natural birth. Please do not offer me any pain-relieving medications unless I specifically request them. (they didn't ask me - not even once! when i was in with Oscar all they did was offer pain meds all the time!)
  • To relieve pain, my partner and doula will help apply counter pressure, apply hot and cold packs, and help with various positions and deep breathing.
  • Freedom of movement is important to me, as I am planning to move freely during the first stage of labor. Unless there is a serious contraindication, I don't wish to be still or lie in bed. (this worked out alright. it was rough with the EFM cords, pitocin drip and BP cuff, but i got to use my birth ball, a rocking chair and do some dancing with Jeremy. I ended up being most comfortable sit/squatting straight up in bed)
  • I plan to let my body guide me to the most comfortable positions during labor and birth.
  • Please allow my perineum time to expand around my baby's head as it is crowning. As long as there are no signs of fetal distress, I would prefer not to rush the baby out.
  • As long as the baby is OK, I am not overly fatigued, there is no pain at my earlier cesarean site, and my contractions are continuing productively, I ask that my second stage of labor be allowed to continue without intervention for as along as it takes, even if it is four hours or more.
  • No instrumental birth, except as a final recourse. In which case vacuum extraction is preferred to forceps.
  • I would prefer to tear instead of an episiotomy. (only a teeny tiny tear!)
  • I request that the doctor, nurse, midwife, or assistant massage and apply hot compresses to my perineum before and especially during the pushing stage to reduce the possibility of tearing. (we didn't end up doing this)
  • My body knows instinctively how to push. I would like to first try self-directed pushing before resorting to directed pushing.
  • Jeremy would like to help "catch" the baby.
  • No routine pitocin following delivery unless bleeding is excessive. I plan to do immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding, which lessen the need for such an intervention. (this was really didn't make much difference since i had been hooked up to pitocin for so long already. plus I had some seriously excessive bleeding going on anyway)

Cesarean Section: (didn't need this section!! I'm glad it was in there though. as i said in the birth story, i think i would have felt a lot better about a c-section that i was involved in)

  • In the event a cesarean section is necessary, Jeremy will accompany me. I would like my doula, Michelle to be ready to join me when/if Jeremy must leave my side.
  • If possible, I would prefer spinal anesthesia over general anesthesia.
  • Though I would prefer not to be able to see the majority of the surgery, I would like the screen to be lowered so I may observe the actual moment of birth.
  • Following the birth, if the baby's condition permits, we would like the baby to be given directly to Jeremy for skin-to-skin contact. He will stay with the baby while I go to recovery.

Postpartum and Breastfeeding:

  • As soon as the baby is delivered, she should be placed skin on skin with Missy and they should not be separated. Newborn evaluations and care can take place there. (this was just NOT standard practice for this hospital, so it was all new to them)
  • We choose to wait to clamp and cut the umbilical cord until after it stops pulsing. Jeremy would like the option to cut the cord.
  • No routine suctioning of the baby's mouth or nose unless medically necessary. (Cynthia did suction her mouth when she was born, but it didn't really bug me)
  • We would prefer to postpone the administration of vitamin K and eye drops until at least 1 hour after birth. Erythromycin is preferred over silver nitrate.
  • We wish to postpone the first bath until we are ready to do it ourselves.
  • The baby is to remain in our presence at all times and room-in with us. If mother and baby must be separated, Jeremy will escort the baby.
  • Our baby should be given no substance by mouth other than colostrum and breast milk. At no time should sterile water, glucose water, or formula of any kind be given. The baby should be allowed to nurse on demand and no artificial nipples should be given. If the baby's blood sugar level is of concern, more frequent nursing will be encouraged as maternal colostrum provides a more healthy and stable blood sugar level than processed glucose.

(so some things went as planned and some didn't but it ended up being perfect!)

alice's birth story

As soon as we found out that we were expecting baby number two, I began to study up. After having a traumatic c-section experience with Oscar, it was important to me to research and do all I could do to have a more positive birth the second time around. I think one of the biggest factors in having a successful VBAC was to have the right support team to work with me. I chose to work with Cynthia, a CNM, and Dr. Brett an OB that practice with the closest hospital. Jeremy read The Birth Partner to get ready for the baby's arrival, and we enlisted the help of a doula, Michelle.

On Monday, January 31st, the day after my due date, I went to an appointment with Cynthia. I was expecting a quick measuring of the belly, listening to the heartbeat and then back home again for more waiting. I was still hoping that baby would come at their own time (and I didn't think that would be for another week or so). Apparently they do a routine ultrasound around 38wks to see if the baby's growing well and I missed mine, so they took me over to the ultrasound room and Dr. Brett did an ultrasound. She was awfully quiet during the ultrasound and told me that the baby was measuring small and that my placenta was old and crusty. (ok.. no one ever said my placenta was old and crusty except me.. but she did say that it wasn't looking good). She said that if they didn't induce me there was the possibility that my placenta would stop functioning and that we could lose the baby. She estimated the baby's weight at around 6lbs and told me to come back in the evening for a non-stress test and to let her know whether or not I planned to be induced.

I cried a bunch because I was worried about the baby and worried about induction (have had a bad experience there before) and went and bought a couple pairs of preemie seized pants and a sleeper thinking I was going to have a teeny tiny baby that would be swallowed alive by newborn sized clothing. (Oscar had some preemie clothes that he fit in perfectly when he was born, and he was 8lbs!) I talked it over with Jeremy and Michelle, and everyone was in agreement that they may be completely wrong, but it wasn't a chance that we wanted to take.

We checked in at the hospital for the non-stress test and talked to Dr. Brett on the phone about starting the induction with a foley bulb. They admitted me to the hospital and Dr. Brett came and put in the foley bulb around 7. The contractions started up fairly quickly, and we spent the evening walking around the 3rd floor of the hospital, wishing we had eaten before we came. The night was fairly awful with rather intense contractions all the way up until morning. We woke up early and started walking the halls again. Things seemed to slow down after awhile and we laid down for a nap. We hadn't really heard anything from Dr. Brett about starting pitocin, and the foley bulb was still in, so I finally talked Jeremy into going to get something to eat. Michelle was in town, but hadn't come by the hospital yet since nothing was happening at the moment. While Jeremy was gone the foley bulb came out and I celebrated by taking a picture of it. I was so excited that finally something had happened! Everyone figured I was at 4cm at least.

Unfortunately, I wasn't. We agreed to go ahead and start the pitocin around noon and I stayed at 3cm all day! It was so discouraging! I was having lots of contractions, but they weren't even as intense as the ones the night before were. Around 6 or 7 Dr. Brett came in and I was still at a 3. She said they would let me go until about 12:30am on the pitocin and then turn it off for the night, let me eat some food (yay!!!) and then give me some sleeping pills. In the morning we would start again at 6am with the pitocin and if nothing was happening by 4 we would be having a different conversation. I was so worried we were headed for the operating room again. I posted to facebook that my labor had stalled and asked for suggestions - and boy was I glad I did! It helped to get all the suggestions and options from people and to know I had so many women rooting for me! Michelle got in touch with Cynthia, who said she had seen a lot of women stall out and then start over in the morning and have a great birth. I labored the rest of the evening with contractions finally getting more and more intense shortly before 12:30. At that time they came in, turned off the pitocin, gave me a couple sleeping pills and I got to eat the best sandwich and french fries ever. mmm. I was so hungry! The sleeping pills knocked me out in no time.

I'm really not big on taking pills (especially when pregnant), but I'm so glad I did. The next morning I felt quite wonky from the pills, but ready to get going again. I was feeling very optimistic because I knew Cynthia would be in to see me and the nurse that came on was my favorite when I had Oscar. Things were definitely looking up!

They started the pitocin and contractions started again. When Cynthia came in I was still at 3cm, so we discussed putting the foley bulb back in while I was on pitocin. We did that and a few hours later (I don't really know if it was a few hours... time that day was very strange and parts just flew by. I'm pretty sure it was a few hours though) I was at 5cm! yay! Celebration! The next conversation we had to have was about breaking my water. I decided to wait a little bit to see if things progressed on their own. Since time was NOT on our side, and our 4pm deadline was looming in front of us, I let her rupture my membranes, fully aware that things were about to get rough.

And boy did they! The next four hours(?) or so were hard, but as long as I stayed in a sit/squat position I could get through the contractions. Jeremy and Michelle stayed by my side and Jeremy put pressure on my back during contractions when I wanted. I have no idea how far apart contractions were because I felt like I blacked out in between and only came to when another one was starting. I think i was at 7 or 8cm the next time Cynthia checked me, and she wanted me to lie on my side for awhile, as my cervix was swelling a bit. I did NOT handle contractions well when on my side and did a lot of screaming. At some point another nurse came in and started getting the room ready for the baby to come. I couldn't stop looking at her and wondering what she was doing and could I really be about to have this baby?? unfortunately there was a shift change at 7 and I probably didn't make the best impression on the nurses that came on with all my yelling. There are hardly any noisy, unmedicated births at that hospital!

The next time Cynthia checked me I still had a lip left and she pulled it back and it was time for Alice to arrive! Everything was sort of a blur, but I remember everyone kept telling me to breathe. They sent Jeremy off to wash his hands (Cynthia game him the option earlier about whether or not he wanted to wear gloves and such) and I knew we were almost done! Shortly after, Jeremy was helping to pull her out (yes, pull her out.. Cynthia doesn't think I can have a baby any bigger than Alice was...) and he got to "catch" her. And then she was on me - all goopy and alive and awesome. We left her cord attached until it was finished pulsing and then Jeremy cut it (he had been a bit worried about cutting the cord, but after catching the baby, cutting the cord seemed like nothing). Alice self-latched and nursed and nursed and nursed.

It was a long 48 hours, but such a HEALING experience! We were so happy with the birth and all the attendants were so cooperative with us - even though we were doing things very different than they were used to. (I talked to one of the nurses later and she said she had read my birth plan and was terrified to do something wrong and upset me! But then she thanked me for the experience, because it was not their normal routine.) I'm so glad we had a birth plan, Cynthia and Michelle. I'm so glad Jeremy read The Birth Partner so that he knew things he could do that would help me and felt more confident in his role. I think those things made all the difference. I have a feeling that even if things had gone differently and I ended up with a c-section, it still would have been ok, just because I was actually involved in the process and decision making this time.

Alice Edith Jones was 8lbs 7 1/2oz and 20in long and was too big for those preemie clothes.