Archive for Birth

Welcome, Cyrus Xavier!

Cyrus 2

Cyrus Xavier joined us on 11/14 at 2:20 pm, weighing 9 lbs, 11 oz.

Cyrus 3

By the time we got to the hospital, we were already very close. I’m not one to go into too much detail…but did you know an epidural can stop working just as the baby is ready to be born? Yup.

Other than that, it was a fairly routine birth. We were out of the hospital about 24 hours later. He did have a tongue tie, which made latching tough. However, we had it snipped and the nursing is going more smoothly now.

He regained his birth weight and then some within a week and everyone is healing well.

Cyrus 1

His siblings are so happy to meet him and proudly show off their baby to everyone we meet.

We’re so Breastfeeding-Friendly, We Do Everything Except Let You Nurse Your Baby

Basking in the joy of the birth of my new, giant baby boy, I wanted to stay positive.

Still, I’d like to share my experience breastfeeding in the hospital in case it helps anyone.

Part of the reason I chose our hospital is because it is more open to a more natural birthing experience than other hospitals in the area. And, although I think this is probably true, that is unfortunately a sad commentary.

My baby and I are breastfeeding well and everyone is doing great–but I fear that if I had not already successfully breastfed my first or if I were less informed or less assertive, our breastfeeding would have been sabotaged.

Immediately following birth, barring any urgent medical needs, my baby was supposed to be placed immediately on me. Since he was so large and stuck during part of the labor, they wanted pediatrics to check him out (which I fully understand–although I suspect this could have been done with him on me, as was done with my first child). However, after they verified he had not been harmed at all during the labor, they continued with the routine, non-urgent procedures.

I kept telling them, “I want my baby! Give me my baby!” but they did not hand him over until they were done. Although in the grand scheme of it all, this is minor, I was sad that I missed that magical feeling I had with the first when she was exactly the same temperature as me and stepped her way to the breast.

After they handed him to me, I had a short time to breastfeed before they took me to repair the tear. I got him to latch on one side and just as he finished, I was placing him to the other breast when the nurse (not the Certified Nurse Midwife) came in an said, “I have to weigh him.”

I told her was breastfeeding and it could wait.

She replied that I was getting “crazy” with the breastfeeding (huh?).

I stood my ground and responded calmly (really, I swear) that he had just finished one side and I was going to feed him on the other and then she could take as many measurements as she liked.

She got very snotty and said that she was going to have to go tell the doctor that I was not allowing her to do her job.

That says a lot right there about her perception of her role and the hospital’s role in birthing babies.

Of course, she’s just one person, and my husband overheard some other nurses speaking of her in a negative way, but at the very least some retraining needs to be done.

Following the repair, I was placed in temporary Operating Room Recovery until the epidural wore off (they had given me more medication during the repair). As they wheeled me in, I saw my husband. I called out, “Why aren’t you with our son?” Perhaps not the most pleasant greeting, but I was starting to lose a bit of trust in the hospital.

“They want to give him a bottle,” he told me.

“What for?” Now I was starting to get a little nuts, “Is he okay?”

“Yes,” he reassured me, “But they said his blood sugar will start dropping because he is so big, so they want to give him a bottle. And they said if they wait too long, breastmilk won’t do it”

“But I’m breastfeeding! Bring him to me! And I’ll feed him!” I was in full on mother bear mode and unfortunately they had sent my husband and there was no target for my protective rage. My poor husband kept going back and forth to tell me the baby’s blood sugar level and to try to negotiate with the doctors to allow my son to come to me.

They first lied and told us he was under the warming lights (he wasn’t and he was perfectly healthy so there was no reason to hold him there) and then admitted they just “did not have the personnel” to bring him to me from the nursery. Now this is not a huge hospital. It takes two minutes to walk from the nursery to where I was. And post-op had no problem with me feeding him in recovery. The staff in the nursery was creating a situation where they would need to give him a bottle because they would not let me breastfeed.

And there was no reason for him to be in the nursery, anyway, as I was rooming in with him and would be in the room as soon as the maternity ward would accept me–as soon as the medication wore off. The post-op staff again was very helpful. I asked them, “How mobile? Like walking or just some approximation thereof?” They told me that maternity liked people walking but they would start releasing me as soon as I could bend both knees. I had one leg already moving and was trying to get the other one working. Eventually they took pity on me and pretended not to notice as I grabbed one of my legs with my hand and said, “Look, it is moving!”

Finally, we were in maternity recovery and they brought me my son! With the delay, it took time and patience to get him to latch. Of course, as soon as he fed his blood sugar was fine and he was healthy and wonderful.

But they had one more curve ball to throw at me–the next day they came without any notice to take him for his circumcision. They said I could not feed him even though he was due right then for another feeding. I was concerned, but they assured me it would just be an hour and then he’d be back. Three hours later…it was now six hours since my son had fed and the poor thing had just been circumcised. He was upset and had difficulty latching.

Then they started harassing me because he had not urinated since the circumcision…again they wanted to give him formula. I told them to go away and leave us alone. Of course, once he fed a few times, he was fine.

The kicker was that the day we were checking out, after all this was over, the lactation consultant comes by, sees me nursing, says “good latch,” quizzes me (how do you know if the baby is getting enough?), and then leaves. Gee, that’s helpful.

While I’m complaining, on a completely unrelated note, I got the demonically possessed hospital bed. The bed is for patients who cannot move and it automatically adjusts as you move. So when I shifted my weight in my sleep, the bed moved, waking me. If I lowered it so I could get out to use the bathroom, it raised. And of course it was noisy, too.

As you can imagine, I could not wait to break out of that place!

To add one last final insult, they insisted I be pushed out in a wheelchair by a staff member. I would have protested, but I just wanted to leave.

I think if I have a third birth, I’m going to just make the absurdly long drive to the nearest birthing center or do it at home.

All of this is not to say you cannot breastfeed if medical need requires your child to have a bottle early on, nor is it to criticize those who choose to formula feed–but just to show how hospital policies that are not always rooted in actual medical need, can create problems during the crucial early stage of breastfeeding. This is why we need to promote breastfeeding and support nursing mamas!

Okay… end rant. Back to enjoying motherhood!

Houston, We Have Achieved Birth Weight

This morning we had Diva the Toddler’s two year well-baby (a month late) and brought along her sidekick, Junior the Jotunn (aka Bruiser). After waiting for an hour or so to see the doctor, we found out that Diva is indeed EXTREMELY TALL (35.5 inches, 90th percentile) and SKINNY (36 lbs, 50th percentile) and generally a healthy little toddler.

The doctor asked how many words she could say. The child can identify at least five different species of duck (Hooded Merganser, Teal, Buffalo Head, Mallard, and Red Breasted Merganser) and speaks in complete sentences. Seriously, I couldn’t even count the number of words she knows.

For the first time, she had absolutely no problem at the doctor’s office, a step up from at least staying quiet long enough at the cardiologist. No more doctor phobia! We let her bring her duck and her pillow and her “bops.” The doctor asked if we were planning on ditching the paci soon. We only give it to her when she is sleeping or at the doctor’s…and I’m not ready to take it away at night yet. I am so happy she sleeps 11 hours straight, and now is not the time for me to have a few sleepless nights. So the paci at night stays for the meantime. Diva barely flinched during her shots, and so we gave her ice cream at home (and didn’t even have to bribe her in advance).

Since we were already there, we asked if they could weigh Junior so he would not have to come back in two days and wait another hour just for a weigh-in. I was fairly confident he had gained weight and would be at least close to his birth weight. Earlier that morning I got on the scale and weighed a freakin’ ton 25 pounds less than my full pregnancy weight. Then, I picked up Junior and weighed still way too much ten and a half pounds more. At the office, Junior clocked in at 10 lbs 6 oz, two ounces over his birth weight at only eight days old!

Not surprising since he’s been breastfeeding almost every waking moment. And, if his sister’s growth is any indication, I make some fatty breastmilk.

Sonny Side Up

On August 31, 6:01 AM, Junior joined the world, weighing in at 10 lbs., 4 oz. and 22.5 inches.

Trying to finish up some of my freelance contracts, I was ignoring what felt like some minor contractions. I asked Captain Dad to time them and he said they were less than 7 minutes apart. I told him that was not possible, because they were pretty weak. I kept working and then decided if it was not labor, I could always finish tomorrow and if it were labor, I ought to get some rest.

I tried to sleep but couldn’t, so I hopped into the shower. While I was in the shower, the contractions deepened. Captain Dad timed them to about 3-4 minutes apart. Again, they still felt too weak to be labor and it was almost midnight and I was reluctant to wake my in-laws to come over for the toddler in case it was false labor. Finally, though, I told Captain Dad, “Call your parents, now.”

By the time they arrived, I was sure I was in labor. And thinking this was going to be a long labor (my first was 24 hours), I was sure I was going to want more than my hypnobirthing tapes. If only I had known how quick this would be.

My father in law drove my husband and I to the hospital so my husband could help me stay calm in the back seat. By the time we got to the hospital, around 1:30 AM, my contractions were 3 minutes apart and I was 4 cm dilated.

I opted for the epidural so I could concentrate on the task ahead–we were concerned about the size of Junior and the possibility of shoulder dyslocia. I asked the midwife about her largest vaginal delivery and she said, “almost 10 lbs.” I told her this may be a new record for her.

I settled in and the midwife checked the contractions, “There must be something wrong with the monitor, these look way too strong.”

“I don’t know…they felt pretty strong before the epidural.”

“Yeah, but if they were this strong…you’d be…well…let’s check. Oh…wow. You’re fully dilated.”

We tried pushing but I really wasn’t feeling it and he only moved a little bit. Even though I’d only been in active labor for a few hours, and she said I had “plenty of room,” she was concerned because he was stubbornly stuck behind a bone. I don’t really believe in “pushing” so hard–but I knew time was not on our side with this one. With his high weight, the compression was causing his scalp to swell up. What I did not realize at the time, is that he was also “sunny side up” (posterior) which was adding to the difficulty of delivering him.

DH was a great coach, rubbing where I said to rub, even when I seemed to need help in five different spots at once, and echoing the midwife’s encouraging words but with more love, confidence, and conviction. After, I told him that it was almost comical–he clearly had no idea whether or not I was doing a “good job” but just wanted to say something that wouldn’t result in a look of undying contempt.

The midwife called in pediatrics (due to his size and position, he was at risk for certain conditions) and an obstetrics doctor in case he did get stuck halfway out and more complicated maneuvers were necessary.

After the birth, Captain Dad remarked that he could see why I prefer midwives. Seconds after she walked in the room, the doctor was whispering to the midwife (as if I was some insensate beast) about how soon they could prep me for c-section.

We took a break and then I was ready to try to move him again. Just like last time, after some convincing that the epidural was wearing off, the midwife agreed to help me move into another position. Finally, I persuaded her to bring out the bar. She told me she was not willing to let this go on much longer and she’d give me one more good push. I told her “two more,” thinking that there was no way I was giving up yet but that I needed her on my side. She agreed, although I think she was pretty sure I would not even manage to get to the bar.

I sat up and reached for the bar and got onto my legs. I started to move him out and I could feel him sliding out. The midwife shouted, “Oh, my God!” and I saw her lunge forward. Between the gravity and the change of position, he shot out like greased pig.

And, after some brief checking, he was placed, huge and hungry, on me.

There would be some sewing up of a fourth degree tear (I believe Catherine used the phrase, “tore his own exit” for her son’s precipitous descent but I could not locate the exact post), and some wrangling with various staff over the hospital’s not so breastfeeding friendly policies (but I’ll save that for another post)…but mostly there was us. Our family. Our new baby boy.

Welcome to the world Junior the Jotunn, mommy’s little giant.

He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother (41 Weeks)

Toddler Girl has offered to go get little brother out. I only wish it were that simple!

I’m now 41 weeks, 2 days and Junior hasn’t budged. The midwives have already estimated he is large. Clearly he is. I can feel his head and his rear and he is definitely big. The question is, how big? And what, if anything, to do about it.

The ultrasound today places his weight at 10 lbs. 12 oz. Unfortunately, there’s a huge margin of error there. In the back of my mind, though, is another number–8 oz. gained every week. Assuming the sonogram estimate is one pound too heavy, that’s still a large kid, who is getting larger every day.

Because my midwife is associated with the hospital’s practice, she has to inform my of the “increased risk of shoulder dystocia” and “offer” me a scheduled c-section. Which, to a hypochondriac like me, is like chum in the water.

I asked her a million and one questions, driving her to go consult with a doctor and, eventually, just photocopy reference pages for me to take home and read. I’m supposed to page her with our plan tomorrow.

So, full-on research mode. I learn that Fetal Macrosomia is difficult to predict by ultrasound and alone does not indicate a cesarean. I learn that induction in this case is also not indicated…my interpretation in layman’s terms would be “worse than useless.”

I also learn that Shoulder Dystocia is still rare, though a frightening and potentially extremely dangerous complication.

And then I read Nicola’s comment about a big baby birth on British BabyCentre:

i had a scan at 36 weeks which confirmed i was carrying at that time an 8lb baby. my first born was 9lb 5oz and my 2nd was 9lb 6oz. we were expecting a big baby however when i went into labour 12 days overdue, 9 hours later i gave birth to a healthy baby boy weighing 11lb 15oz… All absolutely natural, no stitches. healed absolutely perfectly and was up and about straight after delivery.

And then I found the “miraculous birth” story of this great big baby via Enjoy Birth.

Which is exactly what I needed to hear.

Right now, after pouring through online medical journals, we’re not planning on doing anything until at least 42 weeks. I’m hoping I go into labor before then, and things progress well. I’m considering a private hypnobirthing session, too, to bolster my confidence–I did this when Baby #1 was discovered to be transverse. She turned in time for the birth…I’m not saying there is causation there, but it can’t hurt, right?

Send labor vibes, people!

Life Line or Pipe Dream?

Parenting involves tough decisions, and here’s one:

Should we bank our son’s cord blood?

Our daughter has a congenital heart defect (Tetralogy of Fallot) and received an open heart surgery repair when she was three months’ old. She’s doing great, but will eventually need a valve. Some recent studies and trials show that it may be possible to grow a transplant valve from stem cells that would grow with the recipient–in fact, researchers have grown a heart valve from bone marrow cells.

At the end, I’ll explain why I hope you’ll consider donating cord blood if you are expecting a baby soon.

But this post is about our decision about whether or not to use a private bank to store our son’s cord blood.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

I was pulling my hair out weighing the options with little information, pouring through academic papers that were way out of my field. Finally, I found this really helpful article about whether or not to bank cord blood, that gave me some more information so I could make up my mind.

Will the technology work?
This, of course, is just speculation. Who knows what they will be using ten or twenty years from now. So, no real answers there. If your child has a disease that is currently treatable with cord blood, you can apply for Sibling Donor Programs that will cover the costs for you. Since this is still experimental for heart valves, our daughter would not qualify–but it is good to know about these programs other parents are able to use.

If they do build a transplant valve, will it be more likely that they will use her bone marrow cells or cells from cord blood?

Hard to say. In many children currently being treated with stem cells, their own cells contain the genetic markers for the disease and is therefore unusable. However, that is not an issue when growing a replacement valve. Therefore, our daughter’s bone marrow would provide an exact genetic match without the issues involved in treating children with other diseases. Also, a single cord blood unit often does not contain enough cells to treat the patient. If my daughter is ultimately treated with cord blood, there is a possibility the surgeons will need multiple units, anyway.

Are we more likely to find a match from her brother’s cord blood or from a public bank?

If we do use cord blood at some point for her, it seems likely we would have to turn to a public bank. Although the chances of finding tissue matches among family is higher than finding tissue matches in a group of strangers, the odds are only 25% that any one sibling is a tissue match. On the other hand, it appears that the numbers game changes the odds. If thousands of samples are available in public banks, the odds are much better that one of these will be a match than the blood banked from one sibling. And, as I mentioned above, many treatments require multiple units anyway.

When will she need it?

We’ve gotten different answers from different doctors. Some say in her early teens, while others believe she will be able to wait until her early 20s. This matters, because we’re not sure about the length of storage possible for cord blood. Some studies suggest it may last up to fifteen years or more…or it may not. So, even assuming we bank her brother’s blood and it is a match and the technology is there and it is enough to grow her a valve, the blood may no longer be usable when we need it.

So, what does this all mean?

To bank privately or not is a hard decision. I would spend any amount of money to give my daughter the best shot at a healthy life. Many patients with valve replacements live long, full lives. At the same time, it seems foolish to throw thousands of dollars at a pipe dream–money that could be spent giving her and her brother other opportunities.

Current transplant valve materials all have issues and all require replacement approximately every 15-20 years. Heart surgery is growing by leaps and bounds, however, and it is entirely possible that a valve grown from stem cells (or made out of another material, like the super-elastic, shape-memory metal alloy called “thin film nitinol”) may be a real option for my daughter.

So, that doesn’t let any of us off the hook!!! Please donate cord blood!

Public banks of cord blood will be the source of stem cells for many potentially life-saving treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, sickle-cell anemia, immune deficiency diseases, aplastic anemia, thalassemia and probably more in the future. If you give birth at a qualifying hospital, without any charge you can donate cord blood, which contains stem cells that may save a child’s life.

Jessica Alba’s Natural Birth

It is so wonderful to hear a celebrity like Jessica Alba talking about a natural, peaceful birth:

“I didn’t scream,” Jessica tells OK! in an exclusive interview and photoshoot. “It was really Zen.” And Cash could only marvel at his wife’s quiet strength when she gave birth. “She didn’t make a sound,” he says. “It was amazing.”

The Love Guru star tells OK! that she had natural birth. “The labor was more like meditation,” she says. “I did yoga breathing. I was focused.”

Go Ahead, Make My Day (34 Weeks Prenatal Visit)

We went to the 34 Week Prenatal Visit last night. Yes, it was the same midwife from last time, though she seemed to have relaxed and there were no more awkward non-joke jokes.

We have decided to have a hospital birth because my first child was born with a complex heart condition and my husband was deployed during the last birth. We considered a home birth, but decided that wasn’t the best option this time for our family as a whole. Although I wish we had the “middle ground” option of a birthing center, that isn’t available in our area.

So, at this visit, I brought a draft of the birth plan to get an idea of what to emphasize. Our hospital is actually the best in our area both as a medical facility and in terms of what I want for the birth–the midwife practice has a very low c-section rate, less than half the national average, and the other area hospitals do not offer rooming in. So, all was going relatively well until we got to the part about allowing labor to progress naturally even after the membranes release.

Although she said they are willing to let things take their natural course, she casually mentioned that if I develop a fever during labor, my son will be brought to the NICU for antibiotics until he is cleared to go.

“The WHAT?”

Last time I did in fact develop a fever, which no one noticed until my mom said, “She’s burning up.” The wait for antibiotics stalled the labor but in the end, everything worked out fine. After she was born, my daughter was given antibiotics in an IV drip in our room. After 24 hours, she checked out fine and, if it weren’t for the heart murmur, we would have been able to leave.

So, explain to me why my son would need to go to a NICU to receive antibiotics?

According to the midwife: “That was Texas. I don’t know of any hospital in New York that does that. That’s the policy.”

Hopefully this won’t be an issue. But what bothers me the most is the pressure it puts on once the membranes release–the threat of separation hanging over you, pressuring you to make decisions you don’t want to make. If labor isn’t progressing, then here comes the suggestion of pictocin (don’t want to get an infection and be separated), and then the increased risk of a c-section. Last time I had pit but no c-section (thankfully), but that’s a fairly typical downward spiral of how a mama who wants to have a natural or vaginal birth can lose control of her own labor. To me this is not allowing things to take their course.

Later on, I find out that they have a “non-separation bonus” which means that, if requested in advance, the standard heel-pricking, etc. are done in the room with you unless they don’t have enough staffing.

Would I have found out about this if I hadn’t strongly expressed the desire to not be separated from my newborn son?

And, sorry…we’ll wait until staffing is available for non-urgent medical procedures. Unless someone’s life is in danger, no one is taking my newborn son from me.

Out in the parking lot, I turned to my husband and said, “You know, I can refuse consent…if there’s a problem, we may find out how security reacts to a postpartum mama who refuses to hand over her baby.”

He gave me that look you give the strange guy on the street who mutters to himself.

“Will you back me up?”

He still looked a bit anxious, but to his credit the man said yes.

Week 20: You Gotta Have Heart

Skipping way ahead to current day. I’m in week 20 and I just had the fetal echo cardiogram. Because my daughter was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, they wanted to check out Junior (oh, yeah, BTW–IT’S A BOY!).

All looks well and I’ve been cleared to proceed as “normal.”

Which begs the question for me, what is normal? I had a midwife last time in Texas, and I’ve found a good midwife practice here in New York. However, I didn’t have the most pleasant labor experience last time around. How much of that was exacerbated or alleviated by being in a hospital, it is hard to say.

Part of me is really starting to feel like hospitals are great–for sick people. But a normal pregnant woman with a normal baby isn’t sick. And it isn’t just the horror stories of healthy pregnant women catching rare awful things from other patients…I’m also just really thinking about why hospitals are necessary for birth.

I’m a fan of Hathor and Crunchy Domestic Goddess, and I’ve been listening and reflecting on what they have to say about home births and the importance of feeling comfortable in your birthing place.

The benefits (in my mind) of a home birth is that it feels more natural and normal to me and I’ll have privacy and can birth the way I wish. The barriers to a home birth include the limited number of nurse-midwives in my area who will attend, the comfort level of other essential participants, and inertia. After all, the path of least resistance is to just go to the hospital. Which is strange, isn’t it? You would think that the easiest thing to do would be to just stay put, but somehow decades of pop culture have made it seem far more normal to rush into a speeding car, climb into a wheel chair, and be propped up in an unfamiliar bed.

My husband missed the birth last time (he was in Iraq), and he is looking forward to it. But I think he would feel more confident having his first time (and yes, his opinion does count here) in a hospital. I can’t forget that although I have a previous experience, this is all fairly new to him.

So, if anyone is actually out there reading…I’d love to hear your experiences with home birth. And I would REALLY love some words of wisdom from your partners. How did they feel about the home birth, before, during and after? Did they need convincing? What made them go for it? How was it? Would they want to do it again?

Attachment Parenting: Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting

On a mom support/discussion site I started a group for talking about attachment parenting. I’m no expert on the topic, but I love chatting about it with other moms. A mom-to-be asked us what AP is all about, and lots of the group posters responded. This got me thinking–it would be fun to have a big discussion about each of the eight principles of AP as laid out by the API.

Then I thought it would be fun if I could get some additional people involved in the discussion by posting on my blog.

If you would like to share an understanding of the Attachment Parenting principle, please either comment or leave your link in the comments. Next week, I’ll move onto the next principle and also link back to anyone who posted on their own blogs. If you have a blog, could you also link to this post (or the post with the principle you are writing about) so others will join in.

It will be like a carnival of attachment parenting, I guess, but with less structure.

The last talk about what is attachment parenting got me thinking–since the philosophy is very much open to interpretation, maybe it would be interesting and enlightening for us to look at a principle (from the API) each week or so and say what it means to us and how we do that…

This week I’m talking about:

***1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting***

The rest of the principles are:

2. Feed with Love and Respect
3. Respond with Sensitivity
4. Use Nurturing Touch
5. Engage in Nighttime Parenting
6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
7. Practice Positive Discipline
8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Here are my thoughts:

For me this means taking the time to educate yourself on your options and weighing the risks and benefits of your choices. It means considering the fact that your body is in a symbiotic relationship with another human being and trying to foster that relationship.

The way I personally, specifically take action on this one:

  • I watch what I eat during pregnancy…though I actually eat a fairly good pregnancy diet the rest of the time, anyway.
  • I should exercise–but chasing a toddler counts, right?
  • I try to listen to my body…though that was easier before I gave birth to my little Hurricane…
  • Last birth I listened to hypnobirthing tapes. This birth, I am torn. I would like to have a better and more natural experience, but I also have the concern that we could have a repeat of the heart condition, which might necessitate medical intervention. I’ve been talking with DH about what role I would like to see him play (actually, it comes out more like, “Guard the door and keep people the hell away from me unless I ask for them.”) I feel lacking in this department, but also unsure of where to look next.
  • I feel fairly well prepared for parenting. I anticipate the major decisions and discuss them with my husband. We’re on the same page and he backs me up on the decisions I make as the primary caretaker and I don’t give him too much grief about minor changes in routine that he does when he watches her (like dumping syrup on pancakes for breakfast when I usually give her oatmeal and fresh fruit–it’s only once or twice a week). I kinda figure they don’t come much more high maintenance than my little diva and I’ve read and researched and I’m pretty happy with the way things are going so far. The next one simply HAS to be more mellow…right?

Please feel free to jump in, however you like!