Saturday, November 16, 2013

Little A's Birth Story

On Monday, November 4, my due date, I started having some regular contractions. I timed them for an hour--8 minutes apart exactly. I called the midwife on call just to let them know I was having regular contractions. Then I text my mom and Julie to warn them they might be on call. And then, the contractions stopped.

I continued to have strong Braxton Hicks all night, but when I woke up they weren’t too intense, so I went to work. The more painful contractions continued all day, more like a menstrual cramp than the Braxton Hicks had been, but the pain and frequency didn't increase, so I kept working. At lunch, I went to the track to walk. The contractions got so strong I couldn't finish more than 2 laps, so I went back to my office to get ready to leave for the day and possibly for the next 8 weeks. As soon as I sat down, they stopped completely, so I finished my work day. We were expecting a bad rain/snow storm, so I called my mom and had her drive up so that she wouldn't have to drive in the snow. I assumed she’d be going home the next day and I’d be back at work.

I made some tacos for dinner. Around 6 pm, the contractions became stronger and more regular. We put Big A to bed and watched New Girl. By 9:15, I called the midwife to ask what I should do; the contractions were lasting about 15 seconds but were about 4 minutes apart. She said we should wait . I began to move from hands and knees during the breaks to squatting during the contractions supported by Nate. In an hour, the contractions were lasting about 30 seconds, so I called again. She said I could come in.

When we left the house, I assumed we’d be going to get an epidural. When the midwife, Annie, checked my cervix, I was at 5 cm. I had gotten an epidural with Big A when I was at 4 cm, so this knowledge gave me the strength to keep going without medication. I continued my routine of hands and knees and squatting. Nate and our nurse, Kristin, continued to encourage me with every contraction, telling me I was breathing well. I could hear myself tighten my vocal chords and was able to talk myself down to a lower pitch, and the praise they would give me when I did this fed me, since I thrive on praise. J

Eventually, I moved from the bed to the floor. Annie gave me a birth ball to hang over instead of having to hold myself up with my hands during the breaks. With each contraction, I realized it wasn't any worse than the one before, and since I had gotten through the last one, I could get through this one too. In addition, there was a clear break between contractions to rest, which I didn't get at all with Big A. I was very deliberate about trying to look into Nate’s eyes during the contractions, which helped me to breathe through them as well. After the contractions, I would rest my 3rd eye center (the space between the eyes) on my hands because Bridget, one of the prenatal yoga instructors, would say that relaxing the 3rd eye center tells your body you are safe. It seemed to help.

I asked to be checked again, and was now at 6 cm. The clock was behind Nate and I was watching it, so when I had only progressed 1 more centimeter, I stopped believing I could do it. I asked if I could get an epidural just to be able to rest for a bit and then take it out later, and was told that once it was in, that was pretty much it. Annie suggested some other medications or the tub. I couldn't remember what the risks were with the other meds, and when I had a med through my IV with Big A, it didn't do any good at all, so I figured we’d try the tub. It was helpful to change locations for a bit (and the lavender salts were a nice addition). Annie checked me in the tub and I was at 7 cm. I was again a bit disappointed.

However, shortly after this, the intensity increased. By the time I realized the contractions were harder, I had gotten through a few and was again able to talk myself through the next one, reminding myself that I had managed the last one and this one was no worse. At some point, I asked if this was transition, and Kristin told me transition is typically between 7-10 cm. This was enough to encourage me that I was in the worst of it, and it was still manageable. Somewhere in here, Nate told me I was doing this, I was having a natural birth.

At 9 cm, I started to want to push, and was told I’d have to use horsey lips or breathe shallowly to avoid pushing. Because of my position, the monitors stopped picking up Little A's heartbeat, so Annie asked to break my water and put a monitor on Little A's head. We did this and I quickly progressed to 10 cm and was told I could push. So I did! I pushed for an hour before she was born.

I was on my hands and knees, and then they wanted me to move around to help Little A find the right position, so I laid on my side and held up my leg with assistance from Kristin. Her head was coming out and Annie told me to feel her head. I reached down but I wasn't really sure what I was touching. I wasn't sure anything was really happening, but everyone kept telling me they were seeing more and more of her head. Finally they moved me to a supported squat with a squat bar and a sheet to push and pull against. Little A's head came out, and then they took over because her shoulder got stuck and the cord was around her neck once. They made me lay down and Kristin pushed on my belly. Then, she was out. There was no crying and they were taking her to a warmer instead of placing her on my belly, but Annie said she was fine and just needed some help getting started with breathing. Then she cried.

I have no idea what Nate said to me as all this was happening, something along the lines of “you did it” and “She’s here”. They brought her over and placed her on my skin. However, the placenta wasn't detaching, so they gave me a shot of Pitocin to try to help it along. This seemed to cause more unbearable pain than anything I had experienced so far, so I had Nate take Little A. They called the OB on call to assist because Annie wasn't comfortable trying to detach it herself. We waited for an hour, and the OB finally arrived. I’m not sure what she did, but I delivered the placenta shortly after that. That might have been the best physical feeling I had because it helped stop the contractions. I had 2 small 1st degree tears, so Annie stitched me up while I held Little A.

It was absolutely the birth story I wanted to have. I feel so fortunate to have been surrounded by people who believed in me, Little A, and the power of women to do what their bodies instinctively know how to do. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

First attempt at homemade body scrub

I had the day off today and sent A to day care. On days like today, I do miss all the extra time I had pre-baby. Today, I had a dentist appointment, doctor appointment, and ran to Target, the Food Co-op, and Victoria's Secret all before 11 am. The highlight of my "me time" day was a little "Suzy Homemaker" time. I am excited to celebrate a bachelorette party tomorrow night, and we are invited to bring gifts. I have grown to love bachelorette gifts now that I'm over 30 and finally found the balance of what type of gift is not too prudish and yet doesn't go too far. I think the reason I like it so much is it gives the bride permission to try some new things. It can be really embarrassing to go buy yourself lingerie or bedroom items, but when they are gift to you, it can open up new conversations with your partner.

For this bride, I went pretty tame and put together a Spa Day package, but sassed it up with some notes. 

I was reminded by some body scrub at Target that I wanted to try making my own, so I bought a robe, lotion, and a loofah, and went home to try my hand at a sugar scrub. After looking at lots of recipes online, and one recipe from the food co-op, I found a combination I was willing to try, and had all the ingredients in the house so it was easy to do. I think I'll have to play around with other combinations. Feel free to share your suggestions for how I can improve this scrub!

"Aphrodisiac" Cocoa and Vanilla Body Scrub
(makes 2/3 qt or 2 2/3 cups)
2 cups sugar
1 cup sunflower oil
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (if you can afford vanilla essential oil, a few drops of this would be better)

Mix it all together; put it in a pretty jar. To use, scoop some out and rub. Rinse with warm water. Finish with your favorite lotion. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Meal Planning

Eating primarily organic, grass-fed, cage-free, etc is not exactly cheap. And trying to cook from scratch using whole food ingredients takes time, so when I went back to work after a wonderful, leisurely summer home with our 18 month old, continuing to eat in the style we've enjoyed seemed a little daunting. After finding several blogs about once-a-month cooking and talking old-school with my parents and in-laws, I decided I'd give weekly meal planning a try.
Pepperplate, Plan Cook Share

First, I had to find the perfect app (of course!) to make this endeavor work. Enter Pepperplate. I LOVE this program. I can enter my own recipes or import from many websites. I can sort the recipes as I wish. Then I can create weekly, monthly, yearly meal plans by pulling in the recipes. Then (this is the best part) I can just add recipes to my shopping list. Finally, I can add any other random items to that list. And my shopping list is done for the week. 

This has been a huge time saver for me. I used to find myself deciding during my lunch what I wanted to eat for supper. Then I would have to run to the grocery store after work several times a week, cutting into my precious walking time with the dog. Now, I go to the grocery store once a week. I don't find myself impulsively buying extra things we won't eat just because I'm there. And I can prep anything I need for the next day's meal the night before, leaving me more time to play with my son, talk with my husband, and slow the pace of life down.

Organic has finally become quick, easy, and more affordable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stink Free Poo

I know it's rather taboo to talk about poo, and all of us ladies know that our poo doesn't stink. But we also know that our men's poo does stink! Follow this link to Crunchy Betty's blog for a great way to prevent poo stink!

I just had to give it a try, so I bought the smallest bottle of eucalyptus oil I could find, put 2 drops in the toilet, and voila! No stink for me, er, I mean my husband! Because girl poo doesn't stink. Everyone knows that. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nail Polish

When I was pregnant with A, I quit nail polish because it was one of many questionable items that I knew I could live without. Even after he was born, I would wait until he was asleep and paint my nails outside, just to make sure the fumes stayed out of our home. When wedding season rolled around this summer, I had to paint my toes to match my new dress. I had never taken the time to research nail polish; I just assumed I wouldn't find anything I could afford that I could also feel good about.

Photo Source:
However, today I made a trip to Mississippi Market and just happened to pass a lovely display of 3-free Savina polishes. This means they are free of DBP (Dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde). I have no idea what DBP is, but I try to avoid phthalates and formaldehyde as much as possible. At under $5 a bottle, I had to try one.

The color is rich. One coat covered nicely, and so far has held up very well. My favorite part is that it didn't smell up the whole house as I painted! I think my stash of stinky polishes might have to go.


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