Friday, December 6, 2013

Is it seriously DECEMBER?

Each time I have a child, time seems to gain momentum. Weeks seem like minutes in the scope of a year now. I just had my son. Seriously. How is he almost 8 months old?

 My daughters are growing at warp speed, as well. 

Miss Moo turned 4 in October and we celebrated by taking a family vacation to the Outer Banks.

Miss Roo has crossed the half way point of her second year and is developing into a fantastic little GIRL. 

My house is a mess, our schedule still isn't normal, and our lives are chaotic. But we are blessed beyond words with these children as our own.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Here...

I swear I am. I'm just absorbed in nursing, summertime, and schedules that aren't driven by me at the moment ;) I'm trying to get some computer time today and Thursday- so hopefully I have something for you :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

And Then There Were Three: Baby Boy's Birth Story - Part 3

I cannot adequately express in words how amazing getting into the birth pool felt. I’m not going to pretend that the pain magically disappeared or that I wasn’t nervous about the impending birth portion of my labor. But, in those early seconds, as the water surrounded and hugged my still swollen belly, I felt grounded, earthy, and at peace.

The next contraction began and as it built my body tried to push again. At first I fought the sensation, because in my head I kept hearing G say “6-7” and I thought it wasn’t possibly time to actively push. I didn’t want to exhaust myself. I didn’t want to make my labor longer than it needed to be. I tried to blow away the pushes without much luck. After a few more contractions, I gave into the sensation and gave a decent push as the wave washed over me.

I felt and heard a huge POP. “What was THAT?!?!” I screeched as I turned to Drew, still dutifully beside me.
“THAT was you water!!” he half spoke and half laughed.
“Yes, really.” G chimed in. “And it’s clear with some vernix. Everything looks great.”

At this point, I noticed that G had fully entered the room and was sitting on the toilet lid looking into the pool. With another contraction I gave another push. I heard G ask M for a flashlight. I steered her towards ours while M located theirs. Another contraction started and I pushed. Drew asked her if she needed to check me again. I looked up for her answer.

“Oh, no. I see his head every time she pushes.”

Something in my core changed. “Really?!?!?!”

“Really. He’s right there.”

A contraction began to build as she finished her sentance. I filled with determination. It was time to do this last bit of work with my son. So, I pushed. I mean I really pushed. Suddenly a head began to emerge. I blew away some of the burning and took a breath. I pushed again and I could see part of his face. “He has hair!” I said. I pushed again and his head was out.

G looked at me. “Malissa- reach down and catch your baby.”

“Now??! “ I said in shock.

“Now, “ she replied.

I sat up a little and leaned forward towards my son. Without pushing, his shoulders and body were born, right into my hands and forever into my heart. I lifted my son to my chest. We had done it.

At 6:26 am, less than 3 and a half hours after calling G, and with 16 minutes of pushing, I had three children and an overflowing heart.

Welcome to the world Baby Boy. We've been waiting on you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

And Then There Were Three: Baby Boy's Birth Story - Part 2

The acupuncturist was amazing. She explained what the purpose of the needles were for and why she placed them as she did. I laid, relaxing in the quiet, dim room, and felt contractions come. The weren’t as strong as the were that morning, but they were there and they seemed regular.

After an hour, we removed the needles and I headed home to grab some food and “rest” before my midwives arrived. We ate as a family and I tried to rest, but I had been out of the house for 5 hours and the girls needed Mama’s attention. Drew attempted bedtime and my midwives and doula arrived. We did accupressure. We talked about herbs. I went for a walk with Drew and Lady Lou. At around 10 they gave me red raspberry leaf tea and we discussed my options. We all agreed that I needed rest since I had been out all afternoon and we’d meet back in the morning at 10 for - CASTOR OIL.

I really didn’t want castor oil. REALLY didn’t want it. After everyone left, I settled in to watch the last episode of The Tudors on Netflix and try to relax my mind so I could sleep. I noticed that my contractions were a little more intense and a little more painful, but I assumed that was from the tea. At around 12:30, Drew tucked me in and I was able to drift off amidst the slow waves of pain.

At 2:45, I woke up. Why was I awake? A contraction hit and I tried to lay through it. I squirmed. I sighed. I gripped the pillow. Well that was, unpleasant. I rolled to the other side and got as comfortable as I could. I felt the twinge and then the wave again. I glanced at my phone 2:49. Interesting. I sat up to decide if I should move or just wait. Twinge and wave - 2:52 am. I got up and headed to the bathroom and had several more contractions sitting on the toilet. Each more intense. Each 3 minutes apart.

Drew heard me lingering in the bathroom and came in to see if I was okay. I looked at him and asked “Am I in labor?” He grabbed his contraction timer and we sat together through several contractions. “I think maybe, yes?” he finally replied. I now had to breathe through the contractions. He coached me through and timed them all. On average, they were over a minute long and about 3 minutes apart. At 3:30 I went to stand to change positions and lost my mucus plug. I called my midwife.

She told me to monitor the contractions for 30 minutes and keep her updated. I shifted to the floor and took the next few contractions on hands and knees. 15 minutes later she called me back and told me she was heading over to my house. I grabbed a towel to make the tiles a little more comfortable and hung out in the bathroom.  Drew made himself a cup of coffee because he hadn’t been to bed yet. At this point, I began to realize that this might be it.

When my midwife arrived a few minutes after 4, G told me to keep doing what I was doing. Her assistant was en route and she wanted to see how I labored. Contractions kept coming and she checked the baby’s heart rate. He was doing great. After a few more contractions, I moved to our bedroom so I could kneel and lean on the side of the bed. The contractions got a little closer and more intense.  

At 4:45, M arrived and we checked the baby’s heart rate again. At this point, they went downstairs to let Drew and I have some privacy. It was time for me "to do my work" as she presented it. I asked about the pool and she said she wanted to wait until I would be at the “get me meds” point at a hospital. They shut our door and Drew knelt beside me. As the contractions came, I had a harder time just breathing through them. Soon, I was moaning on the exhale to try to focus on something else. Drew stayed by my side: holding my hand, reminding me to breathe, and that the contraction was almost over. At a few minutes after 5, I looked at him and said “I need something, NOW.” He went downstairs to give my message to G and M. They entered the bedroom and G said- "I’m going to check you now." I laid on the side of the bed and she did a quick check - 6-7 cm and very stretchy. At the time all I heard was 6-7, not the stretchy part. I asked if I could have the tub and she said she thought it was time.

It is at this point in my birth story that some aspects get hazy. I know that Drew and M went to the laundry room to get water going. I know that G stayed with me to keep me calm, relaxed, and hold my hand during contractions. I also remember asking to go to the bathroom because there was so much pressure I had to pee AGAIN. I remember going down the hall because the pool in our bathroom was still filling and I didn't want to trip in the hoses.
When I made it to the bathroom and say down, another contraction started to form. About 1/2 way through, my body tried to push on it's own. I freaked and told Andrew to get G. "I don't want to have my baby on the toilet!!" G came to listen to my next contraction and told me this was all a good sign. M had finished up with the tub and it was ready and waiting for me.

I walked slowly back down the hall, into our bathroom, and sunk into the heavenly water of the birth pool.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And Then There Were Three: Baby Boy's Birth Story - Part One

Prodromal labor. Before my third pregnancy I had no idea what this term meant or that such a thing even existed.  You were pregnant, then you had contractions that eventually regulated in a few hours, then you had a baby - simple right? WRONG.

With Miss Moo, I had Braxton Hicks, but no real contractions until they were 5 minutes apart and I woke up trying to determine just why I was awake. With Miss Roo,  I had random contractions for a few days before labor, but nothing that seemed abnormal. Once I was in labor with both, the contractions came or they didn’t (as with Roo) and then after a few hours I pushed out a baby.

And then there was Baby Boy. I began having some contractions with him at about 36 weeks.  I didn’t really find this odd being my 3rd pregnancy. None of them were strong enough to worry me, they simply just were. At 38 weeks I had stronger contractions, but nothing regular. I was sure that I would meet my son soon and had my parents come back to town “just in case.”

At the 39 week mark I started having periods of contractions. Ten minutes apart for two hours and then nothing. Seven minutes apart for 5 hours then nothing. I would go 12 hours and feel no contractions and then begin to think things were starting when another 4-5 hour session would set in. Nothing really HURT, but they WERE uncomfortable - they weren’t false labor contractions.

At 40 weeks, I got nervous. I felt pressure ALL THE TIME. Contractions were pretty steady at 10-15 minutes apart, but they still didn’t really hurt. I didn’t think I was ever going to have this baby.  I went for a fluid check and a non-stress test. I was told by the tech “Sadly, your fluid levels are fine.” Apparently, most moms she sees at 40w 3d WANT an induction.

At 41 weeks, I began to worry. I had fought so hard and worked towards my goal of a homebirth and it looked like it might not happen. My parents went home and I walked as much as I could. My midwife checked my cervix for the first time at 41 w 1 d : 4-5 cm and stretchy. That’s right, 4-5 cm. She gently stripped me and scheduled another NST in 3 days. I walked all weekend. We spent quality time together as a family.

I woke up Monday the 15th with contractions that hurt. I laid in bed as long as I could and go up to use the bathroom. I had been having contractions 5 minutes apart for almost an hour. This MIGHT be it. But as I sat on the toilet, my heart sank. 7 minutes, 10 minutes, nothing. I emailed my midwife to let her know what had happened. She told me to stay positive, have my NST, and come see her afterwards.

My NST went well again. We were both healthy and working just fine together. The OB that I had overseeing me checked my cervix - definitely 5 cm - and stripped me - this time not so gently.  I headed to my midwife’s office.  We had a candid discussion and she told me we needed to try some things to get my baby out. We both wanted me to have my home birth and once we crossed the 42 week mark, things were going to look grim. She suggested acupuncture and they scrambled to successfully get me an appointment that afternoon. She also suggested coming to my house that night to see if we could make anything happen. 

 I agreed to that plan and headed out the door a bit deflated and worried. I’m not a huge fan of needles. I was by myself because Drew was at home working and overseeing the girls. All I could hear was a huge clock in my head ticking away the time until I’d end up in a hospital again.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's been a week ALREADY!?!

There is something about the first few weeks after giving birth that seem lightning fast. Hours and daylight blend into a haze of diapers, nursing, and cuddles with a squishy, red baby. A week passes before you get you sea legs again. Visitors come and go. Pictures are taken. All in a flash that seems like mere hours.

My son is a week old today.  Though we are still getting to know one another, I have learned the following about him.

  • His face is a perfect blend of his two sisters. 
  • He nurses well and enjoys his food.
  • He likes to sleep. At night. This change is welcome and hopefully will last.
  • He looks for his father as much as he looks for me. 
  • He doesn't like being in the bouncy seat on the floor. Altitude is preferred.
  • He can sleep pretty much anywhere- car seat, bassinet, swing, lounger, bed, etc. (ALSO a welcome change.)
  • His flaky, newborn skin is disappearing and will be missed.
  • His lungs work and they work well.
  • He only cries when he's hungry or needs a diaper.
  • He gets the hiccups just like Miss Moo.
  • He likes to sleep with his hands near his face like Miss Roo.

He's a blessing. I couldn't imagine our family without him.

I'm working on his birth story in little bits. My time is invested in my family and our newness. I promise it will come.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I Have A Son

Baby Boy arrived at 6:26 am on April 16th- safely in the water into my hands. We are all healthy and happy beyond words. This is the first photo of my children together.

I only have one word.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blessed to Have Warm Weather

Giggling girls. Walks. Lakes. Swings. And sunshine.

What a delightful weekend as a Family of 4.

 Surely it won't be much longer until we have another face to fill our cameras with memories.

Friday, April 12, 2013

This Weekend...

We're spending quality time together- just the 4 of us. I feel certain there will be a little boy in the house very soon and I want all the time with my girls I can get!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

40 w 6 d

Drew and I go for an ultrasound and fetal stress test today at 1 pm.

The pressure is so intense at this point that I'm walking funny.

Can't be long now, right?
40 w 6 days

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

40 w 1 d....

Guess Baby Boy is taking after Miss Moo. She arrived earth side at 40 w 3 d.

 I head to the midwife today around 1 pm. Hoping they'll have some ideas on how to regulate these contractions and get this party started!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Still Pregnant

But contractions, though irregular, are more noticeable and I've been STARVING all day long.

So. maybe Thursday or Friday?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Out of the Mouthes of Babes

"Mommy, when is my Brother coming OUT?!?! He's been in there a long time!" said Miss Moo to me this morning.

I agree kiddo. I agree.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

I hope you had a wonderful day filled with love, hope, and joy!

Looks like we're sailing into April - 39 w 3 d.

Friday, March 29, 2013

39 weeks 1 day

Things are going well. Still pregnant. Measuring 40 cm again this week with a head down baby. Baby Boy's heart rate was in the 130s again and my blood pressure was great.

I have gained about 42 pounds this pregnancy.

We've passed the full moon. Moo was 4 days after and Roo was 6. Perhaps my prediction of a March baby was off and Baby Boy is planning on an April arrival.

Either way, I'm ready to meet him and patiently trying to stay busy.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Still Pregnant.. 39 weeks today. I see my midwives tomorrow and will give you a report/update and share some Maternity pictures!

Oh, and NanaPop are here, just in case ;)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Playing Games- A Learning Process

The first few times Miss Moo and I tried to play a game together, it wasn't so successful. She was more interested in reaching the final goal - whatever that was - and I was more interested in being sure she followed the directions properly.

In a lot of cases, we would both end up frustrated. She didn't understand why she couldn't just walk her person around the board or build her city. I wasn't sure why she couldn't just follow the directions.

So, I took a step back- from the games we had, from the places we played, and from the rules.

A New Start

Yesterday, we went to look for a new game to play while we wait for Baby Boy to arrive and in the days following when I won't be able to go up and down the stairs all the time. Even though I tried to steer her away, she kept gravitating toward Cootie. When I conceded- she HUGGED the box.

After nap time yesterday, we opened Cootie in our bedroom floor. Miss Roo sat in my lap. Moo asked me what the paper said to do and we began to play according to the rules. Soon, I could see that Moo was frustrated and Roo had lost interest. I didn't want this game to end up like the others so I put the paper and the die away.  I let them finish their bugs and we cleaned up to head downstairs for dinner.

Tonight after dinner, Moo suggested that we play "sumping" together before books and sleepy nap time. I suggested that we play Cootie. She seemed hesitant at first; once we were washed, brushed, and jammied she was ready to go.

Rather that start the game, I simply got all the pieces out and placed them on our bed- not on the floor. Moo looked at me and asked to build her bug. I told her to go ahead and I reached for a head and body without rolling the die. She seemed a little confused at first but then reached for the pink bug. The three of us started adding pieces and taking them apart. We counted legs, we laughed at silly head, lip, and eye combinations, and we giggled as heads fell off.
Moo building her Cootie.
Soon I noticed something - we were each taking turns with the die and then taking a piece to add to our bug after counting the number on the die.
Roo rolling the die.

Mama Learning

It's in moments like these that I realize that I am just as much a participant in the education of my children as I am a leader. I don't always have the answers or do the right thing. But, I do look to my children for clues into how they best learn and how the enjoy their playtime and "school time". I don't want our homeschooling journey to become more about "doing school at home" than it is about educating them in the best way possible for each of them. 

I never liked Cootie growing up, but after tonight, it's becoming a new favorite for me.

Motherhood is an Education

Tonight was a good start for each of us. Moo and I have been giving each other a lot of "Start Overs" lately- when we leave a store where were had a disagreement and we load into the van, when we reunite after a grumpy nap time sendoff, after a time out or a raised voice. We give cuddles, share a smile, and agree to start over again. She has taught me that we need "Start Overs" in our homeschooling lesson just as much as our routines, disciple, and general life.

My children are teaching me so much more than I could ever possibly teach them.  That is the biggest blessing of Motherhood.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Photos on the Wall

We have lived in this house for almost 3 years, and it's been our house, but it hasn't ever really felt like home. In all honesty, it's always been a WRECK. I could keep maybe one room together at a time, but not a whole house. Ever.

This pregnancy I decided we were going to GET this house together. And finally, it is! Andrew's office, the guest room, and the sun room are still a bit cluttered from baby prep and overall household overhaul.  But, the house as a whole is together and can be picked up in 20-30 minutes at any given time. Pictures are on the walls; rooms are decorated and arranged. I feel like this house will become a home when my son is born.

Today's projects were picture related.  I worked when I could around nap and games of Cootie, and this was the result.

The Family Room now has a wall of photos of our girls as it's centerpiece.

Family Room

Our bedroom wall is halfway done. Right now it houses 3 frames: a photo of a family of 3, a photo of a family of 4, and a frame for a photo of a family of 5.  It will soon have a wedding photo, a honeymoon photo, and photos of each of our 3 children.

Over our bed.

In the 3rd frame is a note to our little boy:

Note for Baby Boy.

Miss Roo was born at this point in my pregnancy with her - 38w 4d. He could come any time. I think we're finally ready to see that sweet face- and add it to our wall.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sweet Sundays

None of us like the Sunday mornings after Drew has to work the night before. It means a tired Mama, two rambunctious girls, and a Daddy that really needs to sleep.  Add over 38 weeks of pregnancy to that and its a LONG day. Especially when I can't stop nesting instead of resting.

It also means that we didn't have our big family breakfast this morning.

But it DOES mean that for dinner we had Daddy's pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fruit - and I got to sit and play puzzles in the floor with my girls while he cooked.

So Sunday was sweet after all.

Hope you had a great day! Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 22, 2013

REPORT - 38 weeks!!

Yesterday I hit the 38 week mark and Baby Boy is doing GREAT!

We went for our weekly check today. Here's where we are:
  • He's still head down- looks like we're safe there.
  •  He still lives on my right side and loves to kick my bladder.
  •  His heart rate was in the steady 130s- the lowest it has been.
  •  I'm measuring 40 cm this week (and for the first time ever!) instead of the 38 cm I measured the last two weeks.
  •  Contractions and Braxton Hicks come and go, but nothing steady yet.

We'll see how the weekend goes as we creep towards the full moon on the 27th.

Like Father, Like Daughter....

If there is ANY question who Miss Moo favors, look NO further.

Daddy sent this to her:

And she sent this back:

Is there any wonder why I love them so? Happy Friday! Wer're off to the Midwives this afternoon- will there be a baby this weekend? Updates tonight :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Miss Roo's Birth Story

I featured Miss Moo's birth story as we neared her third birthday. As I constantly have birth on the brain these days, I thought perhaps I should take a few moments about a month from Miss Roo turning TWO to recollect her birth.

Roo was born here as opposed to NoVA like her sister. We had a different midwife, a hospital that called it's Maternity floor a "birth center", and a successful birth under our belts. Although we may have been told, earlier in the pregnancy that neither of us can recall,  we "relearned" at about 32 weeks that my midwife was going OUT OF THE COUNTRY for two weeks - starting 38 w 5 days and ending 40 w 5 days. She was the only midwife in the practice I was using and all the doctors scheduled to be on call during her trip I had never met before. She assured me that "I would be fine" with any of the on-calls because she would send out an email asking them to honor my birth plan.

We also decided we'd try to get Miss Roo out before she left. I now realize that this decision wasn't in my best interest, but I can't change it now. We started checking my cervix at 37 weeks. We stripped my membranes twice- nothing. I was dilating - a tight 2 at 38 weeks  - and effacing but just the occasional back contraction. Nothing promising. When I hit week 38 we started walking, having sex, eating pineapple, eggplant Parmesan, and anything spicy I could get my hands on at every meal. Nothing.

On the Saturday before Easter, I had a few regularly spaced contractions.  I was 38 w 4 days- 1 day to spare. While Miss Moo napped, I went to Target and walked the store for two hours. Contractions were coming ever 20 minutes or so and lasting 40 seconds.

I returned home for dinner, though I can't remember what we ate, and labor cake that Drew and I made.  We had bath and bedtime with Moo. I still had distantly but regularly spaced contractions. By 10:30 pm  they were at 10 minutes apart so I called my midwife to let her know it *might* be happening. She told me to rest and call her if they got closer together. I tried to lay down and rest but I was too restless. I got up and started walking the loop in our downstairs. The contractions kept coming.

We called Drew's parents, who are an hour away, to come stay in the house because we saw a hospital trip in our future. We called my parents to tell them to head out first thing in the morning. And I kept walking. And walking. None of the contractions made me stop but they slowed me down considerably.

Once Drew's parents arrive, the two of us got in the van after calling my midwife and headed to the hospital.  I had chosen the hospital furthest from us in order to HAVE a midwife and now that seemed like a bad idea. Especially because my contractions stopped. When I arrived and told my midwife, she said it was perfectly normal and we'd see where I was since my last check 4 days ago. I was dilated to 4 cm and 90 % effaced. Not bad. She suggested that we rupture my membranes so we'd have a baby in a few hours. I agreed and it was done.

Then I started walking. My contractions started picking up and after about 30 minutes I felt her drop into my pelvis and hit my cervix like a rock. As I passed the nurse's station my nurse told me it was time to get in the bed for a check. 

Wait, what?!? Get IN the bed? But I'm walking! Things are happening! Nope, hospital policy and nothing that my midwife could prevent. So, in the bed I went. Everyone was monitored for 15 minutes. I had ONE contraction. They let me up and after 50 minutes I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes  and they lasted 60-70 seconds. Then I had to get BACK in the bed to be monitored for 15 minutes again.

By this time it was 4 am and I thought we'd have already met our daughter by that point. My midwife told me to keep walking and she'd check on me in two hours. I told Drew to rest because this was taking a lot longer than expected. I was also concerned that he might have to go home to help with Moo as soon as Roo was born. He laid down on the window couch and I kept walking. For 2.5 hours. ALONE.

If you know anything about birth and labor statistics, you know that women who have a doula have quicker labors with less interventions. You also know that a woman left to labor alone usually has a high percentage of stalling out. That's exactly what happened. I got to 7 cm and stalled. Walking didn't help, the tub didn't help, massage didn't help. At 7:30 am I was 7 cm dilated and not contracting.

I couldn't go home because we had ruptured my membranes. I had been up 24 hours at this point. My midwife said the word I never wanted to hear  - pitocin. After talking with Drew and being told I'd only have a tiny amount, I consented, and wept. I felt as if I had failed everyone, especially my baby.  At 8:30 am, I was strapped to an IV, allowed to sit on a birthing ball, and watched as clear drugs dripped into the tubes going to my arm.

For the first 3 hours, the pitocin did practically nothing. I DID have contractions - but nothing worse than I was having before it was administered. At 10:45 the drip was upped to 5 units. Within a matter of 15 minutes, I was having one contraction on top of another. I'd contract for 2 minutes, come down for 30 seconds, contract for 1.5 minutes,  and rest for a minutes. Then it would start all over again. It was like transition with Moo X 3000. There wasn't time to prepare mentally for the next contraction before it was slamming into me.

I laid on my left side in the bed trying to cope as best I could- I only remember telling Drew over and over again that "This really hurts. It REALLY hurts." Suddenly I looked at my midwife and said, "She's right there, my cervix is just in the way!!" She checked me and I was 9.5 cm and her head was trying to come through. I pushed and she pushed back the lip of my cervix. 11:29 am.

That first push took me to a full 10 AND pushed her head half way out. I took a breath to deal with the burn and remember Drew telling me she had my hair. I pushed again. And that was it. Miss Roo was born at 11:31 am - two pushes and two minutes after I hit a full 10. That was the BEST part of my labor.

The next bit is a blur because I was so physically and emotionally exhausted from the pitocin and change in plans for my birth. I remember her as a lot fussier than Moo and I remember the trip from L&D to Postpartum. Drew went home to take my placenta for encapsulation and to see Moo. I may have eaten but I don't really recall. I remember nurses and Roo.

My postpartum was FAR better with Roo than Moo. Nurses checked on me every hour or so. The lactation consultants came in daily to check on us and offer support and a chat. Relatives came to meet Roo, starting with her big sister.

And I was able to room in with her and keep her by my side. She was healthy and happy and we were blessed.

But the experience was still bittersweet - mostly due to the attempted manipulation to get Roo out before she was ready.  Our experience with her birth was the beginning of the journey for this pregnancy and has ultimately led us to the decision for a gentle, non-invasive home birth with this baby.

 I never want Roo to think that her labor was bad or wasn't worth it- I would do it all over again to get her here to us. I just want us all to learn from it and grow - just as we did from Moo's birth.

 We always have choices when we choose where we birth. We just need to be sure that our choices expand beyond the threshold of the door of our choosing.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Had a Post Planned....

But after gymnastics, a trip to the dentist for both girls at the same time, and a run to Wal-Mart (of ALL places), my morning wore me out. I spent the afternoon resting, hanging pictures, doing laundry, and cleaning a tiny bit when I could. We even WENT to dinner because I just couldn't cook.

So, I'm propped up on the bed - working through the back pain and trying to maximize my time tomorrow in a manner that WON'T exhaust me. I've got a chicken to roast defrosted in the fridge and some lamb to make into a dinner so that I can kill two nights at once. I have an appointment at my fantastic Chiropractor at noon.  And, I'm going to bed early.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mama Splurged!

Self  portrait in the van.

Today, with the help of our fantastic friend Lizbet, the girls and I went to lunch, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Carter's outlet. I was trying to kill many birds with one stone. Starting with Miss Roo.

This year for Roo's birthday we are doing a few small gifts and one large "experience" gift.  Her gifts (big girl panties, cloth pull ups, a baby wearing sling, a Vera duffel that I got on super-ultra sale, and a rainbow wand) are already purchased and together ready to be wrapped. We plan on going to Busch Gardens for the day and taking her to eat lunch with Elmo and play in "Elmo-Land" (as they call) it to celebrate the big 2.

She is much more girlie than Miss Moo was at this age and is constantly trying to take her sister's sterling silver bracelet and any of my Yurman bracelets she can reach. In an effort to keep gifts to a minimum, we asked NanaPop to get her the same bracelet as her sister.  I went to Colonial Williamsburg to grab one while we were already there and to give the girls some time to stretch their legs, see some history, have a small adventure, and look for horses. We didn't see any horses, sadly, but we DID see a very cute and very dirty sheep.

After gathering some spring summer clothes for the girls at Carter's, Lizbet offered to sit in the van while I took 15 minutes ALONE in a store. I chose J. Crew and entered giddily. I spotted a dress that can be worn three ways - long halter, short halter, and as a skirt! It's cotton, stretchy, coral, and perfect for nursing in! Not only was it an outlet price but it was also 40% off the ticket price!!  Finding the dress took less than 5 minutes. Deciding to actually BUY it took well over 10.

But, I splurged and grabbed it for myself.  I will be able to wear "real" clothes and have belly free dates again with my husband very soon. So, it didn't seem too terribly frivolous. At least that's what I'm still telling myself. We then headed home with a van full of giggles from the backseat - for a few minutes.

Thanks to LizBet for snapping this photo for me! :) 

The girls, by the way, had a GREAT time.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

St. Patrick's Day looks a little bit different than it did when Drew and I first met.

Instead of green beer we had Daddy's PANCAKES!

Instead of going out on the town we all stayed home in our pajamas. ALL day!

The rainbows in our house were created by two little artists.

The shamrocks were made with fingers and Leprechaun sparkles.
The moustaches made me laugh :) 

And the best part of the day was cuddling in bed with all my loves!

I don't consider my life boring or lacking in any way. We may not be party animals, but it's always a party with my family.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Today I Felt Pregnant.....

Really, REALLY pregnant. 

How can I tell?

  • I did errands this morning with the girls at 11 AM- to acquire the rest of their Easter stuff and gather art supplies for the next few weeks to entertain them.
  • I fixed leftovers for lunch.
  • I decided NOT to nap and go to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods ALONE rather than push the girls in a cart.
  • I looked up a new recipe to try for dinner and started bookmarking pages.
  • I let Drew do ALL the dinner prep cutting.
  • I sat down and watched TV with the girls while Drew did said cutting.
  • I double checked Miss Roo's birthday list to be sure it was done. (Her birthday is the END of April.)
  • I DIDN'T make my planned dessert.
  • I DID think "I might be done being pregnant."

So I'm propped up listening to Daddy do bedtime with Lady Loo snuggled by my side. Daddy has to work tonight starting at midnight so I may be solo for a big chunk of tomorrow.

Thank GOD I bought art supplies.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fun Friday - Vantage Point

Today, the girls and I head for my now weekly check-in with my midwives. Yesterday, I was 37 weeks - full term. Baby Boy is now "officially" fully baked and can come anytime. I've been having contractions on and off for a few weeks. They've been more noticeable in the past 5 days so we're starting to make progress toward birth.

I still think he won't make it to April, but no one knows for sure. I'm ready to meet him but trying to enjoy BEING pregnant while I still am. We tried to get Miss Roo out so that I was able to deliver her while my midwife was in the country and I didn't take time to savor the last few weeks as a duo. I don't want to cheat myself of that this go around.

So right now, I'm trying to keep the house clean and straight, make sure I cook for us as much as I can, and spend time with my two beautiful daughters. Easter goodies are being gathered, just in case. Miss Roo's 2nd birthday is just around the corner in April (how could that be?!?!?) so her gifts are being made/gathered so that we are able to celebrate a full day of her when it arrives.

Drew and I had what may be our last date night tonight. We went for sushi and had just as much fun as we did when we were first dating. I don't know what life would be like if we hadn't gone for sushi the first time, but I'm thankful daily that we did. He is my other half and I wouldn't be the woman I am without him.

So, we're waiting. And spending time together. Our family is about to change, and I can't wait to see what this vantage point will look like once I'm wearing my son on the outside.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Recipe Collection: Real Food Adapted Shrimp Alfredo

NanaPop headed home today at nap time. Two very sad little girls fought their hardest but finally succumbed to sleep. I followed a direct order given by my husband to lay down and try to sleep. (My feet and legs are swelling this pregnancy, something ELSE completely new).  I woke up an hour and a half later and all I could think about was Shrimp Alfredo.

I decided that I MUST have it for dinner. I've never made this dish, so I did a little Googling. There were lots of blogs that told you to use store bought cheese sauce- EEWW! I dug a little deeper and  gained a basic understanding of how to make a sauce come together.  Then, I ran to the store and got cooking.

 Here's what I ended up with and it was TASTY!

Real Food Adapted Shrimp Alfredo

Preparation Time: 
20 mins

Cook Time: 
25 mins

Total Time:
45 mins

Dairy, Shellfish


  • 1 cup organic half and half
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp freshly cut organic Oregano
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp organic or local butter
  • 1 pound shrimp (local is best for us to guarantee freshness)
  • Real Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Place 1 tbsp butter in a pot or skillet (I used enameled cast iron) on low and let it melt.
  2. Peel and mince 1 garlic clove. Add it to the melted butter and stir.
  3. Peel and mince the remaining 5 cloves of garlic and set aside.
  4. Chop 1 tbsp of oregano and add it to the garlic and butter.
  5. Chop the 2nd tbsp of oregano and set aside.
  6. Add 1 cup of organic half and half to the butter, garlic, and oregano. Slowly whisk. 
  7. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Continue to whisk.
  8. Begin adding the grated Parmesan to the sauce, 2 tbsp at a time, whisking constantly. The sauce will begin to thicken as you add the cheese.
  9. When your sauce has thickened, cover it and remove it from heat. (This process took me 10 minutes.)
  10. Haul out the dutch oven over med-low heat and begin melting 2 tbsp of butter in it.
  11. Add the 5 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Add the 2nd tbsp of oregano to the butter and garlic. Stir and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  13. Add the shrimp to the pot along withe the last tbsp of butter. Stir. 
  14. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir.
  15. Let the shrimp cook until completely pink- about 7-10 minutes.
  16. Add the thickened sauce to the dutch oven and stir. Let this cook together for a few minutes. Then turn off the heat. 
  17. Add cooked pasta* of your choice to the pot and mix until thoroughly covered. 
  18. Place in serving bowl.
  19. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

*I made this with some organic rice flour angel hair pasta because I couldn't find any rice fettuccine at the store. Next time I will be sure to use the fettuccine noodle because I think it will hold the sauce much better.

This dish was a hit- Miss Roo especially loved the shrimp ;) How could they not love a meal made of their favorites things- milk, cheese, and noodles! It was all gone so quickly that it slipped my mind to take a photo of anything. Miss Moo helped Daddy made a salad and we had watermelon for dessert. 

Spring is almost here! I can't wait for more simple, fresh ingredient meals with all the local goodies starting to pop up.

Have you ever made an Alfredo sauce? What is your favorite way to eat shrimp?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Simple Sanity Saver Before Dinner

In our house, we begin dinner between 6:00 pm and 6:15 pm most nights, unless Drew's work day has been hectic and I've adjusted times accordingly. Generally, this means I start cooking around 5:00 pm and the girls are asked to play in the Play Room while I do so. Although they have matured a little in the last few months, leaving them to their own devices in the playroom for 45 minutes or more results in hurricane like forces turning the room upside down. This has forced me to rethink the way I cook dinner and the resources and activities avaliable to them during "the witching hour."

Sometimes it is play dough, tools, and cookie cutters. They both enjoy the tactile experice of playdough and often are cooking just like I am at the time. Sometimes, we pull out the magnetic paper dolls. Miss Moo can sit and play with those for hours- switching outfits back and forth among the dolls, creating stories around their outfits, and creating dialog among the dolls themselves.  Miss Roo isn't as entertained with these dolls for as long as Moo tends to be, so I usually supplement the magnet dolls for her with a few books to "read", some blocks or legos to build with the dolls, or some small animals from our felt farm.

But my best tool is the art station. We have a little organizer from Ikea that hold all our paper, crayons, stickers, markers, and other various creative goodies. Some nights they get stickers, crayons,  and construction paper. Others, they washable markers and activity placemats. Sometimes they get huge pieces of paper and they make their placemats for dinner.*

Art is a great outlet for most people, but especially for little children. Allowing them to explore without instruction and expectation yield a great learning experience of creation for process sake rather than forced product. Moo has moved from scribbles to creating snowmen, animals, people, and forming letters on her own. Roo now repeats the way to make letters, such as "up down up down" for a M, even if she doesn't make the letter at the time. Her scribbles are starting to be more controlled and she's interested in using more than one color of crayon, marker, etc.

Giving them this freedom, and often sitting to color and create while I can if something is boiling or roasting, has made our dinner transition much easier. The girls look forward to our art nights and I look forward to the gentle time I see them spending together. They are learning to share without an adult sitting right with them. They color and create on one another's papers and occasionally together.

I am learning how to allow them to explore without feeling the need to interrupt in order to teach or direct. I'm also using their creations as a way to foster their love of art by asking questions in a supportive way - "That's beautiful! Would you tell me about your picture?" rather than "What is this a picture of?" 

So give it a try- grab the kids, some big paper, and set them at the table. Ask them to make a placemat for themselves for dinner. Let them create. Ask them about their picture. Start a pre-dinner tradition.

What simple solutions do you use for your "witching hour?" Do you ever participate with your children?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Diaper Bag Post Is STILL a DRAFT :(

I spent today outside with my girls and baby prepping the house with NanaPop. Tonight I am taking a bath and willingly going to bed.

It's coming- I promise!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

MAP March 2013 Part Two - 5 In A House Built For 4: Adding In All That Baby Gear

5 In A House Built For 4: Adding In All That Baby Gear

If you’ve already read, 5 in a House Built for 4: Maximizing Your Room’s Space with Baby, you know that my husband and I have decided to share our room with our new baby. Already a co-sleeping family, he would have been sleeping with us anyway. However, with our lack of available bedrooms for a baby room, his furniture will also be sharing a room with us, rather than being in a separate nursery. To see how we prepared our room for all the baby stuff, read 5 in a House Built for 4: Maximizing Your Room’s Space with Baby.

Adding In All That Baby Gear

We brought in all of the stuff that baby boy would need at first- the bassinet with changing table, the glider, and the bin ofdiapers. We assembled the bassinet and placed it on the wall next to my desk. We placed the glider in the corner by the window on other side of the bassinet. We then evaluated space to see what else would fit.

Diaper Bag Review- Moved to Sunday

Today was a cleaning day on top of a home visit with my midwife, help from NanaPop, and two stir crazy little girls.

I don't have the energy to finish my diaper bag review tonight for tomorrow morning.

So, you'll have to wait one more day.

For a preview, however, take a look HERE!

See you on Sunday!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Diapers are READY!* - Cloth Diapering a Newborn

Cloth diaper storage for Baby B.

We are 95% cloth diapering family. There are times when we have/do use disposables. Every time I do, however, I lament that I have the girls in disposables rather than cloth. We decided to continue cloth diapering with Baby Boy. With Miss Moo, we had a diaper service for the first 7 months.

Cloth Moo.

With Miss Roo, we did more disposable that I care to admit because we didn't have enough diapers at the time to keep two in cloth and I didn't have a diaper sprayer when she was born.

Cloth Roo.

Where to Start

Now that all of those issues have been solved, we are charging full steam ahead into newborn cloth diapering. I was on a bit of a learning curve this time, so I did some research to see what was recommended in terms of  the number of inserts and covers we needed, AIO's vs. prefolds (vs flats vs AI2), brand name inserts vs. "generic", and suggested rotation cycles. 
There is A LOT of information out there about cloth diapering. If you aren't familiar with CDing at all and just decide to do a "simple" Google search, you could lose your mind. I know I was beyond overwhelmed as a first time mom and it doesn't always get easier. I highly recommend finding a friend or online community that supports and uses CD's. 


Here are a few resources you could use:

The Blog at Diaper Junction, a local diaper store I use a great deal.

Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide To Modern Cloth Diapering on Facebook

Our Plan

At First, At Home
Covers and prefolds in the top drawer.

After all my re-research and experience, we decided to initally use prefolds in Thirsties covers. We had quite a few from Miss Moo and wanted to build upon what we had. I want to be able to wash diapers every 2-3 days, so we have 13 (because I can't count when I order) newborn (x-small) size covers. I used reward points from Diaper Junction to build our stash. 

For inserts, I purchased all 29 newborn size Bumpkins prefolds that our local store, Franklin Goose, had in stock the day I was there. Nana also had 9 leftover Carter's cloth diapers she had purchased as burp cloths when Moo was born. I brought those home to supplement my stash. I also purchased some cloth inserts from Babies R Us - a pack of "girl" and a pack of "boy" diapering totalling 8. These diapers are the colors of the rainbow and I plan to use the color as a warning that I need to wash diapers when I see them pop up in the rotation.

At First, On the GO
Additional prefolds and Newborn AIO's in the 2nd drawer.

Even thought I have been using cloth diapers when out and about for over 3 years, I still look for ways to simplify it. I especially need it simple with both Baby Boy and Miss Roo in diapers and the possibility for accidents from an almost potty trained Moo. I decided that rather than dealing with inserts, covers, and folding when out, I was going to get some newborn AIO's.  We use Bum Genius pocket diapers and GroVia hybrid diapers with Roo (and did with Moo), so I started there. I found that the GroVia newborn AIO's were well reviewed, avaliable locally, and well costructed. Using reward points, I purchased 4 to use when we are out of the house in the first month or two to make his diaper changes quicker and easier.

After the "Newborn" Stage
I have 6 small size Thirsties covers. We can move to those as grows, his nursing habits level out, and we learn his schedule/ routines. I can double up the newborn size inserts to use in them. I also bought 3 GroVia AIO's to use when he outgrows the newborn size until he's big enough for the GroVia Hybrids and the Bum Genius pocket diapers.

And, Just in Case
Roo had TINY hips when she was born. There was no way for us to use any of the cloth diapers that we had on her because her hips were just too small. We had to use Preemie disposable diapers on her for almost a month even though she was gaining weigh because she was just too tiny for anything else. So, with this knowledge, our last drawer holds this:
The bottom drawer.

The next step cloth diapers are stored with some Newborn disposables and some Lansinoh wipes, just in case. Like I said, we're a 95% cloth diapering family and I recognize that we will use a disposable on occasion. And, just like I do every time we use them now with the girls, I will curse them for the leaks, the blow outs, and the mess each time he wears them.

Now, On to the Diaper Bag
Cloth diapering always presents a problem of space when on outings and traveling. So I did some research and ordered a FANTASTIC diaper bag for the cloth diapering Mama. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to read all about it! ;) 

*Okay, they have been for a while. I've just been forgetting to haul the camera upstairs for the last month or so ;) 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

MAH March 2013 - Nettle- A Natural Antihistamine

James Bowe via Compfight cc
Image by James Bowe
It's March already and with the changing calendar comes the changing weather. This year the temperatures have been all over the map in our area. We can go from a 70 degree sunny day to a forecast of 6 inches of snow in less than 4 days. With such fluctuations in temperatures and weather patterns, the plants and animals are clueless as to what is going on. Buds are forming in our yard. And allergies are starting to pop up all around.

I've Heard About Nettle

One of the herbs I've heard about in the past regarding allergies is Nettle. I've always been curious but just haven't taken the time to educate myself. With the impending arrival of another person in our home, I've been trying to broaden my knowledge of holistic and natural healing. I knew that there was nettle in my pregnancy tea blend, but I had no idea why.  So, I decided to dig further.