Monday, July 25, 2011

Secrets of Labor

Pregnancy and labor were definitely eye-opening experiences.  There are a ton of things you think you know until you are in the moment and then, BAM!  Everything is gone.  You realize you don't know shit.  It's really fun.  Like being on a carnival ride that flips you upside down so much that you forget that the blue blur passing by is the sky and the green mush that whizzed by was the ground.  

Because I really love being spun upside down and feeling my stomach gradually crawl up to my throat...

Moving on.

I shared once the crazy pregnancy symptoms that I developed that aren't really the stereotypical symptoms.  I'm sure there are a lot of people that think that these kinds of posts are TMI.  And that's okay if you feel that way.  However, I personally believe that people don't "talk" enough.  You're probably thinking "People talk a TON...whether it's on the phone, through text, email, facebook, twitter, foursquare, smoke signals...whatever."  But what are they really talking about?  You can buy a ton of books on how to have a conversation about 18,000  topics but are you having that conversation?  For instance, I personally feel that handing your pre-teen a book on safe sex/abstinence will never convey the true message you want delivered.  

I get that my way of having conversations with people may seem a bit harsh or too much.  I just don't really see a point of sugar coating the topic or my opinion.  Why not just be upfront and honest about it?  Why beat around the bush?  

Wow...that soapbox just came out of NOWHERE!

Back to today's topic...

Today, I wanted to share a few of the things that surprised me about labor and childbirth.  So, pull up a chair, pour yourself a martini (or some other stiff drink cause you might need it), and settle in.

1. Back Labor
I want to address this first and get it out of the way.  In my research, I learned about the  pain of back labor by reading other women's stories about having back labor.  Of course, I convinced myself that I was lucky enough that I wouldn't ever experience it.  Naivety is a bitch, people.  Once that pitocin kicked in and really started working, so did the back labor.  I know I discussed this in my baby story  post but I feel like it requires reiterating.  I've had surgery before but back labor was crippling.  There should be some kind of serious discussion that an OB has with their patient.  Like when they are discussing the birth plan...
Patient:  I'd really like to go completely natural.
Doc: Okay let me warn you though that back labor is the worst thing you will ever experience.
Patient: Right but I'd still really like to completely natural.
Doc: Well, why don't I go ahead and stab you about four times in the lower back without anesthesia and we'll see what you think then?

2. Epidurals are AH-MAZING.
I was hardcore planning on going natural when I first got pregnant.  Halfway through the pregnancy, I realized that I'm a pansy.  I don't have it in me.  So I figured that I would get at least halfway dilated and then take the epi.  However, once I began to experience back labor, any and all reasoning/logic/strength/willpower/etc went right out the window.  If you don't understand why, please refer back to Number 1.

Once that epidural was in place and pumping, I was good.  I could have a conversation with Eric and respond to the nurses.  Now, do I remember these conversations?  Not really.  It's a bit fuzzy.  I watched the entire tenth season of Friends during the 19 hours I was in labor and quite frankly, I don't remember it.

3. Your birth plan is really only a wishlist.  
Sorry to break it to you but labor and childbirth don't always go the way you plan.  Why?  Because there are things like anatomy and physics and another person inside your belly clawing to get out and voodoo and faeries and angels that all play a part in the process.  With so many roles in this little stage play, how can you really expect it to go exactly as you directed?  That's why all great directors have an understudy in line for their prima ballerina.  Honestly, the only thing that went according to my birthplan is that Eric was the only person in the room (other than the labor nurse) with me while I was attempting to push.  

4. Pushing with an epidural is ridiculous.
I was going to say that it's impossible but obviously, that's not the case because thousands of women do it every year.  I'm not going into detail because that would be crossing the line.  It's just a little hard to direct pressure to an area that you can't feel.  If you can't imagine what that's like, tie a tourniquet around your arm for an hour and then try to use that arm to throw a baseball at a target.  Good luck.

5. Breast-feeding is not an instantaneous thing.
Sorry, boys, I realize this isn't a topic you care about.  Going into childbirth, I knew that breastfeeding could potentially be a bit of a struggle.  What I didn't know was that it really could take several days before milk production actually came through.  And on top of that, it's WORK to get it to come in.  So if you think you are done doing work after childbirth, you are mistaken.  I was definitely struggling so we tried several different methods to spur on milk production:
-Seaweed Soup: Korean method.  Allegedly (and I use that term because my mom is the one who found this information and so it's hearsay...can you tell I'm married to an attorney?), Korean women are fed seaweed soup almost immediately following childbirth to encourage milk production.
-Beer: According to Stephen's NICU nurse, in Ireland, women are given a Guinness following childbirth.  The malt in beer is said to help with milk production.
-Relaxation: I've spent several days doing nothing.  It's lover-ly.
-Mother's Milk Tea: this is an organic herbal tea that one of my NP's recommended.  She said that it is said to really help with milk production.  Warning: it's not great.  I have to put two tablespoons of honey in it.
-Pumping: this is kind of self-explanatory.

Ta dah.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's time for a quickie!

For those of you that have been following along faithfully, I want to give a quick thanks to you.

For those of you that just drop by occasionally, thanks to you too!

For those of you that randomly came across this post, muchos gracias tambien.

(hopefully that covers everyone who is reading this)

Feel free to check out our baby story.

My reader is well over 1000 items at this point.  I've gotten caught up to July 19 and still have quite a ways to go.  Why don't I mark all of them as read, you ask?  Because in the back of my head, I can imagine not seeing all the recipes posted to Taste Spotting, or keeping up with Char at Living Well on the Cheap. 

Stephen and I are both still doing very well after his delivery.  He's already met many of the milestones a 1 month old should meet and he's barely two weeks old!  (and yes I am bragging because I'm fairly certain that when you give birth to a baby, your role as a mommy entitles you to excessive and disgusting bragging rights)

I'm working very hard on learning to relax.  That sentence almost doesn't make hard at relaxing.  Riiiiiiight.  Learning to shut off the conversation in my brain is a fine art that I have yet to master.  Especially because the conversation is not a complete dialogue.  It looks something like this:

alsuehrlawuehfjas.dfha/werihawekfba,lsufhksjdfhbakwsuehfalwuehfbjnmsbcvn,xdjfghawleuirtyhalwughfjsbdv,zjdbgf,zsufglawuierflawuerlaksjdbvjmnzxb cvnmxcbvksghawluear;wioeugflaujgakjsdbvmznxcbv,skjfhalwiuegfawluergawluegugrwleurgawlekfbszcvbznmcbz,dfjhaglweuifgawlieutyawlekrughaljfbdkajsdfb,xzjbfvhlauyhrfeo;waiuefhawoefhalwuegflasujdhfjskbv,kmzjsdvb

Yeah you try and sort that out.  If you get it to make any sense, crack that magnificent code, please send me the translation so that I can have a small moment of peace.

The good news is that having this downtime is allowing me time to focus my mind on certain things that need focusing.  Like this blog!!!  There are a couple of other things that I'm working on but I'm unable to disclose at the present moment (no that's not an invitation for you to ask!).   

The important thing to know is that everything is fine and dandy in this house.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baby Story

Stephen Thomas was born on July 11, 2011 at 4:41 am.
As requested, here is our baby story.

Sunday, June 10, we got to the hospital and started the induction around 10:30 am.  Honestly, I wasn't thrilled about the induction.  I really wanted to have a close-to-natural childbirth (meaning, I wanted an epidural but not until I'd made it at least halfway through dilation) but because of Stephen's estimated size, we couldn't really put off labor any longer.  Pitocin didn't seem so bad at first and I was able to successfully breathe through contractions.  I was so relieved to find that it wasn't that bad.

What a joke.

About four hours into labor, the breathing wasn't cutting it at all.  Hell, I was lucky if I could even get a complete inhale!  This wasn't because of the pitocin.  No, no, no.  That wouldn't really jive with the way my pregnancy went, now would it?  Instead, labor for me was defined by back labor.  Don't know what that is?  Piercing pain.  It's not throbbing, it's not soreness.  It's piercing back pain.  Doctors and midwives encourage counter pressure.  Yeah, rolling onto my side so that Eric could shove his fist into the same spot where the pain was generating from was like asking a turtle on its back to roll over.  Not happening.  I finally cracked for the epidural when the pitocin was working TOO well and my contractions were no longer separated.  What does that mean, you ask?

So this is what a contraction should look like on a screen:

       /\         /\          /\
      /  \       /  \        /  \
----/    \___/    \____/    \___
As you can see, there is a base line when the uterus is relaxed and a peak at the top of the contraction.  Essentially, it hurts the most at the peak (duh).  

When the pitocin was working too well, this is what mine looked like:

        /\    /\    /\
      /   \_/   \_/  \

In other words, there was no relief.  My teeth were chattering and I was shaking.  That is, until the epidural kicked in.  Ahh...sweet bliss.

I was in labor for 19 hours.  Yes we tried pushing.  No, it was unsuccessful.  Baby Stephen's head was too big.  So, finally, we decided to do a caesarean. I've been opposed to the surgery from the moment I got pregnant.  But after that much time and over an hour of pushing with no progress, I was done.  That being said, it didn't really matter.  Only moments after making the decision, my doctor came back in the room saying we didn't have time anymore.  Stephen was in distress and had to come out now.  I had to be completely sedated because we didn't have time to wait on the epidural.  Eric wasn't able to be with me.  I think it's good for Stephen and I that I was so exhausted and already drugged up; I don't remember being scared in the OR.  

I woke up a couple hours later to Eric by my side saying that Stephen was okay.  Once I got set up in my mommy room, a neo-natal nurse practitioner came in.  Stephen wasn't doing as well as we'd thought.  There was a chance that he had brain damage and if that were the case, he would need to be transported to another hospital in Denver.

Now, I could sit here and regale you with what that sort of terror was like, or how worried we were.  I could detail the tears that were shed, or the prayers that were sent up. I could do all that.

But, I'm writing this ten days later with Stephen curled up on my chest and he has a clean bill of health.  His EEG came back fine and didn't have to be transferred.  And with him at home and both of us healing nicely from our roller coaster experience, the important thing is that it's over and we triumphed together.  It's important that he's reaching milestones earlier than some babies do.  It's important that he looks just like his daddy and has long fingers and toes.  

And it's important that he is absolutely perfect.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Useless Kitchen Stuff

Disclaimer: This post is totally my opinion.  There are plenty of people out there who will COMPLETELY disagree with the items I chose for this post (my mom, for instance).  That's totally fine.  Just realize that if I own these (and I own a couple of them), I don't really use them.  And if I don't, I don't want to.  It's a preference thing.  For instance, if you were a one-ply toilet paper kind of person, and I came over with some two-ply for you, you might use the two-ply til it ran out.  But then go back to the one-ply for whatever reason it is that you prefer it (although if you prefer one-ply, for the life of me, I don't think I could ever understand that...this tooshie likes two-ply!).  

Man...that's way too much info...I should probably be sleeping rather than blogging

Moving on...
Item #1: Liquid Measuring Cups
I own one of these.  Just one.  And in the entire time I've had it, which has to have been a while because I don't know how long I've had it, I don't remember EVER using it.  I know my mom used it when she was last here.  Now, truth be told, I MIGHT use it if it wasn't the extra large sized cup (seriously, what recipe has 6 cups of the same liquid??). But that's a big MIGHT.  I find that my regular measuring cups work just fine and my recipes turn out delicious even though I haven't used the fancy scmancy liquid measuring cup.
Item #2: Garlic Press
 Another item I own and do not use.  This is actually an item my mom and I debate on whether it is useful or not.  Me, I prefer the traditional method of mincing my garlic.  You know...using those archaic objects called "Knives".  Mom argues that by using the garlic press, you get the "essence" of garlic rather than chunks of it.  I disagree.  You get garlic MUSH with the garlic press and it seems to me that you lose like half of the garlic through the garlic press.  Not worth it to me.  I'd rather hack away at the clove til it's nice and tiny than quickly squish it into the press.

Item #3: Garlic Peeler
 This one really irks me.  I have a really hard time grasping this.  The photo above is the garlic peeler that came up in my search and sells for $6.99.  Now, I'm not one to really pinch pennies a ton but let's face it.  Six bucks of that price is for the case because the peeler itself is probably worth the $.99.  Or if you are really thrifty, you'll go get a toilet paper roll and use that instead.  No?  My method?  Lay the clove on a hard surface.  Lay your knife across it (blade facing away from want the flat surface of the knife laying across the clove) and then just hit the blade once with your fist.  This helps loosen up the clove so you can peel it.  Ta dah!  Didn't have to buy any fancy peeler with a case for that, now did ya?

Item #4: Pastry Blender
Again, another one that my mom and I disagree on.  I just don't get it.  I use a fork in place of a pastry/dough blender and it seems that my baked goods still pass inspection.  Is there really a perk to having one of these guys?  Exactly what do they do?  Other than be a tool in your drawer that you could really use but you probably don't.

Item #4.5: Rotary Cheese Grater
Allow me to explain the 4.5 on this one.  It's not necessarily the rotary cheese grater or this particular brand of rotary cheese grater that I disagree with.  I disagree with the usefulness of the rotary cheese grater that we have.  I always imagined having a rotary cheese grater and being able to grate cheese the way waiters do in restaurants.  But alas, the rotary cheese grater that we own is not that smooth at all.  Yes it grates the cheese but the cheese never gets pushed through properly so it all ends of clumping together.  Instead, we have two other manual cheese graters that work amazingly well.  So, that's why the 4.5.  I believe grating cheese with a grater is necessary but the particular one that we have sucks.  Therefore, it is useless to me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bad Gifts for Baby

I've mentioned that I follow a ton of food blogs.  I think the runner up for the types of blogs i follow would be the Mommy/Baby blogs that I follow.  I follow a ton of mommy blogs partially for the wisdom that can be found and partially because most of them crack me up.

For instance, I follow Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva.  She cracks me up and has a ton of great stuff to share.

And today, I came across this post about 8 bad gifts for babies.

I cracked up and I'm sure you will too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ikea Lust

Have I told you the big news?

No I haven't given birth yet.
Yes, I realize that Stephen was due last Saturday.

I don't think he's realized it though.
Moving on...

The big news is that one of my favorite stores is opening a location about thirty minutes away!


Seriously, I couldn't be more thrilled.
Okay well I probably will when Stephen decides he's ready to be born.

Let's hope that's soon...


So here are some of the things that I'm eyeballing at Ikea.

Go here
I think I'd probably make forty pillows with this.  With matching sheets.  And a matching duvet cover.  

too much?  Probably so.

Go here
On one of the many blogs that I follow, the couple has put this pendant lamp in their home and I've completely fallen in love with it as well.  It's funky and fun!  What's not to love about that combo?

Go here
I feel like if I owned this I would never get up or stop reading.

Go here
I love high beds like this because it allows for the space underneath to be used for other things.  Like we could get this for Stephen and he could build his own Lego land underneath.  And when he starts going to school, we could put a desk underneath for him to do his homework.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Swimsuit envy

I've been itching to have a vintage inspired swimsuit for a couple of years now.  I ordered one from VS a couple of years ago but the bust line dropped so low that I couldn't handle it (I know...surprising that I couldn't deal with a low bust line :P).  Seeing as how I can't sleep, I figured I'd troll the interwebs for some possible swimsuit options.  

Note: I realize that I wouldn't be wearing the swimsuit this summer.

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