Working around the house

This week has been a week for working around the house. We started on the installation of our bathtub in our master bathroom (at long last- it’s only been 16 months!) which had me thinking of other things I could start remedying around here. One of my big pet peeves in the spring and fall is our sliding glass door in the kitchen. We live in a modular home that was built on a basement instead of a slab which left our back doors hanging in the breeze so to speak. No big deal really, but a couple of years ago the sliding screen door came off of it’s track and rather than just being a nuisance that needed to be reinstalled, the fall broke the frame and that meant no more screen to keep the bugs out. I love opening up that door to get a nice cross breeze going, but I HATE the wasps, mosquitoes and worst of all flies that invite themselves in as if they owned the place. Bugs the heck outta me (pun totally intended!)

So when I saw the handy dandy magnetic screen door come up as an option for a product review, I knew just what I wanted to do with it and that’s now on our list of to-do’s while the weather is nice (nice being in the mid-50’s- It’s January in Missouri so we’ll take it!) Tomorrow I’m going to get the mister to grab a ladder and we’re going to install this lovely contraption on the outside of the sliding door frame and take advantage of the fresh air that will be filtering through oh so nice and bug free (It’s January, but there are still a few flies hanging around) to help knock out the cold bugs that have been hanging around inside!

This screen is really a sturdy, high-quality material. I’m definitely impressed with the construction and materials. The velcro sewn around the edges gives it added strength and the mesh is tough. I tugged on it a few times to get a feel for the durability of the seams and material and it didn’t give at all which is just what I was hoping for. We will be installing it on the exterior of our house so I’m curious to see how the adhesive on the velcro hooks holds up, but that’s not really so much of a concern for me as I know Jarell will probably add a few screws as a backup (because he never does anything halfway. If you’d like to check it out, you can find it here. If you decide it looks like something you want to try out, Premium Choice Products has sent me a coupon code for you to use for half off your purchase price. Simply follow this link and use the coupon code, YYYGPCCI at checkout. It’s definitely worth $10 to try it out and I will be buying a second one for our basement entrance.

The Birth of Raina Ann

Once upon a time I was a blogger…

But then I had a baby and things get really busy when that happens. My down time is now spent on showers, cooking, cleaning, and the occasional sewing project, while me-time strongly resembles a trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market.

Today, however, I decided to take another shot at blogging from my kindle and thanks to predictive text, the fact that I’m writing one-handed isn’t quite the handicap it might otherwise be. I don’t know if this means I’ll be back more, because having a very active 11 month old takes most of my brainpower, but I do miss having a place to share. Sooo keep your ears to the ground and maybe I’ll be back again soon.

A birth story

This is the story of my labor with Alexia. It’s got details- somewhat graphic ones- so if you don’t like birth or birth details, I’d skip it.

This is probably going to be somewhat scattered- the whole night was- but I want to get it down before I forget too much more of it.

The day started off early- Thursday the 2nd- at about 3:19 according to when I finally checked my phone and began to wonder if these erratic contractions were it. I was alone in our big king size bed because Jarell had taken to sleeping on the couch due to back pain which in turn allowed me to stretch out to the most comfortable (relative term here) position I could manage with my 40 weeks, 3 days pregnant belly. I spent the rest of the morning tossing and turning and thinking “Oh lord another day of false labor and I brought it on because of my joke about Ali being born on my in-laws anniversary!” They were mild tho so I didn’t complain much. I spent the day mostly just puttering around and not doing much.

At about 4, my mother in law and J14 came down to our house and all of us were hungry so we went to the local Thai place to get our fix. Almost as soon as I sat down, my contractions started picking up, getting uncomfortable, and getting more regular. They moved up to about 7-8 minutes apart but since they still weren’t clockwork regular so I didn’t call my midwife, but I was starting to get more excited. We went to the grocery store and my walking around caused the contractions to get really hard so we hurried through the shopping (as much as one can hurry while in early labor anyway).

We headed home and the next several hours passed with my contractions getting more and more intense. Around 9 or 10 Jarell finally called my midwife because I was in a lot of pain and the contractions, tho not regular, were very intense.When she arrived, I was disappointed to find out that, again, I was only 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. My midwife did some work on my round ligaments which were ridiculously tense and some essential oil therapy, told me to take some ibuprofen, have a glass of watered down wine, and get some rest. I did as she suggested and attempted to go to sleep while Jarell and his mom kept watch. It didn’t take long before I was in pain again and the contractions picked up momentum until I reached the point where I was in constant pain which was quickly more than I could take. Jarell, taking a proactive stance, decided we needed to go to the hospital to make sure things were alright and I agreed because the pain was very intense.

We notified my midwife who headed toward the hospital and headed out ourselves. The drive was a blur and if I never have to ride in a car while having intense contractions, it will be way too soon. We arrived at the hospital and since the midwife had called ahead to notify them to be prepared for our arrival, we were met at triage with a wheelchair and moved quickly to a room. The nurse was really pretty great, even if she did have to hook me up to torture devices (fetal monitor, blood pressure, and heartbeat monitor) and check my dilation (ouch). I can honestly say I have no idea how long I was there, but at some point in there my midwife arrived and started talking me through my contractions which made things soooo much better. With her reminding me to relax my face and shoulders and breathe, I was able to catch my breath once in awhile, but my contractions didn’t lessen in pain level or become more regular.

I decided to have a shot of demerol because my pain was more than I could handle anymore. This required me to be monitored for another 45 minutes which was painful because it meant I would have to stay in bed, but the demerol helped. The pain didn’t lessen, but I was able to step back from it and relax enough to drift off for awhile. As the demerol started to wear off, we realized that the contractions were finally regular and when they checked me, I was 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. Woo hoo!! Although I really wanted to go home at this point, Jarell and my midwife made a strong case for the fact that once I was home, there was no pain relief if I needed it and my midwife was concerned that I might have some nerve damage or another injury that we didn’t know about so to play it safe I opted to be admitted. It was one of the harder decisions I’ve ever made because I knew it meant giving up my dream of a home birth for this baby and that broke my heart.

Once I was admitted, they moved me to the birthing center, a very nice comfortable room with a big easy chair and a comfortable bed. I was determined once I got there that I was going to get this baby out because my midwife was concerned about my energy levels at that point (I hadn’t eaten since 10pm the night before and all I’d managed to eat was an apple with some peanut butter). I was not willing to have any further interventions and so I began walking the hallway. Walking actually made the pain a bit more bearable and so Jarell and I shuffled back and forth for quite awhile. They checked my dilation again, but I honestly don’t remember where I was altho I had progressed some. All of this is a blur to me but I eventually moved to the bed, kneeling so that I could rest against the back of it. When the morning nurse checked me I had dilated to an 8 and my body was doing involuntary small pushes at the end of each contraction. My doula arrived at some point during all of this, but again, I don’t remember when. I remember asking at some point if I was in transition, and they assured me that I was. My response was something along the lines of “Oh thank god!” which got a laugh from everyone. I do know that somewhere in there I dilated 5 cm in 45 minutes which was intense to say the least and I remember going to the bathroom and losing my most of mucus plug in one huge chunk.

Suddenly, I knew the baby was coming. I could feel her moving down and my body needed to push. The nurse checked me again (agonizing and rough- I didn’t like the morning nurse- she was awful!) I remember her asking what time it was and someone told her 8:57 (in the am) and then calling for the OB. The OB came in and introduced herself followed by telling me that I needed to turn around because my position wasn’t safe for the baby and she couldn’t deliver me if I stayed that way. I panicked at this point, turning to my midwife for guidance because I knew it wasn’t true that my position was unsafe and I wanted to fight her. Looking back now, I know I could have told her tough luck you can’t leave because that would be abandonment and I’m not moving, but at the time all I could think was the mean lady is making me move and it hurts and don’t want to move. I wanted to cry when my midwife reminded me that we were in the hospital and we needed to do things how they wanted us to do them (she was trying to keep things on the same positive path they’d been on up to this point without the staff punishing me for her interference like she had experienced in past births) but at the time I was a little lost. Like a child who’s been reprimanded I dutifully turned over and assumed the position the doctor wanted me in.

My water broke not long after and the remainder of my mucus plug came out. I remember that I began pushing soon after that with the doctor doing perineal massage during the contractions. I would have a hard time starting off and I was roaring, but with my doula’s and midwife’s help I was eventually able to focus my attention and energy into pushing in the way that best moved the baby down. It was intense and uncomfortable, but the contractions that led up to this point were much worse than this was so I was okay with it. I drifted off between contractions, but during them I had my husband’s hand clamped in one hand and my doula’s in the other. My midwife brought me a wet washcloth to wipe my face down and suck on since water wasn’t allowed :/. The contractions and pushing seemed to go by very quickly and after what felt like about 5 minutes (but was really 45) I finally decided I was done with this because I couldn’t take much more so I pushed with everything I had until my daughter’s head was born. The OB wasted no time pulling her body out which pissed me off at the time but I had no more energy to be angry. I did manage to get across that I wanted to wait til the cord quit pulsing before it was cut and she mostly followed my wishes.

They laid Ali on my chest and my doula got my sports bra open so I could have skin to skin contact with her which was wonderful (and baffling- I know she did it but how she did it and how she did it that fast was pretty mind boggling at the time lol) The doctor decided that the cord had pumped enough and said we should cut it. I protested that I wanted to wait til it was done which she assured me it was, but I know now that it wasn’t entirely done. Again, I wasn’t in any state to argue at that point so I believed her. She pulled on the placenta rather than waiting to allow me to deliver it on my own, but I was too involved in learning to nurse my baby to notice or care about much else although in a corner of my mind, I was intensely annoyed. At some point they took Ali and weighed and measured her, but I don’t honestly remember her being away from me despite the fact that I remember them doing it. The drugs were long worn off but I was exhausted and lost in baby land. It was 9:49 am when she was born. I had been in actual labor for less than 8 hours. Ali weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 19in long. Her Apgar scores were both 9’s and she was quick to look incredible pissed at the world for disturbing her, but otherwise she was calm and content.

Tho I was sad to transfer and give birth in a hospital, I was thankful to bring my baby into the world safe and sound. I know now that I can do it so next time I will without giving in to my fears, and I’m grateful for the wonderful support of my midwife and my doula as well as my husband and my mother in law.

Someday I’ll write my birth story

But today is not that day. I have thank you notes to write and a beautiful daughter going through a growth spurt (that hopefully is almost over because Mommy’s breasts are about worn out from the all-night feeding marathons). So for today I leave you with a picture of her smiling like the little angel she is.

It begins, but we’re not there yet

So I want to keep track of all of this in order to keep my foggy mind from losing the details as time goes by. Thursday night, Jarell and I had just gone to bed when I started having regular Braxton-Hicks type contractions. By regular, I mean they were coming every 7-8 minutes pretty steadily. Fast forward an hour and I checked in with my midwife who told me to take a warm bath, drink some water, and see what happened. Done and done, I finally got out of the tub because I was having some discomfort. Went to bed and tried to sleep, but the contractions went to bed and tried to sleep but the contractions went from feeling like Braxton-Hicks, to being a little painful, with particular discomfort in my lower back. Now I know the baby is not posterior- she was ROT at the time so why I was having back labor is beyond me, but fortunately my honey is a saint and he curled up with his skin against mine for warmth and rubbed my back every time a contraction hit. After an hour of this we gave up and I called my friend and doula to give her a heads up that something was going on. She lives about half an hour away so she decided to head our way after some indecision since things were not following normal proceedings. She’d had some labor experience like this herself however so she wanted to come out just in case. When she got here, the contractions pretty much quit except when we were walking (figures, right?) so after a couple hours we decided she should go on to work and I would call her if things changed. I rested for awhile but eventually I was feeling too nauseous to sit still and Jarell and I took a drive around to just get some air. After our drive we took a walk around our yard which brought on contractions that were almost back to back- 5 steps, pause for contraction, 5 steps, pause- you get the picture. We headed inside after a lap around the yard because they were getting to be really intense- not painful- just intense. Inside, I laid down, and had a bunch more contractions that I had to breath and moan my way through and they were stacked together in groups of 2 and 3, really close together and very erratic. Jarell decided a call to my midwife was in order so he checked in with her. She was a good ways away, but since I could still talk through them she wasn’t too worried. She headed back, cancelled appointments and I went back to trying to rest after calling my doula who also headed our direction again.

The crazy wacko contractions kept up until, you guessed it, people started arriving, at which point they tapered off again. My doula and I killed some time by watching an old Cary Grant movie (I was a Male War Bride) til my midwife arrived. When she got there, she wanted to do a cervical check, saying things just weren’t progressing like normal labor and I was all for finding out what the heck was going on since even a first time mom like myself could tell something was screwy here. Check done, we discovered I was only *maybe* 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced with the baby fully engaged- no baby coming anytime soon at that point. Since this was the case, we sent my midwife and doula on home and I was told to eat, drink plenty of fluids, and get some rest. Jarell and I went out for a nice meal and then came back home where we both passed out on the couches in our living room. I had a few more strong contractions when I awakened periodically, but beyond that I was dead to the world for about 12 hours. Today we took a short road trip to see some museums and enjoy a little time together as a couple which was a wonderful way to spend our day. I’ve had more contractions throughout the day and they are definitely not the usual Braxton-Hicks style contractions, but nothing steady or measurable. I’m sure they’re slowly doing their work, but for now labor isn’t exactly imminent. Hopefully little one decides to join us soon- Jarell doesn’t want me going anywhere alone- which leaves me a bit stuck, but grateful he’s so concerned.

39 almost 40 weeks

My post for 38 weeks is still sitting in the draft folder and there it shall probably remain. Why? Because I don’t like posting things once they’re no longer relevant and it no longer is since I only have 3 days til my due date. And because there is a good chance I’m already in early labor. There is of course the chance that it is more of my body just adjusting, but my midwife thinks it might be soon. I’m so excited, but don’t want to tell anyone I know because I’m fighting to avoid that watched pot feeling. So if you read this and you actually know me, please don’t say anything to anyone else and please for the love of all that is holy, don’t ask me if I’ve ‘had that baby yet’ or any other variation of that sentence. If you do, my response will be based on how I’m feeling at the moment, and I can’t promise it will be polite.

That disclaimer done, I’m really over the moon about the whole finally getting to meet our daughter thing and so is Jarell. That wonderful man is sticking close to home, but today the waiting proved too much so he’s working at the shop since we could use some income (no paternity leave for the self-employed) this week for the usual basics. I’ve been trying to get the nursery (formerly the craft room) cleaned out the rest of the way so we can move the furniture out of our second living room and get some clothing organization going. Its hard to feel motivated to get it done since she’ll be sleeping in our room, but between the two of us we finally made some headway the last couple of days.

To sum up the pregnancy at this point, here’s where things stand right now (so I can remember them for next time around)

Weight gain: as of my last weigh in, I had gained a total of 3 pounds for this pregnancy- I lost a lot early on when I was so sick and was slow to gain anything back.

Appetite: Finally back in full force- I have been eating everything in sight and that reminds me- I’m hungry again! I’m back on a spicy foods kick and we ate at a local Thai restaurant 4 times last week.

Food aversions: I still don’t like eggs much, although if they have enough “stuff” in them I’m okay. My favorite egg dish right now is an Italian omelet from a little diner in a nearby town- it tastes like pizza and is sooooo good!

Sleep: I’m still getting some. The little one tends to sleep when I do which is wonderful. I’m having more and more hip and pelvic pain tho and that makes for some sleepless hours toward the end of the night.

Clothes: Still wearing most of my pre-pregnancy stuff with the occasional pair of maternity jeans (I own 2 pairs) or skirt (own 1). Mostly I’m taking a hair tie and looping it through my button hole on my jeans, but that isn’t necessary for all of them. I’m definitely going to need new clothes post pregnancy, but its because I’m going to need smaller- so weird, right?

TMI: You can totally skip this part- go ahead if you like. Milk (or actually colostrum) is coming in now and I can hand express a bit which is helping to alleviate my probably unfounded fears that I won’t be able to breastfeed. I’m also at a point where the leukorrhea is picking up which, along with the stronger contractions I’ve been having and some other changes in my body, points to impending labor being close.

All in all, I think we’re as ready as we’ll ever be so the little one is welcome to make her debut any time she chooses. I’m not trying to rush things, but I’m thinking positive thoughts and trying to stay relaxed and calm. And now, I’m hungry, as I mentioned above, so I’m going to go find something to make for dinner.

New family additions of the four-legged variety

Liza Minelli (because honestly she looks like a drag queen and she also looks like Liza Minelli)


Doesn’t have a name yet

Casper the friendly goat.

On top of these four who came home with us yesterday, there are three more who haven’t adjusted enough for me to get pictures who came home with us today.

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Lots and lots happening in our household lately. I took some time and took pictures of baby things that either I or someone else has made for the little one

This lovely blanket was knitted by my cousin who has her own little one on the way just a few weeks after ours is due to arrive.

The jacket and hat were made by her mother

This blanket was made by my aunt- it is beautiful and so intricate

These next two were made by Jarell’s great-aunt. This little one will be her great great niece- how awesome is that?

I love the granny squares

Here’s the changing table all set up for the homebirth with blankets, towels, clothes, diapers, and a whole bunch more.

Close-up of a few of the newborn diapers I’ve made

One of the fleece skirty soakers complete with owl applique

Hand cut applique of the ninja turtle, Donatello because he was always my favorite

More diapers in one-size

And a few more soakers.

I’m excited to see all of this coming together at long last!