Wednesday, June 27, 2012


M is currently infatuated with bubbles (what toddler isn't?!), so I wanted to find a homemade recipe that worked so I wouldn't have to spend a fortune on bubble stuff. I found and tested this recipe using corn starch and it worked. It does get better with age like the recipe says. The detergent also makes a difference. I originally made it with Palmolive, but blue Joy worked better.

Homemade bubble solution (from


1/2 gallon of water
1/2 cup dishwashing liquid (Joy or Dawn works best.)
1/4 cup glycerine, corn syrup, or one package (about 1/4 ounce) of unflavored gelatin.


Mix ingredients together in a wide container.
If using immediately, try not to agitate the solution. Foamy solution does not make the best bubbles. If the solution become too foamy, wait for it to settle.
Find straws, tea strainers, funnels, sieves, etc. for making bubbles. Dip these in the bubble solution.
Blow or wave bubbles into the air.
Store any leftover solution in a a closable container. The bubble solution will get better with age.

Operation Garden 2012

If you've followed my blog awhile you're probably wondering why there hasn't been a garden post yet this year (or not??). We've done a huge vegetable garden in our yard since we moved here back in 2008. This year we had every intention of planting again only half the square footage we normally do. It just never happened because I was too hugely pregnant to get down and dirty and since we don't have our own tiller yet we couldn't justify the cost (and hassle) of renting one for a smaller spot this year.

A.R. does most of the early hard labor tilling the land, so I wouldn't have had to do a ton early on except start seedlings and show him how to plant them. With a new baby due in June I knew my time would be limited to weed and maintain the garden, though, and A.R. doesn't have the patience for weeding. Plus, after our horrible squash bug infestation last year I did some reading and the best way to kill them naturally is to not plant for a season so the eggs die. Since we feed veggies from our garden to our kids not using chemicals is key to us.
We both still really wanted something home grown this year and on a recent trip to Home Depot we decided we didn't have to give it all up. A Topsy Turvy or two hung on our porch would work perfectly! This spring, operation garden 2012 started on our porch. M and A.R. set up our Topsy Turvies together with some serious father-daughter bonding and we also bought a strawberry planter as well. We hope to transplant the strawberries to our yard at the end of the season.
We planted two tomato plants in the Topsy Turvies and they are growing awesome so far. At last count we had just over a half dozen tomatoes growing, but they have yet to ripen. I hope they do soon as we haven't had a home grown tomato since our first summer here. Last year they just didn't grow well and the year before our state had horrible tomato blight and they rotted before ripening. I can't wait to have my first tomato and mayo sandwich this summer!! :)

Next year, I hope our "real" garden will return full swing. We have great plans for it including edging part of it using raspberry and blueberry bushes as a natural fence.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's a BOY!!

On June 5th at 1:24am we welcomed our son, Evan, and our family of three became four. He weighed 8lb 4oz and was 20" long (at least that's the length the hospital used- just ten days later at the pedi he was 21 1/4" and she checked twice to be sure! There's no way he grew an inch and a quarter in 10 days.). His Apgars were 8 and 9 and he is just perfect with his tiny nose, long fingers, fuzzy baby hair, and cute little lips.
The adjustment to two kids has been pretty smooth to the point where we keep waiting for the crap to hit the fan and all hell to break loose. We heard lots of horror stories about how tough the transition would be so we were leery at first, but so far so good. To be honest the adjustment from no kids to one was harder for us. This time around we knew what to expect, my milk came in before I left the hospital (which made a huge difference on night #1 at home- i.e. crying hungry baby vs. sleeping happy baby) and maybe we're just used to the sleep deprivation at this point. Yes, E is up in the night and yes, we're tired, but it's nothing like when M came home. Plus, we now have the added bonus of seeing our sweet girl become an awesome big sister. I can't begin to describe how incredibly happy and fulfilled I feel being a mom of two.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have our little family.

Now, the part you've been waiting for...the birth story. I'll do a summary by time first and then type all the nitty gritty details for those who aren't afraid of a little TMI. :) My induction due to gestational diabetes, polyhydramnios, and aging placenta began on June 4th.

Summary by time:
~1pm Pitocin started. Admitted at 2cm 50% effaced, -3 station. Was already having sporadic contractions on my own. Labored for 7 hours this way using Hypnobirthing techniques.
~8pm My OB broke my water at which point I was 2-3cm and 80% effaced.
~9pm AWFUL Pitocin contractions with little break between and some double peaks. At a solid 3cm. Internal monitor placed on baby because he wouldn't stay on the strip and I needed to move around to work through contractions.
~9:40pm Oh sweet relief from epidural. Pitocin was at a 15 (max dose is 21- I wouldn't get above an 18 dosage).
~Just before 11pm had break through pains all over my belly. Rolled to other side and it helped maybe for 30-45 minutes. 4cm dilated

June 5th:
~12am Felt EXTREME pain every contraction in pelvis and pubic area.  Epi boosted. Still 4cm. 
~12:30am Pain worse, epi  boost did nothing. Anesthesia called to my room to check epidural. Now 8cm. Resident and OB called to room as I was progressing quickly. 
~12:40am Felt pressure to push in addition to contractions.  Checked and fully dilated. At the same time Anesthesia arrived to my room to check failed epidural, but it would be too late. 
~1:00am Started pushing.
~1:24am Evan was born!

Bottom line: My epidural failed as I progressed too quickly in the end.  I went from 4cm to complete in 40 minutes.  I felt the entire birth, but it was sure worth it!  The hospital, my OB, and staff were great in working with me so that I could attempt as much of a hypnobirth as I could with the circumstances of the induction.
Long version for those who want the nitty gritty details and aren't scared of a little TMI:
We arrived at the hospital on Monday, June 4th, at 11:30am to begin the induction process and it took a little while to get the orders from my OB and get me hooked up to the IVs.  I discussed my options on how I was to be induced.  I asked for my water to be broken before doing Pitocin in the hopes my body would take over on its own and I could avoid drugs.  This wasn't an option for me as I had polyhydramnios and the baby was still high and the risk of cord prolapse was too great.  Cervadil also wasn't an option since my cervix was already dilated, soft, effaced, and favorable.  Pitocin it was, but at least I asked.  The resident came in and did a quick ultrasound to make sure baby was still head down and then we waited for the IVs to get things rolling.  The first IV didn't take in my left hand, so a different nurse tried again in my right arm.  Pitocin and antibiotics were started.  I was Strep B positive and had to get antibiotics every few hours throughout my labor.
The next seven hours were fairly uneventful as I labored along.  I could feel contractions right away and was contracting every few minutes the entire time using my hypnobirthing techniques to work through the more difficult contractions.  I was able to smile, nap, laugh, talk, watch TV, move around the room, go to the bathroom, and play on my phone (I even read some of Fifty Shades of Grey on iBook on my phone!) throughout this time.  I labored for awhile in the rocking chair, on the birthing ball, and various positions in bed.  Our sweet boy was stubborn and wouldn't stay on the monitor, so our nurse kept having me rotate in and out of bed so she could make sure he was handling the Pitocin okay.  My nurse during this time (until 11pm) was fabulous.  I can't remember her name other than it was unique and not one I'd heard before.  She respected my birth plan or what was left of it and didn't say certain key words ("pain", "hurt", asking me to rate it on a scale, etc.), she kept our room lights dimmed, and when things got more intense she spoke with A.R. instead of interrupting my concentration.  The most annoying thing during this time period was the blood pressure checks- that cuff HURT!- and what felt like constant glucose checks.  At 7:30 my OB came by wanting to break my water so that I got a bit more uncomfortable as my Pitocin dosage was already at a 15 and increasing, but I was still comfortable and not really dilating, just effacing.  I knew that once my water was broken things would get intense, so I procrastinated for about a half hour to prepare myself mentally, got my hypnobirth music and headphones ready, and then gave the okay.
At 8pm my OB broke my water and it felt like she was digging for my brains from my nether region. At this point I was 2-3cm and 80% effaced.  A.R. held my hand through it thank goodness.  Then the flood gates opened and fluid kept coming and coming and coming.  They had me cough a few times (easy to do with my cold) and it would just keep pouring out.  Then, I'd move or have another contraction and I'd flood the bed again.  I knew I had a lot of fluid thanks to the polyhydramnios, but holy cow it felt like it was never going to stop.  My OB checked to make sure no cord prolapsed and we were left to keep laboring on.  Both my nurse and the resident kept saying they had never seen so much fluid even from a polyhydramnios patient.  Just when my nurse thought she could leave, I'd have another huge gush and have a puddle on the towel and she'd have to clean me up again.  I had so much fluid that even the towels they used couldn't keep up and I'd be in a puddle.  SO GROSS!!  Almost immediately the contractions became much more intense and I went into the zone with my hypnobirthing tracks.  E moved once again off the monitors being the Houdini that he was and after a little while the nurse came back to ask if they could do an internal monitor so I could still move around like I wanted.  I quickly gave the okay and an internal monitor was placed and I was already at a solid 3cm at 9pm.  At this point I was laboring sitting up during each contraction, but was on my back in bed between them.  I asked to get back on the birthing ball after the monitor was placed.
The birthing ball wasn't helping at all, so I resorted to standing and leaning over the bed and swaying back and forth while A.R. put counter pressure on both of my hips and squeezed them during contractions.  I knew pretty quickly with no break between contractions and double peaks and only being 3cm, that I wouldn't be able to labor like this for long and I asked for the epidural.  I was very disappointed, but remember telling A.R. I was no hero and that the Pit contractions were just too strong.  At 9:40 anesthesia arrived and started their whole legal mumbo jumbo about getting an epidural and she kept pausing during contractions.  I finally just told her to keep talking and that I was listening and she laughed.  I got set up for the procedure and was told I have great spaces in my spine.  Definitely not a compliment I've heard before, that's for sure!  I got slow relief once the epidural was in and immediately laid back down and fell fast asleep.  I was exhausted from the 8 hours and 40 minutes of labor I had already gone through.  I woke up around 11pm feeling some break through pain all over my belly with contractions and the nurse had me switch sides to see if the epidural would redistribute and help.  It did for awhile and I was able to snooze a little more, but was soon woken up once again with break through pain.  This time the pain was below the belt all along my pelvis and mostly in my pubic bone.
I asked the nurse about it and she checked me to see if I had dilated anymore and I was now at 4cm and since I still had a ways to go she tried boosting my epidural.  Twenty minutes later the pain was worse.  Much worse.  A resident came in and said if by 12:30 it wasn't better to call my nurse again.  It wasn't better, it was unbearable.  I was in tears with every contraction and nearly breaking two of A.R.'s fingers as he let me squeeze them during each contraction.  The nurse checked to see if she could boost my epidural again (she couldn't) and called anesthesia.  I started saying something was wrong.  I felt like my pubic bone was being sawed in two with each contraction and was convinced the baby's head was too big and stuck.  I was literally thinking to myself that I'd be okay with them just cutting the baby out at this point it hurt so bad. The nurse thought I might be progressing quickly all of a sudden, so she asked to check me and sure enough I was now 8cm and +1 station.  I was feeling the baby descend through the pelvis super quickly and had dilated 4cm in a half hour.  The nurse called once again for anesthesia, but warned me I might be progressing too quickly and that it may not be in time, but encouraged me that I could do this.  I was holding my breathe during contractions and hyperventilating a bit, so my nurse and Alexi helped me to remember my breathing techniques and during contractions I would squeeze Alexi's hand, cry, and sometimes even pound his thigh with my other fist as I laid on my left side.  I kept asking how could I be fine and sleeping one minute and writhing in pain the next and Chris just explained that sometimes if you progress really quickly the epidural can't keep up and fails, but she was encouraging and said I could do it and she'd help me through it.
In the meantime, the nurse had called for a table to be set up to prep for delivery and asked that my OB be called to the floor.  The nurse's station paged my room and asked why she wanted the OB.  Nobody believed I was progressing that quickly except my nurse, Chris!  When the resident arrived to set up the table she asked again why they wanted the OB already and my nurse said I just went from 4cm to 8 and +1 station in 30 minutes and it wouldn't be long now.   As the nurse and resident left my room for a second to check on anesthesia again, I began to feel the pressure in my tailbone area and bum.  I knew this sensation from my other births and told the nurse when she walked back in.  The resident asked if she could check me again and sure enough she said there was no cervix at 1am.  A.R. and I looked at each other thinking "oh shit!" that it meant I was going backwards and I was about to just ask them to knock me out and cut the baby out (vulgar, I know!).  Chris (our nurse) laughed and said nope, you're complete and ready to push.  The baby's head is already right there.  I asked to lie on my other side thinking maybe it would help spread the epidural better to my below the belt region (it didn't) and as I laid there I started pushing on my own.  Our awesome nurse helped hold my leg as I pushed on my side and called one last time for anesthesia.  Right then anesthesia walked in along with my fabulous OB.  He did boost my epidural dose as my OB and nurse helped me lie back on my back and prep the bed for delivery as they could already see the baby's head.
A.R. asked the nurse if the boost was going to work since we could already see the baby and my nurse (trying to hide it from me) shook her head no.  It was too late.  I just progressed 6cm (from 4-10) and the baby completely descended in 40 minutes.  She kept saying how crazy fast that it was!  When I saw her shake her head no, I just said "oh crap".  I guess I was getting my "natural" birth on Pitocin contractions.  She had turned off my Pitocin drip when she saw I was 8cm to let my body handle things.  I asked for a mirror so I could watch the birth this time and it really helped to see what the pushing did.  Pushing did help relieve the pain in my pelvis and pubic bone, but holy hell it hurt every where else.  I started to feel a burning sensation as things stretched out when I pushed and started cheating only doing it halfway.  My OB noticed and said to push harder, but to rest for a minute.  I told her it burned like a mother (that ring of fire you hear moms who birth naturally talk about) and it felt like I was going to split into two.  I was scared of tearing even though she was rubbing oil and massaging the area to help.  Everyone laughed and said that burning was good, the baby would crown soon and I had to push through it.  My nurse reminded me that as soon as I pushed through it, I'd get instant relief when the baby was born.  That ring of fire is no joke!
The next contraction I gave it all I had.  I pushed twice (my nurses and doctors were great in letting me follow my body's cues like the hypnobirth method follows- there was no counting or coaching, I did it on my own as I felt the contractions) and after the second push I was about to give up and wait for the next contraction when I decided in my head to give it one last go.  I pushed a third time with the same contraction and from what appeared to be a sliver of baby's head maybe an index finger in width and length soon popped out a baby head and I watched as my son was born.  It was breath taking and amazing.  As soon as his body was born my OB moved him and I saw it was a boy and told A.R. with tears in my eyes.  We had a son!  He cried right away and was immediately placed on my chest where we gazed into each other's eyes, I checked his hands and stroked his face/head/cheek, and bonded.  We did delayed cord cutting and A.R. got to cut the cord.  He was surprised at how tough it was, but was thrilled he got to do it this time (he couldn't with M as the doctor did it before she was even fully born because it was strangling her).  Oh the joy that was in the was toxic.  M had a brother.  We had a son.  A little while after A.R. cut the cord they took our sweet E and weighed him and I kept saying how little he was and that he looked nothing like M as a newborn.  The doctors laughed at me when I said he was little.  For them, he was a big newborn but compared to my 2 year old he was tiny!  E actually weighed 2 oz less than M at birth, but he was also a week early.
While they were weighing and cleaning up E, I glimpsed in the mirror one last time only to see the damage post birth.  I won't do that again!  I had a small one degree tear requiring one stitch (YAY for no episiotomy this time) and a small lateral tear adjacent to my urethra requiring 4-5 stitches.  My OB moved the mirror before I got the stitches thank goodness.  I actually felt the stitches being threaded through me and asked if that was normal.  After that I got a local to numb me up and I was handed back my sweet burrito baby. :)  A.R. hadn't even gotten to hold him yet, so I asked him if he wanted a turn and I fell in love with my husband all over again as I watched him hold our tiny new baby.  There is just something about watching the man you love hold such a tiny bundle as he kisses and whispers things in the baby's ear only they can hear.  Once we were left alone, I nursed E for the first time as A.R. called his mom to tell her that her newest grandchild was here.  We were totally mean and didn't say the baby's sex until she came to the hospital later that afternoon with M.  She was so excited to welcome her 6th grandson.  M is still the princess of the family...the only girl in a sea of boys, but she wears her crown well!  I called my parents to tell them the happy news and then we just stared at our boy in awe and waited to be moved to our postpartum room.  It started to sink in that we have a son AND a daughter.  Holy cow!
I definitely recommend hypnobirthing to all moms to be looking for a natural birth option and I will do another post about it.  I will be using it again for our next little one (yup, we are crazy and already talking about a third baby to complete our family) and praying that I won't need an induction or Pitocin.   Also, I will for sure use a mirror again.  Watching my son be born was something I will never forget and I wish, I wish I could have had it on video (our hospital doesn't allow it)- no it wouldn't show my goods just the moment itself in meeting our child.  It is a miracle and beautiful to see your child born and I only wish I had asked for a mirror for M's birth.  Since E's birth my gestational diabetes appears to be completely gone.  I won't know for sure until I do another glucose test 6-12 weeks postpartum.  I have to go to the lab and do a 2-hour glucose test and drink that gross orange cola again.  BLECH!  E has been okay since birth as well.  His first blood sugar was normal, but his second was too low.  He did have to have an ounce of formula in the nursery to raise it back up, but has been fine since.  I'm annoyed he had to have the formula and they didn't let him try to nurse again first.  I just tell myself it's better safe than sorry and the important thing is he is fine and they did feed it to him via dropper versus an artificial nipple.

Happy birthday sweet Evan!  We are so incredibly blessed to be able to welcome you to our family.  And now what you've been waiting for....PICTURES!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

10 Things I Forgot About Having a Newborn

A somewhat graphic and TMI list that I know my fellow moms can appreciate and for all my friends who may one day become a mom and need a reference:

1. How absolutely delicious new babies smell.
2. How bad it hurts when your milk first comes in.
3. How magical and precious late night nursing sessions can be.
4. Projectile poop. Nothing more to say there. It isn't just vomit ladies!
5. How you fall in love with your husband all over again watching him hold his newborn baby.
6. Sleep deprivation. Okay, I really didn't forget about it, but you do get used to it and it doesn't seem as bad the second time around.
7. Little baby dream noises.
8. The first postpartum poo. Colace. Colace. Colace. It can be scarring.
9. After pains can be as bad as labor. Especially for a nursing mom. Oh, and the more babies you have, the worse they are.
10. How quickly you fall completely in love with such a tiny little person.

Okay, I thought of two more so I'm adding them in. :)

11. Night sweats. Holy hormones going crazy.
12. The crick in your neck you get from watching baby nurse.

Just a quick post to let you all know I still exist. Coming soon: birth story, pictures, and reveal of baby R 2.0 :)