Stories of life in the suburbs with Husband and our daughter Squishy and son Button!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Family of Four


Previously on Expert Mommy... (Read this first!)

There would be no time for drugs. The fetenyl was sitting on the counter across the room. I could see it. But I couldn't have it. All around me there was a mad scramble happening. The combination of laying on that bed, being told that I was in transition, and that I would be doing it on my own made me lose control.

Let me tell you something: Everything I learned when I was preparing for a natural labor and delivery was about control. Owning your body, listening to your body, shutting out as much of the world as I could. I didn't know what techniques would work for me so I learned them all. I trusted Husband to protect me so I didn't have to defend myself. All of me was focused and in control of my situation. My preparation had prepared me for this. But I was distracted for a minute and it all vanished.

I lost control. It all came flooding back in and I was in intense pain. Before, like, 15 minutes before, nothing was different except I was in control. When I lost focus, the pain took over. I was losing. That's why this next part is so amazing and important to this story. My nurse who hadn't left my side since the bathtub grabbed my hand in both of hers and breathed “He-He-He-Whoo”. We locked eyes and breathed together. The world melted away and I got focus right away. I was in control again. The pain stopped.

I turned to face Husband who took up the rythym of “He-He-He-Whoo”. My mom came in at that point, someone had paged her. She was at my left shoulder and I was staring into my husband’s eyes. I was falling asleep. I was in a trance of breathing. I knew nothing else. Midwife cleared my cervix that was really just a lip and whispered (it seemed) that I was going to let baby come down on his own and when I couldn't not push anymore we would push.

“He-He-He Whoo…I need to push…” I whispered
"Let that baby come down..." Midwife whispered back

Then, all of a sudden, it was time. Pressure, heat, sharp. My body snapped into work mode and I pushed hard. Midwife said “This is a big baby.” Not quite the thing you want to hear when you’re pushing said baby out of your snatch, I thought. I pushed for 11 minutes that seemed like 2 minutes. He pooped all over everyone then put right on my chest at 5:54PM. All I could say was "Mom, I did it!" My mom and I were both crying.

We did delayed cord clamping. After only 5 minutes, it had stopped pulsing so Husband did the honors. Midwife gave me three little stitches. My nurse told husband that the kitchen closed at 6:30 so he should order me some food. She had great priorities. A hot meal is just what I needed.

Midwife and my mom knew that I was scared to have the baby taken away like Squishy had been, and they jumped to my defense when the nurse who came in to measure Button was getting pushy. I was still holding him and he was already nursing like a champ. My meal came and I had baked salmon and broccoli and a roll fed to me since I needed both my hands for Button. My nurse drew a bath and asked if I wanted to soak with him.

He was measured on our way to the bathtub. A brick of a baby. Tipping the scales at 9 pounds 5 ounces and 23 inches long. Husband and I went through our list of names and decided. My labor was less than 5 hours long.

I wouldn't change one minute of the day. Button and I were discharged 24 hours later. To my son:  may I be worthy of you.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Hardest Button to Button


I was ready for labor. My uterus was not. I was to the point that I was throwing out my natural birth plan and willing to take anything that would get Button out as fast as possible. I was at 5cm/50% effaced/-1 station for two weeks without contractions. I was miserable, but what really got to me was that I couldn't take care of Squishy. She’s 21 months and very active and I couldn't do anything. I was ready to be done.

My mom was the labor charge nurse on Father's Day, and she called me that morning and said that my favorite midwife was working a 24 hour shift and that it was slow. Midwife had told me a few weeks ago that if I was walking around at 5cm, she would admit me and break my water to get things going. This is exactly what I wanted at this point. I called Midwife and after a few minutes of negotiating how long she would give me to get contractions going (we decided 12 hours) Husband and I packed up for the hospital, ate a good breakfast, and his parents came over to watch Squishy. It was baby time! 

It was strange to be going to the hospital to get induced. I had spent the last 12 weeks of my pregnancy training for a natural labor. I had made my nurses treats three times expecting to have had Button as each week passed. In fact, one of those weeks the midwife I saw said I would have him within the next two days. Never promise an almost overdue pregnant woman a baby if you can't deliver. Haha, get it? Deliver. 

We arrived, parked, and nonchalantly waddled to triage. Hanging out in triage, never thought I'd be doing that. Sipping coffee and snaking on the nurse treat I brought. It was slow enough that my mom stopped by and said that one of her best friends, B, would be my nurse at least until 8PM. I had met her several times and she’s really great. Midwife came in and said she would admit me and break my water. We were officially staying. 

We got the best room in the ward. Huge with plenty of room for activities. Midwife broke my water and started the clock. I had 12 hours to get labor going in earnest or pitocin (my nemesis at this point) would be administered. I was cleared for "maternal activity" which is exactly as boring as it sounds. As long as Button's heart rate looked good I was free to waddle around the ward. Out of every 60 minutes, 15 were to be spent lying on a bed. I could work with that. Lucky for me, contractions started right away! 

I didn't want to time contractions at all, thinking I would become obsessed with them. I was having contractions and that was that. We did two walking/monitoring sessions before I decided my PJs were too hot and wanted to be naked for a while, and the pain was picking up. We were in the room for monitoring and lying on that damn bed was horrible. I needed to move my hips. I was being very vocal with low moaning, staring out the window and wiggling my toes and fingers to try to keep my arms and legs loose. Husband kept me moving as much as he could. B, my nurse, filled up the tub and put a lavender patch on my chest.

I was in the tub for about 30 minutes on hands and knees rocking back and forth listening to some music. It was pretty painful, and I was feeling lots of pressure like I had a really powerful fart about to break loose. Husband sat next to the tub pouring cups of water on my back. I kept up with the low moaning and adding in “I need to poooooooop.” at the end of each wave of pain.

I knew I had about 7 hours of labor left and it was only going to get worse. It was already really bad and had only been 4 hours or so. I knew I couldn’t do this for another 7 hours, I told Husband wanted something for the pain. Not an epidural, but a shot of fentanyl. I said “I can do it with the fentanyl. Just something to take the edge off.” Husband told B, and she said that I would have to get out of the tub, dry off, and get checked by Midwife before getting an IV. It was going to take some time but she would order the drugs and page Midwife to my room. I got up and out of the tub and she wrapped me up in two warm sheets which felt amazing. I wasn’t getting a break in between waves of pain and pressure. It took about 20 minutes to get from the bathroom to the bed. I put my arms around my husband’s neck and rocked. I moaned “Button” focusing on the fact that my son was also doing a lot of hard work right now too. Standing felt better than hands and knees. B offered to hard line the fentanyl (no IV required) after Midwife checked me. She was still on her way.

Midwife came in and was very shocked to see such a fast change in my demeanor. I was naked, half wet, rocking on Husband and moaning when an hour and a half previous we had been chatting in the hall. I got in the bed and lost focus. Being in the bed was awful. I was starting to yell instead of breathe. I shouted for an epidural just as Midwife checked me. Then shit hit the fan.

Midwife: “Yeah, she’s 9cm and +2. This baby is coming now.”

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Overdue and Twiddling My Thumbs

I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. You don't usually start counting day-to-day until 40 weeks. I didn't think I'd get to 40 let alone 40 and 4! But, there I was. 

I thought Button was just waiting for me to finish my knitting project. Nope. 

Then I thought Button was waiting for my mother in law to finish her knitting project. Nope. 

I was getting desperate. I really wanted to not be pregnant anymore. 

All the preparation, all the training for natural birth, everything I wanted and spent months talking about went right out the window. Induce me. Drug me up. I didn't care anymore. I cried every night. 

I would wake up every morning and wish it were night. I would lay down in bed crying every night wishing it were morning. I wanted the days to pass without me being asleep or awake. It was getting seriously uncomfortable to even be alive at all. 

The worst part was that Squishy was also suffering. I couldn't do anything. I sat on the couch all day. She tried her best to cope. She brought me books to read to her. But she couldn't even sit on my lap. We were suffering. 

I was days away from having another appointment with my midwife. On top of that I would have to sit through a non-stress test and go for an ultrasound to check fluid levels. These appointments had been scheduled for me across the span of an entire day. Three different trips to two places. Again, I was pleading with Button to come out. He was getting bigger every day. Maybe, I feared, too big.

Two days later, it was Father's Day.

Monday, June 4, 2012

So Ready to be Done...

It's not that I'm asking for labor.

Labor sucks. It's long, drawn out, and incredibly painful. Haven't I been through enough the past 39 weeks?

But even in an easy pregnancy like this one has been, the end is not comfortable. I'm huge. I'm puffy. My hips are killing me. I pee every few hours. And the worst part is that the end is in sight. The best part? The end is in sight. It could literally happen at any moment, and I want it to happen at some moments and not happen at other moments. Do I have any control over when labor starts? Absolutely not.

So, it's not that I'm asking for labor. I'm asking to be done being pregnant. It's just that in order to be done being pregnant, I have to go through labor. It's the inevitable next step. The only next step.

It's a strange state of mind.

Another part of it is that Squishy was born a few days before her due date. Everyone says that second babies come early. If I go even one day past 39 weeks and 4 days I'm going to have some kind of tiny mental breakdown. That's only four days from now, by the way. I'm full term. Button is fully cooked. I'm twiddling my thumbs, waiting for him to come out.

This is the customary end of pregnancy rant. I have to focus on the fact that I get a brand new tiny at the end of all this and he's going to be just wonderful. It's hard to focus on that. I have to pee again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Button Blogs! Normal and Boring are the Best

I'll be 31 weeks pregnant on Monday. That's seven and a half months. I wish I could form my symptoms into some amazing adventure of how amazing the human body is, but that just ain't happening. I'm on my fourth draft of this post so far. I don't have anything interesting to report. I'm about ten weeks away from meeting Button and excitement has really taken over. I have been doing labor training in some way every day whether it be squats or contraction training, or just going out for a walk with Squishy.

I didn't know what to expect with how in tune I was going to be to Button when I have Squishy all the time. But really, since this pregnancy has been so utterly boring (that's a good thing!), I don't feel like I've changed that much. 

Squishy and I checking out our respective bellies.
I've been more logical about emotions, haven't cried at nothing for a while. Sometimes I'll get frustrated and just get over it right away because I assume I'm not in control of my own hormones at the moment. Medically speaking I'm doing well, which is also boring. My weight gain is normal, my fundal heights are normal, blood pressure...you guessed it! Normal. 

The major difference between these two pregnancies is that I'm ready for labor and delivery this time. I'm actually excited about it. I've done it once before not knowing anything about what it was going to be like. I'm so excited to see Button's little baby face and have that feeling of "Oh my God, it's a baby!" all over again. It truly was magic the first time. I'm even more excited to introduce my Assistant House Manager to her little Deputy.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Assistant House Manager

Husband and I are so proud of our little Squishy. We have always given her a voice, as in we speak for her. We gave her a personality before she developed her own. Well, she's turning out to be exactly what we thought she would be. 

She's a year and half old, and so smart it knocks my socks off. I was amazed the first time she showed me that she knew which apartment door was ours, even though they all look exactly the same. But what still gets me is her communication skills. 

Although she doesn't have many words yet, she knows how to get her point across. Pointing and signing are her main methods of communication, but she's also picking up nodding to answer questions. We talk to her like she's a full grown human, and test her with small tasks like putting something away or finding a specific toy or book. 

She has really blossomed into the Assistant House Manager role that we jokingly gave her. She loves emptying the dishwasher or putting laundry away. When we are done with dinner, she's the first one to start carrying dishes back to the kitchen. Of course, whenever she helps she gets immense praise from us. She's always very proud of herself when she's helping. But I always count it as something extra that she's doing for me. She obviously doesn't have to help me with House Managing, but she's interested, and I don't see anything wrong with that. 

Today, she spilled some water on the coffee table. I asked her if she could go find something to clean it up, wondering what she would do. She immediately went to her room and took a shirt out of her dirty laundry basket, came back and wiped up the water. Then I asked her to put the shirt back in her laundry and she did. She was really proud of herself and clapped when she was done cleaning up the little spill. It's stuff like that that really gets me. She understands so much of what we are saying even though she doesn't say much herself. 

Her favorite activity is watching home videos of herself. I have a bunch posted on my Facebook page, and it's her way of relaxing. She'd watch them all day if I let her. Sometimes I want to let her, honestly, because I get the best cuddles when we sit and watch Squishy videos. Toddlers are busy little people, and she doesn't have much time for random cuddles with her full schedule of activities. Instead of random cuddles, she's taken to giving random kisses. It's much faster than cuddling, and just as adorable. Even though she doesn't understand pregnancy or a new baby, she kisses my belly whenever she sees it.

We are slowly but surely getting ready for Button's arrival. Squishy enjoys testing all the contraptions that Button will be using. Most recently, I purchased a swing from Craigslist. Squishy didn't waste any time testing it even though she hasn't been in a swing for about a year. Nothing but the best for her little Deputy Button. 




Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reflections on Breastfeeding

Husband and I were talking, and I mentioned my two goals for breastfeeding Button: Exclusively breastfeed for 6 months (perhaps an occasional bottle of pumped milk) and continue breast feeding until at least 12 months.

Husband's lack of enthusiasm and support prompted me to reflect on my breastfeeding adventures with Squishy.

Welp, it turns out I was doing it all wrong.

I never pumped in the hospital, a lactation consultant never met with me to talk about breastfeeding. I never took a class. My mistake. It was after Squishy's stay in the nursery, my milk came in, my boobs were the size of planets (pick one, they're all fairly large) and I ended up getting what I thought was sound advice about breastfeeding.

I pumped after every feeding. I pumped every four hours. I pumped until both sides were empty. I had an industrial strength pump and I used it. Within a week I was exclusively feeding an infant and pumping an extra 60 (sixty) ounces of milk a day. It would take hours out of my days and nights. Pump, pour, mix, store, label, freeze. Repeat. When Squishy was 3 months old, I had a four month supply of frozen milk. I did not know this was not normal.

For those of you that don't know (back then that would include me), a baby needs about 25 ounces a day. If you're home with baby (which I was), there really is no need to pump unless you're skipping a feeding or want to slowly make an emergency supply. I was producing enough milk for triplets. I had created such an enormous (36F) supply/demand situation that I was spending enough energy nursing and pumping to feed three babies. When I learned that, I felt like I was hit with a truck. A big truck.

I got a lot of feedback from online forums that I frequent, and I was filled with a renewed confidence that it's not supposed to be that hard. I feel like I can really accomplish those goals for Button's health. I'm also planning on taking a class for added support.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Button Blogs! Viable and Shopping

I'm 24 weeks today, marking 6 months of blissful pregnancy. Among the never-ceasing cravings for sugar (mark of a boy) and my constant stuffy nose, I am thinking of something else this week. 

Button is officially considered viable. This is a big week for Button, as his lungs are starting their rapid development of surfactant and blood vessels are growing all over his lungs so he can breathe in the fresh air when he's born. However, this process just started so I'm by no means encouraging him to be born now. His chances outside my cozy womb at this point is only 50%, and that is with major medical interventions, serious risks, and months in a NICU. In another 4 weeks his chances go up to 85%.

Button is a constant mover. I have a posterior placenta this time, which allows me to really feel Button's movements in full force. Squishy's movements were always so muffled, and I never could discern her body parts. Button seems to be always rolling around, and I love it. I do complain a bit when I'm trying to fall asleep and he starts a disco, or when I put Husband's hand on my belly and he suddenly get's stage fright. Oh well, it's nice to know that he's in there and liking his surroundings. 

I have inherited my mom's paranoid? cautious? superstitious? nature when it comes to growing my babies. I'm excited for Button's new status as a viable fetus, but I won't start setting up furniture or washing tiny tiny socks until at least 30 weeks. My comfort level only goes up as the weeks go on, and I've told him to stay in the uterus crock pot until at least mid-May. Of course, I have very little control over these things. But I feel like heartbreak would hit at a monumental level if a mommy and daddy had to donate clothes never worn, and stare at a nursery that a baby would never use. Sorry, that's a bit morbid. But it's better to be practical and logical at times, even though I just want to be excited.

So to celebrate Button's viability, I did a little Craigslist shopping. I got Button's first haul of clothes, and it's a good one. They will remain packed and stored until his dresser is ready. I heard that girl clothes are cuter and more fun to shop for than boy clothes, but this stuff is just adorable!! I'm having just as much fun sorting through as when I did Squishy's first big buy. 

Hopefully the fun will continue... 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Button Blogs! Half Way There

Today marks 20 weeks, or half way through my pregnancy. It remains blissfully uneventful. I thought I would be writing a lot more about it, but I don't want to bore you all.

We did have our first, and most likely only ultrasound! If you've read about my ultrasounds with Squishy, you'd know that they were great, but the technician always leaves something to be desired...

Well, I tried my best to prepare. This was my fourth ultrasound with this particular technician. All I had to do was have a full bladder! I stopped peeing at 12 and drank two bottles of water, and sipped throughout the afternoon until our 3 PM appointment.

Husband and I were asscorted to the ultrasound room. I dropped trou and got on the table.

We were then scolded for having children so young. She was certain that this was my first baby. I said we had a little girl waiting at home. I said this in a loving way. Making it perfectly obvious that Squishy is my world and the apple of her father's eye. Nope, we should have waited to have kids.

Then when mentioned Squishy's age (almost 17 months) we were further admonished for having our kids so close together!

I felt like walking out. But I expected nothing less from this woman. And I was pantless and covered in gel so it's a little difficult to make a dramatic exit at that point.

But surely I would be praised for my full bladder, right???

Nope. It wasn't full enough for her liking. Shit. 0 for 3. Can I just see my little Button now, please?

Button with hand in mouth.
Button didn't stop moving the entire time during the ultrasound. Most of the pictures we got were blurry, but we did get to see tiny tiny boy parts! That's right, baby Button is a boy!!!

I felt very proud that I was going to have a son. It was a kind of pride I didn't have with Squishy, or just some variation of an emotion. I am most excited for Squishy to have a baby brother. They will be young at first, but I expect their ages to foster a strong sibling relationship. Also, I was immediately struck with the need for instant gratification. I want my baby already!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cottage Cheese, I Will Never Forsake You

My cravings called for a revamp recently. I went on the search for my new food love, only to come up short again and again...

I am through the spicy phase since heartburn has kicked in with medium force. Not wanting to tempt it, I began my search for something...less burning.

I thought my brain (or my uterus, really they are one in the same these days) had been trying to tell me to eat something white but I had a time getting to the correct item. 

I started with bleu cheese dressing. I used it to dip my buffalo wings. Ah, the spicy affair with spice ended and I was forced to move on. 

Next was yogurt. I'm not a fan, but sometimes I dabble. But after three containers of Chobani vanilla bean sat in the fridge for a week and I was never tempted, it became clear I had again missed my mark. 

Perhaps sour cream? Nope! Gross.

Then, last week, Squishy and I were wandering the grocery store for inspiration (a horrible habit for a preggie to have). I saw it there, in the dairy isle. The cottage cheese section. We looked at each other. I had an overwhelming sense of knowing. 

Then came the task of choosing. I wasn't aware there were 17 different kinds of cottage cheese. I doubt that Little Miss Muffet had this much trouble....I went back to my roots. Old Home, the blue container. That's what mom always got. I was confident I had made the right choice.

Thus it came to be that my new food love is cottage cheese. And I'm going to eat it all. Especially since Squish is allergic and Husband won't go near it. Paired with apples, strawberries, or cucumber slices. Really, I've eaten it with anything and everything so far. It's the perfect little side dish. 

Cottage Cheese, it's been a long time. I'm glad we've found each other once again. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Preggie's Gotta Learn

When the semester ended in December, my Argument professor said she was planning on teaching a class starting in January. I thought I was going to take a semester plus the summer off from school, but after hearing her description I slept on it for a few days.

Well, skip over my thought process. I have school tonight! 

Just this one class to get me out of the house and talking with adults once a week. Should take me well into my third trimester. I hope my water doesn't break on the classroom floor...

EDIT: I'm just about to start class for the night. I forgot that this professor uses all the allotted time for class less one potty break. Hmmm...four hours and I forgot a snack. Must plan better next week. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Recipes: Tiramisu

This is my maiden voyage with this recipe. Tiramisu is my second favorite dessert and my favorite dessert to order in a restaurant. I wanted to find a good recipe. After researching for three days, I found there is a huge debate out there about this dish! Eggs or no eggs, cheese or cream, sponge cake or lady fingers, authentic Italian or not, easy or hard. I found four promising recipes. Hundreds of comments later I mixed the four together into what I hope is a semi-authentic Italian tiramisu recipe. I gathered my supplies and set to work. So, without further ado...

Tiramisu

6 large egg yolks
3/4 c. and 1tsp. granulated sugar
2/3 c. milk
16 oz. mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
1 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. strong brewed coffee
1/2 c. rum or brandy
2-3oz packages of soft lady fingers
3/4 c. cocoa powder for dusting
*I used an 8x8 pan and a small tupperware to make two tiramisus. This recipe is enough for a 7x11 or a spring form pan.


Making the custard filling requires two different parts that are eventually mixed together.

Part One
1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 3/4 c. sugar together on medium speed until lemon-colored.
2. Transfer to double boiler. Over medium heat, whisk egg/sugar mix constantly for 10 minutes. Slowly incorporate milk while whisking. *I used a large metal bowl over a saucepan for this because of the constant whisking. You don't want the eggs to sit at all while they are cooking.
3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, 3-5 minutes.
4. Add mascarpone cheese and whisk or beat until blended.
5. Cover and chill for one hour.

While it's chilling, brew strong coffee and mix in rum. Set aside.

Part 2
1. Beat cream, 1 tsp. sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
2. Fold in egg/cheese mix with the whipped cream. Result should be a smooth, fluffy custard filling.

Assembly
1. Place a single layer of lady fingers (cut in half lengthwise, mine came that way) in pan.
2. Using a brush, paint coffee/rum mix on each lady finger. *I didn't dip them because they were already soft, and they would have absorbed too much and turned mushy.
3. Spread half of the custard filling over lady fingers evenly.
4. Dust a thick layer of cocoa powder on filling.
5. Repeat 1-4. Do not dust the top of the dish until ready to serve.
6. Cover lightly and chill 24-48 hours.

Pictures...
Sugar and yolks 
Sugar and yolks blended, before cooking and milk addition.
Mascarpone cheese...I got the tiramisu flavored for added gravitas.
I had a serious issue buying something that said
 "A Sophisticated Dessert Cheese" without a silver spoon up my butt. 
I stopped whisking for a moment to get a picture of the eggs/sugar on the stove.
Adding milk also in this step. Keep whisking!!!
After cheese was added. Smooth, liquid, rich custard. 
My two containers with a single layer of halved lady fingers. 
After brushing lady fingers with coffee/rum mix.
Added layer of custard and  liberally dusted  with cocoa powder.
Ready for chilling! Two layers in the pan.
Three layers in the tupperware
I got rave reviews from people on this dessert. The 24-48 chill time is absolutely mandatory in order for the flavors to merry and mellow. I sampled it at 12 hours and it was insanely unbalanced and rum-heavy. I am looking forward to doing this in a springform pan for a party.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Button Blog! Cravings

There's a doughnut sitting right next to the computer. I'm getting sick just looking at it.

I went to the store hungry and we all know that's a mistake when you're a normal person.

I'm a preggie and I went to the store hungry. Sorry, Husband, but I think I spent the week's grocery budget on cravings. What's a list, again?

I bought grapefruits and clementines since they're in season and Squishy likes them. The citrus is giving me heartburn...
I bought doughnuts for some stupid reason...I don't like doughnuts that much. Sometimes if Husband has a doughnut I take a bite and that's plenty.
As soon as I got home from the store the only thing I wanted was cucumber slices. Didn't buy a cucumber.

I want spicy! I want hot and toasty Italian subs with peppers. I want all the boneless buffalo wings I can find. I want endless enchiladas. Whenever I'm not drooling over a Taco Bell commercial I'm dying for some fresh strawberries (out of season), cucumber, carrots, and iceberg lettuce. I'd say that's a healthy balance between the good and the bad.

I guess we'll see how my eating habits are panning out after my 3rd pre-natal appointment. I haven't gained any weight yet which is fine because I wasn't the thinnest person to begin with!

Seriously, though...I need boneless buffalo wings stat.