Monday, September 29, 2014

Cecilia's Birth Story

I established my birth plan pretty early on in my pregnancy. I wanted an unmedicated labor and delivery and I made every effort during pregnancy to make sure that happened. I visited a chiropractor that specialized in prenatal care twice a week, I  had prenatal massages, I hired a pair of doulas, and I attended all the birthing classes I could manage. I was ready to have this baby!

It was August 6th and I was 5 days overdue when my water finally broke. I had just ate lunch and I had been feeling funny all day. I was pretty sure I was starting to have contractions but they didn’t hurt at all so I wasn't sure if I was going to labor or not. Around 2:45, I decided to call my ObGyn to see if I could come in to the office since I would rather pay for a doctor visit than for an ER visit after hours for a false labor. As soon as I hung up, it happened. I felt a sudden gush and it wouldn't stop. I sprinted into the bathroom. Amniotic fluid kept coming and coming but it was a dark olive green color which was no good. In my birth classes, this was stressed to be a worse case scenario. The green color means the baby had a bowel movement in the womb and per the nurses who taught our classes, that meant they can swallow or inhale their poop which can lead to a serious infection or even death. I panicked!

I called my husband and he rushed home from work. We immediately headed to the hospital and I was in tears the entire way. I was terrified that I might lose my little girl. It was a little after 3:30 when we got to the hospital admissions and I was so worried. I told the receptionists what was happening but they had absolutely no sense of urgency and assured us the baby was fine. One of the women I spoke to said that this happens all the time and it’s not a big deal and I shouldn't be so worried. I felt somewhat relieved but why did they make such a big deal of it in class?

Anyway, I got checked in through the triage and was sent to a delivery room. The nurses put me in the hospital bed right away, strapped me up to fetal monitors, and made me get an IV that I did not want. I protested some but I was still so worried about the baby that I just went with it.

My contractions started picking up speed and intensity and one of my biggest fears happened… back labor! It's the worst! Back labor is when the baby is coming down face up and the position forces the baby’s head to pass through your pelvis in a horrible, spine grinding manner. It hurt so bad… I mean I was doing that tear filled silent scream at the peak of each contraction and they were still a good 5 minutes apart. I wasn’t going to make it. I finally caved after a couple of hours and let the nurse give me a pain reliever called Stadol through my IV. I don’t take pain medications in general so this stuff really messed me up… I was high as a kite but I was able to go on for 16 hours in back labor with no epidural. It still hurt so bad but the medicine made it so I didn’t really care and it was almost as if I witnessing my labor instead of experiencing it. I’m not quite sure how to explain it but it was all surreal.

So 16 hours later, I  had dilated to 9 and 3/4 centimeters and then it just stopped. We tried everything… walking, sitting on the toilet, leaning over on all fours. The nurse even went in and tried to manually move my cervix out of the way but it kept popping back. Nothing could get this kid to come down.

My contractions were so intense by then that they were less than a minute apart and some weren’t even completed before the next began. By this time, the doctor on call had changed and after the new guy assessed the situation, he offered an epidural and picotin so I could rest and we could get that last little bit of cervix out of the way and finally get this baby out.

The sun was coming out and I was exhausted and in so much pain. My husband looked like hell and my amazing doula had massaged my back through the entire night just to get me through. I knew she was exhausted too. We were all done. So I accepted the doctor's offer and I got the epidural. It kicked in almost immediately and I was able to sleep for about an hour and a half before the nurse woke me up… it was time to push.

I pushed every 1 to 2 minutes for another couple of hours but still no baby. This kid was stubborn! The doctor came in to check on us and he was concerned about my baby’s ability to recover from all the pushing and contractions… her little heart rate wasn’t recovering quickly enough and they were concerned she was going into distress. He declared he wanted her out in the next 15 minutes or they might need to take emergency action.

I didn’t realize what happened next until my husband told me the next day… the doctor checked the baby’s station (how far down she is) and he tried to manually rotate her head a little to help her pass through. In my mind and with the epidural, I just felt a lot of really uncomfortable pressure… my husband said the doctor literally had his entire hand inside of me wiggling around. No wonder it hurt! Luckily for us, the doctor said it was good news… she was low enough that he could assist in getting her out with forceps or a vacuum and I could avoid having a C-section. Since they’re better for the baby, I opted for the forceps which look like giant metal salad tongs. My heart dropped when I saw them in person!

The next 10 minutes were surreal. Everyone got into position and the nurses put my legs up in these giant blue stirrups that ran from the back of my knees to my ankles. (You can see them under the hospital bed in the above picture). The doctor was down between my legs getting the forceps ready… all I could see was a wisp of his fluffy gray hair. He told me to get ready to push harder than I ever had before and he started positioning the forceps which didn’t hurt to my surprise. I assume it was because everything was so sore and stretched out already by Cecilia's big head.

My contraction started to come on so it was go time. There was a collective “PUSH!” yelled by everyone in the room and I pushed like hell. It was the weirdest sensation! As she came out, I felt this overwhelming sense of relief yet I felt so hollow inside. The sounds are forever etched in my memory, more so than anything else I experienced during labor. I can still hear my growling scream followed by a gooey cracking sound as the doctor pulled her out, the gush and splatter of liquid of everything being released behind the baby, my husband's sacred voice urging the doctor to make sure I was okay, the sucking sound as they cleaned out little Cecilia’s mouth, and then, her first little cry. That was it. That moment… the moment I heard her. There was no pain and everything was okay. There was a hum of activity in the room as everyone started cleaning and the doctor was stitching me up. One of the nurses immediately brought Cecilia up to my chest and I cried as I held her for the first time. She made her official debut into the world at 12:01 in the afternoon on August 7th. She weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds 9 ounces and measured 19 3/4 inches long, all ten fingers and ten toes are present and accounted for.

As far as my birth plan was concerned, I was a little disappointed that I didn't have the all natural unmedicated labor I had wanted. Thankfully, I was realistic about childbirth and my main rule was that I would do whatever was needed for the health of my baby and myself. The most important thing to me was for Cecilia to arrive healthy and unharmed which she did. 

It was a long 21 hour labor and I was wore out but no worse for wear so I honestly can't complain. Especially when the reward for all that hard work is this beautiful little baby girl!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cecilia Grace

Long time, no see! I haven't been updating but with good reason... we welcomed our little bundle of joy, Cecilia Grace, on August 7th at 12:01pm. She weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds and 9 ounces and measured 19 and 3/4 inches long.

It goes without saying that I've been quite busy with new mom duties. Now, I knew that newborns were a lot of work but oh my gosh! It's taken me almost 3 weeks to get to the point where I have time to do anything other than feeding and changing my sweet little girl and getting the occasional few winks in. She is definitely keeping me and Pete on our toes but I wouldn't trade her for the world!

When I have a little more time on my hands, I plan to blog about some of the trials and tribulations we've had including Cece's 21 hour long birth story and our misadventures in breastfeeding. It's been a whirlwind but I'm soaking it all in and can't wait to share!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Few Little Things

I made a few little things for the baby and I felt they didn't warrant full blog posts to themselves so I thought I'd make a quick post to share them all together.

First up, we have a couple of baby bibs. Nothing fancy... I traced the shape from an existing bib, sandwiched some Pellon fusible fleece between two pieces of cotton and added a Babyville snap for the closure.

Up next, we have a little baby blanket/quilt. I winged it... no pattern or plan so it came out weird but it's usable. I majorly failed at sewing on the satin blanket trim and it's so wonky. I ended up going around the entire thing with a really tight zigzag stitch to try and hide the scary. I also neglected to add to any type of quilting stitches to it and I think I should have but it came out so lopsided, it's probably better that I didn't waste my time. Oh well... practice, practice, practice. Right?

But seriously... how cute are the mermaids and little pink octopuses? I picked up the fabric from Hobby Lobby a while back. It came in a little 5 piece fat quarter bundle for $9.99 but I used my 40% off coupon and snagged it for $6.00.

And lastly, I wanted to share these little burp cloths. Now, I did not make these... they were made and given to me by my friend, LeeAnn, who co-hosted my baby shower. They are absolutely adorable and were one of my favorite gifts I received... I love, love, LOVE when someone takes out time to make something as a gift. It gives me the warm and fuzzies!

So that's all for now. Well, actually, I should probably give a pregnancy update real quick like... Yep, I'm still pregnant. Holding steady at 40 weeks and 4 days. I'm not too worried about being over my due date though. Surprised? Yes. Worried? No. I'm the only person in my family to go term and now that I'm over, everyone is panicking except for me and my husband. Their constant checking in and sharing of anecdotal post due date horror stories are annoying but at least they care so I'm not too bothered. I've researched enough and taken enough birth classes to know it's perfectly common for first time moms to go over due dates. Just FYI, on average, first time mommies deliver at 40 weeks and 1 day... I'm a good 4 days out from that so we're not rushing her. The doctor has already done a non-stress test and I'm having another one along with an amniotic fluid index done on Thursday. Baby is healthy and everything looks great so even though I'm tired of lugging this belly around, I'm enjoying the last little bit of time while it's just me and my little girl that I get to keep all to myself.

- Kim

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Leftover Taco Meat Chili

We love taco night at my house but since there's just the two of us (for now), we always have a ton of left over taco meat. Sometimes I'll make a taco salad for lunch the next day but more often then not, I end up throwing away the leftovers after they've sat in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. It's such a waste! Part of becoming a SAHM means learning to tighten the belt so to speak so I'm trying to be more conscientious of my wasteful habits and make changes.

So with that said, after our delicious turkey tacos last night, I had about a cup and a half or so of meat leftover. I mulled over what to do with it today and I found some great recipes on Pinterest for Mexican stuffed shells and various casseroles but I'm not sure if Pete would be interested in any of that... he can be a picky eater even though he swears he not. I mean, it's been 9 years and I still can't get him to even TASTE grits! But I digress. He does, however, love a good soup or chili and honestly, you can't go wrong with either of those. They're easy peasy, quick and simple... just the way I like it. Now this isn't quite a recipe but a rough guideline. I'm one of those people that just throws things in a pot until it tastes good. I think being able to just toss stuff in adds the beauty of soups and stews... they're nearly infallible and great for people learning how to cook from scratch.

Left Over Taco Meat Chili

  • left over cooked taco meat (what ever you have left will work, it will just be more or less meaty)
  • 1 can kidney beans (16 oz - undrained)
  • 1 can diced green chiles (4.5 oz- undrained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz - undrained)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz) (I used about 2/3 of a 15 oz can since that's what I had on hand)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste

I'm making mine in a crock pot today which is nice... I can just set it and forget it! I start by tossing ALL of the ingredients into the crock pot and stir it up. I recommend taking a little taste now to get an idea of your flavor... you can add more of your seasonings a pinch at a time or tone things down with a little more sauce or water even. Just wing it... I promise, chili is nearly impossible to screw up. You can also add in things like corn or diced green peppers. Whatever floats your boat!
 Once you have it all mixed up the way you like it, set your crock pot to low and carry on with your day. Since the meat is already cooked, you're just heating the chili up at this point so you can eat it as soon as it's warm or you can just let the flavors meld for a couple of hours. Just keep an eye on it and add water if it starts to dry out or anything.

The other option is to cook it on the stove top (which was my preferred method while I was still working the daily grind and wouldn't get home until 8 o'clock at night a lot of times.) I would start with a cold stock pot and mix everything together, the same way as above. Then you just bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 15 or 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Voila... hot chili in about half an hour with full tummies soon to follow.

Once you're ready to chow down, you can serve it a number of ways: plain or with sour cream and shredded cheese, toss it with crumbled up tortilla chips for some crunch, crackers, biscuits, even cream cheese... you name it. Just do your thing and enjoy a nice and hot comforting meal!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Not So Wee Handbag

Last week, I shared this adorable toddler handbag I made using a tutorial from Make It & Love It. I liked it so much, I wanted to make one for myself but adult sized of course.

One thing I've been "needing" all summer is a cute white purse. I'm not big on the huge leather handbags covered in chains and studs that you find at the department stores now days so I decided to finally make that light and airy bag I've been dreaming of since the warmer weather in May rolled around.

For this version, I used two fat quarters of a pretty embroidered fabric for the outer pieces, bands, and straps and then the liner is made from one fat quarter of plain white material.

For the bag pieces, I just cut one of the embroidered and the liner fat quarters in half making each piece roughly 9x21. For the bands, I used the remaining fat quarter of embroidered fabric and cut those four band pieces to 3.5x18. The strap and the button loop were pieced together from the remaining fabric. Easy peasy!

And the cute little button is from my oddball stash of gold buttons. Check these guys out...

My mom found a gallon sized ziploc bag of these retro gold buttons at a thrift store about 7 or 8 years ago. They were only $2.00 so she snatched them up for me. (Thanks Mom!) Since then, I've used them for all sorts of things over the years from switching out buttons on cardigans to hair clips and jewelry. I'm getting down to the bottom of the bag and that just bums me out but maybe I'll come across another amazing button stash one day. I can dream right?

- Kim

Monday, July 28, 2014

99 Problems and the Nursery was One

We had initially planned for Cece's nursery to have this adorable cupcake theme since Pete nicknamed her Cupcake Butt at about 3 months into the pregnancy. We ordered all of our nursery bedding and accessories online... the pattern I had picked was apparently in high demand because the order ended up being canceled since it was out of stock. *sad face*

I lovededed you cupcakes.

Not being one to be deturred, I ordered the set again from a different retailer... which got canceled. Repeat this step 3 more times. That's right! I tried to get the same bedding from FIVE different retailers to no avail. I actually ended up cancelling the 5th one myself... the set was listed "in stock" and would supposedly be sent in 2-3 days. I didn't receive or hear anything for weeks. I tried contacting their customer service by phone and email several times trying to find out where my goods were. When someone FINALLY responded to a very angrily worded email that I'm not proud of, they told me it would be September or October before it would be available and they would send it then. Um, what?! My baby is due August 1st and this was way back in April! No way I was going to wait that long so I gave up on the cupcakes and demanded my money back.

I was so upset at first (I even pregnant lady ugly cried over it) but it actually ended up working out for the best. I stopped in at Babies R Us one afternoon just to look around and stretch my legs a little when I came across the most adorable bedding set by Carter's. I knew it was the one the second I saw it! To make it even better, it was on sale! I immediately added everything they had in stock to my baby registry and took advantage of my "15% off registry completion" coupon. It was kismet!

How stinking cute is this stuff? My little camera phone pictures really don't do it justice... the colors are so vibrant and cheery. I just like to sit in the nursery and enjoy the view while reading a book or nodding off in the rocking chair. It's wonderful but I felt the room was missing something... it needed some art!

I wanted some wall decals to decorate with and I wasn't really finding anything that I felt would match my underwater wonderland aside from the matching Carter's decals. I liked them but they're small and I had no idea where to put them to make the room balanced and not chintzy. Then it hit me... I can make my own wall art using the decals.

I spent two afternoons scrapbooking my little heart out to make these themed pictures. I used the Carter's decals and since they were slightly transparent, I stuck them to white cardstock first and then cut them out so the patterned paper wouldn't show through.

Sorry about the angles... there was so much glare on the glass!
 For the backgrounds, I made waves from 3 different patterns mimicking the design in the comforter. The little seaweeds were made from an old EK Success punch, the letter stickers are from the Dollar Tree, and the frames are all from Michael's. The octopus is 11x14 and the rest are all 8x11. I've hung them up around the room and they look great! (Don't worry... there's nothing above the crib.)

I'm really happy with how everything turned out and I think the experience was just the reminder I needed about being in control and making plans as I venture into motherhood. As my friend who is a life coach says "Sometimes the universe just has different plans than you... it doesn't mean they're necessarily bad. They're just different than what you expected and that's okay. Sometimes we need a little surprise every now and then to freshen things up and keep us on our toes." Wise words from a wise woman!

- Kim

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quiltologie Lesson 4 - The Chelsea Bag

The last time I was in Hancock Fabrics, I picked up this cute Quiltologie Lesson Kit to make a boxed bottom tote bag. It was a great deal at 40% off plus an additional discount from coupons I had on hand. I ended up paying about $6.00 for the whole shebang which isn't bad since it includes all the fabric (sans the interfacing) and makes a pretty good size bag.

I didn't time how long it took me to make the bag from start to finish but I'm guessing it was about 2 hours. I cut all my pieces out, ironed, and fused my fleece in about 45 minutes before an appointment and then I assembled the pieces when I got back home. Cutting is the bane of my existence since I don't really have a good place to do it. My "sewing room" is literally one corner of my bedroom so it can get awkward at times.

I love how the bag turned out. It was a little bigger than what I expected since I prefer smaller bags but it works. I tend to travel light and I think the only way I could fill this one up is with a beach towel and some sunscreen, lol.

On a side note, my husband likes to check out my projects when I'm done with them and he really liked this one. He said it brought back memories from his elementary school years in New Jersey and how excited he would get when "the lady from the museum" would come to their class toting a similar bag full of fun little projects and games. It's interesting how something so simple can bring back a fuzzy memory like that... but moving on!

I ended up top stitching the polka dot bow out of necessity... I accidentally stabbed a huge hole through one of the seams while I was turning the ribbon right side out. Oops! At least it still looks nice with a top stitch.

Here's the boxed bottom portion which is the focus of Lesson 4.  I learned about this technique a few months ago so I skipped the "lesson" part and just did them. I looked back through the instructions while writing out this post and it seems like they could be a little confusing if you've never ever squared out a bag before. There is a link included to a handy little video showing how to do the technique two different ways which is always great to know. But seriously, I love the boxed bottom look on bags... they just make things look so much more crisp.

Now the pattern calls for a velcro closure but I didn't have any on hand so I improvised using a Babyville snap button I had leftover from making cloth diapers. It just happened to match perfectly!

Overall, I liked this project a lot... it was very simple, easy to follow for the most part, and I just love the pink and turquoise color combination. There are several other lesson kits by Quiltologie and I think I may try one of the actual quilts. I've always wanted to make one but they just intimidate me for some reason! I will say that if it's as easy as this one, I know I can do it!

- Kim
Images by Freepik