Thursday, April 28, 2011

My dream birth, the perfect ending for a perfect beginning :)

Last week I went to my normal 2nd appt for the week and was told that I was officially in "active labor" umm, ok... what does that mean?
There are stages, I had been in early labor for almost 4 weeks (most of which was modified bed rest since I had to take care of the girls, but we didn't want him coming early and being sick) and had finally moved to 4cm [by myself!!] and entered the 2nd stage. This meant little to me since I had been hearing that "the baby could come any day now" for the past few weeks.
Yet this was a small victory for me, each pregnancy I have had trouble with laboring naturally and only
making super slow progress. With both girls this caused health concerns and major problems with Ladybug's pregnancy, and they had to be forced to come out after weeks of my body not figuring out how to move forward.
All weekend we waited, and hoped, and Hubby was never far just in case...
Monday we took the girls to my parents with their bag and left the extra keys to go to my appt, fully expecting DrM to send us to the hospital. Once again checking me caused the contractions to increase, but he sent us home and told us to go to the hospital in the morning if anything changed.
Tuesday morning we went in early after another night of irregular but close contractions that kept me up all night. We all decided to break my water and an hour later to start pitocin to help him come out.
The nurse looked at my chart, my history, and my "Birth Plan" wishlist and told us how amazed that I had had such a quick labor last time using pitocin without an epidural and wanted to do it again after a 9lb baby. I just laughed and said yes. She said she was glad the Birth Plan was only a page, as most "natural" moms like me have so many pages it's hard to remember everything.
I again repeated what I have been telling myself for weeks "it's just a wishlist, the things that I want... but like Christmas you start with a wishlist and at the end of the day you're always happy with what you get, a healthy baby".
She agreed and said that she really thought they could do everything, and mentioned some extra things, like me going with him to the nursery, that she would try to help us get that I didn't know were possible in the hospital!
They started the pitocin and DrM let me stay on the birthing ball as long as I stayed on the monitors and let them know when I felt I needed to be checked again. A few hours later, DrM came in to check my progress since the contractions were getting much more intense (requiring me to move and get into bed), said I was 6cm and he wouldn't be far, joking that it had been 3 hours - a long labor for me, lol.

The next 15 minutes are kind of a blur. I got back on the ball and almost immediatly I needed to get in bed to get on my hands and knees, I felt the baby move around and down, my body was pushing and could barely get out the words "pushing.... Doctor.... PUSH!!!!" He walked in, and another check during which the contraction sent me from 7cm to 8cm, a few more contractions and I was a solid 10cm. Then he actually let me turn back around to my hands and knees! I tried to get away from the pain, but my body had already taken over. With my husband's arms around me, I reached down, half wanting to keep the baby in to stop the pain but I knew it was time, and I felt his head slide out. What felt like many long minutes later, but just one contraction and my one push for his shoulders and I actually felt my baby come out and slide down my hand! It was the most amazing feeling ever!
Just a short 15 minutes from 6cm to the birth of our baby boy, with only one real push from me.

The cord was fairly short, so they had to cut it to move him so I could turn around to hold him, but they asked before cutting!! Then I was able to hold him for a few minutes before giving him to my husband for them to suction him better while I tried to push out the placenta... which took almost 1/2 an hour and me finally turning back to my hands and knees before it would come out.
Then they helped me up to go to the bathroom and changed my bedding real quick and we were left alone for an hour to just hold, snuggle and name our new little boy; "Tweetle Beetle". They came in an hour later to check my vitals and asked if I was ready to go to my room, offering me the chance to go with him and my husband to the nursery.
We both went to see our little boy weighed and measured and checked over, no bath and then we went to the recovery room. My parents brought our daughters to come meet their little brother and we were amazed at how quickly both girls took to him. They were sad to leave but being with Grandpa & Grandma made it easier, and we promised they could come back the next day.

A crazy night with Tornado watches & warnings, with nurses coming in to check vitals and give us updates on the storm, the only one that got sleep was the baby!! The next morning they told us that we were both doing very well and asked if we wanted to do the circumcision that morning and try to leave that evening. Of course we said yes, so Hubby went with Tweetle Beetle and was able to stay with him and love on him and bring him back very quickly.
We got some help from an Lactation Consultant, took showers ourselves, and walked around a bit before the girls came to visit again. We got the ok to leave after his PKU test at 24 hours old on the condition of seeing our pediatrician the next day so we made that appt.
Our first night home, I enjoyed sleeping for a solid hour or a bit more between feedings... it had been months!

We wanted 4 children, and while Tweetle came a couple years sooner than we originally thought, we are very happy that I am done being pregnant. Now we get to move on to just raising our kids and no longer growing our family. For us, especially me, I am so thankful and grateful that God gave us such a wonderful birth experience as our last one to look back on. I truly couldn't have asked for anything better.
All this time, I thought I wanted a waterbirth, I even thought I had wanted a homebirth, now I realize all I wanted was a birth where I felt in control of myself… it really does make a world of difference.

So hello family of 6, and already so many wonderful memories are being made! After only a week!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Looking forward… or my new dream for a safe birth

With just over a week until our planned induction... I have to have a plan.

I posted earlier on Ladybug’s birth… I touched on Butterfly’s too.
I want to first add that while I wasn’t there, Doodle’s birth impacts my Hubby and his views.
Doodle’s mother had a rough pregnancy and a hard hospital delivery that gave her a very difficult recovery. She quickly decided that it was too much and she had no desire to ever change Doodle’s status as “only child” and while that works fine for her, Hubby always wanted more.

So while we both wanted to try for children together, as long as we did so safely and carefully; we had different ideas of what that meant to each of us that we had to talk through in our first months of Ladybug's pregnancy.

When I started having serious issues in Ladybug’s pregnancy, he immediatly tried to convince me to listen to my gut and walk away from the midwives advice and get another opinion (sadly I mistook this for him wanting to take back his agreement to be open to more natural possibilities, when it was really just worry and concern)…

The night they told us that they would not help us through a homebirth; he quickly took over making decisions but showed me that he simply cared and wanted the best for us, he stood by my side and tried to voice our dreams and desired plans to the hospital staff so that we (I) could still have as much as possible from our birth plan.

That night, ignoring the fears and complications and issues in the hospital, we grew closer.
I finally understand why some women have said that they fall in love with their husband all over again when they see him hold their child for the first time. I have so much more love, and trust and respect for my husband after the birth of Ladybug.
Many fears that I had trouble letting go of after my first marriage are finally gone. Concerns that came from a failed marriage and an absent father in Butterfly’s first few years have disappeared. I truly have the best husband in the world!
For now, I will spare you the gushes...
I have put him through a lot in the past year since Ladybug was born. My post-traumatic stress and daily panic attacks for her first 5 1/2 months, 2 almost good weeks, then exhaustion and panic attacks for a few months until we found out I was pregnant (we conceived BD when Ladybug was only 6 months), then crazy life issues/events arising, and me just feeling overwhelmed.
Lately I have been prepping (nesting?) like crazy and now with just over a week until BD’s induction, I’m a bucket of complaints and still he takes it all in stride!

We finally started writing a Birth Plan for BD. Hubby actually had to convince me that it was worth the trouble so that we could try for what we wanted… well, out of the choices we have.
 - I know most women want a hospital birth, most of those are happy with the hospitals “normal procedures” and other than the basic: laboring with or without drugs, rooming-in or having the nursery keep the baby, and whether to breastfeed or bottle feed, many moms don’t question (or know they can question?) much more of their experience.

It’s the little things that mean so much to me. I want to have freedom in trying positions since laying on your back is the hardest position to push through. We want him placed on my bare chest to start bonding immediately instead of being rushed across the room. We want the cord to stop pulsing on its own before Hubby can cut it. We want him circumcised, and we want him to keep his own natural vernix. Along with not wanting drugs, wanting to breastfeed, and wanting him to room-in.
The silly things like wanting to wear my contacts so I can see him right away… There’s more but I will save that for later.

The point is that Hubby is showing me that there are still things that I want, and the hospital and DrM are willing to try to give me since overall this pregnancy is uneventful and “normal”… other than the fact that I have to be induced as my body does not go into labor on its own (do your own research before calling me crazy, I just wish I was wrong), but that’s not “bad” to me… I know once I get the pitocin I will have a short labor and we will get to meet our son pretty quick.

It may not be the same dream as the first or second time, but today my “dream birth” goes like this…

 - - We leave the girls early in the morning with my parents and head to the hospital after a cup of coffee, breakfast, and a shower for each of us. We go into our room, I change and get hooked up to the IV. We calmly talk and Hubby jokes and teases me for a couple hours, and we have an uneventful and fairly short labor and delivery. Our son is placed on my chest and doesn’t have any problems. (Hoping our older kids can come meet him at this time…) We bond until it’s time for me to move to the post-partum room while Hubby and BD head to the nursery for him to be weighed, measured and get his security band put on. He has his circumcision without issue. We have a short, uneventful stay in the hospital with our older kids free to visit us often. Then, we go home and have a quick recovery and easy transition into parenting our 4 children with 3 of them under 5 yrs old. - -

Yes it’s a dream, and this time I don’t expect it to go that smoothly. I have hope that it will, but my expectations or needs for this birth are to simply avoid a need for a c-section or excessive drugs, avoid extra medical intervention for our son, and be able to leave together after a few days. Then I hope to avoid post-partum stress and depression.

Simply at the least, I need what most would consider “typical and uncomplicated”. While I hope for more, Hubby is helping me to realize that as long as our son and I are healthy and unharmed, we had a successful delivery.

I am finally ok with that.

Your dream birth.... or what can you dream when they are no longer possible?

**Written in late June of 2010. While dealing with post-tramatic stress and regular panic attacks, caused by blaming myself for the choices I had made that led up to a birth that almost cost my husband the lives of his wife and baby girl.
 - Finally posted because I feel the need to move past this as we look towards our last birth, and I am writing a follow-up before and after this birth on my feelings. So that I don't forget, and so that I can see my progress.**

You have a birth plan, then... plans change... you roll with the punches and if the outcome is what's best, then you accept what brougt you to that point, .....

Lately I have been struggling with facing the last minute changes to our plans for our daughter Ladybug's birth. She's 4 1/2 months old and there are some things I don't know how to move past.

Through Butterfly's pregnancy, I was planning a waterbirth. Then, because she was 2 weeks late (I think caused by extremely high stress) they decided at my 42 week ultrasound to induce me that day.
- No waterbirth... stay in bed, high pitocin levels, and I wound up needing an epipdural to relax and breathe... less than 12 hours from the split-second decision, I was holding my first baby...
Then her father took over making the decisions... none of the things we had agreed on, fighting with me in the hospital until the nurses gave me a sleeping pill and took my baby away to the nursery "so I could rest" when all I wanted was to peacefully hold this child that had just joined the world and changed my life.
I dealt with post-partum depression for over a year after her birth.

So this time I wanted a waterbirth even more, and I was beyond grateful that Hubby was supportive of looking for a way for me to have what I wanted in a city that does not have "birthing centers" and does not allow hospital waterbirths.
We believed that we had found a way to have a safe homebirth (with people who we understood to be experienced and trained, and that could get us the proper care we needed in the event of us needing to go to the hospital) and Ladybug would be introduced to our family in the safety and security of our own tub.

It sounded like a dream come true, and I talked with many women who had done this, read book after book, online articles, and watched plenty of movies, shows, and documentaries about more who had loved their safe, happy, family oriented, home births...
Then we hit almost 32 weeks. I knew something was wrong, I was scared daily that something was going wrong with the baby... over 7 weeks of frantically stressing myself out (and yes, calling the midwives each night, and they would assure me that I was fine and that everything was "normal" and to just relax), until we were told over the phone (at 39weeks), that the midwives no longer felt comfortable with a homebirth as they thought that everything I had been saying needed to be re-evaluated by a Dr and I needed some bloodwork done to rule out serious conditions that could be causing my life-threatening symptoms. (you could say I was scared, and so was Hubby).

I hadn't kept food down in 4 days, I had been dehydrated for almost 3 days, I hadn't slept for more than an hour at a time for over a month, and I had been having contractions lasting 20-45 minutes for almost 8 weeks consistently, and I wanted to tear my skin off it itched so badly (just to name the high points that didn't seem like "normal pregnancy" issues to me or hubby).

So my parents took Butterfly and we went to the hospital. Where they didn't want to listen to anything that had happened while under the "care?" of midwives that didn't have "hospital affiliations" like we had been told.
Eventually, just after midnight, we did convince them to draw some blood and run some tests, we also convinced Dr M that we weren't leaving without a baby so he put us in a room to get some rest (I laughed), and an IV of saline to rehydrate me, and said he would see us about 8am after I was rehydrated, and we could have a baby BEFORE NOON (based on 2nd labors going faster and my 1st was very fast).....

They got the test results back just after 3am, they put me on pit, and broke my water - he said we would have a baby before 6am and smiled...
If I had known him better, I might have seen the concern in his eyes. If Hubby had met him before (and wasn't so sleep-deprived, the sweet man) he might have realized that when DrM said "a baby before 6am", he meant that was all the time I was going to be allowed to try for a natural delivery....
[I had 4 serious conditions, if I had been under a Drs care, our daughter would have been born weeks earlier... the midwives said they could get us in with a Dr in the next week and we could be induced a few days later. DrM later told my husband that waiting another week could have cost one or both of our lives.]

Just after 5am the contractions got to be more than I thought I could take, no time for an epidural and saving the many details...
Ladybug was born at 5:30am, into a Drs hands instead of my husbands, cord cut and taken across the room instead of being given to me to check and snuggle and console, wiped clean and wrapped up before I could get my wits and try to sit up... one short hour with her and then she went with Daddy and the nurse to get weighed and checked and it took forever for her to come back because they couldn't get her foot alarm to work right.
((Then she had to get poked a few times a day for blood draws, and I was not allowed to move from my bed for 24hours, then I developed something similar to bronchitis, we had to stay longer in the hospital, and it took weeks for me to finally be able to do enough to care for my children... all in all, a much harder recovery and a harder bonding with Ladybug then I had imagined in my nightmares.))

- In our plan, she was going to be given to me, we would relax and snuggle as a family, she would be weighed in my room and never have a reason to leave my side except for restroom breaks.
Different... both outcomes are a healthy mother and baby, so it doesn't matter how, right?

While Ladybug and Hubby were gone, the midwife who had made it in time to attend the birth (we asked her to come still hoping for her to act as a "monitrice", and help us know when to re-voice our wishes) looked at me after we had been told so many things, and she said "you were right, something was wrong, we always tell you to trust your mother's intuition, a momma always knows".
... for me there were no words that would come, and while I wanted to scream at her:
"then why didn't you listen to me the last month and a half?"
"why didn't you tell me that I needed a backup Dr to run other tests?"
"why did you let this happen to us and not prepare me, while feeding me a dream and a lie that you would be able to take care of us and be there on our behalf if something were to come up?"
"why? why? why?......"
I simply said "yes, but I hate that I was right".
Then, when discussing the desire to have one more child, our 4th, 2nd together, my 3rd and final pregnancy....
I learned that next time I will be high risk, I will never get my water birth, I will never be able to safely attempt a home birth, I will not be able to let Butterfly witness a birth like we prepared her to do, Doodle will not have a choice in wanting to be there or not, and I will probably need to be induced again next time...

Dreams out the window, what is left to want? Do I just accept what I have to have and focus on the healthy baby that I can only have if I obey the rules I believe shouldn't contain my experience???

**A few months after first writing this, we found out that we were expecting again, and it threw me for a huge loop. Ladybug felt my stress and fear and acted accordingly, and in the months following just living life each day felt like it was more than we could take.
We were over 4 months into the pregnancy before I accepted it, and 7 months before I was happy, and excited and looking forward to a son... but I wanted AND loved this child from the moment I found out.
Please come back and see how my feelings have changed...

Meals prepped for BD, final list...

So I figured you would all want to know what I finished and how much it made, so here is each list.
Here is the first one from the beginning of the month - "So here's my planned list:
4 Turkey, err Chicken Pot Pies (filling and crust separate)
4 Meatloafs (orig recipe thanks Mommie)
4 batches of meatballs(orig recipe thanks Mommie)
4 Batches of Chili (Regular Beef Chili)
4 Enchilada Casseroles (orig, recipe thanks Katie Reinke)
4 batches of Beef Veggie Soup
2 batches of Pasta e fagioli soup
4 "Tacaroni" Bakes
4 Cheeseburger Macaroni Bakes
4 Taco Stuffed Shells (orig recipe on a food site posted by Laura Foor)
4 regular Lasagnas
4 Chicken Vegetable Lasagnas
3 batches of Chipotle Chicken Chili
4 meals from 2 Roasts with veggies, each doubles as Beef Stew a day or 2 later
3 Slow cooker Chicken Divan (orig recipe from Sandra Lee)
4 Beef Stroganoff
and some helpful starts:
3 Marinated Chipotle Chicken - for burritos
4 Marinated Teriyaki Chicken and peanuts - for Asian Wraps
4 Marinated Salsa Chicken - for Baked Chicken and Rice
= 71 original (I only made 45) planned meals/batches"

Final List: (or how much each planned recipe made)
4 Chicken pot Pie fillings
6 bags of meatballs
2 Enchilada Casseroles
8 Beef Veg Soup *Plus dinner one night
8 “Minestrone” soup (lunch portion or add sandwiches to make dinner) *Plus dinner one night
5 Tacaroni mix *Plus dinner one night
4 Cheeseburger macaroni sauce *Plus a lunch and a dinner
2 dinner & 2 lunch Taco stuffed shells *Plus 2 dinners and 2 lunches
4 regular Lasagna *Plus dinner one night
5 Chicken vegetable lasagna *Plus dinner one night
3 Divan cream sauce & 4 lemon-herb marinated chicken
4 Mushroom Alfredo for Beef stroganoff
2 Chicken Gnocchi Soup *Plus dinner one night
1 Chicken & Dumplings *Plus dinner one night
= 60 meals into the freezer, 73 meals made

Somehow I made more meals in half the time, so overall it works out a little better :)
If I had to do it over (or if I know before something comes up, no more babies here), I think I would have started a month earlier, giving me 2 months to prepare while still relaxing the last few weeks and having plenty for about 2 months afterwards. *JIC any of you are doing this for yourself :)
Overall this has taught me that with a little extra planning I can have more control over my family's food and money, and in the end that will help us out for our coming son's entire life!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Food Prep for BD - Day 8... Chicken Vegetable Lasagna and I'm done!!

It took me a few days to get this written, after it took me 5 days to finish this meal... but I guess I didn't originally factor into my time plans the fact that cooking 4x the amount of food will take longer... or the fact that everything takes longer when you can't stand on your feet for more than 10 mins. :)

So I cooked the chicken and made the cream sauce, then spent a couple days chopping the veggies, and then a day sauteeing the veggies individually.
Finally over the weekend, Hubby watched the girls for a while when they weren't playing in the toy room and I started mixing batches of the cheese sauce mix, and the veggies in another bowl, and put the lasagnas together!!
So here's the recipe for 1 9x13, I made 4x this and it was exactly enough for 6 8x8s!!

Chicken Vegetable Lasagna
I made the "Chicken pot pie savory sauce" (recipe in Day 1) and added 1 cup of parmesan cheese to make a "Cheesy Alfredo sauce" or you could use 2 cups of your favorite.
1 lb of Chicken (I threw this in the slow cooker for a few hours with 1 1/2 tsps garlic, S&P, and 1/2 a onion minced so that it would shred. Or you could cook these together in a saute pan and chop it).
1/2 cup each: diced carrot, sliced mushrooms, chopped green pepper (I forgot the pepper in ours)
1 cup each: chopped broccoli, julienned zucchini, julienned yellow squash, chopped tomatoes (I used a bit more, a large can of diced tomatoes drained)
1 TBLS each: basil, oregano, thyme, S&P
2 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 pkg lasagna noodles
1 cup grated parm cheese
2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
saute squashes, carrots and mushrooms until soft (with butter or olive oil as needed)
then mix into a bowl with the rest of the veggies, tomatoes, and seasonings
in a separate bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, 1/2 the mozzerella, and "alfredo" together

start layering, a small amount of the cheese sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish
noodles  -  1/2 veggies  -  1/3 cheese sauce  -  parmesan  -  noodles  -  1/2 veggies  -  1/3 cheese sauce  -  parmesan  -  noodles  -  1/3 cheese sauce  -  mozzerella  -  parmesan

Cover with foil and bake 30 mins @ 375, uncover and bake 20 mins or until golden brown. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

If freezing, wrap in foil. Thaw 6-8 hours in the fridge and bake 50 mins covered, then 20 minutes uncovered or until golden & bubbly. Let rest before cutting.
OR bake frozen 1 hour 15 mins covered, 20-30 mins uncovered.

We had 1 for dinner, so only 5 more meals in the freezer, but BD has tried to make his appearance early so I have quit cooking and we are now living off freezer meals!!

Hope you enjoy!!
I may not be updating until after we welcome our little bundle, but I hope to start doubling meals after I get back in the swing of things once a week so that we will always have a quick meal on hand for a busy day. With kids, you can plan to have atleast the occasional busy day ;)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Food Prep for BD - Day 7... or I'm not getting as much done as I planned :P

Today gives us exactly 3 weeks before our scheduled induction and our day to finally greet "BD"!!

I finally cooked the chicken... and used some to make Chicken Gnocchi Soup!!
With plenty left over to make 4x Chicken Vegetable Lasagna. I have started slowly prepping everything else and now all I need is to make the cream sauce, mix things together and assemble them.
So that is the plan for today, and then we will have one for dinner tonight!
After we bought the name brand veggie lasagna a year ago, I found it a few months ago and we had it for dinner.
Butterfly said she didn't like the store's recipe, she "only wants mommy's recipe lasagna". I beamed and so this is one meal I could not cross off my list.
I have now removed a lot of meals that if we really need them, I think Hubby can make them.
Meatloaf is just measure, dump, mix and bake.
Chili is measure and dump into a crockpot, roasts are chop and dump, and the marinated chicken meal starts I had planned just mean that we have to throw them together in a bag the night before.
So 7 things have been removed (26 planned meals) but somehow, I have more meals in my freezer than originally planned. Or will as soon as I finish these last 3 things.
Crossing those things off, means I only planned to make 45 batches of the meals that are still on the list. I have almost 60 meals in the freezer with 12 more batches planned with these last 3 meals, at this rate I think they will make a few more than just 12 meals...
I will post my recipe for my lasagna, and the enchilada bakes if I finish them.
I'm making meatballs sunday and then calling it quits!!
I thought I would have all this done by now, but a lot has come up this month that wasn't planned so I'm on day 7 instead of day 15 like I thought (thought I could finish in 15 days, with prep days, or bean soaking & cooking, or stock days inbetween).