Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes


- 1 -

I'm going to settle for a cartoon depiction and not a selfie on this one

On the one hand I cannot believe that I am only 30 weeks pregnant because it boggles my mind that I can continue to get bigger for the next 10 weeks. I expressed this thought to my husband and he assured me that I can and will... I think he may have missed the point but anyway. On the other hand, I cannot believe that at some point in the next 10 weeks (please God - let this little one have a different attitude than her brother) we are going to have ex-utero children! I know that I will love and treasure this little girl (I already do) but at the end of most days I feel like it's just been one parenting or spousal fail after another (on my end). For instance, it is only 8 am and Leo is already watching Disney's Robin Hood.

- 2 -

This is Leo's obsession. No other movie will do. We have tried to introduce other films and at the end of the day the only thing that our little lion desires is his beloved "Robbie". I had a theory that it was because it featured talking animals but 101 Dalmatians certainly held no attraction. In actuality that is totally fine because we only watched the first 20 minutes or so and I had forgotten that it is a rather dark movie. I still have high hopes for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Rescuers Down Under, however, because those are two movies that I will always carry a strong affection for. Oh man, see what I've done?! I've completely strayed from my original point and that is that I never wanted TV to be, well, "A Thing" in our house. Maybe nature videos from Animal Planet and Discovery Channel but that was supposed to be the end! But that was before pregnancy insomnia reared its ugly hideous head and Leo went from waking up between 7 - 8 am to 6 am. Or even before 6 am. Which leads me to this...
- 3 -

I hate it when people use God's name in vain so please excuse that BUT that is the closest thing to how I feel when I hear Leo wake up in the morning before 7 am. That and this

- 4 -

There is no escape. Only coffee.

- 5 -

Thanks to a number of Facebook shares I recently discovered this site and have had some many much needed laughs. The cluster-feeding one might just be my favorite.

- 6 -

One of the best birthday gifts I have ever received came this year in the form of a subscription to Magnificat. It is easy to use and just so helpful in terms of providing a concrete way to incorporate prayer and meditation into daily life, which is something that I need to work on in a big way!

- 7 -

I know this is a super lame post and not exactly the best way to get back into blogging but I cannot stomach giving Leo one more moment of screen time this morning and the coffee hasn't kicked in enough for me to be creative. I guess I'll throw this one in since my last post mentioned the living project.

Yep - we actually finished it and managed to remain sane!

Now go see Jen!

~ Happy Friday ~

Friday, April 4, 2014

7 Quick Takes


- 1 -

Now that we are settled settling into our amazing new house I am thinking about all of the ways to make it feel like our home. I've lost count of all of the projects floating around in my head but judging by the anxious and somewhat paranoid look that my husband gets let's just say it's a hefty number! The one project that I have strong feelings about is repainting our living room. It may or may not have evolved into a teensy tiny bit of a full blown obsession...

Complete with the Lowes fort that Leo could not care less about

What color is that? Valspar gave it a fun, fruity name (Mango) but I personally like to refer to it as Punch-You-in-the-Eyes Orange. I imagine it could work well as an accent color in a room full of sunshine and complementary colors but here in the land of earth tones, brick, and one window lighting.... well, yeah. The picture pretty much says it all. And after HOURS spent looking at more paint colors than I knew existed, I had this moment of clarity....

- 2 -

I don't have to match the wood or the brick - I can change them! I went ahead and emailed this awesome blogger to get her opinion (because I can bring the enthusiasm but I need support to keep it alive). She gave the remodel two thumbs up and so I have decided* to go ahead paint the wood and fireplace. Or rather, I have decided to paint the wood and whitewash the fireplace. Painted fireplaces are just a little too much for me. I like being able to see a hint of color and texture. I am one coat of paint away from being done with the mantel and am almost done spray-painting the fireplace accessories for a uniform black look (using this nifty thing). If all goes well I'll be whitewashing the fireplace this weekend!

*and was given permission by my indulging husband

- 3 -

What the Rorschach test would look like if designed by HGTV

I couldn't write this post without devoting at least one take to the absurdity that is paint color. I won't even tackle the whole rainbow and just stick with white. Forget fifty shades of gray, my friends, and allow me to introduce you to 7,589,301 SHADES OF WHITE! They have to have hidden cameras in Lowes for the sole purpose of capturing the back and forth of customers in front of the palettes and color chips. I settled on Valspar Pegasus White. After 30 minutes. And by the time I checked out I felt like this 

Kudos to Ben for not laughing hysterically at me. Turns out that "Pegasus" white works just fine. 

- 4 -

I always hoped that there was a quick bread out there that featured my favorite fruit (strawberries) but never looked into it until last week. Here is the recipe. You're welcome.

- 5 -

Leo has gone from taking two long naps every day to one long nap every day. I realize that I should shut up and be grateful that I have a little boy who takes a long nap but I'm a self-centered work in progress so I'm just going to mourn the 2 hours of free time that I have lost. Granted that "free time" was usually used for things like cleaning, prepping dinner, and other homemakery things but still, it is impossible to describe how amazing it is to make dinner without your pants nearly getting pulled off by the baby who is practically climbing your legs to be held.

- 6 -

Speaking of Leo (I really do adore that little boy) it never ceases to amaze me how much he loves people (and animals and nature etc.). We were doing our grocery shopping today and while we were walking through the frozen section we walked past an older woman who smiled at Leo. That was all it took, folks - Leo gave her a huge grin and practically leaped into her arms. I'll admit that it can alarm me when he does this with certain people and really we need to develop at least some concept of "stranger danger" BUT this lady was so sweet with him and was so touched by his warmth that it was just really cool. She kept laughing and saying "Well I've fallen in love today!".

Did I mention that he loves nature? Especially dirt. Reaaaaaally loves the dirt....


- 7 -

The end goal

I'm usually pretty good about getting exercise in throughout the week. I don't usually enjoy it and most of the time I wonder whether I'm going to die mid-workout but in the end I get it done. Why? I care about how I look and feel. Not enough to say no to desserts or be sensible with my food and beverage choices but still - I care and I make an effort. Why am I talking about this? Because all that work and all that effort is directed towards the parts of me that are pretty clearly temporal. I can't say the same about my spiritual fitness. So I've gotten myself the spiritual equivalent of a fitness trainer - a spiritual director. I've had a couple in the past but never benefited as much as I could have because, brutal truth be told, I was too concerned with how I sounded or came across. Real smart, I know. People can't help you fix a problem if they don't know there's a problem. Duh. Anyways, this time I'm determined to check my pride at the door and let God do His thing. Because toned triceps aren't enough to get you into Heaven.

Now go see Jen!

~ Happy Friday ~

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leo's Birth Story

 Caveat : I meant for this to be shorter. Oops!

The Lead Up

The weeks leading up to Leo's arrival were full of a lot of stress and anxiety for me. I spent quite a few posts complaining and waddled around the apartment twiddling my thumbs and trying different methods of bringing on labor (stopping short of castor oil). Naturally none of them worked and I am pretty sure that I got to the point where I wondered if the little guy was just going to refuse to come naturally. Despite being pretty darn natural and holistic my doctor seemed to agree and scheduled me to be induced on Tuesday, February 26th. I got pretty emotional about this but decided that since I would be over a week and a half overdue at that point, why not?

What the....?!

I didn't start noticing my Braxton Hicks contractions until the week Leo was due. They weren't too painful and were very infrequent and that was that. Around midnight on Friday (February 22nd - 'cause you're writing this down and all) I started to get real contractions! All I can say is that with a pain threshold like mine it was genuinely dumb for me to ever wonder But how will I know when I have a contraction? I knew! They were so intense that when I would have one it woke me riiiiight up so timing them was not difficult. But they simply had no regularity, nothing consistent in terms of duration or time between start to start. So I tried to sleep as best as I could (not happenin') and note the time when a new one would hit. 

I was relieved when Saturday morning finally came and I could give up trying to sleep. The day came and went with no change. I would have a few contractions back to back (sometimes even three in a row) but then have a huge space of time before the next one would hit. They were getting more intense and more painful all of the time but again, I have a low pain threshold so I just told myself to "man up" and keep on keepin' on. 

Saturday night was much worse and by the time Sunday morning came I knew I was not leaving the house for mass or anything at all. I sat on the couch or on the yoga ball trying to find some relief from the pain but sometimes the contractions were so hard that I would fall to my hands and knees. There may have been some tears. 

By the time Monday morning hit I was desperate. I had not slept since Friday and while the pain and intensity of the contractions had amped up there was still no discernible pattern! I called my doctor and went in to the office for him to check things out. So he takes a look and starts chuckling. 

"You know why you've been so uncomfortable?" he asks me. I simply give him a deadpan look in reply and he says, "Because the baby has dropped and you're 4 cm. When do you want to go to the hospital?" 

I started tearing up. I never thought I would make it to 4 cm without an epidural. Heck, I'm not entirely sure I would make it to 4 cm PERIOD! Somehow knowing that all of the pain and lack of sleep had been doing something made it all worth it. We scheduled check-in time for noon and I went home to Ben to finish packing (yeah.... I procrastinate) and take a shower. 

The Hospital

By the time we got to the hospital the contractions were coming more quickly and I had decided that I was G-O-O-D AND R-E-A-D-Y for that epidural, thank you very much! So we checked in and I got wheeled up to my (truly) very nice birthing suite. I had to have an IV (stupid StrepB) and monitors for the baby and whatnot but much to my chagrin the anesthesiologist was needed elsewhere and would not be available for awhile. It took about an hour (maybe longer) before I was able to have any pain medication. I was exhausted, in pain, and hormonal so naturally I cried. I was relying on the pain medication to help me to sleep until things got real and I needed to push and all that jazz. 

Anyways, I finally got my epidural (that needle in the back business did not hurt as badly as people told me) and began to fall asleep as Ben went to the cafeteria to get himself some dinner. The next thing I know three nurses and two doctors run into my room and start fussing over me. I am turned on my side and given an oxygen mask and can see by the fetal monitor that the baby's heart-rate is not doing well. Poor Ben returned in the middle of the chaos and I can only imagine what that must have been like. Eventually the heartbeat did normalize and the room cleared out, leaving an anxious Ben and me. I tried to fall asleep again, occasionally looking at the monitor in fear. Sure enough, we watched in panic as the heartbeat began to fall lower and lower. Again the nurses and doctors rushed in, moving me from my back onto my side and giving me oxygen. One of the doctors informed me that if it happened again I would need to have an emergency c-section. The only reason I was not having one then and there was that my doctor had said to give it more time. 

One of the best nurses in the entire world happened to be my nurse that evening. She seemed to like Ben and me a lot and stayed in the room with us, watching the monitor and me and talking to us about kids and parenting and life in general. After things had settled down for awhile and her shift had ended she had to leave and another nurse started her shift. During this time I started to notice that my feet had begun to tingle. At first I didn't pay any attention to it but as time went on the tingling spread up my legs and I started to feel the contractions again. They weren't painful in the beginning but I knew something was wrong. I told the nurse and she increased the dosage of the epidural but nothing changed (except for the pain growing). Eventually I asked her to get the anesthesiologist. She could see that I was serious and she tried to get him to come down. He refused. Just increase the dose, he told the nurse. It was not until I was a sobbing mess that the nurse was able to convince him to come to my room. When he did he examined my back and was shocked to see that the epidural had come out! He kept repeating that "This has never happened before" and assuring Ben and me that it was a fluke. Believe it or not I did not give a flying (la la la) that this was some freak accident - it had happened, it was happening, and it needed to be fixed! So I got a second epidural. He super-glued and super-taped that sucker in and after several minutes I had relief! 

So at this point we had been at the hospital several hours and I had progressed to 5 cm but that was it. At some point they broke my water and after my second epidural they gave me pitocin. Eventually things began to start progressing again and we arrived at the long-awaited moment.

Time to Push

My doctor was going to be there for the delivery but given that it was my first labor he decided to have a nurse be in the room with me for the first portion of pushing. For once I am going to spare you the details. Suffice it to say that after 3+ days of no sleep and 1 hr of pushing, I had gotten nowhere. I was told that I had 2 more hours of pushing before I would have to have a c-section. I was an emotional wreck. I had zero energy at this point and did not see how I could manage to keep pushing 2 more minutes, much less 2 more hours! Yet the idea that after all of the drama of the day I would be unable to have this baby naturally (relatively speaking) was a pretty devastating blow. I basically gave up and just laid there weeping. 

Lucky for me I had a doctor who was a real advocate. He came to my room and took over. I confess that the next hour was nothing but a blur. There was a lot of coaxing and encouragement from my doctor and Ben and a lot of pushing and unbridled emotionalism from me. I lost all sense of time and kept waiting to hear that I was headed for surgery. Then all of the sudden I heard this -

Doctor : "Are you ready?"
Me (in what can only be described as a tone of complete exasperation) : "Ready for what?!"
Doctor : "To meet your baby. Give me one more push."

For once I followed orders. And on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 at exactly 2:39 AM we were able to meet the precious son that we had waited and prayed for for so long.