Thursday, December 30, 2010

One month

Hello interweb posts are obviously not as frequent as they were prior to baby. Life is busy and it's a rarity to have two hands free and when I do I just want to go pee!  :)

Evangeline is officially 1 month old today. Part of me feels like she was just born and part of me feels like we've had her for years. She is definitely part of our family now and I can't imagine life without her. I'm already starting to forget what life was like with only 1 child. I miss the time I had with Eliana, but wouldn't trade that for our life now with Evangeline. We are a family unit now! Eliana is doing really well with the adjustments. We've done what we can to keep her routines the same; bathtime wed and sat night with daddy, nap times and nighttime with mommy, meals always at the table, etc. I think routines are important for children and the structure helps keep life normal when it could otherwise feel crazy.

Eliana has been basically obsessed with 'babies and owls'. Random, huh? lol. I hear about babies and owls ALL day long and it cracks me up. When she goes to bed she asks if I'll be back, if I'll pick her uppy, and if we can draw babies and owls. HAHA. When she is eating she pretends her bites are baby owls. Needless to say her 2010 Christmas Ornament from mommy and daddy was an owl :) Kids are so funny.

Every day with Evangeline keeps me on my toes. Yesterday she was SO fussy and irritable all day. She wouldn't stop crying and also wouldn't sleep. I'd get her to pass out, put her in the swing so I could pee and five minutes later she was crying her head off. So it went all day long until about 10pm. She slept for an hour and then was up crying again til midnight. Then she slept til 7am! Up for another hour and then slept another 1 1/2 hours. Today she has been pretty much just sleeping and eating. I'm curious what tonight will hold as far as sleep but I'm very grateful that she is not spending today crying like yesterday. It was completely exhausting. I was really looking forward to Craig coming home so I would have some help, but he ended up spending the night fixing the guts in our toilet since it was broken and we only have one toilet :( It was a crappy day- literally.

We seem to have hit our stride with breastfeeding. I think around the 3 1/2 week mark it finally felt 'easy'. Now at one month I don't really have to think about it. She latches pretty easily and I'm still not using a shield. The trick is making it to this point! So, if you are reading this and thinking of giving up- don't give up, it gets easier, I promise. For some it's only tough for a week, for some it's tough for 6-8 weeks. A successful breastfeeding journey is just that- a journey. Stick with it, it's the first of many challenges in parenting :)

The other night I got a blissful few minutes to go to the bathroom with no kids AND with the door closed (since Craig was home) and I was sitting there thinking, 'wow, this is heavenly'. And then I chuckled at the realization that to a mother a few minutes to go to the bathroom alone is about as peaceful as our day gets sometimes. When kids are crying, boobs are out all day feeding a baby, naptime is a failure, and there's no time to shower........3 1/2 minutes in the bathroom alone is HEAVEN. Such is the life of a mother :) So, kudos to us who give up our own peace and luxury for the sake of raising beautiful, healthy, Godly children!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Watermelon Boobs :)

My dear Evangeline is 3 weeks old today. Yesterday at the pediatrician's office she was 10lb 14oz and 22 1/4 inches. She is in the 90-95% for pretty much everything, same as she was at birth. She is my chubby cherub! She's gained 2.5oz a day for the last 10 days which is amazing.

How are we doing? My basic answer is 'pretty good'. Honestly it depends on the time of the day and the particular day you ask me :) Every day is a new day and every day is totally unpredictable with a newborn. The two year old? Pretty much predictable. Goes to sleep at the same time, gets up at the same time, naps at the same times, eats her meals no prob, can tell me what she needs. The 3 week old on the other hand keeps us on our toes. She is growing so quickly and her needs are constantly evolving. Some nights are so rough that I want to hole up during the day and can't bring myself to go anywhere or talk to anyone. I just feel antisocial at times.

Friday and Saturday night were very rough to say the least. She cried for hours. Craig and I took turns rocking, rubbing her belly, pumping her legs, etc. She seemed to be in SO much pain. By the time morning came I was still exhausted and hadn't really gotten any sleep. When it happened a 2nd night I started worrying that history was repeating itself (Elly's horrible colic and GERD). But, then came Sunday night and she did much better. Last night she hardly cried at all, but she also didn't really want to sleep. There were two 1 1/2 hour chunks that she was wide awake. Of course I just wanted to be sleeping! I'm thinking we'll give swaddling a firmer go and see if that helps keep her sleepy at night. Part of the problem is that she seems to like to poo at night which keeps her and me up.  I've been thinking that maybe a meal I had with garlic was to blame for the rough couple of nights we had. Now I'm a little nervous about what if I eat something that bothers her, but it's trial and error.

Breastfeeding is getting much easier. She latches pretty much right away now. The problem now is that my flow is so forceful and fast. I have huge boobs and tons of milk and she ends up choking or gagging and honestly seems a little nervous to latch on like she knows the tidal wave is coming soon. Poor girl! I wish my boobs had a knob I could turn to slow it down for her until she's bigger/older. I'm praying she'll learn to keep up with it and that my milk supply will regulate itself here soon. I block nursed Eliana because of my huge milk supply and I'm doing it this time as well. . I didn't even know that's what I was doing until yesterday when a friend recommended it and I Googled it and sure enough I'm already doing it- yay me! :)

As far as oversupply goes, here's a few things to keep in mind- if you pump to relieve the fullness you will actually cause even MORE fullness over time. Remember boobs work on a supply and demand schedule, so pumping counts as demand, meaning your boobs will supply more. So, learning to deal with the fullness in ways other than pumping may be more advantageous for you. For those with undersupply, go ahead and pump, but never in place of your baby actually nursing for itself. The other thing is that oversupply does tend to even out over time. The first few weeks of new milk your boobs are working like crazy and your hormones are going crazy. Eventually they work more in sync with your baby and the oversupply issue should resolve itself a bit. Your baby also gets used to it and learns to work with it.

Breastfeeding with ginormous watermelon boobs has it's own set of frustrations. For one thing it's almost impossible to nurse one handed. Can you even imagine how much a size H boob full of milk weighs? A TON. One hand is needed to support the breast and the other is holding/supporting the baby. It's a two hand job. You might be thinking, "well I'm a DD and I can make it work." Trust me, there is a HUGE difference between a DD, even a DDD and an H. Two hands are needed most of the time. Another frustration is modesty. It's trickier with a huge boob to not give a show when out in public simply because there's a lot more to hide. It's harder to be discreet when there's so much to cover. And then of course the oversupply is frustrating because of all the pain it causes to baby. Although I suppose large breasts are not synonymous with oversupply in every case, just for me.

As far as PCOS and breastfeeding, usually women with PCOS have supply issues and need to take fenugreek or pump or do something. But I know for myself and also a girlfriend with PCOS and boobs the same size as mine we both deal with oversupply. I guess we should be grateful for the extra milk! These honkers are heavy though, so trust me when I say I'm fully planning on getting these 'taken care of' in another decade or so when I'm done nursing babies. Breastfeeding after a reduction could be a whole different blog, but the reality is there's no complete way to know if you'll be able to breastfeed after a reduction without trying it and I personally don't want to risk losing the ability to nurse. I'd rather wait and do the surgery later.
What I have heard is that if the nipple is completely removed during surgery and then put back on that it typically makes it impossible to nurse later. It makes me a little jealous that someone can go get implants and nurse no problem but if you want to reduce your boobs you risk losing the ability to nurse. Not fair.

For the sake of Google and other moms coming across this blog looking for breastfeeding help and frankly, "where do I buy bras when my boobs are a 40H???" I'm going to plug my favorite nursing  bra- Anita . It's fabulous! I wouldn't recommend sleeping in an underwire bra because of the risk of plugged ducts, so only use it during the day. I have a couple cotton sleep nursing bras from Motherhood Maternity that I use at night time.

This blog is poorly written and all over the brain is seriously sleep deprived!

So, until next time, have a Merry Christmas. It's about God's great love for us and that He sent Jesus to take our place and redeem us. Remember the Redeemer and His unfailing love for you as celebrate the season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Evangeline's Birth Story

I began my 2nd pregnancy seeing an OB I really like. She helped us through the Clomid process and is a great doctor. At around 24 weeks I started writing my birth plan and was in tears at the computer because everything I was writing was literally opposite of what happened with Eliana. I started realizing why I wasn't sleeping at night and why I felt more anxious every day that my EDD was closer and closer- I knew I'd be fighting to have the birth I wanted if I did it in our local hospital. This began a chain of events and me learning a TON about myself, my body, birth, the history of birth, homebirth and basically reading every birth book I could. At 26 weeks I transferred to my wonderful midwife, Mif, with the blessing of my OB.

My whole pregnancy I had a feeling I would go over 40 weeks. I seemed to be the only one who thought that however. My midwife, chiropractor, husband, mom, etc- everyone thought I'd go before 40 weeks. In my head I always knew I'd go over. So, when 41 weeks came I thought, 'well, I'm SUPER glad that I am healthy, baby is healthy, and I'm being 'allowed' to carry still.' I know without a shadow of a doubt that had I been seeing an OB I would've been induced again. I had high bp readings nearly every time a professional took the reading and protein in my urine the last two prenatals. My BP was good every day as I was taking it 5-10 times a day at home, I just couldn't ever calm my insides enough to have a good reading when someone else took it. That being said there's no way an OB would've seen a 150/100 reading and just chuckled and said, "I know you are nervous, your chart from home is good," and then let it go. I would've been coerced and worried into an induction, especially since my fundus measured 46 (!!!) weeks and the BPP showed the baby weighing 9lbs9oz at 40 weeks (which was obviously wrong). My midwife is so experienced and knowledgable that she truly knows when to worry about something and when not to. OB's are trained in the pathology of birth- that means looking for something to be wrong, so I'm sure my minor things would've screamed PROBLEM to them. My midwife understood that the pain and real trauma of my first birth started with just one high bp reading and that a real fear surrounding that lived deeply in me and showed itself every time I had to have my bp read. It was my Scarlet Letter.

Anywho, the night before labor started I did Evening Primrose Oil vaginally and then the day labor started I saw my chiropractor who did pressure points and then I saw my midwife who 'irritated' the cervix to see if it would start something later. I was only dilated to a 3 at 1pm and though things were soft, it was also very long and had a long way to go.
We decided to do a half dose of the magic milkshake that day in hopes of starting some contractions to get some pressure on my cervix, which wasn't happening due to the copious amounts of fluid.
I took the castor oil at about 4pm that day and nothing happened. I didn't go to the bathroom once! It was only 1oz of castor oil anyway, but I thought something would happen. The only thing that did was that I felt exhausted. Like I could hardly keep my eyes open. It was very weird. 4 hours later, around 8pm Craig and I were in our room watching tv and I started having contractions. They were pretty mild, but I felt them down low and that was new for me. After 30 minutes or so I started feeling them stretch around to my lower back. I figured, wow, this might be the real deal! We kept timing them and they were progressively getting more painful. Craig called the midwife at 10pm and she said they need to be more regular and to keep in touch. Basically no one thought I was actually in labor yet based on my internal check earlier that day and that I only took 1oz of castor oil. I remember thinking, "Well, if this isn't real or doesn't end up being enough to push out a baby that sucks cuz it really hurts!" I also got irritable and snapped at Craig a few times. That should've been his first clue that it was real :) I wasn't screaming or anything but holy cow it was uncomfortable. I tried laying down and had some contractions that hurt so bad my eyes filled with tears. My mom came down and tried to encourage me to move around and lean on Craig and then she offered for us to get in the tub and she left to get it filling. I leaned on Craig for the next couple contractions and it did help. He pressed really hard on my sacrum during them and I held onto his shoulders and breathed into his shoulder til each one passed.
Somewhere between 11pm and midnight we went and got in my mom's soaking tub. I figured we'd go in the tub for a while and then I'd probably need to get up and move around to keep things going. Once in the tub it did take a lot of the pressure off. I was able to relax and the contractions felt 'cushioned' from me a little. I got out to pee a couple times and it hurt SO bad having a contraction out of the tub. I realized then that I was not going to be able to leave the tub, I was in it for the long haul. I only hoped it wouldn't be 24 hours or something like that. Craig was also in the tub the whole time with me. He never left! And, since I have a weird pet peeve about mouth noises (as in I hate hearing people chew, crunch, jaw pops, etc) he kindly refrained from eating anything during my labor :) I also had  zero desire to eat anything.

For the next few hours I was wading through the waves of contractions. I would doze in between them which is SO weird for me since I usually take 30 minutes just to fall asleep. Each contraction lasted about 55 seconds and I had about 2 minutes in between to rest and sleep. I would feel one coming and grab Craig's hands and squeeze and then vocalize (think low sounding moan- one note being held a long time) until the 55 seconds passed. I tried to relax my body as much as I could. Craig said he could see my belly turn into a hard ball. Eventually things got more intense and I didn't want to hold Craig's hands anymore. I literally needed every ounce of focus to get through each contraction and just having him there was enough. We were having a very hard time knowing when to call the midwife again. I didn't want to waste their time and have them come all the way out for nothing, but I also could hardly call what I was experiencing as 'nothing'. My mom thought things should progress a little more. Finally I said please call around 1:45am. I was starting to feel a lot of pressure in my who-who. My mom called and my midwife and her team arrived at 3am. After my mom called things had picked up even more and the waves of contractions hit harder and closer. I rolled with them and tried to keep physically and mentally 'open' to my labor. All the Ina May Gaskin books I read really did their job! Shortly before the midwife got there I lost my mucous plug again. I had lost a small one around 9pm, but these were unlike anything I'd seen before. It was like, WOW! Around 3:05am she did an internal check and I was at a 7!!! No wonder things felt intense, I was almost at transition! The team left the room for Craig and I to labor in peace and they left to get things setup. At this point everyone still thought I had a while. But in about 35 minutes my water broke. During a contraction I felt like, 'hmm, if I just push a little I bet my water will break!' I had been feeling a little 'pushy' which my midwife said was because the bag of waters was bulging (in hindsight I'm really glad I didn't push before my midwife got there). So, I pushed and Craig and I heard a 'POP' in the room, felt a gush in the water, and I could see from Craig's face that it was like an explosion under water. Incredible. Within literally seconds I felt her crowning. It was like the pressure from the water breaking just shoved her right out. I had the need to push immediately. I started screaming because I didn't want to do it alone in the tub without my midwife. Craig was hollering MIF LYNN, HELP! and I was screaming so loud I thought for sure they'd hear us. Then I thought, oh no, what if they are downstairs and can't hear us!In my mom's 5,000 square foot home, this could be a reality. Craig started to get out to run and find them and I told him, no no don't leave me! I knew this baby was coming in a matter of minutes. In what felt like 20 minutes but was probably only 2 my mom, midwife, and assistant came running in. Mif coached me to calm my breathing and just let my body do whatever it was feeling like it should do. She grabbed lube and started rubbing and stretching to help me not tear. I remember her being very serious for a moment and saying, "if I tell you to flip over on all fours, don't ask me why and don't tell me no-just do it." I said ok but in my head was running through Ina May Gaskin's books and remembered the Gaskin Maneuver- it is taught to OB's and is in textbooks. It's a nearly failproof way to deliver a baby that is 'stuck' with shoulder dystocia. I thought, "Oh Lord, I can't flip over right now!" Remember all this is happening in literally seconds, it was like time stood still for a moment. Then a contraction broke through my thoughts and I had to roll with it. I had no choice. I felt my uterus pushing down and actually pushing the baby out. It was like a Mack Truck, I couldn't have stopped it if I wanted to. I went with it and her head popped out! I seriously can't stand the feeling of a baby being half in and half out so I gave another 1/2 push and her body FLEW out. It was less than 5 minutes of my body pushing and she was born at 3:55am. Craig didn't get to catch since it all happened so fast. Mif caught the baby and immediately put her on my chest. Craig's eyes filled with tears at the emotion of how amazing the birth was and this sweet baby. I was overcome and still tear up now thinking about it. It was so perfect and beautiful. Evangeline came out pink and gorgeous and gave a couple little cries. Just being able to hold my baby and realize, "Oh my gosh, I did it, I actually did it!" I'm not broken, there is nothing wrong with me, I carried a baby full term and delivered her naturally and she is perfect! It was overwhelming and I was in a sort of shock about how wonderful it actually was. Evangeline was stable and healthy during my labor and so was I, there was no shoulder dystocia, no cord wrapped around her, etc. When the body is able to deliver a baby when it is ready and do it in its own way, how amazing.

I held Evangeline for maybe 20 minutes while the cord was still pulsing, then Craig cut the cord. The pulsing cord was amazing in itself. I encourage all women to research the benefits of delayed clamping and seriously consider it for your children. Immediate clamping is like infant phlebotomy- crazy unless there is an immediate need to cut the cord (wrapped around neck, etc). After that Craig took her into the living room by the fire and just snuggled her. I delivered the placenta, drained the tub, got hosed off, and then joined them in the living room to let Evangeline nurse for the first time. She was awake for about 2 hours after the birth and was a happy little nurser. After a little while we weighed and measured her- 21 inches and 9lbs 1 oz. Her head was 14 3/4 inches! I felt like superwoman! And the incredible thing is that I didn't even tear. I tore with Eliana and she was only 7lbs and her head was nearly an inch smaller than Evangeline's. I thought, wow if this isn't a testament to a home birth I don't know what is!

The birth was so uneventful, and in such a good way. My midwife even says it was a perfect birth. I really took to heart all the books I read and Ina May's message about letting yourself be open to birth, both physically and mentally, really stuck with me. I knew that if I wanted the kind of birth that Ina wrote about I would need to do what the women she helped did. I couldn't fight it or complain or be negative, I needed to just relax and roll with each wave. Did it hurt? Well, yes. Did I feel like I was dying? Absolutely not. My cousin put it this way, "It's always managable and never more than you can handle." That is so true! At my chiropractors 1 1/2 weeks ago there were three of us talking about our homebirths. We were all smiling, happy, had wonderful memories, and would do it again! I have had numerous conversations with friends about our hospital births and unfortunately the conversation was not filled with cheery memories.

After doing my home water birth I feel like I want every woman to experience it. I want every woman, especially my friends, to feel the power of letting your body do it's job uninterrupted. I want every woman to know the pride and joy that comes from having a baby naturally. The euphoria and empowerment is incredible and exactly how God wanted us to experience birth. It's His answer to the curse in the garden. Yes, labor hurts. No, it's not totally pain free- but there is redemption from it. Isn't this the way God works?
I hope to have all my future babies at home in a tub. My labor was 8 hours total from the very first contraction until Evangeline flew out. Not bad and incredible compared to my 50plus hour induced labor with Eliana.

I just can't say enough about a homebirth. I pray that those of you in a position to do so will consider it or even think about a midwife or nurse midwife or a birthing center. I truly believe if every eligible woman and OB experienced birth the way I just did there would be a radical change in the way Americans have babies.

(As far as the cost- it's fairly inexpensive and the midwife fee covers pretty much everything besides labwork and outside ultrasounds. My insurance should be reimbursing me for about half the fee pretty soon.)

I will add more to this post as time allows and details come back to me :)

I love this photo....Craig snuggled Evie when she was about 20 minutes old while I finished stage 3 of labor (placenta).
Such a big and long girl and so alert!

A few hours old....all the amazing vernix soaked in on it's own and her skin was gorgeous!

Two weeks old

My little Evangeline is 2 weeks old today. The last two weeks seriously feel like we've been living in a bubble and that somehow we have lost the time. Other than the grocery store 2x,  Dr's 1x,Costco 1x, and church 1x, we have not gone anywhere. Not going anywhere means we aren't spending money so that's nice and it also means we're keeping Evangeline's exposure to all the nasty winter germs at a minimum- but it is a bit strange to go from busyness and being able to pretty much go anywhere at nearly anytime to being home so much.

I'm realizing how much easier a 2 year old is than a newborn. Eliana tells me when she needs something and is relatively self-sufficient. Then comes a new baby who literally can't do anything without me and can only cry to show her needs. Yes, the 2 year old is definitely easier! I'm also thinking that in our brilliant plan to space all our children 2 years apart we may have underestimated how much work it is having a 2 year old and a newborn at the same time. Perhaps our other children will be spaced more like 2 1/2 years apart! Or we'll adjust to this newness and in a year forget how hard it was and start all over :)

Evangeline had her first bath last night and she liked it for the most part. Granted her first bath was technically when she was born....I've been wanting to write more about the birth and some details and all that but have been having a hard time finding enough time that I can type with 2 hands without someone needing me. Eventually!

Nursing is getting easier. The periods where it would take 30min to 1 1/2 hours for her to latch are happening less and less frequently. She is learning and so am I. I have not used a nipple shield once as of yet, which is really awesome. Just goes to show that with proper support and time even someone with flat nips can nurse. It would've been so nice to nurse shield free with Eliana, but at least I can with Evangeline. Sometimes it seems like she can't get the nipple out enough and just gets frustrated, so then I pump an ounce and it seems to get things out enough for her to do her business. I will feel more confident going out places once she is able to latch all the time without me needing to pump. It's nervewracking to think of being gone from home and her not being able to latch. I know I can bring the pump, but that's a pain in the butt. I already have my hands really full with all our 'stuff' just between the 2 girls and me. My girlfriends who have similar anatomy and used shields with firstborns said this is normal with the 2nd and to give it a little more time and latching will be a cinch.

Eliana has been adjusting really well. She is more sensitive for sure and has been crying more than I would like. She's also been watching more tv than is healthy for a 2 year old, but I'm doing what I can right now to function and it won't always be like this. I always put her down for nap and bedtime so I can snuggle her, pray with her, and sing her bedtime song, "Bible and me" as she calls it :) Actually it's Jesus Loves Me. This time of year is a little tough because we're kind of stuck indoors and that leaves limited things for us to do. We color A LOT, and read lots of books.

My goals today- take a shower and figure out something for dinner!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

9 days old

Last night I actually got 8 hours of sleep only broken up once! I feel like my body is trying to make up for literally 3 days of no sleep (the whole night I labored and the 2 nights after that when Evie refused to sleep), and of course I won't ever be able to catch up, but 8 hours helps. Of course I woke up super full and engorged, but pumped a couple ounces real quick and Evie was able to latch.
I'm SO thankful that Eliana is still sleeping well. We've been getting up around 9:30 or 10 all week and since I was up most nights til 2am with Evie, it's been really nice having Elly give me that buffer to try and get some sleep between feeds/rocking/diaper changes.
Nursing is getting easier, but still has ups and downs. We haven't hit our stride yet, but 9 days in it is getting better. The trouble is getting her to latch when she's super hungry. I would prefer to not let her get super hungry, but she is nearly impossible to wake up and feed unless she really wants it. She latches and falls asleep 1 1/2 sucks in- over and over. I can fight with her and try to keep her up enough to eat and waste 1 1/2 hours of my day or just wait another hour and let her eat when she's super hungry and finally awake-but by then I'm too full. It's a work in progress.

I am now down 35lbs. And since I gained 33lbs that means I'm 2lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight. It's sort of crazy. I wonder what happens in my body after having a baby to cause such quick weight loss. If we could bottle it and sell it I'd make a fortune! Craig says I'm a baby making and feeding machine and it's just what my body was made for. I think that's sort of funny considering I can't even get pregnant without Clomid. Ah the irony :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

6 days in and breastfeeding

Little miss Evangeline is 6 days old already! At the moment she is sleeping peacefully in her Moby wrap on me and Eliana is continuing her plot to make our whole house look like a daycare :)
And on a sidenote- I gained 33lbs total this pregnancy. Not my goal of 15, but fine I think considering I had a 9lb baby, TONS of fluid, and carried 41w2d :) I have lost 31lbs in the last 6 days, meaning I'm only 2lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. Insane, right?

The last few days have been about the journey in breastfeeding for me. The first few days it's dealing with a newborn and making sure they can latch and get colostrum. That went pretty well for us. I was praying and hoping during my pregnancy that I wouldn't need to use a nipple shield like I did the whole 14 months with Eliana. I had a couple packed in the bag just in case but didn't bring them out and just went for it au natural. It was very helpful that Evangeline was so alert and healthy after her birth. She was awake for nearly 2 hours and latched on pretty much right away. Talk about night and day difference between that and how drugged, lethargic, and completely uninterested in me Eliana was after her induced hospital birth.
My milk came in after 2 1/2 days and then it has been a whole new learning curve. She is learning to latch and eat from a full breast and I am learning to not freak out and to relax. The wacky hormones make things a little crazy at times. Yesterday she wouldn't eat from my right side pretty much the whole day. It freaked me out and I started worrying about latch and supply and all that. In the heat of a frantic, panicked baby that won't latch your hormone insane brain starts telling you the baby is starving and other craziness. I think these are the days that women without support feel they have no option but to supplement with formula or just give up on breastfeeding altogether. I get it, I really do. It's a horrible, panicky, "I'm starving my child" feeling when they can't/won't latch, your milk isn't letting down, etc. I've said it before and it's more true than ever that having support available to you right away can make all the difference in having a successful breastfeeding experience.

I met my friend Katie at La Leche League shortly before Eliana was born. I should've reached out more when Elly was born and could've probably avoided the shield if I did, but I was a new mom and didn't have the courage to reach out. This time I know Katie more, and mostly I know how important it is to reach out before you and the baby are screaming at 2am sitting in a pile of your own tears. Katie came to my mom's house 2x to help with latch and yesterday she walked me through a feeding over the phone and sure enough we got Evangeline to eat from the right side :) Katie is the baby whisperer! She has helped more friends of mine than I can count and is a Godsend to me and my family. What would I do without her? I will also comment that she leads the Central Kitsap La Leche League (open to all, 4th Wednesday of the month 12-2 at Hillcrest Church in E. Bremerton) and that she is an IBCLC lactation consultant AND an RN.
She had some great comments last night and I wanted to share them:
Take it one feeding at a time, you only have to get through just this one feeding (isn't that better than stressing about the next feeding before it's even happened?).
Do whatever you need to do to make the feeding happen. Put your toddler in the tub with some water toys and a little water, sit on the toilet, relax, and nurse. Put a little water on the highchair tray, let your toddler splash so you can nurse, etc. Basically, give yourself permission to think outside the box and do what works to make your home calm, relaxed, and to allow you a moment to nurse the baby (for us it's been a lot of Dora today).
When it comes to latching and baby pulling off- it could be gas, needs to poo, tired, not really hungry yet, etc. If baby is rooting and trying, keep at it. Baby will either tire of trying and pass out, or will eventually latch on. SO TRUE!

It's truly invaluable to have someone look at your latch, look at the baby's positioning, check for tongue tie, etc- that is what IBCLC lactation specialists are for. I highly recommend that everyone attend LLL a few times before giving birth to 1) meet Katie :) and also to learn and establish the best support team you can. If you birth in the hospital, demand (nicely of course) to see the lactation specialist asap, even if you think you don't have a problem. Get that person's phone number and make sure you can call them once you are home, otherwise find someone you can call.

As easy as we all wish and want breastfeeding to be, it's not necessarily. Simple? yes. Easy? Not always. I happen to be *blessed* with sort of flat nipples (although they are already getting tons better from 6 days of nursing) and then once my milk is in these puppies are a size H. I have oversupply, which is probably better than undersupply, but still carries it's own set of issues. Evangeline is learning to regulate her eating, stop to take breaths, latch onto a huge, full boob, etc.

And as far as pain in the beginning goes- it shouldn't feel like you're nursing a wolf. It's normal for your nipples to feel chapped, I mean think about it. Lansinoh Lanolin is great for that. If your nipples are pressed flat when they come out of baby's mouth or they start bleeding there's a good chance baby isn't latched correctly. Seeing a specialist before you get to that point is key.

Ok, more later I'm sure, but that's all for now. And yay me, I showered, made dinner, made Craig's lunch and coffee for tomorrow- and it's my first day home alone without any help :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

The name and why we chose it

Our little one has been named!

Evangeline Loretta Frazier (sometimes called Evie)

Within about 2 hours of her birth Craig and I both had a feeling this was her name, but we wanted to give it a day to think about it. We had a few pages of names ready and a top three names and Evangeline just really fit. The strange thing is that if we hadn't waited to meet her, see her, and see how the birth experience was, we probably wouldn't have picked Evangeline. Another name that I really liked meant Warrior. During my pregnancy that seemed appropriate because I learned so much about fighting for what matters to me and becoming a birth and baby warrior. But then my actual birth was so beautiful and peaceful that Warrior no longer seeemed to fit. Evangeline means "Messenger of Good News". Its root is in the word Evangelist/Evangel and it is said to have been first created by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1847 for his epic and still famous poem 'Evangeline'. She is to us most definitely a messenger of good news. All the healing and redemption I wanted, prayed for, and needed out of this birth God provided in such a powerful and yet extremely gentle way. As women our birth experiences become woven into the fabric of who we are- God knows this and designed this!

Loretta is my grandmother on my mom's side's first name. I have always loved and respected my grandma SO much. She is a Godly woman and a prayer warrior. Her and my grandpa started a school in Africa to give a whole village of children an opportunity to go to school and have food every day. She is generous, smart, funny, and now  has 19 (!!!!) great grandchildren (3 in just the last few months all birthed naturally). Her and my grandpa have been married well over 50 years and both are still active and involved in their church, community, and most importantly- family :) We had wanted to name a child after her for a long time but had troubles finding a first name that fit.....until Evangeline.

So, a big welcome to our beautiful messenger of good news!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She's HERE!!!

Nov 29th I went to the chiropractor and everything looked good. Baby girl was on the left side in perfect position. After that we headed to the midwife for a checkup. My BP was good and I didn't have swelling or any other pre-e symptoms.......but there was protein in my urine. We sent some blood off to the lab just in case. I was dilated to a 3 but very soft and easily was stretched to a 4, but baby's head was riding so high in all the fluid that we couldn't even strip the membranes. My midwife said we needed some pressure on the cervix and things should get going. We decided to do a half recipe of a high protein castor oil shake to see if we could get enough contractions to get some movement. Her and I both didn't think it would start labor at all, we just hoped for a few good contractions and then would try a full dose the next morning after I'd gotten some sleep. I did the shake at about 4pm and never once had the runs. At about 8 pm I started having contractions with pain down low and then after an hour or so it was also in my lower back. We called the midwife about 10pm for an update and then just kept going. By 11 or 12 we decided to go in the big soaking tub in my mom's room- I never got out! It was the only way the contractions seemed managable so I just stayed in until baby came. The midwife arrived about 3am-ish I think and checked me- at a 7! Bag of waters was still intact and putting a lot of pressure on my cervix, making me feel a little 'pushy'. Everyone left the bathroom and Craig and I just kept rolling with the contractions. We'd been in the tub for about 4 or more hours by that time and usually dozed between contractions and then rolled with the waves as they came- about 55 seconds long every single one. I used low vocalization to deal with the pain and even though I felt a little silly, it was working and I didn't want to stop. Around 3:50am during a contraction I felt like, 'hmmm, if I push right now I know the water will break." I gave a light push and Craig and I heard the sound in the room, 'POP!' I could tell from Craig's expression that there was a major gush of water in the tub. From there it was almost a blur. Within seconds of my water breaking there was a head crowning. I panicked for a second and we yelled and screamed like crazy for everyone to get in the bathroom. I calmed my breathing as best I could and said "Jesus" during the contractions- it hurt! After only two pushes- and not me deciding to do it, my body just did it on it's own and I rolled with it- there was a head and I thought, "well what the heck let's just do this" so I pushed a little more and her body flew out! Granted it hurt and I was loud and wanted it over! She came out so fast that there wasn't even time for Craig to catch her. Labor start to finish was 8 hours, with about 4 hours of actual real pain and 5 minutes or less of pushing.

She is 9lbs 1oz, 21inches and as perfect as can be. I am amazed and proud of myself for delivering a 'big' baby at home and not even tearing. The fact that she came out in 2 pushes is incredible. To have this wet and covered in vernix baby placed on my chest was so special. She breathed right away and gave some small cries, but she was also peaceful and got the much needed time she needed skin-to-skin with mommy. We also let her umbilical cord keep pulsing and that was really cool to see and feel. Within 30 minutes we'd cut the cord and I delivered the placenta. At that point Craig had taken her out of the tub and went in to the cozy living room with a fire so I could deal with the placenta without baby on me.

She was awake and alert for 2 hours after her birth and nursed on each side 2x. She's been sleeping like crazy since then and getting colostrum when I can wake her enough to do so :) I've already cut her fingernails that were super long and laughed at how much more laid back I am this time. I was terrified for a week to cut Eliana's nails!

Alright, this is all for now- wanted to get basic details down now and will be more specific later on when time and brain allow.

I'm seriously SO grateful to God for the birth He gave us. It was an incredible experience and I see so much how our bodies know what they need to do and what they want to do. I can't imagine ever having a baby in a hospital again unless there was a major need. Even how alert and yet peaceful baby is is really incredible.

I'm sort of in shock that I actually got my homebirth and not only that- my waterbirth! Baby's heart tones never had any issues and she literally flew out of me pink and healthy. I feel a million times better than I did after having Eliana.
 Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

40w3d :)

Oh my goodness, I am SO glad to have the power back on! It went out Monday at 6:45pm and came back on Tuesday night at 11:45pm. I was busy reading Breaking Dawn by flashlight.

Mostly I was having tv/internet/radio withdrawls, but no lights and the knowledge that this baby can start labor at any time and there is a blizzard outside, wasn't too comforting.

Yesterday Craig and I went to the hospital for a BioPhysicalProfile for baby girl. Basically an ultrasound where they are looking for specific things. Pretty much baby girl couldn't have possibly scored any better- 8 out of 8 and it was quick to get those numbers. The 2 ultrasound techs were shocked and actually chuckling the whole time about how busy she was. They said they were sort of  dreading doing a BPP on an 'overdue' mama since they usually take a long time to get the right movement counts- but not me! Baby girl made it a cinch. It was little tricky to count her breathing because she wouldn't stop moving. She was literally kicking my placenta and the ultrasound wand and then doing full twirls- all while head down thankfully :) When we saw her profile for a few seconds she had her fist in her mouth and her cheeks were actually chubby! I'm not going to announce her 'estimated weight' because I sort of think those are dumb and can set us up for emotional stress if the baby is 'too big' or 'too small', but I will say she is fat and happy :)

To see the basic scoring for a BPP and how it works, please see:
Seeing baby yesterday made me SO excited to meet her. This time around I feel like I've been pregnant forever since I found at about 3 days pregnant (thanks to charting) and I'm now 3 days 'over' my EDD based on ovulation. With Elly we found out at 5 weeks and then she was taken 3 weeks early- so I'm basically experiencing a 2 month longer pregnancy now- in terms of how long I'm aware of it and how long it's lasting. Seeing her dance and gum her fist and her adorable nose and cheeks melted our hearts and I can't wait to hold and kiss her. I'm also glad that she will probably be stronger and definitely fatter than Elly was. I'm praying she'll be an agressive nurser and come out fighting and pink :)
My blood pressure has been pretty good. I didn't take it at all yesterday. I figured with the stress of no power, driving to Silverdale on icy roads and the impending BPP (which turned out fabulous so I shouldn't have worried) my BP wouldn't have been great. Today it's been about 127/77. I need to catch up on water drinking today and it should get even better.

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again- I almost can't believe that God has worked to allow me to be this pregnant. After having Elly at 37 weeks I guess I never thought that I'd be allowed to carry a baby until that baby wanted to come. I figured I'd always be induced or at least under a ton of pressure to induce and that blood pressure issues would haunt me. So being over 40 weeks and having a healthy baby and a healthy me is so great!
Today we're doing some Thanksgiving food prep so I'll be occupied. I will add that I did buy some castor oil at Target yesterday since it was $1.50 and I figured I might as well have it just in case- but I don't plan on taking it until I need to, despite Craig joking he will put it in my drink. I'd prefer labor to start laxative free, that's for sure!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

40 weeks!

Today is my actual Estimated Due Date (based on ovulation date, not just LMP, so should be the most accurate). That being said, some babies just need more time or their position holds things up...or who the heck knows! Why babies come when they come is the multi-million dollar question.

I am sort of feeling like I'll be pregnant forever, but not in a bad way. I'm just treating each day like another day and taking it as it comes. Craig is a bit anxious for it to just happen already. His first guess was last Saturday or Sunday and then yesterday he guessed today. Two wrong guesses so far! That's why I'm just not guessing. He is holding out that based on dreams this baby will be super blonde with blue eyes and weigh 8lbs 6oz. Anyone recognize that weight? Um yes, that would be how much the sweet baby Jesus weighed in the prayer on Ricky Bobby The Ballad of Talledega Nights. Lol. Heck if she's only 8lb 6oz I'll be glad :)

Haven't had a biophysical profile yet. If I'm still pregnant by my prenatal on Tuesday I'll check with my midwife when that will happen. I'm also supposed to go to the Chiropractor tomorrow and would really like to go to check my pelvis and back and baby's position- but won't be heading from Poulsbo to Port Orchard at 40 weeks if there truly is a snow storm. We'll see!

I am currently typing this from my sister's laptop on the bed in the guest suite at my parent's house. I have to say- I wish I had a laptop all the time! I know you can find them for a few hundred dollars but that's a few hundred dollars I don't have to spend on a laptop. Someday!

Craig and I went and saw Unstoppable the other night and it was SO good. Very intense and incredible. Denzel is always good for an edge of your seat ride. Unfortunately it didn't start labor, oh well.

Alright, until next time!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Home Visit; 39w3d

Had our home visit with the midwife today, we are ready to go for baby's arrival :)

I've had several people ask if I've been 'checked' or anything and basically I'm not totally against being checked, but have seen no reason if it's just to see the progress on dilation. I figured if it was needed for something else then we'd go ahead and do it.

Baby's heartbeat seemed in a weird position today and since I have so much fluid I am the ideal candidate for my baby to turn breech or sideways, which is not ideal! We decided to do an internal check to make sure her head is down. Thank the Lord it is still down! That's not to say she can't or won't switch around in the next few days, but we'll keep praying she doesn't. If she had been breech or sideways we would've gone to my chiropractor to move her around. My midwife says things are getting soft- like lips versus the tip of a nose earlier in pregnancy and I'm about 2cm. That means 8cm to go, which can happen overnight or can also take 2 weeks. You just never know.

My blood pressure has been good (yay!) and any swelling or puffiness is just normal at this point in the pregnancy. My wedding ring still fits on and off which is insane to me. I couldn't wear it for half of my pregnancy with Eliana. Today there was a bit of protein in my urine, but every other week it's always been negative, so we'll see what it is next time and not freak out since BP and swelling are both great. Occasionally there's a fluke reading of protein and then it's fine after that.

We're also ordering a bio-physical profile (fancy ultrasound) to check baby's size, position, and all that. We'll get a clearer picture of just exactly how much fluid there is. AND we can triple check that this actually is a girl! haha

I'm praying for contractions to start asap :) I've had 3 nights of amazing sleep and we are ready to meet her!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

39 Weeks

I am 39 weeks pregnant today and had to buy 2 things I've never had to buy myself in my entire life; TUMS and Sleep Aid. Ugh, heartburn, I almost didn't even know what it was until I told Craig how I was feeling and he said, "yep, heartburn." And as for the Sleep Aid, it's the drowsy ingredient in Benadryl without all the other ingredients. I took it last night and didn't wake up wide awake at midnight like has been happening the last week. Friday night I was honestly awake (like WIDE awake) from midnight til 2 am. I prayed and stared at the wall for an hour, then read half of Supernatural Childbirth and finally fell asleep. So, Saturday night I took a half dose of Sleep Aid and boy did it help! Ps. My midwife said Benadryl is ok to take :)

I will happily be partaking in Sleep Aid again tonight. I sure as heck don't want to start labor exhausted, so I have some catching up on Zzzzz's to do.

Moms and More had our biggest fundraiser of the year on Saturday- our Holiday Bazaar with nearly 40 vendors. Putting on the Bazaar was a ginormous task for myself and the other coordinator. I spent more hours than I can count calling, emailing, and dealing with vendors. The month before the Bazaar it was often 2 or more hours a day just talking to vendors. The week before it was more like 4 hours a day with vendors, and then still emailing and organizing and doing the finances, etc. And of course I still have a sweet 2 year old, a husband and home, the actual Mom's group to co-coordinate, prenatal and chiropractic appointments, and a home birth coming up really soon. It was exhausting.
The Bazaar was very successful and I'm really glad it went so well. We will make some changes for next year and just improve every year, but overall it was very good. That being said, I am sort of glad it's over. My blood pressure was better this morning than it has been in about 2 weeks! Yay for a crapload of stress disappearing overnight :)

My belly is bigger than I ever thought it could be. I'm putting my clothes through a rigorous stress test that's for sure. But who the heck wants to buy a new shirt for one week? Hmmm....what else can I say?

Am I ready to have the baby? Yeah, I guess so and no not really. Am I about to pop? Not exactly, I'm pretty sure my belly button will stay closed. Have I been 'checked'? Nope, no need to get my hopes up or feel disappointed if nothing is happening. Baby will come when she is ready. Am I still pregnant? Yep. Am I SO sick of being pregnant? Not really, but it is very physically taxing. Yes, those are the questions I get on a daily basis and I'm sure as I get even closer to my EDD and perhaps pass it the questions will vary and come to, when are you being induced? Isn't it time to get that baby out? etc etc etc. A few of my friends have had to endure going 'past' (although technically you are NOT past due until you are past 42 weeks, even the ACOG still says that), so I've seen and heard what they've dealt with and I'm not exactly looking forward to that. Nor do I want this baby to be like 10lbs or anything. I am however pretty stoked to see what labor is like when it starts spontaneously. Like, will my water break before or during labor? Will I actually see a mucous plug? Will it start at night or during the day? etc...lots of unknowns and it's exciting- like Christmas. You know that whatever is under the tree is pretty great and you just have to wait to see what it is :)

In the meantime I'll try to remember that people are well meaning and I think slightly uncomfortable around very pregnant women and can't think of anything to say other than, "wow, you're still pregnant???" So, until you see me carrying around a tiny baby, yes, I'm still pregnant :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

13 days til my EDD. As much as I want to get on with things and just have this baby already- I have to admit that every day I'm still pregnant and she has the right to pick her birthday is a small victory I think. Eliana was already 5 days old by this point in my pregnancy. I'd endured 50plus hours of labor in a horrible induction and we'd been home for 3 days by the time I would've been 38 weeks.
This sweet little girl is happy and kicking away and is not ready yet as is obvious by her decision to not start labor yet. What exactly starts labor is up for dispute a bit but there are some interesting studies happening showing the link between the baby's lungs releasing the protein 'surfactant' once they are ready and that starting labor. Makes sense right? Clearly miscommunication can happen when a mother goes into labor at 28 weeks or is still pregnant at 44 weeks....I'll be curious to see what the studies find as the next couple years go on.
That's a big ol' belly! Hello 38 weeks.

Eliana wanted to pose by the door, too :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Silliness :)

Diana to Craig, "did you know some KOA campgrounds have stocked fishing holes?"

Craig, "Yes, those are the KOI campgrounds."



Wednesday, November 3, 2010


18 days. That's now what the ticker says. It'll say 17 days in 30 minutes. But who's, me! It's a fairly well known fact from this blog that I will avoid induction as much as is humanly possible without harm to myself or the baby. We may do a 'magic milkshake' if I go postdate- that would be castor oil. I'm hoping the usual natural methods will do the job; Raspberry leaf tea, Evening Primrose Oil, and love contractions and prostaglandins....aka- intimacy.
I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions for several weeks now. They happen every day and usually all throughout the day. Last Sunday I had what I would call 'real' contractions for almost a whole hour. They were about a minute long and 2 minutes apart. And they definitely got Craig's hopes up! I didn't want a baby born on Halloween so I was glad when they fizzled out. I call them 'real' because they were regular, more intense, and just plain felt different. I could sense them coming and then they would radiate all the way up my belly and up the sides and then form this huge muscle ball right in the middle- you could literally see it. Since then it's been back to semi-regular braxton hicks. And I should note that I never had a single braxton hicks with Eliana. I never had a contraction until I was literally in labor. This time around my uterus is getting a lot of practice!
From last Tuesday to last night my placenta has changed some more. Didn't appear to be a whole lot more calcium, but the edges of it look a little frayed now. Apparently this is normal as your placenta prepares to separate :) YAY!
I'm uncomfortable at this point. My belly is so big. I can't reach anything and it's a huge pain in the butt if I drop something and there's no one to help pick it up. Clothes that always fit no matter what, don't fit. I know tons of people who'd probably say, "well at least you can get pregnant!" And to that I would say, "yes, I agree. I feel very blessed to have a 2 year old and this 2nd baby coming soon and I thank Jesus for them every day. That blessing doesn't however take away the pain and uncomfortableness that the female body goes through cramming a 7-9lb baby into the cavity formerly full of organs." What do you think happens to the bladder, stomach, lungs, etc? They get totally and nearly completely squished!  The extra fluid that is distending my uterus is not helping anything. Women with polyhydramnios (extra fluid) can sometimes have babies with issues. My midwife said she feels confident and fine that this baby is healthy because of the 3 ultrasounds I had with my OB and also that I did the quad screen. If there was a spinal issue it would've been found. And I feel confident that Dr. Quimby wouldn't have given me her blessing to transfer to midwifery care at 26 weeks if she had seen anything that would cause concern. So, in my case, it's just a lot of extra fluid. Who the heck knows why. I also read something this week about an anterior placenta making a women's belly bigger. With Elly my placenta (and also her) were posterior- near my spine. This time the placenta and baby are out front.

Baby girl is very active and kicking up a storm. She has her definitely napping times and when she's awake- she's awake! Eliana is so excited and a tad anxious to meet her little sister. She started saying ,"hi sissy!" today to my belly instead of just, "hi baby!" She kisses and hugs my belly and tries to pat the baby's back (not sure how that works). And she asks every day when the baby is coming 'home' or 'back'. She is a total little mommy. She changes her baby doll's diapers and feeds them and pats their back so they can burp. She won't go anywhere without a baby, diaper, and bottle. I have to hide them or have them 'nap' in the car so we won't lose them running errands. She panics when she drops "baby's milk, uh oh! uh oh! OH NO!" in the car....yes, that's literally her reaction and then she starts crying. She is a good little mommy :)
I'm still a little sad that she won't be my only anymore and that I'll have to share my hugs and kisses. I know that as soon as I'm holding this new baby my love will just be multiplied and I'll love this little one more than I could imagine. But right now only having Elly to hug and kiss it's hard to comprehend having enough hours in the day to love two little girls as much as I love Elly. God works it out I know.

Craig and I tried to narrow down the name a few nights ago and I think just made it worse. Instead of going, "oh yeah that's the one", we said, "oh wait, that's a nice one, too and that one and that one!" Oh dear :)
So, we're not being sneaky and secretive, we seriously don't know what we're going to name her. I'm praying God will make it clear the name He wants for her.

Alright, the alarm will come way too early tomorrow morning. It's been one of those days!

Paula Deen's Kahlua Cake and a fabulous 80's party!

Kahlua Cake from Paula Deen's Magazine

Kahlua Cake

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 (18 1/4 ounce) German chocolate cake mix

1 (4 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding mix

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup Kahlua (coffee-flavored liqueur)

4 large eggs

Kahlua Topping

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup Kahlua

1/4 cup water

  • 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan.

  • 2 Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over bottom of pan; set aside.

  • 3 In large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix.

  • 4 Add water, oil, liqueur and eggs.

  • 5 Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.

  • 6 Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

  • 7 While cake is baking, prepare Kahlua topping; in a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients.

  • 8 Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 2 minutes, stirring often.

  • 9 When cake is done baking, carefully pour hot Kahlua topping over cake.

  • 10 Let stand in pan, for 4 hours.

  • 11 Invert cake onto wire rack.

  • "Grease" and flour means PAM spray and flour in my kitchen:)

    Ok, once floured, in go the nuts. You can definitely omit these, but it's just so darn pretty when it's done.

    Alright, step 3 and 4 here in the bowl.
    I do not have a Kitchenaid or anything of the sort- so this is my mixer and hey, it works!

    So pretty! Blended and in the pan it goes.

    Bake for 45 minutes :)

    Ingredients for the Kahlua sauce. This is what makes the cake super rich and gooey.

    Here comes the 'caramel' sauce!

    Bring sauce to boil for 2 minutes. Smells like caramel-y goodness!

    The chocolate kahlua cake out of the oven....but wait, the next step is where the trick is!

    So, I was going to take a picture of me pouring the caramel in, but that would've become a disaster real quick! So, you slowly pour the caramel sauce over the cake right out of the oven. You have to pour...wait....pour....wait....because it takes a couple minutes for it to soak in and not spill over.

    Mostly soaked in.....and then you let it sit for 4 hours and absorb all the gooeyness.

    TA-DA!!! This is not a cake for the faint of heart. Very rich, very moist and gooey. Goes great with whipped cream.

    I make this cake every year for my Father in Law's birthday and have made it for a Halloween Party the last 2 years :)
    Here's a pic of Craig and me dressed 80's for this year's party:

    Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

    Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

    (I'll find out tomorrow if it tastes good, but it made my house smell awesome and that's usually a pretty good sign!)


    1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

    2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

    2 eggs

    3/4 cup white sugar

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    1 2/3 cups light cream (or sub 1 can evaporated milk)

    3 tablespoons butter, softened

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    2/3 cup chopped pecans


    1.Bake sweet potatoes until tender, peel and mash. Make sure all lumps are removed, straining if necessary.

    2.Lightly beat eggs. Blend together eggs and sweet potatoes. Stir in sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Blend in cream. Pour into pie shell.

    3.Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) 45-55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge of pie comes out clean. Cool completely on rack.

    4.To make Caramelized Pecan Topping: Combine butter or margarine, brown sugar, and pecans. Gently drop by spoonfuls over cooled pie to cover top. Broil 5 inches below heat until mixture begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Watch carefully, if cooked too long, top will turn syrupy. Cool on rack.

    Out of the oven (test spot from knife will be covered, you'll see!). Used mini cookie cutter to make leaf pattern on edge.

    All done with the pecan topping :) Yum!

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Any day......we hope :)

    It would appear I am arriving into the 'not so fun' part of pregnancy. I'm tired, achy, big, just want to be done. I had a good midwife appointment last night. Baby has dropped quite a bit since 2 weeks ago and her head is down in good position (for now).

    On the ultrasound we could see little particles of vernix floating in the amniotic fluid and also very small specks of calcium in the placenta. At first I was thinking, 'uh, as in my placenta is crapping out???' My midwife assured me it looks like a good, healthy placenta and is just getting ready for labor- the small calcium spots are totally normal as we get close to labor. Ohhhh, ok. She is thinking I will most likely not go over 40 weeks, so it could be any day. Although I'd hate to get my hopes up and then be mad if I go to 42, you know? So, we'll see.

    My belly button is completely flat, my wedding ring still miraculously fits on and off, feet are a tad swollen, and I've gained 21lbs. And yes, it's stressing me out. I'm bothered by that number as I didn't want to gain more than 15lbs total. I have to tell you though, I think a lot of that 21lbs is fluid. Partially me retaining fluid, and then a lot of the extra fluid in my belly. There were big pockets of it in the ultrasound last night. Baby girl has quite a nice cushion. Not to mention she might weigh 7lbs already! I can only do what I can to be healthy, drink water, and prepare for labor. And then hopefully the weight will melt off after delivery like it did with Eliana (-26lbs in 6 weeks).

    What I'm working on now is tying up loose ends in my life. The little things that nag my brain and might keep me from being relaxed and ready to have this baby. For instance, Craig and I switched auto/home insurance companies a few months ago and I'm STILL trying to get it all finished. It wasn't supposed to be my battle in the first place since the new company promised they'd take care of everything. But, since emails and calls from Craig to them go unreturned 99% of the time and even emails to corporate go unanswered, that leaves Craig and me in the position of having to try and sort it all out week after week. The old company still owes us $160. They took it in error 1 month ago and it's been a heck of a time trying to get it back. The way my brain works won't allow me to forget about that $160. I think about it every day and quite frankly need it to pay bills- but that aside it's still bothering me because it's unresolved. I HATE things that are unresolved. I HATE lack of follow through and flakiness and that's what we've been dealing with. There are several things going on like this in my life and it's really just stupid. Why I am as the customer being put out? It's crappy business etiquette.

    Ina May Gaskin talks a lot about the mother and her role mentally in having a speedy labor and even labor starting. I want to feel free to have this baby whenever it's time. Not be worried about all the little things I'm supposed to be doing or babysitting people and/or companies that can't seem to figure out how to do their jobs. These little details nag at me and I have to have them resolved in order to move on. Or I suppose these companies could put me on their payroll since I'm doing all their work for them and then that might help how I'm feeling! :)

    I just finished reading Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart by Carol Leonard. It was pretty good. I definitely prefer the vibe and stories of Baby Catcher better, but it was still a good read. Carol has worked a lot of the last few decades with Teddy Charvet who was the first President of MANA (Midwifes Alliance of North America).......AND who just so happened to deliver me! It was pretty surreal reading about these women and their huge role in getting midwifery out from the underground and making it legislated and legal and then to think that one of them actually caught me 27 years ago. I'm thinking I'll send her an email and tell her about me- she lives on Bainbridge Island now.

    Anywho, off to pee. TMI? Uh, no, well all know preggo women pee every 10 seconds :)

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Nearly 36 weeks

    Well, according to the ticker on the side of my blog I have 31 days until my estimated due date. I am feeling very pregnant and that it is definitely coming. My fundus is measuring 40 weeks thanks to the pockets of water giving baby girl tons of cushion. When my water breaks, it's going break! Niagra Falls here we come! Hopefully it'll happen in the birth tub and then we won't have any mess to deal with.

    I am experiencing pelvic/pubic pain that I never had with Eliana. It's like being punched in the crotch, although the actual va-jay-jay is fine. Hmmm,  I liked that saying a lot more when Oprah wasn't throwing it around every episode. Time to find a new nickname for the lady part. Apparently this pain is more common with 2nd and subsequent pregnancies and commonly happens around the 35 week mark. Sometimes it's Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction-, which is a separating of the symphysis pubis bone (the Wikipedia description and picture is helpful). Not sure if that's exactly what's going on. For me it is a general aching, as if I have a bad bruise, from the groin to the upper thighs. It's quite uncomfortable. It hurts the most after walking a lot or getting in and out of bed. My chiropractor said the baby has probably dropped and is putting a lot of pressure on my bones now. That is good, so I'm trying to remember these are good pains! For most women the SPD pain goes away after delivery, a few continue to have aching for several months as things get back to normal. At any rate I have a good chiropractor and I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. Baby is making sure I have to slow down a bit!

    I'm super tired. The burst of energy you are supposed to get before baby comes has not come yet. I just want to crawl in bed and stay there. But alas, this mommy has a sweet little 2 year old that wants to read and play all day.

    I thought I wouldn't end up feeling too crowded since I never really did with Eliana, but there is literally a little butt right between my ribs when I sit down. I can press on it and it moves a tad and bounces right back up. I'm slightly nervous about how big this baby will be, but I believe that God grows babies our bodies can deliver (generally speaking and GD aside). Whether she's 7lbs or 10lbs, she's gonna come out and I'll survive. And because I'm an overachiever I'll probably be more proud of myself if she is big! haha!

    Anywho, blood pressure continues to be perfect with my 1-2x daily checks. It was a little high this morning, but that was definitely stress caused. It's fine now. Starting next week I'll be on weekly checkups with my midwife and the home visit will be in a week and a half.

    I'm pretty much just super curious when baby girl is going to decide to grace us with her presence and how the whole labor and delivery will go. I'm also kind of excited to start labor spontaneously and out of the blue since I was robbed of that experience last time.

    Ok, having major braxton hicks contractions today. ugh! They are not painful and are not increasing in intensity or frequency, but they are uncomfortable! Between the crotch bruise and the rock hard uterus I'm feeling like an alien has abducted my body, thankfully she is a very cute little alien :)
    I haven't been in a blogging mood lately. Sometimes I just feel like the rule 'if I don't have anything nice to say I shouldn't say anything' should be followed :) This is a lesson in self-discipline that applies not only to our children but also to us. The internet (or email, or facebook, or blogging, etc) gives us enough anonymity that it's easy to say things that you would never say to someone's face. The adage, "hurt people, hurt people" is true. When we're upset and lash out it's because we are in fact hurt. I am frustrated and basically just angry I guess about some things in life having to do with dealing with people- but I'm going to hold my tongue for the moment and pray that God gives direction in the situation with all involved. Is that vague enough to drive you crazy???? :)

    In life I tend to jump in with both feet if I'm going to do something. When I went to highschool, after being homeschooled for 10 years, I got A's in every single class. I was bored. Then I went to OC doing Running Start, A's again (until the 2nd year and then I was bored and stopped going to class and ended up with a 3.5 gpa). Then I went to Northwest University, A's again and the Dean's List. This is less about me being 'smart' (although I hope I am!) and more about me not liking to half a** anything. If my name is on it, I want it to be excellent. I met Craig and within a year we'd completely fixed his credit, paid off his truck, planned a wedding, and gotten married. If I say yes to something, I say yes all the way. Working at the banks I tried to always go above and beyond in my sales goals. I hated thinking my name would be in the bottom of the ranking. I definitely hated not being in the top 10% of sellers. I was always the person in class who showed up, homework done days early, ready for the test. I never flaked on a fellow student when doing a group activity. I never flaked on fellow coworkers and always felt super bad calling in sick even when I was puking and had a major fever. I would stress about the customers that were supposed to come see me and how my coworkers would have to rearrange their lunch breaks because of me.
    I typically only say yes to things that matter to me. I don't want to waste my time and devotion on something I only sort of care about. I won't comment on just anything, it has to actually matter to me in order for me raise a strong opinion. Craig's says my hot button issues are breastfeeding, unnecessary hospital interventions/inductions, and colic. He's right, those are the topics I typically will always have something to say about. Those are the topics I know about. I would never try to tell someone how to prevent testicular cancer or make a comment about why they got it- I know jack squat about it! But how to deal with colic (or moreso just survive it) and standing up for women everywhere who have been through it and told it was because they didn't do something right or didn't eliminate a certain food from their diet, or 'if they'd only just read this book' etc- you better believe I will jump in and speak up. So, if it's something I'm volunteering in (which is I guess every area of my life since nothing comes with a paycheck!), my marriage, raising my daughter, researching and writing about something- I do it all the way. My midwife told me she doesn't imagine I ever do anything slow. She's probably right. Craig says he strongly believes the only reason that Eliana was born in 25 minutes of pushing after 50+ hours of exhausting labor and didn't end up a cesarean was my sheer determination. He's probably right. It was mind over matter. That is just my personality. It also comes from not having an easy life. Dealing with challenges encourages us to build strength and coping mechanisms. This doesn't always end up well for folks. I do have a hard time trusting others to follow through and do what they say they will. Life has many times taught me the lesson that the only person I can count on is me. This is not a healthy lesson and one I hope my daughter doesn't have reinforced 20 times like I did. God wants us to live in community with other believers that will love us, support us, help hold us accountable. satan wants us to try it all on our own. But what do you do when you feel that is your only choice?

    I love this quote from the recent Reader's Digest, "Hard work spotlights the character of people: Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses,  and some don't turn up at all." ~ Sam Ewing

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    A few good reasons to shop at Goodwill!

    I have found some particularly good (and cheap!) items at Goodwill lately and thought I would share :)

    Dirt Devil Jr $20.99 retail. Ours (and works with new batteries) for $3.

    Beautiful new with tags holiday dress for Eliana for $6, and it is this season's Costco dress, retailing $18.99.
    Columbia Vertex Waterproof toddler snow bibs new with tags $50-$100 retail. Ours for $7.

    Hanna Andersson quilted pink coat, $3. Typically $40 and up retail.

    Carters footed jammies, $8 at Costco where they are cheapest. Ours for $3.50.

    Bunny Costume, ours for $1.50!

    Super cute western shirt, ours for $2.

    Fisher Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-boo soother. Retail is $36 and up. Ours for literally $2. Works with new batteries.

    Are you inspired??? Ok, go find some deals!

    I also should add that just because something looks a little 'icky' in the store doesn't mean you shouldn't get it. A good washing and stain treatment works wonders on most clothes. Many people simply don't treat stains and just bring them to Goodwill instead. Your gain! I use Clorox/Lysol wipes to wipe down and clean toys that cannot be submersed in a bleach water solution. The toy vacuum was rather filthy when I brought it home but looks brand new now :)

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Prenatal Supplements

    Thought I'd post real quick what I'm taking supplement-wise during my pregnancy. Please consult your caregiver for what you specifically should be taking.
    As a patient of an OB I was instructed just to take a prenatal. As a client of a midwife I have learned there is a lot I can do naturally to help my body.

    Nature Made Prenatal Multi +DHA: 1 a day liquid softgel
    Available at Costco, it's nice because you only take one a day and it's a softgel.

    Kirkland Signature Vitamin D3 2000IU: 2 softgels daily
    There is a lot of research available about Vit D's importance to our immune system, this is one great article, . It is recommended to take 4000 IU daily.

    Carlson 100% Norwegian Cod Liver Oil 1000mg: 1 daily
    For skin and heart health

    Country Life Calcium 500mg-Magnesium500mg-Potassium99mg: 2 daily
    I am taking this to help prevent high blood pressure and preeclampsia. FYI, if you do develop Pre-E, guess what they put in your IV........magnesium :) I'd rather take it preventatively personally.

    Nature's Way Evening Primrose Oil 1300mg: 2 daily
    Does a host of wonders for the female body. Excellent for Trying to Conceive. EPO contains a wonderful prostaglandin and helps prepare the body (specifically your cervix) for labor. Also can be used vaginally after 36 weeks to soften the cervix and any scar tissue, . It is recommended to take 2400mg daily orally after 34 weeks of pregnancy. Highly recommended for women with PCOS.

    Rasberry Leaf Tea
    Can be taken your whole pregnancy. Is said to help prepare your uterus for labor and help induce labor in a 'ready' uterus and baby.
    I buy most of my supplements at Super Supplements.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Happy Birthday Eliana!

    My sweet little girl is officially 2 years old in 1 hour and 40 minutes. *Insert sad face*.

    As a mother I feel like every milestone is very bittersweet. It's awesome that she's saying 1-5 new words every day, but I also remember when she was days old and trying to just figure out breastfeeding. It's awesome that she loves to read and plays with her baby dolls as if they are really her babies, but I remember when she was still the baby. It's awesome that she loves avocado, scrambled eggs, and eating 'crunchy balls'- aka Kix cereal, but I remember the first time she tried pureed carrots and the crazy face she made..........she'll never be that little again and that's a bit sad to me. My joy in it is that she is so sweet and tender and loving. She is innately, I believe, a sensitive and kind soul. I am blessed to be with her every day and have the opportunity to hug and kiss her all day long. We can sit and read Little Mommy (her favorite book) 5 times in a row. We can count her toy cars and say the colors together. She can watch me put on makeup and ask to wear some of mommy's eye shadow. We can go outside and pick peas from our veggie garden and wave hello to our corn. I am so lucky and blessed to be her mother and get to have all these moments with her.

    I think it would all be that much sadder for me if this was my last or only child. I am thankful I get to experience all the baby stuff again with a new baby soon and hopefully more after that. But little Eliana will only continue to get older and I will have to deal with the tears of losing my little baby.
    I noticed yesterday that her last two molars, on top, are indeed making their way through. She almost has a full mouth of teeth! She is literally, like I said, saying 1-5 new words everyday. Craig and I look at each other and say, "how did she learn that?" Like Sunday at TJ Maxx, she pointed to a huge stuffed teddy bear and said, "I need that." Uh, really? Oh my. lol. She instead made it out of the store with a super sweet book called My Sister and I :)

    Eliana is growing and changing every day and becoming less my baby and more my child. I'm thankful to God every day that He chose us to raise her and teach her about Him and life. I pray we are doing a good job and someday Elly won't need too much counseling because of me :)

    Ok, I feel like I'm rambling........and I need to go clean the oven (again), I did it twice yesterday but there's some stuff not coming off. I also cleaned the bathroom, did 3 loads of laundry, vacuumed, mopped, did prenatal yoga, made Craig's lunch for today, made meatloaf and Dutch potatoes from scratch, and paid the bills. And I was exhausted last night, seriously. I'm realizing my body is trying to enforce limitations on me in this pregnant state and I'm not loving it. Sunday I was up at 5:30am to be at church by 7am to sing with the worship team in the 3 morning services. I got home around 2pm and then Craig, Elly, and I left again to run errands for a few hours. I didn't get to bed til almost midnight that day. And again, I was exhausted. I feel like I need to push the envelope because I will be so busy and probably overwhelmed with a 2 year old and a brand new baby in a matter of weeks....but I also know somewhere in my brain I should be taking it easy and relaxing and resting up for the marathon known as labor. Balance I guess. Forever working on it!

    Alright, off to conquer the oven and then my 34 week midwife appointment later.......