Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Garden

This summer I decided to start back up my garden. I was really into it two years ago but last year, with a 5 month old when planting season started, I just couldn't take it on. Not that I have any more free time this year! But I'm trying to eat a lot healthier too and save money, so a garden is a great way to accomplish both goals.

Tim built me some garden boxes a few years ago. There are two approximately 10' x 3' and a smaller one, maybe half the size of the other that I use for herbs.

Basil and cilantro
I sowed all plants from seed directly in the garden except the tomato plants, so I had to wait until late May to get started and they're just now bearing veggies. Last time, I sowed all the seeds inside, but that was just way too much work to try. And could you imagine me trying to set up boxes of seeds in our kitchen with a crazy 18 month old running around? That would be a disaster waiting to happen!

beautiful basilI planted basil, dill, cilantro, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, lettuce and green onions. They all turned out really well! I'm no pro here; there's definitely some grass growing up between the plants that I haven't gotten around to pulling and the plants aren't perfect, but they look great to me.

front: lettuce, green onions, zucchini
back: squash, tomatoes

a little baby zucchini. so cute!

In the past few years, August has always been my busiest month at work, which is exactly when everything is ready and ripe, so it's been hard to use everything. But this August shouldn't be as bad. I just need to make a point to use everything that's growing. So far I've already made a few things with the cilantro and basil and we ate the first of the tomatoes tonight. So juicy and delicious!

The herbs especially are going crazy. With all the hot weather we had the last few weeks, they are really thriving. Any favorite recommendations for the herbs? I have made a few kinds of pesto (regular, basil/spinach pesto and cilantro pesto), and we've been eating caprese salads regularly (YUM) and need to make more because the basil is out of control right now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under the Knife

"Remember this, for it is as true as true gets: Your body is NOT a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic." Ina May Gaskin

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my previous birthing experience and what I want out of this next one.

Most days pre-pregnancy I didn’t give too much thought to my birth experience with Barrett. He came out, we were both healthy, and that is definitely a good outcome. BUT it didn’t go the way I wanted AT ALL. I did a pretty fair amount of preparation for the birth. I read a lot of books about the Bradley method and natural childbirth, we attended a birth class, I set up a labor playlist on my ipod, bought thick, non-slip socks for the walks I envisioned through the halls, drank red raspberry leaf tea, tried evening primrose oil, longs walks, bouncing on an exercise ball for hours on end, and did just everything I read about to try to make this baby come out! I figured I was as ready for my birth experience as I could be.

But it wasn’t to be. Things descended as far away from my vision as they could. My goal was to have a medicine-free birth with as little interventions as possible. That plan was nixed when my child decided he was perfectly happy inside my belly and intended to stay there indefinitely. The closer we got to Christmas, the more I stressed and we finally agreed to induce at 10 days past due date. This was as much my fault as the doctor’s. They weren’t intending to let me go much further, but I didn’t try to stop it either. I was ready for him to come out and so I was onboard with this plan unfortunately.

The first intervention was the insertion of an IV into my hand immediately upon admission. Second was cervadil then a monitor around my stomach and then increasing levels of pitocin. I couldn’t easily get out of bed to use the bathroom, let alone walk the halls, because of all of this going on. When my water broke the next afternoon, I was confined to the bed. When the pitocin contractions became way too much to take, I finally and reluctantly agreed to an epidural. This led to a catheter. And eventually, I ended up with a c-section, which is pretty much as invasive as it gets.

My goal = no interventions. Yeah, didn’t happen.

I was pretty much the textbook case of why interventions lead to c-sections.

I can’t help but feel incredibly unsatisfied and disappointed by what happened. I was in intense pain for more than a week afterwards and moderate pain for a few more. I couldn’t get in and out of the bed unassisted, I couldn’t pull up my own pants, couldn’t put on my own shoes or socks, I couldn’t reach for my son or kneel to change his diapers. I was feeding vicodin to him through my body and that freaked me out. I think it took me a lot longer to recover from the experience both physically and mentally than it should have. And now I have this ever-present scar across my belly, which itches every day and will never disappear.

I blame myself a lot. I was so anxious and stressed for him to come out, especially before Christmas for both my convenience and that of our families,’ that I lost sight of my goal. When he finally did get lifted out of me, he was a mere 7lbs, 1 oz. Not a big baby, and certainly not one that wouldn’t have benefited from a little extra time. He knew what he was doing by chilling in there the whole time – he needed that time to grow some more. Why was I in any rush to hurry him along when both he and my body were telling me it wasn’t time?

My aim is to do a VBAC with #2. I am nervous, though, because of the lack of support that medical professions have with VBACs. Statistically, studies have shown that yes, there’s a risk with a VBAC, but that it’s less risky than a c-section. However, medical professionals discourage them and sometimes even refuse them. When I spoke to my new doctor about one, she sounded pretty pessimistic about my chances but said that she was okay with them. However, she did have some stipulations for VBACs that she didn’t have for other births: she won’t let me go very far past my “due date” and requires much more monitoring, including possibly internal monitoring. Um, we saw in my childbirth class what internal monitoring entails – this is when a fetal scalp electrode is screwed into the baby’s head to monitor him. I don’t want anything screwed into my unborn child’s scalp!

Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of time to drive any great distance to seek alternatives. I work full-time and have a toddler so my time is precious and I just can’t afford any significant amount of time away from work. My selection of doctors must be in the nearby area. Unfortunately, Illinois seems to be one of the worst states for VBACs and it's been really hard for me to find supportive providers. I've been told flat out "the doctor won't do VBACs." And that's it. With one practice, I tried to understand why the doctors would do something that is contradictory to the ACOG guidelines and pressed for more information so I could understand why they had these policies. The nurse told me no, that they follow the ACOG guidelines. I gave her the ACOG practice bulletin that states the ACOG's support of VBACs and she suddenly became extremely short with me, said "that's our philosophy" and suggested I look elsewhere for a doctor.

It makes me so upset because so many of these medical professionals are filling their patients' heads with so much misinformation. They either a) haven't updated their knowledge past what they learned 20 years ago in medical school or b) are just trying to get away with what's easiest for them and are disregarding the safety issues of the mother to do so.

And that leaves me feeling so stuck.

I admit, I have a lot of distrust of the medical profession now after Barrett's birth. Women trust their doctors and fall for these lies that they're telling them if they haven't done their independent research. Lies about the risks of a VBAC vs a c-section, lies about statistics and success rates. It makes me so angry that they take advantage of their patients' trust like this and these women are pushed into what is most likely unnecessary surgery in most cases. A repeat c-section should be the exception, not the rule.

After much calling and research of other practices, I've decided to stay with the practice I've started with but seek support for my labor and delivery outside the doctors and nurses at the hospital. I've hired a doula to be an advocate on my behalf, to try to help me get the VBAC I so desperately want.

Obviously the final result I would like is a healthy baby and mom. I just think there must be a better way to achieve this then cutting me open again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just an average kid!

I had to laugh when I got my weekly email from Baby Center regarding my toddler's progress! I must have signed up for these emails when I was first pregnant and they would send weekly emails telling me what was going on with the pregnancy each week. I keep getting them but I rarely read them anymore - if I want to know what's going on with my toddler, I can just look at him to see - but I did happen to open this week's email:

"When you're out and about, your toddler's favorite pastime may be running away from you as fast as she can, squealing in delight as you rush to catch up. She's oblivious to danger, so you'll need to be extra watchful of cars, bicycles and dogs if you take her for a walk outdoors. Keeping her strapped into a stroller is safest, of course, but that's not always where she wants to be. You'll probably have to compromise how much time she spends on her own power and build in extra time when running errands."

um, YES, I'd say that's our toddler to a T these days! What have I just been saying? Haha.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Barrett - 19 months (Our Little Contradiction)

See, wouldn't you know that I write a post about how exhausting it is to parent a 19 month old and how naughty he can be and then he turns around and is the sweetest little thing in the world immediately after? The next day I visited him at lunch and all he wanted to do was hug his momma. There, in the daycare classroom, with all the other kids running around, he sat on my lap, facing me, and wouldn't let me go. It was hug after hug, kiss after kiss, pronouncing "momma, momma" repeatedly. He filled my soul with love in those 10 minutes. How can I love one little person so much?

He is a walking contradiction. He is a little tornado of energy and fire and craziness and yet a sweet little cuddling lovebug. He is stubborn and demanding but gives the best kisses, cuddles, hugs and sweet words. He is screechy and whiny and then tells you thank you over and over and makes your heart melt just by saying your name. He runs away from you at stores and tries to get into as much mischief as he can find before you catch him and then he squeezes his chubby little arms around your neck and clings to you and nuzzles his little face into your shoulder with the fear you'll set him down and leave.

This is 19 months.

Oh, my little Barrett has so much personality and fire these days. He is playful and silly and oh so much adventure.

He has a plethora of new words and phrases, including:
I stuck
I get down
please (hooray, the child has manners at last!)
thank you
sentences - "byebye Momma" "thank you Momma"

We are always kept on our toes by this little guy. He loves his parents, his doggy, playing games, splashing water, crackers, cookies, milk, going for walks, climbing into his chair and reading books. He is still in the Momma-phase, which I adore, but does make daycare drop-offs very tough. He loves playing games with Payton - he'll grab a dog toy and run away with it, looking behind him with laughter to make sure the dog is chasing him. He loves hiding and being found, especially in his closet. He keeps me on my toes, both with his stubbornness and mischief and his silliness! Oh what a crazy time it is with a 19 month old!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


You know how I have said at every age that *this* age was my favorite age for Barrett? Yeah, I am not sure I'll be saying that about 19 months. Sigh. It's not that he's not fun - oh, he is. He can laugh and play, hide, giggle and tease. It seems like he comes up with new words every day and he's so proud to use them. He's definitely a lot of fun and makes me laugh constantly with all the funny things he does.

But with that fun has also come a definite rebellious side and a short fuse. He is really into testing boundaries these days and one of his favorite games is called Disobeying. Spend an afternoon with us and he'll show you how much fun this game can be - for one of us anyway!

Here's a snapshot of a few instances from this weekend:
me: "Barrett, the chalk needs to stay on the patio." little legs run to the pool - splash! as the chalk goes into the pool.
me: "we need to keep our food on our tray." thud! as the sippy cup hits the floor.
me: "Sweetie, we need to keep our shoes on in stores" and "we need to stay close to mommy and daddy in stores" then smack, smack smack! as little bare feet run away at the furniture store.

And he knows he's disobeying too, he gets the little mischievous look in his eye and I see the wheels turning as he comes up with the Plan.

And when he's unhappy - woo, he lets you know. It's an instant screech, a tantrum complete with back thrusting, wailing and flailing. All eyes were on us at the furniture store over the weekend as this child had a full-fledged meltdown in his daddy's arms because he wasn't allowed to run around the store with bare feet.

It's a tough age we're in. There's lots of frustration as he can't communicate with us necessarily what he wants. He wants freedom and a chance to explore, but he's not yet gained common sense, so we have to stay after him at all times, which is frustrating for him and exhausting for us. He's still a picky eater, which leads to a lot of mealtime meltdowns, when he doesn't like what he's given and shows this by crying and throwing food. And he definitely wants to exert his will and test limits.

Unfortunately, I think this is new territory that we're entering here and we need to figure out discipline and rule enforcement. It is hard, because we don't see him more than a few hours every weekday and I hate to spend that time being Sergeant Mommy, but I also don't want to raise a little hellion either!

On the plus side, when the angel on his shoulder is winning, he is just the sweetest, funniest little thing. He recently learned to say thank you and please, so whenever I give him something, he says "thank you, momma" with a big smile (which sounds like "tee tee, momma"). So if I'm slicing strawberries, each time I give him a few slices, he says it and is so proud of himself as I keep telling him "you're welcome, baby." It's pretty stinking cute!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend review - Sunday

Sunday was spent with Tim working on his car and me and Barrett playing outside in the pool, drawing with chalk and grocery shopping. It was sweltering here this weekend, like 93 both days, so we couldn't spend too much time out in the sun.
Barrett doesn't quite get the pool concept though. My idea - sit quietly and enjoy the cool water and sunshine. His - throwing everything in the vicinity into the pool, hopefully to make the biggest splash possible, then laugh hysterically. By the end of the day, the items in the pool had been: 5 plastic stacking cups, 3 pieces of chalk, 2 red buckets, 2 water bottles, 2 hats, 1 orange watering can, and 1 kiddie lawn chair. This kiddo is all boy.

We were tired but rallied to make a yummy dinner and ate on the patio, which we definitely haven't been doing enough this summer. I made a cilantro dip for an appetizer, recipe found here. This recipe is delicious. I made it for the first time a few years ago when I was searching for what to do with the cilantro in my garden and have made it a few times since. It always gets rave reviews when I make it for groups. So I had to whip it up again yesterday for us. I also made a pasta salad and spicy flank steak, recipe passed to me by my sister (only I use a lot less spiciness in mine). The only thing that would have completed the dinner would have been a chilled glass of pinot grigio. Sigh.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend review - Saturday

Oh, what a busy weekend we had! We finally made some progress on starting to get things ready for baby #2.

We started out Saturday by hunting for a dresser and nightstand for Barrett's room, so that we can move his current furniture into the guest room. I love to shop, but furniture shopping is just not my favorite. I always struggle because I know what I want and it's just so hard to find what I have in mind. My style is pretty classic, I like dark woods and traditional shapes. Is that so hard to find? You wouldn't think so, but it is. We had gone to several stores but hadn't seen anything that we liked in our price range. We were passing the Macy's furniture outlet, where I've never seen anything before, and made a quick decision that I'd just run in and take a quick look around and Tim and Barrett could wait in the car. Well we made a good call because it just so happened that there was a clearance going on because the location is moving in a few weeks. Right away, I saw a dresser I loved.

Unfortunately there was no matching nightstand so we went on to check out a few other stores. We didn't find anything else and I continued to think about the first dresser so we ended up going back later on in the afternoon to buy it. And it was marked down another $140 in just those few hours! We got a great deal on a beautiful dresser. Here is a similar one by the same manufacturer:
The only difference that I can tell is the legs are different and I like the ones on ours better. So great deal! Hopefully I can find a coordinating nightstand that will work with it.

I also spotted a gorgeous chair at the same store and convinced Tim how great it would look in our bedroom. We don't have a place to sit in the bedroom besides the bed and I've been wanting a chair to tuck into the corner for a while. So this was a great find. Yes, we're taking a big risk with a *gasp* ivory chair with two little kids, but the price was right and I loved it, so hopefully we can keep grimy little hands and faces (and paws) off of it.
I also ventured over to Homegoods to see if there was any sort of nightstand that might work to match the dresser. No luck with that, but I did find a great chest-type piece that I thought would be good on our upstairs landing. With losing a bedroom currently housing my off-season closing in the closet and in the dresser, I definitely am in need of some more storage so hopefully this can work to hold some of it. No pictures of it yet because it's still sitting in our living room, facing the wall, sadly. I also got 2 lamps for the nursery that we just gorgeous. We still need to get a nightstand and twin bed for B's room and of course the bedding for the nursery.
As if we didn't spend enough money on the chair, the dresser and the chest, I also decided we needed to drain our bank account for some baby clothes! I had gotten an email that Once Upon a Child was having their summer sale and most of their summer stuff was a dollar. That's what I'm talking about! So I managed to pick up a ton of things for kiddos. I have to admit that it's so fun to shop in two departments now. I got them both lots of stuff for next summer. I hope I'm guessing right on the sizes. It won't be such a good deal if I got the sizes wrong, but B's been pretty consistent as far as sizing and I'm assuming little girl will be similar. I got Barrett around 5 or 6 pairs of shorts, the same amount of polo shirts for next summer, and a bathing suit. He also got a little Fisher Price lawnmower too. I bought little girl probably around 20 (!) outfits for the next summers. I know it really is a big gamble to buy ahead so far, but I guess the most lost will be what, $20?, so I'll be okay. Plus, at least with a girl, you can throw a sweater or tights under a dress and make it work a little easier off-season too.

So that wraps up our Saturday! Whew! We were on the go pretty much all day, finally settled in for the day around 9pm with delivered pizza and the television. Exhausting but productive at least!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pregnancy - 22 weeks

I'd really like to write weekly updates but I just can't seem to do this more than every other week. I know I'll regret it later, just like I regret not doing weekly journaling/pictures the first time around too. I love seeing these posts from other people and comparing my belly to theirs at each milestone, but I can't get myself in gear to remember to take enough pictures! I am trying try to be better.

Baby girl is about 11 inches and she now weighs about a pound. She is getting bigger and definitely making me get bigger while she's at it.
I'm starting to feel more pregnant. You know, the pains along the side of my abdomen when I stand up too quickly, getting harder to bend over and pick up things, and the heaviness in the belly.

I'm also starting to get The Questions. You know, names, nursery, etc. I am realizing how far behind we are. I need to get on the ball as far as ordering a dresser, a twin bed for Big Bro, and starting to think about decorating. Why do I have the feeling this child will be stuck in the Pack and Play until she's a toddler? Oh, poor, poor second child! I have to try to motivate Tim to get ourselves to a furniture store and start shopping.

How far along? 22 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: hmm, maybe around 12, I'm guessing? maybe a few more than that.
Maternity clothes? yes. I somehow am still wearing non-maternity jeans, although there are only a few left that I can fit into and they definitely don't button. I am carrying very high, so I'm still getting away with the lower rise pants. It's so funny how something fits just fine one day and three days later just doesn't!
Stretch marks? None. I'm faithfully applying Palmer's belly butter to my belly every night. I know people say stretch marks are hereditary and it doesn't matter what you do, but I applied cream to them the first time around and avoided them, so I'm not going to mess around this time either!
Sleep? okay. I have started to really try to sleep on my side, rather than my back, since this is the time that it's recommended to change for improved blood flow. I do miss the back sleeping though...
Movement? A very active week for little girl! She definitely is making her presence known lately. I saw a few minutes of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" on TLC the other night and I can't believe these women can disregard these movements. I'm only 22 weeks now but I am definitely feeling this active little girl rumbling and tumbling!
Food cravings? no change, still fruits
Gender? girl!
Belly button in or out? In. but flattening!
What I miss: buttoning my pants
What I'm looking forward to: getting the nursery started. But what I'm not looking forward to: cleaning out the guest room and closet!
Milestones: another appointment this week - baby's heartrate was 140 and music to my ears.


This little girl is much, much more active than I remember her big brother being at this stage.

She rumbles and tumbles and play around in my belly as I sit at the computer at work, talk on the telephone on my drives home, and lay in bed, waiting for sleep.

Every poke is stronger than I expect and makes me jump and sometimes exclaim "oh!" with surprise.

For now, we have our own secret language that no one else knows about. I'm the only one feeling this, the only one that really has felt it so far. She plays the same game her brother did, where she's all over the place for me, but becomes shy and quiet when I call her daddy to come share in the action.

I don't know if I'm just more aware this time around of the movements or if she's giving me a little hint of her personality. But the way she's dancing and tumbling in there makes me very anxious to get to know her. I have a distinct feeling that this little girl will be no wallflower, will not be a shadow to anyone.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Social butterfly

Since Barrett's been in daycare, there's been a little girl in his class just 3 weeks older than him. The two of them have grown up together since he was 12 weeks and it's been so much fun to see them grow and learn and now play together.

We and her parents have been getting to know each other too. They just welcomed their second baby girl this weekend so we're very happy for them and their growing family!

The daycare women joke that the wedding planning has already started for these two. They are just as cute as can be together!

And a few weeks ago we went to my friend's twin girls 1st birthday party. I didn't get any pictures of the kiddos together unfortunately. There's such a big difference between 12 months and 18 months that the kids weren't really interested in each other. What Barrett was interested in were the car and train tables! We could barely get him to leave them the entire party. Although he looks somber here, I swear he was having fun!

My good friend Jen, who I wish we saw more of!
And the YUMMY cupcakes!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pregnancy - 20 weeks!

Right now the baby is about 10" long from head to feet and 6.5" long from head to rump and weighs around 10.5oz. She seems so big compared to the poppyseed she seems like she just was. (It's still so weird for me to type/think "she"!)

How far along? 20 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: around 10 lbs. I felt like this was a lot when I saw that on the scale this morning until I got my weekly pregnancy email update and it said a 10lb gain at this point was right on target. And that I should expect to gain about a pound a week from here on out. Dreading the chubby mcchubberson phase again!
Maternity clothes?A mix. I'm still somehow pulling off the regular jeans but those days will be ending soon as they're getting more and more uncomfortable.
Stretch marks? None and hopefully they stay away!
Sleep? okay, I just can't seem to get enough
Movement? Yes, definitely stronger movements
Food cravings? fruits and veggies still. I had Olive Garden this week and the breadsticks and salad were amazing. Oh, and golden double-stuffed Oreos. But really that's the baby craving those, not me. And who am I to deny her what she wants?
Gender? girl!
Belly button in or out? In
What I miss: it's getting harder to pick up Barrett but it's tough for me to think about decreasing that.
What I'm looking forward to: decorating a little girl nursery
Milestones: Being halfway to meeting this baby!

This week I went to Carters and usually have averted my eyes from the little girl side of the store, because it always made my heart ache for a little girl. But this time I got to shop in that section! I bought a few adorable little girl outfits and even Tim admitted the girl clothes are awfully cute.

I got a call from the doctor this week about last week's ultrasound. She said I have a low-lying placenta again. I had this with B too. So I'll need to have a follow-up ultrasound around 32 weeks to check and make sure it moves. Fingers crossed that it does.

Other pregnancy milestones of the week: I have hired a doula to assist with the labor. I am really going through a lot of stress thinking ahead to the labor and delivery and want to be sure that I take as much control of the situation as I can to avoid the same issues I had last time. I'm really looking forward to having another advocate on my side for any obstacles that I may face in a few months.