Friday, September 19, 2014

Henry's Birth Story

We got up early on Wednesday 8/27 to head to the hospital 45 minutes away (North Fulton Hospital) for my scheduled water breaking. I was 41+6 (41 weeks and 6 days pregnant) and planning on a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after a Cesarean). We got to the hospital at 8 am and were put in a room to get registered and settled before the midwife on call arrived. It was about 9 am when Lorie broke my water. My doula, McCalla, showed up about a minute later after having been stuck in morning Atlanta traffic.

Contractions did not begin immediately. I had a few small ones here or there but nothing strong and nothing regular. We did some squatting and side lunges to try and get things moving. McCalla also used some coconut oil and tried massaging my feet, which was soooo nice. I was hooked up to continuous external monitoring but I was also tethered because they could not find the portable telemetry machine. Pretty much meant I was confined to a 5x5 area next to the bed, but that was okay with me.

At around 11:30 am I went to lie on the bed and as soon as I got on my side, I had the most painful contraction up until that point. Because I was on my side, I couldn't cope with the pain, so it felt much worse than it probably was. When it was over, I immediately got off the bed but no more contractions came. It took about half an hour but contractions finally got started. During them, I squatted next to the bed while holding one end of the rebozo that McCalla brought with her and she held the other end on the other side of the bed.

It was at this point that I realized that the lack of sleep I had the night before and that one crazy intense contraction had both completely drained my body of energy. I could barely hold each squat for the entirety of the contractions.

Very quickly, I began to notice that my back was hurting with each contraction. McCalla began applying counter pressure, which was the only way I could get through them. Soon, both Lorie and McCalla realized something unfortunate about the pattern of my contractions: I was experiencing two peaks, a mild one and then an intense one. If I'd been able to think clearly at the time I would have also made the terrible connection with my previous labor: this pattern is indicative of a malpositioned baby. In fact, a posterior one. Every moment up until labor began, I had tried everything to make sure this baby was facing toward the right. It's crazy how labor can quickly change things.

I labored through these most painful contractions until around 1:15 pm at which point I asked for the epidural. My birth plan was I wanted to go as natural as possible, unless I encountered back labor. During my last labor I pushed through back labor with a posterior baby for over 10 hours while attempting a home birth. I ended up with a cesarean because by the time we got to the hospital, I was too exhausted to labor anymore.

When I asked for the epidural, they set it in motion but let me know it would take at least half an hour to get two bags of fluid in me and for the anesthesiologist to prep. However, I only had to drain half a bag and he showed up and prepped very quickly. The act of placing the epidural also took less than a minute and didn't hurt at all. Within ten minutes I was experiencing zero pain and I was in heaven. My midwife, Lorie, was 100% for me getting the epidural because the baby was still high up and his face was transverse (he was ROT which is considered a posterior position). She explained that if we could get my body to relax for at least 4 hours, the baby might slip into the right position with a little help from them. She knew that the OB on call would not let me push beyond 2 hours because of me being a VBAC, so she didn't want me to start pushing until she knew the baby was in the right position.

I understand that a big reason why epidurals may hinder labor is because you can't feel the contractions and really can't even feel where to push when it's time. However, I found that when it came time, I had a wonderful team. They were able to tell me when and to show me where to push; it was very helpful.

We did some practice pushing at 5:30 in order to try and turn the baby's head. I was then placed on my side and asked to push gently during contractions because the baby was still faced transverse. So I laid in bed, changing from side to side every hour or so, with my leg elevated in a stirrup, all with the hope that she or he would shift just enough to get lined up and further down.

At around 11 pm, baby was finally down and shifted correctly. We did pushes with each contraction, working the baby further down. I remember joking when it was 11:57 that we only had 3 minutes left to have the baby that day.

At around midnight I was informed that the epidural doesn't remove the feeling of the ring of fire. I would begin to feel the burning last stage of pushing (and they had also turned the epidural down so I could push more effectively). Sure enough, pain began and it came on super fast. I could do 3 long pushes through each contraction.

This next part was the worst pain of my life. Writing it down now, I only just realized I must have only endured the pain for less than 20 minutes because he was born at 12:18 am; it felt like hours. When this stage started, Lorie called the OB to make sure she would be there because I was a VBAC patient and there was a big possibility that this baby was going to be big because my first was 9 lbs 3 oz. There was also concern that shoulder distocia might occur.

As I began my final pushes, the room became busier as everybody prepared for an imminent delivery. The final pushes were extremely painful, but that's probably because he was big. On the final contraction, I did more than the normal 3 pushes; I kept pushing because we all knew the baby was almost out.

Then the baby's head popped out. Immediately, there was a rush of people, someone told Steve to back out of the way, and my nurse hopped onto the bed in front of me. I was instructed to keep pushing even though I wasn't having a contraction because the baby's shoulder needed to be delivered. They pushed on my stomach and I pushed and the shoulders came out quickly. The rest of him slid out with a really gross sensation.

The midwife knew that I didn't want to hold him until he was clean, but as she was wiping him down, I reached for him instinctively. I couldn't NOT hold him.  He actually wasn't gross at all. In fact, we didn't know the gender until he was born, either. They placed him on my chest and the emotion of it all was very overwhelming. It wasn't until a few minutes later that I realized I still didn't know the gender; I had forgotten to ask or check!

It was a boy! We were about 75% sure he was a boy during pregnancy (Steve peeked during the ultrasound).

Everyone was remarking at how big he was; I expected that because when our first was born he was 9 lbs. They took him over to be checked and weighed and he was 11 lbs 4 oz! Many of the staff were super excited because it was the biggest baby of their entire careers!

I was very proud of his weight because it made me feel like the enormous pain was justified... Lol. Also, it made me feel accomplished because it was also a VBAC.

With a single extra push they had me deliver the placenta. And I did look and it was the slimiest, grossest thing I've ever seen. Kind of like how slimy the little alien looked when it burst out of the chest in the movie Aliens.

Since the OB was in the room, she stepped up to perform the suturing. I had a massive 3rd degree tear. I had never met her before but she was awesome. She was serious but also really down to earth and I felt very comfortable with her performing the stitching. It took over an hour and hurt only a tiny bit.

We named our son Henry Leland. His blood sugar was normal and everything else was normal, too. He only lost 10 oz by the time we left the hospital. His head was only 13.5 inches, whereas our first son's was 15! He was 21.5 inches long. I also did not have gestational diabetes, though everyone loves to ask. Very big babies run in Steve's family (10 lbs, 12 lbs, and then 13 lbs).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Arrival! Henry Leland

The last few months have been crazy since I was nearing the end of my pregnancy.  But the end is finally here!  At 42 weeks, on August 28, I had my VBAC with my chunky monkey, Henry Leland.  He was born weighing 11 lbs 4 oz.  I have his birth story written up and I will post it soon.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Finished Object - Winter Sunrise Scarf by Tamara Kelly

I'm participating in another craft exchange.  I decided to try my hand at Moogly's Winter Sunrise Scarf; it's a scarf I've really wanted to try for a long time now but had no excuse.  I'm so thrilled at how beautiful it came out.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Finished Object: Children's Beret (6-12 months)

A few weeks back, I made a toddler-sized beret using this pattern. I followed the instructions and made a 6-12 months sized one with this gorgeous yarn my sister bought for me.  I don't have a model yet, so teddy got to wear it today.  I hope you like!  All items I make and post here and available for purchase; you simply need to contact me if interested in the specific item or a commissioned one.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Photo Tutorial = Double Pineapple Doily

Recently I have found that many vintage doily patterns only include written directions (no charts) and the written directions are often written very complicated.  I can't write out charts at all, but I thought I'd at least try my hand at doing a photo tutorial, taking notes of each row as I go along.

Today's photo tutorial is of the "Double Pineapple Doily."

**NOTE: I always begin every project that is "in the round" with a magic circle regardless of what the pattern calls for.**

I won't be including the actual written pattern, but any notes that I think might be helpful, so be sure to have the actual pattern pulled up as well as you work it.


ROUND 0 -- You can find a video tutorial here how to do a magic circle.

ROUND 1 -- Tighten your hanging end thread as you go.

ROUND 2 -- To avoid having to weave in this beginning thread-end, work it underneath the stitches in this round.  To work a DTR (double treble crochet), see this video.

ROUND 3 -- You can see a video tutorial on how to work a dc3tog here.  From here on out, these dc3tog will be called "cluster" stitches.






ROUND 9 -- The 9 TR form the beginning of your first round of pineapples.  From here on out, 2DC + CH3 + 2DC will be called a "shell" stitch.







ROUND 16 -- For the next few rounds, you will see I've edited the pictures because I wrote the wrong thing down.  It is fixed now.


ROUND 18 -- The lonely SC down at the bottom of this picture is the final stitch in this round of pineapples.



ROUND 21 -- TC and TR are the same thing; sorry for the confusion.




ROUND 25 -- TC and TR are the same thing; sorry for the confusion.











ROUND 36 -- For this round, you will need to complete what I have starred (*) in three places for each part of the final round.  There wasn't enough space to write it out each time, so I simplified it a little by giving it an asterisk instead.  Watch this video if you don't know how to do a CH 4 picot stitch.

The end!  Be sure to block your work however you do so.  Here's mine after I blocked it:

**If you have any questions or problems working this pattern, leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.**

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Asahi!

I had the genius idea the other day to make Yum Yum Sauce at home since I've been craving it for so long and don't know the area here enough to know where to order it.  As soon as I made it, though, I realized there was absolutely no way I was going to partake without a wonderful meal to go with it; the sauce was just too good.

When I visit my parents, I always make sure to hit up Asahi Express, a fast-food Japanese food place.  I always order the hibachi steak with no mushrooms, and it comes with rice and sweet carrots.  So, last night, I endeavored to make the entire meal at home so that I could eat the yum yum sauce, too.

I am no cook by any means.  I hate cooking because I feel like a failure at it.  I entirely expected this meal to bomb and for me to have to tweak it over and over and over until it was right.  Well, to our complete surprise, it was perfect.  It was sooooooooooo good.  It was even better than Asahi because it was home-cooked and clean.

And here is the recipe! It yields two servings.

>> Hibachi Steak

2 lbs flat iron steak, cut into cubes
3 Tbsp teryaki marinade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 onion, diced
Some oil
*You can also add mushrooms to this list*

Place oil in a large pan and saute the onions until golden brown.  Add the cubed steak (and mushrooms if you added them to the recipe) and cook until desired doneness.  Remove from heat.  Add the teryaki sauce and soy sauce; mix well and let stand for a few minutes to marinade while everything else is cooking.

>> Sweet Carrots

1 pkg carrots (like 10-12 medium carrots)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp butter

Skin and slice the carrots to desired thickness.  Boil in medium pot until almost soft.  Drain the water but leave about 1/4 cup.  Add the butter and sugar and continue to boil until carrots are soft or until all liquid is gone.

>> Yum Yum Sauce

2 tsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 and 1/4 cups Hellman's mayo
1 tsp white sugar
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended.  Let chill in the fridge for a few hours. (If you taste it right after you combine the ingredients, it will taste a lot like mayo; it is important to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours first.)

**For the rice, I just bought a box of white minute rice and followed the directions on the box, but I added 1 Tbsp of butter after it was done.  Also, for all parts of this recipe, add salt/pepper to your liking.**

Total Cost: ~$15 (the steak itself was $12 for two pounds, so try to find it on sale)