Friday, August 31, 2012

New Blog Title

It's official!! Two weeks after our newest addition arrived I've changed from Nurturign Nolan to LeMastering Motherhood. Thanks Ingrid for the awesome idea!!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Mei Tai

Before Carter arrived I spent one riveting Friday night making my very first baby carrier. It is probably my most in depth sewing project to date and required me to pay more attention to the pattern than I normally do. Even so, I modified the pattern and made it my own! I added in a head rest with padding and changed the overall shape a bit. Here's the final product in use. I could only try it on empty yet cradling my giant bump until he arrived. Now that he is here it's getting use. I have to say I love it possibly even more than my Ergo or Moby at the moment. The only draw back is that I can't just untie it and let it hang half on half off once he decides he wants out. I can do that with my Ergo and Moby stays on in between carryings. Maybe I'll make the same pattern but but buckles on it instead of long tie strings next. Then it'd be perfect! It's lightweight and much more cool both in temperature and fabric pattern!!

The pirate fabric panel is actually removable so it can be switched out with other fun patterns at a moments notice. I'm excited to have a fashionable carrier that changes without having to own a hundred different one. Hubby already asked why I needed this one when I have a Moby and an Ergo. He just doesn't understand!! Wait until I tell him I still need a woven wrap!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Carter's Birth Story

If you don't want to read all the details, then skip this post!! I spared you the awesome pictures but there are some cute ones at the end. =)

At 4:30am on August 15th at 38 weeks pregnant (LMP) or more likely 37w5d pregnant (ovulation), I awoke suddenly feeling like I had peed. Unlike last pregnancy when my waters also broke, I didn't feel or hear a pop. At first, I really thought it wasn't my waters as I could stop the flow and Carter's head had apparently dropped and sealed the flow. It wasn't as much as last time nor as frequent. A few minutes to wake up and I knew what was happening. I tried to relax but gave up and got in the shower. I came out and told Tim he wouldn't be going to work this day.

Knowing that I had 12 hrs to be in active labor or the birth center would have to transfer me (state law), I headed outside to walk. It was nice, cool, and dark still and with some curb stepping I got regular contractions started. They weren't super painful but I hoped they'd progress. They were short, 40s each, but occurring every 2 minutes. At 7am, I phoned the birth center. They were aware that this same situation happened with Nolan and I didn't deliver him until 36hrs later and a whole lot of Pitocin. My midwife on call suggested I start nipple stimulation and once contractions picked up start walking. She said to rest if I felt tired and she’d call back in the early afternoon. Not sure if you’ve ever had to do it, but it’s a little weird, okay a LOT weird, to have to manually roll your nipples hoping your uterus will start contracting. It does, however, work like a charm!! I tried the breast pump but it was way too harsh so manual it was. 

Early on in my pregnancy when I chose to deliver at a birth center instead of a hospital, I researched the laws to make sure it was going to work for me. Florida requires moms whose water break prematurely to be in active labor, defined as 5cm dilation, within 12 hours. I spoke at my consult with the birth center about my worries. I was reassured that it’s highly unlikely for premature rupture of membranes (PROM) to happen twice and that since my body had been in labor it would be much easier to get into labor this time around. Besides that, I was told that there were tricks and tips to get me going so I could continue to labor at the center. I asked up front if my waters break early if I should keep it to myself and therefore not invoke the 12 hour clock. I had in fact done this with Nolan in order to avoid getting pushed into Pitocin immediately. We didn’t even go to the hospital until 12 hours after my waters broke. I was reassured that there was no need to do so because by calling in early they’d have all 12 hours to help get me into labor. 

Apparently though, in the end this really wasn’t the case. Looking back, I should not have called in until I was in active labor. The 12 hours is arbitrary and premature breakage of waters only increases the risk of infection by 0.5%. It’s a risk I would be willing to take as the risk of c-section increases by many, many times if you’re pushed into induction. When my midwife called back at 3pm I asked for more tips to get things going. Walking got contractions but every time I stopped they stopped and I was worn down and melting in the heat. I couldn’t be exhausted before true labor began. She mentioned continuing what I was doing. She started to suggest something else but changed her mind. I was told to head into the birth center at 5pm. 

At 5pm we arrived and I was checked for dilation. Contractions had begun again but weren’t super strong yet. I was only at 3cm and really disappointed. Ashley (midwife) went ahead and manually stripped my membranes in the process hoping to move things faster. After the exam she stated that since it had been 12 hours I needed to go to the hospital. Instead of screaming which was my first thought. I calmly explained how I felt. I had told them from the beginning that this was a likely situation and was over and over at each appoint told I’d be helped to get into labor. I thought this meant more than being told to walk and stimulate my nipples and come in at 12 hours. Ashley left the room to consult with the other midwives on the phone and came back a few minutes later. They had decided to let me have another bit of time and suggested a few more things. Yum…castor oil. Tim headed to the store and grabbed castor oil and orange juice. This natural laxative brings contractions on as it makes your bowels contract. Fun times. I took it and we headed home for a few hours to return at 8. This gave us time to get Nolan fed and into bed for the night. Our great friends came down to sit with him and we headed back our bags fully packed and prepared to have a baby in hand the next time we came home. 

The castor oil hadn’t actually done much yet but by the time we got back to the birth center I had regular contractions at about 5-7 minutes. They were painful in the normal early labor way. Seeing I had progressed, we started walking the halls with our midwife and again doing manual nipple stimulation. I walked and walked and walked! The castor oil kicked in too which was lots of fun. We gave it a straight hour and a half and by the end I was in pain and not able to talk through contractions. They were three minutes apart. Ashley gave me one more check and afterwards we discussed my options. I was still only at 3cm. Ashley was kind of astounded and said she was certain I would have progressed to a 6 by this point but my body wasn’t cooperating.  I basically had two options. I was being released from their care at this point. They would transfer me and accompany me to Shand’s hospital in town or I could have my charts and would be on my own to go elsewhere. Tim and I considered our options and narrowed it down to two paths. 

One: We follow their recommendations and go immediately to Shand’s. It’s a more non plush hospital but as part of the University of FL it has amazing care and is one of two level III NICU’s in town. Not that we would need that, but it’s nice to know the specialist are there. Our birth center recommends them because they are familiar with the center and understand the patients coming in without their own doctor. They staff OB’s ready to take in walk in pregnancies. They let mothers labor naturally and try not to push c-sections. If I was being transferred though, it would be with the recommendation that Pitocin be started immediately. My hopes for a natural birth would be slashed as Pitocin is pretty horrible when not taking any pain relief. I labored for hours with it last time before finally taking the walking epidural and just didn’t want to do it again.
Two: We take my charts and head home. Once in active labor, we’d head to the close and very nice comfy, and new hospital (where we actually delivered Nolan). This would mean we’d be on our own and hope they had an OB on staff ready to deliver. This could lead to lots of questions and likely a hostile environment. We were also a bit concerned that it would possibly take Pitocin to get me going so I would not go into active labor in the next 12 or so hours. Last time I was on the max dose of Pitocin for hours without progress so what was the likelihood that this time I’d progress on my own? I’d hate to show up not in active labor and without a doctor. 

In the end, we decided to head to Shand’s with our midwife. She sent over our paperwork and a room was waiting for me when I arrived. On the drive and especially in the gravel parking lot, my contractions became even more intense. They required concentration and I could not move during them. Squatting helped but I felt positive things were moving. Once checked in, I got in to my room and the nurses started things. I had to have general bloodwork done before they would start any pain relief so they drew blood, took vitals, and got things going. The Pitocin pump was ready but would not be given to me until my labs were closer to coming back. The labwork was slated to take an hour and I got into the room just before midnight. Once there, things progressed pretty speedily. My contractions were up to about a 7 on a pain scale of 1-10 and after 40min they decided to check my dilation. I was now suddenly a stretchy 7. They agreed to hold off on the Pitocin since I was moving along. I became nauseous and, yep, puked all over the place. After a gown change and a nice shiny larger pail placed next to my side, they decided to transfer my room. My equipment wasn’t reading at the nurses’ desk so we went to a new room. Once in the new room, the OB that would deliver me came in. Memories here are a little fuzzy but he was really nice and asked me what I was wanting. 1.) healthy baby and 2.) no c-section were my main concerns. We talked about immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping as much as one in late labor can talk! He was calm, collected, and non judgmental. I never felt like I was inconveniencing him which I felt a lot during my last labor. 

At this point, Ashley started commenting that I was definitely getting close. Hormones had kicked in and I was shaking and having other odd symptoms. I had to lift myself off the bed with each contraction as baby was very low and felt like he was trying to come out the wrong way!! I knew everyone said they always felt like they need to poo but it was just baby. I kept telling myself it was baby and I was fine. At this point, I felt like I wanted to push but figured it was too soon. Instead, I started pushing just a tiny bit while lifting myself during each contraction. It relieved a bit of pain but wasn’t enough that anyone noticed or told me to stop.  I had moments of doubt and wasn’t sure I could do it as pain was at the most I thought I could take and baby wasn’t here yet. Everyone reassured me but of course it didn’t help! I managed the contractions with low moans and avoided any hysterics or screaming. 

Finally, I told them I was gonna push. The nurse checked me and said yep I was ready. They called the OB and still were trying to get equipment in the room. As soon as I saw stirrups, up went my feet and regardless of if they were ready I sure was. The OB entered again and asked if I had been consented. Apparently they have to ask you a ton of questions before he can touch you. So while contracting constantly and trying to push all alone I was answering whether or not I consented to have a baby and a bunch of other things. My humor was at least still present so while pretty much yelling at him I said of course I consent to anything let’s get going. At one point, Tim laughed at something and I remember telling him to stop laughing. Everything was too much to take at that point. 

As I got ready to do the first real pushes with doctor in place and everyone ready, Tim got the camera. We had planned to videotape the birth at the birth center but had to settle for pictures at the hospital. I pushed with all my might and it was the most painful thing I’ve ever felt. Any descriptions I’d read just didn’t do it justice. Once that contraction was over, I voiced my concerns that I didn’t think I could take 45 minutes of that level of pain and Nolan took 45 minutes of pushing. Ashley assured me that Carter was right there. He didn’t need pushing down, he just needed pushing out. She was certain it’d go fast and commented that he had a full head of hair, just like his brother. I got ready and pushed 2-3 times with each contraction. At least with pushing you are doing something instead of just getting through the pain but it is in no way the “relief” I’d heard about. I also always heard it felt like a burning ring of fire moments before baby emerged but I always thought that meant once not with every push. I could feel the stretching with every push and each time I pushed was the most intense and painful thing I’ve ever done. I’m not sure how long I pushed nor could I keep my eyes open to see progress. I felt him crown though and every said his head was out. I tried to go slow to avoid tears but just couldn’t a strong push later and my baby came out. Immediately the pain was gone and I felt 95% like my normal self. 

Tim says the view this time was much different too. I wasn’t able to watch just from the physical aspect my eyes were not focused on the mirror this go round. Nolan got close to delivery and you could see the top of his head for numerous pushes. With Carter, apparently the entire area bulged and then moments later his whole head came out. The resistance was definitely not as strong and my pushing was very effective.

Carter Ridley was born at 2:28am on August 16th weighing 6lbs 13oz and measuring 19.75 inches long. I held him right away and he was a champ at nursing. After the cord stopped pulsing, Daddy got to cut it. A bit more painful moments and it was all over! This time I only tore a little bit (2nd degree but not bad) and truly felt so much better after the birth than I did last time. I was able to get up and walk within moments and felt pretty normal. 

If you’re thinking of having a natural birth, I urge you to do so. It’s the most empowering thing you can ever do and you can definitely handle it!!

Last belly shot. After water broke!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Road Trip Recap

Nolan was such a trooper in the car. We won't mention the actual wedding ceremony he was supposed to walk in but the 14hrs in the car each way were great. I only sat in the back next to him for an hour or two on each trip. He did nap a bit in the car but the first night stayed wide awake until we reached our stopping point well after 11pm.

His favorite activity on the trip that I made was definitely using the railroad tracks and roadways to "build". He didn't even bother to play with the cars or trains on the roadways much just made new paths and tracks over and over. He did play cars, trains, and airplanes separately.

The magnet toys on his cookie sheet were also a hit along with the magnet books. The alphabet plate game was fun but required a lot of mommy help to physically maneuver it and clip the clothespins. Nolan is big into sorting by color at home and that proved to be true on the road too.

The travel tray we used was fun but he would tire of it quickly. I didn't strap it around him and just let it lay there so he could toss it when ready. The cookie sheet was definitely much more used and much cheaper at only 1 dollar from the dollar store!! His homemade neck pillow was also a favorite. He would put it on and off by himself and slept with it during all his naps.

We didn't get to the activity pages I made but did plain coloring. He didn't understand the marble maze and wanted me to take the "ball" out and out the "pirate hat" on his head.  At home we tie a bandana on and play pirates so he thought that was what it was.

Here are some pics of Nol in the car!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Road Trip Prep

So besides helping with the revamp of my moms group procedures and getting ready for Carter's arrival (nursery posts to come!!) I've been prepping for our big road trip. Here are a bunch of the cool things I've made and gathered to help keep a certain 33 month old busy the whole 14 hours we are on the road. Pinterest has been my friend but as usual I don't follow directions well and seem to have tweaked everything to my liking.

I printed out a bunch of dot activity pages. These are perfect for fine motor development in toddlers. On this trip we are planning to use stickers to decorate. Place a star sticker or circle sticker in each circle. At home we often use the bingo dauber markers, play dough balls, or puffs. Besides the fun animal sheets that will be colored once the sticker fun is done, we have some letter and number sheets too. I purchase these templates from Play at Home Mom for 5 dollars total. (all letters and numbers).

My train and car obsessed little boy would never want to spend time in the car without his beloved toys. For this fun I took the simple 1 dollar cookie sheet that we plan to use as with numerous activities. I printed some stock roadway and railroad tracks and cut them into various pieces. Then we headed to UPS and laminated the batch. With magnets on the back they will now stay on his sheet while he runs his cars.

Here is our travel pack of cars, planes, trains, and various other transportation fun!

Another fun medium besides paper to paint or color on is wood. JoAnn's has a great supply of little boy approved items. Nolan's favorite is this train or his birdhouse sitting here waiting to be decorated. I plan to have him use his washable markers on the wood for fun vibrant colors. Then we can hang it in the car or let him play with it on the train tracks he builds. Dual purpose!!

I've been stocking up on various already made coloring and art pages. The velvet ones should help him to have a more detailed picture when he is done as his scribbling won't show up on the black felt! I found lots of superhero play at various dollar areas (Target, JoAnn's, Dollar Store). Also shown here is a spiderman magnet set. You color the magnets then get to play with them on a skyscraper magnet board they provide. Clearance at JoAnn's rocks!

Along with the super hero coloring we plan to paint. Paint is a bit too involved for the car though so these already paint applied sheets are perfect. I placed a sponge with a bit of water in a small tupperware container and packed two brushes. With just water Nolan can now bring these to life!

Various magnet fun shown here includes letters and numbers, dinosaur magnets, and a magnetix set similar to blocks but from magnets!

 I finally had my ISpy book made with a shutterfly coupon. You can read more about this project here.

We also made a portable lego box!!

Next Nol will be practicing matching his letters. I did not do capital and lowercase matching because he is not yet ready for that but instead just plan to have him work on fine motor with the clips and talk about what letters he sees. He likes sorting and doing these projects on his own so I plan to hand it to him as is to see what he does. I have a bag for the clothespins ready but wanted to give him a headstart the first time he sees it!

 We made a fun non-messy sensory bottle with toothpicks and rice. The rice makes fun noises as it falls through the toothpicks!

Popsicle sticks and pip cleaner sorting. I only pulled a few from the container but using an upcycled oats container redecorated I made him a sorting box. I painted the area around each hole with a corresponding color. He loves to sort with a muffin tin so this will be similar. 

Marble maze! X marks the spot With this fun safe game the marble moves along a path until it gets to the other side.

I got Nolan one of the new Lego Duplo build and read stories. There is a board book inside and various duplo pieces with which you build the corresponding pictures. This one is a farm themes so lots of animals!

Magnet boards. I found these at a specialty toy store for very cheap! They are pirate and robot themes and come with a magnetic storyboard and lots of magnet pieces. He'll love making his own robots and playing pirates. I figure if the boards are hard to handle he can play with the pieces on his tray. 

Flashlight shapes. This nifty little flashlight has covers to make shadows. It's space themes so he can make the moon, rockets, etc. on the seat in front of him. Since Nol is rear facing he has the perfect platform to aim it at.

I also made him a travel pillow to keep his head comfy while he sleeps and his wedding tie! It's harder than you think to find a simple black toddler tie. 

 Here are all of his activities packed and ready to go!! I'll be sure to report back on how well each item worked to occupy some time. You can follow my road trip board on Pinterest for more fun ideas.