Monday, September 15, 2014

Birth Story

I was really hoping for a boring birth story this time around, but when it comes to me and medical issues-it is never boring! 

Tuesday August 26th I went in for my bi-weekly ultrasound and non-stress test. The ultrasound looked great. But the non-stress test, not so much. I could tell immediately that something was wrong, they kept asking me to move, and repositioning the monitor. At one point the nurse said she thought the monitor was picking up on my heart rate. I told her my resting heart rate is usually 60-70 bpm, that's when she got the doctor.

After a little bit more monitoring the doctor told me he was going to send me straight to the perinatologist for a more in depth ultrasound. My doctor was leaving the island and I was a little nervous to have him gone if things were not looking perfect so I suggested he induce me :) I could tell by his expression that was tempting, but he said he wanted to talk with the perinatologist first.

I went out to the waiting room. I was feeling surprisingly peaceful about the whole thing, but I also started to feel like being induced would be a good idea (I have NEVER wanted to be induce-so the fact it sounded like a good idea was proof to me the idea was not mine). I am a worrier and given my history it wouldn't matter what the ultrasound said I would be worrying like crazy about this baby. I just felt she needed to come out. I had a good case ready to plead to my doctor when he called me back to his office. He said instead of calling the perinatologist he was calling the hospital to see if there was room for me to be monitored there and possibly be induced later today or tomorrow. He said hospitals are very picky about inducing at all, let alone before 39 weeks. But he was going to see what he could do given my history.

I was so grateful and relieved. I stepped into the hallway to call John and tell him to get his bum home. Imagine my distress when his co-worker answered his phone instead. John can't take cell phones into his office, and he was currently doing something that was in an area with zero phones, and in a location where you can't just walk in and grab someone. Yea for John's job!!! His co-worker said she would do her best to find him and have him call me ASAP, she was so sweet and said she would miss lunch if she had to to help me out!

When I went back in the doctor told me to grab my bag and head to the hospital. I never wanted to get induced, that sounded really awful. I also couldn't get a hold of my husband, or my friend who was suppose to watch Caleb. I was worried about my baby too. Low heart rate is not a good sign. I just remember taking some deep breaths, saying a prayer and being comforted that things would work out.

After a quick stop at Whole Foods (I hadn't had anything but a smoothie all day-and was too stressed to really eat so I ate a muffin for strength!) so really fast packing (like I forgot everything I needed) and a selfie, I headed to the hospital-alone.

38 weeks! And mere hours before going into labor.

I was driving  when John called. I was really trying to stay calm about the whole thing. It worked very well because John couldn't even tell I was stressed out. In fact he told me to get to the hospital, he had a meeting he needed to get to, and then he would call me to see how the monitoring was going. That's when I let my stress sneak through a little more :) But really he told me he was very surprised I was so calm when I was talking to him given that it was a fairly urgent matter. 

After getting crazy lost at every single turn (this was a new hospital to me-not my planned place of delivery) I made it to Labor and Delivery, with John right behind me. They had a room waiting for me. I asked the nurses what the plan was, they said Dr. B hadn't made the firm call, but they would start monitoring me. They said they would go call him, and I said to push the induction idea :)

They came back in and said to get ready to have a baby! I was relieved to know this baby was getting out and would be closely monitored until she was in my arms. But I was not really ready to have a baby. I really thought I had two maybe three weeks and there was a lot I wanted to get done! Plus it was finally sinking in we were going to have two kids and that was a little scary. I just had to push all that away and move forward-she needed to get out.

Getting the IV was the worse part, it took one nurse, two members of the hospital's IV team (who knew that was a thing) and seven pokes to get it in. My arm was very sore.

I met the staff OB and talked with him a little about getting induced. He said that the contractions would start in about an hour and it could be awhile after that. The ultimate goal for my doctor was to keep baby safe, but Dr. B really wanted to avoid a c-section since I have had so many surgeries in my little life.

While I waited for the contractions to get stronger and more regular I starred at my beautiful ceiling (the hospital didn't have HGTV, the only bad experience with the hospital) 

Once they started they really started. The contractions were a minute and a half apart for seven or eight hours (I didn't really watch the clock so I have no idea how long I was in labor for according to my hospital report my active labor didn't start until 8, I got the pitocin around 4 and had a lot on contractions before the whole "active labor"). It was crazy!

After awhile they noticed the baby's heart rate was dropping with every single contraction. Given the fact her heart rate was already low and she wasn't moving much this was not a good thing. Because my contractions were so close together she didn't have time to recover in between contractions so she was under constant stress. They stopped the pitocin and checked to see how I was progressing. I had dilated one centimeter in probably 4 hours. I seriously wanted to cry. 

The contractions were so intense I hadn't felt like going for walks, taking a shower (which I couldn't do since her heart rate had to be monitored the entire time), bounce on the ball or do yoga. But at that point I figured I needed to try something to get my body going. We walked around the floor twice before I really couldn't move or breath through the contractions. I opted at this point to get the epidural. I also vowed to never ever get induced again unless medically necessary because it was not a super fun experience! 

It was about 8:30 and I was exhausted. I had woken up at 5 am to do Barre, and hadn't eaten anything but a smoothie, muffin, cake (I thought it might make her move :) and broth all day. I was only four cm after hours of labor (I was a three at the doc that morning)  I wanted a nap! I started to doze off when I wet my pants, or my water broke-I wasn't really sure. I called the nurse in and was relieved it was my water, because the other would have been really embarrassing. 

That started things moving a little faster. Since I had gotten to the hospital my heart rate had been really low-like 40 bpm. Despite being off the pitocin and having the epidural to calm me my heart rate and oxygen stayed low, so they gave me the oxygen mask. I could tell with time the nurse and doctor were getting more anxious about how I was doing. They kept coming in to check on me and asked a lot of questions about how I was feeling. They said if I ever felt even the slightest urge to push to call them immediately. I started to will my body to have this baby because I didn't want a c-section after all I had been through.

After another hour or two I asked the nurse if she could help me to the bathroom (I don't get the full strength epidurals, I like to be able to feel when I need to push and be able to move my legs, I just get enough to take the edge of the contractions). She started laughing and told me I didn't need to use the bathroom I needed to have a baby! They were all excited and called my doctor to get down there. 

As soon as he got in the room and looked over all the baby and mine stats he said this baby needed to get out! I overheard him ask the nurse if the room had a vacuum. Blah, I didn't want another vacuumed baby, but I did want an alive baby so I guess I needed to trust my doctor. 

Only part of my water had broken earlier and he said there was no time to waste. So he broke the rest of it (and it got all over him, I still feel bad about that). As soon as the water broke I started gushing blood-like a lot of blood. When I started bleeding during delivery with Caleb I thought that was normal, I have since learned that is not normal, and had close to 20 tubes of blood drawn this pregnancy to try to figure out why I bleed during delivery. 

Even though my doctor was totally calm and in control the whole time I also knew he really wanted this baby out. He told me to start pushing whenever I felt like it (for the last hour my contractions were every 30 seconds or so, so basically it was one long contraction). I started to push and everyone in the room cheered me on like I was at the Super Bowl! I don't know if everyone in the room realized I needed to get her out really really bad, or if that is just the Aloha Spirit.

After a push or two my doctor asked for the vacuum. I was too worried about the massive amounts of blood with every push to care. He hooked it up and told me to push again, and out she slid.

But she didn't cry and looked blue. 

So I started to cry, really really hard. I honestly believed she was dead and it was the worse feeling in the world. Everyone kept telling me she was fine and I kept telling them if she was fine she would be crying and I wouldn't be bleeding like I was, they told me it was fine.

After a minute or so she started to cry (the cord had been around her neck, also there was poop in the fluid, pretty much when you read "What to Expect" and it talks about complications in delivery, every single one happened in one delivery). That was the best sound in the world. I cried even harder.

At some point the placenta came out. My doctor asked if i wanted to keep it, I told him no, and he said good because it was in really bad shape. The placenta had detached and there was a blood clot on it (that explains my massive bleeding when they broke my water as well as the strong contractions back to back). My doc still isn't sure why or when it detached, when I asked him that night why placentas detach he told me "usually cocaine use by the mother" with a smile. I am guessing the other doctor (who I think was a resident) had never seen such a thing because they studied that placenta for a long time, and every minute or so Dr. B would look at me and say "I am so glad we induced you and got her out today."

They didn't bring her over right away after she started breathing, I guess they wanted to make sure she really was stable. I made John go take pictures with the phone and show me. And I immediately loved that little thing! 

Finally I got to hold her! She is about the most perfect thing in the world. Just the cutest little baby. I still can't believe she is ours! 

The nurses took such good care of all of us that day! 

She was born on August 27th at 12:04 AM, 6 lbs 13 ounces and 20 inches long. I had made a bet with Caleb months ago that she would be born on the 26th, I was so bummed she didn't make that!

It was quite the day! But it was one of the most amazing days of my entire life! I am in complete awe that she came out healthy and happy after all the complications (OK I am still in complete awe that I got pregnant. My doctor told me many times throughout this pregnancy that I really am so lucky given my history). I look back at the whole pregnancy and think we really should have used "miracle" as her middle name. She is nothing short of a miracle in every sense of the word. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for watching over her for nine months and helping her grow and develop so being a little early wasn't as big of a issue as it could have been. 

John was just the most supportive husband. He wouldn't eat in the room because he knew I was starving. He was so supportive and encouraging that I really could do the whole childbearing thing. And he kept his iPhone in his pocket the whole time (expect for pictures and updating family) so that he could just focus on me. I love him! 

I am grateful to have had an amazing doctor, even though the whole thing was crazy and really stressful it was a very calm and peaceful experience giving birth to her. I know a lot of that was a blessing from God, but some of it is I know we were guided to Dr. B, he is an amazing doctor and his personality matches perfectly with what I want in a doctor. 

Miracles really do happen, and we are so grateful for every moment this miracle has been apart of our life. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Spaghetti sauce

I assume that spaghetti recipes are like chocolate chip cookie recipes-you have your family recipe and are not willing to try another one! 

But if you are willing to try another one, this one is amazing! 

The only time Caleb will eat meat is this sauce, that is how good it is.

John doesn't really like spaghetti, but likes this sauce.

You can also make it without meat and it is still yummy! 

This is the my childhood in a recipe. Really it is. If you want to eat it like I did as a child add some grated cheddar cheese, I know that sounds disgusting, but I love it!

1 lb. hamburger
1/4 cup dried onion (or 1/2 cup fresh)
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 1 lb. 14 oz. can tomatoes
1 1 lb. can tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or about 2 Tbs dried parsley
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups of water

Brown hamburger, onion or garlic together.

Blend tomatoes, parsley, brown sugar, salt, oregano, and thyme until smooth (I like my sauce without tomato chunks. Should you feel differently blend to your desire, or don't blend at all and just cut up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon). 

Add tomatoes, bay leaf and water to hamburger. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 hours. 

This freezes really really well! Freeze individual portions, or enough for your family. Place frozen sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 

BBQ chicken sandwiches

My husband is an amazing BBQer. Like AMAZING! So I never make these sandwiches because when we have BBQ we have the real thing! But I like having a simple meal to take to people or a good freezer meal for us so this does the trick! My dad use to always make it for me in college, so it takes me back to a simpler time :)

Chicken sandwiches with BBQ sauce

from Better Home and Gardens

3/4 c. water
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. vinegar
1 t. instant beef bouillon granules
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. ground red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. chicken
1/2 c. catsup
2 T brown sugar
2 T butter

In a bowl combine water, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, bouillon, mustard, chili powder, red pepper and garlic. Reserve 1/2 c. liquid for sauce; set aside in the refrigerator. Trim fat from chicken and place in crockpot. Pour remaining liquid over the chicken

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4. 

For sauce, in a small saucepan combine the 1/2 c. reserved liquid, catsup, brown sugar, and butter. Heat and pass sauce with shredded chicken.

To freeze, mix sauce and chicken together. Place in bags and freeze. Defrost and reheat when ready to use!  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Menu

Cooking in Hawaii has been interesting. I told John we can either afford meat or vegetables, but not both-veggies won out for us (and John agrees completely). We still eat some meat but it is pricey over here so we are down to twice a month or so.

And even then veggies are interesting. I joke that they have usually gone bad by the time we get home, but for real they have. Peppers are over $4/pound here and fresh herbs you can't even find. It has been an adjustment, but I think we are getting the hang of it. We only eat peppers on the weeks I go to Costco and can buy in bulk (cheaper that way) and those weeks we eat a lot of peppers in two days time. I am also using more frozen and canned vegetables. I figure those are better than nothing right?

And when things go on sale, I just buy a bunch we eat them like crazy and get sick of them and that is ok because we can't afford them very often (example-asparagus is like a $1 right now, I am half worried it is soaked in some chemical that will kill us all but I figure I will try anything for a dollar :)

Saturday-Linguine with Roasted Asparagus and Almond Pesto-this is one of my new favorites! I used whole roasted almonds and canned tomatoes (I know I know but tomatoes are so pricey and never any good here!). John isn't a pasta person but when given the choice between this and the fried rice for lunch today he picked this!

Sunday-Quinoa fried rice-very very yummy!

March 31-April 5
Monday-Super easy quesadillas (I used half a bag of frozen corn, half a bag of peppers, half a jar of salsa and cooked until bubbly over medium heat. Grill up some tortillas, add pepper jack and cheddar and veggies and grill until crisped. Serve with avocados and black beans-so easy and so yummy!)

Tuesday- Breakfast for dinner. Caleb and I are playing and April Fool's Joke on John. We are going to be in Pj's and serve crepes with nutella and strawberries (for the first time every strawberries are under $3!) and say that it is morning when he gets home from work. I know I know mostly I just want to get in Pjs at 4 and eat strawberries and nutella.

Wednesday-Salmon pasta salad
Thursday-Chickpea curry
Friday- Pizza
Saturday-BBQ (we are going Hawaiian this time. Coconut rice, Asian Slaw and ribs with Mango BBQ sauce-once we have tried it I will post recipes.

April 6-April 12

Sunday- leftovers
Monday-Black Bean falafel with avocado
Tuesday-Mediterranean stuffed tomatoes
Thursday-Feeding the missionaries-any suggestions?
Friday- Pizza

April 13-April 19

Sunday-Mushroom and Lentil pot pies with gouda biscuit topping 
Monday-Beans, rice, veggies with avocado sauce
Tuesday-Asian noodle salad with tuna
Wednesday-Macadamian nut pesto
Thursday-Farmer's market
Friday- Pizza
Saturday-we have company-we will eat what she wants!!!

April 20-April 26

Sunday- Chicken Cordon Bleu 
Monday-White bean and spinach tacos
Tuesday-Italian Eggs over Spinach and Polenta (I make my own polenta and sauce)
Wednesday-Fresh fish-whatever I can find on the island that week :)
Thursday- Israeli couscous with squash
Friday- Pizza

April 27-April 30

Sunday-Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties
Monday-Vegetarian Enchiladas
Tuesday-Lentil curry
Wednesday-Barley stuffed peppers

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Vegetable Enchiladas

My oldest Air Force friend came to visit this week so I have been trying to think of easy meals that will feed her army and mine :) One thing I know about Kara after our seven year friendship-she does not like spice. Since she asked me to post the recipe I am making this "Kara proof." I usually double the spice, but John and I like it spicy!

I love these enchiladas, they are one of the first meals I ever learned to make. My cousin posted an almost identical sauce recipe so I am thinking this must be an old family recipe. Either way I replaced the chicken that I grew up with for veggies!

The key to making really good enchiladas is the tortillas. You gotta use the "Cafe Rio" style you cook at home ones from Costco, or homemade. Anything else and these are just ho-hum.

Vegetable Enchiladas


1 zucchini
1 green pepper
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 c. frozen corn-defrosted
1 c. spinach
1 c. black beans
coconut oil
lime juice

Grated cheddar and pepper jack cheese


2 T. butter or olive oil (I go back and forth on this one, obviously olive oil is healthier but butter is well butter)
2 T. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cumin
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
8 oz. water

Dice veggies. Heat coconut oil (or olive oil, but I think you should jump on the coconut oil bandwagon :) over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes then add zucchini. Cook another 2 minutes then add pepper. Once veggies are soft at corn, black beans and spinach. Stir until spinach welts. Remove from heat and splash with a little lime juice.

While veggies are cooking melt butter or heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add flour and spices and stir until thickened. Add tomato sauce and water. Cook, stirring occasionally until boiling and thickened.

Grease a 9X13 pan

Fill tortillas with veggie mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll and repeat. Cover with sauce and cheese. Bake at 375 for 25-30 or until bubbly.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two years

About two years ago while listening to BYU Radio I heard a program titled "History of Hymns." This episode was focusing on a hymn I have loved for a long time "Lord, I Would Follow Thee." They were interviewing the author of the hymn. She told a story of spending the day with her sister a couple of days after her sister's baby died. They were shopping for clothes for the funeral. She said she just wished she could have ran ahead of her sister into every store to tell the salespeople "please be kind to my sister, her baby just died. She may seem distant or mean to you today, but this is what she is going through, please be kind."

I remember fighting back tears that morning as I drove to church. Not too long before that I had delivered our stillborn son Samuel. I wish I could have worn a sign telling the world what I was going through because I am sure I came across as mean or uninterested to many people at that time. I also wish others had known so they maybe would have been nicer to me.

Two years this week we said good-bye for now to your little boy. We came home to a nursery that he would never sleep in. To clothes he would never wear, to dreams that would never be realized. And it was hard. Really really hard. We sold the nursery set, and the clothes because even though I wanted another child I didn't want one in that crib or outfit.

That June while brushing my teeth in the Norwich dorm bathroom I knew we needed to start trying again for a baby. I didn't feel ready, but after a lot of prayer, pondering and attending the Temple I knew that was right. So we tried and for the first time we didn't get pregnant with fertility medicine. I wish I could have worn a t-shirt that said "I'm not cranky I'm on clomid" because boy I knew I was cranky. I can think of a couple of relationships that took some bad blows those couple of months that I don't know will ever be repaired. I can also think of a lot of relationships that have grown because another woman understood my crankiness and heartache during the fertility treatment months.

After more prayers, pondering and attending the Temple we decided to try adoption. Man, those were hard months. I still have not processed them completely and I have a feeling it will be years before I can totally make sense of those. But as adoption opportunities arose and then failed life was pretty hard and dark.

And then I got pregnant. Totally natural, unplanned pregnant. It was a miracle but oh the emotions of being pregnant after a miscarriage. Oh and add moving to Hawaii during your first trimester and being on large doses of progesterone. On Monday I commented to John that I was finally in the second trimester and could stop the progesterone which I was so grateful for, he commented that he was too. I of course snapped back "oh yea I am sure the mood swings, hot flashes and dizziness has been really hard for you." Yea it's not out of my system :)

I share these not for a pity party or to try to explain the roller coaster of the last two years. I know that is our trial, and while I hope I can help others with theirs because of what I have been through, I don't need others to understand what we have gone through.

I share this because all morning I have been thinking of the line from "Lord, I would follow Thee,"

Who I am I too judge another
When I walk imperfectly
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can't see

I vividly remember two particular conversations that occurred around the time we lost our son. Both were women talking about wanting another child. Both had what they viewed as legitimate concerns about having another child. But boy I didn't view them as legitimate. At the time I was so mad that they would talk about those things to me after the "real" struggle we had been going through to have another child. I had to restrain myself from lashing out at them and letting them know how hard life could be really be.

I won't say how long it took for me to realize that though they probably could have used a little sensitivity in who they discussed this problem with, these were real humans with real problems that to them seemed HUGE! They were experience sorrow that I couldn't understand and that I had the audacity to judge because of what I have been through.

My trials are so public. Very few people don't know the struggle it has been to have another child.

Over the last two years I have learned most people struggle more quietly. Few people share their financial concerns, or marriage problems or addictions or concerns about parenting on their blogs or even with their friends. They just struggle. Day in and day out, silently and unsupported. No one is running ahead of them to warn others of their trials. No one is checking in on them like my amazing friends have done for so long.

So I am learning to just give the benefit of the doubt. I heard once that if you treat everyone like they are going through a major trial that is about to break them you will be right 98% of the time. I need to cut people some slack and just let things go.

I am learning to just serve those around me to whatever capacity I can.

I am learning to just love. Everyone has their story. They have their reason for acting how they do (though that doesn't always make the way they are acting right). Regardless just love them. Love goes a lot further than lecture.

I am learning to just compliment as a way of comforting. I really do believe that is the best way to help someone, share what you like about them, or your confidence in them. I am trying to just listen more, talk less, love more and compliment more.

I am learning to just see the good in all things. Yes everything has good, even the really really hard things.

And last I have learned I would take my trials any day of the week over just about anyone else's :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February menu

We have moved to Hawaii and are still to get settled. Which means getting back into meal planning! I think we will be eating differently in Hawaii. First, food is expensive here! I told John I feel like you have to pick-veggies or meat-you can't possibly afford both. He agreed veggies are the way to go. Second, electricity is crazy expensive here (our landlord is thinking of getting us solar panels-fingers crossed that works out!) so cooking in the oven is really not an option every day. Third, it is crazy hot here, so cooking in the oven is really not an option every day. Fourth, I want to try to get as much as the meal prepared while Caleb is at school so we can spend our afternoons at the beach doing homework and learning to read :)

Sunday-roasted red pepper panini
Monday-Breakfast burritos
Tuesday- Pasta with Green Pea Pesto
Wednesday-Broccoli slaw and peanut sauce wraps
Thursday-Tuna, artichoke and couscous salad
Sunday-New King Ranch Casserole (this year we are celebrating "Alamo Day"-I think Caleb made that up, but this is the date the battle of the Alamo started so we are eating some traditional Texas food. The fact it is a Whole Food's recipe makes it more so-did you know they are a Texas company?).
Tuesday-Still thinking-any suggestions?
Wednesday-Stir-fry quinoa salad
Thursday-Tuna salad sandwiches