Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gone but not Forgotten!!

Hey Guys!!! I've started a new job this week, which is why I've been a little absent from posting. I'm getting used to my new schedule, but so far it's great!! Regular posts will resume shortly. PROMISE!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wired.... via Pinterest

I absolutely love coffee.  When I was pregnant I had an awful aversion to it the first trimester, but thankfully, got my taste for it back after that.  I only allowed myself one cup a day it wouldn't hurt the baby.  Once the baby was born, I thought I could enjoy coffee again.  I knew I was breastfeeding, but I figured one or two medium coffees a day wouldn't hurt anything. 
Boy was I wrong.
Since I returned to work I've been drinking two coffees a day.  I never thought anything of it cause I usually wouldn't keep the milk that I pumped during the work day.  I was making plenty for Olivia without that milk (basically, I make too much).  But, a few weeks ago, I discovered that Olivia would actually nurse from me, so started transitioning her to nursing when I was home. We've successfully made the transition (yay!! no more quality time with my best friend the breast pump every three hours) and now am not only not dumping the milk pumped at work, but hoarding every last drop of it. 
Last week, Olivia was basically a no nap baby.  Hubs complained that she would fall asleep for a minute, and then wake up immediately.  When I got home, I wouldn't be able to instantly lull her to sleep with my mommy powers.  I would have to rock her and walk her around the house for nearly two hours before she drifted to dreamland.  Friday night, she was really fussy and the rocking wasn't working, so we put her in the car for a ride.  Now, usually the car is a magical place where Olivia doesn't cry, but not that night.  She cried non stop until we turned around and returned home.  Saturday basically picked off where Friday left off.  Then, I had a thought.  Could my coffee drinking be ruining our happy baby?

It's blurry but... that's one unhappy baby...
Sunday I didn't drink any coffee (well minus the sip Hubs gave me of his DELICIOUS iced coffee), and Olivia was happy all day.  She even took a nap in her crib....for nearly two hours.  The evidence was very conclusive.  I was ruining my daughters demeanor with my coffee addiction. 

That's much better....... I'm off the sauce, and mornings are just depressing. Not only do I have to get out of bed and get ready for work, but I have to do it without a warm (or cold) cup of coffee.   I have been having a cup of tea directly after I nurse just go I won't get a caffeine headache, but it isn't the same.  I miss my coffee.  If only Olivia shared the same love as I do.
Here's my question for you....what do you drink in the morning if you aren't drinking coffee??

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bathtime for Violet

My friend Heidi is having her second daughter any day now.   I wanted to make her a little something for the baby and had been scouring the internet for ideas for weeks.  I settled on making her a hooded bath towel and washcloth from this tutorial  

While I was still on maternity leave I had gone to the fabric store with my mom and bought some flannel fabric that was purple with fairies on it.  I had loved it and thought I would make another changing table pad cover for Olivia.  She had taken to pooping on her changing table cover and it was always dirty.  Right after I bought it we got a gift card to Babies R Us in the mail from one of our friends.  I love sewing, but being a new mother is tiring.  All Carter's was on sale at Babies R Us for buy one get one 50% off.  I think you can see where the story is going.  The changing table pad covers were bought.  Now that we have three Olivia is dirtying them next to never. 

The fabric was just waiting for something adorable to be made out of it. A few weeks ago Heidi had posted some pictures of the baby's room to Facebook.  I saw on the wall that the name "Violet" was written out in wooden letters. When I saw that the new baby's name would be Violet I knew immediately that I must use it for her gift.  Not only was the fabric soft and cute, but it was light purple!!  At first I thought I would make the towel part out of this brown terry fabric that I have in my stash.  However, currently my stash is in the very bottom of Olivia's closet, underneath her baby tub, and a load of other stuff.  I got lazy and decided to buy this pretty purple towel from Ikea.

The tutorial called for a 30X30 square but the towel was 28X55.  I thought I'd just cut a 28X28 square.  Easy right?  Somehow my cutting ended up so so wrong.  I cut the towel.  Then I cut the fabric.  Did I cut the fabric crooked on one side.  Of course I did.  I cut it again.  Second time's the charm right? Nope.  The fabric and the towel were absolutely NOT the same size.  At this point, I didn't have enough fabric left to try again, so I made due.  I have no idea what happened.  Either Ikea lied about the dimensions of their towel, it stretched, or I am just HORRIBLE with measurements.  

Helping Mommy sew 
Mom! I'm falling!!
Just as a side note....Have you ever cut a towel.  Little pieces of terry get EVERYWHERE.  It almost looked like Grimace had shed all over our couch.

Once I had the fabric and the towel laid on top of each other and pinned I started on the binding.  I bought purple bias tape for the binding (well actually my sister bought it for me cause I couldn't find it at my fabric store). I usually make my own bias tape, but when one has a newborn time saving methods must be used.  The tutorial instructions said to just sandwich the binding around the edges.  I thought that would be MUCH harder than just using the two step method to putting on the binding.  I did it my way and then zig-zagged the edges.  It didn't line up perfectly on the edge on both sides, but I didn't mind.  I thought it made the towel look whimsical?  What do you think? 

Next I tackled the washcloths.  I made those out of scraps of the towel.  Instead of making them with both fabrics like the hooded towel, I decided just a fairy on each side as decoration.  I used the zig-zag stitch to sew the fairies on, and again, the stitching didn't line up perfectly on both sides, and whimsy ensued.

I'm actually really happy with how everything turned out.  It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but the end result looked adorable.  Hopefully, Baby Violet will love her bath set!!

Linking this to a few parties :)

Creative Itch

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Daddy Daycare....

Now that I'm back at work, my husband is watching the baby during the day.  I know it sounds kinda funny to say, but we are very lucky that he's unemployed at the moment and gets to watch her.  Neither of us wanted to send her to daycare (or could really even afford it) and his mother could only watch her in the afternoon. So for now, Olivia and her Daddy get to hang out all day, while he tries to work on building up clientele for his firm. 
I thought it would be fun to hear about the baby from Hubs' point of view, since she acts so differently for him then she does for me.  I asked if he would want write a post for the blog every other week.  At first, he was kinda skeptical, and said he wouldn't know what to write, but I convinced him it would be great.  So, from now on, every other Saturday will be another installment from Darren.  We're going to call it Daddy Daycare for now....until we think of something more clever.  

For his first installment Hubs decided to tell Olivia's birth story from his point of view.  It's incredibly sweet, so make sure you have some tissues close by........

About 3 days after we finished our last natural childbirth class, Margie was placed on bed rest for pre-eclampsia. After about 10 days on bed rest it looked like she was going to be able to return to work. Her blood pressure was back to well within normal range and there was no longer any protein in her pee. I remember joking with her on the ride home from the doctor that I was afraid this was the calm before the storm. I had no idea how right I would be. This was Thursday, May 6th.

Friday, May 7th: Margie wakes me up and asks me to get her something to eat. I roll out of bed and throw a bowl of cereal together and then promptly fall back asleep. As the day progresses she keeps complaining of not feeling right. Around 1 in the afternoon she tells me about a pain in her upper right abdomen. I remember reading about pre-eclampsia and I know that is not a good sign. I tell her to call the doctor. When she got off the phone she tells me that they want her to come in right away. We jump in the car and head on over to her doctor’s office. The office is a block from Fenway Park and all I can think is “Oh Sh*t.” The Sox had a 1:35 game against the Angels the day before (They lost 0-11. Disgusting, I know!) I could not remember for the life of me if they had an afternoon game that day, but if they did I knew it could make the normal 15 minute drive into an hour-plus trek. (They actually did have a game, but it was 7:10 vs the Twins. They lost again 2-9, but as you’ll see, I didn’t get to watch.)

We arrive at Margie’s Doctor around 1:30 and they immediately draw a bunch of blood and hand her a brown grocery bag. I couldn’t fathom what was inside. Turns out that it was the tools needed to take a 24 hour pee test. We never ended up needing it, but I could not tell you what happened to it.  Anyway, they then examined Marge and hooked her up to the fetal heart monitor. At this point several hours have passed, but at no point did I think I’d be meeting my daughter in a few hours.

Anyone who knows me knows that I turn into a miserable human being when I don’t eat. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast that morning and it’s now 4:30. I can’t imagine how awful my mood actually was, but Marge said I was doing good. The plan was to grab something at t Panera after her appointment. Well, the lab results weren’t back and the office was going to close at 5:00. Margie’s doctor said she wanted us to go to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and have them re-run the tests. So,as we are walking to the car I ask Margie if she wants to get some food and she tells me she isn’t feeling well. So, like the jackass that I am, I ask if she wants to wait in the car while I go get food. That went over like a lead balloon. So, we jumped into the car and headed to Brigham.

By the time we drove over there and parked it was about 5:15, even though it’s less than a mile from her doctor’s office. Boston traffic on Friday with the Sox home is a level of hell that Dante was not capable of comprehending! Anyway, we cannot find the check-in for labor and delivery. Turns out it’s hidden under an escalator as you first walk into the main entrance. They took us up to labor and delivery and put us into a triage/pre-labor room. Well turns out Marge was having regular contractions on her own. Not a good sign! They ran the blood work and it came back that her liver enzymes were elevated. The results, coupled with her pain, was a good indication that her pre-eclampsia had progressed from manageable to severe.

Allow me to digress from the story and jump on my soap box for a few lines. We had planned a natural childbirth (no meds, no pitocin, etc.) There were visions of birth balls and birth tubs dancing through our heads. I had read Penny Simpkin’s “The Birth Partner.” I had even begun to think that home birth was absolutely the best way to go. I still believe that that it is a great option for many situations, but when things go wrong then they go wrong incredibly fast. Every nurse I spoke with afterwards said the same thing. They all had horror stories about home births coming in because something had gone seriously wrong. I just feel incredibly lucky that we live in Boston and that our local hospitals are considered the best in the world.

Back to the events. Margie’s pre-eclampsia had gotten really bad. Her liver was swollen, but she was actually having regular contractions as well (Despite the due date being 5 weeks away). So at this point we all thought it best if we try to induce labor. We had been in the triage room for about 2 hours at this point. Once the decision was made they moved us into a Labor and Delivery room. They gave Marge pitocin and magnesium sulphate. They warned her that she may vomit and sure enough she did. So after they gave her the drugs then Marge and I decided that I should go home. I needed to let Guinness out, grab her hospital bag, and finally eat.

We checked with the doctor about me leaving for a few hours and she told us that Margie would most likely be in labor from then until Monday or Tuesday. That was an incredible shock, but I thought that I’d take it one step at a time. I left and immediately went to get food. I won’t even tell you what I ate, because I was starving and stress eating. I got home at about 9. I finished packing Marge’s hospital bag and took care of Guinness. Then I hopped back into the car and headed back to the hospital. I got back there at about 10:30 or 11:00.

At this point they had run another set of labs and Margie’s liver enzymes had gotten worse. The doctor wasn’t sure if we should keep trying to induce or if we should do a c-section. She called in a doctor who specialized in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) for a second opinion. The MFM doctor made it an extremely easy decision for us. The baby needed to be born in the next 4 hours and it would take at least 24 more hours to induce. At midnight we decided to go forward with the c-section. I should mention Margie’s nurse at this point. She was absolutely AMAZING! I was so impressed with all of the nurses at the Brigham, but Margie’s initial labor and delivery nurse was incredible.

The decision has been made they immediately started prepping Marge. It helped that she hadn’t eaten anything since the previous morning! They got me all set up in scrubs and brought her into the OR. I had to wait in a hallway while they got her spinal going. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life. Finally, when I was completely freaked out that they had forgotten me, a nurse came out and brought me in. They had started the c-section and Margie had already thrown up a couple more times.

At 12:50 on the Morning of May 7, 2011 Olivia Barbara was born. She weighed 4lbs 5oz and measured 16 inches long. I was in love.

She didn’t cry immediately and I was so scared. But, finally she made some noise and I was able to breathe again. I couldn’t go to her immediately because the doctors and nurses from the NICU were working on her. It seemed like an eternity, but they finally let me go to her. I cried. She was so beautiful. I now had a three-way tie for the happiest moment of my life (Our wedding day, the day we found out we were having Olivia, and Olivia’s birth).

The doctor’s told me that she needed to go to the NICU because she was having trouble breathing. I went back to Margie and told her what was going on. She told me to go with Olivia, but before we left they brought her over to meet her mommy. I then left with Olivia and we went up to the NICU. They brought her to the triage room and ran some tests. She was having difficulty breathing because there was liquid in her little lungs. She held my finger the whole time they were working on her. My heart was breaking. They told me their plan for her and then I went back down to check on Margie.

I got back down to Margie’s room and the scares kept rolling. She was having the most violent shaking fit I had ever seen. Imagine shivering on the coldest morning times 10! I made up an excuse to leave the room and checked with her nurse. She told me it was totally normal and that I shouldn’t be worried. After she had stopped shaking I went back up to Olivia. She was still in triage. They were waiting for a spot to open up for her in the NICU.

The next 24 hours are a blur. Margie’s liver was still bad and they were still worried about her. Olivia was in the NICU with a CPAP machine helping her breathe. I was so naive. I thought Olivia would only be up there for a few hours. I was in for a surprise. Margie was able to briefly hold Olivia at some point in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Marge couldn’t leave the labor and delivery floor, however, because her blood pressure wasn’t going down and neither were her liver enzymes. At some point before her Doctor’s shift ended she stopped by to check on us. Her visit confirmed that we made the right decision. The placenta had begun to abrupt and it was only a short while before I would have been in the awful position of choosing between my wife and daughter. God was looking out for me that night because I didn’t have to make that horrible decision.

I spent the entirety of Saturday going back and forth between Margie and Olivia. They kept checking Margie and she was slowly starting to recover. At some point on Saturday they took Olivia off of the CPAP and she was breathing room air without any assistance. Finally, 5 minutes before the Kentucky Derby was starting (we LOVE Derby Day), Marge was cleared to be moved to a recovery room. I started the process of bringing all of her stuff up to the room (thus missing the fastest two minutes in sports). On the way up they allowed her to see Olivia again.

Marge was a recovery Champion. If she wanted to see Olivia (without it being a massive hassle) then she needed to get walking. She was up and walking around by Sunday morning. We spent the next few days at the hospital. We were able to handle most of Olivia’s feedings which was really nice.

Then our discharge day came. A couple were in the room next door to us, the day before we left and had just had their baby. I remember being so mad at them. How could they be so selfish!?! They left their room door open and were oohing and aahing over their little bundle of joy while our baby was sitting in an isolette all by herself. I know it’s completely irrational, but shut the door! I got really annoyed later when I walked by and they had made up their own do not disturb sign for their now-closed door. When I think about it in retrospect I realize that I only reacted this way because I was dealing with leaving the hospital without our daughter.

Olivia spent 19 days in the NICU. The entire 19 days were a roller coaster of emotions. Sadness and anger, happiness when we were with her, worry when we were away from her, and so many others. Everyday was the same. We would get up around 9 or 10 and call to check how she had done over night. We’d eat breakfast and take care of stuff around the house. We’d eat lunch and then leave for the hospital at 1:30. We’d arrive at the hospital around 2:15 and stay for at least 2 feedings. Sometimes three or four. We’d leave the hospital between 7-Midnight. We’d get home and fall asleep on the couch. We woke up and did it all over again.

On May 26th, our prayers were answered and Olivia got to come home.
I felt like a piece of my heart was missing while she was in the NICU, but since May 26th it's been complete.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lame Duck

This past Monday I gave notice at my current job. Last Friday afternoon I got word that I had been offered a position with a company I had been interviewing with. I was nervous about giving my notice, but absolutely ELATED that I only needed to spend two more weeks at my current job. I've been in my current position for two years now. I think I enjoyed my job for maybe the first two months....maybe. Next Friday is my last day. Thank god!!

The period of two weeks notice is a weird thing. Hubs keeps saying I'm a lame duck. I think I'm more of an annoyed, right on the verge of quitting duck. Part of me wants to work out my two weeks and finish all the documentation and projects I can. The other part of me is highly annoyed with how work continues to be piled onto me with no care as to how I am going to get it all done. via Sew Pretty on Pinterest 
Part of me, well to be honest about 85% of me, thinks I should have just quit.  Why am I worried about being courteous to the same person that has made most of my days unbearable for the last two years?  But, unfortunately I didn't quit.  So I'm here, for the next five days....a little lame ducky.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Post Baby Milestone #2

Today I'm wearing a pair of pre-pregnancy pants!!  Kinda.  I had to jerry rig the button closure with an elastic band.  Hey, the rest of the pants fit!!

These were a pair of pants that were big on be before Olivia was a twinkle in my eye.  Currently, they are fitting my legs and butt very well.  The fit on the waist leaves a bit to be desired.

I think this counts as a milestone.....and even if it doesn't...I'm counting it anyway.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lucky and Stuck

picture via Firefly Events(Teissia Treynet) on Pinterest

Last week Hubs and I had a streak of good luck.  Winning money luck to be more specific.  We were up in Maine for the weekend and decided to trade in a scratch ticket we had won two dollars on back in April.  It's impossible to buy just one scratch ticket so Hubs supplemented our $2 with another $2 and we got four tickets. 
Hubs scratched two and I scratched two.  Silver stuff was flying everywhere!  Seriously, I don't really know what that stuff is, but it gets everywhere.  I'm always concerned that it's going to get into my eyes....and that just can't be good for them.  Hubs won $10 right off the bat.  Mine though, they weren't winners.....or so I thought.  I guess I just didn't understand the game...cause Hubs looked at them and said I had won $50.  As any good gambler would do, we decided to buy more scratch tickets with our winnings.  We put the $50 aside and Hubs took the $10 back into Cumberland Farms (yeah...we are doing all this scratching in the parking lot of Cumberland Farms while Olivia and Guinness are sleeping in the back) and bought five more.  Out of those five, we only won $2.  Did we buy two more?? YES!  Our winning streak stopped there.....which was probably for the best.  We drove away with $50, out of $62 won.....not too bad. 
We felt pretty lucky that we had "won big" on scratch tickets, and figured that it was a good omen for things to come.  I'm not sure if we were right or not, because later in the week I got stuck in an elevator at work.  Being stuck in an elevator is close to being one of my biggest fears.  I generally don't ride elevators because I'm afraid of them breaking down.  Plus, I'd rather get the fitness benefit of walking up the stairs ( it's part of my exercise so you can eat whatever you want plan).  However, on this particular day, I was in the elevator because it was the only way I knew how to get up to the Employee Lactation Room.  After I was done making Olivia some milk, I went down to the elevator and pushed the button to go down ( I was on the fourth floor).  The elevator came and a patient and I got in.  She wanted to stop at the first floor, I needed to return to my "office" (more of a sad excuse for a cubicle)  in the basement.  The door shut...the lights stayed on..but we went no where.  Soon I thought...we will be moving soon.  After a few minutes...the patient asked if we had gone anywhere.  All that kept going through my head is....great...I'm stuck.  I texted my co-worker to let her know and then pressed the emergency call button thingy behind the door.  Obviously you have to speak right into that intercom thing cause they didn't hear me at first...I had to press again.  Eventually they were able to open the doors.  The funny thing was, we hadn't even gone anywhere, the doors just wouldn't open.  People were waiting for us outside the elevator doors to make sure we were okay.  Since I had to go back to work, I just left and went to find the stairs.  About ten minutes after I got back to my desk someone came in looking for me.  It was the Customer Excellence Coordinator.  She apologized for the elevator and handed me a card.  It had a $25 gift card to target in it!
In one week I won $50 on scratch ticket, then lost $12, got stuck in the elevator and then got $25 dollars.  What a roller coaster! 
By the way.  I now know how to get to the lactation room by the stairs, and you better believe I use those everyday :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Strawberry Picking and Freezer Jam

For my last week of maternity leave Hubs, Olivia, the dog and I packed up our stuff and headed up to Maine. It was kind of a spur of the moment idea, and I had to pack us all in a hurry. Boy is it harder to pack now!! Before I just packed myself and the dog. Now I have myself, the dog and the baby. Who would have guessed that such a small person would need sooooo much stuff!! That could be a whole other blog entry though!

While we were in Maine my Mom and Dad took us strawberry picking. Hubs had never been before (what can I say he grew up in the city), so I had to show him the ropes. I actually had a job for a couple summers where picking strawberries was something we did. I worked at a research farm for the University of Maine. We picked, weighed and cataloged the berries... then got to take them home. Seriously, best job perk ever! Especially when we did the same thing with blueberries, vegetables and apples. Anyways, since I am a qualified and knowledgeable strawberry picker I appointed myself and Olivia as Hubs supervisor. We watched over him and told him where to pick. Olivia fussed a little, but really, she may not even understand what a strawberry is yet.

My sister finished picking first.  She said she still had a lot of berries from last year.  I decided to give her a turn with the baby and assisted Hubs with filling our tray. He needed it :) Most of the pickings went into our tray, but a few pump red berries went straight into our mouths. Trying a few while we work may be my favorite part of strawberry picking. After we had picked all we could, we put all the berries in my Dad's car because, of course, the farm only took cash, and we only had plastic. Thanks Dad (we paid him back of course)!!

Back at home, the strawberries were picked through, hulled, washed and placed in freezer bags.  My Dad told us we had to do this right away or they would get really mushy.  I was feeling lazy, but couldn't risk all those delicious strawberries.

This summer Hubs and I have been on a canning and preserving kick.  We had talked to my mom about it, and she had gotten all the stuff to make freezer jam with the strawberries.  Just as a side note, she got all the stuff using her up rewards from rite aid :)  The three of us started making the jam together, but Hubs got torn away to cook lunch on the grill, then I had a crying baby to soothe, and Mom was the only one left.  Somehow, and I'm not really sure how, a mistake was made.  The jam never set.  First jam Hubs and I ever made together...first jam fail.

Mom was terribly upset about it, but we really could have cared less.  It tastes absolutely delicious!  We put it on toast and then eat it very carefully (cause it's pretty runny).  One weekend I made pancakes and we used it instead of maple syrup.  Basically, it was a delicious mistake.


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