Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hannah's Birth Story

Hannah's early birth was anything but expected.
Please note: this post contains grapic descriptions of a birth, if you don't like the words Uterus or Placenta, ect. you won't want to read this post. Also, this is my perception of events, both emotional and medical, from what I have pieced together.
For about a week before my prenatal appointment i had some slight swelling in my feet. I had called my midwives, and we had determined it was probably from the pressure of the uterus laying on a vein, which was causing some retention, as one foot was bigger than the other and I also lacked the other classical signs of pre-eclampsia. I did the exercises they suggested, elevated my feet ect and noticed the swelling would go down. In fact, my feet would switch in puffiness depending on which side I was laying on when I was sleeping. We didn't worry and I kept my regularly scheduled appointment. The weekend before my apointment, my feet got a little bigger but I was feeling pretty fantastic.
Monday came along, I puttered thruout the house, and babysat my friends children. The kids had a blast, and I really enjoy the little bit more I could get done with them so happily distracted. My feet got pretty puffy, but I figured it was because I hadn't had my feet up.
We drove up to Carmichael to meet with our Midwives, as we were still planning a homebirth. I was in their office less than 10 miunites and she had already weighed me, checked my blood pressure 3 times and had me test my urine. I saw her face when she looked at the test strip, and I knew what she was going to say. I remember saying to her first "I know what that means" she pretty much nodded, and then made some phone calls.
Within minuites I had my records in my hands and was told that UC Davis Med Center was expecting me for testing and to go right away. I may be pre-eclamptic and we needed to know how severe and what our options were. She said the tests would take several hours and they may keep me overnight.
I spent an hour in the wating room, while they processed my paperwork. The kids were happily playing, and I was just nervous and tired. Garrett and I decided he would take the kids out and find a place to play while I had my testing. When they took me back they told Garrett to come back in an hour.
They took my weight, my urine, then my blood pressure. The nurse asked me alot of questions...and asked how long I have struggled with high blood pressure. I replied that I don't. my blood pressure is borderline too low. She looked suprised.
Within 5 miunites I had a Swarm of doctors around me, and several nurses as well. one was placing monitors on my belly, the other running an IV. The doctor introduced herself and said in a kind way, I need you to relax. She actually guided me in deep breathing and visualizing my "happy place" and then quickly explained that I was not leaving the hospital today. I said "oh, for 24 hours of observation, right?" she said "No. Not untill you deliver" It didn't quite register.
I was then told I was pre-eclamptic, an my blood pressure was very high. The IV was Magnesium something, and it was to protect my brain and the baby's brain in case I had a stroke. They explained every procedure to me and why it was needed before they did it. I was very greatful for that, as I basically had no real choice, but it was nice that they were so thurough in making sure I understood what was going on. I recieved a steroid shot to help develop the babies lungs, as well as some medication to lower my blood pressure. They did an ultrasound to guess the baby's weight...and i remember telling them that the gender was a suprised. The entire team obliged me and we all agreed to call it "baby" or "she" as that is what I called the baby, they actually seemed quite delighted with the idea of a suprise baby.
While all this was going on, Garrett wandered into the room with 3 very cuious and shocked looking children. He hadn't been told anything. I told him I had to stay, at least overnight and most likely untill the baby was born. I remember trying to explain to the kids that I was sick and had to stay at the hospital. Jacob wanted to know what each machine and wire and tube did. I was feeling quite woozy by then. Garrett took the kids home.
The magnesium really kicked in, and it burned. it made me feel hot and dizzy I had a brief moment of panic,but one of the nurses talked me through it. my water was rationed, I was allowed a total of 6 oz of ice chips or 3 oz of water every 2 hours. I was told that with the combination of edema(swelling) in my feet and the magnesium they had to be very very careful in measuring my fluids what went in and what came out. "My" nurse was named Brenda, she was from South Africa and we hit it off right away. She was happy to chat with me and keep me distracted. The night nurse took over, she was lovely as well. She had to draw my blood several times duing the night, but I hardly felt it she was so good at it!
The next morning I woke to yet another team of doctors surrounding me, rapi-firing questions. I am not sure any of my answers were coherent. I was doing very well, so well, that they wern't sure it was pre-eclampsia after all, but it might be an autoimmune disorder such as lupus. More tests were ordered, I was taken off the magnesium, and moved to a recovery room since I was "passed teh danger of iminent delivery" They were quite optimistic that I would be able to stay on bedrest and keep the baby in untill at least 32 weeks. I called Garrett, and told him to bring the kids up, as it was my birthday and I was going to be stuck in bed for at least a month. They sent me downstaris on a stretcher for an ultrasound of my kidneys.
The test took all of 5 miunites, and then they parked me in line, and I had to wait for someone to bring me back to my room. I think I waited nearly an hour. At this point, I noticed my braxton-hicks contractions felt a little crampy. I started timing them, and urged the staff to get me upstairs ASAP. I had Brenda (who was my nurse agin today) monitor me, she quickly strapped me up and began studying the tape. She stepped out of the room a moment, and I felt a warm gush. It was blood. My mother walked into the room, I held up my hand and said..."Get a nurse NOW" she ran off, I kept hitting the call button. Mom returned with Brenda. I said, get someone to check me!!!!
The team of doctors who admitted me showed up. The head doctor, whom I liked very much, explained that sometimes high blood pressure can cause a part of the Placenta to seperate from the uterus, and we were going to do a quick check to see if I was dialated so we would have a reference point, and then we would try and figure out if the placenta had abrupted. My heart hit the floor. Placental abruption was one of the pregnancy complications that terrified me the most. It can cause the death of the baby, and puts the mother at high risk for hemmoraging (and eve death) as well. The head doctor talked a student thru the examination (UC Davis is a learning hospital, half the teams I met were comprised of students and residents) I watched the doctor's face change as she was looking over the student's shoulder. She gently moved the student back and took over the exam. "You're 10 cm dialated and there is a bulging bag of waters." "ok, are we going to stop it."
"lets just see if we can keep you pregnant just a little longer" Yet another whirlwind of activity happened. More needles, Iv back up, more magnesium, another shot of steroids, move me back onto the birth bed, wheel me out into the hall for the trip back into the delivery room.
That's when I saw my husband, carrying my baby Abigail and some flowers, and the two boys standing next to him. Abigail cried out "mamma, mamma!!" and lunged towoard me. The boys were yelling "Happy Birthday! We brought you prizes!" as I pulled passed them their faces fell. I sent my mom out to take them to the downstairs lobby. I heard them crying as they left. When I arrived at the delivery room, I told the doctor "I'm feeling pushy" "no, not yet!" she replied, and then once agian helped me go to my "happy place" and deep breathe thru the contractions while the team assembled. I kept asking for Garrett, but he had gone to move the car as he was in a timed spot and didn't want to get a ticket. They called him, and he ran thru the parking garage and around the maze of a hospital to get to me. At this point I asked them if they were going to stop the labor. I didn't quite realize what was happening, they said no, and I thought then that I was going to have to just live with the contractions and try and stay pregnant for a few more days.
Garrett grabbed my hand, still breathless. I was given permission to push. I tried to do it gently, but as the baby moved down, I just knew I had to get the baby out. She popped out, I saw the doctor lurch to the side, and I heard a small cry. I saw a little pink baby being passed over to the NICU team. I told Garrett to find out what we the entire team knew not to announce it. "Its a little Girl!!!" he declared. I cried. I cried alot. Garrett stayed with me untill the team took her upstairs, he followed Hannah.
They pulled on the cord and "massaged" my belly. I saw their faces as the placenta delivered. A group went over to study it while another team cleaned me up a bit. I heard things like "torn..." "Abrupted..." "this part looks older..." I shuddered at the thought of how close we both were to the edge. They had some trouble getting my uterus to "firm up" it would do it, then relax, and finally it seemed pretty firm, so they tidied me up.
I saw my mom and the kids at the door, they were given permission by the staff to come in, Auntie Kate was there, as was my sister Cassie. Abigail wanted on the bed with me, but I was too tired. there were kids running around, looking in cabinets, pushing buttons. It was joyful chaos. I was so delighted to see My children and my darling nieces. They wished me happy birthday, and kissed me. Jacob demanded to know where his baby was. I explained that she was tooo tiny right now and the doctors were looking after her, that Hannah and mommy were going to have to stay here for awhile. He looked just crushed.
I still wasn't feeling very good, and I told everyone I was worn out. Kate and Greg had planned on taking the kids when it was time for me to deliver, so between her, my mom and my sister they were able to get all the kids to her house where they spent the next 3 days.
Nurse Brenda came over to check me again, "Massaging" my uterus (this massage basically entails a nurse putting the full weight of her upper body on a small inch section of your stomach and rocking back and forth a bit) a HUGE amount of blood clots gushed forth. The doctors were around me in seconds again, they tried more pitocin, and some other drugs. They swept my uterus manually, looking for bits of retained placenta. Another hour or so passed, more massages, more rounds of meds. The doctor got out the ultrasound to help locate any missed pieces, they were talking about a possible D&C. I flipped. They finally found the piece, they thought they could reach it. I asked for drugs. Just a touch of something I can't pronounce, and I was able to handle them getting the last piece out. The bleeding stopped almost immediatley. No D&C needed.
I was unable to go see Hannah, for nearly 8 hours after she was born. It took a long while to get me stabalized, and I was too dizzy to sit up in the wheel chair. I finally got to go upstairs and see her. She was perfect. A tiny reddish little baby beautifully formed with lots of black hair. She had tubes and wires everywhere, but she was alive and was given very good chances at living a totally normal life. I was so greatful, so happy that we were both alive and well.
I view this birthing experience as a Nighmare scenerio that happened in a most perfect way. Things could have gone much, much worse....but I firmly belive that God guided my body and the doctors to deliver Hannah safely into this world where she could thrive. I thank God for our lives. I am fully satisfied.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Raising your Debt Cieling

Raising your Debt Cieling

Today we are having a Toy Story marathon. Everybody has been sick and grumpy the last few days, with a wonderful break between the fevers and the hoarse coughing. and on to today's topic...Debt!

What do you do when your income drops unexpectedly? Lets just say you belong to a 2 income household and you lose one. Hypathetically. What is your first reaction?
Are you a spender, or a saver? Do you have reserves? Credit cards? Other sources of income? What should you cut first?

Let's play out this scenario with a hypothetical family. Joe and Jane Spenderson are dual breadwinners. they have 1 child. Mom and dad live with them too, as well as great grandma. They live in a large home on the coast of California. The kids are enrolled in private school as well as several activities. Great grandma requires full time care. Mom and dad pay a small rent to live in the "in-laws quarters" behind the house.
Jane loses her job.
Jon says not to worry, they have plenty in the bank. They continue their lifestyle with no changes, other than Jane is now at home full time, coordinating the maid service and meal deliveries. The months tick by, their savings is gone, their credit cards are maxed out.
At this point, they open a second mortgage on their home. Now flush with new cash, the whole family goes on a Cruise to relieve their stress. Their son takes on another activity and mom is just tired of it all and starts spending her time at the spa.
The funds run out again.
They dip into granny's Health Savings Account.
The funds run out again.
Jon drains out Juniors college funds.
The funds run out again.
You see where I am going with this?
The family is now hugely in debt, there are no college funds, there is nothing to provide for granny, or mom and dad for that matter, their house is underwater.
At this point they decide to hold a family meeting.
Jon announces that there needs to be some changes, and that the family is welcome to submit their ideas. An argument ensues, in which everybody holds on dearly to the things that matter most to them. Junior wants to stay in private school as well as hockey, football and fencing, Jane wants to continue at the spa. Jon likes his beamer. Mom and dad like their current rent rate. Granny needs her private nurse. After hours of arguing their new plan looks like this:
Jon will pull out a third mortgage on the property, Mom and dad will pay double the rent, granny's pills will be rationed and the family can't afford to buy groceries anymore so they will just eat out.


Let's revisit this scenario, replacing the previous family with the Frugalsons.
Ben and Beth are dual breadwinners, They have 3 children. Mom and dad rent the apartment over the garage and great-grandpa lives with them.
Beth looses her job, their income is reduced by half.
Ben immediately holds a family meeting. Everybody agrees to cut back. Ben will carpool and take his lunch to work, Beth will take over helping granny out, Mom and Dad will pitch in a bit more rent and the kids will drop one activity each.
Time goes on and their savings slowly dwindles.
They dip into their vacation savings and replace the bills with IOU's.
Still they are not making it.
Ben feels bad for all the sacrifices his family made and takes out a credit card. Debt creeps in.
When that card is maxed out, they have another meeting.
First, the family agrees to tear up the vacation IOU's, it was imaginary debt anyway. Beth will start selling extra things around the house on e-bay. Ben will take on extra hours. Mom and dad have their eyes on an investment property next door, and ask to stop paying rent in order to invest in it, in return they will give a portion of the income to the family. The kids agree to help keep up the yard work on both houses.
The months pass, the debt is slowly eliminated. The neighboring property is bringing in a healthy rent and Mom and Dad are able to increase the amount they were paying in rent by 25% The kids found great satisfaction in doing the yard work and have branched out to mow several neighborhood lawns. They are now adding to their college funds. Ben got a promotion at work, Beth was able to hire on a home health nurse part time to give herself a bit of a break. The family took a small vacation that year and ended with a small surplus in their family fund.

Think on this awhile, we will analyze it later, as the movie has ended and my kiddos are hungry for dinner.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

100th post spectacualr!

Whilst the baby is occupied playing with a potato, and the boys are distracted by a cartoon I will quickly try to accomplish this, my 100th post spectacular!
I really mulled this one over, and fretted about it and then forgot about it for awhile. After spending may hours researching America's current demographic, generational, financial, economic and political condition I came to see the truth in the quote "Impression without Expression leads to Depression"

Boy have I been DEPRESSED. My darling daughter was born nearly a year ago, my hubby was laid off work nearly 9 months ago and I lost all motivation. I am taking steps now that have given me some hope. This blog is part of my "recovery" plan. I hope to begin posting more regularly again, and perhaps make a difference in my little corner of the universe. I would like to share some reflections and study I have done on the "bigger" picture and tie that into our "little" picture.

Today's Topic: INFLATION and the COUPON CRAZE

I Love couponing! I am seriously addicted at this point. I have been doing the "Extreme Couponing" thing on and off for the last two years, since our first long term struggle with unemployment. My dear friend Amber introduced me to website, which showcases the deals found in my area. I have now been able to save 90%+ on my toiletries/paper goods budget, and I save at least 50% on my food. This is a substantial amount for us and has enabled me to stretch our budget further than I could have imagined as I am definitely a frugal type. Having found this level of success I was so happy to see my favorite blogger featured on the TLC special "extreme couponing" early this year.

All of the sudden Everyone jumped on the band wagon, shelves were empty, people were literally racing in to my local rite aid to be the first to land a good deal. There was a great stir in the couponing world, wondering what was going to happen. Stores changed policies, new limitations were placed, coupons weren't as "good" anymore, prices rose. The influx of new converts was blamed.

I think this was actually a symptom of something greater. INFLATION.

The US government breaks down the prices of consumer goods and produces an index of cost in order to gauge inflation. Here is the official Government website noting inflation on food items is only 3.7% higher over the last 12 mos.
Please note, these are only the prices over one year, if you start adding the increases up over time, you can see how prices have been rising.
In my experience, however, I believe the cost of food and products have gone up much, much more. This is a site that breaks down commodities and their inflation rate over the last year.
Here is a good list of consumer goods and their inflation rates, not included in the cpi
Many of us aren't going to go out an buy a bushel or corn, however it is found in nearly all of our food products. When Corn goes up, Manufacturers pass on their costs to us in their food prices.

Take a close look at some of the goods you always buy. Is it just me or are they getting smaller, serving less? Comparing my expired coupons to the ones that are being released as well shows a definite loss in savings for me some coupons are consistently 25 to 50 cents lower than they were two years ago. Prices in the supermarket have gone up as well. I don't even need to talk about gas prices.
All of these things are categorized under "hidden inflation" The blogger at the Modern survivalist has a wonderful post on this here:
This man lives in Argentina and has experienced first hand hyper inflation and the collapse of their currency.

Yes, great you say, but what does this have to do with me? I'll break it down.

We have been VERY blessed in America to spend so little to feed ourselves. That time may be ending due to our current fiscal policies. Expect food prices to go up. We are in the middle of a serious financial mess, and it is going to take some hard work to get out of it, in the meantime we CAN NOT rely on anyone but ourselves to look after the interests of our family. So, here is what to do.

1. Stockpile. If you haven't done it yet, do so! Start couponing. Take your budget for food and toiletries and see how far you can stretch it. Just last week i was able to buy toothbrushes for just the tax. You can too! Having been thru two periods of extended unemployment i highly recommend 1 YEARS worth of food. Seriously. We are working towards that end now.

2. Plant a garden. During WWII it was known as a Victory garden. Our country pulled together before and we can do so again. If you don't have dirt, form a community garden in you apartment complex, or look into indoor gardening. You will appreciate fresh produce while you live off of your stockpile. I highly recommend Heirloom or Open Pollinated seeds, you can save seeds from this years crop and grow more next year.

3. Give. There are many in our society who are totally dependent on the government. This is bad. We aer having trouble meeting our obligations now asn radical reforms may take place. Do your part, Help those around you and educate them in your frugal ways.

Times are changing, we need to change with them! Inflation is happening, in spite of what our Government reports. Remember when they kept insisting the housing market crash wasn't happening? It was. Look at your corner of the universe thru the big picture and you can connect the dots.
More later.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A lovely visit.

We had a wonderful Sabbath visit with Lark and Val. It was waaaay to short, only a few hours! I had tried out some new Indian recipes, and found one to keep and one never to try again. I miss Lark so much. she was one of my best friends growing up we flew off to Springvale Academy together, and attended dozens of camps and youth group trips together as well. The sweet thing about our friendship is that the passing of time and the great distance has done little to diminish it. When one of us finally makes contact again, it as if no time has passed at all. I pray she will always reamin my dear friend. and also her hubby Val is cool too. He is like the extra brother I never had. you know, the one who didn't tease me incessnatly. We geeked out together over homebrewing, and I got tons of advice and will begin my first fermentation project as soon as I can get ahold of the equipment.

Now, back to the daily grind. I take the weekends off from cleaning, and I am beginning to think this isn't such a great idea. I had lots of fun on Sunday, shopping and clipping coupons but now I beleive every dish in my kitchen is dirty. If we are going to have breakfast at all today I need to get cracking. But I just don't want too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

wow i am so behind.

I have had a pretty rough winter, dealing with depression and family drama, and I feel like I am finally coming out of it. The change in weather has been good for me, and I hope to get on this more frequently. I have so much to share with all of you! For now, I am trying to get our house company ready. NO before/after shots, as I am truly embarassed at the amount of clutter that has built up around here the last 7 months!

To do:

Prep lasagene, start foccacia, make salad dressing
Tidy up and vaccuum front room
de-clutter kitchen
fold and put away laundry
scrub out bathroom

If I have time:
organize paperwork
boil and sun pocket diapers (they have developed a smell lately)
make apple pie

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

well then, the last few months have been jam packed with drama. I'm just done. So here I am again, back into the bloggosphere, ready to muse away at the world, Family and our Ulitmate Purpose in life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

moms of many young siblings...

I have wondered in the past, why it seems there are no blogs out and about written by moms who have lots of little ones. Many of the blogs about big families seem to have teens and older kids, and their advice about getting the big ones to help with the littles is nice, but does not apply to me. At this point I seem to be struggling with everyday existence and just wonder how this is all going to work out. I long for the company of someone else who is walking the same path I am.
I realized something the other day, moms like me just don't have time to do the blogging thing. I certainly don't. I am hoping to get myself back on some sort of schedule soon, in order to free up a bit more time for the blogosphere.