Monday, March 31, 2014

Union Jack Blog Tour!

I have been chosen to be part of the Riley Blake Designs blog tour for their new Union Jack fabric line. I am thrilled! Each Tuesday and Thursday during the month of April, there will be an inspiring tutorial using the Union Jack fabric. My day is April 17th but be sure to check out the other bloggers on the tour too! If you love all things British then follow us on this tour!

Click here to see the list of talented bloggers on the tour:

Riley Blake Designs Union Jack Blog Tour

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Breakers!

It is spring break. Since we already are living the beach life, P, J, and I hightailed it out of our town quicker than if there was a tsunami coming and we headed inland. We drove to where sidewalks don't end and traffic lights reside at most intersections, we drove to where there actually is traffic. We drove to my parent's house to spend the week.

Pearl came too. She was my copilot for the journey. At one point she was stretched out flat in her little tunnel, her eyes closed and her nose stopped twitching. I pulled over just to make sure she was still alive. Much to my relief, she was. I positioned a towel over her cage to keep the sun out and set the vents to blow in the cage with cool air. I'm not taking any chances with Pearl in my care.  Last  week Roary flipped her cage off the shelf. He was more surprised by the fall and therefore too stunned to snatch up chubby Pearl for a mid-morning snack. P was more traumatized than anyone.

The sun was shining and we listened to these three songs on repeat for the 3 1/2 hour drive: "Let it Go" from Frozen, "Shine Your Way" from The Croods, and "Pick a Little Pickle" by The Okee Dokee Brothers. If you haven't heard The Okee Dokee Brothers yet you are missing out. Maybe it's because they are fellow Coloradoans too and I miss CO a lot but these guys are really worth checking out if you like music and have children but don't want to listen to annoying kid's music. (They are worth checking out even if you don't have children too.)

We arrived at our destination for the week and Gree-Gree made homemade peppermint ice cream with P. Then there was a viewing of Frozen on the big screen in Poppo's upstairs theater. I was informed prior to the movie starting that I was not allowed to sing "Let it Go" along with Elsa during the movie. That was an "only in the car thing" and only if P says it's OK.

Just prior to our departure the mail arrived and J received a delectable box of sporting goods from family far away. We loaded it up too and brought with us. Here J is practicing his 3-pointers early Sunday morning. March Madness in the house, especially when this happens before the sun rises.

We attended mass with my parents Sunday morning. It is always a treat for them to show off their family and it is especially important since P will be making her First Communion this spring. Mass doesn't come easy to a four year old and we spent the hour with God outside picking daffodils and searching for bugs.

A gentle reminder upon entering.

We took advantage of the fantastic sunny weather and spent most of our time outdoors. P and I took a little hike around the common grounds of my parent's neighborhood and were able to spy a woodpecker and several pairs of mallards on the creek. We took the bikes to the park downtown and rode around dodging pedestrians. We blew bubbles and skipped rope all afternoon.

The rains arrived on Tuesday and we ventured to the mall for some shopping and then to see The Muppets. It was hysterical. Unfortunately, like Mass time, a movie is difficult for a 4 year old to sit through as well and J spent the hour and a half coming up with excuses to leave the theater in order to run up and down the hallway.

The rains continued for the remainder of the week. We attempted swimming at the community center but was told the pool was at maximum capacity and it would be a minimum of 30 minutes before we could swim. We left. P and J were sad. They were won over with the promise of a trip to Build-a-Bear later in the week and ice cream.

Spring break is coming to a close. We will head home and sing in the car, play i-spy, and tell stories. Then back to our routine and anticipate another over the river and through the woods journey back to Gree-Gree & Poppo's to create more happy memories.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Birth of Piper Rose.

May 17, 2006 at 6:00 pm my water broke. I was now at the threshold of motherhood; the final trial was now set in motion and afterward I would be rewarded with a babe in my arms.

I was ready and smiling. I phoned the midwife. My instructions were: eat, rest and call back when my contractions have been two minutes apart for an hour OR in twelve hours. 

It was twelve hours later when I phoned again. The contractions had been somewhat frequent but had not progressed. 

I was admitted and asked a bunch of irrelevant questions and I was checked. The nurse looked puzzled and asked: "are you sure this baby is head down? You are only dilated to MAYBE a one."

My heart sank. Since the time I was 32 weeks pregnant I have been asking my midwives, at each visit, about the baby's position. I had a very large, hard part of the baby stuck under my right rib and this part of the baby stayed exactly in the same spot until the end. 

Three of the four midwives in the practice agreed that this hard lump was the butt. (The fourth midwife was at my delivery and we had not had an appointment with her after 30 weeks.) 

I just felt, all along, that this lump was indeed the head but it was my first pregnancy and these ladies are skilled in feeling babies in bellies. I did not argue and was reassured that the baby was head down and there was no reason for concern or to think the delivery would not go smoothly. 

The nurse brought in an ultra sound machine, scanned the lump at my rib and then politely excused herself to call in the OB. 

The OB came in and scanned my belly. There was the head, right under my rib. 
She took my hand, I began to cry, she said: "We are going to have to do a c-section at this point. Your water has broken and there is no way to flip your baby. You will be holding your baby within minutes."

I was shaking and crying.

My midwife arrived. She hugged me and said: "It will be ok. This is the safest option. You will be holding your baby very soon."

I phoned friends and my sister-in-law. My parents were with me as they had driven in from Oregon to be here.

I was then descended upon by an assortment of technicians and nurses. The anesthesiologist arrived detailing everything she would be doing. The OB had a form for me to sign. It listed all the possible risks associated with c-sections. Including death.  

I walked myself down the hallway with my medical team entourage. Nick was suited up. My brother called just then to say he loved me.

I entered the surgical room with the midwife and anesthesiologist. It was freezing cold. I took a deep breath. Then I was lying down under glaring lights with my arm strapped down and my lower half numb. I was unable to escape this fate. 

Nick had arrived at my side and Paul Simon was playing on the stereo. The dividing curtain was up, I was helpless and I began to cry. This was humiliating and degrading. It was 7:00 AM.

At 7:09 she was born. I just caught a glimpse of her over the curtain and she was gone across the room. Out of sight and out of reach. Several nurses wished me congratulations and a few said: "Don't worry, her head will look fine in a week or so." Wait, what was wrong with her head?

She was given the all clear and Nick was able to bring her over to me.  A hat was on her head. She looked perfect and was very alert. Still strapped down, I was unable to touch her. I was stitched on the inside and stapled back together on the outside. We moved to the recovery room but not before one final dose of something nauseating administered through the line in my spine by the anesthesiologist.

The recovery room was a swirling vision of haziness. There were a lot of people and beeping things in the room. They measured and weighed her then placed her on my belly. She wriggled her little body up and latched on. I was dizzy and happy but mostly dizzy. They wheeled us to our room. I fought sleep and nausea desperately trying to focus on the little warm body that was laying on my chest. I was starving. I kept thinking: "If only I could eat a sandwich I would feel better." I wanted normalcy. I wanted to be coherent. I wanted to relish every second of this newborn's first day. My newborn. I talked the nurses into letting me eat a popsicle.

I threw up on my baby.

They took her away for her first bath and dosed me up on anti-nausea medicine. I fell back asleep. Off and on throughout the day I would be given more anti-nasuea medicine and then fall sleep. I would open my eyes to see either Nick, my mom, or my dad holding Piper. Keeping a vigil at my bedside. It was very comforting. I don't think I would have faired so well if she had been whisked away to the nursery.

It was not until sometime in the evening when I was able to eat again and the numbness gone. I was awake and I was determined to not miss anymore.

The next day one of the midwives stopped by. She said: "Sometimes a baby will just flip at the last minute."

This baby never flipped. Her head, from being under my rib for so long was rather flat on top and had the appearance of a bicycle helmet. She also had severe hip dysplasia in both hips which required her to wear a harness and be followed by an orthopedic surgeon for several months.

She had a heart murmur which was audible until she was three. She failed her first hearing test at the hospital.

During the midwife's visit to my room I made it very clear I would not take any medicine that would make me loopy or require someone else to be present when I held my baby. I was in full mama mode and it was this that allowed me to focus on my baby and heal. I was given 800mg Ibuprophen every six hours and sent home with a prescription for Vicodine just in case I needed something stonger. I ripped up that scrip when I got home.

The staples were removed, I was mobile, and I was a mama. We were released from the hospital with only a two night stay. We picked up Guinness and some mint chocolate chip ice cream on our way. I was so anxious to be home, to heal and get to know my new baby.

I was not bullied or pestered into a c-section. It was simply a matter of the risks out weighing the benefits. There was no one skilled at vaginal breech deliveries at the hospital. We were living in northern Colorado at the time of Piper's birth. We are now in Oregon and recently, Oregon Health Science University has implemented a program for vaginal breech deliveries.

My risks for future vaginal and c-section deliveries regardless of baby's presentation have increased. Even if my water had not broken and they were able to turn her, I would have most likely ended up with a c-section due to the fact that her head was so misshapen because is was under my rib for so long. I am not angry because I had a c-section. I am upset because I spent 8 weeks asking and inquiring about breech presentations and what-ifs. Only to have my momintuition shut down and told I shouldn't worry and that was a butt under my rib. If they had discovered she was breech I could have tried many different exercises or even moxibustion to flip her weeks before labor began and possibly avoiding a c-section. I was mentally and emotionally unprepared for what unfolded at my delivery. It is still a source of sadness for me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

#disneyside Birthday Party for J! {sponsored post}

**This is a sponsored post. I received free products from Mom Select and Disney in exchange for my views and blog posting. All opinions are my own.**

It was party day for J on Saturday. He was so excited he could hardly contain himself. He kept asking "am I 'hello 4' yet?" He won't be four, hello or otherwise, until Thursday so, we get to celebrate all week long! Hooray!

Party day arrived and it was full of all the excitement and let downs one can expect from a party for a four year old. We booked the conference room at the Inn at Face Rock since our home is tiny. N, P, and my dad transformed the dull table filled room into an open festive area fit for roly-poly children.

No party is complete without balloons!

Upon arrival, J's little guests seemed to all ball up together and roll about the room with outbursts of giggles and squeals. J's chubby cheeks pinked up real fast. P joined in the fun too. Things got really loud after we decorated cookies!

My mom bakes the absolute best cookies!

She also makes the absolute best frosting. J liked black the best!

After the cookie decorating, the kids had to burn some energy so it was back to rolling around the room squealing and giggling while we cleaned up sprinkles and tried to find some cookie crumbs to lick up. Those kids sure ate up the cookies fast! Then it was onto opening presents. I think that took about 3 minutes from initial unwrap to the final unwrapping. It was like a pack of wild dogs descended on the gifts, shredding the outer layers to bits, complete with snarls and joyous yips.

After gifts, it was on to a quick game of musical chairs. Little did I know this game would leave the majority of our guests in tears. How could I let this happen? I'm such an inclusive person and yet here I was pulling chairs out from under kids and laughing. We survived and there was a victor.

Every year I make P and J a birthday CD with their favorite songs. I passed them out as part of the party favors but also used the CD for musical chairs too!

This year's birthday CD for J is filled with his favorites!

Cake time has to be the best time! My mom baked and decorated J's cake this year from a Mickey Mouse cake pan she has had since my childhood. Yes, I had Mickey Mouse cakes baked for me growing up too. It turned out fantastic.

This cake tasted as delicious as it looked!

We sent our guests home loaded with loot thanks to Disneyside Celebrations  and Mom Select. They were also very worn out and the sugar high began to crash. A perfect time to end the celebration and say goodbye.

If you want to see all the goodies I received from Disney and Mom Select then read this blog post: #disneyside

*This is a sponsored post. I received free products from Disney and Mom Select in exchange for my views and blog posting. All opinions are my own.**