Ramblings of the Girl

My life as a mom, wife, and student…

On a Lighter Note August 17, 2010

Filed under: Birthing,Just Thinking,Ramblings of the Girl — The Girl @ 4:33 am
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Things could be going much better… but I am trying to stay focused on the positive instead of the bad.bad.bad. so that I can keep a smile on my face and possibly trick myself into reducing the otherwise boiling over stress level.

Last night I started a rotation at a different hospital. Where they have a new procedure for labor and delivery. I am still trying to comprehend how they can go from kind of antiquated to WOW without a few pit stops in the middle, but kudos to them!

Before, standard procedure was for laboring mom to leave the labor room and head to the delivery room where she would climb up onto a table, get her feet into the stirrups, experience a traumatic delivery that included a guaranteed episiotomy, a doctor climbing on top of her abdomen and pushing down to force the baby out or use of  forceps, a quick latch from the baby then baby is whisked off to the nursery, stitches, pain reliever/sedation without consent, at least an hour in a recovery room, then off to the OB ward.

Last night, we were enlightened about the way they do it now…

Laboring mom still leaves the labor room and heads to the delivery room where she climbs up on the table and gets her feet into the stirrups, BUT, no more episiotomy, skin to skin immediately after delivery… for at least 60 minutes, no more pain reliever/sedation… while baby is on mom, Vit K and Hep B are administered, and baby is wiped off instead of quickly bathed with soap and water or baby oil.

I know there is still a long way to go here. I haven’t had the opportunity to observe a birth with these new procedures yet, but I was so excited to hear that they are now requiring skin to skin immediately after delivery. This is something that is not even common practice in hospitals in the US yet either you ask for it, or you have an awesome nurse. It just made me happy.

I’m off to get ready for another duty shift now, so I will leave you with this picture snapped by the Manchild…

Double Rainbow From Abroad


Out With The Old January 1, 2010

Filed under: Just Thinking,Ramblings of the Girl — The Girl @ 1:33 pm
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I’m not very different from everyone else.  The last twelve months have been a roller coaster ride for me.  Every time things seemed to settle down, either in a good way or a bad way, all of a sudden that incline came out of nowhere and I then there I was, facing a landslide decline.  The downhill was not always bad, not always scary, sometimes it was just that rush of excitement that I needed.

I have been struggling over the last few days both with some decisions I have to make in everyday life, and with the decision as to whether I should make The List.  You know the one, it has a Part A: all those things from the last twelve months that I deem to be list worthy, and then comes Part B: all those things I resolve to do in the next twelve months.

But why do we make these lists?  Especially the ones we resolve to do in the next twelve months?  How many times over the course of your life have you made those resolutions and then actually followed through with them?  I have decided not to make a list after all; I have decided that instead of making a list of resolutions to try to stick to… I am doing one thing only, I am going to wake up each morning and take a moment or two to meditate on all of the things I have to be thankful for.  I have been thinking that I need a little fine tuning of the attitude, and I think that this one daily exercise will help keep me centered, focused on what is really important.

While most of you are just waking up and starting your new year, I am half a world away.  My first day of the new year is already almost over.  Today was a challenge for me.   I find myself standing at one of those major forks in the road where I am forced to make some very hard decisions.  Today I made a conscious effort to give thanks for all of my blessings, and come back to center before I reacted to anything.  With this effort, I hope that I smiled at least once more than I did yesterday.  If I did, then I was successful.


The Cesarean Complex September 4, 2009

Filed under: Birthing,Goals,Just Thinking,Ramblings of the Girl — The Girl @ 5:59 pm
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There is a lot out here on the interent about birthing; especially natural birth and the birthing experience.   Having wanted a natural birth experience for all three of my littles, I was quite disappointed to have each of them end in cesarean sections.  For a long time I felt that I was missing the experience of natural birth, that I had been robbed.  Over the last year or so, I have come to a peaceful place with the experience that I did have, the experience is mine.  A lot of that is from being able to read the experiences of others and how they got through them.  Some insight that helped me greatly was from Morgan over at Adventures in Diapering.  I have come to realize that it is OK for me to miss that experience, as long as I can still look at the big picture and remember that the pregnancy and birth are probably about 1% of the entire parenting experience, and the parenting experience is what really matters. 


Another thing that I have come to realize is that there are some women (men too…) who really put a value on the natural birth experience, and in talking about that value as a whole (medically and emotionally speaking), focus on the areas in which our current maternal care system is lacking.  There is not a lot of discussion of situations where cesarean sections were a legitimate medical necessity.   I believe that for most women who have experienced something different than they were hoping for, this does nothing but perpetuate feelings of loss, sadness, and possibly inadequacy.


While this is something that has been of interest to me for over a decade, it has been more of recent that I have been doing more reading and research on the issue.  I am fully aware of the sad state of our maternal care in the U.S., both from my readings, and from personal experience.  I know that there are many (too many)  situations where a  woman who intends on having a natural birth experience ends up with an epidural, and eventually lands on the OR table while her child is born through a surgical incision for reasons that could have been avoided.  I know that there are OBs who want to practice 9-5 medicine and will induce labor or schedule ‘elective’ cesareans so they can be home in time for dinner.  I also know that many women head into the hospital thinking that they are going to have the birth experience that they dreamed of, not ever having had a direct conversation with their doctor about his or her practices, or doing any of their own research outside of taking the child birth classes taught at the hospital.  The problem is not only the fault and/or the responsibility of medical providers, but also that of women.


I believe that there is more than one issue at hand here.  The fist is making a change in the system so that pregnancy and birth are treated as a natural process and not a disease that needs to be cured.  The second is that we need to develop a true understanding of what (some) women who have had cesarean sections go through in the recovery process emotionally, and provide better support for them.


There are amazing nurses, midwives, and doctors out there that realize we have come to a place where change needs to happen.  Many are trying to make that change even if it is only in the smallest things that they can do as individuals (maybe a nurse standing strong in supporting a women’s wishes when she is being bullied by a doctor).  Some know we need a change but have no idea where to start, and there are others, unfortunately, that don’t realize anything is wrong.


I believe that as a woman, I have a responsibility to myself and other women, to be an educated consumer’ of all things.  Number one on the list of all things is health care.  Change doesn’t come easily or quickly, but with time, persistance, and hard work, we can make it happen.  It is my responsibility to be open and upfront with my doctor regarding my expectations.  It is also my responsibility stand up for myself if I believe that I am not getting what I deserve.  Remember that even in the doctor’s office, you are paying for a service, and you deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.  You can question things without being rude or pushy, and it is OK to say no, or I want a second opinion.  It is your body, and what happens to it is your choice.  Don’t let that choice be taken away from you.




Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da July 22, 2009

Filed under: Ramblings of the Girl,Uncategorized,Weekly report — The Girl @ 4:48 pm
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And so life goes on…


I know you must have been waiting with bated breath for my return.  Where exactly is it that I have been you ask?  All over and back more than a few times.  Things have been pretty crazy for the last, let’s say, three weeks, and just as I am starting to recover, I am about to begin yet another journey into the unknown.


Going back to the end of June, just after my last post, I headed up north for a week of relaxation with some family friends.  We planted ourselves in a cabin on a lake and lived happily without the every day luxuries most of us consider to be necessities (no running water:translates into showering out of a 5 gallon bucket and washing dishes with boiled lake water; no electricity: translates into no TV, no cable, no radio, no video games, no electric switches; no traditional phone, and very limited cell phone service).  We entertained ourselves with a few trips down to visit friends at the lodge, camp fires, card games, coloring, puzzles, and lots and lots of needed sleep.  We did return a day early due to uncooperative weather and allergy issues, but overall, it was a much needed and thoroughly enjoyed vacation.


Only a day and a half after my return, I headed right back out for an overnight visit with my BFF.  That trip was extended because much to my dismay, just as I was about to get on the highway and head home, I was abruptly rearended.  The Manchild started to complain that his head hurt, and of course then I was worried about the babies too, so we headed to the ER just to be sure everyone was OK.  That we were, and we enjoyed one more night with a delicious breakfast the next morning.  Oh how I love to visit that house!


I recently had an appointment with the director of the nursing program I was accepted into, only to find that really, they are not taking much for transfer credits at all, and now I plan to finish my nursing education abroad.  I’m still working on the details, so we will leave this new development here until there is more, definite news to report.


The straw bale garden is doing well overall, but I seem to have lost all of the canteloupe plants and a tomato plant (Cherokee).  It seems like overnight I had a visit from the garden fairy, and the plants are really beginning to produce now.  For a while it seemed like I was never going to see any fuit for all of the labor!  My Dr. Bronner’s concoction seems to have done the trick in shooing off the unwelcome visitors that we had on our plants.


The Manchild has started swimming on a summer league in a neighboring town.  He seems to be enjoying that, and while he has practice I am able to take the babies over to the playground next to the pool and watch them exlpore and wander.  Popo has learned how to turn the sprinkler in the park on by pressing the red button, and every day when I pick her up after work now she tells me she wants to go to the sprknkler… the only thing is that it took a few days to figure out what she was saying because sprinkler sounds like ‘spanking’!


Summer seems to be slipping away before my eyes, but this last month especially I have been trying to make the time to enjoy the little things.  Some of the chores have been pushed off for fun, and I’ve been making sure to enjoy the littles.  Last night The Baby seemed to be ready for bed as soon as we got home.  Since she seemed extra cranky and extra extra clingy, I snuggled with her for a little bit and then rocked her to sleep.


I’ve been trying to get back on track with my domestic duties; sticking to my laundry schedule, staying on top of little pick-ups around the house, and finally working on a meal plan.  Of course that meal plan I have been working on was supposed to be ready for this week, but hey, life happens… so hopefully we will be eating somewhat planned starting next week.


Nothing else new and exciting to report on for the day, so that’s it for now!


Changelings June 26, 2009

Filed under: Being Green,Ramblings of the Girl — The Girl @ 8:18 pm
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I am torn today because I have two subjects on the brain, both dealing with change, but in different ways.  One has to do with how ‘times change’ and the other with how ‘people change’.  I’m going to stick with the times today since I have been thinking about that for a few days.  We’ll get to people later.


A week or so ago I was going to write a post about my grandmother.  And her opinions.  Yes, her opinions did need its own sentence.  I decided against that because I’m still teetering on the fence in regards to how personal I really want to get here (please keep this in mind if you plan to revisit, becuase it will also apply to the soon to come people post).


When I was in my teens, I was… let’s say very alternative for the time.  I was quite the tree hugger, years before it became trendy, and I caught a lot of flack for that.  While I held on to a lot of the ideas and practices I had then, there are several that slipped away as the years passed by.  I no longer remember the different properties of different crystals and stones, and I don’t have any more t-shirts that say things like ‘save a tree, harvest a developer’.  I try not to regularly lecture family members and friends on how to be kinder to the environment.


I’ve held true to my beliefs that there is such a thing as natural healing (though I don’t practice it very often-and I DO believe there is a place for conventional medicine), and we should all do our part in preserving the earth;  I’ve always chosen a more natural or organic option when it was available.  I’ve gone through times where I was a little more active in the   ‘earth renegade’ lifestyle, and I’m coming back into one of those times.  I’m trying to live a more natural lifestyle (natural food, natural cleaning, natural all around).


I specifically remember a family gathering where I was discussing the healing benefits of certain herbs and crystals with my grandmother, and she insisted that ‘all that’ was psychological.  I remember making the statement that it may be so, but I would rather carry a crystal in my pocket than take a pill; if I could heal myself psychologically, all the better.


The other night I dropped a jar of our homemade jam at my grandmother’s house.  We sat and chatted a while as the kids played outside, and she commented on how she thought it was funny that I was getting so into the homemade thing.  This was after a recent phone conversation we had where she was telling me that she puts peppermint oil in her laundry with the sheets because it kills bed bugs.  I thought it was funny that she seems to have forgotten what I was doing 15-20 years ago; the same thing I am doing now.


Within the last few days, I came across this post about how the U.S. is a little late in jumping on the band wagon of the simple lifestyle, but that without America, the change that had been seen in other countries would be short lived.  Rhonda linked to some Oprah articles and shows on cutting back and living simply.  What does it say about our society, that it takes an economic crisis and Oprah for us to join others in efforts to take care of that which has only been lent to us (Earth)?


Today I received my email update from Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship, and while her post focused on nutrition, in her ‘How?’ everything was tied together; everything we do is connected in one way or another.


I’m so happy to see that even though it has taken a while, we are finally catching on to this movement.  I have discovered so many resources online that are helping me come up with more and more ways to live naturally and healthfully, all the while minimizing my impact, but in a way that is not tedious or not conducive to my currently busy schedule.  I’m hoping that this time around the change is more than a phase, and I can have an impact and inspire others, even if it is only one person.


A Day in the Life June 22, 2009

Filed under: Weekly report — The Girl @ 3:35 pm
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Outside: Cool air, gray skies, sprinkles, and winds-a-blowin’!

I am Thinking: About the work being done on the bathroom this week, and how refreshing it will be to have finished walls and a floor that I can actually keep somewhat clean.  About Preparations that are needed for our forthcoming, much needed vacation.

In the Kitchen: Not too much going on.  Needs some restocking, hopefully we can take a much needed trip to the grocery store tonight.  I Also need to sit down and go through all the great ideas I have collected and actually get a meal plan together.  I Plan to make some more jam before the end of the week, that is if the sun shines through and we can get to the berry patch.

I am Thankful: For the time spent with family yesterday, snuggly babies, an the acceptance letter I received by surprise on Saturday in the mail.


The last week has been such a whirlwind that sitting here and reflecting, I can hardly remember anything that happened.  The thing that stands out in my mind the most is that one night this week The Baby was really tired.  Popo was watching Sesame Street 25th Anniversary DVD after a bath.  I took The Baby upstairs to get jammies on and the rest of the get-ready-for-bed routine.  I sat with her in the rocker where normally after about 30 seconds she climbs down and wanders off to the toys and books.  This night she put her head right down and snuggled in and I rocked her right to sleep.  It was so refreshing since she hasn’t let me do that in probably a year!  After she fell asleep and I had her all tucked in, I convinced Popo to come get her jammies on and we snuggled a bit too.


We’ve had pretty good luck in the garden.  I have some baby cukes coming up, and The Manchild informed me this morning that the tomatoes are flowering full force.  Those are my favorite, so I hope we have some fruit to show for our labor soon!  I mixed up some Dr. Bronner’s pest spray and I am waiting to see how that works out.  The only problem that I had was I accidentally broke some of the plants when I was trying to get the undersides of the leaves sprayed.  Hopefully they will forgive me and get past the injuries.  I will be much more careful next time, although I though I thought I was pretty gentle this time!


The Manchild and I made strawberry freezer jam, which you may have already read about.  This was some nice together time we had, something I think he has been looking for.  He seems to have taken an interest in cooking, and he made 2 batches of brownies by himself over the weekend.  One over at Mayonaies’s, and one yesterday to take to the Father’s Day cook out.  I’m going to try to encourage him more in this by keeping him involved in the planning and cooking on a regular basis, this might be a way to get some quality ‘mom’ time in for him.


Last week I was anxiously waiting for Tuesday so that I could call the college I recently applied to.  The had the Nursing Committee meeting on Monday afternoon, and I was told to feel free to call on Tuesday to get the news.  Tuesday came, and I called the secretary and asked for the news.  My heart sank when she told me that they were not able to review all the files the previous day, and they would not be able to meet until this coming Thursday; I should feel free to call back Friday morning; they had decided it wasn’t fair to share the news with some if they couldn’t share the news with all.  I had been fairly confident that I would be accepted with my transfer credits and scores on the placement tests, but all of a sudden I was nervous.  I checked Saturday’s mail on Sunday morning, and there was a letter from the Nursing Department.  I have been accepted with advanced placement!  I am really excited about this, but I still have a lot of decisions to make, and I am not sure if this is the best way to go.


We had a nice get together with the family yesterday at my aunt’s in celebration of Father’s Day.  The parents, grandparents, and a few aunts and uncles were there.  It was nice and low key.  The kids still took a dip in the pool even though it was raining, and the babies got to spend some time with my cousin’s children who are very close in age.


This week coming up I have a lot of work to get done. 

  • I have to get the bathroom all cleaned out tonight for the contractors who are coming tomorrow to start work on finishing the bathroom. 
  • I need to actaully get some meals made instead of just thinking about it.  Last week I cooked 2 all out family dinners, I would like to at least increase by one a week until it is habit on a daily basis.  I am trying to balance how to do this with not walking in the door with the littles until almosr 6 p.m.; this is something that is proving difficult for me.
  • I need to get a meal plan done for our vacation so we know what to bring.  This has to be done as we will be about an hour away from the grocery store once we get into camp.  Once we get in and settled, I would like to not have to head out to town at all for the week.
  • I need to start getting things together in general for our upcoming vacation.  Lots of laundry needs to be done and packing started at least towards the end of this week.
  • I need to gather as much information about as many other nursing programs as possible so that I can do a real comparison of the pros and cons of each and make a final decision as to what the best way to go is.
  • I want to get back to the berry patch and get a lot more berries so that I can make some more jam and freeze some whole and sliced berries.  We have to see what the weather brings before making those plans though; I heard it’s suppose to rain all week!


That’a all I’ve got going on these days.  I will have some new pics of the garden posted soon, as well as a report on how the Dr. Bronner’s pest spray worked.


The Baby May 26, 2009

Filed under: Birthing — The Girl @ 8:15 pm
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There are only 14 months between the birth of Popo and ‘The Baby’.  So I have the Manchild who is now 12, Popo who recently turned 2, and The Baby who recently turned 1.  After the birth of Popo, I was nervous about what this pregnancy might bring for me, and had many open and helpful conversations with the doctor through the months. 


At my first prenatal appointment, I asked about something that had been weighing on my mind; what was really considered to be a reasonable/safe number of c-sections before mom should call it quits.  The doctor said that generally they recommend that you have no more than 3 c-sections, but that if a mom feels strongly about it, it is possible to have more.  She said that she has moms that have had 5 c-sections and they have been fine.  We also discussed the subject of VBAC, but since Popo and The Baby would be so close together, we decided that a planned c-section for The Baby was best.


We also talked about what the liklihood was of the recurrence of HELLP Syndrome, and what I could expect as I came closer to my due date; she would be monitoring me very closely, and she said that my treatment would be very conservative;I should expect frequent appointments and regular non-stress tests (NST) along with regular blood work.


Throughout this pregnancy, I felt much better than I had with Popo, nothing out of the ordinary, not even any swelling, so I can say that I was more than surprised when I went in for a regular check up at 30 weeks to find that my blood pressure was 140/90!  Needless to say, the nurse pratitioner I had been scheduled to see sent the Dr. in, and I was sent right over to the hospital for an NST and blood work.  She also asked me that dreaded question, “are you working?”  That was the day I was ordered to spend the remainder of this pregnancy on my left side.


For 7 weeks I complied; I made weekly trips to the Dr, and bi-weekly trips to the L&D unit for NSTs.  I became a frequent flyer, and counted down the weeks then days until I knew that I was at the point where I knew I wouldn’t have to transfer to The Big Hospital if things started to make a downhill turn.  My blood pressure stayed within a ‘normal’ range all along until about 37 weeks. 


I had a horrible cold that I just couldn’t seem to shake; over the weekend I had made one trip into L&D for an unscheduled NST due to lack of baby activity, and another trip into the ER because I was severely dehydrated, and no matter how much I drank, I just couldn’t get myself hydrated.  On both visits the end result was the same; I was fine and The Baby was fine.  Even though I begged to differ on both trips, I went home and tried to keep myself hydrated and make sure The Baby was still moving, I knew I had another Dr. appointment on Tuesday anyway.


Tuesday came and to the Dr. we went.  I had a scheduled ultrasound scheduled that day to check growth and fluid level; the uldtrsound tech said that my fluid level was low and that I would have to talk to the Dr. about it, lucky for me I would not have to wait to hear what that meant (though I knew what it meant, ultimately).  My blood pressure was checked and my urine was dipped, and the Dr. came in to the examination room to tell me that she had called the hospital to schedule the anesthesiologist, and The Baby would be delivered the next morning… the fluid was low, the BP was high, and there was protein present in my urine.


Even though at this point I expected her to tell me this, I still started crying because I still hadn’t really expected to hear this today.  We went home and packed and headed over to the hospital because I had to have another NST and the Dr. had decided it would be better if we stayed overnight to be monitored.


The next morning I was prepped and rolled into the OR for delivery.  I was absolutely terrified of the spinal, (my close friend had said that was the absolute worst thing she had ever experienced in her life, and I am not to keen on needles), but the anesthesiologist and the nurse were amazing.  DH was right by my side the entire time snapping pictures and talking to me while Teh Baby was delivered.  The ansethesiologist was so patient and absolutely wonderful in answering all of my questions and telling me what was going on the entire time (as a nursing student, I have seen a few scary things in clinicals, and I was afraid I would be too focused on the monitors or what was going on in the OR). 


It was such a wonderful experience to be awake for the birth of The Baby; so different from my previous births with The Manchild and Popo.  She was born healthy, but had a lot of fluid in her lungs (she required a lot of suctioning) and was having a little trouble breathing after a bit, so she was taken to the nursery for some oxygen and closer monitoring.  After a few hours she passed some meconium and was as good as new!  The brought her into my room and there she stayed until we went home. 


While this is not the birth that I would have ‘chosen’ if the ‘choice’ was available, I am grateful for the final outcome, which is that I had a birth where both baby and mom were healthy.  I had a very hard time dealing with the birth of Popo, especially because I truly had a different experience in my mind, and not only was it completely differentthan what I had in mind, but the disappointment was compounded by the fact that I left the hospital without my baby, and although she didn’t have any major complications, she was not able to join the family at home for a month.  I recently came across a great blog of a mom who has had 4 c-sections, and this post that she wrote really helped me realize that it is not the experience per se that matters, but the overall outcome and how you choose to move forward after the fact that is important.  I completely agree that society puts too much emphasis on the experience of birth, and surely this interferes with the emotions of many new mothers who are already dealing with so many changes (both internally and externally).


I was by far the most prepared for this birth as far as having educated myself as a patient, as well as making sure that the Dr. and I were on the same page throughout the entire pregnancy.  As women we need to educate ourselves; we need to be aware of all options that are available, and we need to ask questions, and sometimes stand up and say no.  We should be more prepared for truly necessary interventions.  Pregnancy and birth should not be treated as an illness, but as a natural life occurrence.  We need to help other women understand it as that.  We need change, but it will not come without work from all of us.