Monkey's Birth Story

Quite strangely, I went into labor at the same time as Munchkin's - 2 days early at 3:30am! Though, the similarities ended there! I let my husband and son sleep, and started calling my mother to notify her so she could drive here in time to watch my son. Unable to sleep, I decided to get out of bed and bake some muffins for breakfast and make sure I had all my ducks in a row so to speak. I was having contractions the whole time, but they were short - maybe 30seconds; so, I just paused to breathe, visualize and such. Eventually the boys got up and grandma arrived. I notified my doctor's office when contractions were 5min apart (about 9am) but my husband had some work he needed to do so I took a bath to slow things down. Unfortunately, they slowed too much (to about 7min apart). Then, around noon I posted to Facebook that I was feeling discouraged and thinking it was going to be another long labor. I snapped one last picture of my pregnant belly and tried to get things going again by bouncing on the exercise ball. BAD idea - way too painful. So I tried to rest in bed on my side. No luck. 

Then, very soon after I got dressed, contractions jumped to just 4min apart, lasting 60sec but then after just 10seconds, ANOTHER 60second contraction would start! It was WEIRD, and they became more intense as well - to the point I had to vocalize to get through them! As soon as I could talk, I told hubby he needed to finish up because we needed to leave ASAP! By the time we got out the door, I could barely support myself through the contractions, but was managing the pain pretty well using the hypno-birth breathing exercises, and meditations of acceptance, surrender, allowance, and so on. However, when it came to actually getting IN the van...this proved difficult. I couldn't IMAGINE sitting down, knowing the pain would be intolerable. So, in the 2minutes I had between contractions, I climbed in the seat backwards and held onto the headrest. Munchkin, who was watching all this from his carseat, quickly scolded me for not wearing my seatbelt; so, after the next contraction (which was stronger and louder now that I was almost squatting) I somehow got the seatbelt around my huge body and reassured him I was 'safe.' (After that, he scarcely said a word for the rest of the 25minute drive!) For the first part of the drive, I was still coherent enough to yell at my husband for his driving. For the later half, I had to hold my hypno-birth type of recordings to my ear to keep it together as not to scare my son!

We arrived at about 1:25pm. Naturally, I refused (via a head-shake) all FOUR wheelchairs that were offered to me, even though I was having to put all my weight on my husband during contractions. I simply had NO strength left in my legs from mostly being on my feet since 3:30am. Slowly, but loudly I made my way to the Labor/Delivery floor as the contractions seemed to be coming one on top of another by then. I do remember two strange things at this point: First, MANY people randomly asked my husband if it was my first birth. Later, the nurse told me this was because that gives them an indication of how much time they have to work with. And 2)I remember my husband requesting they hold the elevator for us, only to walk up to it being FULL, and I said "Huh-ah...Are you kidding!?" I'm not laboring in there with all those people! LOL

When in the LD room I immediately started undressing (!), had a contraction, then climbed onto the bed backward, essentially kneeling. At this point while putting on the fetal monitors, my L/D nurse figured out I was in back-labor and suggested counter-pressure on my sacrum. It SAVED me! Although, my husband was the only one strong enough to apply enough pressure to make a difference!! Meanwhile, a doctor entered, introducing himself (I still don't know his name, but later found out he was a resident) and when he made his way to my side, I remember hearing him say to me DURING a contraction, "Okay, Ma'am. We'll just get you your epidural and break your water, and you'll have your ba--" I responded the only way I could: non-verbally...bulging my eyes and vigorously shaking my head! When I could talk again, I said "No. Not what...I want! Birthplan...Honey, birthplan," as I pointed to my bag. When handed the big folder of papers, the doctor's eyes widened at the size. (No worries! In reality, he only needed to read the first few bullet points of the first page!) He skimmed it, and said no problem, but added, "First things first, we need to check how dilated you are." I thought, "Oh yeah. Of course," then proceeded to plead with him to lie on my side, insisting with something like "I can't do it. I just CANNOT lie on my back. Please don't make me lie on my back." He consented, and I heard him say I was 7CM!!!! A HUGE wave of endorphins rushed over me, because although I felt the urge to push while kneeling in the van and lobby, I didn't want to get my hopes up for anything more than 4CM. So, the next choice was whether to break the waters or not. And I was just about to decide when I felt a contraction coming on, and had an inkling it was going to break anyway. It DID! The next few contractions brought with them an urge to bear down, so he did another awkward cervical check, and...9 1/2CM! ("Yay!!") A few more contractions and my body was pushing the baby for me. I recall saying "Wooooooww" through the contractions because it was such an overwhelming physical sensation :-) I got the OK to bear-down, and several pushes (on my part) later, Monkey was here! I almost COULDN'T believe it. I mean, in my mind we had *just* arrived to the hospital, afterall, and I didn't even have an IV in! 

When I saw him for the first time, my eyes went straight to his HAIR, then his face and body. He just had so much hair! One of the highlights of the whole thing, was that my friend Allison arrived just in time for his birth, and stayed until I was able to settle into my room. GaGa brought Munchkin to the hospital that night to meet his brother for the first time :-) 

It was all so powerful, so wonderful - almost overwhelming.

How was it different?
I couldn't possibly list them all, but the major differences were: 
1) It was a third as long! (Yay!!!)
2) It was intervention-less. In part, it was because there was simply no time for anything to be done, not even a simple HepLock, nor a more complicated epidural, nor breaking the waters early (like previous birth), and so on. But also, I was more mentally prepared and resolved about it this time; they would've had to work really hard to convince me the risks outweighed any benefit. 
3) Recovery from the tear was a breeze compared to the first time around.   
4) It was MUCH more physically demanding: From being on my feet, gripping the bed's side-bars, and the strength of the contractions, etc. (Honestly, I wish I was more prepared; my abs and thighs were literally fatigued and 'shaky' for weeks.)
5) It was also more 'positive' generally speaking in that the natural endorphins were stronger and/or more plentiful this time and lasted for days! Mentally, I was sharp and alert postpartum, and morale was actually high!  


Welcome to the World Monkey!

We're proud to announce the birth of our second boy
(to be officially known as "Monkey" on the blog!)

He was born April 23rd after a natural birth of just 11 hours.
 He was a healthy 8lbs even, and 21inches long!!  
As you'll see, he seems to get his eyebrows, nose, and lips from daddy and only his eyes from me! 
I'll try to post more pics by the weekend. I know I've been negligent. So sorry!!

Like Munchkin, he's a very 'happy' baby. And thank goodness all the tasks of his care are repetitive and simple! (SOME part of the birth and infancy has to be simple, right!?)  Overall, we're doing pretty well, trying to be patient with ourselves and eachother! Having two kids is different ballgame for sure - much harder on a marriage. But we try to keep things light-hearted. I keep reminding myself that things will become more of a routine soon, and Munchkin will be back in preschool too. So that will at least give me some down-time to 'catch-up" on SO many tasks that have been put off since mid-pregnancy! 

Joys of Breastfeeding
From his first feeding, he has been a champion eater. The only glitch we ran into was that he tended to just 'hold' the nipple in his mouth, not sucking. Almost like he thought he didn't have to do any work ;-) It quickly passed though, lasting only about a week or so.

As each day went by, I was reminded of all the real benefits:   
It forces you to sit down and relax every 2-3 hours!
Doesn't stain/stink like the "formula smell"  and I'm sure it has to taste better to him.
It supports his immunity in these early weeks/months.
It's way less expensive than the formula we would use.
Munchkin's poo doesn't smell as bad as formula poo! (What more can you ask for.)
My favorite part has to be the "reward" of how cuddly he is afterward, and the little sounds he makes!
As a bonus, it's so sweet to see him play with his hair - heehee!!   

That's all for now. Thanks again for everyone's encouragement and support!
**If you leave a comment below, please remember to not use baby's name online - thanks.**


Freezer Crockpot Meal Bags

Recently I came across the concept of FREEZER Crockpot Meal Bags. Basically it's where you prep the whole recipe, place it in a bag in the freezer, thaw it the night before, and then plop it in the crockpot the day of! I found out about it via a google image search for regular crockpot recipes, and then a site called: MamaAndBabyLove.com

I couldn't imagine being on my feet for as long as it would take to grocery shop, wash, and prep everything, especially at nine months pregnant; so, last Saturday my mom visited and helped me do this for 8 freezer meals. (Thank you Mama!)Below is basically how we did it, and what I learned. 

So, first, is recipe selection. Select your recipes wisely, or modify them. Don't even try to freeze sour cream, creams, cheeses and other dairy products, or delicate vegetables and fresh herbs such as green onions, parsley or cilantro. Stir those ingredients into the recipe at the end of the cooking time, or garnish on individual servings.

Planning/Timing: If you're gonna be making many meals with dried beans or beef/steak meals that require soaking the beans overnight or browning of the meat, you may want to do those tasks, plus washing your veggies the night before so everything's ready to go in the morning. (Otherwise, if you do everything all in the same day, the beans stay too firm (for my taste), the meat doesn't cool fast enough to put into bags, and the veggies take forever to wash!) Just a suggestion that I wish we would've thought of; but, it's your choice of course.

To start Prep Work: clean/sanitize your entire countertop. Pull all needed spices, condiments and sauces out so they're ready to go. Drain & rinse any canned beans. Start to wash, and cut all your veggies to their sizes. Then place them all assembly-line style down the counter. **Tip:   prep your potatoes and onions last so they don't brown too much, nor stink up the kitchen, respectively! 

Before Filling bags: Label each on a FLAT surface (Yes, I learned that the hard way! heehee) Recipe Name /Date, Cooking time/Setting, Anything that will need added in (water, broth, cilantro, etc)

Lastly, I did see 2 advisories somewhere online: 1) About Needing to THAW out the bag the night before to prevent your crock from cracking!  And 2) That you don't want to skimp on the quality of the freezer bags. I don't KNOW that either is mandatory, but you wouldn't want to learn the hard way, right!?  

The weird thing I found while researching...as usual, the measurement were given in typical 'cups', etc. BUT I needed to know HOW MANY of each veggie to buy. So, I changed the recipes I found to show the NUMBER of veggies I needed. Sorry if that's confusing for you; I wasn't planning on posting them. It's really a personal choice of proportion anyway - answering for yourself which veggies you want to dominate according to your tastes.  

With all that said, here are the 4 recipes I came up with: I'm gonna try cooking each for: 6Hrs on LOW and see how they turn out in my 3qt crockpot. Wish me luck cause the recipes I used CANNOT be called *TESTED* until I eat them in about a month from now when baby's born :-P

3 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
3/4 cup green beans, fresh or frozen, diced
1 med onion, diced (or 1 tablespoon onion powder) 
1 1/2 potatoes, cubed
1 lb. Beef Stew Meat, cubed
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. beef bouillon
1 tsp chopped garlic (chopped, diced, or pureed)
1/4 tsp pepper (white or black)
1 tsp salt 
2 T. A/P flour
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
**ADD:  2 cups water to crockpot

6 carrots, large cut OR 1 bag  baby carrots
4 stalks celery, large cut
1 large onion (or 2 med.) large cut
5 med potatoes, large cut
2lb beef, large cut & browned/pan seared & cooled

2 tsp beef bouillon
2 tsp garlic puree
1/2 tsp pepper (white or black)
1 tsp salt
1tsp onion powder
2 bay leaves


1 zucchini, diced
1 med. green pepper, diced
1 med. onion, diced
2 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cans dark kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic puree
1/4 tsp pepper (white or black) 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp onion powder 
1 T. cumin powder
2 T chili powder

1 carrot, diced/grated
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cup green beans, diced (fresh or frozen)
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 squash, diced 
1 med onions, diced
1/2 potato, diced  
1 cup Peas, frozen
1 cup Corn, frozen 
1/2 cup lima beans, frozen
2 can tomatoes, diced
1 can navy beans , drained 

1tsp garlic puree
1/2 onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper (white or black)
1tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika


Preserving Childhood :)

this was a list I recently saw of things for every child to experience before turning 3.  It was compiled from a survey of 1,000 parents by the baby food manufacturer, Cow & Gate. The results are SO telling about what's important for kids to EXPERIENCE, not just LEARN! The activities are innocent, simplistic, and good ol' fashioned fun!!  I LOVE IT, and had to share with you all :)

  • 1. Make a mud pie
  • 2. Bake a cake
  • 3. Finger painting
  • 4. Sing loudly in public
  • 5. Climb a big hill
  • 6. Pick fruit
  • 7. Dance without any inhibitions
  • 8. Make sandcastles on the beach
  • 9. Be chased by a monster (Ahh!)
  • 10. Jump in mud puddles
Sadly, I have to admit that Munchkin has only done #6, #7, and #9...we've got some checking off to do before he turns 3 in April, huh!!?


What do women want!?

On my local, online forum for moms the question was asked casually, "What do you want?"

It got me thinking.

At first thought were various MATERIAL things, of course! Among those are:
-A different washer we're waiting on in exchange for the frustrating front loader we have.
-A more comfortable bed - haha! Our $300, 6year old queen with a foam topper is dying a slow death, and we're suffering right along with it!
-An OB/GYN who makes the effort to understand my body better.

My second thoughts bubble up more difficult things that simply can't be solved by money! Among those are:
-More 'family time' - TV, laptops, and phones off. Fire started and quality time talking, playing games, and just being together.
-More time with other moms & friends. I've carved out one night each week for myself finally, but can't seem to make the mom 'dates' happen consistently.  Kids get sick, obligations get tin the way, and plans fall through.
-More energy, and time, to do the projects that need done before baby comes. (That list is a page long itself!)
-More support, the kind that in reality only family typically provides: meals made when you're sick, impromptu visits to simply connect after a long day and 'see how you're doing,' free babysitting that allows hubby and I to get away overnight once in a while.

Ah, but upon more reflection, arises what I realllllly want....GRATITUDE. True gratitude for the things I have and the people around me who do care, and the time, health, and wealth that we do have.

I covet only the ability to stop looking over at the grass on the other side and stop labeling it greener!!


Corinthians' Christmas

A friend of my mom's gave this to us years ago. It's really quite special (and brief); so, 
I thought I'd pass it along! Whether you're religious or not, I don't know. 
But I assume if you're celebrating 'Christ'mas you won't be offended at my posting this!

If I decorate my home perfectly with bows, twinkling lights, and shiny balls, 
but do not shine love to my neighbors, 
am I not just another decorator?
If I slave away in the kitchen, bake dozens of cookies, prepare tasty meals, 
and arrange a beautifully adorned table, 
but do not show love to my family by spending time with them, 
am I not just another cook?
If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and hand-crocheted snowflakes, 
attend a myriad of parties, and sing carols for hours, 
but do not focus on Jesus' birth, 
 have I not wholly missed the point?
And even if I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home,
 and give all that I have to charity, 
but do not show love to my enemies, 
can I truly say I am loving?

LOVE...stops the cooking to hug the children.
LOVE...sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
LOVE...is kind, though weary at times.
LOVE...doesn't envy another's coordinated china and table linens.
LOVE...doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, 
but is thankful they are present to be in the way.
LOVE...doesn't delight in receiving just the right gifts, 
but rejoices in giving to those who can never repay.
LOVE...bears all things, believes all things, 
hopes all things, and endures all things.  


Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust...
You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving!