Spending vs. Saving


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September Books

Megan Francis – The Everything Health Guide To Postpartum Care: A Complete Guide to Looking and Feeling Great After Delivery and Beyond

Allie Pleiter – Becoming a Chief Home Officer: Thriving in Your “Career Shift” To Stay-at-Home Mom

J. A. Jance – Long Time Gone

The recipes:

Sept 1: Tomato and Corn Pie

Sept 2: Fudge Brownies

Sept 3: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Sept 4: Strawberry & Cream Bread

Sept 5: Banana Cake

Sept 6: Strawberry [Pecan] Bread

Sept 7: Granola Bars

Sept 8: World Peace Cookies

Sept 9: Pizza

Sept 10: Crisp Lemon-Ginger Wafers

Sept 11: Potato Torte

Sept 12: Cocoa Blocks

Sept 13: Dark Chocolate Pudding

Sept 14: Lemon Cake

Sept 15: World Peace Cookies: Peanut Butter Variation

Sept 16: Coconut Bread

Sept 17: Chocolate Chip Cookies (from mix)

Sept 18: Rice Pudding

Sept 19: [Pecan] Brown Sugar Squares

Sept 20: Mushroom Cabbage Galette

Sept 21: Nada. So sad.

Sept 22: World Peace Cookies: Chocolate Chip Variation

Sept 23: Blueberry [& Peach] Crisp

Sept 24: Calzone Rolls

Sept 25: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Sept 26: White Bread 101

Sept 27: Key Lime Tart AND Pepper Steak Pie

Sept 28: Caramel Crunch Bars

Sept 29: World Peace Cookies: Mint Variation

Sept 30: Coconut Bread (from mix)

Birth Story

It’s been one month since I entered the hospital for a second induction attempt and I finally feel like I can maybe think about the events of labor, delivery & the aftermath enough to write about them.

Our induction attempt, take two, began Tuesday evening. We were to arrive at the hospital at 6:00, and I had been warned, especially by my doula, to eat and drink as much as I possibly could. The plan was to receive prostin gel that night and then ramp up the induction the next morning, most likely with pitocin.

We were a little late arriving at the hospital (last minute things took longer than I expected), but it ended up not mattering at all since there I had to wait to get checked in. It was 6:30 before we got back to the room, and another half hour before our nurse came in – there was some mix-up in communication and she hadn’t known we’d arrived.

After she confirmed with us our plan (yes, prostin gel, two doses of it before morning) she left for me to get changed into my gown and L left to bring in the rest of the stuff from the truck. The nice thing was the nurse said I was allowed to eat and drink until midnight, and said she’d bring me a light meal (really, just cereal) shortly before midnight. Any food is better than no food!

I got my first dose of prostin after an hour on the monitor since they wanted to make sure the baby’s heartrate still looked good. I got my second dose of gel around 3:00 that morning, with the expectation that around 7:00 pitocin would be started.

I’d made arrangements with my doula that she’d arrive Wednesday morning – I figured that Tuesday night wouldn’t be a big deal with just the gel but I’d want her when things got started in earnest.

Wednesday shortly after 7 the doctor arrived to check me – and I was still just not even really 1 cm dilated. She wanted to break my water in hopes that it would also kick start labor, and I agreed, hoping that something would convince the baby that he needed to enter the world.

This was the first sign that there might be issues – there was meconium in the fluid. The doctor wasn’t that concerned; it wasn’t that much and the baby’s heartrate still looked fantastic. My doula arrived right after that, and got to be there as I got started on the pitocin drip. Beginning level: 1, going up in increments of 1 every 20 minutes or so.

So far I was only slightly uncomfortable; mostly from the monitors and my IV (which was very poorly placed, a fact I would regret more and more as events progressed). I was also somewhat weirded out by the water I kept leaking every time I moved. I’d never completely get used to the feeling (or the smell honestly). I lost count of how many times I had to change my pad and undies and the pad on the bed. And by me, I mean me & my doula and/or nurse because with the tubes and wires and everything I had, I had to have help.

Ad the pitocin rate ramped up, I continued to feel mostly ok. I walked the hallways, read, and changed positions regularly as suggested by my doula. After a couple of hours, the doctor checked me again. I’d progressed all the way to a 2.


More position changes. More walking. More pitocin, and I was feeling it now. I was also feeling nauseated, and threw up. (Which I would continue to do until delivery. I lost count after 8 times.) I got the shakes. I got really cold. My doula said the vomiting and shakes were very good signs that I was in or approaching transition.

Finally, after the pitocin level was up to 19, the doctor checked me again. L and I and the doula discussed what I would do depending on what my dilation rate was. If I was close, I knew I could make it. I thought if I hadn’t made it to a 6, I’d get an epidural because I didn’t think I could continue on at the slow rate I was progressing.

Doctor’s verdict? A 2.5.

Not even kidding. We were all shocked. what about all my hard work? What about the contractions? What about the pitocin?

This kid was stubborn, as was my cervix.

I did request an epidural after than disheartening news. I hated getting it, in part because it kept me tied to the bed, but we all hoped that it would relax me which might encourage my cervix to open. I felt the first looming specter of a c-section taunting me.

I continued on with increasing pitocin levels (they finally backed it back down to 15 after they hit 30, and started increasing the level again). My contractions were deemed “dysfunctional.” Even I could tell that they’d never hit a nice pattern before or after the epidural.

The baby’s heartrate monitor continued to show that he was in great shape, so my doctor was willing to let me keep laboring, since I was making incrementally slow progress.

I was up to 6 cm by midnight, and it appeared that the baby’s head was finally engaged against the cervix which should help it to dilate.

I crept along to 8 cm by 1 PM Thursday, when the doctor brought up a c-section. My contractions never got into a good pattern. The baby was just not pressing against the cervix enough. She wasn’t demanding it yet, just saying that she thought it might have to happen.

L & I agreed. I was whisked off to the operating room .

Things I Didn’t Expect from Labor, Delivery & Postpartum Life

  1. Labor STINKS. Literally. I don’t know if it was the amniotic fluid, or the meconium in said fluid, but whatever it was, something that leaked from me had a really bad odor.
  2. Vomiting. Again and again and again. Seriously, I thought I did enough of that the first half of the pregnancy, but I threw up multiple times during labor. I lost count after the eighth time. It was capped off by puking up the anti-nausea cocktail they gave me just before heading into the operating room. None of the vomiting helped with the lovely smells in the room.
  3. If you have an epidural and complain about pain, you’ll probably be somewhat ignored. After all, you have an epidural! You won’t be feeling anything! Fortunately, my doula believed me even if the nurse didn’t and got the CNRA back in to check on the epidural. Which funnily enough was completely disconnected and so the drugs were all dripping onto my bed and not into me. In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a great method for pain relief. Gah.
  4. I was aware that a lot of people would be examining me, but it’s still strange to realize that I’ve lost count of the number of people who have been, in the words of one of my favorite nurses, all up in my business. Even stranger is having people all up in my business while my husband looks on. Even stranger is when he later comments wonderingly about how “far up” in me they reach.
  5. I knew that I would still have a belly after delivering, but I didn’t realize that the belly would shift southward. The shirts I had that fit fine with my tight baby belly weren’t really long enough once the flesh all sagged down. I had one shirt that sort of worked but looked horrific. If there is ever a next time, I’ll bring much looser and longer shirts because post baby belly is nowhere near as cute as baby belly.
  6. IV fluids can cause extreme swelling. As in can’t-recognize-my-feet. As in can’t-fit-into-my-shoes-feet. They were so swollen it hurt to move. I had barely any swelling at all during the pregnancy, but days 3-6 postpartum were ridiculous.
  7. Ravenous Hunger.
  8. Insane itching. I don’t know if it was the epidural, or a contact rash from the hospital linens (I have ridiculously sensitive skin, and usually have to use special detergents to avoid getting skin rashes) but shortly after getting home (on day 5) I had almost a week of horrific itching and rashes. Huge welts everywhere, and the hydrocortozone cream the doctor recommended didn’t help that much.
  9. I never became engorged. In fact, my bra size never changed throughout the entire pregnancy. I can’t decide if I’m disappointed or relieved; I started as a D so much of an increase could have become absurd, but I was curious what I might have looked like.
  10. I’m still waiting for my brain to recover. I’ve never felt so stupid as in the hospital where either the drugs or the raging hormones or both made me unable to remember much of anything. I wanted to tell the nurses that “really, I’m usually smart!” but didn’t think that would convince them. I’m still not thinking as crisply as once I did. Of course now it could just be sleep deprivation.