Friday, March 29, 2013

Our little Gloworm

Let me fill you in on the past couple weeks.  Haddie Grace is now almost 2 weeks old, and the first week was a crazy one.  When she was 24 hours old she was jaundice**; she had high bilirubin levels.  We were planning on leaving the hospital around 1pm on Wednesday, but of course that didn't happen because the theme of Haddie Grace's birth was: it's not supposed to be like this.  When the nurse practitioner came around Wednesday morning she ordered them to repeat the bilirubin test at 2pm and pending the results we could leave Wednesday evening.  Well, of course her levels were higher (and apparently were in the "dangerously" high zone) so she had to stay in the hospital an extra night on phototherapy.  I was discharged, but thankfully there was extra space so they allowed us to stay in the hospital an extra night as "nesters" so we didn't have to go home without our baby.  If we had to leave her there overnight I would have lost it.  Actually I wouldn't have left...I would have slept in the waiting room or something and figured out a way to nurse her, but thankfully it didn't come to that.


**A quick note of clarification for those of you unfamiliar with jaundice.  (Again this is just as I understand so don't take my explanation into any scientific exam...)  Jaundice is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin (and mucus membranes) caused by high bilirubin levels.  Bilirubin is basically a byproduct produced by your body as it breaks down red blood cells.  Your body is constantly breaking down red blood cells and your liver works to rid your body of the bilirubin.  A newborn's liver has not fully developed so sometimes it has trouble  When babies are born they have a very high concentration of red blood cells that were necessary in utero.  Those red blood cells are broken down after birth which can sometimes cause high bilirubin levels in the newborn.  Jaundice is more common in exclusively breastfed infants.  My pediatrician said that 95% of breastfed infants have some form of jaundice (not all of those require phototherapy) which has led some to question as to whether there is some physical benefit to being slightly jaundice at birth.  Anyhow, the dangers of jaundice is that if the bilirubin levels get too high the bilirubin crosses the blood brain barrier and can cause brain damage- worst case scenario. 


So Haddie Grace was put on "moderate phototherapy" in the hospital.  Basically, she laid on top and underneath UV lights that help the body excrete bilirubin.  The lights in the hospital were actually pretty neat because they were 2 pads that were not connected to the bed.  So I could still hold her and nurse her "under" the lights.










Baby girl is stylin' with her sunglasses and tan...  In fact someone came to visit us at home the other day and one of the first thing she commented on was how "tan" Haddie Grace was compared to Chris, Phoebe and I.  That's because she spent the fist several days of her life in a tanning bed...
They re-tested her levels Thursday morning and again Thursday afternoon before she was discharged home with a bili-bed for continued phototherapy at home.  After multiple visits to Kennestone Hospital to have her blood drawn (via heel stick) at the outpatient lab, her levels came down low enough to stop the phototherapy on Sunday evening.  Poor baby's feet were like a little pin cushion.  I think we may need to go back to the hospital on Monday for one last heel stick just to make sure everything is within the normal range.


Whew, we were glad to finally get home and get rid of the lights!  I'd like to say things have been smooth sailing from there, but then of course there's breast feeding...  I'm beginning to wonder if God didn't intend for me to nurse babies...

Linking up with The Friday Baby Shower, YOLO Mondays, Mommy Mondays, and Monday Mingling 



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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Crock Pot Oatmeal

I know I've mentioned that I've been on an oatmeal kick lately.  It's either scrambled eggs or oatmeal for breakfast.  I used to be a cold cereal girl, and while I do sometimes still indulge in a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal Squares if I'm in a hurry or feeling lazy, I've been trying to eat less prepared/processed foods.

Also, when I was trying to nurse Phoebe I found out that oatmeal is supposedly one of those "super" foods for breastfeeding mamas, so bring on the oatmeal!!!

I had been making oatmeal every 2 or 3 days- just from bulk organic oats I get at the Farmer's Market.  A touch of 100% organic maple syrup and I'm good to go.

But this crock pot oatmeal has changed my life.  Ok, maybe not changed my life, but it is pretty amazing.  I originally got the recipe from Lauren.  And because she's such a great photographer, her pictures look a lot more appetizing than mine...

The other thing that is amazing about it is that you can cook it in the crock pot overnight** and it is ready to go in the morning!  It does make a lot, but I keep mine in the fridge and eat off of it all week and it has still tasted good even at the end of the week!





Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups steel cut oats (not instant)

5 apples, cut into cubes
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbs. cinnamon
2 tbs. butter
Pinch of salt
3 cups milk
1 1/4 cups water


Directions:
Put the apples in the crock pot (so they cover the bottom), pour in the oats. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter. Pour the milk and water over everything. Do not stir. Put the lid on your crock pot and set it to high heat for 5 hours*. When ready to eat, pour a little maple syrup over it (although it is really pretty sweet already...)
 Serve warm and enjoy!


**I cooked mine on low overnight because I wake up hungry for breakfast in the morning and don't have 5 hours.  I will say that every time I have made it, I have burned a little bit of the oatmeal around part (not the whole) edge of the crock pot.  I sprayed my pot really well so it was easy to clean, but I did throw some burned areas away.  But it was worth it for me.




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Friday, March 22, 2013

Hadley Grace Bowen: its not supposed to be like this

Haddie Grace's birth story really begins several weeks earlier than her actual delivery date.  You see for some unknown reason I was convinced that this baby was going to come early so I had been anticipating her labor and delivery since around 38 weeks.  The theme of this whole labor and delivery is "it's not supposed to be like this".  Not to put a damper on her birth story- I promise it happened exactly as the Lord had planned and for that reason it is good; the outcome was a BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL (how could it not be good?), but it certainly didn't go according to my plan.

For starters my due date came and went and I was still pregnant: it's not supposed to be like this!  They started talking about induction, which I was very uncomfortable with.  I know I've mentioned this before, but I just really wanted things to progress naturally without any interventions.  After all, it worked for Phoebe, so why couldn't it happen again?

When I went into labor with Phoebe it was right after my doctor stripped my membranes and she was born a day before her due date.  So naturally stripping my membranes, should have put me into labor this time as well :)  My doctor had stripped my membranes twice, with no success.  (Obviously this baby wasn't ready to come yet.)  Sunday afternoon I was getting anxious, so I went over to a co-workers house and had her strip my membranes.  Well that finally got something started.  I had irregular contractions that evening and around 11:30pm Sunday evening I started contracting regularly- every 8 minutes.  They were uncomfortable, but not unbearable.  I thought something was probably starting.  I woke Chris up at some point later in the morning and we packed everything up in anticipation of heading to the hospital at some point and just hung out for awhile.  The problem was that the contractions weren't really getting any stronger or any closer together.  So we tried to go back to bed for a little while.  Of course I couldn't sleep, so I spent some time in the tub and they felt a lot better.  After that I was able to lay down and rest (not sleep) for an hour or two before it was time to get up Monday morning.  Monday morning I had a doctor's appointment so Chris and I dropped Phoebe off at Mom's Morning Out and headed to the doctor.  My contractions had started to feel stronger at this point, so I thought surely something had to be starting.  We had the bags in the car- just in case.  I had expected my second labor to be quicker than my first, but it wasn't: it's not supposed to be like this.

At around 11am at the doctor I was 4cm and completely effaced.  Contractions still not much closer together, but they were getting more uncomfortable.  She was very hesitant about me going home because she thought my labor could "take-off" and go very quickly at any point.  I was hesitant about going to the hospital, but she really wanted us to go ahead and get admitted.  Again I didn't want to go to the hospital until I was in active labor, but she promised I could just labor there in the tub on my own.  We went and got some lunch and walked around a walking path near the hospital for a little bit and went to check-in around 1:30pm.  She came over and checked me around 2:30 and I was 5cm.  I was hoping for a little more progress.  She wanted to break my water, but again I was hesitant.  She broke my water when I was 7cm last time and I still remember how bad it hurt.  Thankfully I transitioned quickly after that and delivered within a couple hours of my water breaking, but this time I was only 5 cm with weaker contractions that were more like every 3-6 minutes; I wasn't feeling all of them so I knew they couldn't be that strong.






For the next 3-4 hours I labored walking around the hospital and getting in and out of the tub.  My contractions were a little bit closer, but still not as strong as I would have expected.  Don't get me wrong- I was hurting; but more than anything I was tired- physically and emotionally tired.  Even if I were at home I would have been miserable trying to look after Phoebe and anticipating labor.  I decided she needed to break my water and we needed to get this show going.  Obviously my body wasn't taking over and moving forward on its own.  Again I kept thinking: it's not supposed to be like this.

Around 6 or 6:30 I was still only 6cm.  I was so discouraged because this labor was dragging on and on.  She broke my water.  I had light meconium so she put in an internal monitor to flush out some of it out.  The internal monitor also measures the exact pressure of the contractions; as suspected, they were very weak.  No wonder they weren't changing my cervix.  They were strong enough to hurt (especially being so tired and frustrated already) but not strong enough to effectively dilate my cervix.  Again it was discouraging to see how weak my contractions really were, but at this point they are really starting to hurt and I was not able to relax anymore.  I really did not want to have an epidural, and I thought I should be able to labor without one since I had the first time.  Your second labor is supposed to be easier/quicker than your first.  I kept thinking: it's not supposed to be like this.  But I knew at this point I needed pitocin or my contractions were never going to dilate my cervix and that I was going to need an epidural.  I was hurting so much (even with the wimpy contractions) all I wanted to do was sleep.  I hadn't slept in 36+ hours.  I labored for a couple more hours before getting the epidural at around 8:30.  I really hated getting the epidural, but I knew at that point it was the best option.  I also knew I really needed to sleep.  I was exhausted and at this point all I was thinking about was wanting to nurse her and needing some rest.

But again the epidural was not what I expected.  I wanted that blissful epidural where I would feel nothing and fall asleep- no such luck.  I hated the way the epidural made me feel!  It was awful!  I had that pins & needles feeling in my feet and legs like you feel when your foot falls asleep.  I hate that feeling and kept freaking out about it.  I couldn't relax or get comfortable not-to-mention sleep!  It's not supposed to be like this!!  I'm thankful for the epidural and have no regrets- I needed it and my contractions felt much better, but it was not what it was supposed to be.  They started pitocin around 8:45 (because I was still 6cm) and that is what I needed.  By around 10:20 or 10:30 I knew it was time to have a baby.  I waited for the doctor to get there and then pushed for 10 minutes and felt a lot more than I should have felt for having an epidural.  I kept thinking I'm not supposed to feel all this with an epidural- this epidural stinks!  All I wanted to do at that point was deliver so we could turn the stupid thing off!!

Well deliver I did.  At 10:44 pm (almost 24 hours after all this started but about 2 hours after they started the pitocin) Haddie Grace was born.  Phoebe was 6lbs 14oz full-term and I was expecting this baby to be bigger.  We were thinking around 8 lbs.  She was a whooping 9lbs 4oz!!!  What?!  I had no idea I was capable of carrying or delivering a 9+lb baby.  I knew my belly was bigger, but not that big!

We are thrilled and thank God for our little big blessing!  I have more to share, but this has gotten long so for now I will leave you with some pictures of our new bundle of joy.  We are enjoying loving on her, which is exactly how it is supposed to be :)













A huge thanks to Aubra for being "on-call" and picking up Phoebe from Mom's Morning Out, taking care of her Monday afternoon and getting Knox to the vet to board while we were at the hospital!  Don't know what we would do without you!!







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My Joy-Filled Life



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's a...

GIRL!!!!

Introducing Hadley Grace Bowen
"Haddie Grace"

March 18th
10:44pm
9lbs 4oz (yikes!)
21 inches


Mom and baby are doing well.  More pictures and stories to come.  Thank you all for your prayers and support.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Homemade All Natural Deodorant

First off, let me preface this by saying I really don't have any major issues with commercial deodorant.  But I will tell you that almost all commercial deodorant contain aluminum.  Aluminium toxicity has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, various cancers, as well as other health issues.  Commercial deodorant also contains parabens, which I talked about the dangers of here.

Again I wasn't on a hunt to eliminate commercial deodorant from my life, but I ran across this recipe several months ago and about 6 weeks ago or so I decided to give it a try.  I'm not really sure why I remembered it or thought about it, but I did, and I happen to have all the ingredients so I decided to give it a whirl.  So here you go- homemade all natural deodorant that costs next to nothing.

Ingredients: 
  • 6-8 Tbs coconut oil** (solid state)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot







Directions
  • Mix arrowroot powder and baking soda
  • Slowly mix in coconut oil to incorporate into powder.  (I just used the back of a spoon)  Continue to add in coconut oil until consistency is like that of regular deodorant- more of a solid state but easily applied.  

That's it!  It took me less than 5 minutes.  I store it in a small pyrex container in our bathroom and apply it with my fingers.  (You could also transfer it into an old deodorant container- click here for a tutorial.)  I've been using it for over a month now and will say it works well.  (i.e. no one has complained of me smelling and I have not smelled myself.  Remember I'm pregnant and my sense of smell is SUPER keen right now, so if I smelled I promise I would know.)  I was slightly concerned about it staining my clothes, but it has not at all.  It also rubs in incredibly well and leaves no residue to be seen.  It has a pleasant smell, but it is not over-powering or overly noticeable.  It could easily be used for both men and women.  (Although you will NEVER see or hear of my husband using this.  He would probably kill me if I asked him to try it.  There are some lines you just don't cross in your marriage.)  You could also add a couple drops of tea tree oil for the pleasant scent and anti-bacterial properties.

I will also say that it has not been particularly hot outside and I have not been heavily exercising either, so perspiration has not been an issue.  I will probably continue to use commercial deodorant when heading to the gym or running and probably for those humid Georgia summers when sweating tends to be more of a problem.  But for now I will continue to use the natural homemade deodorant and know that I am limiting my exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in my environment. 




**Coconut oil does change from a solid to liqued state at 76 degrees, so if your bathroom or house tends to be on the warmer side (like 76 degrees) you might have issue with it melting...

**Although we primarily use coconut oil in the kitchen for cooking, it has A LOT of other great uses for skin and hair.  For more uses for coconut oil click here


Linking up with Monday Mingle and YOLO Mondays


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Saturday, March 16, 2013

40+ Weeks and 19 Months

There has been some speculation as to whether I had the baby because my blog has been quiet for the past couple days.  Sadly, the answer to that is no.  I am still pregnant...  

For whatever reason I just had not felt like turning on my computer.  Not like I had anything else to do; I was just feeling lazy and anti-technology for a couple days.  It had been awhile since I had picked up a book and I started reading Divergent and the AAP New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding a  couple days ago.  Both have been entertaining me recently.  I had so many problems nursing Phoebe; I am a bit anxious about this one.  I have every intention of nursing and will pump again if I have to, but am really hoping this experience is completely different.









Honestly, not much as changed pregnancy-wise since my 39 week update.  At my 40 week appointment my cervix was still the same as it has been the past couple weeks.  That was a little discouraging.  I did cry on the way home from the doctor.  For some (now seemingly stupid) reason I really thought this baby was going to be early and had my hopes set high that it would come before my due date.  Last week each night that I went to bed still pregnant was a disappointment.  Now I am no longer anticipating labor on a daily basis.  I've come to terms with the fact that I am still pregnant and that's alright.  I REALLY do not want to be induced and it will probably come to that this week if nothing happens in the next few days.  That makes me anxious and a bit sad, but it is what it is.

I did notice my first stretch marks yesterday.  Yep, that was a bummer too.  If only this baby had come earlier they could have been avoided.

But on a happier note I'll give you a brief update on baby big girl, who is now 19 months old.  She's as spunky as ever.  The more necklaces and bibs she has around her neck the happier she is.  Honestly, I have no idea why she has developed this obsession with bibs, but she loves them and always wants to be wearing not one but about 4 at a time.

In other big news, the paci disappeared this month.  The pediatrician said it looked like her front teeth were starting to buck out a little bit (which he attributed to the paci) so it would probably be a good idea to make it go away.  She had only been using it at night-time and nap-time since she was about 5 months old, but I guess she was sucking on it enough at night to effect her teeth.  So that day after we got home from the doctor I took them all out of her bed and she's never had one since.  It was a much easier transition that I anticipated.  The first night she cried for about 20 minutes and the second night only a couple minutes.  The first two nights she didn't have a paci Chris and I also left her with a babysitter so I didn't have to listen to her cry :)  Ok, we didn't exactly plan it that way but we had sitters lined up for those two nights already.  Really, I think this responsible parenting idea.  Pawn your child off to someone else's care when you make big transitions like taking away a paci or moving her into a big girl bed.  (Yes, we also had a sitter her second night in her big girl bed...)  Now she has a blanket that has replaced her paci as her comfort at nap time and bed time.
 
She's still tiny of course and not eating well, but that is just the story of our lives.  She sleeps well and naps fairly well.

She LOVES cars.  Mater is her favorite!!  In fact the new baby has a Mater stuffed animal present to give to big sister whenever it arrives.  She always asks to watch "Mater" which is this 30 minute cartoon on Netflix called "Mater's Tall Tales."

We still haven't cut her hair, but I think we're going to need to do that soon.  It is getting a little unruly...
Here's a few pictures from the past month-











  

Hope you're having a good Saturday.  We've had 70+ degree weather so have been spending most of the day outdoors and loving it!



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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Random Wednesday Confessions

I confess... I got dressed this morning with the outfit I was going to take pictures for for {WIWW} and the shirt didn't cover my belly.  It is a maternity shirt from my last pregnancy.  It is a little more "summery" so I haven't worn it yet this year, but these warm sunny afternoons have been perfect for more spring-time attire.  All these stupid clothes are supposed to fit "all 40 weeks of pregnancy."  I tell you what, there are not many of those tops that cover my belly now at 40 weeks.  Not cool.

I confess... when we saw this gun laying on a car in the Harris Teeter parking lot at the beach last fall we did not call the police.  Yeah, it was weird.




I confess... that I really wanted this Eggplant Parmesan wives tale to work for me.  I have until 7:10 tonight to have this baby in order get a $25 gift card and shirt for the new baby.  tick tock, tick, tock...


I confess... I paid someone to clean my house on Monday for the first time ever and it was worth every penny to have the whole thing clean at once.  
I confess... I gave Phoebe back a piece of her sandwich that fell on the floor at the restaurant the other night.  If she gets some weird disease now you know why.
I confess... that one time I wearing green pants at the dog park and a Boxer named Tupac came up lifted a leg and peed all over me and my pants.  Awesome.  Apparently I looked like a tree...


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pleated poppy

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Unemployed

Yesterday was my last day of work.  Well, it was supposed to be my last day of work, but I got force-flexed off.  (Meaning they had a low-census on the floor so they force you to stay home and not come to work.)  I honestly didn't mind.  I am kind-of over working right now anyways.  In fact, last week I cleaned out my locker and put everything in my car "just in case"  Not "just in case" I got flexed off, but "just in case" I had the baby.  Of course I'm still pregnant.  But I certainly enjoyed having an two extra naps yesterday and some unexpected down-time.
So now I am officially unemployed, or a complete Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) if you will.  When we found out we were moving to South Carolina this summer I went ahead and turned in my notice at work.  Since I am only a resource employee, I don't have maternity benefits; it made sense to make a clean break before I had the baby.  

Anyhow, the point is I'm not sure how I feel about this change.  I've always worked.  Now I'm not; it feels a little funny.  I've only been working minimal hours since Phoebe was born and it has been great.  I feel like I have the best of both worlds.  I get to be home with her the majority of the time, yet still got to engage in meaningful work outside the home.  And although we have always agreed to live off of one income, having the extra "fun" money certainly is a nice bonus.

A lot of people have asked me if I am going to find a job in South Carolina, and my answer is I do not know.  I think I would like to.  The idea of staying home all the time has both positives and negatives in my mind.  I'm afraid I will get bored.  I love PFB (and I'm sure I'll love the new one just as much) but I think I would go crazy without a little time out of the house away from them using a practical skill.  But at the same time I don't think I will be able to find a job that is as flexible as I have right now.  I currently work once a week for 8 hours from 7am-3pm.  Not very many hospitals still offer 8 hour shifts for hospital floor nursing.  And of course going to a new hospital I will lose all seniority and most likely have to start at the bottom of the ladder working night shift.  I'm not sure I want to work night shift again.  I certainly could if I had to, but it doesn't sound very appealing.  I would also probably have to work more hours than I am currently working, which would mean finding a nanny or some sort of childcare.  (Which I'm sure would be totally do-able, just another thing to arrange.)

I haven't really started to seek out job opportunities in South Carolina or Charlotte yet.  I asked around about several hospitals, but that's about it.  And I'm sure I could look into office or clinic work as well, but I am still enjoying bedside nursing.  We'll get through the new baby and see what happens, but just some random thoughts for you on a Tuesday.

If you have made the transition from working to a SAHM, how did it go?  Do you like it?  Are there things you miss about being in your particular career or work-place?  If you don't have kids but are planning to some day do you think you will continue to work or stay at home with them?

I realize it is such a personal decision to figure out what is best for you and your family and there is no one solution that is right for everyone.  We're just trying to figure out what is going to work for us as I mourn this status change for the time being.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ten on Ten: Weekend Review

It's the tenth of the month again.  Time to capture the beauty in every day life with ten photos per day on the tenth of the month.




My morning started out just like everyone else's.  An hour off...  Hate losing that hour of sleep.





But the beauty of it was that baby girl slept a little bit later so I got to catch up on my Bible reading.  Yep, I'm working through reading the Bible in One Year and I am ten days behind...  





We've only ever stopped twice at Dunkin Dounuts on the way to church.  It's not a normal thing, but I certainly do enjoy the treat!



Church.  Chris preached about "Promises Made, Promises Kept" from Galatians 



I had been wanting to get my nails done for awhile so I ran out after lunch for a quick mani/pedi.  Ahh, love being pampered :)






Took the dog and the baby outside to get some energy out of everyone!



Ugh, y'all I don't sew.  I've sewed probably two things in my life.  I really want to learn how to sew, but I haven't made enough time to practice.  I've made these burp cloths a couple times that I am very proud of, but that's about it.  Anyhow, I need to sew some new velcro tabs on our size small diapers.  Its the only goal I have left to complete before the new baby.  (There is a good reason I recommend the bumGenius One Size snap diapers, but I won't bore you with all that now.  If you're interested in cloth diapering I'd love to tell you more)  I spent Saturday evening trying to rig up the sewing machine to sew on the new tabs.  Several hours  and (I admit a few choice words) later I finished only two.  I wish you could see how awful it looks too...  It really is supposed to be easy, but it wasn't for me- a novice sewer.  Sunday afternoon I packed up that sewing machine and decided it would be worth my time, money, and sanity to pay someone else to do it.




I really would like to be better about resting on the Sabbath and not doing chores or housework.  But I did wash diapers today.  Partly because I'm thinking I might go into labor at any time so I'm wanting things to be "taken care of" at home.  I know, not a good excuse. 





Aubra typically comes over for dinner Sunday evening and Phoebe LOVES Aubra.  Really, she cries when Aubra leaves....  She doesn't cry when I leave.

Hope you had a good weekend!


And oh yeah, if you missed my letters on Friday, just know that Baby Bowen didn't cooperate with my plans...





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