Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let the Cookies Bake!

Today Little Man and I  made our first batch of cookies!  We made Snickerdoodles!  We had a little spill in the beginning, but it was fun.  After I assisted him in pouring all the ingredients into my mom's Kitchen Aid Mixer instead of locking it (it's the only switch he's allowed to touch) he turned on the mixer and some of the dry ingredients went all over the table.

I thought it was funny and he was shocked by it.  Right now he's napping and I'm planning on making the dough for more cookies and that way he can help me tomorrow make them.  I also want to make some brownies that are safe for Precious Butterfly.  I'm still deciding on how I'll make them and which ingredients I'll use so that it's safe for her.

This year we are planning on giving cookies to some of our neighbors just because they are so nice, especially the older couple that live below us.  They love hearing the kids run around and the occasional bangs from falls and stuff being dropped.  They say it reminds them of being at home; they even invited us down to their place for hot chocolate sometime.  I think once we're done baking all the different cookies, we'll be giving them some.

So that was today's adventure for baking so far...until tomorrow!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas is on it's Way!

Unfortunately a cold virus has hit our home and I am the last one to get it.  I am hoping to feel better within the next day or a result I haven't been doing much with the kids.  When they don't feel well, it's hard to get anything done.  Now that Little Man is feeling much better we can continue with projects and baking!  I've borrowed my mom's Kitchen Aid Mixer.  I don't have my own and to mix the batters with the hand mixer or even by hand is too much work and it prevents Little Man from participating.  Tomorrow starts the baking in this house.  We've got a lot to bake and only this week to do it, that is for the cookies.

Now what to make, well, that's easy.  I plan on doing the traditional cut-out sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, "Grinch" cookies, chocolate crinkles, and hopefully a few more.  Depends on how long it takes to get those done and if I can decide on which recipes I want to use.  Pinterest has a lot of great ideas and I've been pinning like crazy with stuff I want to do.  I still have to finish the kids' hand prints and get those ready to ship to Florida.  I don't want to miss my deadline.  I need to go and finish, but tomorrow I'll post what we're up to and our plans for the rest of the week.  Have a good night all!

Friday, November 30, 2012

It's the Start of Preparing for Christmas!

So Thanksgiving is over!  How was mine?  It was good, depends on how you look at it.  As you're aware my in-laws came over for dinner.  They said they enjoyed the meal and appreciated everything I did for them.  The turkey was done early (earlier than expected) and was falling off of the tasted a little dry to me, and hubby agreed, but the gravy made it taste just fine.  The potatoes were a first for me and I added a little too much salt, but they tasted quite fine.  Everything else was delicious, although I felt stressed and overwhelmed.  My mother-in-law made an apple pie and they brought a bottle of wine that they loved and is very hard to find here in New Hampshire.  This wine is one that my father-in-law wanted for my wedding to his son after we had it at my mother-in-law's parents 50th wedding anniversary in 2007 in Florida.  I didn't have any because I haven't had alcohol in over 3 years, so I figured I've gone this long without it, why drink it if I don't want to.  I didn't have any in Florida either since I was driving a rental car.  Anyways, the kids loved seeing my in-laws and it was a nice evening.

On "Black Friday", I stayed home and didn't do anything since hubby had to work and to be honest I didn't feel like going out with both my kids in tow to all the stores.  But Friday night hubby was flustered with the kids and I was on the phone with my mom and she heard him in the background and offered to come over with my sister and watch the kids for a couple of hours.  We agreed to it and while she and my sister watched the kids, we went Christmas shopping, with what little money we had to at least buy them some gifts.  While we were gone, my mom and sister cleaned the kids' closet out and got rid of a lot of things that we didn't need nor wanted.  She put all the "baby stuff" (swing, pack-n-play, etc.) in the closet and the kids toys were put throughout their room.  They also cleaned out the kids' toy box and cleaned up my kitchen, and did some dishes.  They also put the kids to bed for us.  After being out for 3 hours and going to 2 stores we bought all that we could for gifts.  We arrived home and showed my mom and sister what we purchased because I wanted to be sure that we didn't get any duplicates.  Out of everything we purchased we only got 1 item that my mom had purchased and neither one of us are returning it because the one we bought will be for here at home and the one my mom got will be kept at her house.

Now am I done shopping, yes and no.  I am done as far as I can tell, but we are taking it paycheck by paycheck to see if we have any extra money to buy some stocking stuffers for us (both hubby and me).  The kids and I have also started to make presents for family.  Which is the purpose of this post.  Next Sunday, the 2nd of December, is the First Sunday of Advent.  I asked Little Man if he was ready for Advent.  Now he's almost 3 and I know he really doesn't understand the term Advent, so I re-phrased it by asking him if he wanted to start preparing for Baby Jesus' birth.  Right after I said Baby Jesus' his eyes lit up and he told me in his own way yes.  It brings tears to my eyes when he lights up over Jesus.  At church on Sunday mornings, he loves seeing Jesus and waves at him.  I'm so grateful, but at the same time so sad because hubby isn't there sharing in this special time.  He hates going to church and makes it seem like I drag him when we attend on Christmas Eve, that's the only time he goes.  I worry that as my children grow older they will use the excuse if daddy doesn't have to go, then why should I.  I worry about it, but hope that my son and daughter will always want to go with me to church, besides they get to see my parents for extra time when they go.  

Yesterday started the homemade gifts and crafts for Christmas in our house.  We made salt dough hand prints for family members.  To make enough salt dough for 24 hand prints I used:
  1. 8 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  2. 3 1/4 Cups of HOT Water
  3. 2 Cups of regular table Salt
I took all the ingredients and mixed them in a mixing bowl with a spoon, once most of the water was absorbed and started to form a dough, I then used my hands and continued to mix it until it was a complete ball of dough.  I noticed that after adding the extra 1/4 Cup of Water that it was a little sticky so I just added a little more flour (like an 1/8 of a Cup) to make it less sticky.  After kneading it for a few minutes, I started to roll it out in small batches and used a cereal bowl to make the circle shapes for the kids to put their hand prints in.  Then one child at a time I did their hand prints.  Little man was very cooperative, however, Precious Butterfly was more difficult and I had to re-roll many of them because she dug her fingers into the dough causing holes.  But once I got them all pressed, there was leftover dough (I needed to make a total of 22 hand prints) I was planning on making salt dough ornaments for our tree, but I ran out of time.

I put all the hand prints on Reynolds Non-Stick Foil on top of my cookie sheets.  I then pricked, using a toothpick, some little holes in them to help avoid additional bubbling, I pricked the kids' names and the year.  I left them to start drying overnight and this morning I baked them in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.  I let them sit overnight because most of the comments I read from other people that used different salt dough recipes was that they cracked and bubbled and weren't dry after cooking in the oven.  So I figured give them a head start on drying and then bake them in the oven.  I can say that they're looking great!  They are dry and cooling right now on the stove.  Here's what they look like after coming out of the oven:
So that's what they look like after hardening overnight and cooking in the oven for 20 minutes.  There was a little bubbling here and there, but they look great.  I'm planning on painting them and putting the kids' names and the year on them.  Once they're dry, we'll be sending 2 of the sets to Florida to hubby's grandparents as gifts from the kids.  I won't go into who's getting them, just in case they read know who you are!!!
Anyways, this is just the start of activities for us and it certainly won't be the last!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

It's Official! My Thanksgiving Menu For 2012

Alright, I've decided and have my menu all set.  So here it goes:

We are going to be having:
  • Turkey ~ Roasted in the roaster that I've borrowed from my mom.  It should cook no problem and I'll probably season it since I haven't found any recipe's that I'm interested in trying
  • Stuffing ~ Stove Top Turkey Stuffing that I will cook in the oven
  • Gravy ~ Turkey gravy for everyone, but Precious Butterfly, for her I will have Pork Gravy for her to have
  • Green Bean Casserole ~ This is a staple at the holidays.
  • Frozen Steamed Green Beans ~ Mainly for Precious Butterfly, but for me too
  • Frozen Steamed Sweet Yellow Corn ~ This is for everyone
  • Mashed/Whipped Potatoes ~ Creamy yummy and from real potatoes, not the pre-packaged dried stuff, I plan on removing some for Precious Butterfly before adding the milk and problably using the pork gravy as I would use the milk in the regular potatoes.
  • Cranberry Sauce ~ No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without it.  I prefer the jellied cranberry sauce rather than the whole cranberry sauce, so I have 2 cans of that, according to hubby he could eat 1 can alone...
  • Rolls ~ Yes traditionally I'd do the white and wheat rolls, but with Precious Butterfly's allergies, I decided on using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls...yes they are 100% safe for her and she like to eat them
  • Drinks ~ Well, we have milk, soda, and water.  However the in-laws are bring a bottle of wine, beer (father-in-law loves his beer and hubby doesn't drink it), and probably some diet soda that mother-in-law can drink.
  • Desserts ~ Well mother-in-law is making an apple pie, I'm not a fan of her apple pie since she puts raisins in it and Precious Butterfly can't have it, so I am planning on making mini hand-held apple turnovers for Precious Butterfly and anyone else that would like one.
  • Appetizers ~ Well I didn't have the stuff to make stuffed mushrooms, but I do have the stuff to make Crab Ragoons and I have a block of Cabot's Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese and Crackers to go with it if needed.  I figure that should be enough, besides there will be plenty of food.
This completes my menu for Thanksgiving!  I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Will Our Luck Ever Change????

So Thursday morning I'm asleep in bed and hubby had left for work.  The kids were both sleeping and I heard my phone starting to vibrate.  I'm like great what happened now? 

2 weeks ago hubby got pulled over and got a ticket for littering...he threw a lit cigarette out his window and a state trooper pulled him over...the ticket was $297.60.  He was very angry and called me like 26 times that morning as I slept through his calls.  So needless to say, last Thursday he stayed home with a headache, more like a migraine.  Then this past Thursday morning at 6:30am I awoke and the first thing I said to hubby was "This better be good." as exhausted as I was.  He informed me that he was stuck on the side of the of the road and that his car, mind you our only vehicle, stalled and won't restart.  I told him to hang tight and I'd figure out what to do...

My first call was to my dad, a former mechanic who still works on our cars as needed (he has either my hubby or my sister's hubby do most of the work with his guidance), he was on his way to work and told me to get it towed.  So next I called our car insurance carrier since we have roadside assistance. and got connected with a very nice lady who arranged the whole  service.  She arranged to have the car picked up and towed to any place of my choice.  Well I didn't want to send it to a garage and have my hubby stuck at a garage since I don't have a car.  So I asked to have it towed home, the lady informed me that my policy only covers the first 15 miles anything else outside of that I am responsible for.  I agreed and requested that my hubby and the car be towed to my parent's house so that my dad could try to fix it rather than take it to a garage and have to pay an outrageous amount of money for it to be looked at and fixed.  We don't have the money nor the time available to do that because we only have one car.  So my brother-in-law looked at it with my hubby on Thursday and the decision wasn't good...they both thought the timing belt broke. 

Thursday afternoon my in-laws were leaving for the weekend to go to Maine.  I told hubby to call his parents and find out if we needed a new car if his dad would co-borrow for a loan.  His dad agreed and I tried to have him get the process started before they left since Friday hubby needed a car to go to work.  Well my father-in-law told hubby he could borrow his truck since they were taking their other vehicle to Maine.  I thought great a gas guzzler for the weekend, but his dad filled the tank and dropped it off on Thursday afternoon before they left.  So Friday morning hubby took the truck, as I call it the behemoth, to work.

Friday night, my dad confirmed what we thought was wrong...the timing belt in the engine I like to say kaput.  My dad said that 3 out of the four cylinders in the engine failed the compression test, so now it's going to cost an estimated $500 or so dollars to fix it.  I don't have that much money lying around so I said let's get a new car we have no choice.  My husband didn't believe me, but talked to his dad since we needed a car.  His dad said to go car shopping and on Monday after he gets out of work, he'd stop at the dealership and sign the papers if we found a car that we could afford.

Saturday morning we dropped the kids off at my parent's house so we could go look for cars without having to worry about feeding the kids and naps for them.  I was worried about leaving Precious Butterfly, it was my first time leaving her since she was born, but I did it and it actually wasn't that bad...anyways, we went to see a friend of mine's husband at the dealership he worked at and we looked at the cars.  The first was a 2010 Honda was nice, bigger than the Accent we have.  The gas mileage was ok, the car seats would fit no problem...but Friday night hubby saw a 2011 Honda Insight and asked about that one too.  So we test drove the Civic and then we looked at the Insight.  I love the Insight due to the gas mileage...fitting 4 adults in the car, that wouldn't work, but the 2 car seats fit fine.  So we both decided that we loved the Insight and that it was the best bang for our money.  Now rolling over the current loan on the Accent, that wasn't really an option.  We decided to just finance the Insight because if we couldn't afford both payments, at least my father-in-law's credit wouldn't be hurt and due to my father-in-law's excellent credit, they let us take the car home Saturday afternoon, with the dealer plates on it until all the papers are signed on Monday (today) afternoon.  Hubby left after he signed all of his paperwork to go and pick up the kids from my mom (I'm not allowed nor do I want to drive my father-in-law's truck)...they needed naps and wanted to go home.  I stayed to get the car.  I was a nice smooth ride home and I can say that I absolutely love it. 

Today hubby is getting out of work early and going to meet his dad at the dealership to sign the papers and make the car officially ours.  We might go too since we, the kids and I, are always stuck in the house.  Hubby and I will decide once he gets out of work if we're going or not.  I have a few errands I need to run so I need to go out anyways. 

I can say that if it weren't for my in-laws, me and hubby would be, well actually I have no idea where we'd be right hubby has said "if it weren't for the bad luck, we'd have no luck at all."  I tend to agree with him, we just can't get out of this bad luck rut.  I hope to be able to before Christmas so that we can buy the kids some presents.  Fingers crossed that everything will be ok for us. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Part 2, I Still Have No Idea What's Going On...

So after talking with my mom, she's decided that she's staying home and not hosting that begs the question why not have her over...well I offered and she declined.  I can see how she would want to be alone with my dad after all they've hosted the holiday as far back as I can remember.  I told her that she and my dad are welcome to come for dinner, but she has declined. 

Now as for my nana, grandpa, sister, and brother-in-law, I have no idea if they will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner.  With all that has happened with my grandpa, he's in the hospital and it is unknown if he will be home for Thanksgiving.  I have been praying for him and that he gets better, but so far he isn't improving.  I don't think my nana will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, but my sister is a great cook and she might do it for her.  I haven't spoken to them to see what they want to do, but I will talk to them at some point this weekend.

So I think that I will finalize my menu in a few more days...but on a positive note, I don't have to buy a roaster, my mom is going to let me borrow her roaster.  That frees up my oven for all the additional cooking I must do I just need to find the counter space for the roaster.  It's going to be tough, but I know I can handle it.  My kitchen is not that big and counter space is limited. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu (Part 1)

So since my in-laws have accepted the invite to join us for dinner my wonderful husband and I have decided what to serve.  The recipes for these items will follow as I narrow down how I'm planning on preparing the items.

We obviously will have a turkey, how big, I'm not sure yet since I'm not 100% on how many are coming to dinner.  My mom will decide at some point this week as to if she will or will not host her usual Thanksgiving meal.  Will I brine the turkey?  That's a good question, I'm not sure yet, I need to look around for inspiration and ideas.  How will I cook the turkey, I'm not sure because out of everything I have for cooking, the one of a few things that I could use, a roasting pan is not in my kitchen.  Which to buy, an electric roaster or a roasting pan that goes in the oven?  I need to talk to hubby to decide which one to get.

Now I am planning on making stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer and crab ragoons too.  I find that you may say your Precious Butterfly is allergic to dairy, how is that safe for her.  Well for her she will have either her graham crackers or some applesauce.  The crab ragoons recipe comes from a Pinterest recipe that I found, but I've changed it a little bit to suit my hubby's tastes.  More on that coming soon :)

SO...for side dishes we've chosen:
  • Green bean Casserole, a staple at my family dinners.  I make it with canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, salt, pepper, milk, and French's Fried Onions.  I follow the instructions on the French's container.  I know this isn't safe for Precious Butterfly, but I have something else for her...see the next item!
  • Steamed frozen green beans, these are just your typical frozen green beans, however, I steam them and add Earth Balance Buttery Spread to them (that buttery spread is 100% safe for Precious Butterfly)
  • Steamed Sweet Yellow Corn, just like the frozen green beans and I add the same buttery spread.
  • Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, they are 100% safe for Precious Butterfly, she loves to eat them, and super yummy for us all!
  • Mashed Potatoes or Whipped Potatoes, whichever way you think of them, I will whip them with my hand mixer add butter and milk to make them very creamy.  Yes these are not safe for Precious Butterfly, so she won't get to enjoy them this year, maybe in a few years.
  • Cranberry Sauce, this is always present and she seems to like it when I've served it to her during our roasted chicken dinners.  I buy the canned stuffed and it's the jelly, not the one with the actual chunks of cranberries.
  • Now as for gravy, Precious Butterfly cannot have both Chicken Gravy and Turkey Gravy, they both contain milk, so we've opted for Pork Gravy.  It is very yummy with chicken, I bet it will be yummy with the turkey too!  I probably will have regular turkey gravy too for those that want it.
  • Now as for stuffing, I am making Stove Top Turkey Stuffing, it's safe for precious Butterfly since I use the Earth Balance Buttery Spread in it and I am going to make it then, toss it in a baking dish and place it in the oven to crisp it up! I don't like to stuff my turkey, it usually takes longer to cook besides I like my stuffing crunchy and so does my hubby. 
That ends the side dishes for Thanksgiving, however, this menu is not set in stone and could change if I need to.  I am planning on offering drinks of the following: soda, milk, water, juice, and wine.   What kind of wine might you ask?  I haven't decided yet.  And I'm sure my in-laws will probably bring their own stuff to drink since we don't have diet soda nor beer in our home.

I'm planning on having dinner ready for 6pm that day!  I'm hoping that all goes well, I'll be posting part 2, with recipes in the coming days and announcing my plan for Thanksgiving Day.

Friday, November 9, 2012


It's that time of year again...this month, in less than 2 weeks it will be Thanksgiving Day.  I cannot believe how fast the year has flown by.  I cannot believe that this will be the first year that I have to adjust our plans. 

Typically my in-laws go to Maine to see my father-in-law's brother and his family.  My brother-in-law stays with his girlfriend and her family.  My parents usually host a dinner, which we attend.  Things are changing this year...

Due to Precious Butterfly's food allergies, I am not taking any chances nor am I going to create a meal just for her to eat while the rest of us eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  It's not fair to her and not fair to me to have to worry about a completely separate meal.  Last year at this time she was only 3 months old so she was only having my breast milk.  This is going to be her first time having Thanksgiving dinner.  I don't want to ruin that for her by not allowing her to enjoy the meal with the rest of us. 

So this is what's going on for this year:
       ~My mother-in-law is working that day so they aren't going to Maine
       ~My brother-in-law is staying with his girlfriend and her family as he always does.
       ~My parents don't know what they are doing; they will either host a dinner or they are going to go to see my aunt and her kids at my aunt's boyfriend's house (typically my aunt and her kids come for Thanksgiving dinner, but no this year)
       ~My grandfather (my dad's father) is flying out to Ohio to see my dad's youngest sister and her family, they just moved out there for my uncle's job promotion, he'll be gone until December 1st. 
       ~If my parent's don't do a dinner, my Nana and Grandpa (my mom's mom and Step-dad) will host a dinner for my sister and her husband and me and my family.  Unfortunately to go to her house, we have to bring Precious Butterfly's high chair (it won't fit in our tiny car) so we can't go.

That's all I know of so far, so I've decided that to be nice, although I don't have the greatest relationship with my in-laws, to host a Thanksgiving dinner and to invite them.  This way I can control what is cooked and make dinner as safe for Precious Butterfly as I can and my in-laws can see us for Thanksgiving without having us travel to their home since we really can't.  I also told my Nana that if my parents don't host a dinner they can come to my house and have dinner with us.  That way I don't have to travel and I can ensure that all the food is as safe as possible for Precious Butterfly.

In the coming days I'll start to plan my dinner menu and I'll post about what I'll make and how to make some of the items.  I'll also be posting recipes on my allergy blog that I will be making for Precious Butterfly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little Man's Almost 3!!!!

It's hard for me to believe that Little Man's going to be turning 3 in February.  I find it hard because he is growing so fast, but looking back over these past few years, we've see lots of growth.
Moments after birth 7lbs 7oz
A few days old in the same cradle I used when I was a baby hand made by mom's dad (RIP Grandpa Joe)
2 Photos of Little Man The one on top is a few weeks old and the one on the bottom is hubby with us the day he went back to work for the first time since Little Man's birth.

As time progressed, the first few months were very difficult for him and weight gain was difficult.  At 3 months or so he was diagnosed as failing to thrive and had reflux too.  Gaining weight was so hard that he started solids at 5 1/5 months old.  After starting solids he finally started to gain weight.

Here he is at 6 months old on a weekend trip to our family summer house, also in the picture is my cousin who was there spending the weekend too.  He was helping me roast a marshmallow.  It was his first trip and so far been his only trip...

Here's his first sippy cup at nine months old, he seemed to not like that cup.  It did take a while for us to find him a sippy he likes.  Even now we are still trying...but I think we have found a winner and a non-leaker!
His first Halloween.  We took him to a friend's home for a party.  The little girl on the floor is 5 days younger than Little Man.  We dressed him as a Count, he had red skulls on his cape.  After a bit, I did change him into a "My First Halloween" onesie with matching orange pants.
His first Thanksgiving, that was a bittersweet holiday since earlier that week I had lost my job due to missing too much work.  I missed too much work because I had to care for my son.  Also the day before I lost my job Little Man had surgery to correct the Hypospadius birth defect.  He was hurting and both hubby and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do.
First Christmas, this was his first gift and he loved it.  He couldn't sleep without it.  Even now, he needs Scout to go to bed with him. 
First time out to play in the snow.  He's doing my favorite thing, sticking his tongue out to catch snowflakes.  This was taken in January of 2011.
We made it, his first birthday!!!!  It was a very happy day, everyone was there to celebrate his birthday.  We went with Winnie the Pooh theme for his birthday.  By this point he was doign amazing with his growth and development.
This was taken after we set up his toddler bed.  My in-laws bought it for him so that once Precious Butterfly was born she could sleep in the crib.  He picked out his bedding on his own.
Here he is at Easter, he was walking very well and wearing a suit for the first time.  He was growing so fast before my very eyes.
This was taken in June of 2011 after a Sprinkle Shower for me for the upcoming birth of Precious Butterfly.  It was at my in-laws' home and it was nice to celebrate with my friends and a few of my family members.

This was a month before Precious Butterfly was born.  He's at my mom and dad's house.  That's my mom (his Memere) outside at his little pool they bought just for him.  He's so pale skinned like me and such a happy boy.
The day Precious Butterfly was born...He was such a big boy!  I'm so lucky to have him in my life.

(Top) Here he is holding Precious Butterfly one morning after getting up.  He loves her so much. (Bottom) Here we are a t Story Land in Glen, NH.  We decided to take a trip to have some fun.  He loved the statue and was dancing to the music.  I'm in the background breastfeeding Precious Butterfly.

This was his first Halloween that he went Trick-Or-Treating (my sister and her husband took him since hubby was working that night.  He was a giraffe (my sister bought the costume).  It was fun for him, he didn't get much candy, but he had a good time.
This was his second visit to meet Santa at the church Christmas Fair (held in November), at first he was shy, but once Precious Butterfly was with Santa he wanted to sit with Santa too.

Christmas, and man did he have a good time.  He love the remote control car that hubby had bought for him.

His second birthday, it was fun.  He had cupcakes instead of a cake.  I loved his shirt more than anything.  He looked like a little man and that shirt was paired with jeans that just completed his outfit.

This was just a few weeks ago when we went apple picking as a family with my in-laws.  It was Little Man's first trip and certainly won't be his last.

He's grown quite a bit and I'm sad to see him turn 3, but happy at the same time.  Time does fly by fast and I try to cherish every moment of it and hope that I can help make pleasant memories for him to look back on as he gets older. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

First Birthday...

So Saturday the 11th of August my precious butterfly turned one!

Since she's allergic to eggs, a birthday cake was not an option, or so I thought. Thanks to my sister, she found a cake mix by Cherrybrook Kitchens that is egg free, dairy free, peanut free, etc. It wasn't cheap but it was worth it since it was safe for her to touch and eat. That was one less thing to worry about, but I also had to figure out what to serve at her party. I wanted it to be minimal risk of cross contamination from egg/egg ingredients. After realizing the food would pose little risk as long as nobody fed her anything we should be ok. I decided to do cupcakes for everyone else and decided to use eggs since I had regular cake mixes that I originally bought before we found out she had an egg allergy. This is what they looked like:

We had friends and family present as we celebrated her birthday, unfortunately my home isn't big enough to host parties, so we have birthday parties at my parent's home.  Both my little man and precious butterfly had fun.  Little man got spoiled by my mom prior to the party and did a good job of not getting into as much as he usually does at her home.  Both my husband and I had a difficult time choosing a theme, but in the end we chose purple and green with butterflies.  Her party was a success I think.  It certainly wasn't a big as Little Man's first birthday, but it was a party with those that are close to us and close to her.  Although some friends and family were unable to attend, I believe she had a great day.  After all, they don't really remember their first birthday, we do tho.
Here she is eating her smash was a memorable day.

A Birth Defect...

His hypospadius birth defect was one that had to be fixed via surgery.  At 6 months old we were refered to a pediatric urologist, who infomed us about how he'd repair the defect and possible complications.  We set up the surgery and it was scary for us since it was his first ever surgery.  I went into the OR with him and stayed with him until he fell asleep.  The repair went well; there were however, some complcations.  Before we left after his surgery his diaper was checked and he wass still bleeding, the surgeon came in checked it and decided to redress it and advised us to watch it for active bleeding. 

We went home and that afternoon his diaper had a lot of blood in it.  We called and the surgeon said to wait an hour and if it was still bleeding to take him to the ER.  We waited and it didn't stop so we went to the ER and the doctor's there had to call the on call resident at another hospital to explain what was happening and to get guidance on what to do.  We spent quite a few hours doing that; finally the doctor returned and redressed the area to try and stop the bleeding.  We went home, but were told to watch his diapers for the next few hours and if it was still bleeding after the second diaper change at home to return to the ER.  We went home it was around 11PM and put him to bed; at 1AM we got up and changed him...he was still bleeding and we got dressed and headed back to the ER.  We spent more hours waiting and finally it was redressed again because the last doctor didn't wrap the area completely prolonging the bleeeding.  We stayed to be sure it worked and we finally returned home at 5:30AM.  Just in time for an exhausted me to go to work.  I was tired and had no sleep; I faced the delima of either getting behind the wheel driving an hour and possibly getting into an accident or staying home and sleeping so that I could go to work the next day.  I decided to stay home since putting my life on the line wasn't a good idea.  I called in stating that there were complications and that I just got home from a second trip to the ER and I wasn't going to go in that day, but I'd be back the next. 

That's when it all changed.  My boss (she didn't work where I worked, but I worked for her under a contract to this other company) called me that afternoon at 10 minutes to 5PM.  She informed me that I was let go from my job due to missing so much husband blamed himself and I said that I understood and I chose not to drive exhausted and possibly die.  Do I regret my decision?  No, I love being at home with my son and playing with him.  I still wish that my son didn't have any complications, then I'd probably still have my job, but would I have my baby girl, I guess we'll never know.  About 7 months later, we had a follow-up with the surgeon, the residual swelling was finally gone and it was determined that he needed another repair to complete the procedure.  We were fine with another repair being done, we just wanted it done before our new baby girl would've been born.  Unfortunately, it wasn't scheduled until a month after her birth.  This second surgery went great, my husband went into the OR with him and stayed with him until he was asleep.  The surgeon came out and said everything went well and after his final follow-up he was all done with pediatric urology.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Living With Food Allergies

In the past few weeks my precious butterfly has been to see an allergy doctor. At our first visit she had a scratch test done testing for milk and egg. Both were positive, in the picture the upper left is milk and the upper right is egg below on the lower left is the histamine and the lower right is the control.
After that visit I began to feel discouraged because I was and am still breastfeeding. Not only could she not have it neither could I. I called her pediatrician and requested a referral for a nutritionist for her.

We got the referral and last Wednesday we saw a nutritionist, however the night prior while eating dinner she broke out in hives all over her face...

I immediately gave her Benadryl and called the allergists office in hopes that there was a doctor on call. I spoke with another doctor and was told that she should be fine but to call the office in the morning to get an appointment. I called the next morning and got in with the doctor I spoke to on the phone the night prior. I brought the packaging for the items we had eaten the night prior. He said we needed her to have additional testing for beef, pork, wheat, rice, and soy. Unfortunately, since she had Benadryl the night prior we had to wait a few days for the testing...

You can now follow my new blog regarding this issue and the results of the second round of testing:  Cooking With Multiple Food Allergies:

Friday, August 10, 2012

A very scary moment...

Last Monday July 30, 2012, my precious butterfly had her first ambulance ride...I was searching in my living room for little man's sippy cup.  He and her were in the kitchen...I guess he thought that it was in the fridge and he opened it.  I'm obviously not sure who did it, but one of them pulled a carton of eggs out of the fridge (luckily there were only 3 eggs in it).  When I walked back in I saw my precious butterfly sitting in the raw eggs and she had raw eggs all over her and possibly ingested it.  I immediately removed her from the mess and cleaned most of it up, then I took her out of her sleeper since it was covered in raw egg.  I saw a small patch of hives on her cheek ad I thought that she ingested it, so I called the doctor...that's when my world came crashing the time the secretary answered the phone she had hives all over her face and her face was swelling up like a balloon.  I immediately requested a nurse because of the hives, and by the time they got me a nurse her lips had swelled (this is like 5 or 6 minutes after initial exposure).  I was panicked and she was crying, because her lips were swollen the nurse I was on the phone with had one of her co-workers call 911; the nurse stayed on the phone with me until the paramedics arrived.  While waiting she had me dispense some Children's Benadryl to her in hopes that it would help.  Being alone with both he and my son and dear old hubby on his way home on his motorcycle I had no one to stay with little man if hubby wasn't home. 

Once the paramedics arrived I was panicked and scared and shaking from the fear that something bad was going to happen to my precious butterfly.  They assessed her and we talked about what happened, they informed me that she needed to go to the hospital I asked about my son, they told me that he couldn't go too.  I was now stuck, let them take her alone and follow with my son in our car or hope that my husband makes it home before we had to go.  I told them I didn't want them to take her alone and begged them to please wait that my husband was on his way home on his motorcycle  I had no way to call to tell him what happened.  As the paramedics told me that we had to leave immediately, I heard my little man say "Hi daddy!"  I ran over to our slider and sreamed, "Get up here now!!!"  The firemen stayed with little man until hubby got to the apartment.  I was being rushed down the hall to the waiting ambulance with the paramedics and I heard little man running down the hall after me saying, "momma, momma!"  One of the fireman ran after him to keep him until hubby could get up to the apartment.  Hubby had gotten up the stairs as I was at the end of the hall and I heard him ask what had happened and then we were gone down the stairs to the waiting ambulance.  As I walked out into the sun I realized precious butterfly was in nothing but her diaper and that I had no clothes in her diaper bag to change her into.  I saw a paramedic grab a carseat and I climbed into the back of the ambulance with my precious butterfly who was still not doing so well and getting worse. 

Once they strapped the carseat to the stretcher, I put her in it.  It was unfortunately not set up for her properly, but atleast I tightened the straps to help keep her safe.  She cried most of the ride, then she got silent...that's when the paramedic reminded me that it was the Benadryl...phew, she was still awake and breathing...the ride seemed to take forever, but I just kept telling her I was right there and that it was all going to be ok.  When we finally arrived at the hospital, the driving paramedic opened the back door and helped me down and out of the ambulance, then the paramedic that rode in the back with me got her out of the carseat and hded her down to me.  They wanted to have me get out first so that if I fell only I would get hurt...we then walked into the emergency room where 2 nurses were waiting to talk to me and get her vital signs...

I thanked the paramedics and waited for hubby to arrive.  Once hubby arrived, he was in utter shock as to how she looked, he didn't recognize her.  It was very hard for me to stay compsed once I saw him, but I knew I needed to so that precious butterfly would stay calm. It was difficult waiting more than anything for the doctor to come in and see her. When he did finally come in he said it was an allergic reaction to the eggs and that they wanted to keep her for a few hours to be sure there wasn't going to be a secondary reaction. He ordered prednisone steroids, which we were never given until the doctor came back in and told us they were releasing her. At that point I chimed in she never got the prednisone and he said he'd take care of it, and that before she went to bed to give her another dose of Benadryl. He also prescribed four more days of prednisone for her to be sure and said to avoid eggs until we see an allergist to determine the extent of the allergy. I asked that since she was still breastfeeding exclusively with solids added to her diet if I needed to refrain from eggs too, he said yes...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Breastfeeding Journey So Far With Baby #2

When we finally had her 2 week checkup, it was determined that she wasn't gaining enough weight again, so we had a follow up weight check 2 weeks later. In the meantime, I was seeing a lactation consultant to see how much much she was eating and get any and all help from them as I could to make breastfeeding successful.  As the visits occurred we noticed she was gaining weight and doing well.  When we saw the doctor he was pleased with her weight gain, I did still see the lactation consultants at the hospital just to be sure that everything was going ok.  I was advised to start using a herbal supplement, I used MotherLove More Milk Plus ( and they helped increase my supply and I continued to pump after her feedings to ensure she was getting enough.  I froze a lot of milk since I stayed at home and she no longer needed to finger feed any of my expressed milk.  For a while I pumped and froze, then I stopped and things were good.  As we got closer to 6 months old I dreaded starting solids...

I held off on the solids since she never had a bottle nor pacifier.  As she got closer to eight months I started to introduce cereal and baby food.  We had problems with constipation and that just made things worse for us.  I started by trying to give her 100% prune juice, but that didn't work since she never had a bottle so after a few days I gave her stage one prunes and finally after a few days she had a massive poop-splosion.  She seemed to fine after that and I just needed to be sure that I gave her prunes on top of cereal and other baby food I gave her.

She has her good days and her bad days with solids.  Now at 11 months old she's cut back on nursing (pretty sure it's teething related) and I pump to ensure I have milk to mix her cereal with.  I have a very good supply, but she's so easily distracted that I cannot keep her nursing as long as I'd like.  I'm glad she's doing so well, but I'm not sure she's ready to wean.  I say that because I'm not ready and when it's just her and me she nurses like a champ and drains me so my breasts feel light.  I'm looking into those nursing necklaces so she can focus on that and nurse without distraction.  

She does have teeth now and it hurts when she bites, I've gotten to the point where if she bites I stop feeding her an tell her no bite momma.  She looks at and then we switch sides.  I try not to react when she bites, but if she pulls my hair that's a different story I do yell and tell her no, but she thinks it's funny and now every chance she gets she pulls my hair.  I'm hoping to cut it shorter soon so that it's harder for her to pull my hair.

Baby #2

When my son was 9 months old I found out that I was pregnant again.  My husband and I were in complete shock.  We had no idea how we were going to make it especially since I was fired from my job.  I was fired for missing a lot of work.  Finding out that I was pregnant was the last thing we needed.  My husband and I had no idea how to announce the news.  We decided to just call our parents and let them know.  I first called my mom while she was at work and she was shocked and frankly everyone was shocked.  When my husband told his father it wasn't a pleasant conversation...from what I heard.  My husband and I did discuss our options, but at no point was termination or adoption an option for us.  We basically figured out how this was going to work.  Would his income be enough to support us, was our biggest concern.  We tried and tried to figure out how it was all going to work.  Around Christmas we had a dating ultrasound to see when this new baby would be born.  A lot of my extended family didn't know I was pregnant and they were mainly focused on my cousin and his wife since they were expecting.  As my extended family found out it seemed like no one was happy and no one wanted this baby to be born.  I was discouraged and my husband wasn't as supportive as I wanted/needed him to be.  I was the only one who was truely happy that this baby was coming. 

As my prgnancy progressed, it was boring...I had nothing major happen and as time passed we celebrated our son's first birthday.  I was happy and eventually our families came around to be excited since we were having a girl.  Both my husband and I began figuring out what we were going to do since most of the stuff we had was boy themes and colors.  We decided to get a double stroller, reuse the infant carrier/travel system, buy a bassinet for our bedroom, start stocking up on diapers for her and clothes since she was going to be a summer baby.  We used a chunk of our tax return to buy what we could.  My in-laws offered to throw me a baby shower (I guess they believe you have one with every baby), but I declined since that's not how we do it on my side and my parents threw me a huge shower before I had my son.  As we got closer to my due date I started to stress because we didn't have everything we needed.  At that point, my husband collaborated with his parents to throw me a Sprinkle Shower.  He got the idea from me planning one for a friend of mine who was going through a difficult time and was going to be a single mother of 2 children roughly the same ages as mine. 

At my Sprinkle shower, two of my other friends also expecting were there (one who was a day past her due date).  I was surprised andhappy to see my friends help celebrate this new baby.  It was a nice day, but crappy weather for an outside party.  I received some items that I needed and was super grateful for everyone coming.  But as I got closer to her delivery I got more nervous and worried because I didn't have what I needed to be ready for her arrival.  So one weekend I was at my moms and she took me, my son, and my sister to Babies R Us to get the items I needed to be ready for her arrival.  We bought clothes, diapers, wipes, blankets, organizers for the room, and a few other items I wanted to make the transition to having a girl better.  One of my friends was having a boy (she already had a girl) and she gave me lots of the clothing her daughter never wore or out grew.  That helped, but the seasons were off because her daughter was born in the winter, just like my son.  After shopping with my mom I felt much better about the upcoming arrival of this beautiful baby girl.

As we got to te final weeks of my pregnancy it was determined that if she didn't come on her own by the last weekof the pregnancy, I would have another c-section.  I wanted to go VBAC, but it was a little dangerous since my pregnancies were so close together.  I agreed to have the c-section, but was hoping she'd come sooner and if she did I could try to go natural.  Unfortunately, that was not the case...I tried using the eggplant parm receipe that induces labor naturally (nothing happened), ate fresh pineapple (it has an enzyeme that helps induce labor and that didn't work either), my siter took me on a long bumpy drive after my final OB appointment before the scheduled c-section (where my OB tried to sweep my membranes, I was 2 days shy of being 39 weeks, and that brought on some contractions but nothing that lasted). 

So two days before my c-section I was at home alone with my son and my husband was working.  After my son's nap I started have contractions, they got progressively worse and more painful than I'd ever felt before.  I waited until they were frequent and strong enought that I thought I should call the on call.  I called when they were 3-4 minutes apart lasting about a minute or longer, they said I had to come it.  I started to panic because my husband was an hour away at work and I had no car, so I called my mom in tears telling her that I thought it was time and I needed to go to the hospital.  She and my sister rushed to my apartment to get me and my son and bring me to the hospital.  I got there and my contrations slowed to 5 minutes apart and they hurt.  I was examined and it was determined that I wasn't progressing and to just go home and rest.  As I was being discharged my husband called and was worried that he was going to miss the birth.  I told him it was false labor and that I was going home to rest and that I would be back in 2 days for my c-section.  He was kinda angry that we didn't call him sooner, but I didn'twant him to leave work unless I was really going to have her that night.  My mom brought me and my son back home and we went to bed.  The night before my c-section my son went to my mother's house to spend the night and stay with her until I came home from the hospital.  My husband left work early that night so that he could get some rest since we had to be at the hospital for 6AM.

I awoke the morning of my c-section nervous and excited.  My bags were packed and we grabbed the car seat and headed to the hospital to meet my dad whos was going to be with us.  I went up to the floor and was escorted to my room, funny thing about my was the same room I was in when I had my son.  I got admitted, hooked up to the monitors and just rested until it was time.  I talked with the OB about a few concerns I had and asked about my husband getting to cut the cord since he didn't when out son was born.  I asked if my dad could be in the OR too since my mom got to go with us last time.  They said sure got both my dad and husband scrubs and caps and those shoe covers so they could accompany me in the OR.  They waited in a special waiting area while I got on the table and had my spinal block put in.  After that they were allowed in the room.  They stayed by my head until she was out.  As the took her out it was determined that my husband couldn't cut the cord, however they left a tail on so he could trim it at the warmer.  She was breach, come to find out, and cried as they held her over the drape so I could see her.

I cried as soon a I saw her and just waited to see her cleaned up and by my side.  My husband and my dad both got to hold her brefore me.  She was perfect and I immediately knew I was going to do it right this time and breastfeed her from birth until she chooses to stop.  As soon as I was closed up and back in my bed, she was brought over and laid in my arms as we made the journey down the hall to my room.  As soon as we were back in my room my dad and my husband changed out of their scrubs, then my dad called my mom to inform her of my daughter's arrival.  Due to her being large for her gestational age, the monitored her blood sugar for 3 hours.  During that time and getting me hooked up to the monitors I asked when I could start breastfeeding.  As soon as I was settled in bed they brough her to me to nurse her for the first time.  It was weird and amazing and different all at the same time. 

Once it was determined that her blood sugars were fine she had her first bath.  Then my mom and my son arrived to see her.  My son I think was confused as to what happened, but it seemed as though he loved her.  Since he was only 18 months old visits were kept short so that we could see him multiple times a day.  By the second day of our stay, I was up and moving.  So when our son came to visit my husband hid our daughter and asked our son where she was.  Not sure how he'd react we waited and he pointed to my belly.  We then showed him his sister and told him that she was there and not in my belly anymore.  He visited multiple times during my stay.  When the time came fo us to go home we were informed that she would not be discharged becasue she lost too much weight and needed to gain weight before she could go home.  Luckily they were able to stop my discharge so I could stay with her and get medication and food until they discharged her.  At that point all the fears/emotions I felt when my son wasn't gaining weight came back.  I was scared and very upset.  I called my mom and was able to tell my dad, but when he put my mom on the phone I just cried and my husband had to talk to her.  For a couple of hours my husband left and went home to shower and pick up some things for me, while he was gone I laid in bed cried, and held my daughter.  Later on that day I had a visit with a lactation consultant and discussed what to do.  So I pumped after every time she nursed and finger fed the pumped milk (just an ounce, any additional milk was sent to the nursery fridge for me to take home) to her using a dropper.  It worked, not only was my milk in around day 3 but I was on the road to having an abundant supply.  She gained an ounce, so after 5 days in the hospital we finally went home. 

My husband was able to be home for a couple days after returning from the hospital, the day he returned to work he took our son to mom's where he stayed until it was his bedtime.  He was then brought home by my parents and put to bed for me.  They stayed after he went to bed to visit with me and my daughter.  My mom helped me with her first bath at home in our kitchen sink, since my husband was at work, my dad just sat in a chair in my living room and watched tv.  We sent my son to my mom and dad's house while my husband was at work for 2 weeks, while I was still on a lifting restriction.  After the two weeks was up, he was with me when my husband went to work.

Breastfeeding My Son

The first few days with a newborn at home were very interesting and that's when it happened...the baby hadn't pooped in over 24 hours...I got very scared and no matter how much formula I fed him he was still so fussy. That's when I changed my mind and wanted to breastfeed. I called the hospital for help and got an appointment with a lactation consultant, she then called me the next day, after seeing me at home the previous day and cancelled the appointment since I was getting sick and needed to rest. She advised me to get a nipple shield, my husband went to the store to get one and helped me use it...not the easiest thing for me, but I set myself up for it since I was the one who started with bottles and formula.  We rescheduled the appointment for 2 days late and he'd be weighed and she'd review our latch and how to make this transition work for both of us.  Now with the decision to breastfeed, I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me since I didn't breastfeed once he was born.
I worked hard at breastfeeding; I took herbal supplements to try and help my body create the milk my son needed (Motherlove More Milk Special Blend: I used a SNS (Supplemental Nursing Sysytem) from Medela (the hospital lactation consultant gave it to me), we used formula as my milk was still coming in and I hadn't started to pump yet (although she also gave me a Medela Harmony hand pump). We tried using expressed breast milk and formula in it, but we still had a long road ahead of us to be off that system and bottles all together.  I had frequent visits and weight checks with them.  He just wasn't gaining the weight fast enough.  We had our first well baby visit at the doctor's office and that was super difficult since he just wasn't gaining weight, he was instead losing weight.  I got very discouraged and began to give up...I couldn't believe how sick he looked...

According to the doctor's we needed weekly weight checks until he gained back the weight he lost and got to where he needed to be.  We just weren't doing well breastfeeding; I was ready to give up, but I still tried.  We offered a bottle after he nursed, he seemed to do well, but then vomited most of it back up.  We began to get discouraged and were referred to another pediatrician to try and figure out what was going on.  Come to find out he had Reflux and needed medication and a new formula to try.  We used the prescribed medication as directed and used Similac Alimentum formula (sample cans the doctor gave us).  It seemed to help, but when he did spit up, it smelled nasty.

My supply never seemed to regulate itself and it appeared that he was lazy since we offered a bottle after every nursing session.  I was discouraged and wish I had more support in trying to breastfeed.  No matter how many times I put him to the breast he was never interested and as a result I thought about exclusively pumping and that way he'd still get my breast milk.  I rented the Medela Lactina Pump from the hospital to try and see if it made a difference.  Immediately it did, but I couldn't afford to rent it until I stopped breastfeeding.  After a few days of pumping, my husband and I decided that I needed a pump especially with me returning to work.  We went and bought the Medela Pump-In-Style-Advanced from Target.  It wasn't as powerful as the Lactina, but it did the job.  As we prepared for my return to work we were also preparing for a follow-up appointment with the doctor.

As I returned to work, my husband was working second shift (4PM to 12:30AM, but was gone from 2:30PM to 2AM) and I was switching to first shift (7AM to 3:30PM, but was gone from 5:30AM to 5:30PM).  Luckily we worked at the same place so he cared for our son while I was at work, then he'd bring him to work with him and we'd trade.  It worked logistically speaking, however, it took a toll on all of us.  I tried to nurse our son before I left for work if I didn't then I pumped before I left or in the car on my way to work (don't ask me how I did it because I don't know how I was able to do it since I didn't have a pumping bra).  The first few days were tough, but I was sure things would be okay.  I left enough pumped milk so he would be all set, but little did I know my husband was sleeping through a feeding for our son.  I know that he was tired, but I figured he got up, fed him, and then went back to sleep.  I guess he didn't wake until our so was screaming, which come to find out on my 4th day back to work (I left early for a doctor's appointment for my son) and went alone that my son wasn't gaining weight nor was he being fed enough.  Immediately I had to stop working to get him to gain weight and he was diagnosed as failing to thrive.  I was heartbroken and called my parents in tears and drove to their house where they comforted me and tried to stay positive for me.  During the appointment the doctor informed me that by my husband waiting for him to cry to eat contributed to his diagnosis and why he wasn't gaining weight.  When I told my parents that, they told me not to tell my husband that it was his fault; they said I should tell him what happened at the appointment and leave that part out. 

I had a difficult time telling my husband everything but that tiny piece of information; he was worried and reassured me that things would be ok; I felt horrible since I had to take even more unpaid time off of work to care for my son.  My employer understood, but still I was starting to become unreliable.  I was working hard breastfeeding and offering formula, then once he was about 4 and a half months old we introduced rice cereal and baby food.  We mixed his cereal with formula and tried to get him to gain weight.  It worked!!!!  Finally after 6 weeks of being home with him he was gaining weight and was doing wonderful.  The doctor released me to return to work half days for a week or so then back to full-time status.  I was thrilled and so was my husband.  Every morning before leaving for work I'd prepare his breakfast, bottles for the day, and his lunch.  My husband got up and fed him at the same times I did while I was home, then when he took a nap my husband took a nap too.  It worked, but he wasn't off of the bottle and pretty much refused the breast.  A couple of weeks later we moved into a new apartment and things looked like they were improving; my son was taking the breast and still taking the bottle too, he was gaining weight and looked so healthy.

Our journey down the path of breastfeeding had it's bumps, but the one that ended it for us was me getting pregnant...

My First Baby

In 2010 I had my first child.  My pregnancy was one that I will never forget.  The beginning of it was scary since I had lots of bleeding and multiple ultrasounds to verify that I was still pregnant.  One night at work I started bleeding heavily and rushed home to get my husband and head to the emergency room.  It was determined that there was no heartbeat and that I just needed to take it easy and rest.  I saw my OB and had an ultrasound that determined that there was a heartbeat.  It was a very emotional moment and I shared it with my mom since my husband was at work.  I enjoyed the feeling until again I was bleeding and I was scared again,  thought oh no I'm going to miscarry.  I saw my OB again and I was fine, however part of the placenta had started to detach.  It was a waiting game to see if the placenta would re-attach. 

Then I was struck with massive pain in my belly; I went to the emergency room again and it was determined that my gallbladder was full of sludge.  Being my first trimester it was determined that surgery wasn't safe; the only time that was safe was during the second trimester or waiting until after the baby was born.  The surgeon decided to wait, but unfortunately things got progressively worse and I was hospitalized until I was able to keep any sort of food down.  I finally went home and followed up with the surgeon; he decided that based on how things were going I needed to have surgery.  As soon as I reached my second trimester I had the surgery.  My OB was in the hospital that day too (it was his surgery day); luckily he was because after my surgery the nurses tried with the Doppler to get a heartbeat and was unsuccessful.  I begged them to call my OB and have him look.  He rushed down and tried with the Doppler then requested the ultrasound machine to see what was going on.  My husband waited there anxiously with me as we waited for an answer.  Then we saw two little legs just kicking away; we were both relieved and so happy to see the baby made it through the surgery fine.  I spent the night just to be safe since I was pregnant and felt so crappy. 

After that ordeal I had a quiet pregnancy until I reached the 8th month.  That's when we had lots of false labor and many a trips to the hospital to only be told sorry it's a false alarm.  Finally at 35 weeks my OB ordered a final ultrasound and that's when my world stopped; my baby was in the frank breach position (he was butt first).  A week later we tried to do an external aversion, but that didn't work, we got as far as I could go pain wise and the baby showed some distress so we stopped.  That night the baby went back to where it was before, so now I needed to have a c-section.  I was scared, but at least I knew my baby would be born healthy.  A few weeks passed then OMG, I had these horrible back pains that just didn't go away; working an hour or so from home I called my OB's answering service and spoke to an on call doctor.  We went in and it was discovered that I wasn't in labor, but that my back was having muscle spasms.  Man was I discouraged.  So that night, I decided that it was time to stop working; I knew it would be difficult, but it was more practical since I couldn't keep leaving work until the c-section.  I spent about 2 weeks just hanging out at home prepping for the arrival of the baby and had hardly any false alarms.  Then it was the big day...

I remember the morning of my c-section, it was a quiet uneventful morning.  I went to my mom's to meet them and then we were heading to the hospital for check-in.  My OB was doing it on his lunch hour, so we didn't have to be there until later in the morning.  I arrived on time and waited and waited...the OR was still occupied when I was supposed to be in there. So instead of things going smoothly I was waiting; the time finally came to meet my baby, well being awake during it wasn't so bad.  That was until he was finally born; he wasn't crying or breathing from what I could tell and they rushed him over to the warmer to give him oxygen and clean him up.  My husband videotaped the entire delivery and you could see that they were having a hard time getting him to breathe.  Finally a after a minute or so he cried for the first time.  I was relieved and so was my husband; my mother stood in the scrub room until the OR emptied out a little bit and then she was allowed in.  She took lots of pictures while my dad waited in my room for us.  When I finally got to hold him; I thought that my little family was finally started and I didn't want to let him go.  As the day progressed I had lots of emotions running through my mind; I made the decision to bottle feed him (later I regretted that decision) and he was doing ok.  My nurse noticed that he was breathing fast and decided to check on us again in an hour.  Friends were with us upon her return; he was still breathing too fast.  She rushed him to the nursery and I told my husband to stay with him until I could be brought down to be by his side.  Our friends said that everything would be ok and I begged the nurses to get me down to be with my baby as soon as possible.  As our friends were leaving the nurse came in to see how I was doing, she noticed that the catheter wasn't working so the decision was made to remove it and give me a chance to try and pee on my own.  That was when something very embarrassing happened.  My husband left our baby in the nursery and brought his parents back to my room (after I'd told him to stay with our son until I could get there) where he opened the door and they saw me having the catheter removed...I was very angry because he didn't even knock. Finally I was able to get down to my son.  The nursery nurse said that he was doing ok and that they gave him some sugar water.  My husband left with his parents and went to dinner; I'd asked him to call my parents and fill them in on what happened.  My parents dropped everything and came to be by my side since I was alone.  The doctor's didn't know what was wrong, but they took blood and did a chest x-ray to see if there was anything going on.  They ruled everything they could out and then finally my husband returned.  My parents left us to be alone with our son and asked that we call should anything happen; they left and I stayed with our son, held him skin-to-skin and fed him a bottle.  He seemed to improve being on my chest and after being without the catheter for 6 hours and no ability to pee I had to go back to my room and be re-catheterized until the first 24 hours was up.  As I lay in bed and they did it I begged to be allowed to return to be with my son, the nurse informed me that they were going to bring him back to me as soon as I was in bed.  I was pleased and so happy once he was in my arms again.  That night we slept skin-to-skin and it was hard to sleep since he was so tiny.

The next morning my parents came to visit; my husband went and helped my dad move some items, but before he left he changed his first diaper ever...yes, he got peed on.  Then they left and my mom stayed with me until they returned.  The nurse came in removed my catheter and said it was time to take my shower.  My mom held my son and read to him while I showered and got cleaned up.  That day I took a walk around the floor (doing multiple laps) and just visiting with my mom.  Once my dad and husband returned they headed out and we just talked and figured out what was needed from home since he was going there to shower.  He brought back a bottle for me to try since we were having some problems with gas.  That night was our last night there and the next morning we went home.  I was on the road to a speedy recovery until we got home.  The day we left we went to my mom's to see my aunt, her kids, and my dad's dad.  When we got there I took it easy, but my poor dad never got to hold my son the entire time I was in the hospital so I left my dad feed him and cuddle with him.  My family visited and then it was time to go home, I was tired and needed some sleep and the baby needed to get to know where we lived.