when being a mom is hard

Eventually there comes a time when a child has injured herself beyond the repair of a mother’s kiss. Eventually your child needs urgent care. Eventually she needs something you can’t provide. And do I wish that it didn’t have to happen to my baby. Ever.

Because there is nothing harder about being a mother than being helpless for your hurting baby.

Last Friday, I had Melissa cooped up in her stroller all afternoon while I ran various errands across town. And that does not go over well with my child who likes to run and be free. She was not happy with me for making her do that.

The next day, I had a couple more stores I needed to visit, and since I only needed one thing at Marshall’s, I decided to let her walk around the store with me. I was already regretting my decision when she tugged herself out of my hand’s grip and ran off to pick things up off the shelves.

Ugh, bad idea, I told myself. I just wanted to get out fast.

When I got ahold of her again, she only held my hand for a few seconds before she wrestled away and ran off. Me being heavily pregnant found it difficult to keep up with her as she ran up to a display of dumbbells and picked one up.

And dropped it.

Right on her toe.

I caught up to her and immediately picked her up. The poor thing was crying miserably and I instantly recognized as her “I’m in pain” cry. It’s got that shocked tone in it. I ran outside to take a look at her foot and was immediately caught off guard with the large amount of blood coming from her big toe. It was already soaking her shoe and my hand. Her toe nail was just barely hanging on.

In that moment, you’re faced with so many thoughts and questions:

“What do I do?”

“How do I get the bleeding under control?”

“I have nothing with me to stop this bleeding.”

“Where do I go?”

“Why didn’t I stop this from happening?”

“My baby is hurt, and it’s my fault.”

And then you start to cry right there with her at the entrance of Marshall’s.

I ran Melissa back into the car and did my best to wrap her foot in a diaper. Her pediatrician was across the street so I drove there first.

I ran into the office with my bleeding, screaming baby and tried to explain what had happened even though I was in tears and a little incoherent. All I really wanted was for someone to wrap her toe so she would stop bleeding and not be able to pull her toenail off.

Instead I got all of these confused looks from the ladies behind the front desk as if this was the first time they’d seen someone bleed and a mother too distressed to go into details on why there was blood. I needed someone to talk me through this and help us, and instead they just kept asking me, “Wait. What happened?”

NEVER MIND HOW IT HAPPENED SHE’S BLEEDING CAN YOU HELP ME STOP THE BLEEDING?!

They told me to go to the emergency room because she needed x-rays. They sent me out with nothing for the bleeding. Okay, glad I wasted my time with you people. Note to self: find new pediatrician.

Poor Melissa was still screaming and crying from her injury. I kept talking to her while we drove to the hospital even though I was crying right along with her and probably not sounding very comforting. I parked at the hospital, and carried her into the ER as fast as my 30 week-pregnant body could get me there.

Again I was faced with having to explain the situation to the front desk lady who was anything but sympathetic. I kept holding up Melissa’s bloody foot and saying that she was bleeding and needed an x-ray. She told me someone would be out to see us soon.

I can’t think of the last time I was in an ER. Not since I was really little. So I didn’t know what to expect. Did bleeding babies get priority over other people here? Because just going off how everyone else looked, Melissa was in the worst condition. I was hoping they could take her back right away because of this.

Or at least give me something to stop the bleeding. Why was I the only one concerned about the bleeding?!

But no. We had to wait our turn while grown humans with sore throats and tummy aches were taken back first.

Now obviously I don’t know why other people were in the ER that day, but when you’re a mom and it’s your child who needs immediate attention, I’m sorry, but no one else is more important.

I rocked Melissa in our seat and talked her through the pain while trying to keep her foot elevated. She fell asleep in my arms and she was shivering and pale. Was she going into shock? I got up to ask the front desk if someone could see her right now.

“Ma’am, they’re almost ready for you.”

All I could manage to say was, “But she’s bleeding and she’s cold.”

Unbelievable. I took her back to our seat and kept rocking her, trying to keep her warm, but it was Charleston in late July. I had no sweaters or blankets in my bag and Melissa was just wearing a little summer dress.

A nurse came back to see us, but all she wanted me to do was sign some forms. I asked her for a blanket and she brought us a nice heated one. Finally someone was helpful.

I think we waited almost an hour in total until they called us back to the x-ray room. The bleeding wasn’t as bad anymore, but we did leave a few drops behind on the chair we sat on. I still had blood on my hands. If I wasn’t wearing a black dress that day, I would have looked pretty gory.

I laid Melissa down on the x-ray table hoping she could just sleep through it since I knew I wouldn’t be allowed in the room once they started taking the pictures, and she would be upset.

She woke up seconds after being laid down, looked around for a bit and immediately started to cry. I did my best to comfort her, but I eventually had to leave the room.

And that was the worst part. Hearing the technicians try to hold her still while she cried for me, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I stood at the door listening and trying not sob, feeling so helpless and defeated.

A sweet looking lady noticed me and walked up to me. She introduced herself as a social worker, but I forgot her name as soon as she said it. She was the first person to offer any words of comfort since Melissa hurt herself.

I was grateful to have her there talking to me so I could think about something other than Melissa in the next room.

Finally the door opened and my baby girl reached out to me and clinged onto me like a little monkey. They told me we’d have to wait twenty more minutes until a doctor could review her x-rays. That sounded like an eternity that moment.

“What about the bleeding, can someone see her and clean her up while we wait?”

“Uhhh…”

The social worker said to come with her. She walked us back to the main ER entrance and signed us in again so a doctor could take care of her toe.

So we had to wait all over again.

Melissa was a lot calmer now. Between little gasps, she’d point to her foot and say, “Uh oh. Dirty.” It was a mix of insanely cute and insanely heartbreaking to hear her say that. I gave her the few snacks I’d packed her for our, what was meant to be, short outing and downloaded some toddler games for her to play with on my phone.

melissatoe
This was how her toe looked the whole time we were in the ER.

Over two hours later, I was finally talking to a doctor. She said Melissa had fractured the tip of her toe. We finally got to let her toe soak in a little tub filled with water and bubbles, and she enjoyed splashing around in that. The doctor came back and applied Dermaglue to her toenail. She said that would keep it in place for a couple of days, but the nail will eventually fall completely off.

She left and said a nurse would be back to bandage Melissa’s toe.

By then we’d been at the ER for four hours. My back and belly were so sore from holding Melissa that entire time, and we were both emotionally exhausted. She wasn’t even trying to get off of the bed and run around. It took all my strength to not fall asleep on the exam bed with her while we waited to get her toe bandaged.

Thankfully Rory was home when we got home, and Melissa was so happy to see him. By then she was back to her normal self and able to walk. In fact, she didn’t want to sleep that night because she was too perky and happy.

melissatoe2

On normal days, I think, “She’s going through the two-year sleep regression already. Being a mom is hard.” Or, “She won’t let me get any housework done, and the place is a mess. Being a mom is hard.” Or, “I’m achy from being pregnant and she keeps climbing all over my belly. Being a mom is hard.”

But then, on these days, reality hits.

It’s not the sleepless nights, the endless chasing, the picky eating, or the meltdowns in public that makes being a mom hard. That’s what makes being a mom being a mom.

On days when my child is hurt, I think, “It shouldn’t have happened to her.” Or, “Why couldn’t it have happened to me?” Or, “I could have prevented this from happening.” It makes the little problems that happen on a daily basis seem so petty. You completely rip yourself up for it.

That is when being a mom is hard.

When you’re helpless for your child. They don’t prepare you for that in parenting classes or childbirth classes. When your child is hurt, being a mom is hard. When there’s nothing you can do, being a mom is hard. When no one around you treats it with the same urgency, being a mom is hard.

Things were put into perspective for me that day. I don’t know how moms of terminally sick or injured kids put on a brave face. Melissa’s injury was medically considered minor, and I lost it. All I can do it thank God she is okay, she’s healthy and she will heal.

I have a 20-month-old daughter and more kids to bring into this world which means there will be more days like that one. I don’t know how to prepare myself, but I do know to cherish every day when being a mom is not hard.

easy weeknight (picky toddler approved!) dinners

Rory and I are easy to please people when it comes to food. Neither of us consider ourselves picky eaters. Those of you who know Rory know this is especially true about him. However, we have a toddler. And she dictates the meals that get served every night. Because if Melissa doesn’t like it, it’s a bad night!

Dinner time usually comprises of me trying to juggle cooking and keeping Melissa entertained so I like for it to go by as quickly as possible! She hates being ignored while I cook, so I try to let her help me cook as much as possible, but moms of toddlers — you know. You know. No need to go into details.

So I compiled a list of quick meals I like to make that keep everyone in the house satisfied!

Meal One: Cheesy Tortellini Bake
Why we love it: Could not be easier to make! Boil tortellini for two minutes. Drain. Add to baking baking pan, mix with marinara and cheese. Bake. Voila: You have dinner set for two nights because that’s how much it makes. (Actually, there was enough for two nights, Rory took some for lunch, and there was just enough for Melissa’s dinner for a third night. And she ate it “gall-gone” every time.)

Cheesy Tortellini Bake 1

Meal two: Sticky sesame chicken
Why we love it: It’s like eating at Panda Express, but a lot less greasy. And I always have all of these ingredients in my kitchen. I can throw this together pretty much any time. I love how the sauce mixes in with the rice and makes it all sticky. Yum!

Sticky-Sesame-Chicken-Recipe

Meal three: Slow cooker tamale pie
Why we love it: Who doesn’t love a slow cooker meal? Adding the cornbread muffin mix to the top at the end gives it a fun spin, and it’s everyone’s favorite part! This also feeds this family of three for two nights, plus a lunch for Rory.

Meal four: Chicken and dumplings
Why we love it: Comforting, healthy and hearty, saves well. What more can you ask? This is one of Rory’s most requested dinners. The dumplings are melt-in-your-mouth good!
PS Just when you were recognizing a pattern of Six Sisters Stuff recipes, right? This is from my step-brother’s wife’s blog, Two-Leaf Clover which you should totally follow if you’re into DIY, fashion and  creative, quick recipes! This recipe was posted back in 2012, and I’m so glad I wrote it down.

Meal five: One pot creamy spaghetti and sausage
We love it: You can throw all the ingredients in one pot? Yes, please. And this yields a ton of spaghetti. A ton. I had spaghetti up to my neck for days. And red pasta sauce always goes over well with a toddler, am I right?
One Pot Creamy Spaghetti Skillet on SixSistersStuffMeal six: Slow cooker balsamic pot roast
Why we love it: When you’re in the mood for a pot roast, the balsamic vinegar in this one gives it a unique zing. This one is a little more of a hit-and-miss with Melissa, but I make it anyway because the grown-ups can’t get enough.
Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot RoastMeal seven: Confetti Curry Chicken Bowl
Why we love it: This one’s fun to change things up with. Plus it gives me the excuse to break out my Dutch Oven. It’s got a little Indian flair, and it has so many (healthy) components that there’s something in it for everyone.
Confetti Chicken Big BowlThese are just some of the meals that frequently make it to my kitchen table. I just wanted to share these with anyone who’s looking for new recipes that are easy and family friendly! I promise these will not disappoint!

-Kelly

a little lemon twist

Charleston was cold yesterday. It was 81 degrees. I’m pretty sure that’s the coldest day in over a month. Cold. I sound ridiculous.

But on such a “cold” summer day threatening rain, I felt like it was a good day to bake up a pie. And if you remember my blueberry pie post, I’m still learning all there is to know about pie baking.

Which is why I went for lemon meringue. Gotta learn sometime! I’ve only made a meringue once, and I’d never made a curd before.

I have an app called Yummly on my phone and it’s awesome. Download it. You can browse through hundreds of recipes linked to people’s blogs. I found this lemon meringue recipe:

http://www.thatskinnychickcanbake.com/lemon-meringue-pie-2/

First, juice your lemons!

lemonpie

lemonpie2 - CopyMelissa is a fan of sour foods. I sliced her up a lemon to eat while I juiced.

lemonpie3 - CopyNext up you make your curd. I thought this would be really technical and time consuming, but it was actually really easy. It’s fast too! My only mistake was that I didn’t put my pie crust in early enough to bake, so my curd just had to hang out in the saucepan until I could pour it into the shell.

lemonpie5Something else I seem to have a hard time doing is zesting lemons. That sounds incredibly embarrassing. It should be easy right? I feel like while I grate the lemon peel, the zest should just fall away, right? Well, no. It just sticks to the tool and is impossible to get off without rinsing it away, which of course is useless. Very frustrating. So hardly any zest made into my curd today. Am I. . .zesting wrong?

lemonpie4But at least I had my mini chef to help me whisk 🙂 Horrible quality picture though!

lemonpie6Creating the meringue comes next, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You heard it here: making meringue is fun.

lemonpie7Because how cool is that result?

lemonpie8A tricky part was spreading the meringue onto the gooey curd. Have you ever done it? I felt like a little kid making a mud pie.

lemonpie9

But I got it together 🙂 The recipe said I could have used two more egg whites to make more meringue, but honestly I get slightly annoyed when there’s a ton of meringue on these things. The lemon curd is the good part!

Before I read the directions for this pie, I thought I needed a blow torch to get the meringue to have that “toasted” look. Aha, not so! The oven did that for me 🙂

lemonpie10Chill your pie for at least a couple hours before serving.

I’m really happy with how this pie came out. Everything did what it was supposed to. It wasn’t as lemony and punchy as I hoped for (my lack of lemon zest is probably to blame for that), but it was still good!

And bonus: When Rory came home, he said the house smelled amazing. So you will also have a really fragrant home on top of a homemade summer treat 🙂

Have a great weekend!

-Kelly

third trimester

We’ve finally made it to 28 weeks! Time hasn’t really been dragging, but I sure have been. They say your second trimester is the best because you have the most energy. This was true with my first pregnancy.

This one? No, not so much. I don’t know why. I just haven’t shaken that first trimester fatigue. I have days when I’m feeling like a go-getter, but I have too many days when I have to force myself to get up and do stuff, especially exercise. Now that the third trimester has come, I know I’ll be dragging even more.

But I decided to do some something about it because I hate feeling this way. I started taking gentle yoga a few weeks ago. It’s only one day a week, but it’s more helpful than not! I enjoy it. And I have a goal to do some leg/butt workouts 2-3 days a week. Why those areas? Well, they’re really all I can do. My arms are taken care of because I hoist my 23 pound Melissa into the air fifty times a day, and obviously I can’t do core workouts, or too much cardio. And who doesn’t want a toned behind anyway?

I also have a goal to do more walking. Walking to the next shopping center instead of driving, walking the neighborhood chasing Melissa, just whatever I can. And in 100+ degree weather every day, it hasn’t been hard to get my sweat on!

If anyone has any tips on how they stay energized throughout the day, I’d love your suggestions!

I also have taken on a few projects around the house which have kept me going, and of course Melissa loves to help. Blog posts on them coming soon! (If I ever finish them! Haha)

Last pregnancy, I had gestational diabetes, and I expected to have it with this pregnancy because the chances are between 40-65% to get gestational diabetes again if you’ve already had it.

A couple weeks ago I dug out my old blood meter kit to test at home. Once a finger pricker, always a finger pricker I guess, even though I was really scared to poke my finger each time because it’s been so long. I’d hold the thing to my finger for a solid minute before releasing the lancet. And it used to be no big deal. Every reading was excellent, but I was testing with expired strips. They can give you false readings.

I went in to do my test last Wednesday feeling pretty confident that I would pass because of my home readings, but telling myself not be let down if I had GD again since it was pretty likely.

The next day my doctor informed me that I got a 101 and I passed. Hooray!!! What a relief to not have to deal with gestational diabetes this time.

Gestational diabetes puts you at higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia, which I also had last pregnancy, so here’s to hoping I won’t develop that either and I can go into labor on my own this time!

Other tidbits on this pregnancy:

I haven’t had any serious cravings yet.

I’ve gained 16 pounds. And it ain’t water weight this time. This was a little troubling to me since most of the weight gets packed on in the last trimester, but my OB says it’s normal for a petite girl to put on a few more pounds.

It’s getting harder to have Melissa crawl all over me because toddler knee jabs to the belly are slightly uncomfortable.

I cry about a lot of weird stuff. Most of it having to do with Melissa — when she hurts herself, when I think about her getting older, when she doesn’t sleep (2 year old sleep regression. It’s real. It exists.) Tears.

I’m starting to pregnancy waddle.

Melissa doesn’t quite understand why there would be a baby in my tummy, but she points to the ultrasound pictures and says “baby”.

The baby can be moving and doing her thing, but once Melissa starts throwing a screaming tantrum, she stops moving. Her big sister scares her 🙂

That’s all I can think of! My latest home project posts hopefully coming soon! 🙂

-Kelly

28weeks

melissa’s birth story

Since I’ll probably share baby girl #2’s birth story, I thought I’d revisit my pregnancy and delivery of Melissa!

Rory and I had been trying to get pregnant for eight months. On February 6th, 2013, I was heading off to the Dollar Store to—yet again—buy a pregnancy test. It wasn’t that I felt pregnant but I did skip my January period.

I have a lazy uterus. It’s not unusual for it to miss a month or two to hibernate, or whatever it is that lazy uteruses (uteri?) do. But we were trying to conceive, so a missed period warranted a pregnancy test.

As I pulled a pink pregnancy test off the rack, the purple ovulation predictor tests caught my eye. A voice inside my head said, “That is what you need.”

So I bought two. I know, I wasn’t an all-star in the business of TTC.

I did the pregnancy test first. And—wait for it—negative. Moving on. Ovulation predictor test.

Positive.

Wow, my first OPK and it’s a positive? With my lazy hibernating uterus? What were the odds? Tell me! What. Were. The Odds?!

I did the whole two week waiting period. I took a pregnancy test exactly 14 days from the assumed conception date. And. . .

Undeniably negative.

It just didn’t make sense. I ovulated. What gives? Then it sank in.

Maybe I needed professional help. That kind of conclusion is not a fun one to draw to.

The doctor recommended a hormone blood test. I had to get stuck four times for that test. Ick. A few days later I found out everything about me was normal. I made an appointment for the following week to “discuss my options” with the doctor.

I decided to test the morning of my appointment just in case I was going to start some medication. The night before my appointment, I had two dreams – both about receiving positive pregnancy tests.

I was feeling pregnant. Well, at least I thought I was. My boobs were unusually sore and I was really fatigued. Is this what pregnant feels like?

I got up early that morning before my alarm went off. The dreams really had me going.

I took out a pregnancy test –the fancy Clear Blue kind—and did my thing.

HOLY !!!! WHAT IS THAT?!

I snatched the test up and ran to my sleeping husband.

Rory didn’t know I was taking a pregnancy test that morning. I nudged his shoulder and when his eyes opened, I immediately held the test in front of him.

“You’re pregnant?” He asked cautiously, thinking I might’ve been joking.

I don’t remember what was said after that, but I remember him holding me in bed. He was beyond thrilled. The thought that mostly consumed my mind was, “Oh man, there’s a baby inside of me, and it’s going to have to come out.” Truthfully I was a little scared. Could I handle this? Not just being a mom, but could I handle delivering a baby?

I still had my appointment that morning. I walked –no, cantered—into the office expecting everyone to just. . .know by looking at me.

I expected the receptionist to say, “Kelly Furrows? Are you sure you still want to see the doctor to discuss getting pregnant? You’re glowing. Are you sure you aren’t already pregnant?”

But yeah, that didn’t happen. I waited for the doctor in the examination room. She came in and I immediately told her I was pregnant.

We had an ultrasound a week later that didn’t show the baby. I spotted for a week, which was so scary and stressful. It was almost impossible to wait three more weeks until my next ultrasound, but the big day finally came.

The screen showed my black and white insides. My eyes immediately went to a peanut-shaped thing with a spot that pulsed rhythmically.

That must be the baby!

Indeed, the little blob with a heart rate of 171 was a walnut-sized person.

So many emotions rushed over me looking at the baby on that screen. I was growing a baby.

As the weeks came and went, my belly grew and the baby’s kicks grew stronger, the time was nearing to find out if my little soccer player was a boy or a girl.

Deep down, I believed I was having a girl. In my dreams, my newborn baby was a dark-haired girl. Yet, it occurred to me that boys run in the family on my husband’s side. So while my motherly intuition was clad in pink, I set myself up for it being a boy.

The tech got her shots between the baby’s legs and passed her finding on to my sister who would bake us a gender reveal cake that day.

Rory had been on my side thinking we were team pink, but when he saw the 3-D ultrasound pictures, he changed his mind and switched to blue.

So we were divided when we cut the cake in front of my and Rory’s immediate families. The frosting was white, and the cake inside was. . .

Pink!

I’ll just say it now: I knew it all along.

We already had her name picked out: Melissa. We weren’t settled on a middle name at the time. We knew it would either be Odette or Marie, after my grandmother.

My second-to-last semester of college ended shortly after the gender reveal. My graduation date was set for December 20th. My due date was set for November 24th. To say I was nervous about how these events would come together is a bit of an understatement.

I hit 29 weeks in early September. It was time for the dreaded gestational diabetes test – the one my doctor said I’d “pass with flying colors.”

They pricked my finger –thank goodness that was all they needed—and sent the sample off to the lab. Dr. M came in a few minutes later.

“Your iron levels are in the normal range, but your blood sugar was at 142 and you need to be under 140 to pass.”

My heart sank.

“But don’t worry. A lot of women fail the one hour and go on to pass the three hour. I’m very confident you’ll pass the three hour.”

I took the three hour the next day. They would need four blood samples: one fasting blood sample, and then three samples every hour after drinking that drink.

The nurse pricked my finger for my fasting blood sample and left. A couple minutes later, she whirled around the same corner.

“Your blood sugar is at 100, so you failed that.”

Ouch. Nice bedside manners there, nurse. “Failed” sounded a little harsh – like I could have done something different to pass.

I choked down the drink through tears (oh my goodness, does pregnancy make you emotional or what?) and waited an hour for the next blood sample.

I passed that one. By a lot.

Next blood sample: passed. Not by as much but still comfortably.

The fourth blood sample was taken. If I passed this one, I was good to go, no gestational diabetes for me. If I failed. . .

They took longer to deliver the news of whether I’d passed or failed. That didn’t seem like a good sign. A new nurse rounded the corner. That didn’t look good either. She looked at me for a solid ten seconds before saying, “Bummer. . .”

I waited. Maybe she was going to follow with a “just kidding” or “we just wasted four hours of your time for nothing.”

She didn’t. “You have gestational diabetes.”

“Bummer, you have gestational diabetes”? Bummer? This sounded like a freaking tragedy! I wasn’t supposed to get this! I’ve always been thin and in good health. My diet wasn’t that bad. Dr. M was confident I would pass. Boo on Dr. M! Dr. M was wrong!

The nurse assured me I did nothing wrong to deserve this medical catastrophe. It “just happens” where you’re thin or overweight, healthy or unhealthy. I found out I’d failed the last blood sample by only a few measly points so it took me awhile to accept that I actually had gestational diabetes.

Call me dramatic, but I was devastated. I felt like a failure (I mean, the first nurse practically told me so). I felt bitter when the diabetes specialist put me on a 1200 calorie diet. I felt sickened when she showed me how to prick my finger. I felt snubbed when we she told me to park at the back of parking lots to “keep my weight down.” I felt strange when I pricked my own finger for the first time.

Curse diabetes.

I had good days and bad days. Honestly my blood sugar results were usually good, I only had a high reading once in a blue moon.

Food became my life though. I had to constantly think about what I was eating, how many carbs were in there, when the last time I ate was, where my protein to balance it out was coming from, how to portion correctly when we ate my in-law’s house and my mother-in-law put every food on the table I loved, how to avoid sweets during Halloween. I couldn’t ever just eat something to satisfy my hunger or a craving. I had to consider everything about it, and usually not eat it all.

Some days my fingers were too swollen to collect any blood, so I’d prick myself in ten different places just to squeeze a drop out. Sometimes one drop still wasn’t enough and I had to do it yet again. It was so frustrating.

However, the worst thing about gestational diabetes was the constant insinuations that my baby would be huge and that I was unhealthy (pffft, I’d like to see any other woman in her third trimester eat 1200 calories a day). I tried really hard to eat the right things to make sure my baby was healthy.

And in the third trimester when you just want to eat everything in sight, it’s not the easiest thing to do. But I was doing it. Small portions, clean eating, natural remedies – the whole enchilada. Gosh I wanted an enchilada.

So when people assumed my baby would be big, what I heard was, “You must have no self-control.” And that really got under my skin. Anytime I heard anyone bring up gestational diabetes, it was usually followed with the words, “bigger baby.”

At 36 weeks, we did a “growth ultrasound” to make sure the baby wasn’t getting “too big.” Sigh. I’m on a friggin’ diet!

While it was exciting to see our baby again –look at how much hair she’ll have! She’s doing the “rock on” sign with her fingers.—I’d heard that when it came to measuring the baby’s height and weight, the measurements were usually way off.

“Your baby is in the 76th percentile, currently 6.5 pounds, and if she’s born at 40 weeks, she’ll probably be close to 9 pounds, if not more.”

I didn’t feel like I was carrying a baby of that size. I didn’t stress on the estimate. What was stressing me out was all of the swelling I was experiencing. I had cankles. Cankles are not cute. I had tree trunk legs. I couldn’t get my boots off without help. I pressed my thumb into my feet and it left indents. Sometimes my rings wouldn’t come off my fingers. My face was puffy.

Mind you, I was still going to school at this time, and feeling unbelievably whale-ish. A lot of people in my classes had never seen me in a pre-pregnancy state.

“No, really, I don’t usually bust at the seams like this. This pregnancy is turning me into a sponge. A pregnant diabetic sponge.”

I was 135 pounds. The-oh-so kind female staff at my clinic would gently remind me that I’d surpassed the suggested weight gain. Oh my gosh can we talk again about how unhealthy I supposedly am?!

But Dr. M said it was water weight. And the water weight was highly uncomfortable. And obvious! At least I thought it was obvious.

At my 37 week appointment, my blood pressure result was out of whack. 129/87. Wow, I’d never seen my numbers that high before. No one seemed too concerned about though.

(By the way, if you’re not sure what “normal” blood pressure is, it’s 120/80 or lower in healthy people. My normal blood pressure is 90-100/60, so it stopped me in my tracks.)

38 week appointment. My blood pressure was 142/92.

“Dr. M, my blood pressure is still really high.”

“I’m not worried about it. Just take it easy for a while.”

The swelling, the rapid weight gain, the blood pressure – it was all pointing to signs of preeclampsia, and yet, I was the only one thinking that at my appointments, but I didn’t say anything since I didn’t know much about it. I guess since I wasn’t spilling protein into my urine, my other symptoms didn’t concern anyone.

On the bright side, my gestational diabetes was –poof—gone. I was getting normal readings for just about everything I was eating. I even had two scoops of ice cream one day, and got a normal reading. Not just normal, but way under the recommended number. At least my diet was one less thing to worry about.

Don’t get the idea that I gave up my diet, but I guarantee you it wasn’t a 1200 calorie diet anymore. The ice cream splurge was a one-time thing after I started getting normal glucose readings. I still followed the basic diet guidelines, but there was more room to “cheat” and add a more to my portions. It was nice. Dr. M was very impressed with my progress there.

All things considered I felt pretty good besides the swelling. I was still walking back and forth to school every day, sometimes in high heels, attending all my classes and sleeping pretty well.

On November 21, I went in for my 39 week check-up. They took my blood pressure. Way too high. –152/93. I was the only one not surprised.

Dr. M checked my cervix. “Two centimeters dilated, 75% effaced.” That wasn’t exactly great progress or anything.

Dr. Meredith said we should induce.

I let that sink in. Ugh. Pitocin. I’d heard horror stories about that stuff.

“When do you think we should induce you?” He asked.

You’re asking me? Shouldn’t you tell me?

“When do you think we should?” I asked. If it were up to me, I’d say tomorrow so I could get prepared, but I didn’t want to sound stupid.

“I think today. Like right now,” he responded with wide eyes. Ah, well, glad I didn’t say anything. “Go home and grab your things and meet me at the hospital as soon as you can.”

So even though I’d been concerned about preeclampsia for three weeks, I now have to rush for an emergency induction? We could have totally been more prepared for this.

I stopped by Rory’s work to pick him up. That felt slightly weird. I felt like I should have been huffing and puffing through contractions doing that. I felt calm. It felt so unorthodox.

We grabbed what we needed from home (neither of us had our things packed because I didn’t feel like Melissa was coming anytime soon) made phone calls (I texted my classmate to ask her to pass along my reason for absence –hey, I’m kind of having a baby today—to the professor), and drove to the hospital. My mom was already driving up from Salt Lake City and a few hours away.

We checked in, they showed us to our room, and left us there an hour to, I don’t know, relax?

Finally it was time to get the IV in. The nurse took her time musing over my itty bitty veins. I didn’t care, I did not want to be poked more than once with that giant needle. She finally settled on an awkward spot on my left wrist, awkward because it was right where it bends. In the needle went, and the Pitocin made its way into my system.

Can I just take a moment to talk about how weird being induced is? You are willingly letting a stranger put a needle in you that will pass a synthetic hormone into your system that gives you the worst pain of your life. Weird!

For the first hour, the placement of the needle was bothering me way more than the contractions. My new nurse, Kristina (who was amazing), placed some gauze under the needle to make it more comfortable. It helped a little.

Another hour passed. The contractions came every couple of minutes. I was doing fine. It was actually kind of fun. This was it – I was in labor! I’d been wondering what this would be like for years, and I was doing it and getting closer to meeting my daughter. I breathed through the contractions, and kept my mind in control of the discomfort.

Dr. M came to break my water to help speed things along. Pop. It was a strange feeling when my water broke. The whole ordeal was rather uncomfortable because he did that, while checking my cervix, while I was going through a contraction, and had the nerve to say, “You didn’t handle that well at all. I’d definitely recommend the epidural for you.”

Oh, come on. I didn’t make a peep through that procedure, although I’m sure I was making one ugly facial expression. Like I was the first woman getting her water broken to do that though. I was peeved. Here I was, actually going through induced labor and handling myself really well, and my doctor insinuated that I was too weak to stick to my birth plan. I did not need any negativity from anyone if I was going to commit to epidural-free. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that was my birth plan. Epidural-free, but open to other pain killers.

He also informed me that I was still 2 cm dilated, slightly more effaced. I didn’t know what that meant. Pitocin for two hours, and hardly any progress. Would I still be in labor tomorrow?

“So are you delivering me?”

“No, I won’t be on-call. Dr. L is taking over in a couple of hours and he’ll deliver you.”

Dr. L was the chief doctor at my women’s clinic, but I’d never met him! They were going to let a stranger deliver me? That just seemed so…so rude.

Another hour passed (around 4 pm), and oh, the contractions were getting harder and closer together. Yes, they were. As my water depleted, my belly felt so weird. There was no more cushion for the baby, so if I wanted to lie on my other side, womp, she moved with every movement of mine. How do women stand having broken water for days?

Every minute the contractions came and lasted a minute. Most of them flew off the charts.

“Okay nurse, what can you give me to dull this pain?”

She told me about this painkiller that would dull a few contractions. A few? That’s the best you’ve got? Man can go to space, smartphones exist, but the best painkiller can only dull a few contractions?

“Are you sure you want it now?”

I said yes. In it went.

“How does that feel?”

“Does it take a while to kick in?”

“…No…”

Here’s what it didn’t do: It didn’t dull anything worth a crap. It made me drowsy in between the contractions, which is very unhelpful whilst in active labor. Whyyyyy do you have this worthless junk hanging around this hospital? I think Tylenol would have worked better than this garbage!

45 minutes passed. The contractions came every minute, lasted a minute or more, and flew off the chart each time. Then I wanted to doze off because of the drugs as soon as one was over. Then another contraction came and jolted me back to reality. It was exhausting and frustrating laboring like that. They hadn’t checked my cervix since the water-breaking incident so I didn’t know if I was making any progress.

“Rory, I know I told you not to let me get the epidural, but if I’m still 2 centimeters and going through this, I can’t. I can’t do it.”

“Ok, let’s ask for it.”

“You’re really going to let me? I told you not to let me get it!”

I don’t know what I was hoping for. I was secretly hoping for some relief, but I was also hoping for Rory to make me tough it out and stick with the plan.

Around this time my mom and sister arrived at the hospital.

He called the nurse in to request the epidural. She wanted to check my progress first.

“Oh my goodness,” she said.

“What?”

“You’re a 6.”

They still called for the anesthesiologist, who was, I don’t know, at home watching football. No, really, he was at home. Small towns are laid back like that.

In the meantime, I curled in a ball and did my best to hang on and breathe through the contractions. They felt like diarrhea pains. The worst you’ve ever felt. Diarrhea pains while an elephant kicks you in the crotch. I knew better than to waste my energy screaming or groaning through contractions, so I had focal points, had Rory apply pressure to various parts of my body and kept breathing while trying to relax my muscles.

Another 45 minutes passed. It was getting bad. During one contraction I felt so much pressure, like the baby was forcefully coming down! I told Kristina I felt like pushing.

The anesthesiologist was entering the building and my new doctor came in.

Dr. L wanted to check my progress before any needle was puncturing my spine.

“Oh, my.”

“What? What?”

“You’re ten centimeters; you’re ready to push.”

“WHAT?!”

So many thoughts ran through my head.

Just like that? I dilated 4 cm in 45 minutes? Well that explains the pain so much better now. I’m glad it was worth something. Wait a minute, this is happening. I’m doing this naturally, this is it! They shoved the anesthesiologist out of the room and sent him back home.

I can’t remember what exactly Dr. L said next but it was something like, “Kristina’s going to help you push. I’m going to go home now. They’ll call me when you’re crowning and I’ll come back and catch the baby.”

(Seriously, I’m not far off from what he’d actually said.)

He was leaving! What if I only took fifteen minutes? Really, doctor, WHERE ARE YOU GOING? DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY!

So, okay, I started the journey of pushing. Another nurse came in to help. They wanted me on my back with one person holding each leg. I didn’t like that. I’d read it was harder for the mother to push that way, but easier for the doctor to do his thing. Not cool, he wasn’t even here.

I pushed, and pushed. I was expecting it to be very excruciating, but it wasn’t that bad. Truthfully it became a relief to push through every contraction; it took my mind off of the pain. Except sometimes it was really hard to concentrate on where to push.

I pushed for an hour, and we weren’t getting very far. I guess they could see her head and all of the hair she had, but she’d stopped coming down. They offered me a mirror to see what they were talking about. No. No, thanks. You’re the professionals and I trust your judgment.

“She must be stuck under your pubic bone. We’re going to call Dr. L and get him back here.”

Oh, how nice to call him in here to do his job.

While we waited, I continued my pushing and shoving efforts. When Dr. L came back, he agreed that the baby was caught under my pubic bone, and he would have to intervene. While I pushed, he inserted a vacuum, or suction cup, to Melissa’s head.

Basically, I pushed, he pulled.

Oh my wooooord, now we’re getting somewhere! Wow!

I felt that ring of fire thing I’d read about when the baby is crowning. Burning. Such intense burning.

I watched Dr. L pull out a pair of scissors, and snip away at me. I felt nothing. That was unexpected.

I looked up at Rory who was crying, so I knew it had to be almost over. I pushed her head out. Her hand was up by her face. Kristina called her a little stinker.

Ahhwwowww! Her shoulders must be huuuuuuuge!

Until her shoulders were next to come out, I’d been pushing very quietly. No screams, no yelling. But I was now faced with pushing those Dwyane Johnson-sized shoulders out, and I let out a beastly groan.

And then. . .

The pain was completely gone. I just went from I’m being ripped apart by the worst pain ever to I’ve never felt so good in my entire life in about five seconds. It was shocking.

At 7:46 pm, they placed my Melissa Odette on me. She wasn’t crying, which should have scared me, but I knew she had to be OK. The nurses rubbed her back with some towels.

She let out a precious little squeal. Dr. L suctioned her mouth and nose and away she went with the crying.

Oh, so much relief. I looked her over. She was facing away from me, but I saw a perfect little baby with so much hair. They flipped her over to face me.

She was beautiful. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. This baby on me was the baby I’d been growing. She was half me, half Rory. She was breathing and crying. She was perfect. It was hard to believe that after living inside of my body for nine months she looked so pretty.

In addition to my overwhelming joy came overwhelming shaking. I didn’t know what was causing it. Shock maybe? I was so anxious for Dr. L to finish stitching me so I could finally put my legs down.

They let me do skin-to-skin with her for about an hour. In the meantime, my mom brought me a milkshake from Jack in the Box – a pregnancy craving that I was forbidden to partake of for the last three months. A nurse kept pestering me to breastfeed.

“If you don’t breastfeed within 30 minutes of her birth, she’ll have latching issues!” She’d said.

But Melissa just too tired to care about breastfeeding, and I was annoyed that I couldn’t have some time bonding with her before learning to breastfeed.

She was 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 20 inches long. I knew she wouldn’t be that big.

The shaking began to subside, and thankfully they brought me a few heated blankets. They bathed Melissa and washed her hair, and when they brought her back to me –oh, my goodness—she was born with a full head of dark hair, but I didn’t realize how long it was. It was an inch long. And it smelled divine.

Everyone took turns holding her. Finally, it was time for me to get out of the bed and take a shower.

When I’m normal, I swing my legs over the side of my bed and jump off (or slide off, depending on the day).

When I’m about two hours post-partum, I inch my legs over because I feel like I’m going to rip open. I needed help from Rory to get my feet on the floor, and it probably took a minute or two to get from the bed to the floor. He slowly walked me over to the bathroom, I shed my gown and took a look at my new body.

Cute. Now I really am jelly-bellied Kelly. I stepped into the shower and as the water ran over me, everything started going black, and I felt wobbly. I ended up sitting for that shower.

While I was doing that, Rory’s mom came by to meet Melissa.

They wheeled us to recovery where I spent all night holding Melissa. I was too pumped to fall asleep, but I caught about an hour of sleep when they took Melissa out to screen her hearing.

The next day was breatfeeding day. I spent a couple hours with the lactation consultant until Melissa and I totally had it down. I was so relieved that it didn’t take too long to master it. I’d prepared myself for a much more difficult time.

I also spent that day dealing with all of what afterbirth has to offer. I got to take a jetted bath while Rory rubbed my shoulders. I also got to wear cool underwear that had an icepack stuffed into a diaper thrown in there and Tucks. Post-partum. It’s sexy.

The next day we got to go home.

So overall labor was only 7.5 hours, and it was much smoother than I could have hoped for. I had a good recovery, no pain, and a beautiful healthy baby. It was a struggle to finish those last few weeks of school with a (jaundiced) newborn, but I got my diploma!

Well, that turned out to be much longer than I’d anticipated. Melissa has made our lives so wonderful and we can’t wait to bring her little sister into the world! And you better believe I will be foregoing that ridiculously stupid “pain killer” I asked for while in labor with Melissa. 🙂

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bursting with blueberries

One thing I love about Charleston is the availability of amazing produce! It has given me the incentive to try new recipes featuring them. Something I’ve never made before is the blueberry pie. Come to think of it, the only other pie I’d ever made was pumpkin. I have a sweet tooth, but pie isn’t something that I usually consider making, although my husband prefers pie over any other dessert.

With the abundance of blueberries here in the South, I picked blueberry pie as my intro into the pie-making world. Every housewife has to make some killer pie, am I right?

I played around with two different recipes (Food.com and Williams-Sonoma) and came up with a mix of the two that I liked.

Recipe:


4 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1-2 tbs butter or margarine
2 rolled-out pie crusts


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I spy Melissa trying to take my bowl away.

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Combine all ingredients except for the beaten egg, butter and crust (of course).

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Add your berry mixture to your pie crust that has already been rolled out onto an ungreased pie pan. Dot your berry mixture with 1-2 tablespoons of butter (or margarine).

Carefully roll your second pie crust over the berry mixture. Perhaps one day I’ll make my own crust, but as long as there’s a toddler running around my kitchen and pre-made pie crusts make my life easier, I’ll be using pre-made pie crusts.

Seal the two crusts together. I thought mine were perfectly sealed, but it turns out I missed a spot, and I figured this out when I checked on my pie on the oven and saw blueberries spilling out and landing on the oven floor, creating a smokey problem.

Let the pie chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

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Brush the crust with the beaten egg. Create some slits for venting. You can do this anyway you want, or get all fancy and do the basket weave!

This is optional, but you can sprinkle some sugar on your crust before baking.

Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Mine was ready right at the 50 minute mark.

photo 5See how the crust over on the upper right wasn’t sealed properly? Oops.

I let my pie chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving. The only pie I like warmed up is apple. I prefer any other pie chilled.

photo(7)I am so happy with how the pie turned out. It was super easy for how yummy it came out. Plus, it was pretty cheap. I had all the ingredients at home already except for the blueberries (surprising, because lately I’ve been keeping my fridge stocked with them. Melissa is a blueberry monster.) and the pie crusts. Even then, I still had one in my freezer, but I needed two.

I’m excited to try a pie using another one of the amazing fruits available in the summertime. I’m thinking peach or strawberry rhubarb!

Happy summer!

-Kelly

so how’s it going?

I haven’t talked about how dental school has been going for our family because I figured there wouldn’t be much to talk about until the first exam was completed.

Well, first exam completed and. . .first exam aced. Way to go, Rory!

But the dental school decided to award everyone with an A, even those who didn’t earn the A.

Here’s what happened:

A test is divided into two parts. For the first part they enter the cadaver lab where the dead body is fileted open, and a professor asks the students to identify various body parts, and they must spell every one of these correctly. And some of these body parts do have tricky names like the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Spell the body part wrong, get the question wrong.

Sidenote: I do believe this is why doctors are notorious for having bad handwriting. I think it’s a habit that starts in medical school. Write the answer illegibly, possibly get the answer right. Boom. Rory says no though.

Another sidenote: those cadavers? Your husband will be spending more time with this dead body than you. That is completely not made up. And you might be thinking, cadavers for dental students? Why?
Don’t know, glad it’s not me though.

Anyways. The second part is the written test, or multiple choice. This test is done on a computer of some sort. The students take this 60 question test in small groups. They can’t collaborate on the answers, they’re just in the room together. Something went goofy when Rory’s group was taking the test. Some glitch in the test that caused the students’ answers to erase, which the professor took full responsibility for and decided to just give them full credit for the test since it didn’t seem fair for them to take the test again and possibly do better or worse than the first go around.

The news that some students were awarded perfect scores on a portion of the test got out to others, and the dean decided to give the entire class perfect scores to avoid conflict.

This was obviously good news for every student, but bad news for Rory on a competitive level, because dental school is run off a ranking system, and Rory needed this test to get him started out at the top of his class so he can get accepted to the orthodontist program. So now everyone starts out on the same playing field. Minor setback, but I’m sure Rory will get an actual A next time 🙂

Rory is doing awesome though. He’s enjoying the things he’s learning, he’s getting used to being around his cadaver (which is an important skill to take away from dental school, right?), and he’s feeling really confident that he will be a top student. I’m so proud of him.

So that’s how the dental student is doing. How is the dental student’s wife doing?

In my first post, I acknowledged that I probably wouldn’t be seeing much of my husband. I just wasn’t expecting that to happen right away. Last week, Melissa went three days without seeing her daddy. He saw her because he came in to give her goodnight kisses.

Rory is out the door every morning at 7:30. He usually doesn’t come home until after 8 pm. Then he usually comes home to heat up the dinner I’d made earlier and study some more. Honestly I don’t know how he stays so energetic and happy all the time. Well, I do know. Mountain Dew. And he’s a naturally happy and positive person.

So it’s just me and my girl every day. I know I’ve done this arrangement before and it shouldn’t be that hard for me. I did it when Rory was taking classes at BYU-Idaho and then going to work until 9:30 pm every day. I did it when he studied for the DAT every day and night. It’s pretty much been this arrangement since Melissa was born, so I should be pretty much used to it, but it’s a little scarier to go through this time.

It’s scarier because Melissa is getting older, and harder to handle. She’s starting to go through that toddler-clinginess stage where she stands at my feet screaming and crying while I try to do the dishes, clean and cook. It’s impossible to get stuff done sometimes because she simply gets too upset to let me.

Then it’s scarier because soon I’ll be living this arrangement with two babies. And if this baby is anything like her older sister, boy do I have my work cut out for me.

It’s scarier because I don’t know how long it’ll last. I mean, I know it will be all over when he graduates, but what about while he’s in school? Is the first year of school the hardest? First two? Last two? All four? I have no idea. Where does it end, and when I can I have my family awake under the same roof at the same time?

There have been quite a few times since school has started when I slump down and start crying because the stress and the fear hit me all at once. Pregnancy hormones too.

So for now, wow, being a dental student’s wife is hard and we just started. But I know it will be worth it! According to Forbes, Orthodontist is the 5th best paying job in the country. Not to mention Rory will be his boss and set his own hours. I hope to never take it for granted!

I’m going to set some goals. I want to enroll in a prenatal yoga class. I feel so out of shape and sluggish! I need to get some exercise. I’m also hoping to meet some other mommies so I can get some social interaction for me and Melissa. Exercise and making friends! I think that will help a ton.

I also want to find some more activities that Melissa can do where she can learn, have fun, and interact with kids her age.

I also have my summer projects that need doing!

I’m grateful we live in Charleston. This was harder in Rexburg because for one thing it was freezing all the time, and it was such a small town with not much to do for toddlers. Charleston is a great place to raise a family.

This ended up turning into a bit of a pity party. Sorry! But part of the reason I started this blog was to document how it is being a dental student’s wife, hence the name. I promise I’ll add more recipes and projects because those are much more fun 🙂

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