Use it or Lose it! Fabric Stash Edition


It’s been a while! Sorry!

So I recently went on a quilting retreat in Central Texas just outside San Antonio. I had so much fun! Read about my trip in a post I’ll be writing later this week. While there, one of the other retreaters, Anna (Mod Quilt Mom), and I started discussing a challenge we could do together. We have so much lovely fabric that’s sitting and doing nothing! We decided we needed a monthly challenge to create beautiful things from our fabric collection.

Here’s how it works. 

  • Each month will have a theme. You pick a quilt top with that theme and use fabrics from your stash to create that top. It’s okay to purchase SOME fabric for sashing or as small fillers, but the quilt really should be at least 90% from your stash. 
  • You only have to create the top. This is not a challenge to make an entire quilt in 30 days. However, if you’re able to baste, quilt, and bind it as well…more power to you!!
  • We’ll announce the next month’s theme along with our pattern and fabric selection a few days before the beginning of the next month.
  • Please tag us in your posts and use the hashtag #useitorloseitstash on Instagram!
  • Our Instagram names are @quiltyJL and @modquiltmom_anna. Follow us to see our progress!

For the Month of August, I’m using the Simply Style Stacked Squares quilt pattern from the Moda Bake Shop.

Here’s the fabrics I’ll be using. They’re Hawaiian themed and I’ve been wanting to do something with them forever! I may have to pull in a couple additional prints because I’m not certain this is quite enough fabric. We’ll see! I’ll post an update towards the middle of the month and, of course, my progress will be posted to Instagram as I move along!

IMG_5130

I can’t wait to see what you create! Link to any posts in the comments!

Margot’s Baby Quilt

IMG_0270

IMG_0269

Fabric: Riley Blake Basic Variety Gray and Pink Dots (for quilt top and binding), the backing is called Color Me Happy that I got at one of my local quilt shops (Minding My Ps and Qs).

Pattern: Petal Party from Craftsy

Batting: Warm & Natural 100% Cotton (Yep, went from full poly to full cotton…one extreme to the next! :) )

Machine: Brother CS6000i

This is the second quilt I finished. I finished it back in December. I made this beauty for my friends Sarah and Nic for their baby girl, Margot who is due this year. I loved this quilt from the first time I saw it. As the last one, I was itching for a reason to buy and make this quilt. Luckily I got my reason! :) This one was much easier than the last one and I really should have started this one to improve some of my skills first! Either way, it turned out great. Piecing was pretty easy and I made the blocks relatively quickly. I had a little bit harder time piecing the rows together and making them line up properly. That took a while. The other challenging thing was the blue cord on the pink. I had to sew that on a couple of different times because it didn’t quite turn out right the first time I did it.

Here’s right before I stitched the rows together. Mock up of what it was going to look like. You’ll notice in the finished top that I accidentally rotated a few blocks ways I didn’t originally intend but it still turned out pretty.

IMG_9778

After rows were put together and I was testing out backing fabric to see if I liked it.

IMG_0172 IMG_9781

I basted the quilt…which took a lot longer than my last one…I decided to use a 100% cotton batting on this one since it was still soft, but not so lofty. I knew this one was going to be harder to quilt especially if I had used a loftier batting. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as fluffy in the end as I had hoped, but it will be plenty warm!

IMG_0170

Quilting took a while as this was quite a large quilt for my machine. The middle of it took a long time, but it taught me many ways to get a large quilt quilted on my little machine. I ended up doing mostly just stitch in the ditch quilting on this. I wasn’t really experienced enough to do much more! On a few blocks I tried to add some design to it and it looked alright. You can tell it was my first time doing it, but it still turned out great!

Here’s after I quilted it and did the binding…still not quite finished!

IMG_0221

The last thing was to add her name (I decided I would try to embroider it onto the quilt) and to add the flowers. The flowers were so hard to make. The pattern was kind of vague on how to create the flowers and it mentioned nothing about how to attach them to the quilt. So that was pretty hard to do but I eventually figured it out. For the embroidery, I just used a zigzag stitch with the feed dogs lowered so I could determine how close they were…which created an embroidery stitch. It looks rough, but it worked. Next time I’ll send it off to my aunt for a professional job! :)

And here’s the finished product…

IMG_0270 IMG_0267IMG_0268

Here’s a closeup of the flowers, embroidery, and the different quilting I used on certain blocks.

IMG_0271 IMG_0272  IMG_0275 IMG_0274 IMG_0273

Closeup of the backing fabric:

Color me happy

I loved making this quilt…heck…I love making all my quilts. But I feel extra proud of this one. It was quite a large project to take on for my second quilt and I think I did okay on it. I also love the size of it. It will continue to be of use well beyond baby years. Plus it’s not TOO girly and not TOO baby…so it will grow well. The only thing I would change is I would re-do the buttons with a fabric button or no button at all. These are really big so I’m not too worried about it, but in hindsight, I just don’t like the idea of buttons on a baby quilt.

My First Quilt: Ruffle On


Fabric: Riley Blake Basic Variety Aqua (for quilt top and binding), the backing was blue/white dots called Animal Farm (weird.) that I got at one of my local quilt shops (Minding My Ps and Qs).

Pattern Ruffle On! from Craftsy

Batting: Mountain Mist 100% Polyester, High Loft (VERY fluffy!)

Machine: Brother CS6000i

I decided to first blog about this because it was the first quilt I finished. I learned a LOT on this one…although it was a bit out of the ordinary for a quilt. I saw this a few months ago on Craftsy and immediately wanted to make it. However, I didn’t really have a reason to make it. Then I found out one of our friend’s was pregnant and had the perfect reason! Our friends Edwin and Celia Hoffman are due to have their little baby boy, Hemi, early this year! I didn’t tell them I was making it because I like surprises and, honestly, I didn’t know how all this was going to turn out. I kind of thought I may not be able to complete it!

I ordered the aqua kit and started the quilt almost as soon as I got the kit. I started out as I always do by cutting up all the fabric into the required pieces. Then I started making the ruffles. The pattern called for making the ruffles a certain way, but after reading what some other Craftsy quilters did, I used a different method which worked out much better for me. I can’t even describe how the pattern said to do the ruffles, but another quilter suggested that I do a long, loose stitch and then pull the bobbin thread to ruffle. So…I did just that! I took a while, but worked out great!

IMG_9872

Next, I began constructing the quilt top. Each of the ruffles should measure 10″ and the rows should match up. That was quite challenging to manage but I actually got most of them lined up pretty well. There were a couple of mistakes, but it was okay in the end.

IMG_9878

I had to put my quilt together and baste it next. I chose the high loft polyester batting because of my experience with the quilts I was given for Vivi. One had a very traditional quilt batting and the other had a bit of puff to it. I thought the more traditional one was prettier, but when she was small, I preferred the puffier one because there was more padding when she toppled over as she was learning to sit up on her own. So, I chose a fluffy batting for that reason. I wanted baby to have something soft and fluffy to lay and sit on while playing.

Here it is after basting and trimming:

IMG_9934   IMG_0116

Then the quilting began! I started by stitching straight down the middle two rows to stabilize the middle and then I worked out from there stitching long rows along the white sashing. Here’s some pics of me proving I could quilt this monster on my bitty machine :) (side note: A few days earlier a guy at a sewing machine shop told me my machine was not made to quilt and it would likely not work for any type of quilting. Even though there is an entire section on quilting in the manual! Well, here’s proof! It works beautifully.)

IMG_9958 IMG_9957

I sewed all my rows without flipping it over to see how the back was looking. That turned out to be a mistake. On the finished product (below) you’ll see where the back got a couple puckers and uneven spots when I quilted the first few rows. Again, this is my first attempt at any type of quilting so it was inevitable that I make a mistake or two. After I quilted the rows long ways, I rotated the quilt and quilted the breaks between the patterns. Working with a quilt with such thick batting was really hard. It was next to impossible to keep my rows straight, but I did the best I could.

Here’s a pic of the back before I did the binding where you can see the puckers. Dang it! I also noticed after I took this picture that I missed a row at the top left. I did go back and fix that.

If I make this quilt again, I probably won’t use this batting. Even though I like the cuddliness of it, I think it would have turned out better using a different batting.

IMG_0117

After I finished that, I gave it one last trimming around the edges and then sewed the binding on. The binding was extremely challenging with the fluffy batting as well.

Then my quilt was done! And it was cuddly just like I had hoped!

IMG_0159 IMG_0158  IMG_0165

Here’s a close up of the backing fabric.

large_6957_trq

Here’s the happy poppa when they got the quilt in the mail!

IMG_0293

I thoroughly enjoyed making this quilt. I learned so much and I was happy to gift it to a couple that we dearly love and care about.

We can’t wait to meet the new little baby boy!! I love new little baby squish!

I’m a Quilter!


Hey! Long time, no see! My baby has taken up the majority of my time these last two (!!!) years so there has been little to no time to blog! But recently I’ve picked up a new hobby…Quilting! I’ve actually found that I love it and I’m pretty decent at it too! I’ve never -really- had a real hobby before, so this is new territory we are covering here.

I purchased my first quilt kit from Craftsy in December 2013. I really only purchased it because I liked the fabric. I’m not sure that I intended on actually making it…but I had hoped to find someone to make it for me! Anyway…it sat around for a couple months until August when I decided to break it out and give it a try. I took Craftsy’s Quilting Quickly class by Jenny Doan. That class was awesome! It seriously taught me almost everything I know about quilting. So, I started the quilt after I had watched enough of the class to at least get started. The rest of the details I will go into when I post about the actual quilt but needless to say, it lit a fire in me! I absolutely love quilting!

So far, I have finished 5 quilts and have another two in the works. I’ve also joined Blossom Heart Quilt‘s Quilting Bee where you make one block a month and send it to someone who will turn all of the blocks into one quilt. Each quilter gets a month to receive blocks in order to make a quilt with. I think it sounds like a lot of fun!

I’ve also planned to do a Hedgehog quilt-a-long with GnomeAngel starting in February. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun! My friend, Barbara (who partly inspired me to get into quilting), is also doing it. It will be fun to do it with a friend!

Well, so long!

i’ll be sharing my quilt stories soon! I have 5 to catch up on!

Dear Vivienne: You are 32 weeks old!


My sweet Vivienne! You are 7 1/2 months old! As usual, you are growing by leaps and bounds every day. I keep a list on my iPad with all the new things you do each week. I have to just to keep up! This week I started your baby book and really got going on decorating your room. My goal: to have your room done by the time you’re 8 months! haha!

You keep us laughing every day. You babble and coo, yell and scream, and make face after face that leaves us giggling every time. Your personality is certainly starting to show through. You are an independent little baby. Once you have something figured out, you would prefer not to be helped any more!

Sleep has been a challenge lately. You have started waking up in the middle of the night again and you’re wide awake! You also only seem to do this when your daddy is out of town and momma is here to fend for herself. I love you more than anything, but at 3 a.m. and wide awake, you can be quite frustrating! I still wouldn’t trade any second of it for the world, though. These moments are fleeting. I plan to savor each and every one. I still rock you to sleep every night and it is my absolute favorite. I look forward to it every night.

You are movin’ and groovin’ all over the place! You pull up on everything and you’ve even learned that you can hang on and walk along tables and other things to get where you want. You don’t care to be IN your walker, but you’ll pull up on it and then push it where you want to go. You also still do not crawl on your knees. You still have a modified bear crawl on your toes! You have now figured out that you can crawl behind me to follow me. This is good and bad! haha

Since the last time I wrote, you have learned SO much! Here are some highlights from this week:

  • Saying “bubba” or “baabaa” — You just sit and say “baa baa baa baa baa baa” followed by a loud scream and a smile, as demonstrated in these videos. It’s completely adorable! http://instagram.com/p/fGo9vUzLyh/ and http://instagram.com/p/fMgdUfzLx7/
  • You LOVE feeding yourself — This is one of those things that, once you figured it out, I have not been able to help you with it! We started Baby-Led Weaning last week and that has been one of the best decisions I’ve made! Pureés are for the birds! Your favorite thing to eat is tomatoes but you love green beans, purple sweet potato, raspberries, banana, oranges, lemons, and  host of other things you can grab and shove in your mouth!
  • Starting to sleep better — We started using the cry-it-out method for when you wake at night. I was going in and rocking you back to sleep each time, but momma’s got to sleep! So, for 2 nights we let you figure it out on your own and only going in to check on you every few minutes. By day 3, you slept until 6 a.m. Hopefully the pattern continues! It breaks my heart to hear you cry, but I know, in the long run, it will be best for you!
  • Reading — You love to read a couple of books before you go to bed. We always save “Baby Faces” for last because you get so excited every time we read it!  You coo and laugh when you see the babies’ faces! http://instagram.com/p/fO7HYTzL_3/
  • TEETH! — You’re getting a few more teeth! Your bottom left tooth has finally broken through and your two incisors have broken through! So, you’ve got two bottom teeth and two top teeth, but no two front teeth! You’re my little vampire baby. :)

That pretty much sums up this last week, but you’ve done so much in the last few weeks, I can’t not acknowledge it! So, here’s a quick, quick summary of how you’ve grown in the last few weeks…

Week 31 you…

  • Started learning the “b” sound this week and experimented with “baba” and “bebe.”
  • Still only have one bottom right tooth. No sign of the left one or your two top front teeth!
  • Had your first bad allergy attack. You had fever, sneezing, and a runny nose. Momma felt so bad for you because I know exactly how that feels. :(
  • Started clapping and tried to wave a couple of times
  • Had your first ride on the DART rail and your first visit to the Texas State Fair!! You also got to meet the brand new Big Tex AND you were interviewed on TV!
  • Ate green beans, pulled pork, oranges and tomatoes for the first time.
  • Started Baby-Led Weaning this week. Loving the tomatoes and anything citrus!

Week 30 you…

  • Slept 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. two nights in a row! ….but that was it. Then back to 1, 2, and/or 3 a.m. wakings
  • Got your first tooth! Bottom right!
  • Had your 7 month birthday
  • Had your first nights away from momma. You spent two nights at your Poppa and Grammy’s house while momma and daddy went to a wedding in Austin. I was so sad to leave you and I almost cried! I missed you to pieces and couldn’t wait to get home to you!

Week 29 you…

  • Said “Mama” for 2 days!!

Week 28 you…

  • Learned the “angry cry.” And boy is it mean!
  • Have been pulling up a lot!  You’re a mobile little toot!
  • Had your first road trip. We went to College Station, Austin, Houston, and Galveston!
  • Got to visit the beach for the first time and swim in the ocean!! You were not a fan of the sand. at. all.
  • Wore disposables for the first time since you were a newborn. I hated it! I couldn’t WAIT to get you back in cloth!!!!
  • Eating more puréed solids. Butternut squash and sweet potato are favorites.
  • Celebrated your daddy’s birthday! Happy 34 daddy!

Week 27 you…

  • Started really figuring out how to put the paci back in your mouth without my help. It was a bittersweet moment. We were in the car and you started crying because your paci had fallen out of your mouth. I started to reach back to pop it back in and before I could blink, you already did it on your own! It’s just the beginning of you not needing momma anymore!! *tears*
  • Started really crawling (well, bear crawling) around. Time to baby-proof!
  • Are sitting up on your own REALLY well!
  • Are starting to try to pull up. Where did my baby go?!?
  • Tried more purées. Carrots, Kale and Mango
  • Put yourself to sleep several times.
  • Are actually crawling TOWARDS things.

Week 26 you…

  • Had your 6 month visit! You are 17 lbs and 27 inches long
  • Are confirmed to have crappy allergies just like your momma. :( Sorry baby girl!
  • Started puréed solids! Sweet potato and Carrots
  • Sat up all on your very own!! You go little girl!
  • Had your second ever shot. And I felt horrible!! Sorry baby girl.
  • Slept 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. one night. I was hoping it would last. It did not.

Week 25 you…

  • Are propping up on your hands and toes. It looks like a bear crawl position, but you’re not going anywhere!
  • Are almost sitting! You try but don’t quite make it there!

Birth Story Part 3


This is my birth story continued. See part 1 here and part 2 here. The same goes with this one as parts 1 and 2. I’ve only read through it once so I likely missed some editing errors. Please let me know and I’ll fix them!

The version you are reading here is the condensed, man-safe, squeamish-free version. The unabridged version is here, and the password is my name, all lower case. (If you have trouble accessing it, just let me know)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Inanna Birth & Women’s Care. (continued)

She came completely out in one fell swoop!

That was it!

She was out!

I was DONE!

She surprised everyone because since she was so big, they thought that her shoulders would be the hardest part of labor for me. They had two midwives there for that very reason! The midwives had planned on suctioning her nose and mouth with a machine when her head came out, but before her body came out. She had had a bowel movement in utero and they didn’t want her to breathe in the meconium so this suction would have ensured it was out of all of her orifices.  Well, she came out so quickly that they didn’t have a chance to use the machine. She went from tops of ears to completely out rather than stopping at the shoulders like they thought she would (or like most babies do). Immediately after she came out, both of them quickly suctioned her mouth and nose manually and luckily she did not have a chance to breathe in any meconium.

I wanted to hold my baby. At the time, I didn’t really know what they were doing and what was taking so long. I thought the second she came out, she would be on my belly! It felt like an eternity, even though I know it was only a few seconds. The short delay was necessary to ensure she didn’t breathe in the meconium. They put her on my tummy right after they cleared her airways and then put some warm towels over her and me.

Getting to hold her….

She laid on my chest and looked around and took everything in. She was so alert and interested in everything.  She was even trying to turn her head around! I’ve never seen anything like it! I still didn’t really know what she looked like. I really couldn’t get a good look at her face from the angle she was at but I didn’t want to move her. I wanted to hold her tight to my chest and never let her go. I was crying and at the same time shaking uncontrollably. I thought I might be cold but it turns out it was a side effect of something they had given me during labor that makes you shaky for a few minutes. The shakes subsided after about 20 or 30 minutes after she was born.

First picture of baby girl! She had a mushy face, but no cone head!

IMG_0003_2

Aftermath…

I talked to someone on the phone (my dad?) while she was laying there but I can’t exactly remember who. Around that time my mom came in as well. I’m glad that the hormones or whatever is running through your body make you just don’t care because if I were in my right mind, I probably wouldn’t have wanted her to come in until they cleaned everything up and got me a little more presentable. Somewhere in all that, maybe 5 minutes after she was born, it was time for the cord to be cut. I remember thinking how quickly it was happening. I thought it would take much longer for all the blood to transfer from the placenta to her. I even asked Betty because I was concerned. I absolutely didn’t want the cord cut until it had been drained and the cord stopped pulsing. But the midwife said she had confirmed it had stopped pulsing! So, Leighton cut her cord! I don’t really remember it happening, I just know he did it.

Anyway, about 5 minutes later, we gave her to her daddy, skin to skin, so that I could finish the birthing process. Yes, there’s more, but I won’t go into details here. :) Daddy took off his shirt and he took his baby girl into his arms for the first time. Now, this was very soon after her cord was cut and it ended up draining down his belly. We actually have a great picture of him making this awful face and my mom in the background with an expression of pure joy. Absolutely hilarious!

Next, they started doing, what I consider, the painful part (aside from birth). They checked my uterus to make sure it was shrinking and the bleeding was slowing by pressing and grabbing hard at my belly. After that, my mom handed me my baby girl so I could hold her some more.  Leighton had handed her to my mom so she could hold her while they were doing all the stuff to me. They continued check my uterus every few minutes for the next few hours and it was incredibly uncomfortable every time! Definitely my least favorite part about the whole thing.

Next, Betty started checking me out down there. I’m not really sure what all she and Jean did. I was talking to my mom, Leighton, calling dad, grandma and others…sending texts. Finally Betty let me know that I did tear, but it wasn’t serious. I can’t even remember what degree she assigned it…first or second. Probably second degree but no stitches!

After the initial checks, I don’t remember pain so much at this point but I remember numbness and being very uncomfortable. I had to get up and try to pee several times. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I went to the restroom. About this time, we decided to put a diaper on her just in case she decided to go potty. This is where we discovered just how big she was! All we had brought with us were newborn diapers! Well, those just barely fit her little hiney! Luckily we were next door to a Walgreens and my mom offered to go pick up a pack of size 1 diapers for us. For now, Betty somehow got the newborn diaper to fit her. Ha!

Food!

They told me that I needed to eat something now. Really, all I wanted to do was hold and look at my new baby…but, I knew better and that my body had just been through hell so it might be in my best interest to eat! I had brought a Marie Calendar’s Chicken Pot Pie. I just remember being so uninterested. I ate a couple bites here and there, but I really didn’t eat much at all. I may have eaten a third or even a quarter of it at the most. I’m not sure I ate anything until the next day…and I can’t even think of what that was!

Breastfeeding

After we got her in a diaper, I got to try my hand at breastfeeding for the first time. I get teary eyed just thinking about it now. I remember thinking right before how I wish I’d read the breastfeeding books that I had. I had gotten just a few chapters into the Dr. Sears one. Well, lucky for me, this girl came out a pro. They gave her to me and this was the first time I really got a good look at her face. I remember how red she was, how very round her face was, and how squished up it was!  I was instantly in love. When I put her to my chest she opened wide and latched right on. I didn’t think she was latched correctly, though. Everything that I had read to that point said that it should not hurt. If it hurts, the latch is incorrect. Well, the birth assistant and my doula, Brittany, both checked her latch and said it was perfect! So, let me tell you, breastfeeding hurts at first. Not doubled-over-in-pain hurt. Just a dull pain. She nursed on my left side first. She nursed for, what I felt like, was a really long time at first! I didn’t think she would nurse long since her tummy is so small at this point. They let me know that, while she seemed to be nursing for a long time, not much was coming out. They said tiny drops at the most right now.  A little while later I nursed her again on the right side. I remember asking if I could hold her in the football position (like I had to ask permission or something! haha!) because I didn’t really know how to hold a baby in my right arm!  Well, she nursed great the second time as well.

IMG_0004_2

First outfit!

Once she had fed twice, once on each side, we decided to get her an outfit on. I would hopefully be leaving soon so we wanted to get her ready. When you birth at a birth center, you usually go home within 2 to 4 hours of giving birth. We were probably right at the 2 hour mark at this point. Anyway, I’m pretty savvy with babies because I’ve been around babies all my life. Leighton, on the other hand, had probably barely even held a baby at that point! So, Betty, or maybe it was the birth assistant, showed him how to change her diaper and how to get her dressed. It was absolutely precious! Nothing like seeing a daddy with his brand new baby girl. We had brought a newborn outfit and a 0-3 month outfit. Since she didn’t fit into newborn diapers, we put her in the 0-3 month outfit. Come to find out later, she would have fit in the newborn. It was so cute! Wish we had at least tried it! :)

IMG_0007_2

Waiting to be released

So at this point, we are just waiting to be released. My uterus had not shrunk back down enough to make way for my bladder (or, that’s what I remember them saying) so, until it had shrunk enough for that, it just wasn’t safe to send me home. While we waited, we filled out paperwork and also had to try and decide what her name would be. She still didn’t have a name! If you want to see the story of how she got her name, you can read it here. We named this beauty Vivienne Emma-Leigh. We decided we would call her Vivi for short. Shortly after we decided on her name, I was able to finally be released to go home.

Discharge

Before we left, the birth assistant went through all the medical stuff with us. What’s normal, what’s not, when to call, etc. Leighton packed everything up and started loading the car. I had put on my super soft, comfy black nightgown and my robe to go over it. I was wearing my new awesome shoes I had gotten at Journeys. They were so comfy! She taught us how to buckle her in her carseat, took a family photo, then sent us on our way!

Going Home

I remember stepping outside of the birthing center and immediately regretting not bringing a jacket! See, it was late February, but this is Texas! I don’t remember the exact temperature when I left for the birthing center, but I remember that I didn’t even need a light jacket. When I went outside after she was born, it was around midnight and it was FREEZING! I was so cold! I had to wait while Leighton got Vivienne buckled in. It was probably only 10 or 15 seconds, but it was enough to have me hopping around. After he got her in, I eased myself into the back seat next to my little angel. That’s a scary thing after giving birth. You know….sitting. I told Leighton to be very careful because bumps would hurt! He joked and said he was going to go 20 mph all the way home! I’m sure he was a nervous daddy driving his 4 1/2 hour-old baby home. He turned on 101.1 so it would be a soothing sound for her. In fact, the radio stayed on 101.1 for weeks afterwards. She was awake much, or maybe even all, of the ride home. Looking and taking it all in.

Home

When we got home we were greeted by my mom, my dad, and my sister, Cassie. My daddy had a nightcap on. What a goof! He was also still wearing a boot from where he had broken his ankle a few days before. I went to the restroom as soon as we got home while Leighton unbuckled our little girl and showed her off to them and also revealed her name. She let everyone hold her and then after a few minutes, started acting like she wanted to eat so I went in the dining room to feed her. The dining room was right behind our living room and for whatever reason, our glider was in there…so that’s where I went! After I fed her, my mom told us to get into bed and get some sleep. I remember thinking that, even though it’s almost 2 a.m., I am wide awake! My adrenaline was still pumping! I decided to take her advice, though. They all left and we went to bed.

Sleep

We had a cradle in our room right next to the bed. I put her in it and the minute I laid her down, she started to whine and fuss a little bit. I remember looking up at Leighton helpless. Like, “What do I do??” Neither of us knew what to do to get her to sleep without her crying. I looked at him and told him that I was just going to put her in bed with us. She didn’t cry when I held her and I didn’t have the energy to try to figure out ways to get her to sleep. In hindsight I’m SO glad I did that.  I cringe at the thought of my 7 hour old baby sleeping alone! Going from comfy, cozy, momma’s womb to a giant (relatively) cradle all alone! We all fell asleep pretty quickly. When we woke up, it was daylight. Leighton and I woke about the same time. The first thing I noticed was that neither of us had moved an inch the entire night! She was still cradled right between us in the bed. The second thing I noticed was that she was wide awake. She wasn’t fussing or crying. She was just looking. Studying. Taking it all in. I immediately thought about how blessed we were already. I asked Leighton what time it was and we learned that it was after 10 a.m.! What the…?? She slept over 7 hours?! I thought babies only slept 2 hours at a time!?!? Well, come to find out, many babies have a very long sleep the first night after being born. Birth was just as rough on them as it is momma! They’re pooped too! I will always be thankful my girl gave us nearly 8 hours sleep on our first night home. It made getting through the next few days much easier.

IMG_0005_2

Conclusion

I could keep writing and writing about her first day, her first few days, her first few weeks…but I suppose I need to stop somewhere and I guess this is where I should stop! In conclusion, I will say this…

Home? So fast??

Some people question why or how I went home so quickly. That they can’t imagine being made to get up and leave so quickly! I, however, cannot imagine it the other way around. I was ready to go home 2 hours after she was born. I wanted out of there! I was ready to be in my own home, in my own bed. Also, I know if I had been in a hospital, I wouldn’t have gotten a full night’s rest the first night. I think its a huge misconception that, by staying in the hospital, you get more sleep. I just don’t know how you could with people coming in and poking, prodding, and bugging you every hour or two!

Birth Center

I loved my experience at the birth center and I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t change anything about it. It was perfect and it was beautiful. I feel great about the way in which my daughter was born into this world. No drugs, no intervention, nothing. Now, I don’t judge if you do use or do any of those things, I just don’t think they’re what is best for the baby in 90% (maybe more) of the cases. Your body knows what to do. It’s time we start trusting our bodies!

Pain

Ohhh the pain. The questions about the pain. I get so many. The pain hurt. Yes, it hurt. A watermelon came out of a tiny hole in my body. It’s gonna hurt. However, this pain is much different than any other. It is pain with a purpose. It is pain with a light at the end of the tunnel. It is manageable pain. To be successful at it, you have to go in with the mindset that intervention is not an option. (within reason. I’m not a crazy anti-any-intervention-ever person) If you say in the back of your head that “if it gets bad enough” you’ll get an epidural, you’ll get an epidural. I think coaching and support has a lot to do with it as well. My doula and my husband (and maybe a small fear of needles) were HUGE parts in keeping my eyes on the goal. My entire birth team was supportive of the decision I was making and they all knew my exact wishes and supported them 100%. I had a great birth prep class and I had also read quite a bit about it. I think this all contributed to the success of an intervention-free, drug-free birth. I think the alertness of my daughter showed the success of a drug-free birth as well. That’s all I’ll say about that before I get on my soapbox!! ;)

Well, there you have it ladies & gents. Part 3! She’s home, she’s healthy, she’s amazing. Six months and going strong!

IMG_0009_2

Birth Story Part 2


This is my birth story continued. See part 1 here. The same goes with this one as part 1. I’ve only read through it once so I likely missed some editing errors. Please let me know and I’ll fix them!

The version you are reading here is the condensed, man-safe, squeamish-safe version. The unabridged version is here, and the password is my husband’s name, all lower case. (If you have trouble accessing it, just let me know)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Inanna Birth & Women’s Care.

3:45 p.m.

We finally arrived at Inanna. On the way in we had to stop once or twice for a contraction to pass. At this point, I was VERY vocal during my contractions. I consider myself to have a relatively high tolerance for pain. I know, especially now, that nothing compares to child birth. However, I figured I would be more of a grunter and teeth clencher than a screamer. Not. So. We finally got inside and went directly back to the main birthing room to be checked. As I walked in I remember seeing a girl leaving her appointment and another just coming in for hers. I heard the office manager say something to the effect of, “THERE she is. I thought that was what heard outside!” haha

When I got to the birthing room, Betty checked me and said I was almost dilated to an 8! I’m not sure if I said it, but my first thought was, “THANK GOD!!!!” Up to that point, I had thought I was still in the first or second stage of labor. This meant BIG things! Hard, fast, close contractions, plus being dilated to an 8 meant TRANSITION!!! (stage 3) I remember feeling incredibly relieved that the pain I was feeling now was the worst of it. Mind you, that didn’t make it hurt LESS, but I took some comfort knowing that this is as bad as it gets. (Although, at the time, I still questioned what people said about this being the worst part of labor. I mean, seriously. Pushing a baby out doesn’t hurt worse than this? Riiiight…) The second thing I thought was, I was relieved I was in the large birthing room. I had lots of room to move around and the bathroom with the shower was very close by.

Side note: After the birth, Betty told me that when I had called earlier, she called the birthing team to let them know we would probably have a baby tonight but that I was a first time mom so there wouldn’t be any rush and I would probably be in labor for a while. She told them she would call me when I was closer. With this new bit of information (Wowza! Way further along than she or I, for that matter, expected!), Betty left the room to call the birth team and update them to let them know I was very close and to come immediately!

A couple of weeks prior, I had tested positive for Group B Strep, which meant that I needed to get at least two doses of antibiotic, four hours apart before I gave birth. I have a horrible fear of needles so this is the part of the birth I looked forward to the least. Amidst all the pain of childbirth, I was still terrified of this needle that Betty was about to stick in me! She wanted to get the port (or whatever it was) in me ASAP since I was much further along already than anticipated. It was unlikely I would still be in labor 8 hours from now! Well, Betty started to try to start the IV, but she couldn’t get my veins. She didn’t want to poke and prod me 100 times so she said we would wait for Jean to get there because she was much better and could probably get it in one try. This was probably my fault as I had not drank much water that day so I’m sure my veins were hiding and hard to get at!

No idea what times were at this point so, I’ll just name the time periods… Also, this comes the point where my memory started to get fuzzy. I may have events slightly out of order but in the end, it’s all the same!

The Shower.

After the attempt at the IV, someone asked if I wanted to get in the shower. Or maybe I wanted to get in the shower and asked. I can’t remember. Either way, someone started the shower for me and I couldn’t wait to get in! I remembered how much better I felt in my own shower during contractions so I was looking forward to getting in the shower. After they told me it was ready, I made my way to the shower, got in and stood with my back to the warm water. I immediately felt waves of relief. I felt SO much better.

Also, random…but there was a smell that I would get a whiff of once in a while. It smelled so good! I actually looked forward to smelling it! Later, I learned it was one of those automatic air fresheners. Ha!

The Poke.

The second midwife, Jean, had finally arrived while I was in the shower. Since she was there, I had to get out of the shower so Jean could put the port (IV? whatever it was…I’m calling it a port) in for the antibiotics. I put on my gown and laid down to get poked (my ONLY poke during labor! Thank goodness!). Jean was amazing, and I don’t remember much from the stick. She got the antibiotics ready and injected them into the port. I didn’t feel any of that but Leighton had told me that he remembers thinking that it was A LOT of fluid they injected!

The Shower Part Deux.

After the poke, I wanted to get back in the shower so I headed back into the bathroom to get into the shower. I think by this time, my doula had arrived. If I remember correctly, my mom arrived around the same time. Leighton left and went to talk to her and then asked me if she could come in and see me. I said yes. I don’t remember what she said, or I said or even if we talked! But I know she went back into the parlor after being in there for a minute. I still didn’t want her to be right by me at the time, but I was glad she was there and did want her at the birthing center just in case I needed her.

See, the birthing center is in an old, old house that has been converted into a birthing center. The walls are thin…the doors are thin. You can hear pretty much everything from one room to the next. It’s not like a hospital where you wait down the hall in a nice cushy waiting room with cable and coffee. It’s a parlor with a dining table and chairs and an old chaise lounge. So, mom, sitting in the very next room, had the pleasure of enduring and listening to me labor from, I’m assuming was around 5 or 5:30 (since she came after work) until I gave birth. A few days later she told me it’s one of the hardest things she’s ever had to sit through. I can imagine, though! Your kid (or anyone, really!) is in the worst pain of her life and the only thing you can do is sit and listen! I don’t know how she did it. I really don’t!

The Peanut Labor.

Anyways, after I was in the shower for a few minutes (I think??), I started to feel like I had to force myself to hold back and not push. It’s a very strange feeling when your body takes over and just does something on its own like that. So weird! Since I was feeling the urge to push, they told me it was time to get out of the shower. I dried off and went back to the bed. Once I was on the bed, Betty checked me to see if my cervix was ready for me to push. I still had a little bit of dilation to do so they put me on my side with my legs on either side of the peanut (a peanut shaped yoga ball). Also, while checking her heartbeat, they saw that she had rotated a little off-center so we needed to get her to turn the right way. Laboring in this position was going to help her turn back to where she should be. Of course she’s in the exact right position for birth my entire pregnancy up until it’s time to give birth! Thanks, Miss May Bee!! hehe!

I was on my side for a while and the whole time, I was very vocal during the contractions. However, the position I was in was really helping me through them. I didn’t want to open my eyes or speak to anyone. I heard what everyone was saying, but I didn’t respond, or really even acknowledge anyone was talking to me. I was listening and I absolutely appreciated the encouraging words and everything they were saying, I just had no desire to respond. At one point, Betty came up to me and got right in my face. She said, “Jennilee, look at me. Open your eyes and look at me.” I think she said that 3 or 4 times before I finally did it. I looked at Betty, and she told me that when I had a contraction, I needed to deepen my voice. Make low grunting and moaning sounds and it would help me through the contraction better. Up to that point, my “moans,” or whatever you want to call them, were very high-pitched. My first thought was, “This lady is crazy.” But, I tried it anyway. Amazingly it really did help get me through the contractions. I continued this technique throughout the rest of my labor and I could definitely tell when I wasn’t moaning “low” enough.

Breaking of the Waters.

Every few minutes (I’m assuming every 15-20 minutes?), Betty or the birth assistant was checking baby girl’s heart rate with the doppler. They would check my cervix when I showed signs of having progressed and dilated. I remember her checking maybe 3 times before I was fully dilated. One of the things I LOVED about my birth experience is that they asked me before they did ANY type of intervention. Also, before the birth, they asked me which ones I was okay with and which ones I wasn’t. Breaking of the waters was one that I told them I wanted to decide then if I wanted it done or not. I wanted to keep things as natural as possible.

At this point, I was pretty much dilated and ready to push but Miss May Bee had still not dropped into the birth canal. There were two possible reasons why she still hadn’t dropped. Either she was too big for the birth canal or she was possibly sitting on a pouch of fluids from the bag of waters. Jean asked me if I wanted her to break my water. I thought about it for a second or two. I wanted as few interventions as possible but after I quickly thought about it, I decided that it was probably best that she break my water. Especially if that was what was keeping my girl from dropping into the birth canal. The labor would not progress until she dropped. So, I told Jean to go ahead and break my water.

When she broke my water, she saw that there was a small amount of meconium (baby poop) in the amniotic fluid. It wasn’t very much, so they weren’t concerned. However, Betty did come tell me that once her head was out, but before I pushed her shoulders out, they would need to suction her mouth and nose with a machine to make sure she did not breathe in the meconium. She turned the machine on for me so I could hear it and it would be a familiar sound when we got to that point and they had to use it.

The Labor and Progress.

After she broke my water, I rocked back to my side and labored there for a little longer. The first contraction I got after she broke my water was the worst contraction I had of my entire labor.

Terrible.

Awful.

Excruciating.

I can’t even describe it.

I really thought I wouldn’t make it through that one. Sixty seconds never lasted so long! After a while on my side, they moved me to my knees to where I was leaning on peanut with my chest and arms.

What’s Everyone Else Doing??

Leighton: While in this position I remembering wanting a sip of water after every contraction. I don’t know if I wanted this while I was on my side, but I definitely remember wanting it in this position. I’m pretty sure the only words I said my entire labor were “water” and then I told my husband, “water after every time.” Or something like that…which he and Brittany deducted that I meant after every contraction.

Brittany: Speaking encouraging words to me. Most of my birth I heard no one but her. She has a very soft, soothing voice and it was very calming and reassuring to me. I’m sure there were other things, but that is what stands out.

Betty, Jean, the birth assistant & the student midwife: I have no idea! hahaha….

It was at this point, Betty told me to go ahead and start pushing with the contractions. I really thought it was going to hurt worse, but it actually made the contractions much, much less painful. Now, the kind of pushing I was doing was not, what I’ll call, active pushing…like, get a baby out pushing…I was just pushing with the contraction. Betty gave me more coaching on productive vocalization during contractions. Hold your breath, lower your voice, etc. Betty hadn’t checked me in a while so she told me I needed to get to my back so she could see if I was fully dilated now. In order to check me, I had to move to my back. I was not looking forward to the move. I was comfortable where I was and didn’t want to get into any other position. I reluctantly moved to my back, finally. When she checked me, I was pretty much dilated (or darn close to done) and I ended up staying in that position because the thought of moving again was terrible. Plus, with Miss May Bee’s positioning, Betty thought it would be a good position to birth anyway.

The Birth.

I went through a few more really painful contractions and then suddenly they became less and less painful and it became easier to push. In fact, while I was pushing, I felt very little pain at all. Now they were instructing me on how to push more effectively and moving my legs into different positions to get her to come out easier. I realized that this was it! This was the real thing and I was about to meet my precious baby girl!

What’s Everyone Else Doing??

Leighton: He was at my side. Most of the time his hand was on me. On my head, on my shoulder, on my chest (not my boobs! LOL…my chest!) or my arm. He didn’t say much but I really didn’t need him to. He kissed me on the head a few times and would give my shoulders a little rub here and there. Everything he did was perfect.

Brittany: Continued to speak encouragement and reassurance. Held my left leg for most of the time I was pushing.

Student Midwife: Held my left leg after Brittany took a bathroom break (she was VERY pregnant!!).

Jean: Sitting next to me on the bed holding my right leg during contractions.

Betty & the Birth Assistant: I have no idea! They were “down there” somewhere doing “something.” hahahaha

I started to push for real now. It took me a little while to get the right push down. You kind of have to teach yourself what is right. It’s one of those things that you don’t exactly know what it’s supposed to feel like but once you get it right, you know you got it right and you try to do it the same way every time after that!

The Crowning.

After pushing for what seemed like a relatively short time, she began to crown. From what I’m told, she had one sprig of hair poking out straight up! I heard everyone start giggling (keep in mind, my eyes were closed pretty much the ENTIRE time). I remember thinking, “What in the HECK could be so dang funny? What are they laughing at?!?” They eventually told me that she had a full head of hair and she had one alfalfa-like hair sticking straight up! This point of pushing was two steps forward, one step back. I would push and she would crown some and then retreat back in. Over and over.

Anyway, we stayed at this point for a while and the real pain of pushing her out had not yet started but the pain of transition had subsided. Even though she had started crowning, it wasn’t her entire head yet. Mind you, this was not painless, it was just this in between time where it wasn’t as painful as before and the pain of the actual birth hadn’t begun.

The Ring of Fire.

After some big pushes, from what I’m told, this is the point where she came out about to her hairline or the tops of her ears. That’s when the pain of actual child birth started. I had heard about the “ring of fire” and that’s exactly what it felt like! The only way I can describe it to someone that hasn’t had a baby is, it feels like an Indian rug burn. Really. It felt just like that!

I felt like we were in this position forever! I didn’t feel like we were making any progress. In reality, I think it was only a few minutes…if even that. Towards the end I really started to get tired. They got me a juice box to give me a burst of energy because I was really running out. they handed me the juice box and I remember seeing the juice box and thinking, “Ugh. Wal-mart brand.” I didn’t want to drink it! Hahaha… anyway….

The Final Pushes.

When her head was about halfway out, I skipped pushing for a set of contractions. I genuinely did not think I could finish this job. I opened my eyes, looked over and told Jean (crying) that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish it. I didn’t have anything left in me. She looked at me and gave me some encouraging words. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she basically told me that I, in fact, could. I remembered at that point all the stories of previous births they had told us. They had told us that just when you think you can’t do it anymore and you don’t have anything else left in you, that’s when you’re almost done. When you’re at the very end and about to meet your little one.

Well, I drank the rest of the juice down and the next contraction I pushed as hard as I could!

Nothing.

The next contraction I gave absolutely every last thing I had in me…

Stay tuned for the final installment…Part 3!! ;)