Raylan’s Birth Story

June 29th…Sunday night was a blur.  My parents and inlaws were in town and after a celebratory supper, the inlaws headed to their hotel and my parents headed to our house…it was almost show time!

There was some debate about getting some sleep, but that was laughable.  The knowledge that in the next 24 hours, everything would be changing does not exactly make for a restful experience.  A quick shower, some cuddling on the couch, and soon it was time to go.  We arrived at the hospital just short of midnight and the race was on!

June 30th (40 weeks pregnant)…After we checked in and I changed into a glamorous hospital gown, we kicked off the induction process with a bit of cervix softening.  Pills were inserted about 12:30 and mom and A got as comfy as they could on the couch and rocking chair while I “lounged” in the bed hooked up to approximately 250 monitors.  Minor cramping began a few hours later, sometime while I was tending to my Sims on my ipad (I know, I know, I should have been sleeping…whoops) and at 6:30am, the nurses started pitocin.

Within the next hour and a half, my mucus plug had left the building and I was dilated to a 3…where I would stay for a while.  Contractions were coming good and strong, but super irregular.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to them.  While each contraction was strong, they were oddly spaced…some would come right on top of each other without a break for 3 or 4 in a row, and then I would go 10 minutes before another one.  Every so often, my pitocin was upped, although I would never be able to go past a 10.

After Doc broke my water (sweet baby Jesus, that experience deserves its own blog post…) and stretched me to a soft 4cm (this will be part of the water breaking post….you have been warned), we hoped things would move more quickly.  Unfortunately, this would not be the case.

When the pitocin began, we immediately noticed that baby boy was experiencing heart decells with each contraction.  As we upped the pitocin, the decells became stronger, dipping into the 90s and a few times the 80s.  In addition, when my water was broken, there was a bit of meconium in the water.  The doctor assured me there was not enough to cause any kind of emergency, but that it would be something we would monitor closely.  Because of all of this, it wasn’t long after noon (at which point I also got my epidural), that we had to stop the use of pitocin and let the contractions continue naturally.

Nurses streamed in and out for the next several hours, I was hooked up to oxygen and turned over (a feat difficult in itself as both legs were DEAD from the epidural) every 10 minutes or so as we tracked Raylan’s heartbeat.  That part was hard.  Much harder than the contractions or the water breaking or the rest of it.  We would listen to his heartbeat soar and sink, soar and sink.  I was scared for my little boy.  He was not dealing with labor very well and as such, neither was I.

Finally, at 5:20 pm or so, the nurse came in and informed us we would be doing a csection.  He had to come out now.  We had pushed him as far as we could.  I cried.  I was scared, it had been a long day, and I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that he would be here very soon.  They only allowed one person in the operating room, so mom couldn’t go, but A was there in his scrubs, with the camera slung over his shoulder.

I was immediately prepped and wheeled into the operating room.  My epidural was removed and a spinal block was inserted.  I think the specifics of the csection would best be suited in another blog post, as well…In any case, not 10 minutes after being laid down on the table, I heard gusty screams that could mean nothing other than Raylan James was officially in the world.  The swept him away and my husband went with him while the doctors continued to work on me.  After he was cleaned and wrapped up, they brought him to me.  It was surreal.  I rubbed his sweet little face for the first time with a shaking hand (partly due to emotions, but mostly because of the effects of the spinal block and hormone dump) and he was whisked away again, this time to our little room to await me.

Once I was sewn and taped back together, I was rolled to another bed, propped up, and taken back to the little room I had labored in all day.  My baby was handed to me and that was it.  The reason for my existence.

Raylan James

Born June 30th at 5:41 pm, 6 lbs and 18.5 inches.

First family picture :)

First family picture 🙂

Just an hour or so old

Just an hour or so old

2 days old

2 days old

5

I think we ALL do this after a good meal ;D

I think we ALL do this after a good meal ;D

Today, 2 weeks old (7/14/14)

Today, 2 weeks old (7/14/14)

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Back from hiatus!

My, my, my, it has been a while!  Sorry for the absence!  As life regains a sense of normalcy, I hope to return to my blogging glory!  (Ok, maybe not glory…).  

But I digress…

My last post was a chronicle of my 37th week of pregnancy, in which not much happened and I was still very very pregnant.

My 38th week was much like the 37th.  Not a whole lot going on except that Raylan was still sideways and sunny side up.  He was not coming down at all and my pelvis was locked up tight as a drum.  Still very pregnant with no end in sight, I was sleeping with approximately 100 pillows, and dizzy spells became a daily recurrence.

photo 1 (1)

 

At 39 weeks, I was feeling cautiously optimistic when I went to my doctor’s appointment if for no other reason than I knew this baby had to come out soon.  I was still closed up and he was not going anywhere.  Now, we had a decision to make.  As doc palpated and fisted (really is no other word for it) and all the rest, it became pretty clear that my pelvis was not doing what it was supposed to be doing, which is open up wide enough for a human to crawl out.  Generally, this really isn’t an issue, as baby’s come when they please and typically your body does what it needs to do, whether weeks beforehand or at the last second.  The problem was that Raylan was wedged into my hip bone and could not move out of it.  The fear was that he would spend the next few weeks growing and growing and then really get stuck, at which point labor would be traumatic for him and a vaginal delivery would not be in my future.  Doc suggested we induce at 40 weeks.  The hope was that contractions would be just enough to jostle Raylan into the birth canal.  I agreed.  We had a plan!  My appointment was on Wednesday, June 25th.  My induction was set to begin Sunday at midnight, June 30th.

 

39 weeks with my butter bean...well, maybe more a watermelon...

39 weeks with my butter bean…well, maybe more a watermelon…

 

And thus ends the pregnant adventures!  Stay tuned for what happened next…here’s a little sneak peak…

🙂

The Bad Timing Fairy

I haven’t talked at any length of being a military spouse, although I am.  My husband is an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force and I am madly, deeply, head over hills in love with him.

I remember the day we “made it official” and began dating, he said to me, “I want to make sure that you understand that I want to be in the military.  Not just that, but I want to be an officer.  And I plan on making it a career.”

I responded, “yeah, I know…so…we dating now?”

And the rest is history.  (We’re romantic like that.)

The Air Force has taken REALLY good care of us.  I mean, REALLY GOOD care of us.  We have met amazing people and although there are some challenges (we moved three times in the past year and a half), we have always tackled each dilemma and come out stronger in the end.

Recently, however, the Bad Timing Fairy (other military wives might be familiar with this bitch) has bestowed upon us a gift!

A TDY the week before I’m due.

For those who do not know, a TDY is basically a little detour of sorts, a temporary duty station.  Lucky for us, the TDY is only a week.  Unfortunately, it is a week before the due date.

I’m not angry or disappointed, because that’s life in the fast lane, ya know?  But…I do feel like everything has come to a standstill, pregnancy wise.  I’m terrified to walk too much.  Keep that pineapple away from me!  That recipe for labor inducing cupcakes?  NO THANK YOU.  Sex?  HA.  Spicy food?  Well…a little, but only because I’m a spicy food addict.

SOOOOO, while I was consumed with all encompassing disappointment at my previous check up that revealed there was NO cervical action and baby hadn’t dropped yet, now I am TERRIFIED that at my next appointment, Doc will let me know things are finally starting to move.  I need my little dude to stay snuggled up for as long as he can.  I can’t imagine how my husband would feel missing the birth of his first child.

Come to think of it, I can’t imagine how I will feel if I have to drive myself to the hospital…Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Everything happens for a reason!  And, it could always be worse.  He is only gone for a week and staying stateside.  That ain’t nothing in the grand scheme of things!  I feel like I’m putting an awful lot of pressure on a poor little baby who isn’t even in the world yet, but…he only has two jobs:  roll around every once in a while so I know you’re cool…and stay in until Daddy gets back.

36 Week Bump Update

Alright, alright, alright (be sure to say that in Matthew McConaughey’s voice) 36 weeks (6/2/2014)!

How about a hurried bathroom belly pic?

photo (10)

NOW, a quick run down on symptoms, feelings, and the rest:

>Ouch.  This baby growing business is a tad bit  painful!  All the typical baby stuff: hips hurt, internal organs are taking a beating, vag feels like it was hit with a baseball bat…but hey, I got that pregnant glow, right?!  (Wrong…it’s acne.)

>Still madly in love with all of the rolling, punching, kicking, and baby moves, even when I pee myself because he head butts my bladder

>Craving ice and fruit…combine that shit into a Popsicle, and I’m in pregnant lady heaven!

>HOLY MOOD SWINGS, BATMAN.  One second, I’m so in love with my husband that I just want to lay in his lap and stare at his face…but ask again in an hour or so, and I promise you I’ve lost that loving feeling and it has been replaced by something much less tender.  During my lucid and decent moments, I apologize for my behavior.  During my rage, I quietly seethe and plot his demise.  I’m not proud, but I want to be sure to share this in case anybody else is also suffering.  You aren’t alone!!  Can’t wait to pop out this kid and return to some kind of hormnal normalcy in the next few months.

AND NOW SOME DISAPPOINTING FUCKING NEWS.

Today, I had my first – I like to call them INVASIVE – exams.  It wasn’t bad.  It hurt, but doc has dainty hands and even apologized, bless her heart.  ANYWAYS, my crotch HURTS.  So I have been anticipating a joyous call of, “Great, we’re a centimeter dilated and 50% effaced!  Looks like things are starting to move along!”  Surely all of this pain and discomfort is not without cause!  Instead, I got, “hmmmmmmm, you have a tight pelvis…yeah, I’m thinking we will go over this due date…it’s going to be a long month.”  He is clammed up in there like a 40 year old in his mom’s basement.  Not even a little dilated or effaced.

My face…

 

But that’s ok!  I will just keep fighting the good fight!  He still has a few weeks of cooking to do, anyways.  In the meantime, doc suggested a few tricks to help things start to move.  We’ll see how it goes!

 

P.S.  Look how sweet my tank is!

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My sister-in-law is stay at home mom and wife to an army major.  She operates her own monogramming business (although she does WAY more than monogramming!).  In any case, this beauty, plus several onesies and another tank, were gifted to me at our baby shower.  I will make another post to show you the onesies, they are GORGEOUS.  If you are interested in looking into her products or contacting her, check out her facebook by clicking HERE.  If you are interested in no slip, customized, head bands, click HERE.

Freezer Meals – Yellow Squash

Today, I am riding some weird, energy boost wave.  So, as long as it’s here, I figured I would take advantage.

This morning, I spent some time at the farmers’ market, came home, and prepped/froze several pints of blackberries, blueberries, and green onions.  The dogs, braxton hicks, and myself decided to take a nap and eat some BBQ after that, but we are up and feeling better, so I decided to tackle the yellow squash I purchased this morning!

A HEAP.

A HEAP.

The sweetest old man was selling baskets of squash for $5 a piece.  So of course I bought two baskets.  I could’t help it.  He was charming.  The problem is, this left me with what seems like an ungodly amount of squash…did I mention my husband doesn’t really like squash?  So…yeah…well, he likes it two ways.  We’ll discuss that in a minute.

IN ANY CASE, I MAKE THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION.

Obviously, I needed to freeze the squash.  I went the flash freeze method, like the green onions.  Produce like squash and potatoes also benefit from the blanching method of freezing, in which you pop the food into boiling water briefly, and then freeze.  However, my dish washer (husband) is gone for the weekend, so I figured the less dishes the better.  Meaning no extra pots for me.

Step 1: Get you some squash and scrub scrub scrub.

With veggies like squash that have a nice hard surface, I tend to just scrub them off with a damp rag to get them clean.  I find this removes any dirt on the veggie, not to mention makes the skin look kind of polished, which is always pleasant…polished veggies.  (There is something wrong with me, I’m giggling my ass off at polished veggies.)

Step 2:  Decide how you will be preparing your squash in the future.

As mentioned before, Husband likes squash two ways.  He likes me to smother it with rendered bacon and onions.  And he will eat it in stir fry.  Which is great, because both ways are easy, and while smothering something in a little bacon grease kind of defeats the health factor, at least I know vegetables are entering his body some kind of way.  The man loves ravioli…I do what I can.  ANYWAYS, it is important to figure out how you will use your squash before you get to chopping.  When I smother squash, I like to slice it into thin discs and for use in stir fry, I like to cut little strips.  If you plan on using it in stews or soups or want to roast it, you may prefer to cut it into chunks.

Remember, when cutting things, measure twice, cut once.  Well…that might be carpentry.  Whatever.

Step 3:  Cut, cut, cut!

DSC_0570_030

I included step 2 for a reason.  Because I rather haphazardly decided that I would use all my squash for smothering.  Then, as I gazed at my pans of sliced squash, I remembered I also wanted strips for stir fry.  Luckily, it was a situation that was easily remedied.

SO MANY SLICES OF SQUASH.  Oh yeah...I didn't mean to slice them all up...

SO MANY SLICES OF SQUASH. Oh yeah…I didn’t mean to slice them all up…

I went back and sliced up a pan.  BOOM.  Problem solved.

I went back and sliced up a pan into strips. BOOM. Problem solved.

Pro-tip:  when slicing your squash, try to keep the slices the same width so that they all cook up the same.  Unless you are like me, and tend to cut first, ask questions later.  In which case, you cut those bastards up however you want and if somebody says something about your wonky squash, just kind of wave your knife around until they shut up.

Step 4:  Ice, Ice, Baby!

Time for the all important flash freeze!  Arrange your squash in a thin-ish layer in your pan and place in your freezer.  The squash will need between 2-4 hours to freeze.  Once it is frozen, throw it into baggies and pop it back into the freezer until you are ready to use them!

So. Much. Squash.

So. Much. Squash.

Optional Step 6:  A snack for the dogs

Squash is a people food that puppies can also eat.  HOWEVER, UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR DOG TO HAVE THE SHITS, ONLY GIVE THEM A COUPLE PIECES.  I saved the ends of my squash and gave each of my puppies two pieces.  Squash, much like many other fruits and veggies, can be a little tough on puppy digestive systems when raw.  Hence, give them a small amount.  And I’m gonna be honest with you….they will eat the first one…and then chew up the second one into a billion pieces all over your carpet.

Puppy snack!  I gave the dogs a couple, then tossed the rest into a bag and stuck them in the fridge for later use.

Puppy snack! I gave the dogs a couple, then tossed the rest into a bag and stuck them in the fridge for later use.

Don't mind me, just making an OBNOXIOUS mess all over the place.

Don’t mind me, just making an OBNOXIOUS mess all over the place.

Freezer Meals – Green Onions

When the hubz is away, the wife will play!

And by away, I mean off to our nephew’s baptism.

And by play, I mean wobble around the farmers’ market at 7 in the morning.

First off, let me say that I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to a farmers’ market.  It just was never really a priority when I was younger (I was that kid who bought a fifth of jack instead of vegetables when I was in college…we all have our moments) and as a newlywed couple, we barely had money to buy a .50 cent packet of mashed potatoes, much less a bushel of fresh apples from a farmer!  Fast forward a couple years, and my oh my, the Clawsons have become more aware of what goes into our bodies.

Now…I DID have a carrot cake cupcake yesterday…but that doesn’t count.  But I digress…

With 36 weeks of pregnancy down, the fact that our lives are about to be turned upside down has me in a tizzy.  And so I have decided to tackle the feeling of impending (not doom…I mean, it’s a baby that we prayed and prayed for…maybe impending…poop? crying? sleepless nights?) stress (yeah, stress!) by stocking our freezer and pantry with staples that will last us a couple months.  So, when I hit up the farmers’ market this morning, it was with the intention of securing a bunch of deliciousness that can be frozen and used at a later date!

First up – Green Onions!

 

ARE YOU NOT IMPRESSED?!

ARE YOU NOT IMPRESSED?!  (I know, I know…it’s entertained…but aren’t these babies impressive?!)

 

I LOVE onions.  My poor husband.  I am one well seasoned lady.  And green onions are especially delicious!  Such a mild onion flavor, but super fresh and gorgeous color!

But, I wasn’t wholly sure if I could actually freeze green onions.  Obviously, by freezing them, you lose the crispness of a fresh green onion.  However, my intention for these will be to toss them into soups, gumbo, jambalaya, eggs, fried rice, etc.  Frozen green onions are perfect for recipes like this!  THEN I remembered that my Dad froze home grown herbs and veggies for years.  So, courtesy of the patriarch of our family, here’s a few tips for freezing fresh green  onions!

Step 1:  Procure green onions.

Got ’em?  K, great.

Step 2: Rinse your green onions and pat them dry.

I feel like these are pretty obvious steps…BUT, unless you buy these onions from organic farmers or you grew them yourself, at the very least you will want to run them under some water.  I like to wash my produce in a sink of 5 parts water, 1 part vinegar.  I have seen many different suggestions for rinsing your produce, this just works well for me.  And I have yet to find buggies or clods of dirt in my frozen goodies.  Once my onions were rinsed, I laid them down on a napkin, and patted them dry.

Step 3:  Cut off the ends – But hold onto them!

Don't throw these babies away!

Don’t throw these babies away!

I lopped off the ends of my green onions and set them aside in a ziploc bag.  See all those gorgeous roots still attached?  You can plant these little bulbs and grow more green onions at your home!  There are a couple ways to do this, in water or dirt.  Check out this post on regrowing green onions!  I will be using the dirt method, since the bulbs on my onions are pretty large.  I just need my husband to carry some dirt to the back yard for me, and we will be in business!  (Any other pregnant ladies ready to do heavy lifting again?  I know I am!)

Step 4:  Get to chopping!

That poor knife...can you tell it's my favorite?

That poor knife…can you tell it’s my favorite?

Snag your favorite, sharp knife (the more worn the better…note the loss of the red on the handle…classy) and slice up your green onions.  As I was slicing, I pulled off any icky parts and kept only the crisp green onion stalks.  I also tend to cut a little further down the onion itself than most people do.  There is a lot of flavor in the light green part at the bottom and no sense in tossing it out!

Step 5:  Flash freeze

I had three trays.  THREE.

I had three trays. THREE.

Once all your onions are chopped up, sprinkle them in a thin layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  I ended up needing three pans for all of my green onions.  (We will be eating green onions with EVERYTHING.)  Stick those pans into a freezer and give them an hour or so.  They are pretty tiny and delicate, so it shouldn’t take long to freeze them.  I think this is a pretty important step and not one to skip.  By spreading them out, you freeze each little piece almost individually, so that they don’t freeze in a big giant brick of onion.

Step 6:  Place into your container!

When my dad freezes herbs and green onions, he likes to freeze them in mason jars.  However, our little chest freezer doesn’t quite have the room for the shit ton of mason jars that I would need.  SO, I will be tossing ours into ziploc bags.  Be sure to get out as much air as you can, as that will save your sweet little onions from freezer burn!

According to Dad, these green onions should keep for 3-6 months, at least!  How awesome!

Check back later for more freezer tips and freezer meals!

Optional Step 7:  It doesn’t hurt to have an adorable sous chef…

Don't you love the jack russell grin?  :)

Don’t you love the jack russell grin? 🙂

Time to get that bag packed!

Ahhhh, the magical hospital bag!  In my head, our flight to the hospital goes something like this:

A and I are sitting on the couch/cuddling in bed/standing in the kitchen cooking <whichever is more idyllic>.  As we lovingly pat my belly and discuss our day (because in my fantasy, I’m a normal person as opposed to this hormonal, gassy, sailor swearing pregnant lady), I make a sudden movement – perhaps I’m getting off the couch to fetch my darling something to drink or I’m hopping off the bed to turn on the fan or I turn to head to the fridge and grab something healthy – when WOOSH!  With a small pop and a gush, my water breaks!  I turn to A and say excitedly, “Babe, I think it’s time!”  Happily, we give the dogs one last cuddle, gather our hospital bag, hop in the car, and call the parents on the way.  “It’s time!”  Giggling and excited, we enter the hospital, get shown to our room and a few hours later I have a little boy in my arms, each hair is perfectly in place, and we are ready for our close up, Mr. Deville!

The problem is, I AM a hormonal, gassy, sailor swearing pregnant lady.  So chances of me jauntily hopping around my house as if my vagina doesn’t feel like it’s about to fall off are slim to none.  HOWEVER, there is ONE thing I can control and that is the hospital bag.

As a first time mom, I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but after a lot of research, I felt comfortable enough to tackle the daunting task of packing a bag that will accompany me as I push a human out of my body.  A and I headed to Walmart this past weekend and pulled together the following things (which surprisingly all fit in one suitcase…with room to spare!)

For Me, specifically:

  • Underwear (the granny panty kind that can be tossed into the trash…I know a nurse will bestow upon me mesh panties, but I figured a $5 pack of cotton granny panties wasn’t a bad idea…I’ll let the Victoria’s Secret take a few weeks off)
  • Socks (I packed several pairs of socks.  I’m not a fan of slippers – or shoes in general – so I figured socks were a good medium.)
  • Coming home outfit (maxi skirt and tank top)
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing tank
  • Pads (although I fully intend on taking advantage of the lady diapers they will give me at the hospital)
  • Tucks witch hazel pads
  • Dermaplast – the blue can (hoping the hospital will pass along another bottle, too!)
  • Robe (which can also be thrown away in the event of…ya know…BIRTH)
  • Lanolin, breast pads
  • pony tail holders, headbands, brush

For Him, specifically:

  • Two changes of clothes and jammies
  • ANDDDDDDDDDDDDD…that’s all he gets

For Baby:

  • Two coming home outfits:  one is an outfit A wore when he was a baby, so I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope it fits Raylan!  If not, we threw a 3 month onesie in there, too
  • Receiving blanket
  • Car seat

Miscellaneous:

  • Boppy
  • Snacks (food is always on my mind)
  • Toiletries (we bought travel size of everything: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, a little loufah, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.  We wanted to be able to just toss it when we were done as opposed to worrying about leaving stuff at the hospital or at the house or whatever)

List of things to grab last minute (we made a sticky note list and stuck it to the bag to remember to grab a few last minute things before we head out):

  • Make-up (not my biggest priority, but mom promised to make sure I didn’t look haggard before people started snapping pictures)
  • Pillows (with colored pillow cases…I have been warned against white pillow cases, as they might get mistaken with hospital pillows)
  • Camera and charger
  • Phones and charger
  • Ipads (I think I might download a couple movies onto them)
  • Books (one for me, one for him)

 

Looking back over my list, it appears that I have packed an unholy shit ton of stuff.  But truthfully, everything (I mean, except the car seat and boppy, but that doesn’t count) fit into one suitcase!  I’m curious to know what items I will actually use and if I will wish I had anything else.  Look for another blog post in a few years when baby #2 comes around about my revised hospital bag! ;D

What did you pack in your hospital bag?