May 11, 2016

Welcome Noah Clinton

 

Our sweet boy was born on February 4th at 4:45am. He weighed in at 7lb 13oz and was 20 inches long. His birth was everything I had hoped and prayed for and was a far cry from his sister’s birth.

From 24 weeks on I had pretty persistent braxton hicks contractions, like with his sister. As we were getting close to the end of the pregnancy I started to wonder if they were actually doing anything. On January 18th, I was 35w4d pregnant and had my first cervical check, where we found out they had been doing something- I was dilated to 3cm and 50% effaced and my midwife was pretty surprised by that. She said there were no guarantees, but I would probably be having another early baby. Fast forward a week to my next check and I was still at 3cm and 50%. At this point I was being pretty careful to not overdo things so that I would for sure make it to 37 weeks. If I felt like my braxton hicks were getting too strong, I rested, I avoided walking long distances and unnecessary trips up the stairs.

Once I hit 37 weeks I didn’t restrict myself anymore. We went to the zoo that Saturday and walked until it was too uncomfortable. The following Monday I had another check and we found out I was at 4cm and 75% effaced, my midwife said she would be very surprised if she saw me for my next appointment. Tuesday that week there was a huge snowstorm, I went home from work early and drove white-knuckling the steering wheel. I was terrified, knowing that if the air bag were to go off in an accident Noah would be compromised. We ended up sending Amelia home with my mom that night, just in case the baby did come. As the evening progressed I had pretty strong BH contractions and notified my doula, we were definitely thinking our little guy would be born during the storm. But morning came, and no Noah yet. With the snow in the morning Nathan and I were able to work from home and enjoy one last lunch date out just us two. Amelia came home that night and we had a nice last night as a family of three.

Around 2am on February 4th I woke up (one of many times) to pee and had a little trouble falling back to sleep. As I was finally drifting back to sleep my water spontaneously broke at 2:38am. Because I was GBS positive this time we knew it was go time and that we were heading to the hospital. I immediately called my mom and she headed over to stay with Amelia while we finished gathering our things. I called my doula as well, and she said she would be 30-60 minutes behind us and meet us at the hospital. My mom arrived 20 minutes later and I was still in my bathrobe, she kind of freaked out telling us we needed to get going. My midwife had told us we didn’t have to rush, just get to the hospital sooner rather than later. Also, because I hadn’t had a contraction yet I didn’t want to get to the hospital and have them propose pitocin or the like to get things moving. As she’s telling me to hurry and get ready I responded that I hadn’t even had a contraction yet- queue the first painful contraction. We left the house 10-15 minutes later and I started timing my contractions on the way to the hospital and they were around 5 minutes apart.

We arrived at the hospital at 3:45am, and like with Amelia, I opted to walk up to the maternity ward on my own. My contractions were getting pretty intense, but I’m a tough chica and it wasn’t unmanageable. All through the end of my pregnancy I had been praying for 1 of 2 midwives to deliver Noah and attend me- Katie (my midwife) or Kathleen (she delivered Amelia). We were admitted to a room right away and there was Kathleen! She even remembered delivering Amelia! We also had the most amazing nurse ever, Shauna. I worked through my contractions by leaning over the bed and Nathan was a huge support- rubbing my back and giving me water as I asked for it. As I was laboring Kathleen and I were discussing how would things go. She let me know there were orders in for pain meds if I wanted (I didn’t) and that she wasn’t going to bother checking me yet since Katie would be on at 6am and that Katie would likely deliver me. At this point it was around 4:15am/4:30am. My contractions were getting pretty intense and Kathleen asked where I had been at my last check- 4cm, 75%. At that point there was a shifting with Noah and all of a sudden it felt as if his head was moving down and my contractions were intensifying. At that point Kathleen and Shauna decided maybe I should be checked. As I was laboring over the bed they pulled my pants off and helped me onto the bed. Kathleen found I was at 7cm and his head was at a plus one. They helped me flip over as another contraction hit and I labored over the back of the bed on my knees. Things were pretty intense, but I had to pee, so I took a moment to do that. As I was making my way back to the bed Nathan reminded me I had wanted a waterbirth, so Kathleen sent a nurse to start the water in the waterbirth suite, she said it would be 20 min for the tub to fill and then I could move over to the tub. I continued to labor over the back of the bed for a few minutes and things were getting intense. All of a sudden I felt a burning pain and said so, which was followed by the need to push- which I also verbalized. It had been 10 minutes since my last check where Kathleen found me at 7cm. She checked me again, I stayed on my knees- I really didn’t want to roll over- and to her surprise she found me at 10cm. The room exploded into action, they obviously hadn’t been expecting things to go so fast! Before I knew it Shauna and Kathleen were telling me to push. Now if you’ve heard Amelia’s birth story you’ve heard that the first time I started to push at the beginning of that long day, was when things started to go wrong. As Kathleen was encouraging me to push I couldn’t do it, I think a part of me was terrified things would snowball the way they did with Amelia. I broke down and said I couldn’t do it. Shauna was right at my side and encouraging me the whole time, telling me I could do it and helping to know what to do. With one push I felt his head emerge halfway and my contraction ended. I remember asking Shauna how I was supposed to hang out between contractions with a head halfway out of me, when another contraction started and I pushed again and Noah “shot out like a rocket” as Shauna later said. Noah was born in two pushes over 1.5 contractions without any pain medications or medical interventions- everything I had prayed for in his labor and delivery.

His birth was everything I wanted and more, and even though I didn’t get the waterbirth I had hoped for it ended up being a good thing because the cord had been tightly wrapped around Noah’s neck and I had a small tear that also tore an artery which took some effort to get under control. But through it all God’s grace was there and we have our beautiful son to show for it.

 

 

 

 

~Amy

November 28, 2015

Simple & Sweet Turkey Brine

Turkey Brining

Turkey Brining

In preparation for a delicious Turkey fry with friends, I made my Sweet & Delicious Turkey brine today.
Brining a turkey is quite simple. With the turkey already de-thawed and roughly 24-hours prior to cooking (frying in this case) submerge the entire turkey in the brine while keeping the turkey cold. Since the bucket I am using for brining (a Vintner’s bucket) will not fit in our refrigerator, I am going to set the bucket outside as the temps are in the thirties. If you the route of placing the bucket outside be sure to watch the temp to avoid any freezing. Prior to cooking the turkey, remove it from the brine and rinse the turkey with cold water. If you will be frying the turkey, you need to dry the turkey off BEFORE putting the turkey in the fryer.

Sweet & Delicious Turkey Brine Ingredients

Sweet & Delicious Turkey Brine Ingredients

Sweet & Delicious Turkey Brine

Sweet & Delicious Turkey Brine

Sweet & Delicious Turkey Brine

  • 1 gallon of cold water (16 cups or 4 quarts)
  • 4 quarts (1 gallon) of hot water
  • 1 cup of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • .5 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoon of peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Fill a large pan/bucket with 1 gallon of cold water. This bucket will need to be refrigerator so choose your bucket size accordingly. Due to the cold temperatures I typically set mine outside.
  2. Heat up 4 quarts of water on the stove.
  3. Mix in the salt and sugar in with the 4 quarts of hot water. Stir until both completely dissolve. Then turn off the heat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the hot water and stir.
  5. Add the hot brine mixture to the cold gallon of water to start cooling the mixture to room temperature.
  6. Prepare the turkey for brining by removing the giblets and rinsing the turkey throughly.
  7. Once the brine has cooled room temperature, place the turkey in the brine solution breast first. If the turkey is not completely covered by the brine you can add some additional water. Otherwise you can rotate the turkey during the brining to ensure consistent flavoring.
  8. Refrigerate for 24-hours. If the turkey is not completely covered by the brine, be sure to rotate the turkey during the 24-hours.  In a 6-gallon bucket my 12.5 lb turkey was covered with 2-gallons of brine.
  9. After 24-hours remove the turkey from the brine solution and rinse the turkey throughly under cold water.
  10. Once cleaned, pat the turkey dry with paper towels and puncture a few holes into the turkey to allow the brine to soak in deeper. You are now ready to cook the turkey.

If you have used this brine recipe and process please comment below to let my know how it worked for you and how we can improve it.

~Nathan

September 5, 2015

Our breastfeeding journey

 

As we approach Amelia’s second birthday next week (how did that even happen!?) I’ve found myself really reflecting on our nursing relationship.  My goal was always at least a year, once she was here I had no doubts we would make it, but prior to her arrival I was plagued with worry over our breastfeeding relationship.  Would my milk come in?  Would she latch okay?  Would she get enough?  How would I feel about nursing in public?  My worries were endless.  My midwife thought it was comical that I had no worries about giving birth, but endless worries about breastfeeding…

I was blessed to have a baby, that despite being nearly three weeks early, had the perfect latch and knew what to do as soon as she was placed on my chest.  I didn’t get to experience the birth plan I had hoped for, but if I had to choose, I would 100 times over choose to have a great nursing relationship rather than the birth I had wanted.  In that respect I  am thankful.

I do have to say that our nursing relationship didn’t come without its own struggles.  The first 6 weeks I had sharp pain for the first 30-45 seconds of her latch, though thankfully, never had any cracking/bleeding issues. Her first 3 months there was a lot of worry over her getting enough milk and her low percentile weight.  Around 4 months she started only nursing 4 minutes per side each feeding, that caused anxiety as well- again I was left wondering if she was getting enough?  My relationship with my pump took time too, it was months before my boobs got the hang of it and I could pump without looking at pictures of Amelia.   Then there was my run in with fenugreek- it caused blood in Amelia’s stools that the doctors couldn’t figure out.  I eventually realized the fenugreek was causing it.  Not to mention my lack of sleep.  My formula feeding friends were having babies that slept through the night, while mine was getting up at least twice a night until 10 months.  10 months people!  Of never getting more than 3 hour increments of sleep. (She did finally start sleeping through the night at 15 months when she went down to one nap per day!).

And you know what?  It was worth every single anxiety filled, sleepless moment I experienced.  I never could have imagined the emotional bond that would come with nursing.  The comfort it gave her when she was restless or sick, and the peaceful moments it gave me with her.  Around a year Amelia began to take control of our nursing relationship, and it made my momma’s heart swell.  She would gently tug on my shirt and rub her face on me when she needed to nurse.  And when she would get up in the middle of the night as soon as I neared the glider in her bedroom she would already be leaning into her nursing position while simultaneously pulling on my tank top as we sit down.  It always touched my heart to know she loved this part of our relationship just as much, if not more, than I do.

As we moved into toddlerhood Amelia became more and more outspoken about her needs, “mommy milk” is what she would ask for.  It still astounds me that we were able to nurse until she was 22 months.  Towards the end it was more of an emotional checking in than a source of nourishment, but it was a special time. I’m thankful that in the end she chose to self-wean and it wasn’t something that was forced on me.  Once I became pregnant again is when she started down that path.

Now I have my son to look forward to nursing come February!

 

~Amy

March 5, 2015

Quick weekend in Mexico

When we returned home from Ireland in November Nathan and I knew we needed another trip for just us not too long after.  The 10 day European experience with Amelia was wonderful, but we needed time for just us too.  A vacation from our vacation per se.  Knowing that we were hoping to begin trying for our second child in February I used the last of our miles to book us airfare to Cancun and found us a cute little vacation rental in Playa del Carmen on the cheap! (Can you tell we love vacation rentals yet?!).

We left Amelia with my mom and her auntie on a Friday and returned home Tuesday.  With our direct flights 4 nights/3 days was just enough.  It was also great because as opposed to our last trip leaving Amelia for this long (NYC the previous year) I only had to pump twice a day to maintain her milk supply!

Our long weekend was spent indulging in delicious and authentic (and cheap!) hole-in-the wall Mexican cuisine, lounging on the beach, and enjoying our share of rum punch.

The rooftop of our condo rental- complete with pool:

~Amy
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