Late-term breech baby, Part 2

Maybe not the most flattering shot ever taken of me — prepping for the OR

Before we left the hospital after the first (unsuccessful) version, the clinic’s surgeon came in to talk to us and schedule attempted version number 2 for this Monday. He explained to us that this time, were I to want to go through with it, they’d give me an epidural to loosen up my uterine muscles and basically do what they did last week… try to physically move that baby into place. The major difference being that if it didn’t work, because I’d already be shot up with the epidural, they’d want to wheel me right into the OR for a c-section. He used the words “medically convenient.” Yikes!

We listened to the schpiel, then told him that if it didn’t work, and the baby was still strong and healthy, that I’d prefer to recover from the epidural and go home, try some other methods of turning that baby around, and when the baby was ready to make its grand entrance, if we were still breech, we’d come back in for the c-section. Medical convenience isn’t a good enough reason for me to cut short my baby’s growing time, and if the kid’s healthy, it seems unnecessary. He rubbed his eyes (better than rolling them) and said “Okay.” He said the chances of such a big baby (really, just so close to the due date) flipping on its own were very slim, but if that’s what we wanted to do, that’s what would happen.

We came home, did some research, and over the next six days, we tried everything we could to encourage Peanut to turn, baby, turn. We tried making an appointment with a highly recommended acupuncturist (she was on vacation, naturally), the flashlight on my lower belly, headphone with music on the lower belly, knees on the couch with head on the floor followed by butt planted on the couch and head on the floor (usually with music on my lower belly). Come Sunday, we tracked down the only herbal store that was open and bought some Moxa sticks, a Chinese remedy, and my sweetie burned one of the sticks next to the first knuckle on the outside of my pinky toe. I swear we tried everything to get that baby to turn, and to no avail.

So Monday came and we dropped off the girls with my sister, then headed once again to the birth center. They talked us once again through our options, hooked me up to a fetal monitor, then started prepping me for the procedure, which would actually be done in the OR this time. I tried to keep my sense of humor, as I was filled with anxiety like never before.

Once I was in the OR, the anesthesiologist started hooking up my epidural through a spinal block, just in case I needed an emergency c-section, and I laid down on the table. My entire body felt like your foot feels when it’s just starting to wake back up, before the pins and needles start. Then as the surgeon started talking to me about what would be happening, I told him I was nauseous. The next thing I remember is him really close to my face, calling my name and asking if I hear him. Apparently I fainted for a good 15-20 seconds, at which point my blood pressure dropped and Peanut’s heart rate went from the usually 130-ish down to 50 bpm. Scary.

At that point, they told me what happened and told me they needed to wait for both the baby and I to recover before they could attempt the second version, if I still wanted it. Um, yeah… for the love of goddess, I already feel like crap, let’s not stop now and have this all be for naught!

Heart rates went back up to normal, Gabe was finally brought in to hold my hand (and work on getting some color back in my face) and the version was started. I felt nothing except for being shaken (which I couldn’t so much feel as I could see the ceiling moving above me), and then Gabe saw a smile on the surgeon’s face. The version was successful! Thank. Goodness.

Off I was wheeled into recovery, where I sat for 6 hours on fetal and contraction monitors, and we finally left the hospital about 9 1/2 hours after we got there. The saving grace to the whole day was that Peanut was facing the right way and the home birth that we’ve been planning on for the last number of months was back on track. Hallelujah!

Gabe was fantastic and supportive. It’s really easy to forget that this whole process has been really hard on him, too… it’s not just me or my baby, it’s ours. He’s been right there next to me to hold me hand when he’s been allowed, and even fasted with me, when needed. He laid on the floor with me, while I was upside down, when we were still trying to get the baby to turn. He definitely gets the Daddy of the Year award, as far as I’m concerned.

We hit 40 weeks today and Peanut is still headed south. I’m spending a lot of time on a birthing ball and going for long walks, between making cloth wipes and receiving blankets out of old flannel sheets. Hello, Martha Stewart! Gabe and I are about out the door to our Due Date Date, a recommendation from one of our home birth midwives… probably our last chance to do this for a while, and I’m going to count my blessings that I have such an amazing partner as well as awesome support from both our midwives and our clinic.

Now, it’s up to Peanut to tell us when he or she is done baking. In the wise words of Tom Petty, waiting is the hardest part.

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Adventures in late-term pregnancy

38 1/2 weeks

It was last Tuesday, the day before we were officially 39 weeks, and I’d gone into the clinic, where I’ve gotten my parallel care since the beginning of my pregnancy, before we’d even really planned on having a home birth. The midwife I was scheduled to see that day felt around my belly, feeling the very same hard lumps I spend all day petting and poking, measured the height of the fundus (yep, that’s my public bone, thanks!) and pulled out the doppler to listen to the heartbeat.

Bear in mind that I had already had my home birth midwife visit that morning, so most of this was a re-run, but at the end of the pregnancy, I figure you can’t be too careful. If both my midwives and the clinic want to see me on a weekly basis, that’s fine with me. Better to have that extra set of hands each week to sense if something might be amiss.

So the morning midwife visit was cake. She pulled out the fetascope, found Peanut’s heartbeat in the same basic place we’d been finding it over the last few weeks, and while Peanut wasn’t exactly head down, what we thought was going on was that the kidlet was kind of diagonal, with his or her head in the lower left quadrant, and the booty in the upper right. But something about the afternoon visit told that provider that the lump we’d been thinking was a booty, was really a head. Then she found the heartbeat in the upper right quadrant. Shoot.

She left the room to make me a quick ultrasound appointment upstairs, and told me to [waddle] up there, then come back down and let her know if she was right about the head placement. I called my sweetie, who was waiting in the parking lot with my stepdaughters, and told him what was up, all the while trying to keep my composure. The ultrasound tech brought me right in, scanned the upper belly lump and confirmed that yes, that was Peanut’s head. Defeated, I wandered back downstairs to the clinic and told the midwife, who said “I hate when I’m right!” “I hate when you’re right, too, Carolyn,” I responded, but better we figure this out now, than when I’m in labor.

So I was ushered back into an exam room (where I was met by my favorite assistant who asked what I was doing back there, then saw the look on my face and asked “Breech?” to which my eyes started leaking) and the midwife got on the horn with the birth center, where one of the clinic’s high-risk doctors was working, and who would talk to me about an external cephalic version. This is where two people (doctor and helper) lube up the belly and literally try to pick up the “lumps” and rotate them to where they should be, from the outside. This is all done with an ultrasound tech on-hand, who checks the fetal monitor regularly and re-checks the baby’s position just as often.

Long story short, everyone’s schedules fell into place, Gabe called the girls’ mom to come pick them up, and they got me right in for the version. Which didn’t work. I left the birth center that night with a sore belly and a bruised attitude, and directions to come back on Monday for attempt #2, that time with an epidural.

To be continued…

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

Ahh, sweet maternity leave. Finally time to attack all the projects I’ve been meaning to get to, but never had energy left after an 8-hour work day with a giant belly. I’ll spare you the details of how I changed the belt on our vacuum cleaner all by myself and now our carpets are spotless!

Anyway, I belong to a Facebook group that largely focuses on saving money on normal household chores and responsibilities, and probably a month back, one of the mamas on there posted a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. There’s a time in my life where the idea of making my own homemade detergent would likely not have appealed to me, but we were running low on our giant (and not inexpensive) bottle of Tide, and with Peanut on the way (due in less than three weeks!), it’s always good to know what’s in your detergent and for the minimal time and money expenditures, making my own seemed worth a try.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1 bar of regular bar soap (original recipe recommended Fels Naptha, but I went with Ivory snow)

Directions:

  • With a dedicated cheese grater, grate the bar of soap into a container.

    Soap before 90 seconds in the microwave

  • OR if you’re adventurous, my mom told me about a website that suggested microwaving the bar of soap… yes, microwaving it on a plate for 90 seconds, which does this to it:

Bar of soap after 90 seconds in the microwave!

The soap looks light and fluffy, like meringue, but looks can be deceiving — it will not be delicious! It’s actually light and stiff, so at this point…

  • Slide the soap off the plate into your container and crumble it with a potato masher or similar. Some websites suggest running it through a food processor or VitaMix, but that seems like overkill, as long as you don’t have a problem with some soap flakes in your final mix (and I don’t).
  • Add Borax and Washing Soda
  • Mix well
  • Store in an air-tight container
  • Use 2 Tbsp per normal load of laundry

Finished product in air-tight container

Verdict: This whole process took me maybe 20 minutes from start to finish, and according to somebody else’s math, detergent for each load of laundry only costs about 7.5¢. I’ve still got two bars of soap left and at least two more loads worth of Borax and Washing Soda, so I foresee this lasting a while. Oh, and the cleanup is a piece of cake!

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Fire Wire (not just for techies, anymore!)

Fire Wires on the barbie

I started following Rantings of an Amateur Chef‘s blog a couple of months ago, attracted to his recipes for things that it looked like I could actually, potentially cook, myself. He also occasionally gets items in the mail to review, and so, we discovered the Fire Wire.

I went to the Fire Wire website, hoping to find them for sale locally, and to my pleasure, found that Garden Gate in Arcata is a vendor. Yay local! Gabe and I went in to get a couple of packs (they come two-to-a-pack) and they were out of stock, but ordered them that week, and happened to have gotten them in before we wandered back in there this week. Bigger YAY for local businesses that understand the value of their customers.

Fire Wires are made of thick wire with a loop and metal tag with a hole at one end, and a somewhat thicker piece of metal at the other end.

Not owning normal metal skewers, I’ve read that Fire Wires hold approximately double the amount of goodies that usual skewers do.

How’s it work? Cut up your meat and veggies as per usual, and string them onto the Fire Wire over the metal end. The metal end isn’t sharp, but it popped nicely through the marinated chicken, onions, Brussels sprouts and bell peppers that we had on-hand. Then run the metal end through the hole in the metal tag, which makes it into a loop. Throw on the barbecue for the prescribed amount of time.

Verdict: Love it! Prep time was minimal and easy. We marinated chicken breasts in lemon juice and herbs (the science behind citric acid “cooking” meat completely blows my mind, but I only left the meat in the juice/herbs mixture for maybe 20 minutes, and already, it was starting to cook). After about 20 minutes on the barbecue, the meat was still juicy (and deliciously lemony) and the veggies were all cooked but not overly cooked… still crispy and delicious.

We cooked up some rice with chicken bullion and I unstrung my barbecued veggies over it. The girls had fun eating their meat and veggies right off the Wire.

Veggies and rice

We quite look forward to using our Fire Wires throughout the season. Beef, tofu and more chicken (maybe laced with strips of bacon?) are definitely on the menu for the Topping-Pressure House. These should provide for a pretty easy dinner option after the baby comes, and they’re as healthy as you want to make them.

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“You mean your breasts?”

“You mean your breasts? That’s what you can say that would be much more polite.”

I just got told by a 9-year-old.

Peanut’s now 33 1/2 weeks and what I have always been afraid would happen (that an old rib injury would come back full force when I got pregnant) has come true. Many years ago, in a world of rowdy punk rock shows, I was squished between two big dudes as an overly packed crowd ebbed toward the stage, and the cartilage between my ribs became detached from the ribs (or whatever it was supposed to be attached to).

But I digress…

This evening, as I sat outside with my laptop, grateful to my employers for letting me do some work from home when the office doesn’t feel good on my body (neither the office chair nor the pilates ball I trade between can stop my ribs from killing me, some days), Peanut started moving much higher and to the right side than I’d noticed before. And let’s face it, babies make breasts grow, and as someone who’s never been particularly well endowed, I was intrigued that in order to see my belly move, I had to move my breast out of the way. And of course, I had to go inside the house and share this news with my partner.

Which is when our 9-year-old (my step-daughter) entered the room… just in time to hear me say “I had to hike my booby out of the way to see it!”

Thus, I was scolded and told how to be more polite. She was right, I was wrong and I apologized, somewhat embarassed, but mostly proud that the manners and etiquette that I tend to be so strict about might finally be making a difference. Parenting win? Hah.

image

Peanut, the Royal Rutababy -- 33 1/2 weeks -- and proud Royal Rutamama (a.k.a. the Peanut Hauler). To try and make sense of any of this, visit http://www.kineticgrandchampionship.org.

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Bacon/Scrambled Egg/Pancake Cupcakes!

Oh wow, it’s been a bit longer than intended since our last post. Sorry about that. We’ve had many food adventures, budgeting learning experiences and lots of mind-blowing baby developments. I’ll try to fill those in the best I can, but first…

A few days ago, this photo started circulating on Facebook:

A good friend of mine had a birthday coming up this weekend and I couldn’t get this idea out of my head… bacon + eggs + muffin tins… how hard could it be? I had to give it a try for her party this morning (which, incidentally, turned into a mid-afternoon brunch, so it was apropos). Short of actually finding a recipe for the above photo, I faked it. Here, I’ll tell you what I did… then what I’ll do differently next time.

First, I greased the giant muffin pan and poured pancake batter into the bottom of each cup. Then I lined the sides of each cup with a strip of bacon.

Then it went into the oven, for the first time, at 375 degrees (per Krusteaz instructions). In the meantime, I was cooking the rest of my pancakes and Gabe scrambled up 6 eggs.

When it seemed like the pancake batter in the muffin tin was adequately cooked and the bacon was starting to crisp up, we ladled the scrambled egg into the bacon cups. This was a challenge because as bacon cooks, it gets wavy and wanted to cave in, so I did my best to hold open the bacon cups (while not burning the heck out of my fingers) and Gabe ladled in the egg. Then we put the whole mess back into the oven. I have no idea how long it took, but I checked on it every 10 minutes or so.

When a toothpick inserted into a couple of the “cupcakes” came out clean, I pulled the tin out of the oven. Some of them were prettier than others, but all were delicious.

Of course the birthday girl got the prettiest of the cupcakes. She loved it, so total win.

The lovely Laroo blowing out the candle. This project is not limited to friends you've known for half your life.

Now, what I’ll do differently next time is pour in the pancake batter and throw it into the oven (at 375 degrees) and bake one side, and while that’s cooking, half-cook the bacon. Then, flip the half-cooked pancakes and add the pre-cooked bacon (which starts getting wavy and then has a decent amount of grease cooked out of it) to the sides, and pour in the scrambled eggs (mixed with onions, chopped spinach and maybe potatoes?) and put back into the oven until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

This is not health food. No way. But good lawd is it tasty (seriously, the bacon essence seeped into the pancake bottom!) and relatively easy (not quick) to make. If you have any other flavor or prep suggestions, I’ll gladly take them. I foresee trying this again at some point not far down the road.

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Stir Fry!

Stir fry!

The family was hungry as soon as they picked me up from the bus stop last night, so I wanted to get some dinner going that would come together somewhat quickly.

I was inspired all day by one of our blog followers, Rantings of an Amateur Chef, and a simple, quick Sesame Ginger Noodles recipe that was posted yesterday.

What I made had very little resemblance to that recipe, but hey, I thought they deserved credit for reminding me that I own a wok!

Ingredients:

  • Firm tofu
  • Soy Vay teriyaki marinade
  • Pasta (I used spaghetti because it’s what I had. Any Chinese noodle would have been good — and appropriate — too.)
  • 2 Shredded carrots (cheese graters DO have other jobs!)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (more would have been good)
  • 7 pearl onions (regular onion would have done fine, but I didn’t want this little ones going bad)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • Handful of fresh spinach, rinsed and drained

Tofu, after marinating in Soy Veh.

What I Should Have Done (Notice I didn’t say “Directions”? Yeah, I should have done things differently):

  • Cut up tofu and marinate it in the Soy Vay (Fun fact: Soy Vay’s creator is an alumnus of Humboldt State University! I <3 my job.)
  • Boil the noodles.
  • Cut up/grate the veggies.
  • Heat up some oil (I used vegetable oil) in your wok/deep pan.
  • With your burner on medium, throw in the marinated tofu after draining off most of the excess marinade. Brown the tofu.
  • Toss in the veggies.
  • Add the pasta last. (It’s already cooked! I did this too early in the process and it didn’t give the other veggies a lot of room to move around and cook as I stirred it all up… learning as I go.)
  • Turn the heat down to low and throw the lid on the pan/wok, stirring often, to let the pasta soak up the veggie flavors.

The veggies, except for the spinach.

Verdict: Total family dinner win. The girls (now freshly 9 and 10 years old) both asked for seconds… wish I had a bigger wok, so I could have made more. As per usual, I grade recipes while considering whether a monkey (like myself) can handle it, and clearly, this is possible. When we do it again, I’ll add the ingredients to the wok in the correct order. And make more. Success!

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