Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Because I have so much time on my hands...

And I'm trying to stall from doing my housework, here are some random pictures:
I just think this one is cute, even though her face is kind of dirty, we just had eaten dinner.
And here is the sight I stumbled upon when I woke up this morning. I found it hysterical because poor Mr. Blue never has anything to sleep on. We stopped buying him bedding and giving him blankets because he always eats them. No one should be allowed to have a bed if they can't stop themselves from eating it. But we got rid of our old couches and Jason thought one of the cushions would make a fine bed for Blue (our frugality continues) and it turns out the mutt loves it. It's only slightly too small and this is often how we find him on it. He couldn't be happier, except if he had the good sense to curl up like normal dogs.
And here is a picture of my mom and Hannah at the Aquarium of the Pacific. My parents treated Hannah and I to a day of touching sea anenomes and sting rays. Hannah hasn't stopped talking about her day there and Gamma Teen (Grandma Christine) and Papa Tim, and the turtle, the sharks and their big teeth, and Nemo fishies.

Interesting Birth Article

This was sent to me via my www.ican-online.com email list, a support group for women with scarred uteruses wishing to give birth naturally to their next babes. Ha, ha, I'll try not to use the word uterus again! Anyhoo, the article features one of the OBs in my group. The link, however was not shared, so here is the article in it's entirety (sorry for the yucky format):

Midwives Decry Fearful Trend in Birthing PracticeBy Melinda TuhusWeNews correspondentWOMENSENEWS) --At 30 percent of all deliveries, the current national Caesarean-section rate in the United States is twice the 15 percent maximum rate recommended by the World Health Organization and three times the preferred rate cited by many researchers.All of which Dr. Bruce Flamm, an obstetrician with Kaiser Permanente in Riverside, Calif., says is remarkable.But he isn't sure if it's remarkably good or remarkably bad.Flamm says that notwithstanding the WHO recommendation- -which followed the same official U.S. health recommendations in the Healthy People 2000 initiative-- there isn't enough data to say what the appropriate C-section rate should be."Some of my colleagues think it should be higher," Flamm says. "I have heard some doctors say that all women should have babies by C-section, that vaginal births are archaic. Some docs have a C-section rate of 50 percent because they believe in their hearts it's the best thing for their patients."Flamm does not include himself in the group of doctors who think vaginal births are archaic, but he does agree with the October 2006 recommendation by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists- -to which he belongs--issued against out-of-hospital births.Even though the chance of something going wrong is very small, Flamm thinks it's safer to have all necessary equipment and personnel immediately available in case of an unforeseen emergency, which can happen even in low-risk pregnancies.The physician organization' s recommendation- -combined with the rising rate of C-sections-- is a hot topic among midwives.Nurse-Midwife Protest LetterThe American College of Nurse-Midwives sent a letter in late November 2006 to the physician's organization taking issue with the idea that safety could only be provided in a hospital."The safety of birth in any setting is of utmost priority," the letter read. "The implication that there is insufficient evidence to support the safety of planned out-of-hospital birth is unsubstantiated . . . Furthermore, we are not aware of evidence supporting the assertion that the hospital is the safest setting for labor, birth and the immediate post-partum period for low-risk women."The letter went on to say that by discouraging support for out-of-hospital birth providers the organization' s position could harm the culture of safety around birth, for patients and providers. It appealed for collaboration to ensure women's safety.Stacy Brooks, a spokeswoman for the physicians' organization, says the decision to recommend only hospital births was not based on data showing home births are dangerous, but just to minimize any possible complication.The midwives' organization, on the other hand, lists multiple studies on its Web site supporting the safety of home births.One large study, published in June 2005 by the British Medical Journal, concluded that the safety of "planned home birth for low-risk women" in North America involving certified midwives "was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar mortality to that of similar hospital births."Many midwives also say that the growing preference for hospital settings automatically leads to unnecessary and often uncomfortable interventions. A prime example is the fetal monitor, which Flamm says he thinks is used on virtually all women who labor in hospitals.Fetal Monitors StudiedMeredith Goff, a practicing midwife on the faculty of the Yale School of Nursing, is writing a paper about the reliability of fetal monitors versus the old-fashioned fetoscope.The former is an electronic device, usually attached to the outside of a woman's belly and less often attached through the vagina to the baby's head. The latter is a hand-held instrument a medical provider moves over the women's belly to periodically check the baby's heartbeat."There is absolutely no evidence to support continuous fetal monitoring since it came about in the late 1960s," Goff says, "yet in 2002, it was used on 85 percent of women in labor in the U.S. It's the most commonly performed obstetrical procedure. And every professional organization agrees there is no evidence of its usefulness."In fact, she says, the procedure has a very high false positive rate, meaning that in most cases when the monitor indicates fetal distress, the baby is fine. "So we're doing all these C-sections for no reason because we can't divorce ourselves from this technology," Goff adds.One of the trends that many midwives find particularly troubling is the decline in vaginal births after Cesareans.They point to a June 2006 study by researchers at the University of Utah of more than 30,000 women. Published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the study found several serious complications, including hysterectomy and the need for a major blood transfusion, increased significantly with each C-section.Dr. Robert Silver, chief of high-risk obstetrics at the University of Utah, is the primary author of the study. Only 9 percent of babies born to a woman who has had a C-section are delivered vaginally now, down from 30 percent a decade ago."Vaginal deliveries after a C-section are pretty safe, the risk is quite low," Silver says, "but I think people have gotten scared off."Downsides to Both OptionsSilver says there are downsides to both options. Vaginal deliveries can damage the pelvic floor, possibly leading to urinary and fecal incontinence and pro-lapse (in which the pelvic organs descend, causing discomfort). C-section births lead to more maternal morbidity, increased recovery time, less bonding and more difficulty with breastfeeding.Paula Cate, a midwife who's delivered more than 4,000 babies in 28 years, says a factor in the rocketing rise of C-sections is the economic incentives of highly skilled medical specialists favoring a high-tech birth, like the rise in the participation of anesthesiologists in even routine births."There are now lots of places where there are anesthesiologists on the labor and delivery floor, but when I started in 1978 that wasn't true; you had to call them to come," says Cate.Midwife Deborah Cibelli argues that C-sections are being driven by a fear of lawsuits. "It's a rare provider who gets sued for doing a C-section," she says, "but if there's any outcome that's less than perfect, you can get sued for not doing a C-section."With the cost of malpractice insurance for both midwives and physicians skyrocketing, many providers find it more prudent to do C-sections if there's any hint--however remote or even mistaken--of complications. Midwives say current popular culture does little to subdue the sense of danger and complication surrounding childbirth.Cibelli, for instance, says "The Baby Story," a program on the Learning Channel that shows labor and birth experiences, recorded several of her patients delivering their babies in the hospital, but none of them was shown."The filmmakers told us that mine were just too normal. What really sells is drama. They love the rushing down the hallway to save the baby's life to do a C-section. Mine were quiet, with dimmed lights. The people filming thought they were wonderful, but they knew they were not going to sell because they were not sensational. "------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]__._,_.___

Monday, January 29, 2007


An unexpected guest sometime last week had me remembering a magnet a dear friend once had on her refridgerator. It said this:

God blesses this house, but He doesn't clean it
If you're here to see me, come any time
But if you're here to see my house, make an appointment

It's always so embarassing when someone stops in and there are dishes from the night before still gracing the counters and stove, and overflowing the sink. I always think, I really need to get better at this homemaking thing. And honestly, I really have made some progress. The other day I spent a couple hours going through our linen closet which also doubles as storage for household items, first aid, personal care stuff and I threw so much stuff out I actually have a bare shelf in there now. I am by nature awful at doing that kind of thing. I could spend endless hours watching nonsense on the tv, or reading blogs, anything but going through droors or cleaning cabinets, or that dreadful dust-covered top of the refridgerator.

I once told my friends mom about my cleaning "style". Without thinking I told her that I pretty much just clean on the surface of things but will stuff things under the bed and into droors, as long as it looks OK who cares?

She said something to me I'll never forget. Come to think of it I was pretty miffed by what she said: "Hmmm, wonder what that means about you as a person."


So now I'm training myself to peer into droors and instead of frowning and leaving them as they are, I'm beginning to straighten them out, get rid of unnecessary junk, and be proud of my work. So when you come by here, it won't be house beautiful, but it will be a work in progress. One day, I can aspire to being so organized that maybe I can have my house "guest ready" all the time. But for now, please refer to my friend's magnet.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pottery Barn Blue and Feeling Optimistic

We had a good, industrious weekend. Well, Jason had an industrious weekend while I colored and wached movies on the couch with Hannah. I kept asking Hannah if she wanted to go outside and she said, "No, too cold." I suppose for our area, the weather seemed more brisk than usual. The two of us went for a walk around the neighborhood, and that was the extent of being outdoors for us. Jason, finally having a free weekend worked on Hannah's room/office (we live in a two bedroom house). I think he's also feeling more motivated since we have a new little one on the way. When we first moved in, Jason got rid of all the cottage cheese on the ceilings. He redid the living room, but the two bedrooms have been neglected, leaving a very dull, displeasing gray on the ceilings, and we hadn't painted the rooms yet either. There is just so much other stuff to do, it wasn't a priority. But he mudded (mudding a ceiling is no small task) and took off the cheesy "crown moulding" that was put up by the previous owners and primed the whole room so we could say goodbye to the Pepto pink that it was before. I was thinking I would like a light green color, and that it would be good for a boy and a girl's room. Jason wasn't impressed with the paint chips I brought back and so I started looking through the Pottery Barn kids catalogue that was mysteriously sent to my house. I say mysteriously because I never shop there. It's much too expensive. And it doesn't really match our Ikea stuff, he he. But as I was looking at all the photos with greens paint on the walls, trying to convince Jason it would look nice, I came across one with a muted blue-gray paint and the textiles matched what I was going for with the blue, green and white crib bedding I already have from Hannah (we didn't know is she was going to be a girl or boy until she was born), and blues, pinks, and greens for some bedding I'd like to get Hannah for a big girl bed. And then I looked up at my ceiling in my living room. In our living room it is painted a blueish greenish gray, that I just love because it doesn't look drab at all and goes with everything, and we painted the ceiling a shade or two darker to make it appear as though the ceiling was a bit higher. I asked Jason if we had any of that paint left. And we did! So we painted the room with it and I am so happy with it, it looks much more blue in there than it does on the ceiling, but still quite subtle and just like the picture in the Pottery Barn catalogue. So hooray for leftover, free paint! I got some cute green curtains from Cost Plus on sale, and I'm feeling like our little house is finally becoming mine. I think with so much to do, I could never really decorate. This house has never felt like mine. It just always seemed like Jason's project that I had to live in.

The more I am placing some finishing touches on the walls, the less I sourly look down on the flooring which desperately needs to be replaced. But I can somehow live with it a bit longer. Today I am feeling thankful, refreshed, and optimistic. I'm even feeling more optimistic about giving birth. Faces are becoming more familiar and friendly at the new church too. So it is good to have a happier outlook at my circumstances - even if it's just for today. It's a blessing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Birth Fears

As I'm getting further along in my pregnancy, and have made some key decisions to have this baby naturally, I am starting to have to deal with the reality of my fears. I'm not scared that anything awful is going to happen. I'm just scared of losing control. I'm scared about my decision to birth in a hospital again. I'm worried that doctors are going to give me the "dead baby card" as I progress in my pregnancy and I'm going to agree to interventions I know I don't need or want. But then I'm scared I'm going to feel a couple contractions and be in so much pain that I'll sabotage my dream birth and ask to be driven to the hospital immediately and voluntarily climb on to the operating table.

And I'm trying to let go of some anger I have from my previous birth experience. Why was I so stupid to let a busy OB persuade me into thinking I needed to be induced? I wasn't even a week past my due date. And then after I had laid there in bed, barely progressing, why didn't I just go home? Did I really think I could have a baby laying in bed all day? But I suppose there are women who do. But I feel robbed. This being my second baby, I wish I had some experience of labor, or even know what it truly feels like. Not just the bizarre cramps I had from the bags of pitocin I was given.

Now that I'm educating myself more and more and reading endless stories of natural births, I want one desperately, but feel like I should have gone with my instinct to have a home birth. There I wouldn't have nurses and OBs trying to bully me into doing something I don't want to do because I'm not progressing on their time table. But to please others I decided to to go to a hospital. The hospital I chose is supposedly very VBAC friendly, and is good about natural births, but it is still a hospital. And I don't want to be strapped to the bed. But I know they are going to want to do continuous fetal monitoring because I have VBAC stamped on my forehead like the scarlet letter.

So I'm trying to prepare myself to stand my ground. If I don't want to do something, I will say NO. I will be ornery if need be. The hospital staff may hate me. I need to be OK about being my own advocate and not falling into what my mom used to describe me as "going everywhere the wind blows". I'm also expecting a difficult labor. I think I thought having my first one was going to be a breeze, and that I'd just get the epidural and be like, totally awesome. OMG!

I'm praying for a safe and natural labor. If there is truly a problem, wheel me into the OR. But if not, I just want to be left alone, allowed to labor on my terms. Is wanting this realistic?

I haven't met with my new OB and midwife yet, and I thought I was going to be able to last week, but it's next week, and I'm nervous. How much do I tell them? Should I mention that in my perfect world, I'd spend the vast majority of my labor at home and show up to the hospital pushing. Lord knows I'd rather have my baby in the car than the hospital! Lord have mercy!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wedding #2 Thomas and Maria

Thomas and his gorgeous, sweet, wonderful bride, Maria, on the dance floor. Congratulations, Hams!

Hannah dancing with daddy. She still has not stopped talking about dancing, and Thomas and Maria's wedding.

Me, Hannah, and Jason.

Hmmm...Wish I had a makeup artist every day.

The wedding ceremony was the most beautiful I have ever seen. We had a lovely time at the reception, and since Thomas and ourselves went to the same church before we went to the Orthodox church, we got to visit with some old friends we hadn't seen in a while. To dear Thomas and Maria, Many Years, and we love you both.

Wedding #1 - Jessica and Mark

Here are some shots of the girls getting ready in the hotel room:

The Bride Jessica getting all "done up" in the make up artist's chair. My old friend from highschool "Lil' Jen and yes, that is myself on the right with more makeup than I have ever worn in my life. We were pretending to be glamour girls. It was fun!

The beautiful bride, ready to go to the church!

The reception - the obligatory garter scene. And here are the three best friends since sophomore year of high shcool on the right. We are still a bunch of goofballs.

I could smack myself for not getting a picture of Jason and I. We are both so lousy at taking pictures. But we had a great time. Weddings are the only time I can get Jason to dance with me, so I took full advantage of it. I shook my booty and belly all night, well at least until 9:30, when I realized I was a whole half hour up past my bed time and would soon turn into a pumpkin. I also missed Hannah terribly sinced I was gone all day and the night before spending the night at the hotel with the bridesmaids and bride. The bride and groom are now in St. Thomas enjoying their honeymoon. Many Years to them!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Who's playing the role of "drunk, dancing fool guy" at this wedding?

I went to two beautiful weddings this weekend, as I've mentioned before. And I will post pictures soon, but I'm too lazy to do that today (I'm recuperating). But for some reason, Jason and I always end up being seated closely to to the loud guy who drinks too much at weddings, embarassing his girlfriend and dancing like a maniac, and I just have to share. Having made a fool out myself for drinking too much in the past, I don't mind sitting next to drunk people, in fact I find it quite entertaining. Brings back the memories, and the gratefulness that I'm not in that place anymore.

My best friend had a very fancy wedding, and the reception was at the Summit House in Fullerton, CA, which is a distinguished restaurant on a hill, known for gourmet food. Jason and I had the fish dinner, while our jovial neighbor dug into his cornished hen. He, apparently wasn't aware that this was a fancy place, with knife and fork in both hands, and with a mouth full of wild rice and mushroom sauce said to me in all sincerity, "Who the F--- likes this sh--? No one likes cornished game hen. And this was probably $50 a plate. Sh--! At my wedding - it's tacos. Everyone likes tacos. We'll get a taco guy and for a 1000 bucks, feed everyone, and fork out another $1000 to buy cervezas for everyone too." I smiled and nodded. Jason and I shared a little chuckle and knowing look, like, yup, here's this wedding's drunk, dancing fool guy.

A few vodka and redbulls later, and just after the cake was served, he was on the dance floor with a spoon and a plate of cake waving around in his arms. He later returned, complained some more about the food, and how he was going to have a taco guy, enchiladas, and sashimi. I said, "Sashimi? That's kind of expensive isn't it?" He replied, "But sashimi is good." I agreed. His girlfriend took him home shortly after that.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I got my feelings hurt today.

I know that sounds really juvenile. Just the other night Jason and I were joking about how our theme music right now is, "waw, waw, waw..."

We got new tires that were very much needed on our car but now the truck is running horrible and we can't get it in to the mechanic until next week, on a very busy, stressful week. Waw, waw, waw.

The mattresses are on sale at Costco right now until the beginning of February. (We've been sleeping on a full since we got married.) Oh, but we can't buy anything right now, so nevermind. Waw, waw, waw.

Amongst a string of things to dampen our spirits lately, today's punch to the stomach had me leaving a salon in tears. This weekend my best friend from high school is getting married, and I am a bridesmaid. I've needed to get my hair done again for a couple of weeks but with January, as usual, being the fiscally crappy month it is, I held off. My sweet friend also wanted to have a spa day which was this Saturday, and with that, on her wedding day she got a stylist to come do our hair and a makeup artist to do our makeup. All that is fabulous, but ridiculously expensive. So I borrowed some money from my kind and generous parents which I can pay them back with my babysitting money - I know, pretty jr. high, but ya gotta do, what ya gotta do. So as wedding day is looming, my color on my hair is fading and I still need a trim. I only have a couple more days left and we have one car that Jason is using for work. But I remembered there is a beauty school really close to my house. Not walking distance, but close enough that it wouldn't be a big deal to fire up the truck. I looked at their prices and I was like, yeah! I could even get a manicure if I wanted to! So Hannah and I took off and when we got there, we were a little early, so we walked around a craft store to kill time. We came back in and this lady asked me what I needed. I told her, and then she looked down at the stroller to see Hannah, and with a frown on her face said, "Is she going to stay in there?" I replied, "Well she usually does." I wasn't about to make any guaruntees regarding my two year old. Then the lady said, "Well, yesterday there was another little girl and she was running around all over the place, and they (she never fully explained who "they" were) had a really tough time with her." I just told her that I always bring my daughter, and that she is not usually a problem, and that's when the lady said, "That's what that mom said too." Well excuse me! What do you want from me, lady, a written contract that states that my toddler won't get out of her stroller or run around with some scissors dumping out canisters of barbicide?

I already felt like I was taking a chance coming to a beauty school and my patience was getting a little thin. I just asked her if she wanted me to leave. She said, no, but just what a hard time they had with the last little girl. Ugh, like I didn' hear her the first time. But she went ahead and rang me up and had me sit down. I was starting to feel a bit ready to ask for my money back. The lady was upstairs and then came back down. She went on to say again, for the third time what a hard time they had with the last little girl. Then I just said, "Well, if you don't want me to be here, just give me my money back and we'll go." She said no, went back upstairs, came back and said, "Do you have anyone to watch her?" I was completely flabberghasted at this point and fought the urge to roll my eyes and then throw a sippy cup at her. I flatly said no and then she said she would go ahead and refund me. Oh, thanks, what a doll. As she figured out what she owed me back, I could feel my chin getting dimpled, lip quivering, and eyes getting warm, ready to release the tears. These days whatever thick skin I once had is now like tissue paper. I took the money back as pleasantly as I could. The lady never said sorry or anything.

When I opened the door Hannah started crying, "No mama, stay and get haircut!" That only heightened the hurt I was feeling. We made it back to the truck and explained that the lady hurt mama's feelings and wouldn't let me get my haircut there. We both cried.

I desperately wanted to call Jason and cry to him on the phone, but he's difficult to reach at work, and doesn't have the kind of job he can take the time to listen to his sobbing wife who was denied a haircut. I realize there are places that are not kid-friendly. But I've always taken my daughter with me to salons, and the people were always sweet and accomadating. Hannah always did really well too. I was just so excited about how inexpensive this was going to be, and really looking forward to it. I just wish the lady would have told me as soon as I walked in, Oh, sorry, ma'am, we don't allow little ones here. I would have been a little irritated, but understanding, and left with out tears.

So that's it. Pretty lame, huh?

I tried to get a cheap hair cut and color at a beauty school. And they wouldn't let me because I had my daughter with me.

Waw, waw, waw.

And now I feel compelled to write something upbeat, so when my mom reads this she won't think I am in a deep, dark, depression, in addition to horrible money troubles. To both of those, I'm not, and we aren't.

We are not poor, we are just a one-income family that doesn't have much extra, and that's OK. It's just limiting at times. And for the most part, I am happy with my life. Jason is the best. We drive each other nuts sometimes, but I can't live without him, and I know he loves me too. And we have our health, and babies, our own house...OK I think I'm starting to feel better now.

*taking a deep breath*

Ahh. Blogging as therapy.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A bad day that ended well.

Yesterday, we had a perfect storm. It seems my pregnancy, emotional basketcase hormones peaked at the same time Jason woke up in a bad mood, not feeling well at all, and Hannah didn't feel 100% either because with the potty training, she didn't poop for three days, and was a grumpy, constipated child. We didn't make it to church. It was a pretty miserable day. A day that no matter what is said, comes out the wrong way, and is taken the wrong way. I learned that potty training is a bit draining as well, and is no fun when everyone is in a bad mood.

But, the day was not a complete failure. Because in the evening, Hannah, after getting stage fright at each attempt to poop on her potty, and even getting poop on the bathroom floor a couple inches away from her potty about an hour prior, sat down on her potty in the living room and left a couple glorious terds for us to admire. There was kissing, hugging, clapping, m&ms being distributed, and a grumpy family given a chance to forget everything that sucked that day, and to go to bed smiling and proud of each other.

So, our little girl is a big kid now. She's a pro at peeing in the potty already, and doesn't even wet her pull-up at night. We got her some princess, big girl panties that she wears proudly. I think the best thing for her was taking away diapers and pull-ups during the day. She had some accidents, but they taught her she dislikes having pee run down her legs. If I gave her a pull-up during the day at home, she would just sneak a pee in it. I think having her go completey diaperless avoided a mean power struggle that could have lasted a really long time. Diapers are now just not an option, and she gets it. So, yay. We did it! Now we have to work on using public restrooms and other people's houses. She did terrible at my moms house on Saturday while I was gone. So, if you have any experience with that, please advise!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It is time for the potty, I think.

Oh boy, here we go. Hannah got a potty for Christmas from us. It's been successfully filled up with pee about 3 times now. So, tomorrow, she's going to have a diaper free day and see how it goes. If we have to leave the house, I'm armed with some pull-ups my mom gave us. I'm not really looking forward to this, but I suppose no one really does. And I hate diapers. They are gross, I totally regret not cloth diapering her, and dang! they are expensive. The bigger the baby gets, the more expensive they are.

How do I know she is ready? I don't. But I figure she can peddal a bike, she follows instructions (when she doesn't tune me out) she chews gum without choking or swallowing it, she counts to ten, and sings a heartfelt rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Her complete lack of interest in the potty is a bluff that I am calling out. I'm on to her.

If we don't succeed, I will feel like an utter failure. I may even buy a Dora Uses the Potty book or some other monstrosity. Wish me luck.