Thursday, November 1, 2012

Baby, Baby, Baby Ohh!

So if you haven't heard....

Hold my hand, Daddy!
Our boy Conrad was born on October 16th at 8:21 pm. He arrived via cesarean section after two days of labor-inducing drugs and fetal distress when my contractions got stronger.

Before I start talking about the events leading up to Conrad's birth, I feel like I should preface by saying that the induction was scheduled after a rather worrisome ultrasound where the baby did not respond to outside stimuli. Also, I kept needing non-stress tests because I wasn't always getting movement when I'd do kick counts. His heart was always healthy, but he was pretty lethargic in the last few weeks, and the doctor and I were both worried that something would happen to him and we wouldn't know until it was too late.

Mark and I checked into the hospital at 6:00 pm on Sunday, October 14th, where I was given Cervidil to begin dilation. If I had known that I wouldn't be allowed to eat after it was inserted, I would have had a huge meal ahead of time. But anyway. I had all the water I could want, so it wasn't like I starved ... not really, anyway....

My parents and my sister drove up from Arkansas to be with us during this time, which really meant a lot to me because I wasn't sure if there would be anyone besides Mark at the hospital. Unfortunately I was terribly boring company, because I pretty much just watched the National League Championships whenever they were on.

I was checked at 6:00 the next morning and was not terribly surprised to find out that the Cervidil did nothing to progress labor, that my cervix was still behind his head and I hadn't dilated at all. They began Oxytocin, and told me there was a good possibility that it would get things moving.

Unfortunately, by evening my cervix was still in the same place it had been when I checked into the hospital. This was when they took me off everything and I was allowed to have a real dinner. They brought me something from the cafeteria, which wasn't too bad, but Mark went out and got me one of those Chicken Parmesan sandwiches from Burger King. I already love those sandwiches, but it tasted even better after eating only ice chips and Jell-o for the last 24 hours. Yummmm.

Later that evening, Cytotec was administered to convince my stubborn cervix to dilate. I was put back on a water/ice chips/jello diet. This was the night that the nurse had to keep coming in to adjust the monitor that picks up the baby's heartbeat because I slept so fitfully that I was moving them around without meaning to. By this point I was trying really hard to think positively, but I was getting increasingly discouraged that this induction was going to fail.

Tuesday morning came and I was checked again. One centimeter dilated! And man, my back was really starting to hurt. Yes, those were contractions I was feeling. But why wasn't I feeling them in the front? Turns out the ladies in my family go through back labor, which my mom and my sister told me about when they arrived later that morning. Oxytocin was restarted.

The doctor tried to put in a Foley Bulb to force my cervix to dilate, but had a difficult time getting it in place. At one point I felt a gush, and thought my water had broken. The doctor immediately withdrew all efforts to put in the Foley Bulb. The gush I'd felt wasn't water, but blood. She was able to determine that it wasn't something serious, but it still scared all of us. By the way, if someone tells you that you had some blood loss and you need to change your gown and they need to change your sheets, do not turn around and look at the bed on your way to the bathroom. It will freak you out. Seriously.

They turned off the Oxytocin after this, and I was having good, strong, regular contractions on my own. My back was beginning to hurt enough that I was starting to wonder when I could get pain medication. Not now, the nurse said. I wasn't far enough along. They did have me go ahead and sign forms agreeing to an epidural and, should there be an emergency, a c-section.

At some point they turned the Oxytocin back on because my contractions had tapered off. My doctor broke my water sometime around 1:00 pm. Soon after, the contractions got really intense. Intense enough that I couldn't really talk through them. Can I please have something? "No," said the nurse. "If we give you something now, then your body will get used to it and it won't work for when the pain is really bad later." That's bull, I thought to myself. They put me on a ball to see if that helped the pain. No good. They put me on my hands and knees. No good. They had me stand up and lean over a rail on the bed. I was crying during contractions by this point. The nurse asked where my pain was on a scale of 1 to 10. I just cried, because I was contracting and couldn't seem to make my voice work enough to scream I'M AT TEN YOU FOOL GIVE ME SOMETHING. My mom and my sister both played my advocates, trying to get someone to give me anything for the pain, especially since I'd already signed off for it. My sister had to leave not long after this, though, because she needed to get back home and back to homeschooling her two boys. I was sad that she saw me at the worst part. If she could have stayed for another hour she would have seen me after they finally gave me an epidural, and she would have felt better.

Sometime before 4:00, my saving grace came in and talked me through the epidural procedure. She was funny, and a great distraction from what I was going through. Apparently I have a small spine, because she had some trouble inserting it without my right leg suddenly feeling like it caught fire, but eventually she got it and the relief was almost immediate. I finally felt like I could relax, and I wasn't dreading childbirth anymore. At 20 minutes til 5:00, the doctor came back in to check me. 3 centimeters dilated and 75% effaced! Wait ... just 3 centimeters? Whatever. I can sleep now.

About three hours later, the doctor came back to wake me up. She'd been watching my monitor out in the nurses' station, and Conrad's heart wasn't doing so good. Earlier that day, his heart rate had dropped during my stronger contractions, but it came back up when they started to taper off. Now it was down and staying down. She checked me again. 4 centimeters dilated. She said she didn't feel comfortable letting me labor to 10 centimeters with his heart behaving the way it was. If I had been at 8 or 9, that would have been another story, but I was progressing so slowly. I agreed that a c-section was best at this point - and hey, I just wanted to have this baby already. Mark was given clothes to wear into the operating room, and soon I was wheeled off.

The cesarean was a nerve-wracking experience for me. I was given a new medication through the tube in my back, and it started to make me sick very quickly. I was given anti-nausea medicine and oxygen to combat the sickness. I started to shake on the bed. I'd heard that this was a pretty common reaction to the anesthesia, but I was shaking so much harder than I anticipated. If I hadn't been strapped down, I'm sure I would have shaken myself right off the table. I started to get scared. I hadn't even been opened yet! But soon I was. I could tell because I felt like I'd gone down the wrong alley at night and was getting punched in the gut by five different muggers. It actually did hurt, but not in the same way that everything had been hurting that day, so I tried to grin and bear it ... except I couldn't really move my mouth. I had been trying not to chatter my teeth, and it made my jaw lock up out of tension. I closed my eyes, trying to relax enough so I could stop shaking, and to get my mind off the fact that my nausea suddenly came back. I mentioned this to the anesthesiologist, who upped my dosage of medicine.

Finally I heard the doctor say, "Alright! It's a boy!" and then "It's okay, not all c-section babies cry at first." I was so focused on not shaking that it didn't occur to me to freak out that he wasn't crying. But then I heard him whine a few times, and I felt relieved. Mark went over to take pictures with him while I was being stitched up. Soon he was brought over to me, but I had lost the feeling in my arms so I couldn't reach out and touch him. I just stared. Was he really mine? No way....

I stayed in the hospital for three more days after this, so there is a lot more to tell. But I'm tired, and I've got a little boy to take care of. Wow. I can finally say that.

Welcome to the world, Conrad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Closet Costumes

Since the baby's due date is so close to Halloween, I won't be dressing up this year. But! That doesn't mean I can let my creative juices flow and help other people make their own original costumes, so every Tuesday in October be sure to check here for an innovative costume idea to get you ready for Halloween. While none of the costumes will take a whole month to make, the ones I demonstrate at the beginning of the month will take more time to put together than the ones at the end of the month, so keep that in mind if you are pressed for time.

This week, I'm going to show you how to make a costume from some pieces you probably already have in your closet. They're perfect for that party you got a last minute invitation to, or if you decided that you really did want to dress up for Halloween after all but there is no time to make something.


Pirate Closet Costume

First up is a pirate costume. For guys, I like a casual button-down shirt that has some of the top buttons undone to mimic the renaissance shirt look. Pair it with some skinny pants and black dress shoes, which you can cover with boot toppers like these. Too late to order covers? Check out this tutorial from Chic Steals for instructions on making your own from an old leather jacket. Alternatively, you could also tear up the bottom of your pants and go barefoot (or wear some thin sandals if you're going to be out on the town.) Complete the look with a fabric sash - check the ladies' department or buy a yard of fabric and cut it down to size - then check the costume department for a spiffy hat, eye patch, and toy sword. Alternatively, you could dress in all black, switch the fabric sash for a belt, change out the hat and eye patch for a black bandanna and mask, add some gloves, and go as the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride.


For the ladies, I like the look of a peasant blouse with a bohemian skirt, but you could certainly wear a button-down blouse and/or pants as well. If you have a longer skirt, you can pin in up with safety pins. Michelle over at Damsel in this Dress does this all the time to create visual interest in her long skirts. Wear boots if you have them, or you can go barefoot (remember the sandals if you're going to be walking around outside) like I suggested for the guys. Add a scarf on your head and pile on the hoops and bangles for accessories. If you skip the pirate-y accessories, you could tell everyone you went as a gypsy instead.

Olympic Podium Outfits

Team USA Podium Outfit for Halloween

Probably the most comfortable costume you could ever wear is one based on the uniform the American athletes wore when they took the podium at the Olympics this year. Have a gray track jacket and black sweats in your closet? Boom! You're halfway there. (Bonus points if they're Nike brand.) The athletes also wore bright green Nike sneakers, but you could wear whatever sneakers you already own. In order to look more like an Olympic athlete, you'll need to add patches to your jacket like they had. You'll need a regular American flag patch for the left shoulder, which you can find at most craft stores, and the Team USA patch to go over your heart. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this the Team USA shop was out of stock on the patches, but you can make your own by printing out the image on sticker paper. If there's time, you should add a medal to your ensemble. You can make your own using this great tutorial over at Paging Supermom. It's not time consuming, but you will need to allow time for the clay and the paint to dry.

Housewives and Mafia Men

Mad Men closet costume

The last costume isn't necessarily Mad Men specific, but I know the show is popular so I thought I'd play with it a little. (I just admitted that I've never watched Mad Men, for shame!) Gentlemen have it easy, as they should already own almost everything in the ensemble (Really! Every man needs to own at least one suit.) For hair, slick it back a la Draco Malfoy. The only thing you'll need to find - and it really isn't required to pull off the look - is the fedora, which can be tricky to locate, but a trilby will do in a pinch. (Yes, there is a difference.) For ladies, you'll need a dress that is either full on the bottom or a dress that is tight all over, sometimes called a wiggle dress. Either will work. (You can also wear a fitted top with either a tight or a full skirt if you don't own an appropriate dress.) Black pumps are standard, but ballet flats will work too. Finish off the look with pearls and nylons, and don't forget the red lipstick!

I also found this great link for Mad Men accessory tutorials for two of the leading ladies - check it out!

Not quite satisfied with my ideas? Check out my Costume Ideas board on Pinterest! I've got lots of ideas on there that will surely inspire you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tube Dress Costumes

Since the baby's due date is so close to Halloween, I won't be dressing up this year. But! That doesn't mean I can let my creative juices flow and help other people make their own original costumes, so every Tuesday in October be sure to check here for an innovative costume idea to get you ready for Halloween. While none of the costumes will take a whole month to make, the ones I demonstrate at the beginning of the month will take more time to put together than the ones at the end of the month, so keep that in mind if you are pressed for time.

While looking at my own Pinterest board of costume ideas, I noticed I had a lot of costumes that were basically just a tube dress. Tube dresses are really simple to make, regardless of your sewing level.

  • Tutorial on eHow for sewing a tube dress
  • Another eHow tutorial for a no-sew tube dress
  • If you fit into a pillowcase, you can rip open the top seam and attach elastic there for an easy tube dress - plus, pillowcases can be dyed to just about any color.
  • Or skip the fabric altogether and make it from duct tape!
Alternatively, you could use a solid colored shirt with matching colored shorts/skirt/pants for nearly all of these costume ideas. Decide what you would be more comfortable wearing, and take a look in your closet for more inspiration.


A crayon is becoming a popular costume because it's fairly easy to make and looks great in a group.  To make the hat, you can get a party hat or a small witch hat and cover it with the same fabric you used in your dress. I liked this photo because it shows a t-shirt version of the same costume idea.

Sauce Packets

This was the first tube dress costume I found, and I love how ... "saucy" it is. Cut out letters and a text box from white fabric, and print out the Taco Bell logo on printable paper. Write a clever statement in the text box. Sew down or hot glue all fabric elements.


Duct tape dresses in action! The plastic appearance of the tape really works for costumes like this. Be sure to click on the "via" link under the picture, which goes into a little more detail on making a dress like this, and also has more last-minute costumes ideas.


This clever iPhone costume was made out of a dress already in her closet and lots of felt (which can be purchased at most craft stores for 20-25 cents a sheet.)


With so many soda flavors out there, soda pop dresses would be a great idea for a group costume. All it takes is some fabric, fabric paint, and patience to trace out those logos. Do you and your friends already have t-shirts proclaiming your favorite bubbly beverage? Check out this t-shirt and shorts costume of soda cans. They even included nutrition facts on the back!

There are other great costume ideas made from a simple tube dress, many of which I have pinned on my Costume Ideas board on Pinterest. Be sure and check it out!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Run or Shoot? UPDATE

Remember at the beginning of the month when I posted that I was going to be playing original Left 4 Dead maps on Expert to try to get the "What are you trying to prove?" achievement?

Well, yesterday afternoon while doing a single-player run, I finished the Death Toll map. So, basically, I did an expert campaign by myself because we all know those AIs are kind of clueless when it comes to helping you finish. Yeah. I'm awesome.

I am already doing some practice work on the finale of the last map, but I seriously doubt I'll be able to beat it before 6:00 Sunday night ... which is when I go to the hospital. Kind of freaking out here.

original here
edited by me

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


aka: Appointment at 38 Weeks

Here's the very basic run-down of today's appointment:
  • There is still no change
  • I will be induced
However, the induction will happen much sooner than I originally anticipated.

See, I told the doctor that I had gone to the hospital late Friday night because I couldn't feel the baby moving. I also told her that sometimes I can get the kick counts just fine, and other times I have to try again. (The little bugger just does not want me to feel him move anymore.) So she sent me over for another non-stress test and ultrasound.

I really don't like getting non-stress tests done at the clinic, because the belts they use to strap on the monitors are super itchy. I end up giving in and scratching, which makes the heartbeat monitor mess up and then the machine beeps because it can't locate the baby's heartbeat. And I have to sit there for an hour! Just staring at the ceiling! So boring! #FirstWorldProblems

Even though his little heart is doing just fantastic, the ultrasound worried everyone. Nothing was really wrong, but he just wouldn't move. Even after she applied this buzzer thing to my stomach to get the baby to move, he just kept sleeping. Eventually he opened his eyes, but then he drifted right back to sleep.

So my doctor wants to take him out sooner, which is fine by me - more time to wear his My First Halloween onesie that my momma bought for him. The concern is that, since I can't feel him as well, a problem could arise and I wouldn't be aware of it until it was too late. She made a call to the hospital for an appointment to induce after I left, so I'm waiting for them to call me and let me know when the induction is, but I could be there as early as Sunday night.

Suddenly, I feel less prepared.