Monthly Archives: December 2009

Castor oil induction. Big fail.

I wrote this today hoping that it would be the beginning of Sprout’s birth story. Looks like that isn’t going to be the case. Decided the writing shouldn’t go to waste…

In the weeks leading up to Sprout’s birth I had been having a bit of a rough time. I know that probably sounds a bit melodramatic to all of you out there, but I was just really sick of being pregnant.

First, there were five false alarms during the 37 to 38 week period. And then nothing. No activity whatsoever from my uterus. To get your hopes up that two years in a row of being pregnant are going to come to an end and then to have them dashed is just depressing.

Then my due date comes and goes with no activity either.

I was getting sick of this. Not to mention the heartburn, the feeling that my hips were going to fall apart due to that lovely Relaxin hormone, sciatica and back pain in general, feeling like it took a crane to turn over in bed every night, and the insomnia. I spent the last three weeks of my pregnancy up every night from 2:30am to 6:30am. I was just tired. I broke down into overwhelmed tears at least twice a week, whinning that I just didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. Stephen would reassure me that it wouldn’t be much longer and I’d suck it up and stop being a cry baby.

Even though I was too chicken to try it with Bean, I decided that castor oil might be worth a shot this time. I’d had several friends that it had worked for. I looked on a few websites, saw that it had a success rate of 57.7%. Plus, since I’d had infinitely less morning sickness this time around I didn’t have the lingering tummy issues as close at hand in my memory. I asked Morgan a few details about her experience and whether the juice actually helped with the taste and all that just before Christmas.

My original plan had been to do it on my actual due date of Monday, Dec. 28, but I wound up spending the day ridding my bedroom of the mounds of baby clothes that were slowly taking over and organizing the closet in the kids’ room. Tuesday I decided to run all my last minute leftover post-Christmas errands like returning things to the mall and spending gift cards. Wednesday I had no plans. So, I got up and spent the morning eating a good breakfast, making sure I was getting plenty of hydration in preparation and playing with Bean.

Now, I realize that two days past the first of my three due dates (Jan. 6 and 7 were the others) is really within the normal range and due dates are averages and I should have expected to go past my due date considering I was a week and a half late with Bean and probably only went into labor then thanks to my sneaky OB doing the membrane strip without asking me. I knew all that. The crunchy, no-interventions-unless-absolutely-necessary part of me was saying that I was crazy and that the baby would come when it was ready and that I needed to stick to doing the “right” thing. But I was just sick of being pregnant. Two consecutive years of my life had been spent as a baby factory. I was just done.

At 11am I put Bean down for her nap (though she didn’t actually go to sleep until noon) and then got the bottle of castor oil out from under the sink in our bathroom. I came downstairs feeling slightly anxious, but determined to try something to get this show on the road. I figured the worse that could happen were some tummy troubles. Morgan had told me that the juice really did help with the taste and that baking soda was suggested to her to make it fizzy. Instead of trying to figure out my own fizzy concoction I just decided to go with some “natural” orange soda from Trader Joe’s instead. So, in a glass I mixed 2 tbsp castor oil, 1 individual serving size bottle of Orangina and the juice of 1 tangerine for extra orange-y-ness. I stirred the whole thing together and was slightly grossed out by the globs of oil floating on the top.

But I was determined. I was going to do this thing. So I gulped it all down as fast as I could over the sink. It actually didn’t taste much different than Orangina normally does. It was the texture that got me. Drinking thick oil is just sick. But I did it and I didn’t gag it back up like I had expected to. Then I anxiously waited for something to happen.

About 3:30pm the castor oil kicked in and had the intended effect that it is supposed to have on one’s digestive system. I was in the bathroom for about 15 minutes. And then more nothing.

4pm – Was that a contraction? Nope, just Sprout slamming his head up against my cervix. Yeah, pretty sure this stuff didn’t do its job. I am going to be pregnant forever.

5pm – More tummy rumblings. Still no labor though. At least my worst fears about several hours of diarhea and vomitting did not occur. At this point I was just mad that I drank a glass of orange slime for nothing.

6pm – Pretty sure it didn’t work. No contractions whatsoever. I’m making sausages for dinner.

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Oh yeah, I knit some stuff and I have a blog where I sometimes talk about crafts…

So there were a few Christmas knitting projects that I almost forgot to talk about on here. And since I still haven’t had a baby, I’ve managed to completely reorganize our upstairs and do every scrap of laundry around here, I figured I’d better get on it with this posting about my projects business. Excuse the terrible photos, I wasn’t quite as good about documenting these projects because I was just trying to get them done in time.

First up is the “Piper Purse” from Knitting Little Luxuries by Lucinda Guy.

I made this one for my sister, Andrea. She was super excited about it when she saw it. It’s nice and roomy and it is reversable. I used the yarn leftover from this project to make Bean’s cabled skirt.

Then, with the leftover fabric and some red sock yarn I had on hand I made another creation for Bean.

I worked the top part of the Shalom Cardigan that I had wanted to make for myself when we did or photoshoot, except on size 2 needles with sock yarn and I added more buttons. It came out the perfect size for Bean. Then I just measured out about 12 inches along a yard of the fabric, worked a gathering stitch along the top and attached it to the knitting. Hemmed the bottom and I had this cute little dress. This idea wasn’t exactly original. I have seen a few similar dresses on the web from the Jane Austen dress to la robe caresse (I originally wanted to make this exact dress, but I don’t speak French, unfortunately).

And then probably my most suicidal knit yet, the Men’s Zipped Vest from Knitting Classic Style by Veronik Avery. I think I started this thing about two weeks before Christmas. It is knit on size five needles and I had to add in a bunch of extra length because my father-in-law is a very tall man (he has to bend almost completely in half just to be able to give my 5’2″ self a hug).

Now I know where my husband gets his cheeseball in front of the camera tendencies. Stephen said I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a man that staged his own pirate themed profile picture on Facebook.

Anyway, that about sums up my knitting for the year, I think. I have no plans to start anything new within the next couple days. I’m currently burried in a mound of new books as well as several that I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time.

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Month fifteen

Bean is fifteen months old on this lovely Christmas Eve. So here are pictures from the past month and and update on what is going on lately in her little world.


We finally had some rain earlier this month and Bean was completely facinated. She pretty much stayed glued to the window all day long to watch it.


She’s starting to tolerate stuff on her head. Sometimes I can get her to wear a bow or a hat for a couple hours. She’ll even walk around the house with these things and ask me to put them on her head. Then she’ll take them back off and swing them in her hands while walking around.

Fun stuff
• Talking: Most of it is gibberish, but she talks all. the. time. She’s such a little chatterbox. She does have quite a few words though including bye-bye/say bye-bye/go bye-bye, hi, yay, yeah, this/is this, mmm, uh-oh, OK, toes, baby, leaf/leaves, uh-uh/no-no, ew, stairs, yum, eye, mouth, and I think that’s it.
• Ew: Speaking of the word ew, she says it so much and at mostly appropriate times, like stinky diaper changes or when she gets her hands into something gross. I really think it is cute.
• Singing: I never understand any of her songs, nor have I heard the melodies before, but she hums and sings her made up gibberish throughout the day.
• Animal Sounds: mooing like a cow, buzzing like a bee, barking like a dog, cawing like the crows at our apartment complex, and mewing like a cat. Most of the time when she wakes up from a nap or in the morning the first thing she does is bark and mew.
• New Foods: Ever since I pulled her off all the stuff she was allergic to, the food issues have been getting easier and easier. She is so much more willing to try new foods and actually even eats them. She often mooches off our plates at dinner now and is getting so much better at eating. At first it was quite the novelty for me to see her actually try and then like meat and some veggies. She does still have a few problems in this area, but we are getting better. One of the main problems is that sometimes she will just keep chewing and chewing a food and not swallow it. I’m not sure why. Usually when she doesn’t like something she will reach in her mouth, pull it out and hand it to you (mmm, yeah the joys of motherhood, right?) so I don’t think that is the issue. She’ll even say “mmm” as she’s chewing it. We just can’t get her to swallow. Sometimes I just wind up sticking my finger in there and pulling out the paste if it has been too long and she’s about to take a nap or something where I don’t want a wad of food stuck in her mouth.
• Copycat: She loves to try and do what we’re doing. The other night we were eating at a Mexican restaurant. She was watching very carefully while Stephen dipped his taquitos in some guacamole. Even though she didn’t have any guacamole she proceeded to copy the dipping motion with her little bites of food. I think this is where she also picked up on the word “OK,” as I tend to say it a lot. One night when she was saying it over and over a whole bunch Stephen said to her, “Good thing Mama just says OK a lot and not F-you,” to which she replied, “OK, OK, OK.” 
• Dancing: She loves music and tries to dance or bounce around especially if there is a particularly upbeat song on.
• Reading: Books are one of her favorite things. She loves to have us read to her, she loves pulling out her books and pointing to various pictures to ask us what stuff is, she also loves pretending to read to us. She even does it complete with voice inflections and giggling at key points. And if she recognizes an animal in the book she’ll start making its sound.  It is pretty cute.

• Mama’s Little Helper: While her help isn’t always so helpful, she really does like to help me do stuff around the house. Since I usually don’t have much of a timetable I think it is fun to encourage her in this even if sometimes I wind up with a little more mess or spending way more time than I would have on an activity. Her particular favorite is helping with the laundry. She loves to put in/pull out the clothes in the washing machine and dryer and put in/pull them out of the baskets. She tries to help when we fold diapers. At first she’ll start out by putting the different pieces in my various piles correctly, but it usually decends into her tossing wash cloths all over the room while I race to try and finish stuffing the diapers before she makes too much of a mess. She also loves to watch while I do dishes or make food. We’re just a little paranoid about the kitchen though so I don’t really let her help much in there. She usually watches from a safe distance in her walker or booster seat and I try to tell her about what I’m doing as I go along.

Not so fun stuff
• Hitting: About two days ago Bean started hitting me when she doesn’t get her way. It has only happened a handful of times. The first time I was letting her snack on some rice cake while I was knitting on the couch. She’s a stuffer though so I only give her a few bites at a time. Her mouth was completely full, but she wanted more rice cake. I told her, as usual, to finish chewing. She kept trying to grab at the bag and going “uuuuh… uuuuuh…. yeah.” When I said no and to finish chewing she scrunched her face up, hit me on the leg with all the force her little arm could muster (which isn’t much), and grunted. So that was the end of the rice cake and a tantrum of epic proportions ensued. Next time I was knitting and she kept trying to pull on my knitting needles/yarn/project. I told her no and she did the same thing. That time I put her in a timeout in the pack n’ play. Another tantrum ensued and I decided it was naptime.
• No: The word “no” is becoming one of her favorites. Sometimes if we ask her to come to us or do something she’ll shake her head and say, “no-no” over and over or run away.
• Grabbing: If something is purposely out of her reach or we have something she wants she has started trying to take matters into her own hands and grab it.
• Demanding: Also, if we have something she wants or it is out of her reach and we don’t get it for her upon first asking she’ll start trying to grab it and say, “yeah” or “aaah” or whinning very loudly. Sometimes she even starts crying.

Needless to say, with all these little issues popping up I’ve ordered The Dicipline Book from the Sears Parenting Library. Any other titles or recommendations are welcome. I know she’s only fifteen months old, but I don’t want to have these behaviors continue to get to nightmarish proportions by the times she’s say three and capable of a lot more.

Also, please don’t think that I’m completely worn out or overwhelmed by all this either. I’m really not having that hard of a time with it and she is mostly a really, really great kid. She has a fun spirit, she giggles a lot, and she is totally happy almost all the time. Anyone that has watched her or been around us always comments on how sweet and well behaved she is. These issues are really far and few between, but like I said I want to curb them now before they get out of hand.

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Sweater skirt

For a few weeks now I have had my eye on a pretty little red cable knit sweater skirt at babyGAP that I wanted to get for Bean.

However, there were a few problems with said skirt: a) The price. Maybe I’m just cheap, but $25 is about how much I’d expect to spend on a skirt for myself and even then I’d probably hem and haw about it before bolting towards the sale racks to see if I could find something just as cute for any cheaper. When you only have $100 in your personal monthly budget to cover clothes, eating out and craft supplies, $25 is a lot. b) They didn’t have her size. Every single time I would go into our babyGAP they only had size 0-3 months. It was frustrating. And I didn’t want to order online because that would cause problem “a” to go up even more. c) I am a knitter and baby items are particularly easy and cheap to knit because they use so little yarn and are so small.

I had some yarn in the perfect shade leftover from Christmas knitting so I cast on earlier this week. It took a few rip backs to come up with my pattern, but I came up with one and I totally love it. The yarn I used was a different gauge than what was found in the GAP skirt, so I did have to take that into consideration. Also, while I am perfectly capable of the intricate cabling midway down on the skirt, I decided that I really didn’t want to tackle it or make my skirt EXACTLY the same as theirs.

So here is what I came up with:

Bean now has the perfect Christmas piece. She won’t get to show it off much though which is why I decided some photo documentation was in order:

Oh and nothing really to report on for Baby Watch 2009. I’ve had exactly zero activity since false alarm #5.

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We are going on false alarm #5 over here…

Since Sunday, I’ve had four more false alarm contractions sessions. It is getting a little annoying.

The second to last time was over 21 hours long. The contractions never really picked up in intensity, but were just annoying and strong enough to keep me from sleeping or napping. I was actually a tiny bit relieved when it was finally over with yesterday because I knew it meant I would finally get to sleep.

So last night we were blessed with pretty much an entire night contraction free and sleep issue free as well (which, those of you who have been through pregnancy know all about that third trimester insomnia). I slept straight through from about 11pm to 5am when my bladder woke me up. I don’t even remember the last time that happened.

Upon relieving my bladder, drinking a little water, rearranging my pillows and climbing back into bed, I was hit with some fairly serious contractions. Much more intense than any of the ones I’d felt in the previous days. I seriously felt like it was impossible to breathe during them. After about three of these guys I woke up Stephen because I thought for sure this was going to be the real deal.

We started timing them and they were more along the lines of what early labor should look like: slightly intense contractions that are about 4-5 minutes apart. The contractions in previous days had always been around 2 minutes apart and were not intense at all, just annoying. They were intense in that I had to concentrate on breathing through them, but still not hard labor.

So little praise to my husband here. He has actually been reading the Bradley childbirth book and it has been like a dream come true. Just in these few false alarm experiences I can tell a HUGE difference between this time around and Bean’s birth.

If you remember from Bean’s birth story, upon arriving home I had him install our carseat. This was mainly because I honestly felt like he would be more of an annoyance to me than help. A few hours later when he was asking me questions like, “What do you want me to do?” and “Do you want to wear a sports bra?” I was definitely annoyed. I was in hard labor and couldn’t really begin to think about what he needed to be doing and didn’t really want to make a decision about whether or not I should be wearing a sports bra when our midwife arrived.

This time has not been like that at all. Stephen totally takes charge of the situation. There are not 50 questions about what to do. He knows what to do and he handles it and gets it done. This morning when I was having trouble breathing while lying down and found that sitting up helped more, instead of letting me sit with no back support on our bed, he ran around the house gathering up pillows to get me propped up and as comfortable as possible. He rolled a towel to stick near my lower back and provide counter pressure during contractions since back massage wouldn’t be easy in my semi-reclined position. He was completely attentive to every body part when a contraction was going on and constantly reminding me to relax my forehead or not clench my hands. He payed attention to my breathing and reminded me to stay calm and take deep breaths. Gave me visualization cues to concentrate on during a contraction.

In short it was awesome. A couple weeks ago Stephen said he has learned way more from the book than he ever did from our childbirth class. The class was useful, but the book just provides way more information about what to do in certain situations and why to practice things like breathing through a contraction standing up in case your wife has to go to the bathroom during labor and has one on the way there, etc. So for all those men out there that say they don’t need to read the book and that they’ll just get enough information from their childbirth class, I offer up this example. Books really do get the information into your head in a different way and a more thorough way, in my opinion. And I think anyone who says that they don’t need to read the book is just being lazy. You have nine months to get the reading done. It really isn’t that much. Be a good coach. Read the book. End of public service announcement for all the husbands who are probably not even reading this.

Anyway, back to my story. After about an hour of timing, my husband called our midwife and based on what we were experiencing, she too thought this sounded like the real deal. So she left Bakersfield fairly early this morning and carefully navigated her way through some soupy valley fog and an hour of LA freeway driving.

Stephen got everything arranged with his sister to watch Bean and got her all packed up and out the door.

By the time my midwife arrived the contractions were around three and half minutes apart, but still around the same intensity level. She did a cervical check which hurt like heck because I had a contraction during it. I was so disappointed when she told me that I was still the same as our visit from over the weekend which was 2cm and my cervix was still posterior. Seriously? All these contractions and intensity and no progress at all? What the heck?

She said we should go for a walk and see if that helped things progress. So we did a couple laps around our apartment complex. During our walk I stopped being able to feel individual contractions because I was experiencing some fairly instense pelvic pressure. When we got back to our apartment, I still had a lot of pressure and was not feeling any contractions. Then as I sat for a bit the pelvic pressure began to subside, but I still was not feeling any contractions. I was starting to get even more disappointed. Not only was this seeming to turn out to not be the real deal, my midwife drove two hours to hang out for nothing for a few hours and my sister-in-law and her family had to get all coordinated and rearranged to watch Bean. Plus this was false alarm NUMBER FIVE. I was starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf.

A few minutes later I got up and walked around our livingroom. I started having some contractions again, but they were really weak and didn’t seem to have any pattern. Stephen was making me some food to eat and by the time I’d finished my meal I wasn’t feeling anything. It was all over.

So completely frustrating.

Because of work schedules and vehicle coordination, my sister-in-law wound up watching Bean the whole day. While it was kind of nice to be baby-free, after about an hour of sewing and hanging out by myself I was pretty much bored and already missing Bean. So I guess if anything this helped me realize that I’m glad we’re no longer DINKS.

Anyway, that’s your second installment of Baby Watch 2009. Stay tuned…

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38 weeks, a false alarm story.

Sunday afternoon on our way home in the car I thought I felt a few contractions. But I was kind of in denial about the whole thing and thought that maybe it was just the way I was sitting or the car ride itself. They were pretty mild.

I was exhausted because Bean decided to wake up at 4:30am and talk to herself until 8am when we finally decided to stop fighting it and get up with her. Her vocabularly recently increased so she’s pretty facinated with her new “words” (mewing like a kitten, barking like a dog, cawing like the crows at our apartment complex, OK, bye bye, no, upstairs, toes, and ew… with OK, ew and the animal sounds being particular favorites… oh and ew comes with a scrunched face to match). So anyway the plan was for me to take a nap when we got home.

Once I was laying in bed with nothing else to really think about I definitely knew that what I was experiencing was contractions, albiet very light ones. I laid there for a few minutes and then decided it might be a good idea to tell Stephen what was going on. So I did. Then of course he went into full manager of the situation mode. Brought the computer upstairs so I could use the Contraction Master site to start timing the contractions. Called our midwife. Started packing up Jillian for a possible overnight (which with her dietary issues is a little more complex than most kids).

They were extremely mild and if I was doing other stuff and not paying attention I would miss them. I tried taking a bath to make them go away, but they were still happening. My midwife said taking a walk and drinking more water might help. So we went to get some lunch and walked around a shopping center for a bit while I drank a whole liter of water. They still were not going away and starting to get a little stronger.

We talked to Stephen’s sister about watching Bean. Stephen also talked to her husband (his boss) about the week ahead work wise. I decided that I really wanted to take a shower because it might be my last chance to do so for a couple days. So I did that. I even shaved my legs because it just seemed important. I had some pretty strong, physically visible contractions in the shower. Got out, blow dried my hair. Still having contractions.

Then I went downstairs and got on the computer to try and distract myself and everything completely stopped. And it has been that way ever since. I’m still kinda pissed about missing my nap yesterday and for going through all that to have it turn out to be nothing. In all it was about 3.5 hours of regular contractions about a minute and a half apart and 15-30 seconds in duration.

So anyway, that’s the latest Baby Watch 2009 update. Figured it was blog worthy.

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Status updates are easier.

This is going to be a pathetic excuse for a post, but the content around here is seriously lacking and I’m sort of afaid that some of you are going to give up hope on me. I know that eventually I’ll get around to feeling like a long thorough post again, but that time isn’t now. Sometimes it’s just easier to say things in a couple sentences, rather than a big long post. So for those of you that aren’t my friend on Facebook or think that Facebook is way too connected and scary or too time consuming or the tons of other reasons people have for not being on there, here is my life in a week’s worth of status updates.

I know it’s still November, but I just busted out the Sufjan Christmas album. Had to. It’s the best.

Just managed to felt all my Christmas knitting projects. I suck.

Actually kind of excited to be able to wear warm clothes in Bakersfield today. Not looking forward to another week long detox from all the pollutants and allergens though.

1cm 50%eff. Had like six contractions today. Bath seems to have calmed things down for the night. I hope.

Trying to be realistic about the handmade challenge in light of everything.

Commercially available money management programs are not good enough. My husband wrote his own application last night. The joys of being married to a computer whiz…

New carseat and coffee maker arrived today. Yay for packages!

Hoping these gluten, dairy, and egg free cranberry orange muffins turn out good. If so, blog post with recipe will possibly follow.

Muffins were a success. Mmm….

pressure pressure pressure

At lunch today my sister got Bean to eat half a baked potato stuffed with vegan cheese, chicken and broccoli. Tonight at dinner she wants nothing to do with it. Then when I leave the table she’s all about it. So I’m starting to think the eating issues are directly related to me.

Knit doggie for my other niece

Tonight I am glad that I no longer work in downtown Bakersfield and did not have to battle the parade craziness on my way home from work. Instead I laid on the couch and knit all night while we watched A Christmas Story.

Sis took Bean outside to play on the playground. I feel bad that she’s been cooped up in the house all week.

After this week I am so over being pregnant and I’m starting to go a little stir crazy.

An overcast day in December? What?

Bean actually ate pasta (Gluten free quinoa pasta that is) tonight! I think the picky food issues are slowly getting better.

“This time of year weird people get weirder, sad people get sadder and messy families get messier. It’s a weird time of year.”

Food victories with Bean today: for lunch she ate all the rest of her leftover pasta from last night, for a snack she had two GFCF chicken nuggets, and for dinner she ate half a kid sized GFCF pizza. I know this is all somewhat junk food type stuff, but this is a huge improvement over her strict diet of yogurt, cereal and fruit.

Dear Sid Meyer, I want my husband back.

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