Daily Rebecca - dishing up a little bit of everything.

He’s Here!

December 19th, 2014

On Wednesday, December 10th, we welcomed our sweet boy into the world!

All 7lbs 5oz and 21 inches of him.

newborn drew

Andrew “Drew” James came exactly two weeks early because my blood pressure drastically went up at my last prenatal appointment, and I ended up having to be induced.

When the medical assistant didn’t say anything after taking my pressure at the end of that appointment, I just knew it was high.

But how hight?

154/100 high.

UGH.

My birth with Avery had been so natural that I thought for sure I’d get to experience that again this time.  I was induced two weeks early with Grace due to high blood pressure, but I was convinced that was because I was a first-time mom working a stressful job.

Surely it wouldn’t happen this time…

But it did, and there was nothing I could do about it.

My BP came down enough that I didn’t have to go immediately to the hospital.  Instead, they sent me on my way with orders to take it easy.

Like bed rest easy.

I was actually ok with those instructions except for the morning bible study brunch and hair appointment I had the following day.

I figured I’d be sitting at the brunch table at church for a couple hours (practically bed rest!) and then sitting in the salon chair relaxing for 3 hours (again, might as well be bed rest!) so I went home and planned to get one more day under my belt before fully vegetating on the couch until my little man arrived.

Turns out it didn’t matter.  My pressures got back up to dangerous numbers so I had to page my midwife.

She told me I had to head straight to the hospital.

Of course I cried.

Thanks to my incredible sister for heading straight to my house to spend the night with my girls!  She worked from my house the following day while taking care of my girls and I know how challenging that can be.  My mom took time off work to relieve my sister and stay with the girls until we came home.  She had the house tidied up and ready for us when we finally got back and it was a blessing to know my girls were so well loved and cared for while Andy and I camped out at the hospital for what felt like forever.

So, the birth story…

We arrived at the hospital just before 9pm on Tuesday evening (12/9) and waited to be seen in triage.  Once I stripped down and slipped into my sexy (not!) hospital gown, they hooked me up to fetal monitors and a blood pressure cuff.  The baby looked perfect, but my BP would NOT come down.  They drew blood to run labs (all negative for preeclampsia) and we waited to find out what was next.

After about 4 hours they determined I’d have to be induced.

Of course I cried.

This just wasn’t what I’d imagined.  I knew I should be grateful that everything was ok and it would all work out, but I was feeling very disappointed and emotional.

My midwife was informed as they moved things along, but I was being seen at the time by a nice, but awkward doctor who resembled Stephen King.

Weird, right?

He had to check me to see if I was dilated or effaced.  By check me, I mean reach inside me!

Of course I cried.

There’s a reason I see midWIVES and female OBGYN personnel!  I did not want some awkward Stephen King look-alike to be all up in my business.

I digress…

I ultimately sucked it up and let him do what had to be done.

I was dilated to only 2cm and 50% effaced so they recommended starting me on Cirvidil to soften my cervix and hopefully jump start labor.

It didn’t start my labor and after about 10 hours they decided to remove it and get the devil, I mean pitocin, started.

Mind you this was not until after they told me I could eat breakfast and then changed their mind!  My order had already gone in, so when food service brought my yummy omelette and english muffin I had to watch them sit on the table for a while and then be taken away from me.

I couldn’t even have water!  Just ice chips.

I joked with Andy that between the IV, the blood pressure cuff, the pulse oximeter, and the starvation tactics I felt like I was in prison. Lol

Despite my whining, I’m honestly thankful for modern medicine and everything that was done to keep Drew and I safe.

I have to say those kinds of things now that I’m going to be married to a doctor ;)

The pitocin got things gradually started, and after I had about an hour of contractions, my midwife decided to break my water to get things into gear more quickly.

I was totally on board with that plan.  If I had to be induced, I didn’t want it to take 2 days like it did with Grace.

Contractions started rolling in steadily after my water was broken and each one totally freaked me out.

This was new territory for me!

As crazy as it sounds, I actually prefer giving birth to being pregnant for 9 months.

Sure it hurts like heck, but it’s only for a short time and then you get the baby!

Pregnancy is uncomfortable for the better part of a year.

Let’s just say long-suffering isn’t my strong suit ;)

With Grace I didn’t know what to expect so I buckled down and took the labor as it happened.

With Avery labor was so different because it wasn’t fueled by pitocin.   I nearly missed making it to the hospital on time because “it didn’t hurt bad enough yet!”  Besides that, I had the confidence of having done it before so I  was all, “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!”

This time I was straight-up scared with each labor pain.

I felt old and tired.

And hungry.

So I prayed.

And I prayed and prayed and prayed.

I literally prayed my way through every single minute of my three and a half hour labor and delivery.

It was so very special.

Like a sacred time of feeling God’s presence hovering over my bed.  Gently carrying me through each contraction and holding me together no matter how bad it hurt.

I honestly can’t put words to those hours.  They were terrifying and glorious all at the same time.

I’m so grateful for the ways God has been drawing my heart near to him over the past 4 years.  It has taken pain and remorse and surrender to get to where I am in my relationship with Him today, and I’m just so very grateful that He never stopped chasing after me no matter how far away my heart was from Him.

It felt like the most natural thing in the world for me to reach out to Him during my labor when I just knew I didn’t have what it took on my own.

A little before 7:30pm on Wednesday evening I cried to Andy and Wendy (my incredible midwife) that I was so tired and just didn’t think I could keep going.

Wendy hadn’t checked me at all since before the pitocin started and I didn’t necessarily want her to in case my dilation wasn’t very far along.  That just felt like it would be crushing news that would rob me of the little stamina I had left.

But I was just so tired and wanted so badly to be done that I told her to go ahead and check.

Turns out I was a very loose 8cm!

Praise the Lord.  That was news I could deal with.

We decided to have me change positions from sitting up to laying on my left side.

It was very very uncomfortable getting onto my side, but as soon as I got there I felt an overwhelming urge to push.  To this point I’d been so deep into my zone that I was perfectly silent through each contraction and practically asleep between them.

But now the crazy pushing grunt was fighting it’s way out and, after 2 big pushes, crazy labor noise to accompany them, and me urging Wendy to “Help him! Help him out!!!” he was out!

We were all shocked!!

Wendy could hardly grab her sterile glove in time to catch him and Andy and I could hardly believe it was over!  My boy was out and crying on my chest.

He was facing away from me at first so I could only see his wet little back and booty and a shock of dark hair on his perfect little round head.

They finally turned him around and helped me to get a good hold on him and I just kept thanking Jesus that he was here and it was over!

A little pushing and prodding and the placenta was out too.  I didn’t need any stitches (hooray!) and once they pressed on my belly about a hundred times (to make sure bleeding was under control) they finally let us rest and snuggle uninterrupted for over an hour.

The girls came shortly after that and were so tired but also happy to meet their long anticipated brother.

grace and avery with drew

grace and drew

grandma grace and drew

girls in hospital bed

We were very happy to come home after another day and a half in the hospital.  My blood pressure would not come down after birth so I had to be given Magnesium Sulfate for 12 hours.  It was awful.

I was burning up with heat and felt super drowsy and weak.  It was hard to be incapacitated in my bed while everything kept happening around me…weight, measurements, first bath, first checkup with the pediatrician.

drews first bath

Andy snapped photos for me, but it was still hard not to be able to be a part of all that.

The magnesium didn’t ultimately lower my BP, but it did prevent me from potential seizures which is a good thing.  They ended up giving me a mild BP medication to take orally and I’m still on that.

This afternoon I have a follow up appointment and I’m hoping it goes well so that I can wean off the meds soon.

This post is extraordinarily long, so I’ll wrap it up here and plan to post more about our first few days home later.

We’re so happy to have our boy on the outside, and before Christmas to boot!


Random Chit Chat

December 3rd, 2014

Back with more random chit chat!

I’m glad I made peace with doing a little brain-dumping here from time to time.  It’s so refreshing not to have a plan and instead sit down to let my fingers dance across the keyboard.

One thing I miss about working is all the typing I did.  Not like 50’s secretary typing, more like keeping up with 100-300 emails each day.  There’s just something so satisfying to me about letting my fingers run across the keyboard.  They know just where to go and what to do and I love the sound of the “click click click” as they do their thing.

I’m such a weirdo, I know!

My love for typing actually reminds me of a moment during Thanksgiving this year.  It’s a long story, but my mom and sister were working on something kinda intense and getting frustrated.  Being an outsider to the problem, I saw a solution that involved typing up a couple of well-worded emails, and I convinced them to let me take on the task.

I rolled up my sleeves (not really, but it makes for a better story) and got to work furiously plucking out two diplomatically worded emails.  Andy called out from the living room, “I haven’t heard her type this furiously since her days at Bluewater!”

It gave me a big chuckle since I vividly remember the days of typing out intense email after intense email, all the passion of my mind flowing through my keystrokes.

The only person who rivaled my intense typing was probably my boss Robert.  That man types so hard I’m surprised keys don’t start flying off the board!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we had a really nice time.  We all hunkered down in my mom’s apartment for a few days and mostly chilled out.  We played games, stayed in our pajamas, ate lots of good food and had a lot of laughs.  Any drama that threatened to creep up was pretty quickly squashed back down.  You know where there’s family there’s the potential for drama!  But I was proud of us this year.

We started the day as we have done for so many years…Peaches and Cream Pancakes and Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade.

grace with pancakes

avery with pancakes

We played a bunch of games, and Avery grew increasingly attached to my sister’s fiance, soon-to-be-Uncle Kevin.

kev and aves playing games
 
kevin reading to aves
 
kevin and aves the love continues
 
It was beyond precious how much she loved spending time with him reading, sitting on his lap, just about anything she could think of.  So sweet!

Grace and I partnered up to play Fill Or Bust and I’m pretty sure sharing each roll with her messed up my mojo!  It’s a good thing she’s so cute ;)

grace and me
 
Because we were quite cozy in our sleeping arrangements, my brother crashed on the floor and this was all we saw of him until he woke up on Thanksgiving morning :)

john sleeping
 
The other men-folk buddied up to watch the Lion’s game which was such a treat for Andy.  I don’t come from a family of sports fans, so Andy was glad to have Kevin to watch and enjoy the game with this year.  Also so sweet!

andy and kev
 
My brother had to work in the afternoon (BOO!) but he was able to come home during his “lunch” hour to grab a plate of Thanksgiving delicousness.

uncle john
 
We all ate plenty of pie and I continued to be proud of my homemade crust!

andy and avery with pie
 
My mom and sister were both present and accounted for, I just don’t have any pics of them!  Oops.

Mom outdid herself again this year and created an absolutely incredible feast for us!  Our traditional fare includes, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, winter squash, succotash, cranberry sauce and homemade rolls.

We always sit down to a cozy table thanks to my mom’s knack for the little details :)

tablescape
 
I can honestly say that Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of the entire year.  There’s just something about the turkey and all the fixins’ that just speaks to my soul!  I loved it so much that I’m planning to make a turkey dinner again soon just to get another round and a bunch of leftovers to eat for days on end.

I’m drooling just thinking about it!

Yum.

So now that Thanksgiving is over, we’re getting into gear for Christmas.  We plan to get our tree this weekend and take down all of our beloved fall decorations.  I’ll be sad to see them go, but I can’t wait for the aroma of a fresh Christmas tree to fill the house!

Shopping is nearly finished (woo hoo!) and I’m excited to sit by the tree late at night wrapping gifts with a cup of eggnog and carols playing in the background.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the season and I want to savor it soon so I’m fully prepared for baby brother to come early.

PLEASE COME EARLY BABY BROTHER!!

I want to be home for Christmas so bad I can taste it.  If he comes on his due date (like Avery did!) I’ll be in the hospital on Christmas and that’s really bumming me out.

I know it will all work out, so I’m really not stressing too much about it.

Phew!  I’m tired.  This post was longer than I expected so I’ll stop here :)


Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

December 1st, 2014

I made this gloriously rich and decadent pie for the first time last Thanksgiving and it was such a hit that I brought it back this year!

I’m a sucker for pecans (as I’ve stated my love for nuts here before) and who doesn’t love chocolate?!

Wait, don’t answer that.

I don’t think I want to know :)

Anyway, the combo of toasted pecans and rich dark chocolate is scrumptious enough, but add the depth of flavor from the bourbon and this pie is a home run!

Chocolate Pecan Pie Closeup 3

Best of all, it’s not super holiday themed so you could whip this bad boy up anytime of year and it’ll be the showstopper dessert for sure.

Now that I’ve got the homemade pie crust nailed down, this pie is even better.  But if you’re pressed for time or just don’t feel like making your own crust, you could certainly fill any pie crust with this glorious filling and people would not be any wiser!

I mean who wouldn’t want to sink their teeth into this beauty?!

Chocolate Pecan Pie Closeup 2

Thanksgiving is obviously behind us, but there’s plenty of time to plan your Christmas dessert menu.  Consider adding this pie to your repertoire along with some fluffy whipped cream or creamy vanilla ice cream.  My favorite way to enjoy the nuances of all the flavors is to eat it straight up, so be sure to try it on its own too.

Without further ado…the recipe!!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 pie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup corn syrup (light or dark, I used light)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark, I used light)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla!)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup bourbon (I used plain old Jim Beam)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 refrigerated or homemade pie crust, uncooked
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325*.
  2. Grease a 9" pie plate. Drape the pie crust dough into the pie plate, letting it hang over the edges if necessary. Crimp the edges of the dough with your fingers, removing or tucking in any excess dough as you work around the entire edge of the pie.
  3. Scatter the roughly chopped pecans and semisweet chocolate chips over the bottom of the pie dough and set aside.
  4. In a small pot over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, brown sugar and bourbon. Bring to a boil, stir well, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  5. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, *cooled* melted butter, vanilla and salt. VERY SLOWLY drizzle the hot syrup into the eggs, stirring continuously with a whisk while you drizzle. You don't want to rush this step or you'll end up with scrambled eggs! Keep drizzling and whisking until the last of the syrup has been poured into the eggs and everything is fully combined.
  6. Pour this mixture over the pecans and chocolate in the pie, making sure to cover everything evenly.
  7. Carefully place pie in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. When it's done, the top should be puffy and the crust should be golden. If the crust gets too dark too fast, you can cover the crust portion only with foil part way through the cook time. You shouldn't have an issue in an hour at 325 though.
  9. Let cool for 1 hour before serving so the pie can fully set.
  10. If making ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap AFTER PIE HAS FULLY COOLED and leave on the counter overnight. Covering a hot pie will with plastic wrap will result in condensation that can make your crust soggy.

 

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