The Cost of Childbirth

As Alsea’s first birthday approaches (10 days to go), I’ve been reflecting on the past year and all that occurred surrounding her birth. It’s also caused me to recall the past 3 ½ years. In these past 3 ½ years, I’ve gained and lost roughly 90 lbs, had 3 abdominal surgeries, spent over $13,000 in out of pocket medical related to pregnancy, and cried buckets of tears. Both our girls were very much wanted and planned babies, and yet they have indeed cost me a lot. Alsea’s c section was very emotional for me. I felt claustrophobic, I was afraid the anesthesia wouldn’t work, and as I lay there strapped to the table, hyperventilating with tears streaming down my face, it was hard to remember how much I wanted my baby.

Once she was safely out and I heard the welcoming sound of a gusty cry, I felt a rush of thankfulness. I got to ride the high of being the mother of two girls for a couple days, but even I knew that although my feelings were real, they were being heavily influenced by some very heavy painkillers. Then things got really hard. This tiny human I wanted so badly couldn’t nurse. I pumped exclusively for 3 months before she finally got the hang of nursing.

People said to me before I had kids that you forget labor and delivery afterwards, that a haze settles over the difficulties and that’s how you end up with more babies! I have not found this true for myself. It’s been a lot. It’s been hard. It’s been expensive.

But as I look at Alsea, almost 1 year old, all 18 lbs of her, and see her little toothless face smiling up at me, I know that it was worth it. When I pick her up and feel her satiny arms slide around my neck, I know that it was worth it. When she finishes a nursing session and grins up at me with a blissful, milky smile on her face, I know that it was worth it.

So, I can’t wait to celebrate my girl’s 1st birthday. She is worth it.







On Headache Healing Magic and Other Things

Hello to whoever is still reading this blog…I’ve fallen woefully behind on keeping up with blogging. I checked and it has been nearly 2 months since my last post. I have things to blog about, but for some reason, cannot bring myself to post them.

I realized that what makes a blog a “stand-out” blog is a blog that has a specific theme. It gives both the author and the readers clarity about what is being said. It reminds me of two types of people. On the one hand, the people who know a little about a hundred different things. They tend to be “in the know.” On the other hand, the people who know a lot about four things. I feel like this blog has turned into a mishmash of topics with no continuity.

I’ve been doing some thinking and haven’t come to a decision point yet, but sometime in the near future, I’m thinking to wrap things up here and start a new, more focused blog. We shall see.

In other news…summer seems to have come early to Oregon. I’ve never seen such a warm May. For the most part, I am really enjoying it. Abrielle is nearly 10 months old which I can hardly believe.

The biggest thing going on in my life is that I am, for the first time in a looong time, migraine free. !! I have found a solution. I did a one month gluten free food trial which failed. Read about it here. Then while I was looking up migraine supplements to try, I stumbled across this book on Amazon called Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz M.D. and Stephen G. Reich M.D.

This book has 388 reviews on Amazon, with 84 percent of them being 5 star reviews. As I started reading through them, I really started to feel hopeful. If you are a migraine sufferer, then you are familiar with the depression and hopeless feeling that can come from dealing with daily pain from a migraine. I borrowed this book from the library and whipped through it.

It is a three part program that this book recommends. Step 2 is the most significant: the food elimination diet. This is what I’m finding is working for me. At first I felt like all the fun had gone out of life when I saw the looong list of foods I had to stop eating. Here’s a few of the foods I can’t eat anymore (but not limited to): nuts, cheese, MSG, citrus fruits, avocado, processed meats (anything with nitrates), onions, caffeine, chocolate. The idea is that once you’ve eliminated these foods for a while and gotten rid of the migraines, you can try reintroducing them one at a time and see if you can tolerate them.

I saw results with this diet very quickly. It was really hard in the beginning letting go of foods I had been eating regularly, in particular, peanut butter. Peanut butter and me go way back. So far my efforts to reintroduce foods have been unsuccessful and have quickly resulted in migraines, which has been disappointing.

But, when I keep to the diet, I don’t have migraines. Plain and simple. And no food is worth having daily migraines. I’ve learned to adapt my diet with some substitutes as well. Sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. Cottage cheese instead of sour cream. I’ve learned to make my own sausage by seasoning plain ground pork. I would highly recommend this book if you have chronic headaches or migraines.


She Holds My Heart

I wanted to do a “Happy 4 Month” post about Abrielle, but she’s going to be 5 months old in a couple weeks, so it’s a little late for that. My little girl has such a grip on my heart and I so don’t want to forget this special time when she is still so little. Of course, many more fun years lie ahead of us, but this time strikes me as particularly noteworthy.

At the pumpkin patch

At the pumpkin patch

All About Abrielle:

-She has become so interactive–when we’re out in public, she picks a random person out of the crowd to grin at.

-After she smiles at someone, she likes to bury her head in my shoulder and hide.

-She loves standing and can actually stand by herself if I stand her next to a short chair or table.

-We moved her out of our room and into her room to sleep in her crib at night. It has been great! That way I can keep it a little warmer in her room and generally she sleeps from about 10:30pm to 7:30 or 8am.
-She loves playing and jumping in the jumper.
-She rolled over for the first time on November 8th and has done so several times since. She’s not real consistent about it though–I think her cloth diaper gets in the way.
-She enjoys playing with and grasping toys now…especially Baldue the cat. I don’t think Baldue likes her very much, but has so far been very good.
-She has a hard time focusing when she’s nursing now. She stops frequently to look around and smile at me.
-Now she actually seems to enjoy taking a walk out in the stroller. Sadly, the weather prevents much walking.

-She gives her daddy a special smile when he gets home from work.

Standing with Daddy

Standing with Daddy

Hanging with Daddy

Hanging with Daddy

At Cedar's restaurant in Detroit Lake

At Cedar’s restaurant in Detroit Lake

Showing off her sitting by herself skills

Showing off her sitting by herself skills





Everyday at Our House

I didn’t manage a picture every single day, but I did get quite a few pictures for my picture challenge.

This first one is a picture of laundry in the middle of being folded and put away. Before Abrielle, we only did 2 loads a week. Now I think I do 5-6 loads a week.

Next up is tummy time for Abrielle. She really doesn’t like it but she’s getting better at it.

Here is Abrielle looking in the mirror before her bath. She’s not quite sure what to think of the “other baby.”

In the green bag are the clothes she has outgrown already. Every week I go through her clothes and add in clothes that might fit now. She has so many cute outfits I don’t want her to miss any of them!

This last is a picture of my kitchen while I’m in the middle of making spaghetti sauce. I was reminded yesterday that I am “living the dream.” When I was little, I pictured myself with a baby, in my house, cooking dinner while waiting for my husband to come home. And what do you know? That is what I am doing!

If  you did a picture challenge of your own, please comment on this post and share!

Big Little Girl

I call Abrielle my “big” girl even though she is still very little. 🙂 At a recent doctor appointment she weighed in at 10 lbs 12 oz which is a lot of weight gain considering she started at 6 lbs 1 oz!
At 2 months old, Abrielle:

likes mornings and loves morning playtime

is getting pretty good at holding herself up during tummy time

hates it when I try to change her diaper when she really wanted to nurse

likes lying on her play gym and looking up at her toys

sleeps 4-5 hours for the first part of the night, eats and then we get another 2-3 hours

We are seeing these smiles pretty often now!

Had her first roadtrip in early September

Visited Daddy at his taekwondo tournament

And was generally just too cute for words!