Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Evidently Jack does not like to be left out. Last night I decided to make a batch of cookies after dinner so Daniel took over baby duty to spend some quality time with our little man. I had been downstairs in the kitchen for less than 15 minutes when Daniel came down with a fussy Jack and placed him in his infant carrier on the counter top.

Jack immediately calmed down and started observing everything in the kitchen. He was able to watch both Daniel and I; he could smell cookies baking and simultaneously listen to the jazz music that was streaming from Pandora. 

I know that Jack loves his Dad, but I think he really wanted to hang out where things were happening. I look forward to the day when he can help me make the cookies.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from the Sugared Whisk.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

52 Books: Book 46 & 47

I know that I just had a baby, but I am still trying to keep up with my reading. I actually finished these two books awhile back and never got around to writing a post... maybe something to do with being very pregnant, then in the hospital, then home with a newborn.

Book 46 was The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a fictional account of a missionary family that goes to the Belgian Congo in 1959. I especially found it intriguing since my parents were missionaries until I was six years old. 

Kingsolver does not appear to have a good opinion of missionaries or marriage if her novel is a reflection of her personal views. The missionaries spend their time trying to change Africa in an overbearing, Americanized manner and instead find themselves forever changed. While I believe it is impossible to live in another country without being changed in someway, the experiences of the Price family amount to a tragedy.

Book 47 was Room by Emma Donoghue. It is the fictional account of a girl who is kidnapped when she is 19. She is held in captivity in a room for seven years. During this period, she bears the child of her captor. She is finally able to escape, with her son, when he is five years old. The story tells of the entry back into the real world. It is a psychological thriller that was difficult to read just prior to and after having a son of my own. 

I am currently reading The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba... it is a much cheerier subject matter than these previous two books.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Finally starting to feel rested after a five days of visiting family. Don't tell our pediatrician that we traveled with Jack when he was just two weeks old... she told us not to go anywhere for two months! Hello – it's the holidays, did you really think we were going to just sit at home by ourselves???

Meeting Great Grandpa and Nana for the first time

Thankfully Jack is a pretty laid back little dude. Actually he is crazy laid back and if he starts crying you can always stick him in the car or a vibrating bouncer and he is out.

Izzy loves cousin Jack

Wednesday night we went to my sister's in Nashville {we always alternate holidays and Thanksgiving was with my family this year}. We arrived to a house full of people. Jack was hungry, but a total trooper as he met tons of new family members including his cousin Izzy, his great grandparents from Canada, his Uncle Mark and his great Aunt and Uncle and cousin.

The Voyles Siblings with Izzy and Jack

Thursday we got up semi-early and squeezed in a quick visit with Daniel's family for their traditional Thanksgiving breakfast. Normally this breakfast includes most of Daniel's family, but for some reason it was just his immediate family. We were sad not to be able to see everyone, but it was nice to be with his parents and sisters.

The Moore's Thanksgiving Breakfast

After a quick visit and delicious food, we headed back to my sister's for lunch where we had more visiting and more great food.

The Moore Siblings with Jack

Friday we slept in and went to my Aunt's house for more visiting. Friday night we were zonked.

The Southern Lock Flock
The Voyles

Four Generations of Locks

Saturday we said goodbye to my family and went to Daniel's mom's to spend the night. We were surprised to learn that his Grandmother had been in town shopping and was planning on dropping by for an impromptu visit. It was nice seeing everyone but we were running on empty by this point.

Four Generations of Moore's

Sunday we slept in, had lunch with D's mom, then made a quick stop in Murfreesboro on our way home to see D's dad. 

 This is how we felt by the end of the week...
thankful to see so many people, but ready to be home.

We visited with LOTS of people and wish that we had time to see everyone. With a baby your plans change as you go. Jack did fabulous being carted around and held by everyone under the sun. Daniel and I were pretty wiped out by the time we made it home Sunday night. I know that Daniel is thankful to have another week of time off before he has to go back to work. We have some serious recovering to do from all of the visiting! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Birth Story Part IV: Jack's Arrival

About 20 minutes before we started pushing, Daniel left to go get interviewed by the Chattanooga Chanel 9 News. They were doing a feature on 11-11-11 and we made their list since we were having our baby {naturally – no induction} on 11-11-11. 

While Daniel was gone, my nurse and sister started getting ready for me to push. Once Daniel came back to our room my nurse told me what to expect and how to push. Then she placed my legs in the stirrups and had Angela and Daniel stand on either side of the bed so that they would be ready to help me push.  

As soon as a contraction started, I was to take a deep breath in and then push with all of my might while holding my breath for a 10 count. Once we reached 10 I was supposed to take another breath and do it again. We would do it 3 times for each contraction. While I pushed, Angela and Daniel each helped to pull my legs toward my body.  

All I can say is that labor is tough work. Initially I was struggling to hold my breath for each 10 count. At one point my nurse even stopped me from pushing and lectured me on the fact that if I didn’t do it like she said I was going to have to have a c-section. This helped somewhat, but it was still hard.

Eventually I got angry at all three of them for forgetting to count – I really needed something to focus on and when they forgot to count it was infuriating. I even yelled that one of them better start counting. Also, I am pretty sure that Angela’s 10-counts were much longer than 10 seconds because they were prefaced with, “You’re doing great… You can do it… Keep pushing… One… Two… Three… ect.” Let me tell you, those extra phrases made me feel like I was going to pass out!

After about 15 minutes we had made some decent progress and Jack had dropped down to a +2 station. I naively thought we would be done soon. We kept pushing and I started to struggle. I could feel that Jack was crowning, but it didn’t seem to be enough.
I had been awake for 30+hours, had not eaten in 19 hours and had nothing to drink in at least 8 hours.

After 45 minutes of pushing my OB came in and took a look. She discovered that Jack’s head was turned sideways which was making it difficult for him to descend further in my pelvis. She could also tell that I was reaching the point of exhaustion and there was concern that if I didn’t push him out soon, he was going to start suffering from distress. She offered two options to me: option one was to use forceps; option two was to use a vacuum to assist me.

Angela really thought she should go with the vacuum, but my OB said she was very proficient with the forceps and that it would be faster. Daniel didn’t want me to do either. But at that point I felt like I couldn’t take it for much longer. I was going to have to push with either option and I didn’t want to waste what little energy I had and then not be able to finish.

Daniel kept telling me that I could do it and I would do it, and I kept telling him and the nurses that I was done and I couldn't do it. It was a hard conversation to have, especially with the doctor sitting a foot away and a room full of nurses. I finally convinced Daniel that I needed the baby out NOW and we agreed to let our OB try the forceps.

She started by giving me localized shots in the birth canal since my epidural had weakened. Then she used her hands to manually turn Jack’s head so that it would be easier for him to come out. Once his head was turned, she took the forceps and tried to insert them around his head. Unfortunately {thankfully} the forceps wouldn’t fit around his head. So we moved on to Plan B.

During all of this I became incredibly calm. I am not sure where this calm came from because prior to the decision to have an assisted forceps or vacuum birth I was really starting to lose it – crying and arguing with Angela and Daniel that I couldn’t do it. Realistically if I hadn’t been in such good shape I don’t think I would have been able to push Jack out.

The vacuum turned out to be a fairly small disc that she applied to Jack’s head. We pushed through 2 contractions and his head was out! During the next contraction I had to hold off pushing while my OB cut the cord from his neck. Then I pushed him out. It was a pretty amazing experience. 18.5 hours of labor and 1.5 hours of pushing and baby Jack was welcomed into the world.

Once he was out, our OB let Daniel trim the umbilical cord closer to his body. Jack cried briefly as he was whisked away by a nurse to get assessed. 

Angela took lots of pictures. I think Daniel wasn’t sure what he should do. I was getting stitches {my first ever} for a 2nd degree tear and Daniel stayed close by to me for moral support, but I told him that he should go and see Jack.


Jack’s apgar scores were 7 and 8. It turned out that he had a fever immediately following birth, but it quickly resolved (and they didn't tell us this till the next day). About 15 minutes after birth, the nurses finally handed Jack to me. He was perfect with humongous eyes that observed everything. My sister took a picture and texted our families. My father-in-law later mentioned that we had a thoroughly modern baby because he got to see his grandson in the waiting room on his phone before he got to see him in person.

We took time to feed Jack and then invited Daniel’s family to come in to meet the newest member of our family.


Jack’s birth wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, but he is here and that is all that matters. Daniel and I are both in love with our little boy. Every 6lbs 12 oz and 21 inches of him. We are truly blessed.

Shortly after Jack’s birth Daniel said something about when we had our next kid… At the time I was so traumatized that I secretly thought that he was crazy and that there was NO WAY that I would EVER go through this again. However 12 days later the experience is becoming a distant memory. And while I can’t imagine having another baby any time in the near future, I am OK with the possibility of having another baby some day. Strange how your mind forgets the painful parts. 


Birth Story Part I, Part II, Part III

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Birth Story Part III: You Want to do What???

In all of my research about giving birth there were several things that really made me cringe...

Internal Fetal Monitor. So you want to stick something inside my body and screw an electrode into my baby's head? No thank you.

Forceps. You want to stick salad tongs up in my nether regions and yank my baby out? Double no thank you.

Vacuum. You want to suck my baby out of me? What the??? I actually watched a video on this {granted it was old and the suction cups were rather large} but it really made my skin crawl.

C-Section. You want to cut me open? This just scares me because I have NEVER had stitches or surgery or even a broken bone. However I can at least stomach the idea of a C-section since it is a common practice, but it still scares me.

Those were my main concerns before going into labor. Who knew that I would have to face the possibility of of them...


So once Jack's heart rate had leveled out my nurse suggested we turn out all of the lights and try to get some rest. With the epidural my body could continue to labor and I could sleep.

I think that Daniel actually managed to fall asleep. I just lay in the dark and listened to the heart rate monitor. Angela {who is used to working nights} sat in a rocking chair and surfed the internet on her iPhone.

Not much time had gone by when Jack's heart rate plummeted again. Angela jumped up and asked me if I thought the external heart rate monitor had moved. No, I didn't think so. None of the nurses were coming, so Angela went ahead and got an oxygen mask out for me just as my nurse came running in the door. Evidently the nurses station had a glitch and NO ONE had noticed that Jack's heart rate had dropped. Our nurse frantically tried to find Jack's heart rate again and soon the room filled up with nurses.

Angela may have gotten a little bossy at this point – insisting that a doctor be called. You could tell some of the other nurses were uncomfortable with this. I am just glad that I have a bossy sister who knows what to do in an emergency. I think that my actual nurse was glad to have someone competent there.

Anyways a doctor came in and they decided to insert an internal fetal monitor. It was like getting a catheter inserted – which wasn't too bad since I had an epidural. They also inserted a intrauterine pressure catheter so they could know the exact force of my contractions. 

It was about 5am and I had to stay on oxygen until things were under control. My OB made an appearance and we discovered that I had progressed to 8cm. Unfortunately it seemed to be that each contraction was causing Jack's heart rate to drop. This was NOT GOOD.

My OB left to go look at my files and came back to say that around 32 weeks they had noted from a 3D ultrasound that Jack's umbilical cord was probably wrapped around his neck. Angela commented that she had thought the same thing upon seeing my ultrasound {she had kept this to herself through my whole pregnancy because she didn't want to scare us – definitely the right choice}.
So. The umbilical cord was the culprit. Every contraction was making the umbilical cord clamp down and restrict Jack's oxygen supply. 

My OB also said that since progressing to 8cm earlier that morning my body had really put the breaks on progressing – maybe it was trying to compensate for the fact that Jack's heart rate kept dropping. My OB wanted to start me on pitocin to get things moving again. Daniel and I asked the OB to leave the room so that we could discuss our options. We also took advantage of quizzing Angela on what all of this meant. In the end we agreed to use pitocin.

The nurses had just changed shift and we were blessed to get a very experienced, no-nonsense nurse. She started me out slow on the pitocin. Unfortunately Jack reacted badly to it. Our nurse came back to tell us that a c-section was probably eminent. She stopped the pitocin and Jack's heart rate evened out. She even went so far as to prep us for what to expect if I did get a c-section.

This made my heart drop. I really didn't want to be cut open.

My OB came back and looked at all of my stats and said that Jack was actually doing really well. She also checked me and learned that I had dilated to 8.5cm, so the pitocin was working. We decided to give it a bit more time. At this point Angela frankly told us that we had about a 30% chance of a c-section.

The nurse started the pitocin at an even lower level and I kept breathing oxygen with each contraction. Throughout the morning, my nurse kept increasing my pitocin to help increase my contractions and keep me dilating.

Around 1pm, things were looking bad again and my nurse came in and frankly told me that we were probably going to get a c-section. Daniel was out of the room at the time and I tried to digest what I was being told. I was scared but trying to hold it together. We needed to do what was best for Jack and my personal feelings needed to be pushed aside.

Daniel came back and we updated him on what was going on. Angela told us that she thought there was a 90% chance of c-section.

My OB came in and checked me and said that I was at 9cm and close to being fully effaced. However Jack had still not dropped at all. She looked over all of my stats again and said that Jack was handling everything remarkably well and she wanted to increase the pitocin even more and that we would just ride out each contraction sans oxygen since he was recovering on his own.

During the course of the day I had my epidural redosed 3 times. By 3pm I was getting tired and things were starting to hurt again. My nurse came in to check me and said that I was at 10 cm and fully effaced and that Jack had dropped a little to the -1 station. Ideally you start pushing when baby gets to +2 {see image below}... +3 means that baby is crowning.

My nurse said if I wanted we could try pushing, but if I couldn't move him down on my own, we were DEFINITELY going to have a c-section. I told her that I DEFINITELY wanted to try pushing...

Stay tuned for Part IV.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Birth Story Part II: You Make Plans and God Laughs

And the labor and delivery nurses roll their eyes...

Having a labor and delivery nurse for a sister is amazing. I had 9 months to quiz her on what to expect. She was very honest but also respectful of any ideas that I had. She also kept her mouth firmly shut about some things.

A few weeks before our birth, Daniel and I attended a birthing class and the teacher told us to have a birth plan. We were on the fence about this. I really trusted my doctors and nurses {and sister} and wanted to be respectful of their knowledge and experience. But there were some things I really wanted to happen at our birth.

As a compromise, Daniel and I made a one page "plan" to share with our OB. Our OB was also not a fan of having a "birth plan" but she humored us. Mostly it was helpful for me to discuss concerns I had and how I wanted my birth experience to happen {barring no medical complications}. I was fully aware that if problems occurred, my "plan" was to defer to the professionals.

That being said, I read a lot, listened to many personal stories, watched a documentary on birth and ultimately decided that if possible, a natural birth was the way to go. Realistically I also decided that if I had to be induced or if my water broke ahead of time, there was a good chance I would take a medicated route. Overall I wanted to have an open mind and do what was best for me and our baby.

And then my water broke.

When Daniel called Angela, she talked us through what to expect and do. I hadn't had any contractions so she thought I could labor at home for a little while, but since we had an hour drive to Chattanooga, she suggested we try to get there by midnight. That was totally doable. It was 8:45p.m. EST and an hour drive to the hospital, so we were in good shape.

We finished cooking our steaks and called the rest of our family to share the news. I finally started feeling contractions and we timed them for about an hour before finally calling my OB – who happened to be on call that night. 

My contractions had gone from nothing to 30 seconds long and 3 minutes apart. This was not what I expected. I had been under the impression that once labor started I would have time to adjust and recoup between contractions. Instead they came on with a vengeance. 

My OB was NOT happy that we were not on our way yet. She wanted us to get to the hospital asap. This posed a bit of a problem since we still hadn't packed our hospital bags. I failed to mention this to her, but said we would leave shortly. As soon as I got off the phone, Daniel proceeded to run around shoving things into bags while I tried to tell him what things not to forget.  

Meanwhile, Daniel's sister, Amy, left Nashville to come to our house to stay with Sophie. I can't tell you how hard it was for me to leave our dog home alone. She is used to going everywhere with us and even got in the car while Daniel was loading our stuff. I was almost in tears at the thought of leaving her but so thankful to know that someone would be there soon. Daniel and I were both a bit nervous as to how Sophie would transition to having a baby around, but there was nothing we could do about it... we needed to get to the hospital.

We finally got on the road and I had a very uncomfortable hour-long ride in the car. Every 3 minutes on the dot, a wave of pain took over my body. You are supposed to relax through contractions, but that is easier said than done. I was gripping the "Oh Crap" handle in the car the ENTIRE time and Daniel kept telling me to relax.

We arrived at the hospital right at midnight. The lady at the information desk took one look at me and hurried us up to labor and delivery. The charge nurse on duty asked if I was sure I was in labor. I looked at her and told her my water had broke. She looked down at me and said, "Why yes it has" and proceeded to take me straight to a labor room.

Three nurses kept asking me the EXACT same questions over and over again. You would think they would just confer with each other and leave me alone with my pain. Daniel was very supportive and got me as comfortable as possible.

The nurse checked me and learned that I was already dilated to 3cm. Right after that my sister arrived. Thank the good Lord in heaven. She really helped us through that night. First of all she had the nurses raise the bed so that I could stand and lean over it. Then she got a hot compress for my back and showed Daniel how to apply counter pressure while I went through each contraction.

My nurse came back and said that we could get an epidural at 4cm if we wanted. At this point I was ready. My ideas of a natural anything disappeared in that one-hour car ride. If labor had been slower things might have been different.

About an hour later, my nurse checked me again and I was already 4cm. They called the anesthesiologist who came right away. By the time he had inserted my epidural I had progressed to 6cm.

My nurse turned me on my back to allow the medication to disperse evenly in both legs. While I was on my back, baby Jack started to show signs of distress. His heart rate dropped significantly and everyone became very nervous. Angela jumped up to help adjust the fetal heart monitor and soon Jack's heart rate leveled out again. 

This was the beginning of many things that were not in my plan...

Stay tuned for Part III.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birth Story Part I: Honey, My Water Just Broke

Thursday, November 10, 2011 started like any normal day. I got up, had breakfast and went to my hour-long cardio kickboxing class. At this point, one day shy of my due date, I don't think the other women were too shocked to see me walk in the door.

Kickboxing was great and I didn't feel any different when I left the rec center. Besides I had been carrying around a beach towel {in my tote bag} all week just in case my water did break. In all honesty I wasn't expecting anything to happen.

After kickboxing I went home and enjoyed a cup of coffee on the back porch with Daniel {he was home for a 4-day weekend}. We talked about how this could be one of our last mornings on the porch together and that we should enjoy this time. We had no clue that this was in fact our last day as a family of two.

After a late lunch we decided that it was too nice of a day to stay home. Initially we considered driving to Huntsville to go hiking at Monte Sano State Park, but in the end decided a leisurely walk {locally} at Goose Pond Colony made more sense. So we loaded Sophie into the Subaru and made our way to town. 

It was the perfect fall day for a walk. We managed to get in about 2.5 miles next to the lake and Sophie was thrilled to be walking somewhere new – lots of new smells to investigate. A couple of times during our walk I felt like I had a stitch in my side, but nothing major. The paved path we were on was next to the main road, so I knew Daniel could go pick up the car and come get me if I actually went into labor.

After our walk we went home and dropped Sophie off and then returned to Scottsboro to see the movie Courageous. While the acting in the movie is so so, the message is an excellent one. It was a bit surreal to be sitting in a movie theater watching a movie about the importance of parenting {particularly the role of fathers}, knowing that we would become parents sometime in the next week or so.

On our drive home we joked about the full moon and how we might go into labor. I had several Braxton Hicks-like contractions during the drive, but didn't think too much of it at the time.

When we were finally home Daniel went outside to start up the grill and I put potatoes in the microwave to bake and started prepping our steaks. All of a sudden I felt a little pop and some water. I opened the door to the garage door and told Daniel that I thought my water had just broken. He asked if I was sure. About that time I felt a gush and said, "My water definitely just broke."

I ran to the bathroom while Daniel called my sister {a labor and delivery nurse}...

Stay tuned for Part II.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

5Days PostPartum

Things I didn't expect after having a baby...
  • The amount of {ahem} liquid my bladder can hold... and how often it gets full.
  • Only being able to sleep on my back* after many months of not being able to sleep on my back or stomach. *Hopefully this won't last for too long.
  • How famished I am. Sometimes I feel like I will keel over from hunger. This results in eating cake out of the pan {it tastes great but I'll be glad when it is gone}.
  • How quickly my body is changing.
  • How well Daniel and I work together as a team. We have always been a great team, but I was a little nervous that being sleep deprived and clueless, we might be at each other's throats. Turns out I didn't need to worry about this one.
  • The amount of sleep I would get and how well I could function on it. I truthfully thought my sleep deprivation would be much greater. So far feeding has worked out to only having to get up 2-3 times during the night, which has been totally doable.
  • How quickly we are adjusting to the parenting thing. I thought we would be more nervous and inadequate, but I think we have both stepped up to the plate.

Things Daniel didn't expect {mostly in regards to diaper changes}...
  • That Jack would never actually pee in his diaper. 
  • When he manages to pee on the wall, it's enough to run all the way down the wall where it pools on the floor.
  • That he can get 4 diapers dirty in less than 10 minutes.
  • That Jack would be so content 98% of the time.

Funny story from our first day home: 
Daniel went to Walmart to get a handful of supplies that I needed. When he checked out, the cashier took one look at his items and asked if he had had a boy or a girl.

Stay tuned... I will be posting Part I of our Birth Story tomorrow.

pleated poppy
Shirt from Old Navy. Jeans from Kohl's. Chacos from REI.

My pregnancy in pictures:

5 days postpartum.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...