the hits just keep on coming

poor, sweet husbo.
here's the latest on the great kidney stone epic:
yesterday jesse went to our primary care doctor (as a first time patient) to get a referral to see a urologist about the 2 kidney stones that the urgent care place found in his CT scan (one in each kidney). when jesse described everything that was going on, his doctor said, "well i don't doubt you have kidney stones, but i don't think that is what is causing the pain on your left abdomen that you are describing. so i think you have something else going on in addition to the stone the scan found."
so. no referral. no urologist. no answers. more questions. he ordered blood work for jesse and had the CT scan sent over for him to review. he called this morning and it turns out jesse does in fact have 2 stones...in EACH kidney! they aren't big enough to need blasting, so he will pass then whenever they are ready.
to figure out what jesse's pain is all about the doctor ordered a chest x-ray. that's where loverboy is right now. but the twist is that on the way to get his x-ray he started feeling the telltale pain of a stone being passed. fun fun and perfect timing. when he was 18 he passed a stone and it was positively debilitating and required going to the ER for morphine. so this could be a very fun filled weekend of narcotics. and probably no more answers since the doctor's office closes at noon so it's doubtful they will be able to review the chest x-ray before then.
thank jesus it's the weekend and judah is spending the night with his gran-gram (jesse's mom) tonight AND my parents are coming down sunday to watch him. this will allow jesse to labor in peace and me to be at the hospital with him if we need to.

this is jesse not passing a stone, but dancing to usher's "yeah" in 2006. i am guessing the expression is similar, however.

well, that worked

ok. i am flipping my shizz over the amount of turnout we have for the jewelry roll so far! two important things to know:
1. if you became a follower to get an entry, awesome, i am so flipping happy to have you here and that you are heretofore contractually obligated to give me a kidney should the need ever arise...i mean, no. that's definitely not what the "follow"button is for. but you do need to make sure to leave a comment after you have successfully become a follower (you'll see your little avatar or stock pic under the "followers/judah's homies" heading. you should also see your user name when you put your mouse over the picture) because that is how the winner will be picked; the comments are numbered and then a random number generated and the author of that # comment wins. i noticed a few of our newest followers (again, welcome. seriously) didn't seem to leave a comment yet. please do this so that you get your chance!
2. that said, once again some folks are having issues leaving a comment and it's making their blood pressure rise at staggering rates. if this is you, please email me each of the comments you would have left at keight8 (at) gmail (dot) com and i will post for you.
holy frig-balls, this is intimidating! i hope the actual product doesn't disappoint. but don't worry, even if it does i will censor the recipient so that no one else will ever know. mwuahahah, puppetmastah!


giveaway 50: jewelry roll

ok here's the giveaway for having hit the 50 followers mark a while ago. its the jewelry roll i wrote about and took many more pictures of: here. i offered it on facebook to my germanophile best friend marisa, but she didn't reply, so off of my dining room table and straight to one of you it goes.

ways to enter (one entry per):

1. leave a comment on this post telling me the place you would most love to transport your jewelry to (as in on vacation or something)
2. only for non followers: become a follower of this blog officially and leave me another comment saying you did and apologizing for only stepping out of the shadows for your own selfish profit
3. only for current followers (feel free to become a follower first and then do this for an extra entry)-leave another comment that says which putapuredukes blog post was your favorite of all time (yes, i have asked for this before, but now i'm bribing you)
4. i can't imagine anyone would want it this bad but for another entry (or a few: one for each linkback), blog, tweet or facebook about this giveaway, linking back to here and leave a comment for each time you do.
i will randomly select a winner on next wednesday morning 3/3/10. so there.
*and since lena asked, i will come up with some sort of referral system for current followers who bring in new followers. maybe a hand sewn-something for every 2 or 3 referrals. we'll see. how about someone actually accomplish a referral first and then we'll deal with it.

after hours

jesse has kidney stones in BOTH kidneys. at least he's thorough. thanks to our so-called "platinum" insurance he has to get a referral from our primary care doctor to be able to go see a specialist (aka urologist) and have that covered. this adorable little piece of red tape effectively turns one appointment into two and one copay into two. AWESOME! the vicodin bottle isn't empty yet and contractions haven't begun, so we're good in this HMO holding pattern of love right now (it's actually an EPO).
secondly, i am a lazy ass and don't feel like sewing/crafting anything lately. to push myself to have to do it i have decided to do regular giveaways. since i'm putting out though, i am gonna make it so i get something in return (why buy the cow...?). that said, the giveaways will happen every time we get 5 more official followers (just click the follow button yonder---->). this should happen pretty rarely keeping the novelty of the giveaway fresh and preventing me from becoming a sweatshop. for you people who are already followers, well, i guess you could tell a friend to follow or make up a fake identity (i think only lena would do this), but i will go ahead and spot y'all 2 giveaways for 50 followers and 55. post on the details of these forthcoming.
main post:
judah would be a horrible poker player. first, because he's 9 months old (TODAY!) and if he was capable of learning what "flush" meant, i can assure you that we'd teach him the non-poker meaning first. secondly, he would stink at poker because he has a HUGE tell. whenever he is ready to nap he rubs his eyes with his fists the way you would if you were playing charades and got "sleepy" as your clue. it's quite handy.
last night judah was rubbing his eyes in the tub so i put him in his pj's and gave him his last bottle. he didn't even finish the whole thing (rare) before he was nuzzling up against me and closing his eyes. so i plopped him down in his crib and left. he went totally still with eyes closed the moment he hit the sheets (like always). then when i was turning off the light and closing the door i see him pop right up onto all fours and then into a sitting up position. i was like, "FAKER!" but still left, per sleep training protocol, expecting him to cry for a bit and then lay back down.
well, i was reading in the living room and rather than hearing him cry, i hear him jabbering at himself in a half pleased/half spazzy manner. i wonder what he is doing in there in the dark, so i sneak in with my camera and this is what i see:


we have come in to find him standing in the crib lots of times before, but it's usually in the morning when he's ready to get up and he's crying for us. this was just funny because he couldn't have cared less if i came in and joined him or if the lights were on, he was just be-bopping around yammering like a ferret(?) in the dark. plus the fact that he seemed to fake sleep to get me out of the room.
he was being so dang funny and hyper, especially compared to the sleeper muffin he had been minutes earlier that i had to video him up after hours:

he was such a happy little popinjay that i decided to give him 30 more minutes of playtime. he just stood up by the coffee table and played with toys and highlighters the whole time: no whining or falling or screaming for me. i sat across from him on the couch and read and took pictures the whole time. it was adorable and made me feel bad for ever thinking he was high maintenance.

judah gets "high"

adorable little snuggy-gremlin
happy .75 birthday judah-bug. you can stay up and play with us whenever you want to.


i would do anything for loaf

if you recall, tuesday night is date night and jesse under the confines of frugal february we now cook together as part of our dates rather than going out. this has as added bonus because cooking together creates both the date meal and the date activity. cause we're cocky like that, we often will try a challenging or new recipe on these nights. the first date dinner after the great pantry purge found us having meatloaf on the docket last night. what we made can be described as sex in loaf form (we love our food here on team dukes).
i have never been much of a meatloaf kind of girl. this is ironic because i now walk around with two meaty loaves on the sides of my legs that some call "ample hips." my commodious rump aside, i have recently found a renewed interest in this scion of vintage american cookery. join me, won't you?
my mom is ridiculous. she's a giver. she's also a re-gifter, but that's neither here nor there right now (but it was when i got a dachshund brooch in my christmas stocking when i was 17). growing up, a huge box in her closet was always filled with gifts that had no specific destination. she would stockpile these when she found great deals and save them for later. but these weren't reserved for just christmas or birthdays. i could not go to a sleepover without taking the host's mother a little care package, as if to say, "i realize it takes effort to tolerate my feral presence in your house, here, clutch this ralph lauren coin purse for comfort whilst i run amok in your laundry room." i was the ONLY 9th grader to play santa to my teachers on christmas, valentine's day and the last day of school, ferrying parcels of cocoa mix, soap on a rope, and delicious jams and jellies from home to bus to each and every class. while it can be embarrassing to be the middle man in these displays of lurid generosity (oh, keight, your science teacher had a smooth bowel movement?!?! here, take him this mallard umbrella to congratulate him) i know that being on the receiving end of my mom's giving feels great. i jest because i love. i hope she never ever changes this habit.

i don't always appreciate what she's giving

so meatloaf. right. whenever g-ma comes down to watch judah she invariably brings 1 or 2 frozen home-made meals for us. this is pampering to the max. she is already providing us free 100% trustworthy childcare and then on top of that she showers her AMAZING cooking upon us. she's the gift that keeps on giving. well, recently one of the meals left us with was her meatloaf. damn it's good. i remembered that she had sent me this recipe awhile back (when i had tricked her into thinking i was domesticated and actually cooked our meals rather than just buying or heating them pre-made...silly her). so i searched my gmail archives for key-word "worcestershire" (because "meatloaf" would return too many unrelated results) and blammo, there it was. now, she sent me this in october of 2007, which was a few months before my parents went off the healthy deep-end so i'm sure she has since revamped this particular recipe to have 87 grams of fiber, a bushel of antioxidants and a freshly plucked hair from the head of suzanne somers in every serving.

g-ma's gift that keeps on giving meatloaf:

1 pound of ground turkey
1 pound of ground pork
1/4 cup of chili powder (i about had an aneurysm when i read that, but it's not spicy at all in the finished product...but you can use less if you're scared)
1/4 cup worcestershire
1/4 cup of ketchup
3 slices of bacon (optional)
2 eggs
1 T salt
1 T crushed red pepper
1T cumin
1 T liquid smoke (in the marinade section)
4 pieces of toast, crushed (or sub. about 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs)
1 small onion chopped
1 T minced garlic
minced mushrooms (however much you want, i used a whole bag of cooked frozen 'shrooms)

-preheat oven to 350

while it's cooking it's best to let your child get in the habit of playing with the oven (it's like he knew i was granting his wish)
-in a large bowl mix with hands all ingredients (minus the bacon)

-pam a 9x13 baking dish.

-form into a oblong shape; top with bacon (cut each strip in half and lay crossways)

-cover with foil and bake for 1.5 hours

-top with a glaze--i made a yummy one of ketchup, worcestershire, liquid smoke and texas pete, but you could just use plain ketchup or bbq sauce if your prefer--about 20 minutes before it's done. i put the glaze above and below the bacon before popping it back in for the final 20.

*the loaf can be made up the night before and put in refrigerator to cook the next day.

the finished product with from-scratch cornbread and zucchini wedges (that got mutilated by paprika). store bought mashed potatoes not shown

it's a bunch of meat ensconced in bacon...what could be bad about it? well aside from the fact that this is about 15 servings. excuse me while i go have this for lunch for the next 2 weeks.
the catch to this entire post is that i didn't actually get to cook this WITH jesse. why? you ask. well on monday night he was complaining about really needing to toot. his left abdomen was hurting and it felt like a gas bubble when he breathed in deep or sneezed. by yesterday it was still really bothering him even though he had, you know, evacuated the dance floor by then, so he wanted to go to the doctor. this is an event and a red flag in itself because jesse NEVER goes to the doctor. he is the strapping picture of health and even when he gets a cold he always to toughs it out and has never needed more than over the counter aid to get back on his feet. well our doctor (who he has never even seen since we made her our primary care physician 3 years ago) couldn't see him until thursday, so we decided he should go to urgent care (cheaper copay than the real ER). turns out...kidney stones!
jesse has had the honor of passing these granulated devils once before and has indicated that it is no tea party. unless you typically invite deranged maniacs to your tea parties (insert apropos topical republican joke here) who proceed to stab you in the back with knives. he had a CT scan done today (geez, i feel left out) to decide if the stones, which are still in his kidneys at this point, are small enough to let him pass on his own or if they need to be sonic blasted to bits before they make their happy little way down the ureter trail of tears. until we hear back, jesse has vicodin and an oblong wad of tasty meats to see him through. i may be playing the role of "labor coach" to poor sweet husbo in the coming days as he prepares to give birth to these renal usurpers.
p.s. i am just pleased as punch with myself over the cleverness of the title of this post.


note from the edge

yikes. last week was NOOTS. i don't know if it is the age, the teething, the sickness or the meds he was on, but judah morphed into the tiniest contestant in a sommelier competition because (wait for it) he became the ultimate whine captain!
i blame him, of course. the first 8.75 months, he tricked us into submission as being the easiest, chillest babe on the block. he never fusses and can always be amused or interested out of a borderline grumpy mood. not. last. week. nothing would make him happy and yet he wanted to try everything within screaming distance just to make absolutely sure that he did, in fact, hate that particular toy/activity/environment as well. it was annoying as crap to us because, doy, babies crying and whining is annoying, but it was an emotional kick in the balls as well because he just seemed so frustrated and unhappy about existence in general and all of our most well intentioned and creative parenting tricks were met with pushes away, screams in faces and wails of distress.
on wednesday evening, i was waiting for jesse to come home and i just lost it. i had tried EVERYTHING to change judah's mood and give him some interest/sustenance/peace/stimulation/money or whatever the hell it was he was looking for. he was just so pissed about it all. i got to the point that i was starting to get mad at him. this scares me about myself and i am quick to monitor any loss of temper AT the baby and take a break and regain some perspective when this happens so as not to end up incarcerated. this time, since i was alone with him, i couldn't exactly leave so i simply just constructed a pillow barrier in his general scoot-able circumference and filled it with graham crackers and toys and then curled up in the fetal position across the room and plugged my ears and hummed until jesse got back. feel free to judge me.
luckily we think that strange possession or our baby's mood was just temporary because he's getting his chipper back day by day (being out of school for a whole week may have played a part in the malaise since our lil' cub is a very social mammal). saturday morning he was still kind of hissy so we resorted to some unusual maneuvers to make family day as enjoyable as possible for everyone.

first time in the big tub and judah's first ever bath before 10 am (the academy award for best supporting actor in a modesty role goes to: bubbles!).
he looked and smelled like he had moved in with oscar the grouch because we hadn't given him a bath all week so as to keep his ears 100% dry while they healed, so this activity was functional as well as fun. we could have started the big tub months ago, but the in-sink infant tub is so much more accessible for us since it brings the baby and the bathwater up to our height, plus judah never tried to escape it and seemed to enjoy the little one just fine. well on saturday we decided to make tubbing an amusement activity rather than just a hygiene routine since he was going nuts for a change of scenery. so, i now take baths with judah. it may be a little hippie or scar him for life to take a bath with mommy, but i love it! no back-breaking bending over to reach him while kneeling (which we tried and got fed up with after 5 minutes) and no worries about getting splashed or not being able to catch him in time if he slips. ask me again how much i love it the first time he poops in there with me.
gonna say sunlight is causing the difference in hair color from the previous picture and not the bath
after the early morning bath, we took the turd burglar for a long stroll since it was amazing weather outside. nothing weird about this...he has always loved anything outside and never makes a peep during his strolls. no matter how tired he is he doesn't fall asleep because he's soaking it all up. it was quite strange to see him grab his sippy cup off his tray and knock it back like it was nothing. what a big kid. the wind kept making him have crazy hair, it was awesome.

visiting the canines in maximum security lockdown. that's clifford's mouth with a ball in it in the background trying to climb over chopper. judah seems indignant about something...maybe the injustice of their living situation? little does he know the wildness of these beasts or that they have more acreage than the rest of us.

Add Image
i just put this one in to capture the rotundity of judah's cheek

so tiny!
judah man is a champion at holding himself up and a fence has unlimited handholds so i left him there and went the 20 yards back up to the house and knocked on the door. jesse opened it and was like, "um, hi, where is our baby, please?" it was so fun to say, "look, he's playing in the back yard with the dogs." judah didn't even notice i had left. in a strange meteorological phenomenon, it is still high-autumn in east-bumbly which is why there are so many leaves in our yard and definitely NOT because we have never raked once in 3.5 years and those piles of years-old leaves are high enough to lose our firstborn inside of.

we used our highchair for the first time ever. every other meal has been served to him sitting in the living room, on the counter or while he's standing up playing so we felt the time was right to try to salvage what little hope remains for having table manners. it was quite nice to have all of us at the table eating our lunches (to model excellent behavior, jesse and i don't ever eat at the table either)

with a fistful of cheese and avocado plus some kiwi on the plate that were too slippery for him to feed himself

baby's first anatomical anomaly!

judah now has 2 top teeth to go with his 2 bottom middle ones; however, neither of these is a top middle tooth. the ones that have come in are the 2 side teeth, making him look like a first grader who has lost his front teeth to that tooth fairy or like some kind of infant vampire (i didn't read twilight while breastfeeding or pregnant, so it couldn't have seeped in that way). i read somewhere that it is uncommon for the teeth to come in in this order, but there's nothing wrong with it. so we'll just enjoy baby snaggles for the time being (you can click to make the pic big to see his chomper...the one on your left is just barely cut, so its not in the pic)

sorry that was boring...even to me. i will get back my creative mojo sometime soon. i think the blog quality is inversely proportional to the amount of close-range baby screaming encounter each day.


On parenting and birth... Part 2

About 7 months ago I told the first part our natural childbirth experience and I ended by saying, "Check in soon for part 2!" Umm... yeah, sorry about that. I've been keeping a standard of "promptness" if you choose to think about it in galactic terms. Hillary Hull said that one of her friends was thinking about doing natural childbirth but was waiting to hear the finale before deciding. Mmm... sorry about that too. It's taken me some time to find a rhythm to life that allows me to get back to the blog so I hope I can jump back in every now and again. But before I do anything else, let me finish what I started...

So when you left us last we had just checked into Fayette Piedmont at about 5:00 am on memorial day. I was pretty well rested and excited, K8 was excited, but in lots of pain every 2 to 3 minutes, and had been awake since 9 or 10am the previous day.

If you haven't done it before, it can be a bit of an interesting experience wandering into the hospital with a laboring woman. The parking lot was almost abandoned and the entrance that we normally went in wasn't open so we came in right by the ER. I don't know why, but I expected everyone to kind of drop what they were doing when we walked in and rush to help us.

"OMG! She's having a BABY! CODE 9!! Delta Team MOVE!"

I imagined them wheeling in a gurney and strapping Keight down and us running down the halls to get her to a doctor STAT! So I was a little disappointed when we burst on the scene and there were no balloons or sprinting nurses. In fact, I had no idea where to go. So I hurried over to the ER desk and said, "My wife is having a baby, what do we need to do?" To which the woman behind the desk sleepily replied, "Maternity. 3rd floor." And pointed off to her right, all without looking up from her computer.

Right. So with significantly less fanfare than I imagined, we waddled to an elevator and eventually made our way to the Maternity ward and got checked in.

I can't remember if we mentioned this way back when, but our OB office had 4 doctors that rotated being on call and a conversation that Keight and I had been having throughout the pregnancy was, "Who do we want to deliver the baby?" and "Who do we think is going to deliver the baby?" Our choices were between Dr. Cook (head guy, super down to earth and likable), Dr. Ralsten (goofy but funny, did his undergrad at Tech), Dr. Turner (straightforward but also warm, she delivered a set of twins naturally), and Dr. Beckford (spacey and looks like she's 24, but funny and nice). We went back and forth between men and women, but eventually we decided either of the guys because they seemed the most willing to let us do our thing naturally as long as Keight and Judah were okay, and then finally that we'd love to have Dr. Ralsten if we had to pick a #1, but we figured that we would get one of the women with our luck and we were the most squeamish about Dr. Beckford. Simply because we literally were not sure she was old enough to have a medical degree (she looks YOUNG!) and she seemed likely to be quick to "intervene" medically rather than let the birth process play out as naturally as possible. Plus every time we had seen her for our prenatal appointments she tried to talk us into an epidural even though we were pretty clear.

At this point I would have liked to show you all 4 of their pictures but their stupid website is in Flash, and one of the doctors (Turner) left shortly after our birth (unrelated...maybe). So in their place here is a picture of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg from one of the exam rooms in the OB office. You can imagine that she is the composite image of all four (actually not that far off).

SO, when we decided it was time to go I called ahead to the hospital and told them we were coming in and found out that currently Dr. Turner was on call. So maybe not ideal, but we were happy about that because we knew that she would likely be very willing to allow us to stick to our birth plan provided there were no serious complications.

Upon arriving to the Maternity ward on the 3rd Floor we were greeted very warmly by the nurses and Keight got settled in nicely. After extensive amounts of paperwork that basically amounted to promising not to sue the hospital that they made Keight fill out while contracting even though we had preregistered, we were finally able to be alone together for a little while and get back to the business of having a baby. One of the things they asked us at check in was when her water broke. Since we knew the hospital's policy of 18 hours of broken water before IV antibiotics were required, we kind of just said "um, one" since it was 5 am the nurses assumed we meant 1 am (because who waits all day at home after water breaks?!? we do!). actually it was 1 pm the day before. we didn't lie, but we were pumped to get 12 extra hours without being wired up to anything. Throughout all of this Keight has been a complete champion. She's getting retrofitted with fetal monitors and a Hep-Lock IV port, and getting poked and prodded every second it seems, but about every 2 or 3 minutes, she would ask them to hold on and she would relax her whole body and allow the contraction that had come along to do its amazingly beautiful and painful work.

About 30 minutes after all the paper work was done and we'd been settled in, Dr. Turner finally came in to check where Keight was and talk to us for the first time. We quickly found out that Keight was at 3-4cm and 70% effaced (for you no pregos, that means her cervix was open 3 to 4cm [at 10cm you're pushing a baby out] and effacement is basically a measure of much your cervix has thinned [think of pulling a thick turtleneck sweater over your head, how the material thins as you pull it tight]). This was good news because it meant that something had been happening during all those contractions, but it also meant we still had a ways to go. The BAD news, was that her shift was ending at 7am and so right as we were getting settled in with nurses and doctors it was all about to change.

It would turn out that the change would be VERY significant to the outcome of this story. We quickly learned that Dr. Beckford was the doctor with the next shift. Which definitely was a mixed bag of emotions for us, simply because we really did like her a lot. She's funny and kind of spacey, but very approachable and warm. The only hesitation that we had was that she would probably be the hardest of all the doctors to convince to let us proceed without any interventions.

But before we even had much time to even think about all of that, we were introduced to our new nurse who was going to take care of Keight. Our previous morning nurse was very sweet and encouraging southern girl who had a great knack for when to help us out and when to give us some space, so we were kind of bummed to lose her. In her place walks in our new nurse, and she is spunky. She's what we here in the south would call, "Northern" (she's from Ohio). She immediately gets down to business, "So I hear you guys want to go au naturale? Well that's great, you can totally do it. I had both of my children naturally, so I know what you're going through. But its going to take a lot of work from both of you." Then she proceeds to explain to me how birth coaching works. Ha, little did she know I had a coaching card already.

Still keep it in my wallet, in case we ever happen upon a woman in labor

So after Nurse Adrienne left, Dr. Beckford came in and did her own check, which just confirmed what Dr. Turner said. 3-4cm, 70% effaced. So she said that basically she was cool with us doing the whole natural thing, but if time passed and it looked like things were stalling out then we needed to consider using pitocin to speed up the labor if things weren't progressing "normally". We both reasserted that we weren't ready to consider that yet, and so we decided that unless something big came up, Keight would get checked again at 9:30am and then again at 12pm and we would go from there.

After the doctor left, Keight and I began an awesome time of being able to go through the birth process in peace for the most part. The thing that I loved about our chosen method was that it truly brought us so close together. Every contraction was an opportunity to see Keight doing what only she could for our family and to help her in ways that only I could. The wave of a contraction would come up and Keight would gracefully navigate its waters. She would relax her body fully, close her eyes, and breathe deeply all the while tuning into the amazing process that her body was leading her through.

team dukes!

My main job was simply to try to do whatever it took to make Keight comfortable and encourage her along her journey. I like to imagine it was like Keight being led down a path in the woods to a place that she had never been before. Her eyes are closed and she's being led by her body, who by the grace of God and the mystery of time and genetics, has already learned the way. I'm following along not doing much of anything, but just encouraging Keight when she doubts herself and making it as easy as possible for her body to take us where we all want to go.

Sometimes that was massaging the small of her back, sometimes that was rubbing her temples, sometimes that was letting her hang on my neck, sometimes that was encouraging and cheering her on, sometimes that was shutting up.

I remember sitting by the fetal monitor and watching the contractions build on the little graph and massaging Keight's hands as the pain would build. I remember moving from the birthing ball, to standing up and hanging on me, to standing up against the wall while I pressed hard on Keight's back to counteract Judah pushing on the other side. I remember how kind all of the nurses were and how thankful I was that they were there, but letting us do our own thing. It probably didn't hurt that we brought them gift baskets full of candy and goodies (thanks Tiff and Jorge!!).

But most of all I remember time slipping away. During labor, the contractions just keep coming and coming and coming. There are no time outs. There is no way to tap out and let someone else do the work. They just roll on and on every 3 or 5 or sometimes 8 minutes. 10 or 12 go by and there goes an hour. At some point I looked at the clock and it was 11:50. That meant Keight was about the get checked again, and hopefully she would have made enough progress to end the whole pitocin discussion for good.

So Dr. Beckford and Adrienne came back in for the exam as promised and sadly it was not good news. She had been 4-5cm, 70% effaced at 9:30 and now she was 5-6cm. That means we'd gotten 2cm closer in 4.5 hours. Come on uterus!! Are you kidding me?!? I watched the life drain out of Keight's face as they told us that, because we both knew that was not going to make things easy, and it was kind of a slap in face for all of the pain and anguish that she'd been going through since this started. At this point she had been up for more than 24 hours straight and was pretty exhausted. She would get almost to the point of sleep and then another contraction would come like a cruel uterine Chinese water torture.

Dr. B reminded us of our options and then left to go check on some other patients. It then that Adrienne sat down on the bed with us and we had a heart to heart. She was still very encouraging about us sticking to our birth plan and being able to deliver naturally, however then she told us that we would probably have to be willing to make some compromises simply because of our situation, with Keight's water having been broken for several hours (so they thought, we were getting close to 24 hours, since we had let them believe that "one oclock meant 1 am and not the 1 pm that was the truth).

She told us that if we got close to the 18 hour mark from when the water broke, we would be forced to go on IV antibiotics, which would mean staying in bed and no more walking around during the labor as we had been (because that's the hospital's policy to prevent infection since the womb is not longer a "sterile environment" after the water breaks, actually you can go up to 2 weeks with broken water and be totally fine). So to prevent that, we had to be willing to be flexible about some of the items on our birth plan. Specifically the use of Pitocin.

Now you may ask, "What's so bad about Pitocin? Isn't that meant to speed things up? Isn't that a good thing?" Well, you see we have this crazy idea that since women have been having babies for a LONG time, that maybe their bodies have a good idea how to do it on their ownsome and on their own timetable. Sometimes this is fast, sometimes this takes 2 or even 3 days. I understand that to our efficiency crazed, schedulemaniac culture, this could be hard to understand, but sometimes faster is not better at all.

The devil-juice!

The fact is, pushing out a baby is work. I'm guessing that's why its called labor. Put another way, it's an athletic endeavor. In our birth classes I learned that a uterus is covered with a very large muscle and contractions are simply (sic) that muscle contracting to pull open the cervix and allow the child to pass through the birth canal. Pitocin is the synthetic reproduction of the hormone oxytocin in your body that tells your uterus to contract. A woman in labor already has this hormone in her system. What pitocin does is force it into overdrive, stronger, longer and more frequent contractions come when propelled by this chemical. This can take a process that would take say 6 hours and convince your body to do it in 1/3 of that time. Which seemed to mean for example that the pain that would have been spread out over the 6 hours, now gets crammed into two. Which is three times worse if it works mathematically. And since childbirth is not exactly a comfort-filled activity to begin with, this presents a problem.

To counteract this, most women opt for an epidural shortly after getting the pitocin, simply to escape the rapidly intenifying pain as soon as they feel it starting. The only problem is that many times the epidural causes labor to slow down and the contractions subside. to overcome this they sometimes give you MORE pitocin. this can then make it painful again so they give you MORE epidural. and this cycle can create stress on the baby since the contractions are coming really hard and fast (even though mom doesn't feel it thanks to the epidural) and this distress can lead to emergency c-sections to "save" a labor that may not have even been in danger to begin with if there hadn't been interventions. also, once the pitocin gets them to 10 cm and its time to push the moms often can't feel enough of the process to know when/how to push, but the uterus is still pushing like crazy and this action on the baby can cause the heart rate to drop because of the added stress, which means an emergency c-section is necessary to get the baby out safely in this case too.

Now, please take this moment to realize that this is by no means always the case, or certain to happen. But the process I just described is known as "pit to distress" and if you care or have the time, throw that in the ol' goog and see what comes up.

When it comes to your own child that you've prayed for, hoped for, sacrificed sleep/money/time/your girlish figure for, you really don't want to do anything that is likely to end up causing it "distress". And from my perspective, I had Keight to be worried about as well. I didn't want her to have to get a c-section and I didn't want her to have ANY unnecessary pain. She had enough necessary pain to deal with.

But we were running out of options at this point. So after some serious soul searching and praying we made a deal with Adrienne that if Keight didn't make any more progress by 2:00, then we'd go ahead and go on pitocin.

God, you know the exact time that Judah is supposed to be born.

In fact, you already know how many hairs he has on that precious head of his.

We don't want to do anything necessary that would harm this boy that you're giving us. So we just ask that you help us make the right decisions and protect him through whatever happens.

We love you.


2:00 pm came and went. No change.

They hooked Keight up the IV and administered the smallest dose possible, and we would see what happened from there.

this would be the last smile for a while...

Drip drip, no turning back now.

God help us.

the conclusion of the story is here


snow wonder i love you

alrighty, earthlings, i have to get these pictures out of my unposted folder before the summer solstace. you will not even believe the effort it required to get all these pictures on here. i have no idea why blogger made it so very difficult to upload them...comb the HTML code, perhaps the location of jimmy hoffa's body or the real story of the roanoke colony are of in there somewhere and big brother didn't want it published. either way, here's our family having boring pictorial fun in the snow of last weekend.

right when it started in our front yard. normally i would not post such an abomination of a photo of me, but the bug just looks so elven that i couldn't resist

before daddy got home we mainly watched from indoors (look how fast his left hand was banging on the glass. baby blur!)
. both cats take turns demonstrating key dodgeball fundamentals in avoiding judah's grasp: scout dodges

danger dips

scout ducks (i find that pulling even her ear away is just insulting!)

"can you believe what's happening out there!?!?" (not even noticing that a cat has walked right into his lair!)

soooooo cute with his pal danger (too bad his eyes were half closed)

"....hey, ma, when can we go out and play?"
because i love a good before and after: last year's snowfall at our house: 26 weeks pregnant...

11 months later: same spot, same jacket, different jeans, and an 8.5 month old judah has since been reflected over my U-axis. there is no explanation for my stupid face here.

and, looks like we are not a fan after all. we attempted to drag him around on a cookie sheet clipped to a dog leash but that failed miserably (rope and laundry basket next time, duh! thanks HHH)
we went over to the dukes' place on saturday to play with uncle jake and aunt jackie and judah's cousins who are staying there while the grandukes are in the bahamas (hey, jealousy).

shiver my cuteness in the alaskan outback
we built a colossal snowman: here judah stands in for the snowman's third...er, ball, making him about 6 feet tall (daddy is hiding behind)
and then on the tippy top with daddy and uncle jake there for support
after sophie's insistence that we "knock him down!" we made a tiny stunt-snowman that she was allowed to raze. here she is on her adorable approach vector of destruction

chest compressions won't bring him back now, sweetie.
jake tried to pelt a huge snowball at the snowman and accidentally grazed sophie. here she is exacting revenge
our eclectically attired snowfriend (darts are his mouth and 3D avatar specs are his shades). as was often the case during their childhood, jesse's a lover, jake's a fighter.


can't talk now...

i am going absolutely scorched-earth (that seems to be a theme in our lives) on the couponing this week (should be a savings RECORD!) and have no time to blog (since it's FLYER DAY!). however, you did get a bonus post yesterday from none other than Hottie McBurlyface himself. how about showing him some comment -love if you want him to ever come back again!
just so you don't go away empty handed today here's a free pic of judah looking like the biggest fat-kid couch potato ever:

ma! meatloaf!
and if you're into reading blogs way better than mine here's an awesome, thought provoking SHORT post from one of my most favoritest mommy bloggers.


A Day in the Life of Dad

Parenthood, in my opinion, is a celebration of absurdity.

Case in point: My morning.
Maybe you haven't noticed, but Atlanta and Moscow somehow have managed to be on the same latitude lately. Which by itself, doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm a fan of the cold weather... bundling up with sweaters, snuggling by the fire, laughing through the snow... you get the idea.

The part that I'm not such a fan of, is the fact that my two big, strong, smelly, somewhat homoerotic dogs Clifford and Chopper become gigantic furry babies when the temperature drops below 35 degrees. And lets just say, I'm not exactly eager to run outside in my PJs and move the whiners into their kennel in the garage just because its a little nippy. Sure sure, I wouldn't want to be outside sleeping in the cold either. BUT I don't smell like moldy yogurt, chew any and all surfaces, or have a built in fur coat (well, not exactly).

charming... right?

Well, whatever the dogs may be, they clearly aren't stupid. One night, the temperature dropped significantly after I went to bed, so the boys were out in the elements and decided to take matters into their own paws. Later, I was woken from my slumber by someone knocking on our door at 2:30 am. So I groggily stumble to the door, thinking to myself, "I thought Judah was too young to sneak out and get arrested for streaking."

Right department, wrong family member.

"Sir, we've had several complaints from your neighbors about your dogs causing a disturbance in the night. I'm going to have to ask you to get them to be quiet or I'll have to issue you a citation."


I had to give it to them, that was pretty crafty. So NOW, they've tied my hands, and whenever it gets cold they decide to bark it up like its 2012, and I inevitably have to scoot out into the night and move them to the garage.

Just to add to the fun, Clifford gnawed his collar off lately, so I have to loop his leash around his neck like a lasso to corral him.

Anyway, back to this morning. So in our neck of the woods, its was freezing last night, so the dogs were in the garage in the morning. In other news, Judah is currently dealing with double ear infections and a hacking cough, so he has been getting terrible sleep lately, and he's pretty much perpetually cranky. On top of that I left his door cracked when I closed it after the 11 pm bottle, so Danger (the good cat) snuck in to his room for some late night snuggle time.

Apart from the problem of the cat potentially stealing his breath in the night, Danger has this weird thing where he MUST be let out at 5:30 in the morning. So that means this morning he woke Judah up in his attempt to escape the nursery.

Oh yeah, normally its Keight's responsibility to wake up with Judah on M-W-F, but to add to the fun, she's been getting sick as well.

Cue Daddy.

So my morning started with a cranky boy at 5:37. We get up, have some fun for about 30 minutes, and then Judah decides that there is no more fun to be had. He actually decides that coughs and whimpering are the soundtrack of choice for the day. So just when he reaches the point of no happiness, I remembered that the dogs were in the garage.

Since there was no putting him down, the only option that I had was to throw the little guy in our ever helpful Kelty Kids backpack and try to make it happen as a team.


So please try to picture me, with Judah on my back (snotty), trying to herd both of our 70 pounds dogs (one lassoed) back into their pen at 6:10 in the freezing cold.

I think it was about the time that the dogs were tying my legs with their leashes as I tried to unclip Chopper and Judah was crying because I was bending over when I looked down and noticed that my shirt was inside out because I got dressed in the dark.

And I just had to laugh. It was a deep belly laugh, and I'm sure if the neighbors saw me at that point they would have thought I'd finally cracked, but I was overcome by the absurdity of it all.

Here we are, me and this boy that I'm raising, navigating through life. My responsibility is to teach him to be a man, but this is all that I know about manhood: Fumbling with dogs in the cold with your shirt on inside out as your son pools snot on your shoulder in the backpack behind you.

I have no secrets. I have few bits of precious wisdom. All I know about being a man is that you do whatever you can to take care of those in your life, starting with your family and then reaching out as far as you can. I know that there is strength in weakness and great reward in looking out for the weak. Be that little boys, sick and sleepy wives or annoying lovable mutts.

I went about the rest of the morning with a new sense of purpose though. Judah was still cranky, I was still tired, and I remembered that it was Wednesday, and therefore Trash Day, so I had to stumble through the house with the bug still strapped in. But it was good.

This is my offering to him, showing him that being dad isn't about playing catch, killing spiders, and programing remotes; as it is simply doing whatever it takes to take care of the ones you love.

Happy Trash Day.

yep, that's the diaper genie bag

things that make me go mmmmm

this post represents the closest thing in my life to pornography (eek. hi, dad. sorry).
jesse circa 2005. yes his hair is ridiculous, but something about this is so hot. rrrrrrawrh!
and of course, coming in a close second to my husband in sex appeal is, FOOD! you may have noticed (mariah did) that on our frugal february meal calendar, the entry for last friday was: "Tacos!" with and exclamation point. this was intentional because taco night is one to get excited about. i pretty much have to fight the desire to make these every single night. they are so farking good! the effort : flavor-gasm ratio here is out of control.
be still my heart. be still my loins. seriously, i love them that much.
small (6") tortilla (flour or corn, your pref)
1 avocado
1- lb of ground turkey
sour cream
pepper jack cheese (or any other kind preshredded or block)
one small sweet onion
one pack of HOT chili seasoning
a few drops of lime juice
cilantro (fresh or dried, whatevs)
directions (give yourself about 11 minutes to make this meal):
1. dice the onion til you have about 3/4-1cup. brown them over med-high heat in a pan
2. once they are browned, crumble in the raw turkey meat and turn up the heat a bit
3. when the turkey is mostly browned and it and onions have released some of their juices, dump in the whole packet of chili seasoning and spread it around (if there's not enough liquid to absorb it all, you can add some olive oil)
4. stir in a few drops of lime juice and a sprinkle of cilantro.
5. while the meat is cooking lay out however many tortillas for the number of tacos you will want (2 each is a great amount for us) and spread sour cream on them
6. shred about 1/3 cup of cheese
7. once the meat is cooked and the chili seasoning all absorbed turn off the heat and plop spoonfuls of meat on top of your creamy tortillas. top with pinchfuls of the shredded cheese.
8. cut the avocado in half (cut into the whole fruit and then rotate your knife around the pit and twist the halves apart). slice the avocado while its still in its peel (just scrape the back of the peel with your knife as you drag down. and then pop out the wedges and top the meat with them.
9. salt the avocados pretty well. fold and enjoy. there will be plenty of leftovers, lucky you.
these are for reals amazing. jesse almost kidney-punched me in disbelief that this was not beef because it tasted so not-light (like turkey tends to). i wish every night could be taco night.



i am gonna wait a while on posting the snow pictures from this weekend so that i can look back fondly on them when i am a few days removed from the stiff crusty pants-hems left behind after the 6 inches of wetness have dried (pet peeve!), the fishtailing cars performing triple lutzes around us the and orgy of soggy coats that is still decorating our dining room table. by then perhaps i will simply choose to remember the day our town became narnia and forget all the mayhem that descends when snow comes to georgia.
like feeling a stray hair tickling the back of your arm that you are constantly absent-mindedly reaching for but never putting your full attention into searching for until eventually you realize that you are losing your mind seemingly for no reason but it's actually because you have been enduring the incredibly subtle yet effective prolonged chinese hair torture for 2 hours, i have been stressed from several sources recently. none of these things is enough to impel me to take action because they are such fleeting annoyances that simply graze the back of my brain. but over the course of a few weeks of enduring these daily nigglings i reach a breaking point and it's time to turn the all seeing eye of sauron onto eradicating these stress sources...fly you fools!
#1: i never seem to have enough bibs when i need them even though i know we own about 30 of them. judah used to just secrete pure, sweet baby drool so we could just wait for a bib to dry and use it again and again, so we didn't really need that many. now, we are onto lots of self-fed solids which has turned his sweet mouth and hands into wet cracker/cheerio/bread paste-making machines. this paste will dry to an impenetrable crust on anything it touches, which renders bibs useless beyond one snacktime unless you count cheerio-mâché mold-form as a use. fun fact: paper mâché literally means "chewed up paper" in french. judah actually crafts some of this too whenever i leave my couponing "glossies" laying within his army-crawling little inchbug grasp. yesterday i pulled a soggy 42" LCD tv on sale at best buy out of his mouth. wet paper is another of my nemeses...so sick.
#2: we WAY over-registered for receiving blankets (there are SO many cute styles) and never use them. i think i was under the impression that they would be "receiving" vomit and not the baby himself and then it turned out that that was incorrect. and as far as receiving him, judah was busting out of their swaddle by 4 days old so we moved on to a velrco swaddler and whenever we need to actually keep him warm with a blanket we use a heavier one. so our precious collection of about 20 of these are now taking up valuable shelf space in judah's room and acting like little guilt-gremlins that pop out and remind me what a Wilhelmina Wasteful i am every time i open the closet.
#3: frugal february does not include a craft budget so my sewing has stalled since i can't buy new cool fabric. i have a few yards of really great fabrics on hand right now, but i am too into them to actually cut them up and make them into something. psychotic? yes. but i have a pile of perfectly folded, untouched little fabric squares to keep me warm in the psychiatric ward at night.
well i took these 3 very different little stressors and wadded them up into a little play-dough ball of heart-attack waiting to happen then squeezed them through of the fun factory spaghetti-maker of my ingenuity and ended up with delightful little bunch of tri-colored worms of fun (i have rapidly lost control of this metaphor). so instead of thinking of the receiving blankets as wasted goodwill from our friends who gifted them to us and which never get any use, i am now seeing piles of soft, free, adorable fabric just waiting for me to turn into treasured items. yes!
home made bibs! these are reversible, machine washable and super soft. i just traced a store bought bib over two layers of different fabrics and one layer of microfleece then sandwiched the fleece between the other two, stitched around and added a little velcro (soft part on the strap so judah doesn't get scratched). these former blankets were given to us by judah's godparents, the fortunatos, and our great friends stevie and kristen. huzzah for upcycling!

judah LOVES the new bibs. he was positively drooling over/on them all day. (so lame, so wonderful)

sporting the flip (clean) side of the elephant bib while playing his cheerio tambourine and standing up by himself with just a little help from the hearth.

cheesing it up with daddy.

awesome faces!