B’s Birth Story


2 am on Thursday May 14, 2015:

Left the house with water having broken earlier (about 7 pm) and having had only a contraction or two. Glad to not have traffic to drive to hospital. (Could take 2.5 hours in prime weekend afternoon traffic!) (6 days past due date)


Sometime between 2:30 am and 6:48 am: a happy(ish) lady with an epidural in the same room T was born in with one of the same nurses 19 months later. Contractions started being about 3-5 min apart in the car and I got to the hospital at 2:30 already at a 5 or 6 cm. Got an epidural around 3:00 since I had done bloodwork the week previously. It worked great except in one spot! So after an hour or two I could feel contractions there, which was unfortunate but probably helped me push. He was born at 6:48 am. Phew! So glad to be not pregnant (or in labor) anymore!


Shortly after 6:48 am: Us with baby B!


B getting cleaned up in the nursery.


The upside of a nighttime labor: no traffic

The downside of a nighttime labor: no sleeping that night for anyone!


Cutie pie face!


With a proud daddy!


First pic as a whole fam!


Someone is happy to have a baby to hold!

IMG_1007 IMG_7520Pappaw!




All their grandkids! We are so glad Nena and Pappaw were here!


Our silly three munchkins! E wanted to hold him the whole time they were at the hospital. T walked around eating snack sticks. Typical.


Resting in his bed with the blanket all three kids used and a burp cloth made by Aunt Kathy.


Coming h0me the next day!


Want the latest scoop around here? Well…I am in the middle of my second grad school class to be able to renew my teaching certificate. C has been working on his new business he started. E started going to a local pre-school three days a week last week. And I got diagnosed with gestational diabetes! Not much to see here, folks!

A few months ago, E visited preschool for a day with a 4 year old friend (who is British) at the school that he has attend for a couple of years and his brother went there before him. This friend knows English obviously and also knows the local language since he has been in school a while. So it was good that he was there to help translate for E who knows almost nothing. She had a fun visit that day. Then a couple of weeks ago, she announced that she wanted to go to his school with him. So we talked/thought/prayed about it and got the requisite health report and 6 passport pictures (??) and enrolled her for the month of March. She will probably also go in April and take May for the grandparent visit and maybe go some this summer, we will see. She loves it so far. She has learned the word for teacher and the word “yapma” which means “don’t!”. I am sure she hears the teacher say that a bunch during the day!

The other big thing, gestational diabetes…. I did my glucose test back in February and one number was over the limit so my doctor diagnosed me and sent me to a dietician. She gave me a sample diet that was more like what locals eat but not really like I eat so I scoured the web and made some alterations and it seems to be going well. Few carbs. Whole wheat bread. Not too much. More meat cheese nuts and veggies. The hardest part was that the most squeamish person in the universe was now required to mess with her own blood three times a day (before, 1 hour after, and 2 hours after one meal a day, different meals each day). At first I couldn’t get enough blood to come out to do the test but I finally figured out a better way after two or three days. But basically I stuck myself a lot the first three days. And cried about that some too. Even tried letting C stick me. Anyway, I had my one week follow up with the dietician and she said things looked good, so I guess I just get to keep doing this for the next 8 weeks. (I am 32 weeks on Friday! Crazy!)


C went to the grocery store yesterday and found me sugar-free “nutella” spread. Yum! I also found some sugar-free strawberry jam the other day. Most of the time you just find jelly here, which is clear red jelly with red small whole strawberries in it, which I do not like. I like a more even consistency. So I think I like this diabetic jam better than the regular stuff.


E and I have been painting our toenails some. The colors I had for myself (which weren’t very many to start with) aren’t really that great for her. I found a new nail polish for E and I. Its name is “girly”. It is light pink with pink and purple glitter in it. She was ecstatic about it. :) Of course she wanted me to glob it on so she got lots of glitter pieces.

(null)While E is at school, it is so fun to watch what T does with his play time by himself. We have a shoe cabinet in the hall that is empty because we have been trying to sell it. (Our apartment has built-ins so we don’t really need more shoe storage.) He took his lego duplos and set up camp in it. Super fun. He likes to get in their and open and close the sliding door and hide.

So there is what is up with us lately. Now I am going to bed! What is up with you?

Surgery and a Visitor

Most of you probably know that the hubby had shoulder surgery back in February. It was crazy that it worked out for a friend to fly over on literally one day’s notice to help me out while he was at the hospital having surgery and for a couple of days afterwards!

IMG_4998 IMG_4993 IMG_4991

She was a big help watching E while I was at the hospital with C (and of course Mr. Won’t-Take-A-Bottle had to go with me). It was also great to have an extra set of hands around the house the next couple of days. We had lots of fun hanging out. It did my soul good to stay up way too late and chat each night even though I knew I would be tired the next day! We almost didn’t take her back to the airport!


And here is our patient recovering, holding baby T with his good arm!




Baby T’s Birth Story

(Long birth story ahead, I don’t think I tell anything in gory details, but now is your chance to not read if you aren’t interested.)

E  came right on her due date, so I had big hopes that T would too. But alas, it was not so. As time went on and I told neighbors who I saw (and who commented on how big I was) that I was overdue, some of them told me that here they say boys are often late because they are lazy. Ha!

I have a friend here who was due with a girl a week or two after me but was having a scheduled C-section on October 11. Well my due date was the 3rd, so I told her that I had better beat her! Well I just barely did.

My parents arrived on October 2 and we waited around for much of the first week they were here. I had a doctor appointment on October 4th (an appointment that I was hoping not to have to go to). She said he looked fine, but since she could still see breathing movements on the ultrasound, he probably wouldn’t be born in the next 48 hours. This is the second thing that has happened this pregnancy (the first being the prediction that he was a boy at 13 weeks) that is very different from anything that happened with my American birth and that I had never heard of before. Maybe its just because they don’t do ultrasounds every appointment in America. She scheduled me for an appointment the next Friday the 11th (right after my friend’s c-section), and said that if he wasn’t born by then, she would induce me because she was going out of town that day for the weeklong holiday that was the next week. I sure hoped that wouldn’t be necessary. I was hoping to try to go natural, but knew that pitocin had equalled very strong non-stop contractions last time for me.

After hanging around the house for most of the first week of my parents visit, on Wednesday October 9 I decided I wanted to go to a mall and walk around. That morning I had a little bit of something that made me wonder if the show might be finally getting on the road. I debated going to the mall after all but figured it would be okay.  So we went and walked around IKEA and another mall, let E play in the ball pit, had some burgers, and bought E some shoes.

That evening, as E was sitting on my lap and we played a game with my mom, I started feeling what I figured  must be contractions. I had never felt contractions other than those after I was given pitocin during E’s birth, so that is all I had to go on. I wasn’t sure what it would be like when it just started on its own. I got out my contraction timer on my phone and started timing them. They were about 5 min apart. After about 30 min I got up to do some stuff and they stopped so I figured it must be Braxton Hicks.

As I was going to bed at about 11:25, I was reading a verse on my phone and thought it was good so I took a screenshot of it:


Not long after that, I laid down and they started again. I started timing again and this time they were like less than 5 min apart. My doctor had said to call her when they had been 5 minutes apart for an hour. So I started walking around to see if they would stop. They didn’t and in fact, grew even a little closer together. This continued for about an hour when I started to think I should call her. But it was all happening faster than I had imagined, I guess I thought they would be farther apart to start and gradually move towards being five minutes apart. Then, in the midst of my classic indecision, I had a really strong one and announced to C that I was calling her!

She said go ahead and pack up and head to the hospital and they would call her and tell her when we got there and she would come. Ack! Craziness! So fast! So we woke up my parents and told them we were leaving and called a taxi. Here we are before leaving.


Contractions in the taxi were interesting, but at least we only live a five minute drive from the hospital. I timed them with the clock in the taxi. 1:01, 1:06…

We got there and walked into the emergency room. Contractions were pretty strong by then. I don’t really remember what we told them but there was almost no one there! Not the bustling hive of activity I would imagine an emergency room to be (I had never been in one!). They walked with me down to an elevator and down to what seemed like the basement. There was hardly anyone around, it was so wierd!

They took me into the labor and delivery room and a couple of nurses came in and started asking me questions. This hospital is supposedly known to cater to international patients. It is a private hospital so it isn’t just teeming with people like a government hospital would be. I incorrectly assumed that since so many internationals supposedly go there, they would have hired nurses etc who speak some English. I mean even the guys at Burger King know a little English. My nurses didn’t know any, much less medical terms. So getting my medical history questions answered in a foreign language was interesting, but I was pleased with how I could mostly do it. I did learn that it is completely impossible to understand a question in a foreign language while having a contraction!

They kept asking if I wanted an epidural and I said not right now. I wanted to be able to do it naturally if possible, but was open to an epidural if I reached a point and wanted it. They checked me and I was a 5! They didn’t require me to stay in bed and only monitored the baby for a few  minutes every now and then to check on him. Mostly I walked around and had some music playing on my phone.

They kept asking if my water broke, and at one point I thought it had, but I was wrong because a few minutes later, during a particularly strong contraction, it be came quite evident that it was breaking then! After that point, it got really painful.

I knew it was supposed to be painful, but about that point, I passed where I could really handle it and started getting anxious. They checked me again and that is when a language misunderstanding occurred. I thought they said I was still a 5-6. Well after an hour of pretty strong contractions, that was upsetting. I knew I couldn’t keep going for 4 more cm of that! So I wanted an epidural. But they kept telling me how it was going fast, second babies come fast, and it would take a while for them to draw my blood and do a blood test and then have the anesthesiologist come. (Turns out they said I was an 8!)

Finally about 30 minutes later, my doctor showed up.  Contractions were crazy painful by then. Breathing through them and walking around no longer helped. They were strong and had a small break between them. I couldn’t find a good position. I kept thinking that there was something I should be doing, or some way I should be sitting or standing, to help it. I kept asking C, “What should I do?!” Like he knew the answer to that! He just kept telling me to keep breathing. They gave me a little oxygen thing that I put up to my nose to make sure I was getting enough oxygen.

I literally wondered what they do if a women straight up passes out during childbirth!!!

All through this I kept praying and thinking of that verse. God gives strength to the weak, power to the faint! I needed strength to do this!

My doctor checked me and I don’t remember what she said but it was time. They started setting up the room but that meant I had to lay on the bed which was killer! My doctor is great. She is so calm. She speaks English well and has tons of American patients. She is used to the way Americans sometimes want to do things differently. Here a lot of ladies, a really high percentage in fact, want scheduled c-sections!

Finally it was time to push. I had pushed for two and a stinkin half hours with little miss E, so I was very worried it would be the same this time. I pushed two or three times and then was getting upset that he wasn’t out yet. I took a minute to rest and pray and then pushed really hard! And he was here in just 4 or 5 total pushes! They put him on the warming tray right beside me and cleaned him off.


{Notice on the wall beside him, they have wallpaper that is a bunch of baby names! In case you get to that point and still haven’t decided on a name, they offer suggestions. A friend I know might could benefit from this, (ahemjessray).}

A few minutes later they laid him on my chest in a towel for me to see!



Then they took him to the nursery to wash him off and then finished up with me and wheeled me upstairs to my room.


Here are my two nurses on the right and the cleaning/transport lady on the left. One of the nurses was named Meltem which is a name I had not heard before, but close to my dad’s middle name, so that was neat to me.

He was born at 3:54 am on Thursday October 10. (E and I were born on Thursdays too.) So if you count from when I had those contractions that evening, it was a total of 7 hours, but I really would start counting at 11:30 when I had them the second time, so that would mean his whole birth just took 4.5 hours! The nurse was right, this second baby did come quicker. (Although all through laboring, I refused to believe her because I know that all second babies are not fast!)

I am so grateful for the chance to experience natural childbirth. I knew that most women in history have birthed their children without epidurals, so I knew that I should be able to at least survive it! Ha! It would have been nice to take a natural childbirth class to know some strategies to work through it. Really I was just basing it on what I had read. Breathing, relaxation strategies, walking around and rocking side to side and sitting on a birthing ball. All of those things helped. It really only got unreasonably painful during what I now recognize was transition, which was the hour and a half or so before he was born, after I was 8 cm. I really haven’t experienced much pain in my life, no broken bones or surgeries or anything, so I didn’t have much of a pain threshold to compare it to. I was for sure the crazy lady on the birth videos who is yelling the whole time. C was quite surprised as he has never heard me sound like that! I also think my body felt better and recovered much faster after not having all that stuff in my system.


Here he is when he first came in our room.


We caught about 1 hour of sleep before it was time to wake up for the day!

The Lord really did give strength to the weak that day, as I could not have done that without his help. I am glad for the experience, and grateful for the blessing that it was quick and without any interventions, however, I do think that next time, I will choose that epidural. If there is a next time!!!!




We have all had medical expenses today.

The hubs has some kind of bacterial infection with fever, chills, and other not so pleasant stuff. We don’t have a PCP here, people just go  the emergency room and see a doctor, so he did that last night.

Today he is home resting but not better yet.

Around lunch time E’s eye started getting gunky and she said it hurt. Luckily we were about to go to my doctor for a baby checkup, so I asked her what I could get at the pharmacy to help her eye. You don’t really need prescriptions here for most things.

My check up was good. The baby looks good. Measuring a little big. I am so exhausted. I haven’t been getting much sleep lately. Last night I stayed up late because I couldn’t sleep with C at the hospital and then today E woke up from her nap early, about 10 minutes after I layed down and had not gone to sleep yet. You know it is bad when all day long, you are looking forward to the next time you can sleep. When you get tired standing up blow drying your hair and have to sit down, or decide to just leave it wet. I asked my doctor about that but she said it was too early to be anemic. So that means I am just out of shape. Haha.

Thankful for health insurance, that while a bit more work to process from here, (paying up front, scanning receipts and submitting claims) is still good.

Today’s weather was gorgeous. My neighbor complained that it was hot, but I love this weather. It was warm and sunny outside. Yay! There are lots of flowers blooming. My parents are coming next week (yay!) and they will enjoy seeing the flowers.


A letter to my former self

Date: when I was a newlywed/working/had a little baby…in the past basically

Dear self,

You say you are too tired to cook dinner. You say its too hard or takes too long. You say you don’t want to get the kitchen dirty. Really, you just want to go out to eat. You don’t know this yet, but in a few years, you will be doing more cooking than you are now, that’s for sure. Let me tell you a secret. It’s not really that hard.

Go to the store. Buy a stoffer’s lasagna and pop it in the oven. Boom. Done.

Buy some pizza crust in a can, pizza sauce in a jar, a bag of pepperonis (pork!!!!) and a bag of shredded cheese. Put them all  on a pan and put it in the oven. It will take you 5 minutes and will be healthier than driving to a fast food place and save you money to boot.

There will come a day when you will growl over having to shred your own cheese any time you want some shredded. Never mind that the bag of shredded cheese is coated in some weird powdery substance to make it not stick together and which will probably give you a disease some day. Its so EASY!

I mean, yes, an occasional meal out is not a big deal, but in a few years you might wish you had saved a little cash by making a meal for your family at home and gathering around the dinner table rather than running out to grab Whataburger so often.

(On the other hand, in a few years, you might feel like you would do something rather drastic for some Whataburger!)


the future you


Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot (And homemade chicken stock too!)

A few years ago a dear childhood friend was coming over for dinner to our new home. When we were growing up and she would be over, she always loved it when my mom made chicken and dumplings. So I thought, in honor of her coming to my home for dinner I would make chicken and dumplings for the first time. I had helped/watched my mom do it lots, but I had never done it myself. The recipe (which I think originally came from a great aunt that always made it) called for a whole chicken. Well I had never cooked a whole chicken before but for the sake of authentic flavor, I bought one and boiled it. But when it came time to do something with it, I had no idea! I called my mom, “What do I do with it now?!”

I think this is a sentiment many of my generation probably feel, seeing as how most of our chicken comes in the form of a nugget or breast. If we are being adventurous, a thigh or drumstick. But rarely whole. So my mom gave some pointers and I managed to get enough meat off to call it a day and went on to the next part of the dumpling process. It turned out okay but the next time I made dumplings, I just bought breast with rib meat and didn’t mess with the whole carcass!

A while back, I came upon this recipe that tells how to cook a whole chicken in a crock pot. I thought it sounded good since I had heard that it was the cheapest way to buy chicken. And I liked the idea that it could be used for several meals. So I put it on my meal plan, and as luck would have it, Walmart had a “fancy” chicken on sale. (By “fancy” I mean, hormone-free, cage-free, antibiotic-free, yada yada yada…whatever else the fancy organic chickens have on their label.)

Basically the recipe says you cut up one onion and put in the bottom of the crock pot. Then you blend up some spices, all of which were basic enough that I already had them. You rub the spice in and on the chicken. (Kinda gross. It said you could put it under the skin, which I tried, but had a hard time finding an opening. And I don’t love touching it.)  The grossest part was when it said to take the giblet out. I did manage to find that and take it out with some tongs. Yuck! What is that?! Then you put the bird in the pot and turn it on high for five hours.

When it was done, I got a knife and carving fork, planning to lift the bird out. The recipe said that it would falling off the bone, and I underestimated that it would be just that! It fell all to pieces! So basically I just used the tongs to lift out all the meat. I left the bones in there.

Later after eating dinner, I followed this basic idea to turn it into homemade chicken stock. I used some of the stock to make a chicken taco soup the next day and froze the rest of it. They say homemade stock is so healthy, especially compared to canned chicken broth, so I can’t wait to use the rest of it.

All in all, this process was really easy and I feel like it yielded some healthy food for my family so I would definitely do it again. C said he thought some of the meat was a little dry, and as I had it in the pot, the breast meat was sticking up out of the liquid , so next time I am going to put it breast side down and see if it helps with that. I would recommend trying this!

New Year’s


Last night as I was trying to stay up late, I was thinking about blogging about the new year, but that seemed so predictible. After all, most of the blogs in my reader had posted about that. But then today I got to talking to a friend about not really resolutions but things that I would like to improve on. So here are some. Read and share your comments or suggestions regarding these…

  1. Exercise. As in any movement at all. Yes I get some movement from playing with a toddler all day, but just a little cardio every now and again would be beneficial for my health. I would like to exercise some. at all. ever. I have a debate about what is the best way to go about this. Some people say do something every day so it becomes a habit. But that is a lot of pressure to try to do something all out. What about that day you want to slack? Then it turns into two days you slack. And then you never do it again. A few weeks ago I thought I would add some sit ups to my daily routine but then I just never remembered or didn’t want to get sweaty because I had already showered. There is always some excuse to not do something.
  2. Eat better. Always a goal. Less processed junk more real food. But I don’t like to cook and try to spend less money at the store and there goes that. It’s like, I can’t meet all my goals of this perfect “low price-high in good foods-organic-yet quick to cook-and doesn’t dirty up my whole kitchen-oh and make it taste good too” meal. And I get overwhelmed trying to do all those things. I need to pick a priority and just try to do that with my food.
  3. Waking up before E. Today as I sat really agitated that E had woken up earlier than I had expected her to, I reflected on the idea that maybe a toddler shouldn’t determine when my day starts. I have heard a lot of moms share how waking up before their family helps them start the day on the right foot. But I. love. to. sleep. And I am much more of a night owl than morning person. So I want to eke out every last second of sleep until I HAVE to get up. But maybe I could start waking up at 7. That isn’t too early. Certainly not early compared to when I had to wake up when I was working. Then I would get a little time to shower/exercise/read/eat before E gets up and I would feel ready to go and not like I had to wait til she napped to get some stuff done. The one down side to this is that one time C and I tried to do this and she started waking up earlier. She is a good listener and I think she can hear when we get up.

What do you think about these ideas and do you have any resolutions?