Saturday, March 24, 2012

Birth Plan

We're getting so close to baby time already!  Only about a month left!  I finished up our birth plan tonight.  I'm posting it in case it would be of interest to any of you soon-to-be-giving birth women who read this blog.  (Praying for you!)  We're definitely seeking a natural birth, which I suppose in the obstetric world qualifies us as "crunchy."  We took Bradley classes, which in the natural birthing world is pretty "establishment" since it advocates hospital birth.  I have no desire to eat my placenta or anything like that, I think it's just more evidence-based practice than the current medical model of childbirth is!  Really, I could go on and on about how many standard procedures are just really stupid, but I shan't.  At least not in this post. :)  You can get a good idea of my views from the birth plan.

The format for the birth plan is somewhat awkward, what with just about everything being under "Special Labor Requests," but that's the format my midwives requested.  And of course I edited out identifying information.  I have an addendum for induction and c-section, which is sort of cheating because I'm supposed to keep it to one page.  I felt it wasn't fair to make me waste precious space on what I really really don't want.  So I'll only share that part with the midwives if necessary.  But you, O privileged reader, get the addendum too.

I'm really pleased with my midwives overall.  They have always been very much supportive of my desire for natural birth, which is why I switched to their practice at 30 weeks during my last pregnancy.  There are things about the hospital environment which I don't like and can't control, like not being able to opt out of having a hep lock or the never ending parade of doctors, nurses, and social workers coming your postpartum room to check if you're getting enough rest.  But the thing is, my midwives don't like those things either!  Really, I feel like the birth plan is more for the benefit of the hospital staff.  It's good for the midwives too, for sure, because they can't remember everything I want, but generally speaking they don't just do things because it's the standard procedure the way hospital staff often do.
And finally, this isn't really part of the birth plan but I'm so excited that we've settled on names!  If this baby is a boy he will be John Christopher.  I think it's a strong name for the New Evangelization (St. John the Evangelist, and "Christ bearer").  Whether we call him John or Johnny or Jack will depend on his personality and just what ends up sticking.  If we have a girl she will be Kathryn Grace, to be called Katie Grace.  Her patrons will be St. Catherine Laboure and Our Lady of Grace.

Birth Plan
Due Date May 1, 2012

***If at any time the baby appears to be in danger of dying or being stillborn, please baptize him or her as soon as possible by pouring water over the head and saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Anyone may do this.

Support People During Labor:  Ryan (husband), Kate (friend)

Special Labor Requests:
            Admission:  We would like to labor at home as long as possible.  If we arrive in hospital and I am dilated to 5 cm or fewer, we would like the option of returning home before going through the full admissions process.
            Hospital Environment:  Reasonable privacy and a calm, focused environment are important to me so please keep voices down and my door closed during labor.  Please keep vaginal exams and monitoring to an absolute minimum.  I would like to have as much freedom of movement as possible.  If the equipment is available, I would like to have access to a birthing ball, squatting bar, birthing stool, and labor tub.  I understand that I cannot give birth in the tub.  Any students present may observe only.  I would like to wear my own clothes during labor and postpartum. 
Second Stage:  It is important for me to be able to choose whichever pushing position feels right at the time, including squatting or on hands and knees.  I prefer no time limits on pushing as long as baby is okay.  To prevent tearing, please use perineal massage and hot compresses.  I would rather tear than have an episiotomy, but if an episiotomy is necessary I prefer a pressure episiotomy if possible.
After Baby is Born:  I would like my baby to be placed immediately skin-to-skin with me for nursing and bonding.  Please delay all newborn procedures such as weighing until we have had a chance to nurse both breasts.  I am interested in participating in the Kangaroo Care study.  We decline eye ointment and Hepatitis B vaccine.  For myself, please allow the placenta to be expelled spontaneously, without pulling on the cord. Please use local anesthesia for any necessary repairs.  In postpartum, I would like complete rooming-in with my baby.  Please don't disturb me in postpartum if it's not absolutely necessary.  I would like as short of a stay in the hospital as possible.

Pain Control:  Please do not offer pain medication unless I request it.

Cut the Cord:  Only after it stops pulsating on its own.

Breast or Bottle Feed:  Exclusive breastfeeding.  No artificial nipples of any kind, please.

Circumcision:  No, thank you.

Birth Control:  Ecological breastfeeding.  If we see you again next year, Deus vult!

Postpartum help:  Ryan will have some paternity leave time and my mother is coming for a week.

Baby’s Doctor:

Addendum:  In Case of Induction or Cesarean
Induction:  I would like to avoid induction as long as baby and I are healthy.  If I am “overdue,” I would like to try natural techniques first.  These include walking, nipple stimulation, sexual intercourse, and chiropractic.  If medical induction is necessary, please give us time alone to discuss before we agree to any intervention.  We want to be fully confident that we are doing the best thing for our baby with any plan of action and not be rushed unless it is a true emergency.
Cesarean:  We really would rather not have one of these!  If a Cesarean is not a true emergency, please give Ryan and me time alone to discuss before asking for written consent.  Ryan is to be present at all times, and I would like to remain conscious during the procedure if possible.  As much as possible, I would like the rest this birth plan to still apply in the event of a c-section.  If I cannot immediately nurse, etc. after the birth, please allow Ryan to hold the baby skin-to-skin until I can.  I will sign any waivers necessary to permit me to be with my baby in recovery, and would like my catheter and IV removed ASAP after recovery.

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Project Progress and Enchiladas

I'm writing this post... in our new office closet!  Hurray!  We're moving along in our home improvement goals.  Here's the before and after:

More gigantic holes to fix.

New outlet installed next to the desk, and all patched up and painted pretty!  Ryan found the desk next to a dumpster on our block and repaired the bottom shelf.  It's perfect! As we move into sorting out the bedroom proper we will figure out some clever way to put the big blank walls in here to good use.

Though we are making steady progress, as my patient husband constantly reminds his impatient wife who always wants to have everything done two weeks ago, there is no way we're getting all this stuff done by Easter.  (That is, Anthony's "big boy" room.) It's okay though.  I always kind of figured on that, knowing that everything always takes longer than anticipated, especially since we're learning as we go, and we're very talented procrastinators by nature.  The new baby will be in our room for a couple of months at least anyway, so it was never imperative.  I would like to get all the painting and things requiring the use of power tools done before baby, and I think that's still very attainable.  But probably not all the sewing and prettying up type of things.  Those can be added whenever, really.  Anthony's not going to care if his bulletin board matches his curtains.  Or if he even has curtains.  I shall stop being stupid and not stress.

I don't have energy to spend worrying about what we haven't done right now anyway.  I'm too sleep deprived.  Crazy pregnancy dreams and stupid leg cramps and occasionally Anthony keep waking me up.

Oh!  Lest I get sidetracked into a complaining fest, I forgot to show you our "home theater":

Yep, it's just the computer.  With my feet in front of them.  We can wheel the desk to the end of the bed and watch movies now.  Much more convenient for when I inevitably fall asleep!

Finally, I made these enchiladas for the first time on Tuesday, and they were so good that Ryan requested leftovers on Wednesday night instead of waiting a bit.  They were super easy too. 

Chicken Enchiladas (from Taste of Home)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, divided
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


  • Melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in coriander and half of the chilies. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, Monterey Jack cheese and remaining chilies.
  • Spoon 1/3 cup chicken mixture onto each tortilla; roll up. Place seam side down in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Pour sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 4 servings.
I think this would be a great recipe to turn to for a quick meal-delivery, which I've been needing fairly often lately.  It's a casserole for easy transportation, but NOT LASAGNA.  It's also not spicy at all; we topped it with hot salsa to taste and it was delicious.  It's also a good way to use up leftover roast chicken and stock.  Ryan's not a big soup lover, so I often find myself with a freezer full of stock that I can't use as fast as I make it. All in all, a keeper!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bedroom Tour

I. Am. NESTING. Last week I absolutely had to clean all of the windows of the downstairs. Then it was scrubbing all the floors. Today it was our bedroom.   I swapped out our heavy winter duvet for a lighter quilt that actually serves as our curtain during the colder months, washed and cleaned absolutely everthing from bedding to baseboards.  So I am posting photos of our bedroom while it is still all fresh and spring cleaned.  All of you housewives know it won't be long before the dust bunnies start to come back!  It's a tiny bedroom so it won't take long to do a little clockwise tour.

I really like our room.  Some special things:

My dear friend Kristine embroidered this little toss pillow for us.

Our farm pictures.  A Goodwill find, but I love them because they are so detailed and show exactly the sort of rural life we dream about.  They look so still and placid with their large flat buildings and fall landscapes, but if you look closely they are both bursting with activity.  The top picture shows some sort of celebration with dancing and feasting, the other has myriad farm chores going on while men gather to hunt quail.  The style very much reminds me of Ox-Cart Man, but it isn't the same artist.

Plates with images of apparitions of Our Lady on them.  My grandmother had the center one, Our Lady of Lourdes, but we had to get rid of her things so quickly after she died it was inadvertently given away.  I came upon these last spring at a silent auction, and Ryan won them for me.

The photo above the bed is taken from the choir loft at our wedding, but I'm pretty sure it's copyrighted so I won't do a closeup.  Here is the closet, with our stuff in it now.  Not all perfectly neat anymore, but I'll be swapping out winter clothes next time I have a nesting burst. :) 

Those books all are Ryan's books related to business analytics. I can't tell you how much that stack is bothering me right now!  I know it's dumb but I definitely attribute that minor obsession to hormones. But they aren't all bad since they also inspire me to greater heights of housewifery before the baby comes!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Swagbucks, anyone?

Do any of you do Swagbucks?  I set up my account just today.  The idea is you earn points for doing things online: searching the web, watching videos, signing up for offers.  Then you can redeem your points for real stuff.  Now I will not be signing up for any offers, but I do search the web often enough, and it's been easy enough to leave their videos running on mute while I'm catching up on e-mails.  I've earned 82 points in the last hour or so.  I have no idea if that's good, but it's been pretty effortless and I haven't given out any personal information that's not already pretty accessible.

I would like to use the points I earn to buy Amazon gift cards to build up our library of children's books.  A $5 gift card currently costs 450 points, so it will be a slow process, but faster than it has been!  I'm rather picky about children's books.  I've had some successes at library sales and such, but I have a rapidly growing list of specific titles that are largely out of print.  With Amazon, I will be able to use the wishlist feature to find exactly what I want.

You also get points for referring people to Swagbucks, so if you are interested here is the link:

I have done enough research on Swagbucks to feel secure and confident that it's a legitimate company.  However, do use sense with special offers.  Some of the ways of earning points are NOT worth it, such as looking at a website and rate various aspects of it for ten points.  Translated into Amazon money, that means you got paid the equivalent of nine cents for that ten minutes or however long that task took you to do.  For myself, I will not be putting in any extraordinary effort into earning points.  But free is free.

Here are some more comprehensive Swagbucks tips that have helped me out:

If any of you already do this I would be interested in hearing how you've had the most success with Swagbucks!