How our week old daughter helped me heal

Saturday, February 25, 2012

We finally got to meet our precious Gem on Monday, February 20 at 1:07pm- after a very quick induction (I started having contractions on my own that morning and was already dilated 4cm when we arrived for our scheduled induction). I held out on the epidural until about noon and then once I had received that, it was 1p until I felt like had to push. Everyone hot to their places and after only seven minutes of very intense pushing, we had a daughter.

Gemma Rose was a perfect angel at 8lbs 5oz and 19 inches long. Seven minutes of pushing seemed a miracle until the doctors had discovered that her size (including a 34cm head) and the speed of her delivery had left me with what they called "third degree tears" that took 45 minutes to try to get me put back together. Thankfully, the epidural took away all of the feeling during the repairs and I was left with staring at, adoring, and nursing our sweet girl while the doctors worked hard at putting things back where they belonged.

While she got her first round of check ups and cleaning up - she lay under the heat lamps with big wide eyes taking everything in silently. She was so alert and gorgeous. I kept saying to Bud, "omigosh she looks just like Booboo!" While b just stood there silently with wide eyes staring at our daughter who had instantly stolen his heart for eternity.

Our hospital stay was pleasant and filled with visitors and lots of resting. B played stay-at-home dad for Greyson and our pets while running between our house and the hospital. I have so many pictures and stories to share of the love Gemma received in her first week of life, but this first post is just about our first journey as mother and you'll have to stayed tuned for more pictures later this week.

We got to bond and spend alone time in the hospital those first two days of her life and it took only the sound of her first cry to be completely smitten by her.

I could not have been more excited about getting us home so that our family could start the adjustment period of learning to be a 4 person crew from a trio.

The first two days home were hard as Gem and I tried to get into stride with nursing and my body adjusted to functioning without the help of hospital grade pain medicine. By Friday though I was experiencing a lot of pain 'down there' that I assumed was due to my third degree tear repairs. I felt almost like I was chaffing and found it hard to walk around or go upstairs. It was difficult and painful, but I could manage it and I did my best to muster through it thinking that it was just all part of the healing process.

I took relief in the sight of my two beautiful kids and Grey coming over to Gem in her swing, leaning down to hug her stomach, and say "I love you, baby Gemma"

Despite the fact that we had plenty of helpful visitors those first few days (who graciously brought food and gifts and did whatever I asked them to) I could barely move on Saturday. On top of severe pain in the nether regions, I was experiencing intense hot flashes and episodes of the chills. I couldn't find my appetite and standing up for any period of time exceeding a few minutes left me lightheaded and nauseous.

Determined to not be a baby about it, I tried my best to suck it up and chalked it up to the healing process of having just delivered such a heathy sized baby in a short amount of time.

Sunday brought along even more excruciating pain. By shear mothers intuition, my mom rescued me from a near fainting episode in the shower when I was overwhelmed with the chills and lightheadedness. It wasn't until late Sunday night when I could not physically get into a position to nurse Gem that I finally told Brandon that we needed to call the doctor. I wasn't able to feed my own child; that was the sign that something was seriously wrong.

Bud made the decision to go to the ER (pappy butch came to our house at 1a to be with Grey and the dogs) and after a quick check at my lady parts, I was immediately put on antibiotics for an infection and admitted to the hospital.

Currently, that's where we have been stationed; Gemmi and I, since early Monday morning. She has stayed with me to nurse while I have been pulled through the ringer to rid me of a serious infection of a hematoma trapped behind my stitches. Brandon and my mom have shared the duty of staying with us during the day as I have been limited to movement between my bed and the bathroom. After three IV changes, a surgery scare, two types of antibiotics, numerous doses of pain meds, and very uncomfortable and painful prodding & poking- I am now on the up swing and they are hoping to discharge me sometime on Wednesday.

It has been a very hard week and a half. But when I see Gemma's face, all I can think is; "worth it.". She has stayed with me out of necessity as she needs me to eat. But with all that it has taken to get me better, I have also needed remind me that I have the strength inside me to endure only because I am her (and Greyson's) mother. I can do anything, because they need me to be able to do anything.

**to my readers & friends who are pregnant now and I just scared the living crap out of you: my situation is Not Normal!! The general surgeon said in his 6 yrs working, he has not seen anything like this. Do not let my story scare you about labor- the likelihood of anything like this happening to you is super slim- especially if it's your first baby.

Going to get our girl

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Well, we've waited long enough and now we're going to get our girl.  The doc scheduled us for an induction on Monday at 8a.  I am strangely calm and relaxed on the eve of some serious Momma-superpower-strength-extravaganza.  It feels like we've been waiting and anticipating our new girl's arrival for so long now that it seems a little surreal that now we know what day she'll actually be here.  

Since we've been aimlessly wandering around waiting for her these last few weeks, we've tried various ways to get ourselves busy besides my last post about finding things to do while we wait for Gemma's arrival.  I had Greyson do a little artwork to hang up in Gemma's nursery. We had a big frame that needed a print and instead of making another frivolous purchase from Etsy - I let Grey use his creativity with some paint and a fairly big piece of sketch paper to make a masterpiece for his new baby sister.

...he was pretty pleased with himself...

The artwork looks beautiful in the nursery and each time we go in to rearrange things or practice reading some of Gemma's books - Greyson points up at the picture and says, "Booboo did that."  

I've also carted Greyson, the two dogs, and my dad into the woods near my parents house for a mile and a half walk in attempts to walk the baby out of me (to no avail).  But despite not pushing me into natural labor, Greyson and both dogs got a whole lot of energy out from all the hiking and swimming (just the dogs swimming, not Booboo - hah).  So the hike was worth it for a house full of snoozing 'kids' for an evening. 

pregnant shadow - HAH

And thanks to this pin, we had some indoor playtime with snow this week while I was just too tired for all the wild Booboo movement of the day.  Indoor snowtime was a big hit that required very little movement for a solid half hour.  Luckily, I had Bullet and Trixie nearby happily lapping up any snow that was tossed on the floor.  As always, pinterest saves the day. 

We're still regularly attending Greyson's activities for the week - including swimming, 'college,' and gymnastics.  But Dadda has become full-on Gym Dad....

...while I stand on the sidelines and watch while carrying this 40 week belly around...

When we found out about our induction on Friday, we decided to make one last ditch effort of trying to coax Gemmi out before we force her out of my belly with another long walk in the woods to retrieve Brandon's tree stands from hunting season.  This time both Brandon and my Mum were there while Grey and the dogs ran like wild animals.  It was another good hike (at 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant - can I get me some kind of a Girl Scout badge up in here for that?!), but although tired all of our 'kids' out - it was, alas, unsuccessful at getting our girl loose.  

So here we are now, on the eve of our second child's original birthday not really knowing how to balance all our feelings of nervousness, excitement, anxiousness, and worry.  It will be a hard day tomorrow, but then it will be over and f.i.n.a.l.l.y. we'll get to see that sweet face.  

we just can't wait another day to meet you, honey.  
we love you so.  
see you soon.
love forever and ever, 
mum, dad, and booboo too.  

My Memories Suite: a giveaway! - Update!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I have some very exciting news (no, our baby girl has not arrived yet), but it's up there- considering that it has seriously curbed my mindless googling of things like "oh em gee, when will this baby come?" and "but seriously, how long is it possible to be pregnant?"  Instead, I've been busy working towards one of my 2012 goals:  creating a family yearbook!

So a little background, I used to be a scrapbook kind of a gal and somewhere between the multiple moves, dirty diapers, slobbery dog bones, and maternity clothes - I kind of lost a place for all my scrapbook papers, stamps, and pens.  Besides tossing pictures into Grey's baby book & scribbling down funny things he's said - this blog and my facebook albums have had the serious pressure of maintaining my family's memories (eek!)  Needless to say, it's been wearing on my mind that I haven't been doing as well as I would like about keeping a physical collection of the 40 million pictures I take a week; thus the family yearbook goal was created.

And then by the grace of the universe, My Memories knocked on my door (aka emailed me) and offered a chance to test and review their My Memories Suites v.3 AND...wait for it...offer one in a giveaway to my readers!!

So, after playing around (and seriously reminiscing about my days on the yearbook staff in high school - hi, Mrs. McBreen!) I became a little bit obsessed and I'm already mostly done with our January pictures and events (currently finishing up Gemma's sprinkle!).  Want proof?  Booyah, Trixie's Arrival; a double-page spread:

What I have really come to love about My Memories Suite v.3 is that its downloaded on my computer - so I don't have to be online waiting for the any site to refresh or wait 45 minutes for my pictures to upload.  I just pull pictures from one folder and drop them onto the template.

I'm even trying to stretch my blogging wings and make things like a blog button and headers (which all the cool bloggers already have and I'm just playing catch up over here).  And although I'm really weird and nervous about it, this digital scrapbook software has made it easy for me with all of their options - and even more digital kits on their website for purchase.  So as seen on my updated facebook page (and soon available for 'grabbing,') I present, the Team Studer blog button:

So back to the good stuff...this is my first giveaway and one that I feel really excited about to share with you!  Not only do I get to work towards one of my 2012 goals, but throw in a little "kindness" too and give one away.  How's that for starting off the new year?  I hope you all are as excited about it as me:)

To enter for a chance to win the My Memories Suite v.3 ($39.97 value), please comment below about why you'd like to win the My Memories Suite v.3.  For more proof on why this giveaway is awesome, please visit: to check out the digital packages available for purchase or to learn more about the Memory Suites v.3.  On Friday, February 17- I'll randomly select a winner and I'll announce that afternoon.  (If I am incapacitated due to childbirth - my sister will post for me...hi, Tasha!)

But wait, there's more (hhah!),

I have good news for everyone (even if you aren't the giveaway winner!):  My Memories is giving away free money...well, practically.  Use this code:


And you receive a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software AND a $10 coupon for the My Memories store...Let me do the math for you - that's a free $20...please & thank you.

So comment below for a chance to win!!

Quick shout-out to the My Memories blog where they have creative ideas, memory-making challenges, and giveaways galore.  It's like a gold mine of scrapbook inspiration over there...just sayin'

With the help of, the My Memories Suite v.3 winner was selected:


You have won the My Memories Suite v.3!  Please email me at to claim your prize.  

Thank you to everyone that commented to enter the giveaway, hopefully it will not be my last!  Don't forget, you can still use my code (above and listed in my side reel) for free $ off of your next My Memories purchase.  

January Kindness: House Purge & Donation

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We have finally finished up our January kindness of the House Purge & Donation.  This was a double whammy kindness as it was for others by donating to St.Vincent DePaul, AND also a kindness towards our own house as it forced us to comb through the still unpacked from our July move(!!) boxes in the basement.  I will first state that many of things that will be discussed in this post are not particularly flattering, especially when I mention our kitchen purge which included multiple expired items (oops), but I'm trying to be honest here - so let's do this thang.

Very luckily for me, my sister agreed to be nanny/housekeeper/liveinfriend while on her winter break from college this year.  So I had a full-time helper when it came to our House Purge Kindness, which was both helpful and safe as she took the task of carrying heavy boxes and standing on chairs to reach high places.  (thanks, Tash!)  

We made our way through the house, little by little each day clearing out and tossing out.  During our purge, I kept one of my fav books: Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life on hand to remind me what was important to keep or toss.  As the author suggests, my goal was to throw out 50 things - that's not 50 singular items, but 50 categories throughout the house.  So if I collected 12 cookbooks to donate, that only accounted for 1 thing (since it was all the same one thing).  I logged the items we donated or had to toss in the garbage on a little paper I had divided by rooms.  It was an easy way for me to be proud of the progress and also keep track of our 50 things.

red artistic flair courtesy of Greyson
Since there is no way I'm going to recount each room and/or item we donated or pitched - let's do a recap a la superlative style:

Most embarrassing:  The multiple bottles of expired vitamins or medicine that we discovered in the kitchen.  Like 2009 expired.

The near death experience:  The Welcome Rabbit (left over from the previous owners) that Grey kept taking out of the donation box and putting back in the living room near the tv.  We attempted to donate this rabbit twice before we were tired of Grey stealing it back.  The rabbit continues to stand post in our living room.

The one that made Brandon want to smack me:  the 12 cookbooks (I shouldn't have bought in the first place and then) donated.

The fastest to go:  the 9 books that I newly posted to Paperback Swap and then were immediately (all within 2 hours of posting!!) requested by readers around the nation.

The farthest to travel:  The jewelry, unused bottles of lotion/perfume, and hair accessories that will make their way to the Dominican Republic when we go later this year.  My mom helped clean out my closet and collected any items that could make the trip down as gifts (or bartering tools) for our vacation in October.

The most liberating:  Shredding old bills and paperwork from 2009 and earlier.

Most daring:  we threw away 2 fully finished disposable cameras without getting the pictures printed.  ah!  Who knows what would have been on there, but at this point (I'm pretty sure they were dating back to at least 2008) if we didn't know what was on them now, we wouldn't be missing them if we never saw them.  

Most improved:  The basement/future man cave that had previously been overflowing with unpacked boxes but is now an actual space.  My dad & Brandon spent an afternoon working down there to clear out over 10 boxes, moved couches, and organized our wine brewing station.  This was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders.

I so wish I had a before pic of this
The one that was less hard to say goodbye than I was expecting:  Brandon is not a throw-out kind of guy, but he did a surprisingly good job when we tackled his clothes.  He is definitely the kind of person that will find a shirt (that hasn't been worn in years) and then realize he forgot he even had it and wants to keep it to 'wear it now that's he's found it.'  But he was focused and decisive and collected over 3 bags of clothes to donate.  Such a proud wife right now:)

Best put to immediate use:  We had 2 perfectly working toilets hanging out in our garage from our old house.  One was sent off and now installed in Brandon's grandma's house!

The one that still eludes us:  The garage.  We were able to get through all the rooms in the house (including basement and man cave), but we still haven't made it to the garage.  Seems that project will have to wait until the weather gets warmer since its hard to do any organizing/clearing out with 2 cars taking up most of the space.

  • over 54 things/categories cleared out
  • 6 boxes and 2 bags of goods donated to St. Vincent DePaul
  • 3 bags of clothes donated to family members
  • 1 bag of items collected for our Dominican vacation
  • an embarrassing amount of food and vitamins/medicine that was thrown out because it was expired (shameful)
  • 10 books sent away since January 1st for Paperback Swap

Overall, our January kindness was a big success.  I am proud of the progress we made to clear out and clean up.  There will always be more to do, but to start off the new year getting rid of some of the stuff that has (both literally and figuratively) been weighing us down - feels like a refreshing start to the new year.  To finish, big thank yous to Tasha, Mum, and Dad for all the help in tackling various rooms for our purge.  I (literally) could not have done it without your focus and heavy lifting:)

the waiting game

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

First, I fully recognize that we haven't even made it to my due date yet, howeverrrrrrr, at this point in my first pregnancy - Grey had already arrived and we were home by now enjoying his sleepy, cuddly, sweet, little butt.  So,  despite the fact that many a momma carry their babies longer than their due date - I would not like to join their ranks.  I am currently at 38 weeks 6 days.  ugh.

Thus, my family has been enduring me for the past week or so as the horribly mood-swinging, easily irratated, overly sensitive, extremely uncomfortable 9 month pregnant woman that I have now become.  Brandon has heard more than once these past few days, "honey, I don't want to be like this, but I kind of just hate you right now.  so please stop talking."  My father in law got a call yesterday in which I said, "hi, can you take Grey for a while.  Like even for an hour?  I just don't have the energy...for all that...right now."  And I literally just got off the phone with my parents after asking, if they would assist me in taking Grey and the dogs for a walk in the woods today, because "Maybe I can walk this baby out."

I've also spent a considerably concerning amount of time on google searching insane things that is fairly embarassing to report.  But at this size, I'm really in no state of mind to care whether or not I look like a fool.  Here's some examples of my google searches for a taste of how our last few weeks have gone.  (these are literally sitting on my google search history...'big brother' must be reading these and laughing his a$s off somewhere):

are headaches and exhaustion signs of early labor?  -  could my dog contract rabies if he plays with a dead rabbit  -  what is Pete from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse  -  is there a more annoying sound than kids whining?  -  alternative remedies for a child's fever  -  my 16 week dog is pooping in the crate in the middle of the night  -  my puppy does not attempt to let us know she needs to go out  -  alternative remedies to narcolepsy -  notary near 159##  -  is there a more annoying character than ming ming on wonder pets?  -  38 weeks pregnant and i hate everyone  -  what is with all the ryan gosling quote pins

Besides tolerating me, our little family has been attempting to stay busy until our baby girl decides to finally grace us with her presence.

We've been trying to get in some extra sleep:

Feeding our snacks to the dogs:

Getting energy out while playing outside (with the help of my parents and sister):

Getting energy out while playing inside:

Going to gymnastics (with the help of Gigi):

Watching local high school basketball games - so that Greyson can scream on the top of his lungs, "SLAAAAMMMM DUNNNNNK" in a setting more appropriate than any/every other place we go during the day

Cleaning up Trixie's from the FLOOR.HEATING.VENT...which she incomprehensibly pooped on during the superbowl.  Which then dripped down about 2 feet inside of our insulted vent.  that is heated.

Finishing up our January Kindness  (more on that later this week)

Continuing our January date...even though January is over and we haven't even watched enough episodes to finish season1 yet!!  January date = multiple month'er

And to top it all off, we've enrolled Grey into 2 more activities each week to try to beat the winter/waiting for baby blues .  First, Greyson has started his college classes (hahhaha, but seriously they are at our local community college) and we go to Storytime on Fridays where we listen to books, sing songs, and make crafts.

Secondly, he and I have been taking swimming classes at the Y on Tuesday nights.  There are no pictures of this because let's be honest, even I am not self-deprecating enough to post a picture of myself in a bathing suit at 9 months pregnant.  All you need to know about Tuesday nights are this:
1. Greyson l.o.v.e.s. the water
2. swimming class makes him very tired (yay)
3. For a half hour out of the week, I feel weightless
4. after class last week, one of the dads asked me, "wow, so when is that thing coming?"

Which leads me to my final point for this post about waiting for our baby to arrive.
From recent experience, here are some things that should not be said to any woman who even looks like she's due soon:

"wow, so when is that thing coming?"
"Oh you've got time; your belly hasn't even dropped yet"
"labor shouldn't take too long, right?  I mean the highways already paved this time"*
"geez, this pregnancy has been hard on your clothes"*

*those last 2 gems were said by someone who lives in my house.  i'll give you a hint - I'm married to him.

For a much needed laugh - anyone have any more phrases/tidbits of wisdom that should not be spoken within earshot of a nearly due momma?