Saturday, February 14, 2015

An open letter to the general public and cashier at Target

For the past few months, I have not had the motivation to blog. I think this situation has given me a jump start. I hate to have to start back up blogging with such a rant but…well…it is what it is: 

Is this your first? How old are you? Are you going to have any more?? What I would really like to say is "what the fuck is wrong with you" but I can't…at least not right now. Who knows what the next time will bring...

Why would you, a complete stranger, ask me that? You don't know me or my situation. Were you ever inside my body? Do you know what it was like to hurt so badly because you could not give your husband a child? Do you know what countless bottles of cough medicine tasted like because an old wives tale said it would help you conceive? Have you ever stood against a wall on your head to ensure the sperm would travel where it needed to go? How about elevating your legs until they went numb because someone said that method worked for them? Spending a boatload of money on countless herbal pills, teas and supplements with no results and sometimes a very upset stomach and headache...

Do you know how painful it was each month to go through stage IV endometriosis and be told there is a very high chance you will never have a baby unless you spend $25k on IVF with no guarantee it will even work? If you do, I feel for you. If you don't, mind your business. My family and friends have been the most loving and supportive people throughout this event and have NEVER asked me this question yet a stranger feels it is ok to ask such a personal and intrusive question?

Now that the long answer is out there, here is the short answer: I am not sure if we will have another baby. Now stop fucking asking me.

Eva at 3 months

I wish everyone could experience the complete joy I felt the moment I became a parent. Sadly, I know that is not possible for everyone. At the end of the day when I am alone with my thoughts, I quietly say a prayer for all of those who struggle with infertility. Those who are repeatedly told "nothing is wrong with you" but cannot seem to get pregnant and leave the doctors office without answers. Couples who have broken up over infertility.  Women who feel "less of a woman" because they cannot get pregnant. I feel for all of you…I truly do.

Thanks for reading (and letting me rant),
Kara

Monday, December 29, 2014

I officially gave up breastfeeding today...

…and I am OK with it. I tried. I really did.

Eva was born on 10/30 and I was already mentally prepared to make her a 100% breast fed baby. When my colostrum came in the next day, the nurse came into my room to show me how Eva needed to latch on. It is not as easy as I thought. You just put them on your breast and away they go, right? WRONG. I did "ok" the days I was in the hospital. It was painful but I kept remembering the women who told me to "keep going, it will get better and your nips will toughen up." I also kept thinking about the incredible health benefits to breast milk. These were the thoughts that kept me going…for the time being.

As the first few days at home went on, breastfeeding didn't get better and my nips were a cracked bloody mess. I would cringe each time I identified her "hungry cry" and tried my best to calm down. The main problem is that my anatomy is not the best suited for breastfeeding. You know those woman with nips an inch long and just fit perfectly into their baby's mouth? That isn't me nor was there any chance it would be me...I hated it every second of this. I even tried a nipple shield but felt like a Fembot…just a lot less sexy.

Courtesy of www.sodahead.com

After what I feel was one of the worst weeks of my life, I spent day #7 crying all day at home. I called my cousin's wife who is a certified lactation nurse. She rushed over to my house and found me in tears. She is a no-bullshit kind of person (which I appreciate) and before you know it, she was flinging my boobs around and popping my nips into Eva's mouth with ease. It seemed to be going ok but as soon as she left, I was back to having trouble again. In tears again and close to a mental breakdown, a friend called me and talked me off the ledge. Am I a bad Mom? Will my daughter hate me? Will I be judged and criticized because I can't do this?

I am not one to loathe in self pity so I quickly got over this; shut the fuck up Kara. What is your problem?. Do you think you are the only woman on planet Earth who cannot breast feed? Still craving the benefits for my daughter to be fed breast milk, I found a solution. GO GET A PUMP! That's a great idea! 

I sent my Mom up to Buy Buy Baby to pick up a manual breast pump since I had to wait for my insurance to approve my request for an electric pump. As soon as she came home, I ripped that box open and pumped away. Sweet relief all the way around. I dumped the breast milk into a bottle and my little Eva went to town! Once I got the electric pump in the mail, I was able to pump out the milk a lot more frequent and quicker...

I called my pediatrician for some advice on supplementing breast milk with formula. I was able to pump around 4-5 ounces at one time but felt she wasn't getting enough. I also wanted to start stock piling up for when I returned to work. The pediatrician gave me the ok to supplement with Enfamil Newborn formula. I had some already in the house…thanks goodness. Things were going super until about 3 weeks in…then my milk production seemed to slow down a lot.

I tried Fenugreek herbs. I tried the teas. I massaged my boobs. I bought "booby tubes." I took warm showers and baths. I pumped so often I felt like a cow hooked up to a milking machine. Nothing seemed to get the milk production going again like it was the first few weeks. 

Over the past month, I have been trying to pump as much as I could. After each session, I would be lucky if I was about to get 1 ounce out. Slowly, I have been stopping the pumping sessions in preparation to halt breast feeding altogether. 

As of today, I have made the decision to stop breastfeeding altogether. I am at peace and 100% comfortable with my decision. As long as she is happy and healthy, I will no longer question my decision. I will no longer beat myself up. I will no longer care what anyone thinks about it (especially the people who DON'T have children that like to give advice). 

Eva is now 8 weeks old and is one awesome kid…


Thanks for reading,
Kara


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Paula Deen's Corn Casserole

Looking for something super simple and fool-proof to make? I make this as often as I can and people love it! Thanks Paula Deen!

CORN CASSEROLERecipe by Paula Deen

4 ratings
EASYLevel
55 MIN10 Prep + 45 Cook
6 - 8Servings
$/Serving

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 1/4 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 (8 oz) package corn muffin mix
  • medium cheddar cheese, shredded

Preparation

In a large bowl, stir together the two cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream and butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with generous amount of cheddar cheese and return to oven for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

www.pauladeen.com/corn-casserole

Thanks for reading,
Kara

Surviving the Blowout

Sweet Jesus…how could something so drippy and awful come from something so friggin' cute? Welcome to the BLOWOUT.

I am only 4 weeks into being a new parent but if you are new to the parenting game and have not experienced one yet, your time will come! Hubby says I put her diaper on too tight so when she goes, it has nowhere to go but up and out…yuck. He experienced a frontward blowout last night!

A friend of mine saw a Facebook posting the other day about my daughters first blowout and how it was EVERYWHERE…up her back, around her chest and even in her hair. Dear Lord. She posted this Youtube video on "why" there are envelope folds on the shoulders of baby clothes…who knew!?!?

Enjoy…I hope this helps out every new parent:


Thanks for reading,
Kara

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Birth Story

"Don't get wrapped up in others' birth story. You will create your own."

These were the words spoken to me by the head nurse when I took the labor and delivery tour at the hospital over the summer. For the most part, I stuck to it. Throughout my pregnancy, I listened as women would share all of their stomach-turning details of their birth experience…and I listened to it all with a smile on my face as not to show how I was panicking on the inside.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to share my personal birth story but after much thought, I decided to do it anyway. Sure, there were a lot of tense moments but also some funny ones as well; I wouldn't be true to myself if there wasn't a comical element present throughout my birth experience and thought someone out there might get a laugh out of it…or two.

At 41 weeks and 4 days, I was late. My midwife had me check in to the hospital at 8pm on 10/29 to get the party started. It was eerily quiet down the labor and delivery wing as I was lead down the hallway to room #12 all the way at the end. From there, the nurse (let's call her "R") checked us into the room. No sooner did we get into the room, the complaining started…and it wasn't from me! It was R complaining OUT LOUD that it was a new maternity wing and she did not know where anything was, the computer wasn't working properly and she couldn't find where the linens were stored. I could feel my face getting hot and that is when hubby stepped right in without me even saying a word. As I excused myself to use the bathroom, hubby pulled R aside and politely (but very direct) said to hear to KNOCK IT OFF. "My wife does not need this right now. Stop complaining about what is not here and let's focus on what is."

WOW. I love this guy even more now.

Things seemed to have calmed down immediately so the next step was the Misoprostol pill up my hoohaa to induce labor. Ok, here we go. As R suited up with rubber gloves, I told her to treat this like a first date. Don't shove your fingers up in there forcefully…go easy. Lube up. Buy me a drink at least first! There, I broke the ice after hubby's tongue-lashing of R a few minutes earlier. The last thing I need is for anyone on this floor to be ticked off at me!

Flash forward several hours to where my labor actually started. Holy Mother of God…labor ain't no freakin' joke. My cervix softened up a bit but not a whole heck of a lot. I made it to 4cm dilated and thought I was going to lose it. I tried a warm shower to ease the pain. I tried walking and sitting on the toilet…to no avail. The only position that I could even stand to be in was the hospital bed raised all the way up and my hunching over it grabbing onto a pillow. As a contraction would come on, the sounds that came out of my mouth were something from a sci-fi movie. Grunting, groaning, growling…I scared the shit out of my dear husband and Mom.

At 4cm dilated, I was done. Time for the epidural; I was not trying to be a hero. It was less than a half an hour but seemed like an eternity until the anesthesiologist got there with the meds. Thank God. Her name was Natalie or something with an "N" but I insisted on calling her Stacey because at that moment, it was the only name I could remember. As I sat back as tall as I could on the bed, she told me not to move. Well, try not moving when a contraction hits…almost impossible but I was able to get through two very strong ones and the epidural procedure started. The first pinch was nothing at all…less severe than a bee sting. Next came the epidural. As I could feel my bottom half start to go numb, it was only on the right side. Oh God…I heard stories about this type of thing. Epidurals don't work for every woman and I am praying I am not one of them. I told Stacey that I could still feel my left side and she quickly determined that my hips were not level and she had to re-adjust me. As I re-positioned myself, the rest of the epidural made its was to the left side. Sweet relief is what came in the next 20 minutes...

Moving up to several hours later and a few internal exams, I wasn't progressing. My water did break though and I made it to almost 5cm but then stopped. On my last exam, my midwife said it was like I was moving backwards and we needed to make some decisions. There was also some blood in my urine and the baby's heartbeat was dropping. My decision? Cut me open…let's do this! I want to meet my baby NOW.

After the decision was made, one of the nurses came in to unhook a few things and to shave me down south. I told her it had been a long time since there was any grooming activity down there and it was like the Amazon jungle…so whack away! She was doing me a favor.

As the doc came in to talk to hubby and I about what happens with a c-section, I could feel hubby getting nervous. He is the most even-keeled person I know and does not get excited about many things but I could see the panic on his face and hear the nervousness in his voice. I had to keep him calm and reassure him that a c-section is something that many women get, is routine and we have our trust and faith in God and the people around us. I also think he was worried that he would pass out (but I wouldn't tell him that)!

Within an hour, I was in the OR ready to meet my daughter. As they gave hubby his official OR gown and hat, the staff wheeled me into the OR where a group of people, and possibly the janitor, were there to greet us. My lower half of my body felt like it weighed 400lbs and all I could think of was 1- how comical would it be if they dropped me on the floor and 2- I am glad my hoohah is all trimmed up because the doctor is quite a cute one. I began to shake uncontrollably from the anesthesia but the staff told me it was a normal reaction and not to fight it. It was time for the blue paper curtain to go up…

Before the curtain went up, I told the lead nurse (the one who shaved me) that I was pleased with the job she did and if this whole nursing thing did not work out for her, she had a future in Vajazzling. They began to count off all the medical tools they were using and procedures they were about to perform. I heard them ask "where is Daddy?" as someone lead hubby into the room and sat him down on the stool next to me. He whispered softly to me, with a crackle in his voice, that we are going to meet our daughter soon. Cue the tears…

A little tugging and a little pulling and I hear it. Her first sound. WAAA! Oh my God, I am a Mom! As they lifted her up above the blue paper curtain, I first noticed her hair was dark and she was purple. OMG, where did the dark hair come from? Hubby and I were both super blonde when we were born? Did I get the right sample? Whose kid is this? Shortly thereafter as they were cleaning her up and taking care of all the routine tests etc, I heard her sneeze multiple times in a row. A trait that my mother-in-law, brother-in-law and hubby all have.

I knew she was ours.

Eva Marie
8lbs 4oz
21.5" long
Born 10/30/14 at 5:42pm
Thanks for reading…more to come on being a first time Mom!
Kara

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baby Update: I am late!

I am late…like 4 days late. With tears welling up in my eyes for each of the past 4 mornings, I wander down the hall into my daughter's room and just stand in there. Sometimes in the dark, sometimes by the light of the rising sun. I am anxious, excited as only one thought pops into my mind:

Eva, when will you be here?

 Handmade artwork from Grandpa and butterflies from Grandma.
 Bed is all ready…just need to fill it!
 This was my Grandma's bedroom furniture from the 70's that we reused. She would be so happy! 
 DIY lamp by me.
 Changing area ready to go. Uncle Bryan made the changing table frame.
 Mirror picked out by Mommy and Grandpa from Old Time Pottery.
 I saw this in Hobby Lobby last week. I started crying in the aisle and new I had to buy it!
 Shelf built and decorated by Cousin Chris.
 Another bedroom piece from my Grandma…they just don't make furniture like they used too!
 If you saw my closet, you would expect nothing less from my baby's closet!
 Mommy and Daddy's diaper bags.
 LOTS of "formal wear."
 This is the first outfit I bought her.
Even Fritz is waiting!

Thanks for reading,
Kara

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recipe: Easy Sunday Casserole

This is a super easy casserole made with only eggs, shredded cheese, hash browns and milk. If you have 40 minutes, go for it!

Sunday Casserole
6 eggs
1.5 cups of milk +/-
hash browns or tater tots
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. I like to bake in glassware; spray an 8x8 baking dish with canola or olive oil spray.  Line the baking dish with your favorite frozen potatoes; we like the tater tots but you can also use the shredded potatoes as well. Sprinkle a generous layer of shredded cheese over the tots. Blend together the 6 eggs and 1.5 cups of milk (sometimes I use a little more than 1.5 cups to make it extra light and fluffy). Pour over the tots and bake at 350 for 40 minutes depending how golden brown and crispy you like your casserole!





Thanks for reading,
Kara

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Baby Room DIY: Flower and Crystal Lamp

I wanted a crystal and "something" lamp for my baby's room in the worst way but was not going to pay a few hundred $ for it. I had an old brass desk lamp that I was going to toss into the Goodwill pile but thought "let me try and see how this could come out." If it did not work out, I am really not losing any money!
I took the old brass lamp and stuffed a piece of paper towel in the bulb area so I would not get any paint in there.
 I took a damp paper towel and wiped down the lamp base to remove any dust or dirt.
After 3 coats of Krylon glossy white spray paint...
VIOLA!
I bought a bunch of mixed blooms from Old Time Pottery...
 …and popped of their heads and trimmed down to the base of the flower.
Armed with my hot glue gun, I started gluing the blooms to the lampshade. If you are not a patient person, this is not the project for you! The lampshade took me several days to complete...
 This is the final product and I could not be happier!
I wired 6 strands of clear crystal together to hang from the lampshade.
3 strands straight down and then 3 linking each strand together.

I used a 15 watt bulb so if I needed to have the light on for a while, the glue holding the flowers on would not melt.
Thanks for reading,
Kara

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Baby Room DIY: Flower Door Knobs

We are finally putting the finishing touches on the baby's room…8 weeks to go! My Dad did a beautiful job on the paint and chair rail for the room and also freshened up the old accordion style doors on the closet. They had some old brass flat round knobs on them that I thought I could do a little DIY project on:








A couple of stems from Old Time Pottery and a hot glue gun and VIOLA! Super cute and easy!

Thanks for reading,
Kara

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Anniversary and Babymoon

Hubby and I recently celebrated 11 years of marriage...wow did time fly by! We also thought it would be a good time for a "last hurrah" before baby gets here in 9 weeks. We decided to check out Naples, FL and we could not be more pleased with our choice. We used the TripAdvisor app to find the hotel and all of the places to eat. It was super helpful and 100% on the money when it came to the feedback!

Bellasera Hotel, Naples FL
Front Entrance
Main Lobby
View from the Cabana
Naples Pier
Beautiful Sunset

This was a sweet little place on Highway 41 called Blueberry's. TripAdvisor rated it one of the best in Naples to we gave it a try...
Fruit French Toast - I wish I was able to finish more than 1 piece but I had no more room left!
Bokamper's is a great place to watch sports and indulge in "bar food." Good stuff behind these doors!
I cannot believe it took me such a long time to discover that I love mahi mahi! The waiter and hubby coaxed me into a mahi mahi sandwich...YUM. I am still thinking about it!
For our anniversary, we wanted to check out an Italian place. TripAdvisor ranked this one a favorite for 2014 and the user reviews rated it one of the best in the area. They were 100% right! The fettuccine was to DIE for. These people are from the Rosedale section of Queens NYC and know what they are doing!
Naples has a TON of shopping and designer resale stores seems to be all over. Of course, I had to pop in...and I am so glad I did. Amongst the LV's, Chanels and other designer brands, I came across the Michael Kors display...
...and scored this little gem for $29! Yep, $29. 

Overall, it was a great little getaway. We will definitely be back!

Thanks for reading,
Kara
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