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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Children's E-Book Review and Giveaway: Candy and the Cankersaur

**I received an electronic copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.**

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I hope to instill my love of reading in my daughter and any future children. Even though she's just under 5 months, I read to her every night as part of our bedtime routine.

Even though I still love holding a book in my hand, there are definitely benefits to having e-books available for your children as well. They are easy to travel with and you can have them on your phone (which you always have with you) to entertain your child on demand. 

Today, I'm teaming up with Jason Sandberg to give away 10 copies of his e-book, Candy and the Cankersaur.  

Candy and the Cankersaur is a picture book about a girl who receives a dinosaur as a gift and her determination to train him to be a good pet.  It's a fun homage to Syd Hoff and will make all dinosaur-crazy boys and girls happy. 

You can learn more about Jason Sandberg on his website or you can view information about Candy and the Cankersaur or more of his e-books on his e-book page.

As it was intended, this book reminded me of books from my childhood. The illustrations are eye catching and the story is simple while still teaching a  few good lessons. I like that even though the main character, Candy, is showered with gifts from her rich father, she is not spoiled. The story points out how she shares her fancy toys and she is quick to forgive. I think these are important qualities for children to see in a character. I also like how the "bad" character doesn't stay bad. The events of the story change him and he's redeemed in the end. As a teacher, I see a lot of opportunities in this story to make predictions, analyze characters, and make inferences.

Now, it's your turn to win a copy of this e-book to share with your little one(s)! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Baby Hall's Birth Story- Part 2

*To see how we got to this point, be sure to read Part 1 of Baby Hall's birth story.*

So, at 41 weeks 6 days pregnant, we were finally going to meet our baby.

We headed home and I ate something quickly so that I could get in one last meal before my midnight cut off. Then, I tried unsuccessfully to sleep. I could not shut my mind off. I got on up early to spend some time praying for a safe delivery, for Baby, and for our future as parents. We got ready and too soon it was time to head back to the hospital. My parents were on their way, but had gotten into some traffic and I wasn’t sure if they would make it before the procedure.

We checked in and they led us to the triage room. More vitals were taken and questions were answered. Then, I met the physician who would deliver (I hadn’t seen any physicians during my pregnancy. I’d seen the midwives.) The midwife who would assist her also stopped by. My parents arrived and I was glad to get to see them before I had to go back for surgery. The anesthesiologist came in next to introduce herself and ask if I had any questions or concerns. My biggest concerns were that I would freak myself out during surgery thinking about what was going on on the other side of the curtain and that I would get nauseous and sick during surgery. Everyone tried to reassure me. 

Finally, it was time. Lee and my parents stayed back in the triage room while they walked me to the operating room to prepare. I was surprisingly calm. The operating room was freezing. I was shaking so hard. They had me sit on the table and the anesthesiologist began prepping my back for the spinal. The nurse rubbed my shoulders and tried to warm me up. Getting the spinal was not bad and shortly after, I was lying on the table and could tell the bottom half of my body was numbing. The doctor and midwife came in at this point and started doing their prep work. Soon they were putting up the curtain and going to get Lee. It was time to get started.

I continued to be amazed at how calm I was. It was a very strange sensation to know something was going on with the bottom half of your body and I could feel that people were touching me and doing something, but it didn’t hurt. Lee and I tried to talk to ease our nerves of meeting Baby.

After a little while, they said it was almost time. I heard them say “Look at all that hair.” Then, I felt them pushing on my stomach and could tell they were pulling her out. There were many comments about her hair and how beautiful she was. They held her up and we got our first glimpse of our daughter. Then, she was handed to a team of pediatricians who took her over to another section of the operating room to check her out. Lee walked over there to take pictures and I watched from the table.

She was crying and her dark head full of hair was curled. She ended up weighing 9lbs 1oz and was 21 inches long. After the pediatricians finished with her, she was brought over to me. She was laid over my shoulder and her head was right up under my head. Lee held her there and she calmed down. We noticed right away they she went to work sucking on her hands. As she was moving her hands around, she kept pulling the oxygen from my nose. It was so surreal to finally meet her.

Lee got to sit there holding her while they finished stitching me up. I continued to be so thankful that none of my fears came true. I didn’t get freaked out. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t feel like I couldn’t breathe. Everything went perfectly. When they were almost finished, they put Baby in the basinet and took her and Lee to the recovery room. Then, they cleaned me up and transferred me to a bed. I was amazed at how efficient everything was. Everyone knew what to do and everything ran smoothly. 

When they wheeled me to the recovery room, Lee was there along with my parents and my mom was already holding Baby Hall. We hung out there for a little while before being taken to our room. We ended up staying 2 nights in the hospital and came home Thanksgiving evening. 

Overall, my pregnancy and birth experience were great. The worst part of having a C-section for me was having them have to come in throughout the day and push on my stomach and the fact that I couldn’t really hold Baby right away and I wasn’t able to do much for her in the first 24 hours due to being sore and confined to the bed. We also were really impressed with the hospital and staff.

Being a mom has been a wonderful, yet exhausting experience. I definitely have a new appreciation and respect for moms everywhere. 

*Lee and I decided for many reasons not to share the names or pictures of any children that we may have. I really wish I could share a picture of her with you, but you'll just have to take my word for it that she is so beautiful and perfect!*

Monday, December 29, 2014

Baby Hall's Birth Story- Part 1

I used to not understand why people shared their birth stories on their blogs. It used to just freak me out and make me second-guess whether I wanted biological children or not. Giving birth sounded scary! However, when I got pregnant and my due date began to approach, I started seeking out those birth stories. I wanted to know all the possibilities of what I could expect. I think I was also looking for reassurance that giving birth wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it was. I now know that I want to write up my daughter’s birth story so that I will always remember the details. I also know from experience that by sharing a birth story, you are helping someone who is preparing for their own birth story. 

*On the due date*

When discussing my maternity leave with my school’s principal, I decided that I didn’t want to work up until I went into labor. The thought of my water breaking or going into labor while teaching definitely scared me. Plus, I knew I’d be tired and probably very uncomfortable at that point. On the other hand, I didn’t want to take off too much time because I knew that babies don’t always adhere to due dates. After careful consideration, I decided to let Friday, November 7, be my last day at work before my leave. My due date was November 12, so this didn’t seem like an unreasonable time to take off.

That date couldn’t have gotten there fast enough. Preparing for a maternity leave as a teacher is no joke. No matter how prepared I was, I kept thinking of more things I needed to do before I left. On top of my preparations, I was bombarded with meetings that needed to get done before I left. I had a busy few weeks leading up to my last day. 

That day finally came and I settled in at home for what I was hoping would be a few days of relaxing before the big day. Before I continue, I have to share that I had a very easy pregnancy. I didn’t really have any morning sickness. I had no complications. Everything was fine at all my appointments. I was quite proud of the fact that I didn’t gain tons of weight and I felt like I didn’t look pregnant anywhere but my belly. Besides being tired, I wasn’t uncomfortable or in any pain as my due date approached. I thanked God every night for blessing me with an easy pregnancy.

My first week home on leave went great. Lee and I spent a lot of time together relaxing, preparing last minute things for baby, and walking. I wasn’t too worried as my due date passed because I know that hardly anyone delivers on their due dates and most first time moms go past their due date. My second week home, I began to get restless. I was bored. I like to have a routine and schedule to my day. I wanted to relax without being completely lazy and I didn’t want to start any new project around the house because I didn’t know when I’d deliver and I didn’t want to leave something halfway done. I spent a lot of time that second week watching Netflix, completing a puzzle, and reading. 

At my 41-week appointment, we discussed with my midwife that I would need to be induced that upcoming Wednesday if I hadn’t delivered by then. I didn’t want to be induced, but I knew that I didn’t need to go past 42 weeks. At this point, I am 41 weeks pregnant and have not had one single contraction or labor sign. The only things I could interpret as labor signs were some increased cramping (nothing worse than period cramps) and some occasional tightening in my stomach. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to go into labor on my own

Over the weekend, I continued to do several of the things people recommend you do to start labor naturally. I prayed that I would go into labor on my own and not have to be induced. Monday rolled around with no such luck. I had an appointment Monday afternoon. I had started to come to terms with the fact that our daughter would arrive on Wednesday and would be induced to get here. When I arrived for my appointment, they took me to a small room where I was hooked up to some monitors and sat back in a recliner. I could hear Baby Hall's strong heartbeat. I was handed a button and instructed to push it every time I felt her move. The nurse left me and I sat back, relaxed, read, and watched the monitor some. A PA came in to check on me some time later and took the printout from the machine to share with the midwife. 

*very pregnant selfie*

After some more waiting, the midwife comes in. She tells me that Baby Hall’s heart rate is a little high plus my blood pressure had been high. Then, she said “It’s just time for this baby to be born.” She wanted me to go right across the street to the hospital. I was shocked. It wasn’t time yet. I was still supposed to have a couple of days to prepare for giving birth. With an induction, my parents were going to be able to be here in time to be present for the whole birth. Lee hadn’t gone to my appointment with me. I was alone and scared. The midwife told me to call Lee and have him meet me at the hospital.

I walked out to the parking lot and called Lee. Then as I was getting in the car, I called my mom and finally broke down crying. After getting off the phone with her, I knew that Lee was gathering up the rest of our hospital stuff and was on his way. I knew that my mom was getting up with my dad and they both were leaving work, going home to get their stuff together, and head our way. I knew that I was not ready for this!

While driving the short distance to the hospital, I did some deep breathing, some praying, and some reassuring of myself. After parking, I slowly made my way to the labor and delivery floor. I was ready for Lee to get there so that I wasn’t alone. They got me checked in and settled in a triage room. A nurse came in and started taking vitals and asking me questions. I found out that both my heart rate and Baby’s heart rate were high. I also realized I hadn’t drank very much that day. I was a little dehydrated causing our high heart rates. They brought me a giant cup of water and told me to get busy drinking. They wanted me to drink that one and several more.

I was so relieved when Lee got there. The midwife came in to talk with me and so far my blood pressure and our heart rates were going back down to levels where they needed to be. The midwife went to try and check my cervix and had the same problem that had occurred the last time they tried to check my cervix- they couldn’t reach it. It was very high up and probably not dilated. She also felt my stomach and even though Baby was positioned the correct way, she was not very far down in my pelvis. The midwife also felt that she was going to be a large baby from the size of my stomach, what she felt, and my recent ultrasound.

She began to discuss my options. She said they could begin the induction process, which would have to include both softening my cervix and giving me medication to start contractions. Because my body did not seem ready for labor yet, she said that the induction/labor process could last 2-3 days. On the other hand, I could have a C-section since it was looking like she was going to be big and labor/delivery may be difficult. I was overwhelmed and my mind was racing. I wasn’t ready to make this type of major decision. I had just wanted labor to start naturally and I just wanted to let my body naturally do what God had made it to do. I also wanted my parents to be there.

The midwife said that I didn’t have to make a decision yet. She wanted me to have another ultrasound to check a few things and get an estimated fetal weight. They also wanted me to continue to drink water since our levels were evening out. This would give me time to think and for Lee and I to discuss what we wanted to do.

The thought of having to be induced and labor over several days did not appeal to me. Plus I knew that even if I went through days of induction/labor, I could still end up having a C-section if things continued to not progress. The thought of having a C-section also scared me. I hadn’t done a lot of research on C-sections so I didn’t know what to expect. I talked to a few people and Googled a few things while waiting for the ultrasound.

They took me down for the ultrasound and the technician kept going on and on about how my amniotic fluid levels were low and they weren’t going to let me go home like that. This did not help how I was feeling. She estimated Baby’s weight to be about 9 lbs 14 oz. She finished the ultrasound and then I spent a long time waiting for someone to come take me back to the labor and delivery triage room. I don’t know how long it was, but it seemed like forever. My mind was racing over what to do and I really had to pee from all the water I’d been drinking.

Once I finally got back to the room, Lee and I talked about our decision while waiting on the midwife to come back. She came back and said that the ultrasound tech had not given them a score for the fluid levels. That number would help them determine if I needed to deliver right away or if it could wait. Lee and I made the decision to have the C-section and the midwife and nurse felt like that was the best thing in our situation. They brought up a portable ultrasound machine and determined that the fluid levels were not dangerously low, so we could wait to have the C-section the next morning. They also told us we could go home so we could get a good night’s rest. be continued....
 (read part 2 here)