our wee home

musings by michelle

More floating shelves!

I think we are a bit obsessed with floating shelves.  We used them a lot in our previous (teeny) home for obvious reasons (space, or lack thereof!)… but now we just really love them.  I think we have them installed in every room of the main floor of our house.

I had been wanting to build this magnificent and modern/industrial shelving unit for our living room to put our TV on.  I was inspired by this.  I had priced it all out, drawn sketches, taken measurements, etc.  But the $350-ish price tag for materials and the amount of work it was going to take to assemble it… well, life seemed to get in the way of that actually happening.  So I found new inspiration that seemed a lot easier and cheaper – this pin on Pinterest.

So three $20 shelves from IKEA and less than an hour of labor transformed our living room and now we have this:

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It saved us from having to buy an expensive TV wall mount, and it provides much-needed shelf space for some decorative items and plants.  And my husband did such an amazing job hiding all the cords, don’t you think?  He found these gems (in white) at the hardware store, it allowed us to hide most of the cords for the TV, XBox, and stereo.  They just drop through behind the drywall.  That middle basket on the floor is actually hiding all the cords, outlet, and a subwoofer.

Even though there will always be a small part of me lusting after pipe shelving, we should have done this ages ago!

August 20, 2013 Posted by | DIY, Home Improvements, On the cheap | , , , , | 6 Comments

Hope’s birth

Today my daughter, Hope, is a month old.  Yet her due date was just four days ago.  I want to write down her birth story before it gets lost in the blur.  Having a newborn, I am fully in the blur right now.

Due to the bleeding episodes that I had due to a low-lying placenta during my pregnancy, I was hospitalized once at 26 weeks (for four days) and then again at 32 weeks (for four weeks).  The plan during my 2nd hospitalization was to stay put in the hospital until delivery.  I actually wrote a blog post about hospital bed rest, but it was such a pity party that I did not publish it on here.  Maybe I will someday.

The fact that I continued to have bleeding episodes throughout the end of the pregnancy indicated a danger of a major hemorrhage (also known as a placental abruption) that would have put my life and baby’s life in danger.  The perinatologists (high-risk OB’s) suggested that we deliver the baby at 37 weeks gestation.  I had been given steroids for the baby’s development, and overall, the outlook for a 37-gestation little girl was not risky…

However, during the 35th week, I had two more bleeding episodes, so the doctors recommended that we deliver at 36 weeks.  So, on July 17th, the doctors scheduled me for a cesarean for Friday, July 19th.  I asked for one more ultrasound to determine the location of the placenta; and after all this time of barely budging, the placenta was finally over 2 centimeters from the cervix, which was the minimum “required” by the doctors to try for a vaginal birth for a low placenta.  So just a couple hours before my scheduled cesarean, the plan changed and I opted for an induction instead.

While in some respects, this was a scarier option (risk of hemorrhaging and an emergency c-section), I still wanted to try.  I wanted to be spared the surgery and recovery, if possible.

The induction started around 1pm on July 19th.  I opted to have an epidural pretty early in the process, because I wanted to be awake if I needed an emergency c-section.  This meant I was stuck, horizontal, in bed through all of it.  I also was apparently pretty sensitive to the epidural, and it caused my normally low blood pressure to drop even further.  So I was woozy and weak off and on.  It felt awful.

Quite a difference from the unmedicated birth I had with Norah! I had regular contractions through all of it, but was not dilating much.  By 7am the following morning I was still only 2cm dilated.  They broke my bag of waters shortly thereafter, and I finally managed to doze for a couple of hours after that.  This is when my paranoia was hard to manage, because having amniotic fluid leak out of you feels exactly like the scary bleeds I had been having for weeks.  I kept needing to be reassured that it was amniotic fluid, and not blood (since I couldn’t see over my belly!).

Sometime before 11am, they checked my progress, and I was fully dialated!  They immediately started to get the room prepped, and I continued to be a basket case about bleeding.  They kept reassuring me that it was a normal amount of blood for a birth.  I pushed for maybe 10 minutes, and Hope was born.  She, like her older sister, had the umbilical cord around her neck twice… but once again, the docs simply unwound it, and she was fine.  In fact, she screamed and recovered from birth much quicker and better than Norah did.  Her first Apgar score was 8, amazingly.  She was so teeny tiny, but so strong.  She weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces and was 18 3/4 inches long.  She nursed within minutes of being born.

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She is named after her great-great-grandmother.  And her middle name, Victoria, is after her grandfather, Victor.

I am so grateful that everything turned out so perfectly, especially after such a scary pregnancy.  And strangely, I am actually really glad that I got to experience both an unmedicated birth, and a full-on medicated birth.  They were such incredibly different experiences!  While I hated the feeling of the epidural (both the numb legs and the low blood pressure wooziness), being stuck in bed with so many tubes going in and out of me, and just overall the medical nature of it… the positives were that I would say that overall I experienced discomfort, not pain — and because of that, I felt so much more present for this birth.  Because I was not lost in the pain, I have a clearer memory of Hope’s arrival and I got to experience the emotions of giving birth.  I cried tears of joy when I got to hold her for the first time.  With Norah’s birth, I was still in incredible pain and just in shock, I think, when she was born.

Because Hope was so strong, and I think they took pity on me having been in the hospital for four weeks; we were released to go home the next day.  Luckily my insurance provides for an in-home visit from the nurse, so that we could go home, but still have Hope checked 48 hours after birth.

Hope received donor breast milk for the first few days of life, until my own milk came in.  The reason for this is that they don’t want such small babies to lose too much of their birth weight.  She has proven to be a great eater and is growing very well so far.

I am so happy that I have two healthy little girls.  And I am ecstatic that I never plan to be pregnant again!  =)

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August 20, 2013 Posted by | Just Life, Parenting | Leave a comment